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Track Geoff

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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is offshore.

Liberal MP for Halifax West (Nova Scotia)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 35.90% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Heritage December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, when I asked the environment minister to support the 17th century Acadian village of Beaubassin in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia, her response was pure nonsense.

Obviously the member for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley has never complained about work stopping at Beaubassin three years ago, so I again ask if the minister will ensure that funding is provided to properly promote this incredible Acadian site in time for Canada's 150th anniversary.

International Trade December 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, once again the Conservatives' failure to champion strong environmental policies is threatening to block Canada's access to markets. Reports out of Brussels indicate there are renewed efforts to brand Canada's oil sands as dirty oil.

When will the government clean up its environmental record and help get our products into Europe and other international markets?

Canadian Heritage December 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in 2004 Parks Canada began an archaeological dig at the 17th century Acadian village of Beaubassin in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia. After finding over 6,000 artifacts and the foundations of 40 structures, the area was declared a national historic site and bought.

Unfortunately, work on the site ceased three years ago. Will the heritage minister ensure that funds are provided to at least establish an interpretation centre and proper explanation of this incredible Acadian site in time for Canada's 150th anniversary?

National Defence December 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I guess what I did get, in fact, was PMO talking points, but I am accustomed to that. It is not a surprise. For example, I did not hear any explanation about how it was that the Conservatives failed to spend $1.13 billion allocated for the Department of Veterans Affairs, yet apparently had to close nine regional offices that were providing services to veterans across this country.

The fact of the matter is that this report, other reports, and veterans themselves indicate the government is failing them and failing to deal with the mental health problems they are facing. If people were to talk to any member of Parliament who is hearing from veterans in their ridings who face problems and could see the hurdles they have to go through to get benefits, they would see how outrageous it is.

People would understand that someone who is entering the forces has to go to boot camp and go through obstacle courses, but to make suffering veterans go through that kind of a course and go over obstacles constantly in order to get the benefits to which they are entitled is outrageous, and that is what we are seeing from the government. That is what we are hearing from Canadians all the time.

It is time for the government to change its attitude, contrary to what my hon. colleague says, have a change of heart, have a heart, and pay attention to the real problems that our veterans are experiencing.

National Defence December 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have a chance to rise and speak about a question that I asked last week but certainly did not get a very satisfactory answer to. It was about the Conservative government's lack of commitment to the health and welfare of our Canadian veterans. There is really only one word to describe it, and that is “shameful”, I am sad to say.

Too many veterans are too often denied benefits they are entitled to, while others are forced to fight their own government for years before they can get the help they need. In fact, this fall the Auditor General's report presented clear evidence that the government has failed to provide adequate access to mental health services, which are needed by many of our veterans. The report that noted that mental health support for veterans was very slow, complex, poorly communicated, not tracked, and not comprehensive enough. In fact, the Auditor General concluded that Veterans Affairs, believe it or not, was largely unconcerned with “...how well veterans are being served and whether programs are making a difference in their lives”.

The Conservative government has closed down regional support offices to save a few dollars. At the same time, it has allowed over $1 billion to lapse and go unspent in this department so that it can make claims about balancing the budget. It is a government that shamelessly fudged the numbers with regard to the recently announced programs to enhance mental health services. While the Conservative cabinet minister originally led us to believe that this funding would flow over 6 years, we then learned that it would in fact be stretched over 50 years.

Imagine being a government that presumes it can announce what is going to happen for the next 50 years. The gall and arrogance of that is appalling. Worse than that, to come across and pretend that the government is going to spend it over 6 years, when it is in fact over 50 years, is fundamentally dishonest. The government should be ashamed of that.

Not only has the government failed to deliver mental health services for Canadian veterans, but a new report reveals that after committing to hire more mental health personnel for our Canadian Armed Forces, the Conservative government also failed to deliver. It is no wonder that Canadians do not believe a word the government says when it comes to the treatment of our men and women who serve our country and have served it in the past. The government simply cannot be trusted to tell the truth.

Unfortunately, the lack of adequate and timely support for our veterans is clearly taking a toll. Over the last decade, 160 Canadian Forces members have died by suicide. Many more are struggling with mental health issues like PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. However, as the Auditor General pointed out, under the current system, one in five veterans is forced to wait up to eight months to get help from the government. The Conservatives talk a good game about supporting our veterans and armed forces, but they clearly fail to recognize that we have an obligation to those who serve our country and to their families.

This fall's report by the Auditor General is a reminder of the Conservatives' failed record on Canadian veterans. The Auditor General has found that Veterans Affairs needs to update its outreach strategy to include family physicians and that it needs to educate family members on how to spot possible signs of mental illness. Why on earth is it not doing this already? Why does the government not want this to happen? Is it because it does not want people who have PTSD to be found, recognized, and dealt with? Does it not want to know? What is wrong with the Conservative government?

When we ask why the government has failed to correct this problem, what do we get? We get PMO talking points. I hope that we will not get the same thing tonight when the government has a chance to respond.

Again, why does the government take this approach? Is it because it really does not want to know? That is the question on my mind. Is it because the minister is more concerned with photo ops than being available to respond to the report of the Auditor General? Is it because he would rather try to bully and intimidate veterans instead of listening to their legitimate concerns?

Perhaps the parliamentary secretary, in the minister's place, could answer my colleague, the member for Guelph, who asked why the current funding for veterans' mental health is stretched over 50 years and wildly insufficient, especially when compared to the $1.13 billion that Veterans Affairs left unspent and the fact the Conservatives have squandered hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on partisan advertising campaigns.

National Defence November 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General said that Veterans Affairs does not educate family members on possible signs of mental illness.

Is this because that if a veteran has PTSD, the government does not want to know?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 17th, 2014

With regard to government telecommunications: since January 2012, inclusive, (a) on how many occasions was a service terminated, disconnected, or otherwise interrupted due to non-payment or overly late payment, and for each such instance, what was the type of telecommunications service, broken down by (i) internet, (ii) cellular telephone, (iii) telephone service other than cellular, (iv) other wireless services, (v) cable television, (vi) satellite television, (vii) rental or other provision of telecommunications equipment, specifying the type of equipment, (viii) other type of telecommunications service, specifying the type; (b) what was the date on which any service was terminated, disconnected, or interrupted; (c) what was the date on which service was restored or reconnected; (d) what were the costs associated with restoration or reconnection of service; (e) what was the location of the facility where service was terminated, disconnected, or otherwise interrupted; (f) what was the number of employees whose services were affected by the termination, disconnection, or interruption; (g) what type of work was undertaken at the facility where service was terminated, disconnected, or otherwise interrupted; and (h) what were the names of the service providers?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 17th, 2014

With regard to Shared Services Canada: (a) what is the total amount of late payment charges for all telecommunication services incurred in each month since January 2012, inclusive; (b) what are the names of the service providers and the types of telecommunications services provided, in all cases in part (a), broken down by (i) internet, (ii) cellular telephone, (iii) telephone service other than cellular, (iv) other wireless services, (v) cable television, (vi) satellite television, (vii) rental or other provision of telecommunications equipment, specifying the type of equipment, (viii) other type of telecommunications service, specifying the type; (c) what were the location or locations of service in respect to the telecommunications services which incurred late payment charges in part (a); and (d) what is the total amount of the late payment charges?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 17th, 2014

With regard to government funding, for each fiscal year since 2007-2008 inclusive: (a) what are the details of all grants, contributions, and loans to any organization, body, or group in the electoral district of Halifax West, providing for each (i) the name of the recipient, (ii) the location of the recipient, indicating the municipality, (iii) the date, (iv) the amount, (v) the department or agency providing it, (vi) the program under which the grant, contribution, or loan was made, (vii) the nature or purpose; and (b) for each grant, contribution and loan identified in (a), was a press release issued to announce it and, if so, what is the (i) date, (ii) headline, (iii) file number of the press release?

Taxation November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, the jobs minister suggested it is only stay-at-home parents who make sacrifices for their kids. Unlike what Conservatives believe, all parents make sacrifices to raise their children. Is this the real reason Conservatives excluded millions of hard-working families from their income-splitting scheme? Do they actually believe millions of single parents and two-income families do not make sacrifices for their kids, or are they just trying to buy votes?