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  • His favourite word is budget.

Conservative MP for Nipissing—Timiskaming (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 36.70% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Pipeline Safety Act February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, in our country we have world-class pipeline facilities. I want to give the hon. member an inkling of what that means. Between 2000 and 2011, federally regulated pipelines in this country had a safety record of 99.999%. The rate of spills in Canada was 57% lower than in Europe and 60% lower than in the United States for the 2000 to 2011 decade period.

As a government, we cannot designate or legislate laws that would account for an absurd occurrence. We live our lives as best we can and we account for as much as we can, but we do not plan on the absurd occurrence. That is what we have to do in this case.

Pipeline Safety Act February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, just to put this into perspective, I would like to give the hon. member some background as to why the figure of $1 billion was chosen.

The $1 billion figure was chosen based on an analysis of historical examples demonstrating this level of absolute liability, and the financial capacity provides this world-class coverage. Major pipeline spills in North America have resulted in clean-up costs in the range of $20 million to $50 million. That is well below $1 billion. That is the average cost. Therefore, it is needless to say that most of these spills are well below the $1 billion, which raises the bar very high to ensure that taxpayers will not carry the liability for these spills.

Pipeline Safety Act February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to further acquaint my hon. colleagues with Bill C-46, the pipeline safety act.

Bill C-46 represents another important step in realizing our government's commitment to assuring Canadians that our country's abundant natural resources are developed and transported in a safe and responsible manner. This commitment is the foundation of our plan for responsible resource development. No major project will proceed unless rigorous environmental and regulatory reviews have demonstrated that it is safe for Canadians and safe for our environment. This is essential if we are to continue to enjoy the benefits these industries have provided to generations of Canadians, and the benefits are many.

Given Canada's wealth of natural resources, experience and expertise of the industry in our country, we can be confident that the long-term prospects for natural resources development are there and will benefit us all as Canadians. It is a fact that natural resource development offers particular opportunity for aboriginal people in Canada.

Many of the existing or proposed energy and other natural resource and infrastructure projects are located near aboriginal communities. We have a duty to consult these communities and we will work to ensure they are fully engaged throughout the life cycle of resource development projects. It is a pillar of our plan for responsible resource development to pursue development in collaboration with aboriginal people in a way that protects the local environment, that respects aboriginal and treaty rights and that enables aboriginal people to participate in the economic opportunities that resource development can provide, opportunities that contribute to stronger, healthier and more self-sufficient communities.

We are taking concrete action to fulfill this commitment to consult and engage aboriginal communities in a truly meaningful way, including in the safety of existing pipelines and the potential development of new pipeline infrastructure. The pipeline safety act would provide for a series of new measures that would provide Canadians with the assurance of a truly world-class pipeline safety regime, strengthening incident prevention, preparedness and response, and liability and compensation.

Prevention, of course, is the first priority and the goal will always be zero incidents.

Bill C-46 would give the National Energy Board the ability to guide pipeline builders and operators in the use of the best available technologies in federally regulated pipeline projects, from materials and construction methods to emergency response techniques. To assure preparedness and effective response to incidents, pipeline companies would be required to show they would have ready access to a minimum amount of cash or cash equivalent so there would be no delays.

In the event a company is not able to mount an immediate, effective response, Bill C-46 would provide the National Energy Board with the authority to step in and lead the response. Where liability is concerned, Bill C-46 would impose absolute liability in the amount of $1 billion on the pipeline company. In other words, regardless of who or what caused an incident, the company would be liable for up to $1 billion in damages, period.

Of course, there would be no limit on liability should the company be found at fault or it were proven that it had acted negligently and caused the incident. The National Energy Board would have the authority to order the company to reimburse in full, even above the $1 billion mark in absolute liability, any and all cleanup costs incurred by any federal, provincial, municipal or aboriginal government body, or any person. As with the energy safety and security act, which is currently in the Senate, the pipeline safety act would include a firm statement of the principle of polluter pays. Taxpayers would not be left holding the bag. Companies would bear the full cost of cleanup and compensation.

I want to emphasize that our government recognizes and is supporting the important role aboriginal communities can play in ensuring pipeline safety, and we continue to move forward with new initiatives to ensure aboriginal communities are fully involved.

There is another way the government is responding to the work of the Prime Minister's special representative on west coast energy infrastructure, Mr. Douglas Eyford. Based on Mr. Eyford's report, Forging Partnerships, Building Relationships, we are proposing the development of a strategy to bring together aboriginal communities, the Minister of Natural Resources, and project proponents in establishing objectives and actions to enhance aboriginal participation in pipeline safety.

The goal is to integrate aboriginal communities into the overall process of pipeline safety. The government would work with industry, provinces and territories, community colleges, and aboriginal communities themselves to develop and promote training on pipeline monitoring and emergency response.

This collaborative approach would also focus on developing industry guidelines for community involvement in the preparation of emergency response plans, including who should be engaged and how they should be engaged, as well as the specific content of response plans.

A further objective is identification of employment and business opportunities that aboriginal engagement in pipeline safety may offer to all communities. Pipeline monitoring could be an example.

These new initiatives would build on earlier actions our government has taken to advance reconciliation through constructive engagement and collaboration. In May 2014, for example, our government announced a series of measures to strengthen the engagement with first nations where resource development is concerned. These included establishing the Major Projects Management Office–West, a single window for the Government of Canada to coordinate activities on energy infrastructure development with British Columbia first nations and industry in British Columbia and Alberta.

In July 2014, in response to other key recommendations in the Eyford report, we initiated action to promote reconciliation in advance of and outside the formal treaty process. These measures range from engaging on a new version of the guidelines on consultation for federal officials to new guidance for industry, including an overall public statement to clarify roles and responsibilities.

We have committed to entering into more consultation protocols with aboriginal groups, which would support more efficient consultations in key priority areas such as resource development. We are also acting to ensure aboriginal communities have the resources they need to participate in consultations in a meaningful way. In economic action plan 2014, for example, we provided $13.6 million over two years for that very purpose.

With the pipeline safety act, our government is again providing a commitment to respect the interests of aboriginal people. I encourage all members of this House to support Bill C-46.

Taxation February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, under the leadership of our Prime Minister, our government will balance the budget and put money back where it belongs: in the pockets of hard-working Canadians.

Our family tax credit and enhanced universal child care benefit will give 100% of families with kids an average of more than $1,100 per year to spend on their priorities. Families in Nipissing—Timiskaming and across Canada will receive nearly $2,000 per year for every child under six and $720 per year for every child between six and 17.

The Liberal leader will reverse our tax cuts and will do exactly what the Liberal elites always do: raise taxes for ordinary Canadians while handing that money over to bureaucrats. Moms and dads do not need to be told how to spend their money.

Our Conservative government is the only party Canadian families can trust. With our family tax cut and benefits, we are proud to be standing up for their future.

North Bay Community Leader February 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this February, our government celebrated the 50th anniversary of our flag by recognizing 50 outstanding individuals and organizations for their tremendous contribution to Canada. I had the privilege of recognizing one of my own constituents, Bruce Goulet, who was included in that prestigious group.

Bruce Goulet has led a remarkable life as a World War II veteran, an entrepreneur, a Rotarian, and a civic leader. He has devoted much of his strength, integrity, and passion to his community and his country. He served as mayor, president of the Chamber of Commerce, and director of the Rotary Club.

In his visionary leadership, he helped the North Bay waterfront develop into what it is today. He continues to believe in the power of one individual to make a difference. He is a powerful inspiration and a role model for Canadians.

Colleagues, please join me in recognizing our Bruce Goulet as an extraordinary community worker and a great Canadian.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 February 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my earlier remarks, I go back to 2001 and the first terrorist attack. The member might recall that it was a Liberal government that passed the Canadian Anti-terrorism Act in response to the attacks in the United States on September 11. The expanded powers at that time were highly controversial, due to their widely perceived incompatibility with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, in particular the act's provision allowing for secret trials, lengthy detention, and expensive security and surveillance powers. The Liberal government passed that act and the sky did not fall.

This legislation is needed right now, 13 years later. The sky will not fall. We need protection. We need safety and security for Canadians and we need it right now.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 February 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, quite frankly, I am puzzled why the NDP is against safety and security for Canadians.

This is not hard. These measures will make Canada safer. Back in 2001, when we had the first terrorist incident, similar measures to these were passed.

We simply think that third-party, non-independent, expert oversight of our national security agencies is the model. Furthermore, key powers of the new legislation will be subject to judicial review and judicial authorization.

Let us get on with protecting Canadians.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 February 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak today in support of Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act, 2015. This important and timely legislation, as many of our colleagues have said, fills important gaps in Canadian law relating to threats to our national security. This bill is comprehensive and would address, among other things, improved information sharing so that national security and law enforcement agencies can more effectively share information relating to threats, and improved security for air transportation. It would also strengthen the tools available to our intelligence and law enforcement communities.

The anti-terrorism act, 2015, would help prevent, detect, and respond to terrorist threats and activities. There are two important prevention measures in the bill that I would like to speak to today, namely, the terrorist propaganda seizure and take-down powers. Prevention can come in various forms, and this legislation has a number of measures that would support this pillar, including improved information sharing.

As we all know, the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. As we have seen in Copenhagen, Brussels, Sydney, Paris, and even right here at home in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa, jihadi terrorists are attempting to destroy the values that make Canada the best country in the world to live, work, and raise a family. Clearly, Canada is not immune to homegrown terrorist threats. Therefore, the legislation before us today also includes, in support of the terrorism prevention pillar, measures to address the radicalization of these homegrown threats.

Bill C-51 proposes two provisions that would address the proliferation and availability of terrorist propaganda that can contribute to the radicalization of our youth and turn them toward terrorism. These new powers would complement the proposed indictable offence of promoting and advocating the commission of terrorism offences in general.

Specifically, the proposal is to create two warrants that would allow for the seizure of terrorist propaganda. “Terrorist propaganda” would be defined to mean any writing, sign, visible representation, or audio recording that advocates or promotes the commission of terrorism offences in general—other than the proposed new offence of advocating terrorism offences, which I just mentioned—or counsels the commission of a terrorism offence. The effect of this change would be to authorize courts to order the seizure and forfeiture of terrorist propaganda material, whether in a tangible form, such as a poster, or in electronic form, such as a website.

Currently there exists a shocking gap. The Criminal Code does not presently authorize the confiscation of terrorist propaganda produced for sale or distribution in Canada, or that is stored on or made available by a Canadian server. The first new warrant would be similar to the provision in the Criminal Code governing the seizure and forfeiture of hate propaganda in a hard-copy format, such as in books or magazines.

Terrorist use of websites and social media to recruit and radicalize youth to violence is a growing concern. Currently, police can only ask that a website host voluntarily remove the material, which would usually only occur after a conviction. However, when the person who posted the material cannot be found because they are abroad or have posted it anonymously, the removal of such offensive material is very difficult, and it may be available to the public for some time thereafter.

The anti-terrorism act, 2015, proposes to authorize a court to order the removal of terrorist propaganda from Canadian Internet services, even when the person who posted it cannot be found. This proposed power is similar to ones that already exist for other materials that Parliament has deemed harmful, such as hate propaganda, child pornography, voyeuristic material, and most recently with the passage of Bill C-13, the protecting Canadians from online crime act, intimate images.

Some of these provisions have been in the Criminal Code since 2002 and help facilitate the removal of such harmful content from Canadian Internet services, which in turn limits Canadian exposure to such harmful content.

Courts must have the power to order the removal of such terrorist propaganda when posted online. That is exactly what this new take-down provision is designed to accomplish. Under this new provision, judges may order both the person who posted the terrorist propaganda and the Internet service provider to remove the material that is terrorist propaganda. It is focused only on the removal of the material that is available to the public, so that even in the absence of a prosecution, police will still be able to remove this material from Canadian servers.

As I mentioned earlier, these types of warrants are not new to the Criminal Code. They are also not new to the international community. For example, the United Kingdom has had similar powers in place since 2006, and Australia provides for the takedown of restricted online material, such as terrorist propaganda, through its Broadcasting Services Act.

As an additional complementary amendment to these new tools, Bill C-51 also proposes changing the customs tariff to include the new concept of terrorist propaganda. This change would ensure that Canada Border Services Agency officers would be authorized to inspect and seize terrorist propaganda material.

These new tools are not only complementary to the proposed new offence of advocating and promoting the commission of terrorism offences in general, but they are also consistent with Parliament's past approach relating to content that we have deemed harmful to Canadian society.

As I have said, these tools are designed to help address the radicalization of Canadian youth toward violence by assisting in the removal of terrorist propaganda material. I would like to quote Avi Benlolo, the president and CEO of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, who says:

It is especially significant that this new legislation will enable the removal of websites promoting jihad and related materials on the internet. Jewish communities are a favourite target of jihadis, and the provisions of this bill will do a great deal to help ensure the safety and security of all Canadians as we continue to fight this threat to western democracies.

I hope that all members of the House heed these words and support these proposals in Bill C-51 as a positive step toward making Canada and the world a safer place.

Petitions February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition from my constituents to the Government of Canada.

CBC Radio 2 is Canada's second-largest radio network. Radio 2 cannot be received in North Bay but is broadcast to other major urban centres all across Canada, including Sudbury and Huntsville. The petitioners ask the Government of Canada to extend CBC radio service coverage to the North Bay area.

Telecommunications February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our government's connecting Canadians program will soon connect an additional 280,000 homes in rural and remote communities to broadband Internet services.

Can the Minister of Industry please tell this House what new measures he has taken to expand high-speed Internet services in rural communities?