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Conservative MP for Vancouver Island North (B.C.)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 46.10% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Tla'amin Final Agreement April 4th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the Tla'amin final agreement, the Tla'amin final agreement appendices, and the Tla'amin tax treatment agreement.
Ways and Means April 4th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 83(1) I have the honour to table a notice of a ways and means motion to introduce an act to give effect to the Tla'amin final agreement and to make consequential amendments to other acts.
Pursuant to Standing Order 83(2), I ask that an order of the day be designated for consideration of this motion.
Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 4th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to rise today to speak in support of the budget implementation act. This is a very significant budget. There are two things that I would love to highlight in the budget that are particularly meaningful to me.
This year's budget is a major step forward in balancing Canada's books, and its success is a direct result of the Prime Minister's leadership, good judgment, and world-leading economic stewardship. Having created 1.1 million jobs since the recession, today Canada has the strongest job record in the developed world. We have almost balanced the budget, and we have done so while increasing transfers to provinces, investing in infrastructure and skills training, delivering real support for families, and keeping taxes low. This is a remarkable achievement.
For the sake of the members opposite, and particularly for the leader of the Liberal Party, I would like to clarify that balancing the budget did not happen all by itself. It happened because the Prime Minister has remained focused on the economy and on the priorities of our families and our communities. It happened because we have looked for ways to use taxpayers' money more responsibly and more effectively.
Even as we have focused on bringing the budget back to balance, we have continued to look for new opportunities to invest in meaningful measures that accomplish a lot with a little. It is two of these measures that I wish to emphasize today. They are two measures included in budget 2014 that are very meaningful for me and for many others, and for which I strongly and actively advocated.
The first is Lindsey's law. In budget 2014, our government committed up to $8.1 million over five years and $1.3 million per year on an ongoing basis to create a national DNA-based missing persons index.
My connection with this issue began in August 2013, when I met Judy Peterson for the first time at a teddy bear picnic in my riding. The picnic was in remembrance of her daughter, Lindsey, and took place in the community where Lindsey had disappeared 20 years earlier, in 1993. By the time this community was added to my riding in 1997, Judy had already moved away. By the time we met last summer, she had been championing a national DNA-based data bank of missing persons for most of the intervening years.
We had the opportunity to talk. She told me about what she has been through since Lindsey went missing in 1993 and how a national data bank would allow the DNA of missing persons to be compared with DNA collected through crime scene investigations.
I was shocked to learn that without a data bank, every time investigators want to test DNA from a crime scene, they have to ask the family's permission. The family does not have the option of providing blanket permission to compare against an existing sample, so they have to go through the roller coaster of emotions between hope and disappointment every time the cross-reference fails to end in certainty.
Even worse than getting these calls is not getting them. Without a data bank in place, it is much harder for investigators to link an individual crime scene with missing persons. Even when provinces have good cross-checking systems in place, they currently do not extend beyond the provincial border. Even if the missing person's family can have confidence that their loved one has not been found in their own province, there are currently too many barriers to have the same confidence with crime scenes in another jurisdiction.
A national missing persons index would solve these problems. Investigators would automatically be able to run crime scene DNA against the missing persons index all across the country and with other jurisdictions. The families would not have to go through the pain of wondering every time a search was done. In addition, this measure would be an important tool for solving crimes related to missing persons.
It was impossible not to be moved by this message, and I promised Judy that I would advocate for it in Ottawa. That job was, of course, made much easier by the fact that my colleagues quickly saw the merit in the approach and supported my efforts to move this measure forward. I will admit that when the budget speech was read and I saw Judy in the House of Commons gallery as the finance minister acknowledged all of the work she had done, it was the most memorable and emotional moment of my 20 years in Ottawa.
There was a second item in the budget that was also meaningful to me. I was an early supporter of the idea of the volunteer firefighters tax credit and was proud when our government was able to introduce this measure. However, even from the earliest days I believed that it should also include search and rescue volunteers.
Over the years, I have gotten to know a number of ground and marine search and rescue volunteers in my riding. I know how dedicated and passionate they are about what they do. They give their time, juggle their training commitments with their family, friends, and work life, and make significant personal investments in gear and training, all so that when the phone rings Sunday night at midnight, they can gear up and head out into the rain instead of going back to sleep. They are volunteers who will not hesitate to head into inclement weather and dangerous environments. They work in rough seas, swift water, high-angle terrain, mountains, and forests. They develop and maintain a high skill level as well as a profound sense of professionalism that is not diminished at all by the fact that they are not paid.
In the early fall of 2013, I was approached by search and rescue volunteers in my riding. They made such a strong case for recognition that I felt I had to take a more active role in promoting a search and rescue volunteer tax credit. Again I enjoyed great support among my colleagues, and together we were able to make it happen.
The search and rescue volunteer tax credit is not about paying volunteers. It is about recognizing the unique role that search and rescue volunteers, like volunteer firefighters, play in our communities and the sacrifices they make to keep us safe. I am proud of these volunteers in my riding and across Canada and I am happy to see their efforts recognized.
These are two examples that are meaningful to me, but I would like to point out that many items in the budget are there because MPs listened to their constituents and brought their message back to Ottawa. It is a testament to our budget process that items highlighted in the budget speech in front of the nation can begin with a conversation, with consultation, and with thoughtfulness and compassion.
For all that we do here, it is very satisfying to see the ingenuity of ordinary Canadians find its way to the national stage and to know that as members of Parliament, we had an opportunity to play a small role in making important and progressive changes happen.
Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act March 28th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I seek agreement that we see the clock at 1:30.
Interim Supply March 24th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I request the unanimous consent of the House to apply the results from the previous recorded division to this one.
Interim Supply March 24th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I request the unanimous consent of the House to apply the results from the previous recorded vote to this one.
Interim Supply March 24th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I believe you would find unanimous consent of the House to apply the results from the previous recorded division to this one.
Supplementary Estimates (C), 2013-2014 March 24th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order.
I request the unanimous consent of this House to apply the results from the previous recorded division to this one.