House of Commons photo

Track John

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is great.

Conservative MP for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 45.50% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Pipeline Safety Act February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the aboriginal communities would be partners in the wealth creation and resource exploration that this bill would help unfold. I have three world-class aboriginal communities in the riding I represent: the Squamish, the Sechelt, and the Sliammon. Our government works very closely with these communities. That close co-operation is representative of what we would see, as safe pipelines take petroleum securely to tidewater.

Pipeline Safety Act February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to respond to my colleague's questions.

First, I am sure my colleague would agree that we as Canadians cannot afford a situation where tens of billions of dollars are lost per year because we cannot get our petroleum products to tidewater.

Second, I am sure my colleague would agree that, when looking at the disaster in Lac-Mégantic, we cannot afford to transport those petroleum products by rail or by truck when we have world-class, safe pipelines.

I am sure my colleague would also agree that, if we can continue to build on that great 99.999% safety record of federally regulated pipelines, we should do so. That is what this bill is about. We want to get it passed so we can build on that excellent record.

Pipeline Safety Act February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her question, which I am very pleased to answer.

In fact, greater pipeline safety will also encourage investment in a sector that is extremely important to the Canadian economy.

For example, the oil sands alone support more than 275,000 jobs across Canada. According to the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, in 2013, pipeline companies invested $6.5 million in aboriginal communities and paid $1.1 billion in property and corporate taxes.

Therefore, the result is not only to increase safety, build on world-class safety, and increase liabilities for polluters beyond anything known elsewhere in the world, but also to encourage investment in a sector that is very much the engine for growth in Canada, which we must do with the best of environmental protections.

Pipeline Safety Act February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the environment is the economy. Nearly two years ago, on May 10, 2013, I stood in the House next to the environment minister to declare what British Columbians and Canadians believe: that the environment is the economy.

Every time we consider whether environmental and economic factors are in balance, we are suggesting that the environment and the economy are in conflict with each other. Some would argue that we must sacrifice one to advance the other. In other words, we tend, wrongly, to start our discussion from the notion that the economy and the environment are at war with each other.

As a member of Parliament, I am increasingly required to consider the impact of industrial projects on the economy and environment, especially in the riding I represent. Throughout the year, conversations at events, in coffee shops, and in the homes of constituents are often related to responsible resource development. Constituents of mine, as individuals and in groups, have consistently expressed their support for Canada's economic success, but have also stood for responsible environmental practices befitting of a riding that many call the most beautiful place on earth.

Some of these proud Canadians include former fisheries minister John Fraser, Carl Halvorson of the North Vancouver Outdoor School based in Squamish, Squamish first nation elder Randall Lewis, and David Bromley, a world-renowned environmental engineer. The environment is the economy. This is the message we Canadians are increasingly taking to our Prime Minister, the natural resources industry, and the environment, fisheries, and other ministers. Bill C-46, the pipeline safety act, shows that our government is listening.

The environment is the economy. This is best illustrated in the context of value-added projects both in the riding I represent and elsewhere in Canada. This government has created a challenging review process for natural resource projects, where proponents have a high standard to meet. They must increasingly show better productivity and value to Canada, with less waste, more efficient use of resources, and a respect for the environment we cherish. These projects have a significant impact on the quality of life in Canada, providing financial and infrastructure inputs. Canada needs these projects.

The automatic reaction of “stop” is a simplistic approach, characteristic of special interest groups that just want to stall projects. This Conservative government believes in the need for continuous improvement in project implementation and impact mitigation. However, we are opposed to the simplistic hands-down rejection by people who would just say no to industry, who forget Canada's entrepreneurial roots, and who would leap to negative conclusions without due process, sound data, or information to support their position.

More and more, we Canadians are learning the benefits derived from a focus on the environment. Specifically, less use of resource inputs such as water, energy, and land has made us more efficient, leading to higher productivity and economic sustainability. As a government, we have emphasised the need for a science-based, independent, objective approval process that keeps us focused on the real objective of less impact, greater efficiency, and sustainability.

This government's focus on these principles has driven a culture of responsibility to improve continuously. The result has been the growth of jobs in the environmental sector, which now supports employment levels that dwarf even the automotive and oil and gas sectors. According to the organization ECO Canada, as of 2013, some 682,000 jobs in Canada are directly related to the environment. The focus on the environment is a change agent, not a simplistic “stop” agent. It is why I continue to say that Canada's environment is our economy.

Our government continues to rely upon independent, objective scientific assessments before approving any project. We saw this approach at work recently in our government's rejection of the Taseko New Prosperity mine project in northern B.C., an ambitious proposal to create thousands of jobs and large economic stimulus, but nevertheless rejected for environmental reasons. Many British Columbians supported the Taseko initiative, but environmental considerations prevailed. As demonstrated by that decision, our government has pledged that natural resource development will only proceed if the project is proven to be safe for Canadians and safe for the environment.

The pipeline safety act would complement a number of measures previously implemented by our government to strengthen pipeline safety, which provided the National Energy Board, for example, the authority to levy administrative monetary penalties and increase the number of inspections and audits.

Bill C-46 would build on this work and provide a world-class regulatory regime for Canada's pipeline sector, while strengthening protection for Canadians and the environment. Bill C-46 addresses three main areas, which are incident prevention, preparedness and response, and liability and compensation.

Today, as a lawyer, I am focusing on the area of liability and compensation, particularly emphasizing the bill's strengthened measures to compensate for environmental damages in keeping with the polluter pays principle.

Under Bill C-46, our government would deliver on the promise to enshrine the polluter pays principle in law, to make it an important foundation for the pipeline safety regime. It would place accountability on industy and protect Canadian taxpayers from having to pay for damages and cleanup costs in the unlikely event of a spill or accident. The polluter pays principle assigns responsibility to the polluter for paying for damage to the environment, as well as the associated cleanup costs.

One of the key features of the proposed law is that it would raise the cap for absolute civil liability up to $1 billion for pipeline owners, even where there is no fault or negligence on the part of the proponent. On the other hand, liability where the pipeline owner is at fault or negligent would remain unlimited. Another key feature is that the legislation would establish the legal right for various parties to seek environmental damages. This would ensure that any damages to wildlife, waterways, or other public resources could be addressed.

The absolute or no-fault liability regime created under Bill C-46 would be one of the most robust and comprehensive in the world. While the U.S. and the U.K. have similar legislation in place, the $1 billion minimum financial capacity, and absolute liability limit would be unique to Canada. Canada would also be unique in having a cost recovered financial backstop model that provides complete coverage for cleanup and damages.

Our country has a world-class pipeline safety system. Between 2000 and 2011, federally regulated pipelines boasted a safety record of over 99.999%.

The natural resources sector is the largest private employer of aboriginal people in Canada. The plan described in the pipeline safety act was developed closely with industry and aboriginal communities to provide training for aboriginal communities on pipeline monitoring and response. This would allow aboriginal people to continue to make important contributions as full partners in the development of our natural resources.

In conclusion, Canada's environment is the economy. This government supports robust processes that take into account all considerations relevant to British Columbians and Canadians: a sustainable environment, value-adding jobs, and thriving economic growth.

Let us put an end to the “stop” mentality, which is characterized by not having sound data, and let us start encouraging open dialogue that considers all of the evidence, starting with this question of pipeline safety.

Multiculturalism February 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, last night marked the arrival of lunar new year across Canada.

Gong hey fat choy.

This has become an amazing Canadian tradition that brings together Canadians of all backgrounds in celebration. In fact, the Asian new year celebration to occur this Saturday in West Vancouver has become an annual highlight in the whole community. I thank over 100 volunteers of Chinese, Korean, and Filipino background who have combined to make this happen.

Could the bagpipe-playing Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism please tell us how the lunar new year is being marked across Canada by our government and others?

Squamish, British Columbia February 18th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the New York Times recently proclaimed Squamish as one of the 52 best places in the world to visit, calling it an “...unusual combination of West Coast wilderness and accessibility.” Last week, Squamish was once again in the news. Maclean's magazine listed Quest University in first place for student engagement among 73 Canadian universities and colleges. Quest has topped the list in four of the past five years.

I visited Quest last week, where I met with its highly regarded president, Dr. David Helfand, teaching fellow Denise Gabriel, and a variety of students, the best and the brightest from Canada and around the world.

Along with Capilano University, Quest has put Squamish on the map as a global academic centre.

Squamish is also an entrepreneurial community. It is blazing trails, not only in academics but also in sustainable economic opportunities, thanks in part in part to the initiatives of its chamber of commerce, one of Canada's most active.

I congratulate Squamish and Quest on their leadership, proving that “big things really do come in small packages”.

Parliamentary Precinct Security February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I find what my colleague had to say to be quite interesting, especially when she said there is no evidence that the person who attacked us on October 22 was a terrorist. If he was not a terrorist, then I would like to know what the definition of one is.

Jack Adelaar December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, “we take care of our own”. So run the words of a song by Bruce Springsteen. I can think of no better theme for our great mayor of Bowen Island in the riding I represent, Jack Adelaar.

Sadly, Jack passed away on October 22 of this year, after a two-year battle with cancer. He was known for his passion for taking care of others as a lawyer, husband, father, and mayor.

His wife of 45 years, Maryon, was his stalwart companion. His sons, Alex and Jay, provided teary but powerful testimony to their father's legacy at a great ceremony in Jack's honour last Saturday at the Legion Hall on Bowen.

Jack demonstrated the ability to instill civic pride in his community and to respect the various disparate voices. Never in our many conversations did I once hear him utter disparaging words, even about people who disagreed with him.

Jack's passion to advocate for his people and his great ability to communicate brought progress to Bowen on many fronts.

We are sad Jack is gone, but we are proud of what he has done to model how we in public life should give our all to take care of our own.

National Health and Fitness Day Act December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleagues from Winnipeg North and LaSalle—Émard for their comments.

I would like to to talk about something that my colleague addressed, and that is active transportation, particularly in Quebec. There is a lot of leadership in the area of active transportation in the beautiful province of Quebec. Take for example, Pierre Lavoie, a champion who lost his son but changed his life by becoming an advocate for active lifestyles and active transportation. He created the Grand défi, in which many Quebeckers participate every year. It is a major cycling challenge. I am very proud that the federal government is supporting the Grand défi in its 2014 budget.

The Union des municipalités du Québec has already proclaimed national health and fitness day. Communities such as Chelsea, Quebec, have followed suit. There are people from Quebec in the House who frequently participate in the parliamentary health initiative, for example, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, who is always in the pool early on Thursdays, not just for the sake of his own health but also to set an example for all Canadians.

My colleague from LaSalle—Émard spoke very eloquently about cycling. I am very pleased to say that we will mark Bike Day in Canada, which we established last year, on May 11, 2015. I encourage my colleague, all members of the House and all Canadians to participate in Bike Day events. Last year, nine cities participated. My dream is that one day, every city in the country will take part in Bike Day in Canada.

I enjoy participating in the GranFondo, a challenge that involves biking from Vancouver to Whistler. Several thousand people take this challenge every year. Every year, I also tour my riding by bike, from one community to another, to show that it really is possible to use a bike as a means of active transportation. Eleanor McMahon, from Toronto, champions the idea of leaving space between vehicles and bikes. I commend her for that and I hope that car drivers will be aware of cyclists. However, cyclists also have to be sure to obey the rules of the road.

In conclusion, I must respond to the comments made by the member for LaSalle—Émard.

Our government has put $55 billion over 10 years into infrastructure. That is the biggest infrastructure investment in Canadian history and an opportunity to bring in active transportation. Also, the refundable tax credit does respond in part to the problem of poverty and getting people active.

Again, I thank my colleagues for their very fine questions.

National Health and Fitness Day Act December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I noticed the member for Beaches—East York was listening attentively. I appreciate that and his support with respect to previous votes on this bill. He has raised a good question with respect to what the government can do.

The government has brought in a children's fitness tax credit. It has also doubled that fitness tax credit. For the member for Beaches—East York and all Canadians, the good news is that it will become a refundable tax credit next year, which responds directly to the question of those people who are in lower income tax brackets.

However, the purpose of the bill is to encourage Canadians, mayors, councillors and all of us to take responsibility for health and fitness somewhat on our own shoulders. The government is doing its part. We have an enthusiastic Minister of Health and Minister of Finance who have adopted health and fitness incentives in this refundable tax credit.

However, we, as role models in the House, as parents, as coaches and volunteers need to take up the torch and encourage Canada to become the fittest nation on earth. We can do it. We have all the facilities, the lakes, the mountains and the trails. We are about to turn the corner to make us the healthiest and fittest nation on earth.