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NDP MP for Welland (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 42.20% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I present a petition today on behalf of members of my riding and surrounding areas. The petitioners call on the government to support the bill from my good friend and colleague from Nickel Belt on a national dementia strategy.

All members of this House are well aware of family members or friends who have been affected by dementia. Indeed, this country needs a national strategy on dementia, because this problem is only going to be exacerbated and get worse as the aging population gets larger.

Agriculture and Agri-Food September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the United States has been asking for a reciprocal payment protection program for American producers for years, but the Minister of Agriculture has failed to act. Now the Americans are threatening to revoke protections for Canadian farmers. This would be a disaster for producers and for consumers.

Will the government keep the commitment it made in 2011 under the U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council to protect Canadian producers and consumers from being gouged when the Americans close the border?

Agriculture and Agri-Food September 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, once again, the Conservatives have proven that they are unwilling to defend grain producers. When the pressure was on, the Minister of Agriculture stood up in the House, before committee and as part of the order in council, and said that we were going to fine those rail companies $100,000 a day.

Here is today's reality. The Minister of Transport says no, hang on, it is only going to be $100,000 a week. So much for tough talk.

I have a simple question for the minister. Why did he back down and when will he finally stand up for farmers?

Brock University September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Welland that includes Brock University, I am pleased to offer my sincere congratulations and best wishes on the occasion of Brock's 50th anniversary.

From its humble beginnings in 1964 in the basement of St. Paul Street United Church, Brock has stood as a testament to the hard work and unrelenting spirit of the people of Niagara.

It was because of their efforts and the weekly payroll deductions of workers that enabled Brock to establish itself in those early years. As a Brock alumnus, I take great pride in having attended a university with such a rich community tradition. I want to thank not only those faculty members who have taught there for 50 years, but more important, all of those whose dream it was to have a university in their local community where their kids could get a post-secondary education.

As my father once said to his five children, “If I'm gonna pay, one of you is gonna go”.

For the faculty and students, both past and present, I hope they take the opportunity to reflect on the many achievements of our university and look forward to the great many who come in the future.

National Defence September 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Canada's navy will soon decommission four aging ships, including Canada's two remaining supply ships, but thanks to Conservatives' mismanagement, replacement of the resupply ships is at least a decade behind. We are facing gaps of years in our navy's resupply capacity before replacements will actually be seaworthy.

Conservatives are long on rhetoric, but the legacy for the navy is going to be what? Will it be fewer ships that can actually sail the world's oceans?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 15th, 2014

With regard to pesticide residues in tea: (a) what method is used by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to test pesticide residues in dry tea leaves; (b) for which pesticides does the CFIA test tea products, and do these tests include all pesticides approved in Canada; (c) how often does the CFIA test tea products for pesticide residues; (d) how many tea products were tested for pesticide residues in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and thus far in 2014; (e) how many tea products were found to contain levels of pesticides exceeding the allowable limits in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and thus far in 2014, and what action was taken by the government in relation to those products; (f) what policies do the CFIA and Health Canada have in place for tea products containing the residues of multiple pesticides; (g) what analysis has the government undertaken of the potential risks to consumers posed by pesticide residues found in tea leaves, and what were the results of this analysis; and (h) how often does Health Canada assess the safety of pesticide residues in food products approved for sale in Canada?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 15th, 2014

With regard to salmon farming in Canada: (a) how many outbreaks of infectious salmon anemia have been reported in 2011, 2012, 2013, and thus far in 2014, broken down by province; (b) how many outbreaks of infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus have been reported in 2011, 2012, 2013, and thus far in 2014, broken down by province; (c) how much money has the government paid out in compensation to producers who were ordered to destroy salmon infected with infectious salmon anemia in 2011, 2012, 2013, and thus far in 2014, broken down by province; (d) how much money has the government paid out in compensation to producers who were ordered to destroy salmon infected with infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus in 2011, 2012, 2013, and thus far in 2014, broken down by province; (e) how much money has the government paid out in compensation to producers who were ordered to destroy salmon infected with other diseases in 2011, 2012, 2013, and thus far in 2014, broken down by province; (f) how much money has the government paid out in compensation to companies headquartered outside of Canada which were ordered to destroy salmon infected with diseases in 2011, 2012, 2013, and thus far in 2014; (g) what plans does the Canadian Food Inspection Agency currently have in place if there are more outbreaks of diseases resulting in compensation to salmon producers; (h) what biosecurity measures are salmon producers required to take in order to be eligible for compensation for the destruction of diseased salmon; (i) what cost-benefit analysis has the government undertaken concerning federal compensation to salmon producers; and (j) has the government examined the cost differential in federal compensation to salmon producers using open-pen systems compared to salmon producers using closed containment systems, and, if so, what were the results of this analysis?

Questions on the Order Paper September 15th, 2014

With regard to the use of azodicarbonamide in Canada: (a) in what year was Health Canada’s most recent assessment of azodicarbonamide and its chemical by-products completed; (b) what research and data was used in this assessment; (c) did Health Canada’s most recent assessment of azodicarbonamide include analysis of its chemical by-products semicarbazide and urethane and, if so, what were the results of this analysis; (d) when does Health Canada plan to undertake its next assessment of azodicarbonamide and its chemical by-products; (e) what has Health Canada established to be a safe, acceptable daily intake of azodicarbonamide and its chemical by-products; (f) what information does the government collect to ensure that Canadians are not exceeding the safe, acceptable daily intake of azodicarbonamide and its chemical by-products; (g) how many products containing azodicarbonamide have been approved for sale in Canada; and (h) what labelling requirements has the government established in regard to products containing azodicarbonamide and its chemical by-products?

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies Act June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we talked earlier about the size of the transporting vessel compared to the tow vessels. They are not even comparable any more. The tow vessels were built to a different standard and for different ships.

I am sure there are colleagues here, or perhaps people in their families, who understand the maritime industries. They would know that it is a different situation when a ship is being towed.

Recently we witnessed one of our frigates become incapacitated. It had to be towed back. It took a long time to attach the tow, and then it broke. Then it had to be redone. These are difficult things to accomplish at sea in any circumstance, never mind with a vessel that is basically not manoeuvrable and relies on tugs and tows to manoeuvre. Tow lines break. It is not like towing a car. To do that, we simply stop, put the chain on again, and away we go. In the case of a ship, it could take days, and by that time the ship could have run aground. If it is in the passage between Vancouver Island and the mainland, it will be on the rocks. They do not have time. That is the problem.

Towing a ship or using tugs to try to move it makes for difficult physics on the water. I could not actually explain it, because I do not know the physics well enough to do so; all I can say is that it is extremely difficult. Anybody involved in the industry would tell us it is extremely hard, and when it goes awry, it is really difficult to get the situation back under control.

If a crosswind was blowing across one of these supertankers and the tow line broke at the stern, the ship would literally turn sideways. It would then go backward. It would literally simply float backward. If it had lost a rudder or lost an engine and was not under its own power when the tow line was lost, control of the ship would be lost, and the other tows would not be able to right it. They might be able to hold it off if they were lucky, but if all the tows could not be restored, that tanker would literally be on the rocks.

Then we would have an immense catastrophe of a proportion that we have never seen in our lifetimes, nor would we ever want to. That is the dilemma. Those are the things we are trying to point out to the Conservatives that they have not taken into consideration.

If northern gateway is approved this afternoon—which, as a betting man, I would say will happen—the Conservative really need to fix Bill C-3, and they ought to do that in the Senate, since it will be out of here at third reading.

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies Act June 17th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely right. When it comes to the size, I appreciate the scaling of the Empire State Building and the size of these ships, because they are huge.

I do not know if anybody in this House has, but I have actually been to a port when there was one. They are mammoth. I do not know how else to describe them. An individual is dwarfed by the humongous size of them. They are an amazing engineering feat.

I think the spill in Kalamazoo, Michigan, pointed out the very nature of not understanding this new material. It is not a new material in the sense that we know what it is when it comes out of the ground as bitumen, but when we mix it, we do not really know what it does. We do know there is a negative effect. Nobody on this side would say that if we had a spill, it is a positive thing. They would all say it was negative.

The issue is how we would manage it. What do we do with it? We need science to tell us what we should do to manage a spill, because we will have one. It is not a question of it never happening; it will happen. There will be a spill. The issue is about when it will happen and how we will handle it, but we actually do not know the science behind what the material would do. We have WHMIS sheets in this province, hazardous materials sheets that describe what to do to protect ourselves if a material spills. We do not have them for this particular material, and that is a shame.