House of Commons photo

Track Michael

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is senate.

Conservative MP for Wellington—Halton Hills (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 63.70% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply December 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I just want to comment that the three oldest continuing democracies in the world are all first-past-the-post systems: the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. We three countries have had our institutions longer than any other democratic system. Unique to these three democracies is the fact that we all use the first-past-the-post system. We should be very cautious about this proposed change.

The other comment I have is that the House is based on representation by population and that we also have the senatorial floor for provincial divisions in the House, such as Prince Edward Island, which is mandated to have a minimum of four seats in the House of Commons. It would require some pretty complex adjustments to preserve that fundamental constitutional principle of representation by population and, at the same time, allocate a number of seats based on the proportion of popular vote.

Those are just the two comments that I have on this motion in front of us.

Business of Supply December 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, one of the concerns I have with respect to the New Democrats' motion is that it might lead to the further concentration of power in party leaders' offices.

This has long been a concern of mine. Parties and party leaders currently control the process of party nominations. Without reform of this process of party nominations, my worry is that in a mixed-member proportional representation system in which a number of MPs are selected by the parties themselves, we could see a further concentration of power in party leaders. I think that would weaken this House and the very principles of responsible government.

Business of Supply December 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from the member opposite on this issue of democratic reform. I know he has worked long on this issue over many years.

I want to make a comment. Let us say that we move to mixed proportional representation as a system of voting. We would end up with a House of Commons with some 300 members of Parliament. Let us say that 200 of those members of Parliament would be local members of Parliament representing local geographic districts across country. We would have another 100 members of Parliament who would be selected by the parties themselves, based on the percentage of the popular vote each party received in the general election.

Currently, however, section 67 of the Canada Elections Act gives party leaders the final determination as to who party candidates will be.

What we would in effect have is a system in which party leaders would have the final say on these 100 MPs, making them beholden to the party leaders and not to any other group or constituency here in this country.

I note that Bill C-586, the reform act, would remove that statutory requirement for the party leader's endorsement.

I wonder if the member would comment on the relationship of that bill to the NDP's opposition supply day motion.

Petitions December 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from constituents in my riding of Wellington—Halton Hills, predominantly from the town of Erin, who call on the government to apply a fee to greenhouse gas emissions and for the money raised from the fee to be distributed among Canadians.

Climate Change November 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presented its fifth report. This most recent report concludes that the warming of the planet due to emissions is “clear” and “unequivocal”. The report also concludes that without urgent action to reduce emissions, by the end of this century there is a high risk of severe, widespread, and irreversible damage due to extreme heat waves, more intense weather events, mass extinctions, coastal flooding, and crop failures. Since 1990, the panel has presented five reports, each one ever more conclusive.

The scientists have done their work, now we must do ours. As a Conservative, I believe that we have a moral obligation to conserve our environment. I call upon this government to meet its commitment to reduce emissions and I call on all governments meeting next month in Lima, Peru, and next year in Paris, France, to work together toward a new global treaty to reduce emissions.

Rouge National Urban Park Act October 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for supporting Bill C-40 at second reading. I appreciate her feedback and comments on the bill.

I just want to emphasize that while provincial legislation does include the words “ecological integrity”, that same provincial piece of legislation allows for natural resource extraction, logging, and hunting in Algonquin Provincial Park. While the legislation in front of us today does not contain the words “ecological integrity”, when we look at the totality of the bill, in its prohibitions to protect the environment and the flora and fauna of the park, it is far stronger than the provincial legislation currently in force in the province of Ontario. Therefore, if we look at the bill in its totality, it will effect a better outcome for Rouge national urban park than what we have in the provincial parks in the provincial park system.

Rouge National Urban Park Act October 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for supporting the bill at second reading. I thought she gave some very thoughtful comments on it. Maybe I can give her some further assurances about the legislation in front of us in respect of the protection of the ecology of the park.

While clause 6 says, “The Minister must...take into consideration the protection of its natural ecosystems”, section 4 of the bill says, “Rouge National Urban established for the purposes of protecting and presenting...the natural and cultural heritage of the Park”. That is quite categorical.

Further on, subclause 9(2) says:

The management plan must set out a management approach, by area, that includes the following: (a) the protection and presentation of natural and cultural heritage....

The bill is so protective of the park that it will be illegal to pick a flower in the park. It will be illegal to pick a flower because subclause 18(2) says: is prohibited to... (c) remove a wild animal, a plant, a part of a plant or any other naturally occurring object or product of natural phenomena from the Park....

It will be prohibited in this law to pick a flower in the park. That is how strong the protection will be of the park in the legislation.

Rouge National Urban Park Act October 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the member opposite for supporting the bill at second reading. That is a good thing. I am happy to hear the Liberal Party will support it.

I want to make a third comparison between the legislation in front of us and the provincial parks legislation. I have already made two earlier comparisons between the two pieces of legislation in respect of hunting and logging, so I want to make a third comparison.

The Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006, states this about mining, “new aggregate pits may be established in areas of Algonquin Park”. The federal legislation in front of us today states, in paragraph 18(2)(g), “it is prohibited to...explore for minerals, oil or gas, or conduct an extractive activity, including mining, in the Park”.

The legislation in front of us today is stronger than the legislation that protects provincial parks. Rouge national urban park would be better protected under this legislation than provincial parks that are protected under provincial legislation, such as Algonquin Park and Killarney Park.

Rouge National Urban Park Act October 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to compare and contrast the legislation in front of us with provincial legislation that governs provincial parks.

Yes, it is true that provincial legislation includes the words “ecological integrity”, but those words mean little if we look at the overall provincial legislation. Let us compare the two pieces of legislation, provincial and federal, with respect to two issues, logging and hunting.

The Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006, says, in respect of hunting, in subsection 15(2), “hunting is permitted on the public lands...added to Algonquin Park”. What does the federal statute say in section 18? It says, “it is prohibited to (b) hunt a wild animal in the park”.

I will do a second quick comparison. The Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act, 2006, says, in subsection 17(1), “timber may be harvested for commercial purposes in Algonquin Provincial Park”. The federal statute says, in subsection 18(2), “It is prohibited to (f) harvest timber in the park”.

The federal legislation in front of us clearly is stronger in respect of the actual outcomes of protecting the park. The Rouge Park would be a better protected park than Algonquin Provincial Park, and that is why I am happy that the member opposite is supporting this legislation.

Rouge National Urban Park Act October 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have listened carefully to the member's critique of the bill.

I believe the bill, as it is currently drafted, would allow Parks Canada to implement a management plan for the park that would ensure a higher standard of ecological integrity for this new national urban park than is currently the case for parks in the Ontario provincial park system, parks like Algonquin and Killarney.

In the provincial statute, I note that the province is mandated to protect ecological integrity. Equally, the province is required to protect Ontario's natural and cultural heritage. Both are given equal weight in the provincial statutes.

The approach taken in the federal legislation is no different. The big difference is in the actual implementation of these laws. I believe Parks Canada will interpret these laws to a much higher standard than is the case in the Province of Ontario. That will please residents of this area, because the Rouge will exceed Algonquin and other types of provincial parks.