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Track Michael

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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

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.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have a comment and then a question.

It is really important that the Government of Canada and its allies ensure that allied military action does not give new life to a separatist Kurdish movement in that region of the world. People should know that there are some 10 to 15 million Kurds in eastern Turkey, some 2 million Kurds in northern Syria and some 6 million Kurds in northern Iraq. It was only just last year, March of 2013, that the Republic of Turkey negotiated a ceasefire with the paramilitary Kurdish group, the PKK, in eastern Turkey.

The conflict is at Turkey's borders today and we will be assisting the peshmerga in northern Iraq. Therefore, it is really important that the assistance be provided in a way so as not to give rise to another separatist movement. A civil war in Turkey would be a far bigger danger to western interests than the current situation presents.

Would the member comment on that?

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I agree with my hon. colleague opposite that there are concerns about a military mission. However, on balance, this mission should be supported. There are three reasons for that.

There is a clear, moral reason to support this mission. As people like Lloyd Axworthy and Romeo Dallaire have pointed out, there is a responsibility to protect innocent civilians so that we do not see a repeat of the genocides we have so often witnessed in the 20th century. There is a moral reason in terms of the safety and security of Canadians.

There is a legal reason. The Government of Iraq has formally requested our military intervention in its state in order to protect its sovereignty in that state.

Then there is the real political issue here, the realpolitik of it all, which is that our allies have joined in assisting the Government of Iraq in this area. I noticed that the British resolution, adopted in the British House of Commons, is worded almost identically to the resolution in front of us right now. It was adopted by a vote of 524 to 43. Most Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs voted for that motion. Countries like the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, and social democracies run by socialist governments are supporting this mission. I am wondering why the opposition parties here are not on board with it.

Hong Kong October 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Canadians, can trace their roots back to Hong Kong, my family included, and more Canadians live in Hong Kong than live in Prince Edward island, some 300,000 citizens.

The ties that bind Canada and Hong Kong are broad and deep, and we have a duty to those Canadian citizens in Hong Kong and an interest in the future of that great city.

In 1997, Canada endorsed the one country, two systems formula because it protected Hong Kong's independent judiciary, affirmed the rule of law, secured personal liberties and provided a path to universal suffrage.

Protests in Hong Kong recently have demonstrated that many have concerns about the continuing independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press and the upcoming 2017 elections.

I urge all parties to this dispute to resolve their differences peacefully. I also urge all parties to uphold the letter and spirit of an independent judiciary, rule of law, personal liberties and democratic elections.

Rouge National Urban Park Act October 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I acknowledge the member's point about forest fires, but I would point out that we are at debate on second reading. This is about whether to send the bill to committee for further study and potential amendments. That is why I urge all members to support the bill at its first vote at second reading.

I would also add that the member opposite and I have long talked about this issue. She was in the government of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney as a staffer in the 1980s, working with the hon. Tom McMillan on this very file with the hon. Pauline Browes, so I welcome her interest in this file, and I encourage her to support it at second reading so that her concerns can be examined.

Rouge National Urban Park Act October 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member opposite that this legislation does not in any way, shape, or form impact the ecological wilderness standard of national parks like Jasper, Banff, and every other park in our national parks system. It establishes a new, second type of park, a national urban park. One of the things that might be helpful for the member opposite in allaying her concerns is to get a copy of the draft management plan for the park, if she does not have one already. She could perhaps put a question on the order paper, and I am sure Parks Canada would be obliged to provide that information to her.