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Conservative MP for Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont (Alberta)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 61.00% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Telecommunications December 6th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, it is the responsibility of the government to communicate on important programs and services available to Canadians.
Advertising is a key way for the government to inform Canadians about such important issues as time-limited stimulus measures, tax credits, public health issues, the importance of competition and fair pricing in the wireless sector, and what the government is doing to make that happen for Canadians.
For important context, advertising expenses for 2011 were almost 30% below the last full year under the former Liberal government.
Science and Technology October 30th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, in listening to the question, I wonder if the NDP will begin to embrace the science around the safety of pipelines instead of travelling around the world lobbying against Canada's interests when it relates to pipelines.
The government understands the importance of open and transparent communication and federally funded science. We are extremely proud of the work that our scientists and researchers do.
I am not sure if the member heard it the first time or the second time I said it, but like all public servants, Canada's federal scientists are guided by the Government of Canada's communications policy.
Canada's federal researchers share their work very broadly through a variety of means. They produce thousands of publications each year. Their findings are presented at conferences at home and abroad and they share their work directly with Canadians through interviews with the media.
As a government, we understand that the communication of science is extremely important. Beyond supporting the dissemination of research findings through the media and scholarly channels, the government has launched initiatives to make federally funded scientific research and data more widely available to Canadians.
Science and Technology October 30th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to respond to comments made earlier by the hon. member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles regarding the freedom of speech for federal scientists.
The government is extremely proud of the world class work that our scientists and researchers do. They help us achieve and improve quality of life for Canadians through improvements to public health, ensuring safety of foods and products, building strong and vibrant economies all across the nation and ensuring a clean and healthy environment for future generations. The government recognizes its obligation to inform the public of their activities, and that is why the government is committed to ensuring that federally funded scientific research is shared widely with Canadians.
Each year, government departments provide thousands of interviews to the media. Similarly, federal scientists publish thousands of peer-reviewed articles, research reports and data sets. Their findings are shared at scientific conferences, at home and abroad, and made widely available to other scientists, to Canadians and to scientific communities around the world.
Last year, for example, Environment Canada participated in more than 1,300 media interviews, and its scientists published more than 700 scientific articles. The same year, researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada produced more than 1,100 peer-reviewed scientific publications and more than 700 non-peer-reviewed articles. Information is being shared. The numbers speak for themselves.
All federal public servants follow the same processes established under the Government of Canada communications policy, to cultivate proactive relations with the media and to promptly address their inquiries.
Beyond supporting the dissemination of research findings through the media and scholarly channels, the government has launched initiatives to make federally funded scientific research and data more widely available to Canadians.
That is why, through our action plan on open government, we have committed to engage Canadians through open information, open data and open dialogue.
In March 2011, the government launched the open data portal, which can be found at www.data.gc.ca, a one-stop shop for federal government data that is easily accessible to citizens, researchers, voluntary organizations and private sector businesses. Federal scientific knowledge is also shared with the public through portals such as the science.gc.ca website.
In October of this year, our federal granting councils began public consultations on a new open access policy. This work is exploring ways to make federally funded research more widely available to the public and to scientific communities.
Canada has an enviable reputation for its scientific and technological contributions and a recent history of very strong investments to foster research and development. We are ranked number one among G7 countries for higher education expenditures on research and development as a percentage of GDP, and recent reports show that Canadian S and T is healthy, growing and recognized around the world for its excellence.
Science, technology and innovation comprise the foundation of Canada's high standard of living, and create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Federal scientists and researchers contribute to these endeavours every day, and our government is committed to communicating the results of their ingenuity, dedication and hard work to Canadians.
The government is committed to build on these successes and to further strengthen Canadian science in an open and transparent manner.
As mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, the government will continue making targeted investments in science and innovation in order to position Canada as a leader in the knowledge economy.
Regional Development October 30th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, FedNor will continue to focus on community economic development, business growth, competitiveness, and innovation that creates jobs and long-term prosperity across northern Ontario.
We will continue to ensure that communities and businesses in northern Ontario have the tools they need to have a strong, diversified economy.
Our government is working with all levels of government, with first nations, and with stakeholders to ensure that we maximum the economic opportunities and long-term sustainability of northern Ontario.
Regional Development October 30th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to highlight the commitment and efforts by our government to assist in northwestern Ontario's long-term prosperity and economic success, and in particular, how the fine work done by FedNor continues to play an integral role supporting organizations all over northern Ontario in this regard.
Our government has demonstrated its commitment to northern Ontario's economic development from the outset. Since April 2006, our government, through FedNor, has invested more than $360 million toward more than 1,600 projects in the region. These initiatives are squarely focused upon community economic development, business growth, competitiveness, and innovation that creates jobs and that ensures sustainable growth in our communities and long-term prosperity right across northern Ontario.
Evidence that our investments are delivering for northwestern Ontario residents can be seen, felt, and heard throughout the region. The member for Thunder Bay—Superior North needs to look no further than his own riding and the beautiful city of Thunder Bay to see for himself our government's commitment to bettering the quality of life of Canadians in northern Ontario.
Since 2006, our investments in the city have totalled more than $55 million in support of over 170 projects.
One of the many sectors that have benefited from our investments is the growing health sciences and biotechnology cluster, with the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute at its core. This includes FedNor's $4 million investment toward Thunder Bay's cyclotron, a key element of our government's commitment to science, innovation, and job creation in the region. This significant investment complements earlier contributions to this initiative and will help the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute continue its important research and commercialization work.
Another great example that speaks to the health and vitality of Thunder Bay's economy is the waterfront development at Prince Arthur's Landing, which has been a catalyst for economic development in the region. The waterfront's new infrastructure helped attract more than 170,000 people to various events and activities last year, as well as private-sector investment. This development created jobs in the community, contributing to the growth and long-term prosperity of the region and improving the quality of life of everyone in the municipality and in the surrounding area.
Furthermore, as this development continues, we expect to see more clustering activity at the waterfront in the downtown core, which would result in additional business development and job creation.
FedNor was also instrumental in helping to deliver two significant national stimulus initiatives of benefit to northwestern Ontario through Canada's economic action plan.
As a result of the community adjustment fund, or the community infrastructure improvement fund, many municipalities across the northwest were able to upgrade existing public infrastructure or to undertake creative and constructive projects, leading to economic development, diversification, job creation, and improved access for users.
Our government is also committed to ensuring that Canada's vast mineral wealth is developed responsibly. Northern Ontario's Ring of Fire is a regional example of this commitment to responsible resource development.
The Ring of Fire could create over 5,000 direct and indirect jobs in northern Ontario alone, plus significant spinoff benefits throughout the province and elsewhere in Canada.
Through FedNor, our government remains committed to ensuring that businesses receive the practical tools they need, that resource development is done in a responsible manner, and that communities will continue to thrive in northern Ontario.
Science and Technology October 28th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, of course this government understands the importance of open and transparent communication of federally funded science. We are extremely proud of the work our scientists and researchers do. The number of interviews they conduct every year, the number of conferences they attend, and the extensive body of work they publish is a testament to this work.
Canada's federal researchers share their work broadly with the media and the public through a variety of means. Like other public servants, Canada's federal scientists are guided by the Government of Canada's communications policy. This policy directs federal institutions to cultivate proactive relations with the media to ensure that Canadians are well informed about the government's work and policies.
As a government, we understand that the communication of science is extremely important. That is why our government has introduced several new initiatives to open Canada's federally funded research to Canadians and the broader scientific community. We will continue to invest in these areas to ensure that the benefits of our federal research are fully realized by all Canadians.
Science and Technology October 28th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to respond to comments made earlier by my colleague from across the aisle regarding the communication of research and findings of scientists employed by the government.
Our government is committed to science, technology, and innovation, as was clearly stated in the Speech from the Throne just two weeks ago. We know and understand that research and innovation drive job creation, economic growth, long-term prosperity, and an improved quality of life for all Canadians. That is why, since 2006, we have made significant investments in science. In fact, Canadian science and technology is healthy, growing, and recognized around the world for its excellence, attracting world-renowned researchers to Canada and keeping the talent we train right here.
Our government is extremely proud of the world-class work that our scientists and researchers do. They help us achieve key social goals, such as improving public health, ensuring the safety of foods and products, building strong and vibrant economies across the nation, and ensuring a clean and healthy environment for future generations in order to improve the quality of life for all Canadians and for people around the world.
Our government is committed to ensuring that federally funded scientific research is shared widely with Canadians, and the numbers speak for themselves.
Each year, government departments conduct thousands of interviews. Similarly, federal scientists publish thousands of peer-reviewed articles, research reports, and data sets. Their findings are shared at scientific conferences at home and abroad and are made widely available to other scientists, to Canadians, and to scientific communities around the world.
However, we also recognize that there are different types of information, and there will be times when sharing information is not in the public interest. Examples include issues related to national security or when the disclosure of information creates privacy or legal considerations.
In these cases, departments and agencies must carefully balance the issues to ensure that the best interests of Canadians are being served. To support departments and agencies in fulfilling this function, the government provides guidance through its official communications policy. This policy directs departments and agencies to cultivate proactive relations with the media and to promptly address their inquiries.
We recognize the importance of sharing scientific research and innovative advancements. Effectively communicating these findings is crucial. That is why through our action plan on open government, we have committed to engage Canadians through open information, open data, and open dialogue.
We have launched the Government of Canada's open data portal. It provides a one-stop shop for federal government data, making thousands of federal data sets freely available to the public. We will continue to act in these areas to ensure that the benefits of federally performed science are fully realized for Canadians.
Our government has also made substantial investments to strengthen Canada's research advantages, and we will continue to do so. These investments have helped to attract and retain talent, support excellence in science, bring discoveries and innovation to the marketplace, and build science and technology infrastructure. Our government is committed to building on these successes and to further strengthening Canadian science in an open and transparent manner.
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act October 22nd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to private member's Bill C-475 as presented by my hon. colleague from across the aisle.
Bill C-475 proposes to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act known as PIPEDA, a law that has been in place for over a decade. PIPEDA has proven its value and retained its relevance in the face of unprecedented technological change.
At its core, PIPEDA gives individuals control over whether and how their personal information can be collected, used or disclosed during commercial activity. This protection fosters trust and confidence in the online marketplace, an important part of the Canadian economy that is growing by leaps and bounds.
The government is committed to updating PIPEDA. In fact, the Minister of Industry met with the Privacy Commissioner only yesterday. However, any changes that are proposed should have been discussed thoroughly with business, consumer advocates and academics or fall within the framework of the existing legislation, as is the case with the former Bill C-12. The proposed new measures put forward in Bill C-475 were not. The proposed amendments in Bill C-475 give the Privacy Commissioner new powers and present a major change to PIPEDA and the role of the commissioner. The impact of such a change on all stakeholders has not been considered.
The Privacy Commissioner's role as defined in PIPEDA is to serve as an ombudsman, a role she has performed impressively to the great benefit of Canadians. Indeed, the commissioner has been internationally recognized and applauded for her success. It was in recognition of this that her term was extended to three years in 2010.
As the commissioner's term enters its final months, the government is pleased to have this opportunity to express its gratitude for the commissioner's dedication to the protection of the privacy of Canadians.
Let us begin by highlighting some of the successes so far. PIPEDA's ombudsman model has proven very successful in setting a high standard for the protection of personal information in Canada. PIPEDA allows for mediated solutions to privacy conflicts that can give both individuals and companies a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities. A less formal dispute-resolution mechanism is far less intimidating for individuals and easier for them to navigate.
PIPEDA's current oversight and redress regime reflects a deliberate decision by Parliament to adopt a mechanism that avoids litigation when resolving privacy disputes. PIPEDA also provides the Privacy Commissioner with a range of powers to address privacy issues. She can investigate, enter premises and compel evidence, mediate a settlement, make recommendations, publish the names of those who contravene PIPEDA and take matters to the Federal Court.
Bill C-475 would give the Privacy Commissioner new, quasi-judicial enforcement powers. Unfortunately, the enforcement regime proposed by the private member's bill is fraught with procedural failings. As my colleagues will note, the bill contains a list of consequences for non-compliance. This includes a monetary penalty of up to $500,000, a very significant amount.
However, should penalties imposed on small firms be as large as those for multinationals? Unfortunately, the bill completely overlooks this matter. The size of the firm or its ability to bear the burden of monetary penalty is apparently not a factor to be considered.
Given the potential severity of the monetary penalty, it is also puzzling to observe that this particular remedy only applies to failure to comply with orders. Indeed, organizations that have been found to wilfully violate the privacy of individuals, including those that have profited significantly from the violation, are not subject to this penalty. They are only penalized if they have failed to change their ways after having been caught. There are many outstanding issues and questions with respect to the enforcement measures that are being proposed in Bill C-475.
PIPEDA already provides the Federal Court with the ability to provide any remedy it deems appropriate, including orders to correct practices, award damages, or order offending parties to publish a notice of corrective action. Clearly, PIPEDA establishes a comprehensive process for taking action against privacy violations. Businesses, both large and small, together with individuals, have found much success in the resolution of their disputes.
We must ask, then, how the proposed enforcement measures are going to affect the level of co-operation that exists between organizations subject to PIPEDA and the Privacy Commissioner. Would the enforcement regime of Bill C-475 change the current dynamic between organizations subject to PIPEDA and the commissioner, making the parties more adversarial and the process counterproductive? These are questions that cannot be taken lightly.
Finally, the implications of these new powers on the structure and resources of the Privacy Commissioner's office do not seem to have been considered during the drafting of Bill C-475. The new powers would place an undue burden on personnel within the Privacy Commissioner's office. One cannot simply add new enforcement powers to a law without thorough study and consideration of the impact on its existing oversight regime or on its regulator.
We cannot support Bill C-475. There are too many omissions and fundamental questions left unanswered in this bill.
In spite of the difficulties with this private member's bill, though, the issue of compliance with PIPEDA certainly warrants further exploration. The government will continue to send a strong message about the importance of complying with PIPEDA, given its critical role in building trust and confidence in the online marketplace. Furthermore, there must be an opportunity for all Canadians with an interest in privacy issues to be comprehensively canvassed and thoroughly heard.
To conclude, the government does not support private member's Bill C-475. Instead, the government remains committed to updating PIPEDA in a more considered and comprehensive manner. Our government will have a balanced approach, one that takes seriously the protection of private information while establishing a regulatory framework that is workable for businesses.
Regional Development October 18th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, FedNor will continue to focus on community economic development, business growth, competitiveness and innovation that creates jobs and long-term prosperity across northern Ontario.
We will continue to ensure that communities and businesses in northern Ontario have the tools they need to have a strong diversified economy. Our government is working with all levels of government, including first nations and other stakeholders, to ensure that we maximize the economic opportunities and long-term sustainability of northern Ontario.
Co-operatives October 18th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, during National Co-op Week, I would like to recognize the continuing contributions of Canadian co-operatives to our economic prosperity. For over 100 years, co-operatives have been a fundamental part of communities across the country, creating jobs and promoting growth. Our government remains committed to ensuring that the right conditions are in place to support the development, innovation and growth of Canadian co-operatives.