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  • Her favourite word is thanks.

Conservative MP for Sarnia—Lambton (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 52.60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Intern Protection Act February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to speak to the issue of internships in Canada. As we have heard already this evening, there are many examples of the good work that is being done through internships, and we must protect that the best we can.

The government certainly remains focused on jobs, economic growth and prosperity for all Canadians. As we have heard over and over tonight, internships play an essential role in helping to meet this goal. They help Canadians develop the knowledge and skills they need to participate in the job market and to fill possible labour shortages.

We also believe that providing certain protections for interns is vitally important, especially given that it is estimated that there are several hundred thousand interns in Canadian workplaces. What we need to carefully consider is how we go about it.

Many interns are working toward degrees or diplomas through secondary or post-secondary educational institutions. Other interns include recent immigrants looking for meaningful Canadian job experiences, people re-entering the workforce or looking to make a career transition.

Our government has been saying for some time now that we want to ensure that Canadians continue to have access to the on-the-job training they need. Internships are a very important part of that training. The hands-on experience that interns gain is invaluable. The benefit to them cannot be overstated. This is why we are investing $40 million to support up to 3,000 paid internships in these high demand fields and $15 million annually to support up to 1,000 paid internships in small and medium-sized enterprises.

In addition to that, our government every year invests over $10 billion to support post-secondary education and programs for first nations and Inuit students. This includes financial assistance through Canada's student loans and grants. We have seen great success through these initiatives.

However, this is not all we are doing to support young workers. We are also working to better protect them in the workplace.

The government is working with our partners to promote safe, fair and productive workplaces for youth, including interns. For example, and this has been alluded to in some of the previous speeches, at the end of January my colleague, the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, the former parliamentary secretary to the minister of labour, met with stakeholders from across Canada and across industries to gain a deeper understanding of how we could better support interns. At the last meeting of the federal, provincial and territorial ministers of labour this past September, our Minister of Labour, the member for Simcoe—Grey, and her colleagues agreed to keep on working closely to better protect youth in the workplace and to use new approaches to connect with them.

One example is by going out to places like colleges, universities and high schools with interactive presentations and one-on-one discussions to ensure students have the knowledge and the resources they need to stay safe on the job. Also, the popular “It's Your Job” video contest challenges high school students across Canada to create videos to educate other young people on the importance of workplace safety and their rights.

However, it is not just physical safety with which our government is concerned. More and more we are also learning that mental injury, while invisible, is just as real and serious as physical injury and effects all aspects of an individual's life, at home and in the workplace. In fact, it is estimated that up to 20,000 of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder.

The mental health and well-being of Canadians is very important to our government. That is why, with support from the federal government, the Mental Health Commission of Canada launched the national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace in 2013. It is also why the minister and parliamentary secretary met and consulted with federally regulated employers, provincial workers, compensation boards and mental health organizations to discuss improving mental health in the workplace.

It is clear that we fully support initiatives that protect our workers, including young people.

Let us take a look at the bill that is being proposed today. It would place restrictions on prospective unpaid interns since employers could no longer be able to offer an unpaid internship to anyone other than secondary, post-secondary, or vocational students who were receiving training as part of their degree or diploma programs.

The bill also does not define what is meant by training or provide a regulatory power to do so. There could be a risk of confusion among employers on what constitutes training and could create unintended consequences. For example, this could make it easier for employers to withhold pay for their existing employees who were involved in workplace training.

What is also unclear is the bill's intention to extend labour standard protections to all interns, except for minimum wage in some cases. That could mean that labour standards like paid overtime and paid holidays could apply to both paid and unpaid interns. It is important to our government that we are clear about how interns are protected in our workplaces.

Our government is committed to ensuring safe, fair and productive workplaces. We have made it a priority to provide Canadians with the workplace experience and skills necessary to find jobs and succeed in the job market. The government is committed to jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, and we will continue to work hard to support all Canadian workers.

As has been stated many times tonight, we know there are good intentions in the bill. We know that there are also questions that need to be answered. We do not want to be creating unintended consequences that will not be beneficial for interns and young people. Therefore, we will continue to follow this closely as it continues on through the process.

Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, recently, I visited DFO's regional headquarters in Sarnia to recognize the men and women who serve in the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, a nationwide organization that helps to ensure the safety and security of our waterways through its vital work. I was very pleased to announce over $5 million in funding to support this group.

The value of the work done by the CCGA across Canada cannot be overstated. Each year, its more than 5,000 members carry out over 2,000 rescue missions and save more than 200 lives.

It was an honour to acknowledge the tremendous work of Sarnia's 14 active members across the region. Regardless of weather conditions, members of the PointSAR unit brave the elements for the safety and well-being of mariners from Sombra to Kettle Point. That is why our government is proud to support them and provide them the funding they need to conduct their work.

On behalf of all Canadians, I thank the Coast Guard Auxiliary for its tremendous service.

National Defence November 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today we recognize the outstanding work accomplished by our Canadian naval personnel by marking Navy Appreciation Day 2014.

Canada borders three separate oceans and has the world's longest coastline, making our navy incredibly important, both to our economy and for our security. Our ports are economic gateways and we rely on our navy to ensure that trade and commerce continues undeterred.

Can the Minister of National Defence please update the House on how our government is supporting our navy on this important day?

Remembrance Day November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak today in order to pay my respects to those who have served our nation with courage and valour.

During World War II, my father served for four years in the European theatre. He was able to return home. It was not so for my uncle, who served courageously as a rear gunner before being lost in battle somewhere over the North Sea.

In recent times I was touched by the loss of two young men from Sarnia—Lambton, Private Will Cushley and Corporal Brent Poland, both of whom lost their lives serving in Afghanistan while fighting for the same freedoms that we enjoy each and every day here in Canada. Their brave service encompasses the incredible character of the men and women of the Canadian Forces, who serve this nation with pride in perilous times.

Many Canadians have similar stories of heroic returns and tragic losses. This November 11, I ask all Canadians to remember the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as all servicemen and women who are on active duty and cannot be here with their families.

Energy Safety and Security November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to the remarks that my colleague made. If I heard her correctly, she stated at the beginning of her speech that this legislation was long overdue and she was wondering why it has taken the government so long to bring it forward. I am a bit curious about that comment. If I recollect correctly, this is about the fifth time that we have introduced legislation on this important issue, and each time it has been opposed by the NDP.

Does the member opposite not agree with stronger accountability, improved response, and greater transparency when it comes to nuclear operations?

Energy Safety and Security November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this is a point that we need to be clear on. Bill C-22 would raise the liability limits for the operator to $1 billion. We know we needed to do that. We were operating under a nuclear bill that was several years old and needed to be updated. We know when we compare the billion-dollar operator liability to other countries that this will put Canada among the highest limits in the world.

The United Kingdom, France, Spain and other European countries are moving to an operator limit of $1 billion. They are not there yet but they are thinking of going that way. Other non-European nations, including South Korea, South Africa and Argentina, have lower liability limits.

We ask, “Why not move it higher?” We know that in the aftermath of Fukushima the Japanese government had to step in and bail out the operator. In the highly unlikely event of an incident that exceeded the billion dollar limit, the Minister of Natural Resources in Canada would be required to table a report before Parliament containing estimates of the costs of the damages from the nuclear incident. That report would provide government the opportunity to make recommendations on the desirability of additional compensation beyond the liability limit based on relevant consideration at that time.

Energy Safety and Security November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to that member's question.

We need to remember that Bill C-22 would do four important things. It would raise the absolute liability for companies operating in the Atlantic offshore. We talked about that. It would also raise it in the Arctic. It would amend the agreements that are in place with both the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board. In the nuclear sector, it would increase the absolute liability amount to $1 billion. It would also take steps to replace the 1976 Nuclear Liability Act.

There are other things that this bill would do. Coming from an area such as Sarnia-Lambton, I am well aware of the importance of the energy sector to our economy and the safety and environmental issues that are inherent in that energy sector. I am also well aware of pipelines. We probably have an inordinate number of pipelines in my area, far more than in any other area in this country.

Bill C-22 also puts in place some other measures that would provide an improved response, a stronger accountability and greater transparency. Therefore, I am looking forward to all members supporting the bill and getting it passed quickly.

Energy Safety and Security November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Prince George—Peace River for sharing his time with me.

It is my privilege to speak to Bill C-22, the energy safety and security act. This legislation would ensure continued world-class safety and security for Canada's offshore oil and gas, and nuclear energy industries. It would enhance regulation and ensure that development is done in a manner that is safe for Canadians and safe for our environment.

Our government has been very clear, taxpayers should not be liable in the highly unlikely event of an incident in either of these industries. It is the company that must be held liable. The bill would deliver on the promise made in the Speech from the Throne to enshrine the polluter pays principle into law. As well, it would fulfill our commitment to provide $1 billion in protection to Canadians by raising absolute liability limits in both these sectors. Absolute liability holds the company responsible regardless of fault.

Canada has an enormous wealth of natural resources that generate significant economic benefits for Canadians. It is not an exaggeration to say that the resource sector is the cornerstone of Canada's economy. Natural resources account for nearly 20% of our gross domestic product, and 50% of our exports.

In fact, the energy, mining and forestry industries provide over $30 billion a year in revenue to governments, money that supports critical social programs such as health care and education. Furthermore, 1.8 million Canadians currently work in the natural resource sectors or in industries that service these sectors. Put another way, one in 10 Canadians work directly or indirectly for the natural resources sector.

Natural resource jobs are in every part of Canada from coast to coast to coast. Today, more than 30,000 aboriginal people work in energy, mining and forestry jobs throughout Canada, making the natural resources sector the largest private sector employer of aboriginal people.

There is true potential for massive investments in resource sectors in every region across Canada. It is estimated that hundreds of major resource projects are currently under way in Canada or planned over the next 10 years, worth approximately $650 billion in investment.

These investments will generate enormous economic growth and create hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs in communities across Canada. Responsible resource development achieves the right balance to unleash the potential of our resource sectors to create high-value jobs across Canada while strengthening safety and environmental protection.

The legislation before us today will strengthen the growth of Canada's energy sector, and will protect Canadians and the environment. With respect to Canada's booming offshore oil and gas industry, the economy of Atlantic Canada has been truly transformed.

Over the past 15 years, Nova Scotia offshore oil and gas production has generated over $2.4 billion in government revenues and annually supports some 750 jobs. At the same time, Newfoundland and Labrador production has generated over $9.2 billion in government revenues and provides over 12,800 direct and indirect jobs annually.

Every stage of offshore petroleum activity, from exploration to production, is subject to strict regulations and oversight by the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.

Canada's environmental record is strong, and we are making it stronger by focusing on what matters to Canadians: jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity. Our government manages Canada's offshore oil and gas resources jointly with the provinces. We worked in collaboration with Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador to develop these changes.

Bill C-22 would hold companies to account in the case of an incident. By fulfilling our promise in the Speech from the Throne and enshrining the polluter pays principle into law, we are ensuring the continued success of offshore development.

In the Atlantic offshore we are increasing absolute liability from $30 million to $1 billion. We are also increasing the offshore absolute liability in the Arctic from $40 million to $1 billion. This means that companies are responsible for damages up to that amount, regardless of whether they are at fault for the incident. As is currently the case, we would continue to maintain unlimited liability where fault or negligence is proven.

Additionally, companies would need to demonstrate that they have $1 billion in available financial capacity. The bill would make companies responsible for their product and require them to pay for any damage caused. The bill would also strengthen the transparency of our safety regime by giving the public access to emergency planning, environmental plans and other documents filed with regulators. We feel strongly that the public deserves access to this important information and we will make sure that they have it.

Through our government's actions, oil and gas companies operating in the Atlantic and Arctic offshore would be subjected to the highest safety and liability standards in the world.

As my colleagues have mentioned, the energy safety and security act would also strengthen Canada's system for nuclear liability. It places Canada in line with internationally accepted compensation levels and significantly increases the operator's absolute liability for civil damages from $75 million to $1 billion. This increase brings Canada in line with modern western nuclear power generating countries.

This is an important aspect for Canadians because they want to be assured that nuclear power generated in Canada is done safely. Of course, the safety and security of this sector is paramount to the bill and I am proud that we are taking steps to update the liability limits for nuclear.

It is unfortunate that the NDP continues to oppose thousands of jobs in the nuclear sector and the non-emitting electricity generated by nuclear power. I do not need to remind Canadians of the importance of our energy sector. Most willingly acknowledge the huge role that it plays in our national economy and many Canadians would even suggest Canada is blessed with an abundance of resources. The question is why any responsible party would attempt to minimize or negate the importance of one of the most important players in the energy sector, the nuclear industry, as it relates to the overall economic well-being of Canada.

While other parties refuse to support hard-working Canadians or the creation of high-paying jobs across the energy sector, our government is moving forward to ensure that we have world-class safety standards for the benefit of all Canadians, which will in turn lead to even better economic opportunities for all.

In conclusion, the energy safety and security act offers Canada a solid, modern framework to regulate the offshore and nuclear liability systems in Canada for decades to come. Despite the divisive nature of the debate against Canada's development of our various natural resources, the truth that many Canadians realize is that economic prosperity and environmental protection can both be achieved.

Canadians trust our government to grow the economy, create jobs and responsibly develop Canada's resources.

Petitions October 31st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition today that I am going to present that calls upon the Government of Canada to reverse the cuts announced by Canada Post.

Veolia Environmental Services October 27th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Sarnia—Lambton, I am well aware of the inherent dangers that go along with the type of heavy industrial work that takes place in my riding.

This weekend we were all reminded of the dangers of working with hazardous materials when an explosion took place at Sarnia's Veolia Environmental Services facility.

On behalf of Sarnia—Lambton I thank the firefighters, police and paramedics who responded to the incident with courage and valour. Today we have learned that one of the five injured workers has succumbed to his injuries from the blast, while the others remain in critical condition. Sarnia—Lambton grieves this loss.

With an investigation into what took place now ongoing, at this time our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this tragic incident, and their families. We call on all Canadians to keep them in their hearts.