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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is service.

NDP MP for Sackville—Eastern Shore (Nova Scotia)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 54.10% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Veterans February 26th, 2015

The problem, Mr. Speaker, is that yesterday, in the House of Commons, the parliamentary secretary said, “The minister...will do everything and commit everything to helping her through this crisis”. This morning, the family got an email from the lieutenant colonel in Victoria saying that they are not prepared to do anything to help her in terms of her accommodation or food allowance when she gets there. In fact, they even questioned why she is coming to Victoria in the first place.

The reality is that it was DND that did the misdiagnosis. It did an operation on her that was not required. It has ruined her life. Now she is asking for basic help to get her life back together.

Will the Minister of National Defence now tell the House and the family that he will ensure that she gets all the help she needs when she gets to Victoria?

Veterans February 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the reason the Conservatives do not do the survey is that they do not want to hear stories like that of Robyn Young, one of the bravest young women I have ever met in my life as a member of Parliament. This woman has gone through pure hell with the Department of National Defence, and so has her mother. All they are asking for is basic dignity and basic responsibility from the department to ensure that they get all the help and services they both need to get their lives back to normal.

DND should not be reviewing this itself; rather, the minister should be reviewing it. Will he stand up and tell the family they will get all the benefits they need so they can get back to living their lives in a normal way?

Parliament of Canada Act February 19th, 2015

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-654, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (omnibus bills).

Mr. Speaker, I have been an MP now for seventeen and a half years, and I have to be honest with my constituents and the people of Canada that I am here under false pretenses, and so is every single one of the members of Parliament in this House.

Our number one responsibility, when it comes to legislation, is the fiscal scrutiny of all legislation that leaves this House. However, when legislation comes forward with 418 pages that would change 50 statutes and laws, nobody in the House of Commons reads it. Nobody in the House of Commons properly does the job we need to do to have fiscal scrutiny of the government.

My bill would stop omnibus legislation from coming in. Legislation could only be introduced if attachments were related to the subject matter. One could not introduce legislation that had nothing to do with the subject matter at hand.

This practice has to stop in the House of Commons. We have to restore democracy to the Canadian people.

I am proud to say that we in the NDP want to stop the bus when it comes to omnibus bill legislation.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Veterans Affairs February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister stated in the House of Commons that when it came to cuts to the DVA, only backroom jobs would be cut.

Just recently 44 front-line jobs have been cut in order to transfer that work over to backroom private service insurance companies to deal with insurance benefit claims for veterans. Now we find out that Medavie Blue Cross will cut off the benefits of veterans if it cannot reach them by phone.

My question for the minister is very clear. This ideology that the government has regarding cutting public service jobs and transferring that work over to the private sector will not improve benefits for veterans. In fact, it will frustrate them even more. Will the minister reverse his decision and bring those jobs back to the public service?

Veterans Affairs January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, 83-year-old disabled veteran, Basil McAllister, of Burton, New Brunswick, fought the Department of Veterans Affairs through the review board for 10 years, along with 2 court decisions, to finally realize his compensation benefits because of the chemical spraying at Gagetown.

In 2005, the Prime Minister, then the opposition leader, said that everyone affected by this spraying would be cared for. Thousands upon thousands of military personnel, their families and civilians are without proper compensation and care for the terrible injuries they suffered from the chemical spraying at Gagetown.

Will the government now do the right thing and ensure that all of them get the proper dignity they so rightfully deserve?

Veterans January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, every Canadian knows that there is a moral and social obligation to care for those men and women we ask to put themselves in harm's way. However, it is only the Prime Minister and the Conservatives who do not believe that there is a moral and social obligation to care for them, especially now those in Iraq.

My question, very simply, is for the Minister of Veteran's Affairs. Does the government believe that there is a moral, social, legal, and fiduciary responsibility to care for the heroes of our country who the government asked to put in harm's way?

Veterans January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, for the record, he is my 11th minister in 17.5 years, and these problems still continue. However, I do congratulate the hon. member for Durham for his new post as veterans affairs minister. I also thank him for his service to our country.

Having said that, as a veteran and as the Minister of Veterans Affairs, does he now believe—because the Prime Minister and the former minister would not answer this question—that the Government of Canada has a social, moral, legal, and fiduciary responsibility to care for those men and women it asks to put themselves in harm's way?

Veterans Affairs December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, while the government sends our brave men and women off to war, it refuses to admit that when they come back with physical or mental challenges there is a moral and social obligation to care for them. It has lawyers in B.C. right now arguing the point, spending thousands of Canadian tax dollars, that there is no moral or social contract for our veterans.

Does the parliamentary secretary believe or does he not believe that there is a legal, fiduciary, moral and social obligation to care for the heroes of our country?

Veterans December 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, when young men and women from Canada go off to war, they and their families need to know that their government and country will care for them in the event they become physically disabled, mentally challenged, or make the ultimate sacrifice.

Yesterday, I asked the Minister of Veterans Affairs, does the government have a sacred obligation to care for them? He would not answer it.

My question is directly for the Prime Minister of Canada. Does the Prime Minister of Canada believe that the government has a judicial, legal, moral, and social obligation to care for the heroes of our country?

Veterans December 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the only reason that I, as a Dutch foreign Canadian, get to stand on Canadian soil is because 5,700 Canadians and our allies are laying beneath Dutch soil.

When we send our heroes off to war, they expect to be cared for, and their families, when they come back injured, either physically or mentally. Yet, the government is spending thousands of dollars on lawyers defending the argument that there is no moral or social contract to care for our veteran community.

My question to the minister is very simple. Yes or no, do you or do you not believe, through you Mr. Speaker, that you have a fiduciary, legal, moral or social obligation to our veterans?