House of Commons photo

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was liberals.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Conservative MP for Okanagan—Coquihalla (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2008, with 58.13% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Resignation of Members March 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, thank you for your services and your patience with us, and especially, sometimes, with me.

I thank our colleagues also for allowing us this time. I thank colleagues from all parties who have shown me many times, in an undeserved way, measures of respect, which I will always appreciate and value. Often we do not get, maybe with some good reason, certain levels of respect beyond these doors, but I can say of my colleagues, all of whom I have met and worked with, that famous Latin phrase certainly applies: Desiderantes Meliorem Patriam, “They desire a better country”. I can say that of the people with whom I have served.

I also have to reflect in a primary way and say that I thank God. I thank God that I can stand here and thank God and that I do not fear the fate of a dear colleague of ours only weeks ago, Shahbaz Bhatti, who for that crime paid the ultimate price. I thank God that we are an assembly where people can stand and say that they do not believe in God, that they can share equal ground in this place and that others beyond this place, who write and comment, can even ridicule either of those two positions and also not worry about that fate. Our forefathers paid a great price for that freedom.

I, too, thank my constituents. Responsibility and representation for one's constituents is truly the highest order of democracy. Recognizing that and recognizing the vote is a sacred trust is something that guides us all and must continue to do so. When I think about how we sometimes conduct ourselves here, myself included, I wonder, is this why my constituents sent me here. That elderly gentlemen whom I talked to in the voting line in one election said, “This is the only chance I get to have my say”. I thank those constituents for the times that we have been able to do that and to represent them.

I thank the people who have worked for me and volunteered, and also different staff through the years, for the way they have been able to put up with me, the way they have helped me in my times of failing. On the few times I have had successes, they have been the ones who have literally got the puck to me so occasionally I have been able to put it in the net. I thank them.

I thank the people who serve in this place, who clean this large building, who take care of our security, who do all the things that we do not have time to do to make this place look presentable and represent the democracy for which it stands.

I thank the Prime Minister because of his respect for democracy. It is somewhat sad that people do not get to see how, in our places of discussion, we are able, as individual MPs, to bring forward the views of our constituents to argue and even to change his mind on issues when it comes to matters of importance to our constituents.

Last, Mr. Speaker, and I see you leaning forward and I know it is not to burst out in applause, I want to thank my family. My sons were younger when my wife and I first made the decision to go into provincial politics, recognizing that at the federal level we would not have wanted to leave them for long periods of time. It would have been a disaster in the house if we had not been there. Despite the fact that we were close during those years geographically, there were still times I had to apologize. Now that we are blessed with many grandchildren, I do not want to start another cycle of apologies. I have that in consideration.

My wife is here today so I have to be on my best behaviour, as I tried to be during question period. I have said many times that I might not have the perfect marriage, but I do have the perfect wife. Any deficiencies in the relationship are mine and the perfections are hers. She is president of the National Parliamentary Spouses Association. She shares a title of president with me. I can honestly say she is more popular among members here than I am. It was a former head of state of the nation of Israel who said of a good woman “her children rise up to call her blessed and her husband rises and praises her”, and I praise her this afternoon.

I close thinking of the words of my father, who passed away not that long ago. When we would go camping with him as kids and it would come time to tidy up as we packed up the tent, we would pick up all our stuff. However, there were times when he would tell us that there was some paper over there in the bush or there was an empty can over there by that tree and we would tell him that we had not put it there. He would remind us by saying, “Always leave the campground in a little better shape than when you found it”. I hope I have been able to do that.

The Budget March 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, as far as my hon. friend's reflections on British Columbians, it is very clearly a matter of fact that the province of British Columbia is the level of government which is advocating the HST.

I would also say that the NDP members, federally, are the ones who have opposed every tax reduction that our good finance minister has proposed.

For British Columbians and for all Canadians, we have indeed brought in significant increases to low-income seniors to meet their needs.

The Budget March 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, that is really taking things to an extreme.

It is bad enough that they ignore the fact that our budget that we just tabled gives the highest levels ever for health care, for seniors, for research, for education, along with lowering taxes. However, now what they are trying to do is to frighten public servants.

There are about 11,000 public servants a year who leave the public service. We have been very clear that in no way, shape or form are we going to replicate what the Liberals did in the mid-nineties, slashing tens of thousands of public servants overnight and throwing them out on the streets.

The Budget March 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, as we said yesterday, about 11,000 people leave the public service every year. My colleague mentioned that jobs are sometimes eliminated from the public service, but it was the Liberals who did that. They eliminated many public service jobs 10 years ago. It was very strange.

Access to Information March 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the rules are very clear when it comes to situations with a potential for interference. In fact, it was our government that put those rules in place and clarified them. We expect all employees to respect those rules.

Access to Information March 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, anybody who looks at the numbers in terms of the sheer volume and importance of the information we have made available over the last year alone to opposition requests will see that it is at an all-time record high. Never before has the amount of information been released that we have released.

I would refer my friend to last week's announcement about open government. Some 261,000 data sets of information are now available to all Canadians. It is number two in the world for a government opening up data sets of information.

Access to Information March 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am really going to miss the exciting vibrancy of question period and questions like this one. In fact, when it comes to information access, there has been a record number of requests this year both under the Privacy Act and under the Access to Information Act. As a matter of fact, over 75,000 of those requests have come in, which is a record, and the majority of those get answered within 30 days.

We are always working to improve those and hopefully with some good suggestions from my friend opposite, we may even be able to accelerate that process.

Government Communications March 10th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, this is a practice that was used for a long time by different governments. In fact, the practice was supported by the former clerk of the Privy Council. It is a practice that was used by president of the Privy Council. This is no different.

Former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner March 10th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, our priority continues to be the protection of our public sector workers. As I said before, we are prepared to be very open about all aspects of this situation. We have now appointed a new commissioner who will continue to monitor and investigate all cases. The former commissioner will appear before the committee in 45 minutes.

Former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner March 10th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, regarding the contract, we indicated that our position would be clear. We have nothing to hide. The former commissioner will appear before the committee in 40 or 45 minutes. I hope my colleague will listen to everything she has to say.