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Liberal MP for Kingston and the Islands (Ontario)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 39.30% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns May 10th, 2013
With regard to the Transport Canada announcement on Tanker Safety Systems on March 18, 2013 in Vancouver, British Columbia: (a) what were the costs for the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, his staff and departmental staff to travel to the announcement, including air and ground transportation; (b) what were the costs for the Minister of Natural Resources, his staff and departmental staff to travel to the announcement, including air and ground transportation; and (c) which bases in British Columbia keep major oil spill response ships?
Questions on the Order Paper May 10th, 2013
With regard to the Property Value Protection Program associated with the low-level radioactive waste clean-up in the Port Hope area, as of March 15, 2013, what are the total legal costs incurred by the government for all claims that have entered into arbitration?
Business of Supply May 9th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my hon. colleague on his amendment, which changes the wording of the Liberal amendment a bit but is based on the same principle.
I know we need to point some fingers about this very large amount of money that we do not know how it was spent. However, a very important outcome of this debate and the amendment, which I hope the government will support, is a reform of how Parliament approves the spending of money when the government asks Parliament for permission to spend it. This is very important for the future of the country and the importance of that fact should be recognized.
It would be a very good outcome of this debate if the House of Commons approves the motion and indicates its willingness to go to a program-based approval of spending requests from the government.
Questions on the Order Paper May 9th, 2013
With regard to the the Western Canada Marine Response Corporation vessel that ran aground while traveling from its base to the Coal Harbour News conference: (a) on what date was the decision made to have a vessel travel from its base to the Coal Harbour News conference; (b) who approved the decision to have a vessel travel to the Coal Harbour News conference, (i) which Ministers and Departments were involved with the decision, (ii) who had signing authority to authorize a vessel to travel to the Coal Harbour News conference; (c) what correspondence exists regarding the decision to have a vessel available for the press conference; (d) what correspondence exists regarding the follow-up after the vessel scheduled for the press conference ran aground; (e) what was the cost of having a vessel travel to the Coal Harbour news conference for the Western Canada Response Corporation, broken down by (i) cost of personnel, (ii) cost of transport including fuel, (iii) cost of equipment; (f) what was the cost of having a vessel travel to the Coal Harbour news conference for the government, broken down by (i) cost of personnel, (ii) cost of transport including fuel, (iii) cost of equipment, (iv) cost of wear and tear; (g) what was the dollar value of the damages incurred when the vessel ran aground, and where will the funds to pay for these damages come from; (h) what are the costs of repairs to the vessel for damages incurred; (i) what are the operational impacts to the vessel and the projected days that the vessel is expected to be out of commission; and (j) how many days has the vessel been out of commission as a result of this grounding to date?
Questions on the Order Paper May 9th, 2013
With regard to the recent sale of crown land owned by the Correctional Service of Canada, in the amount of 1,554.48 square metres, located on Frontenac Institution in Kingston, Ontario: (a) who was the purchaser; (b) what was the purchase price; (c) what was the closing date of the transaction; (d) what were all of the measures taken to respect the Commissioner’s Directive for Real Property for the Correctional Service of Canada, in particular the statement, under Principles, that, “acquisition and disposal of real property assets will be done in a fair and open manner, which shall include public consultation”; (e) what was the first date of any communications regarding the sale of this land between the government and the purchaser; (f) what was the first date of any communications regarding the sale of this land between the government and parties who expressed interest but ultimately did not purchase the land; and (g) what was the first date of any communications regarding the sale of this land between the government and parties other than those in (e) and (f)?
Bill C-60—Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1 May 7th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, what my Conservative colleagues say about taxes is just plain wrong.
Earlier today the Prime Minister claimed, as have other members on the Conservative side, that every family of four would save $3,000 a year in taxes. It turns out that the family that saves $3,000 in taxes is a family of four with two working parents making an income of $100,000. I do not know about others, but that is way above the median income in my riding. Furthermore, the share of the national debt of that family of four has increased by $16,000 in the last five years, so those tax savings are totally illusory.
Furthermore, the member for Toronto Centre told us last week that the Conservative government is actually increasing overall taxes. The member for Toronto Centre told us that in March 2010 the government voted to raise taxes by $720 million. In April 2012, the government voted to raise taxes by $3.6 billion. In March of this year the Conservatives voted to raise taxes by $3 billion.
Many falsehoods are being claimed by the Conservatives as they cross the country trying to sell this budget.
Economic Action Plan 2013 Act, No. 1 May 7th, 2013
Mr. Speaker, if I were a constituent of my hon. colleague from Simcoe—Grey, I would not be satisfied with her remarks about the International Joint Commission's study on the low water levels in the upper Great Lakes. They were rather vague.
If I were her constituent, I would be insisting that the government do a serious economic study to find out the economic impact of low water levels, because that would tell us how much money we are willing to invest in a solution to manage the water levels in all of the Great Lakes, water levels that are affecting my constituents on the shores of Lake Ontario as well.
Is the government willing to commit to a serious economic study of the dollar impact of low water levels on the upper Great Lakes and, indeed, the entire Great Lakes economy?
Asian Heritage Month May 2nd, 2013
Mr. Speaker, every year on one Sunday in May, the Chinese community gathers at the Cataraqui Cemetery in Kingston to tend to the Chinese gravesites. These include many where the old tombstones are barely legible, just a stone's throw away from the final resting place of Sir John A. Macdonald.
Immigrants from the world over and their descendants and aboriginal people all helped build Canada. Each contributed in their own way.
The month of May marks Asian Heritage Month, a celebration not only of heritage and history but also of Asian Canadians who have made notable contributions. This month we recall not only the Asian Canadian role in building Canada but also the rich cultural inheritance that has shaped our communities.
Embracing diversity is a cornerstone of Canadian values. Asian Heritage Month invites us to recognize the wide range of Asian cultures, ethnicities and religious traditions present here in Canada.
I encourage everyone to participate in celebrations this month as we honour the contributions of Asian Canadians.
The Environment May 1st, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I will restate my question. I know my hon. colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, does not need his notes to answer this question.
Why has the government, in its two years of majority, not been willing to reintroduce the legislation that it introduced three times when it was a minority government to increase the liability caps on nuclear power plants?
My second question is on whether the government is willing to apply the polluter pay principle. I think we will all agree it is very good that the foundation of our country's liability regime be the polluter pay principle. Is the government willing to apply this when it comes to climate change and greenhouse gases?
The Environment May 1st, 2013
Mr. Speaker, I am here tonight to speak and to ask two questions of the government.
The first is about liability for accidents at offshore drilling installations and at nuclear power plants. The liability limits, in the case of an accident at an offshore drilling operation, are only $30 million in the Atlantic and $40 million in the Arctic. I think the government members would agree with me that these liability limits are too low. These are caps on the amount a company is liable for in the case of an accident.
The Conservatives have hinted that legislation may be forthcoming to increase these limits. Let me just give a simple illustration of why these limits need to be increased. The current limit is $40 million in the Arctic. The cost of the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico was $40 billion. That is 1,000 times more than the current liability limit.
I know that the Conservatives have hinted that some legislation may be forthcoming. When is that legislation forthcoming? Could it not have been introduced in Bill C-60, which has a number of pieces that did not appear in the budget?
The second place liability limits need to be increased is at nuclear power plants. Currently the liability cap is only $75 million. I know that when we had a minority Conservative government, legislation to increase the liability limits on accidents at nuclear power plants from $75 million to something like $650 million or more was introduced three different times. All three bills died for one reason or another, whether it was an early election, prorogation or simply that the bill was not advanced by the government. However, now that we have a majority Conservative government, and have for two years, I do not understand why the government has not introduced stand-alone legislation that could be examined carefully and debated.
Why could the Conservatives not simply reintroduce legislation they were willing to introduce in a minority government? I challenge the government to explain why it has not done so. I think people will ask whether the Conservatives, which now have a majority government, really wanted to increase the liability limits when they were in a minority government. That is my other question.
In response to my initial question in question period, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, speaking for the government, said, “the foundation for our liability regime is the polluter pay principle”. That is something that perhaps all members of the House could agree on.
Now that the current government is spending a lot of time going to the United States to lobby the government there to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and to claim that Canada is strong on environmental protection, would the government extend the polluter pay principle, and would it apply it to other things that damage the natural environment? They are lobbying the United States government and claim to be protecting the natural environment and caring about climate change.