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Liberal MP for Malpeque (P.E.I.)
Won his last election, in 2011, with 42.40% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Infrastructure June 18th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, the reality of the government's decision to cut funding in the building Canada fund by 90% until 2019 is having a devastating impact on jobs and the economy.
Joe Murphy, executive director of the P.E.I. Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, said that jobs are being lost every day because the work cannot be done without the federal infrastructure dollars. One island construction company has reduced the number of employees from 40 in 2012 to 16 today. That is a cut of 60%.
First the Conservatives cut, and now they will not deliver. Why will the government not sign on with the provinces?
Jack MacAndrew June 17th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, today I pay tribute to the late Jack MacAndrew and ask the House to recognize his outstanding contribution to journalism and public affairs.
Born in New Brunswick, he moved at age eight and considered P.E.I. his heart's true home. Jack made his mark in broadcasting, print journalism, theatre and television. Starting first as a Canadian Air Force radio officer, he soon moved into the public relations and marketing field with CBC Maritimes. As a reporter, he covered the Springhill mining disaster, broadcasting to the world.
He wrote, produced and hosted several Canadian television shows and contributed to productions such as Anne of Green Gables and Johnny Belinda. His company, Jack MacAndrew Productions, based in Toronto and L.A., created many more.
A man of strong opinions, his column “The View From Here” was well known. Jack called it like he saw it and by doing so, he kept politicians and public figures aware and humble, always advocating for what he felt was right. He wrote without fear and spoke truth to power.
For Jack's wife, Barbara, and sons Shaun and Randy, our thanks and condolences. That is the view from here.
Agricultural Growth Act June 17th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed the member's well-thought-out remarks, and he is absolutely right: this has been a government of reckless decisions, especially when it comes to agriculture. We now know that there has been a $5 billion loss in sales through the Canadian Wheat Board changes and that the farmer's share of the export dollar has dropped dramatically while the grain companies take excessive profits. The new government-controlled Canadian Wheat Board was supposed to report its financial condition on March 31; that has not been seen yet. We have to wonder what the government is hiding.
We know the Conservatives cut AgriStability in just about half. They cut AgriInvest in terms of the amount of investment that producers could put in. They have cut public researchers dramatically. The list goes on and on.
The member talked about finding the balance. I would say the government's record in terms of abuse of the farm community is about the worst of any government in Canadian history. Given that record, how can we trust that the government will not maintain the balance of power on the corporate side of things and give the corporate sector the rights to seed reproduction, while providing farmers merely with the privilege? What farmers need is the right to retain seed and to reproduce it.
Agricultural Growth Act June 16th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the speech by the member for Halifax on the bill. It is good to see people who have urban ridings talk about their concerns, and I think we all agree that it needs to go to a committee to be discussed.
My question relates mainly to her constituents' opinions on this. Where would those people who buy the food products that farmers produce rather they come from? The bill, as many of the bills that the government has put before this House, has transferred a lot of control away from primary producers to the corporate sector.
We have seen the results of the changes to the Canadian Wheat Board this winter. Farmers used to received about 87% of the export price; now they are receiving about 48% of the export price. The corporate sector is gaining there.
I would point out to the member that, in 2002, Canada ratified the United Nations International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for food and agriculture. Canada was a signatory to that. In that agreement, it was agreed not to limit any rights that farmers have to save, use, exchange, and sell farm saved seed and propagating material, subject to national law that is appropriate.
My question to the member, because she does represent a lot of urban constituents, is on their views. Where would her constituents rather see that their produce comes from? Who would they like to see in control of that produce, family farmers, or the big corporations like Monsanto?
Agricultural Growth Act June 16th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I did enjoy the member's remarks. He touched on a lot of very valid points.
If we could sum up this bill with three or four words, we could call it the good, the bad and the ugly. There are some good points in it, and there are some worrisome points as well. The biggest overall concern with this bill is the global corporations having so much control over the family farmers around the world.
One of the areas that I am concerned with in the bill is the plant breeders' rights aspect of it. I have not actually determined in my own mind where we can go on it.
The minister talks about a farmer's privilege, and the member mentioned that as well. I believe it should be a farmer's right to retain and reproduce their seed. What implications will that have on the international agreement we have already signed as a country? I do think it needs to be discussed a lot more. How does the member see, or is there any way of getting around, ensuring that farmers have rights and not just privileges? It should be their rights. They are the ones who are doing the producing. How does the member see getting around that in the context of the international agreement?
Privacy June 13th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I know sometimes the members on the government side do not hear criticism really well.
We are talking about the Government Operations Centre and its directive to look at all the demonstrations in Canada and compile data on those demonstrations. What is the government doing with that information?
If farmers are out there demonstrating in favour of the Canadian Wheat Board, does it compile that data? When it gets that data, does it threaten to cut off their agristability? What about public servants demonstrating against job cuts? Does it compile that information? Will it cease and desist?
Privacy June 13th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, there was another Supreme Court decision this morning, this one telling the Government of Canada that it cannot request telecoms companies to provide information on citizens without a warrant. In layman's terms, it means that spying on Canadians without a warrant is illegal.
Beyond Bill C-13 and its misdirection, we know that the Government Operations Centre has ordered all departments to report on any and all demonstrations within their jurisdictions. These are not illegal demonstrations.
Will the government suspend that directive to spy on Canadians through the Government Operations Centre immediately?
Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act June 12th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, the member from Winnipeg North talked about the government creating its own crisis relative to this bill. It would be nice if the member could tell us what he really thinks. He is not being very direct.
The member mentioned truck drivers and the need to have a passport. That is a big issue in my own province of Prince Edward Island. Several trucking firms have approached me. They need drivers. We do a lot of international business across the U.S. border. The addition of one year really impacts those individuals.
As well, I wonder if the member could tell me the impact on the economy. The government talks about the economy, but really undermines it in many ways. This is just another way. We do not have the drivers to do the business that drives the economy.
Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act June 12th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, it was interesting to hear the minister use the words “root causation”. I have heard him use those words in a different context when talking about others who talked about root causes in the past.
This is over 70 times that the government has used time allocation. Seeing as it is speeding up the process, I am wondering if the government is gathering together the necessary information in preparation for the committee to have a proper discussion on this issue based on all the facts before it.
People are worried that this particular piece of legislation would not meet the Supreme Court requirements, and it is debatable whether it would or not.
Is the government preparing to provide the committee with the legal advice that the government obtained when it was in the drafting stages of this particular legislation—and who provided that legal advice?
Kensington Centennial June 9th, 2014
Mr. Speaker, I rise to celebrate one of the gems of P.E.I., the town of Kensington. While 2014 is the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference, it also marks the centennial of the town of Kensington, incorporated in 1914.
Kensington grew up around the intersection of five roads taking people through Kensington to and from Charlottetown, Kelvin Grove, Travellers Rest, Summerside, Malpeque, Irishtown, New London, and Cavendish. It still is known for its railway station, which served as a centre of the island's agricultural market in central P.E.I., now added as a stop along the Confederation bike trail. Those who pass through Kensington always note its charm and friendliness and some even wind up staying.
While the big celebrations were on the weekend of May 23 with fireworks, a concert, parade, and celebratory dinner, Kensington also shows that small town hospitality the whole year through. For business or pleasure, Kensington is a must stop in 2014.
On behalf of the House, I offer my congratulations to the town of Kensington, its council, and its citizens.