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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is terms.

Liberal MP for Malpeque (P.E.I.)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 42.40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Safeguarding Canada's Seas and Skies Act September 18th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity for quite a few years to work with the member for British Columbia Southern Interior in committee. He is a good member. When he says something, he states it sincerely.

My colleague opened his remarks by talking about the committee. I have sat on a number of committees, and amendments are not considered by the government side. They never have been in this Parliament, and we can look at committee after committee. When we get into recommendations at committee now, they are not even straightforward recommendations. Somebody on the government side always adds the words “continue to” or whatever.

The member put his finger on the fact that, in this Parliament, committees are seriously broken. Public safety committee has not even met this week, when people are returning radicalized from fighting in foreign countries. I have a motion to go to committee, and I cannot even get it before the committee because committees are not meeting. We all love to talk about the Senate, but I see its committees are meeting this week and they are doing decent work.

I recall one time when I chaired the fisheries committee and we had 32 motions, 11 of them from government members and the rest from opposition. All of them were debated in public. All but one carried. All of them were critical of government. That is what the place is supposed to do. It is supposed to hold the government accountable.

I am not really on topic, but the most serious aspect that the member mentioned is not some of the conditions of the bill, but it is the fact that all of us together as Parliament cannot work properly at committees because the government will not allow it. The Conservatives are the majority and they are responsible for good amendments from the NDP or backbench members not being accepted.

Situation in Iraq September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my colleagues have outlined our position, and certainly the need for action against ISIS, but there is certainly another element, and the minister in a way alluded to it.

The fact is that those Canadians who become radicalized, leave and enter the fight in foreign land and then come back to Canada carrying a passport endangers Canada and the lives of Canadians.

It is not enough to say that the government is going to exercise criminal charges against those individuals. We do know, and I think it was reported just recently, that there was somewhere around 30 people who had come back to Canada. Are they being monitored? We do not know that.

We have a motion before the public safety committee asking that a committee or subcommittee look into issue. Why is it happening? What other measures can be taken?

Is the government willing to support us in that motion to ensure that the fight that is taking place abroad and those Canadians who are radicalized coming home that we ensure our own homeland and Canadians are protected as well? Would the minister be willing to support that initiative?

Respecting Families of Murdered and Brutalized Persons Act September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the chirping coming from the other side means that clearly they do not want to hear the facts. They do not want to hear what works.

We are saying that we should look at the facts and the evidence. We should have the proper legal and constitutional analysis on the bill before witnesses come before the committee, and then let us analyze the bill in that way.

Let us do something that actually works, rather than just the rhetoric that the minister is chirping across the aisle.

Respecting Families of Murdered and Brutalized Persons Act September 16th, 2014

No, we are not saying—

Respecting Families of Murdered and Brutalized Persons Act September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the member for Charlottetown, outlined in considerable detail the Liberal Party position on this, another private member's bill from a government backbencher, or the government side of the House, that we believe leads to a completely disjointed approach to amending the Criminal Code.

Bill C-587 would amend the Criminal Code to increase the parole ineligibility from 25 years to a maximum of 40 years for persons convicted of the abduction, sexual assault and murder of the same victim. The short title of the act is the respecting families of murdered and brutalized persons act.

I believe this to be another initiative by the Conservative backbench to weaken the coherence of the Criminal Code of Canada.

The hon. member in whose name this bill resides is introducing a bill that, in my view, is a solution in search of a problem. If one were to be overly cynical, this private member's bill is a solution in search of a fundraising letter.

The member will know that much of what his political party is really concerned with is raising money from its political base on the subject of choice. That subject seems to be one that is enamoured with “get tough on crime” but certainly not “get smart on crime”.

This is not unlike the Conservative approach to veterans in Canada, an approach where symbolism is more important than substance. We saw reports just the other night that the Minister of Veterans Affairs is spending another $4 million on self-promoting ads, all the while continuing to ignore the real problem affecting our veterans.

I read the minister's speech, and while the hon. member might have good intentions, I again repeat that the legislation is a solution in search of a problem. In his speech, we heard a lot of rhetoric about the need to be tough on criminals. Absent from his speech, and the Speaker would know this, is any discernible connection between his bill and what we refer to on our side as “evidence and facts”.

Allow me to raise a couple of points of serious concern. These issues surround the legality and constitutionality of this legislation and what assurances can be provided to the House as to whether the government's private member's bill meets those basic requirements.

In that regard, I would like to place on the record that, speaking today for the Liberal Party, we will expect that the member sponsoring this bill will table with the House or with the committee examining the bill a written legal opinion as to the fact that this bill would withstand legal or constitutional challenges.

If the member is unable to provide such written legal opinion, I would direct this request to the government itself, to have the Department of Justice examine this legislation and produce a legal opinion that declares that the bill would withstand a legal or constitutional challenge.

I say that should be done before the committee hears witnesses. We have heard members say that it is not possible, but that is what the committee needs.

My experience on the public safety committee is that a Conservative backbench member introduces a private member's bill, and witnesses are called in on the private member's bill. The witnesses believe that the bill is as was outlined originally.

After the hearings are basically over, on the last day of the hearings, the Department of Justice, or in our case, the Department of Public Safety, comes in with a series of amendments, and there are usually more amendments than there are clauses in the bill.

I submit that on two of the bills—and I have put this to you before, Mr. Speaker—the intent was really changed, but the witnesses do not know the bill was really changed. They appeared on a bill that was substantially amended by the Department of Justice because the Department of Justice is trying to make it so that it is not legally or constitutionally challenged. However, the witnesses actually believe that what was passed was what they submitted on. The private member from the Conservative backbench, of course, carries on the spin that they really did what the original bill intended, which in my case at the public safety committee certainly did not happen.

I said earlier that the bill is a solution in search of a problem. Let us look at one of the facts. Bill C-587 would increase the ineligibility for parole for a conviction that includes a sentence of kidnapping, sexual assault and murder. In the last 20 years there have been only three cases in Canada that would meet the three elements of kidnapping, sexual assault and murder. Let me repeat, there were just three cases that would have triggered the provisions of Bill C-587 had it been in place 20 years ago. In those three cases there is no indication that the judges acted with leniency.

Regional Economic Development September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, weeks ago I wrote the Minister of State for Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency requesting a plan of action for Borden-Carleton due to the impending McCain processing plant closure.

The closure means the loss of 121 jobs, impacts the community and spin-off industries, and places in jeopardy a market for potato producers.

Could the minister now detail for us a plan of action, including ACOA assistance, community industrial development, job retraining, and any measures to assist the P.E.I. potato industry competitiveness?

Ebola Outbreak September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has raised a number of serious questions that need answers from the government.

She raised a series of questions, and I would hope that the members of the governing party would ensure those answers are provided. It goes right to the heart of the strategy of controlling Ebola, of assisting internationally, and of protecting the country domestically from an outbreak.

A number of us were here at the time of the SARS outbreak. The government took a lot of measures at that time, in terms of protecting our own country and assisting the rest of the world.

I listened to the minister speak earlier. She talked about how people are required to report to Canada Border Services and that there are people who monitor. However, in previous times when there were these kinds of outbreaks, there were temperature spotters. I am not sure about the technology, but there was equipment at the airport to ensure that anyone who came off a plane with a temperature was checked. I do not see these kinds of measures being taken in this country.

My colleague outlined how not enough is happening internationally, and I agree with her 100%. However, what does she see happening domestically to protect Canadians?

Energy Safety and Security Act September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the remarks from my colleague. I was not at the committee, but I am certainly concerned about the remarks that he made with reference to the committee, which seemed to describe the way that my committee operates too. There is a limited selection of witnesses, and it tries to narrow the focus of the study and not get to some of the broader issues.

In my area, liability would always be a concern, but I have to question the member. Liability is one side of the equation. What is the government doing in terms of prevention? In the fisheries in the gulf and on the east coast, fishermen are greatly concerned and are opposed to some of the exploration for oil development. That development could lead to an economic boom, but they are concerned because they do not believe enough preventive measures are being taken to assure the protection of the environment during that exploration and possibly during the drilling for oil and gas.

Therefore, my question is a broader one. Has the committee looked at those other issues from a preventive side rather than just from the liability side, as this bill seems to purport to do?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 15th, 2014

With regard to government advertising: (a) how much has each department, agency, or Crown corporation spent to purchase advertising on Facebook in each fiscal year since 2006-2007 inclusive; (b) what was the (i) nature, (ii) purpose, (iii) target audience or demographic, (iv) cost of each individual advertising purchase; (c) what was the Media Authorization Number for each advertising purchase; and (d) what are the file numbers of all documents, reports, or memoranda concerning each advertising purchase or of any post-campaign assessment or evaluation?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns September 15th, 2014

With regard to materials prepared for deputy heads or their staff from January 23, 2014 to present: for every briefing document prepared, what is (i) the date on the document, (ii) the title or subject matter of the document, (iii) the department’s internal tracking number?