House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was concerns.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for Avalon (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Fisheries and Oceans June 20th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, Canada's coastal communities have faced many challenges and hurdles, but continue on in the proud name of tradition and livelihood. This government has introduced tools to help Canadian fishers such as the capital tax exemption when handing down their enterprise, and the buddying up systems in some fisheries, and reducing the GST by 2%.

One thing that everyone involved in the fishery is aware of is that gas prices are making it harder and harder for fish harvesters to make a living and provide for their families.

The member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte is telling people in Newfoundland and Labrador today of what he believes are the benefits of the Liberals' new tax grab.

Would the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans enlighten us on how the proposed Liberal tax scheme will really affect our fishing communities?

Committees of the House June 18th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I apologize to the hon. member opposite, but there is a time sensitive issue that I would like to raise. I appreciate her cooperation.

Mr. Speaker, there have been consultations between all whips and I believe you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That, in relation to its study on the seal harvest, seven members of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans be authorized to travel to Brussels, Belgium, in September/October 2008 and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.

Carbon Tax Proposal June 18th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, senior Liberals are hinting that we are just one day away from the unveiling of the latest round of Liberal tax tricks.

As the big day draws near, Canadians can look forward to a non-stop barrage of excuses, half-hearted promises and phony green packaging as the Liberal leader tries yet again to fool Canadians into paying more so he can spend more.

Liberal MPs, senior Liberal strategists, commentators, members of the media, truckers, small business owners, provincial premiers, environmentalists, and working families have condemned the carbon tax as an ineffective and disastrous policy.

Prior to this massive flip-flop, the Liberal leader himself said a carbon tax was “bad policy”. Just yesterday, three Liberal MPs voted with our government in favour of protecting our farmers from a carbon tax.

Unfortunately for the Liberal leader, Canadians see right through his scheme. It is no wonder that so many Liberals are running scared about going public with the Liberal tax trick. Canadians will not be fooled this time around.

Committees of the House June 12th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, on the condition of the eelgrass beds in James Bay.

Stanley Cup June 5th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador can see “Cleary” now. Danny Cleary, that is.

Last night, Danny Cleary, from Riverhead, Harbour Grace in the riding of Avalon, became the first NHL player from our province to hoist the Lord Stanley Cup after his team, the Detroit Red Wings, clinched the coveted prize.

Danny began playing hockey at a young age. In 1993, at age 15, he left home to play in the Ontario Hockey League.

In 1997, Danny first began his NHL career as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks, followed by four seasons with the Edmonton Oilers. Then in 2005, Danny became the most notable addition to the Detroit Red Wings.

Today in Newfoundland and Labrador, Danny Cleary is indeed the talk of our province and all of our citizens are beaming with pride and gloriously celebrating the tremendous and historic accomplishment of this fine young man.

I want to congratulate Danny and all his teammates. We are all so very proud. He can be assured that his family, friends and countless others across our province will all be there to welcome him home when he brings the Stanley Cup home to Harbour Grace.

Airline Passenger Bill of Rights June 4th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak in favour of Motion No. 465, put forward by the member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte. This motion deals with protecting the travelling public and is something that many people have been waiting for. The story of how this all came about is interesting.

During Christmas 2007 some major storms were experienced in Newfoundland and Labrador and throughout Atlantic Canada. Many flights were cancelled or delayed which created major havoc especially for people in Newfoundland and Labrador, and among them, people in my own riding of Avalon.

Many people in Conception Bay South, a town in my riding and one of the fastest growing communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, have the opportunity to travel back and forth to other parts of Canada.

A movement was started at that time by Woodrow French, the mayor of Conception Bay South. I met with Mayor French on a couple of occasions to discuss this issue and other issues. Mayor French involved many families and people who travelled. He sought and received the support of the Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador association. He also sought and received the support of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. With that combination of support, Mayor French found a need and a want for a passenger bill of rights in Canada.

I am certainly delighted that the member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte brought his motion forward because it gives us an opportunity to protect the travelling public. We hope we can do that through this process.

A lot of people are not aware that there is protection already in place in Canada. Canada's complaints process has been in place since 2000 and was made permanent by Bill C-11. It is one of the strongest features of Canada's consumer protection regime. However, like many other things, the regime and its strengths are not well understood by Canadians. We have not done enough to inform travellers of the consumer protections that exist and the redress available to them through this process. If passengers do not know their rights, they are unlikely to take steps to protect those rights.

There is no way that we can bring forward in this House, or any government can bring anywhere for that matter, a bill of rights that would dictate what the weather was going to be on a Friday or Saturday night, or whatever the case may be. Therefore, we have to work within the existing system. A bill or a motion will not dictate what the weather will be on any given night.

How passengers are treated when their carefully laid out plans are suddenly disrupted because of the weather or because of some other situation that might arise is what we are trying to deal with through this motion. Common courtesy is not something that we can legislate.

Because of the Christmas panic that ensued in Newfoundland and Labrador, we have a regime in place that we hope can provide some protection. Hopefully, by enhancing that and working with all members in the House we can bring forward something that would at least give people some kind of protection.

I heard many stories from people in my riding who contacted my office. Some had been in Halifax on December 22 and were told that due to flight cancellations, the next flight they could get to go home would be on January 2. Some people were in Toronto on Christmas Eve and were told that the first opportunity for them to get home would be on New Year's Day. Some people had to return to work on January 2 or January 3. That is totally unacceptable to the government and it is totally unacceptable to the travelling public.

I was delighted to hear the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca state earlier that we are not only supporting this motion, but we are going to make a concerted effort to inform Canadians of the rights and protections that are already in place.

I was delighted to hear the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca, because if there is any area or town in this country that knows the importance of the travelling public, especially from Newfoundland and Labrador, it is Fort McMurray. A direct flight was brought in sometime in 2007. Every single day there is a direct flight from St. John's, Newfoundland to Fort McMurray, Alberta. There are in excess of 60,000 people travelling back and forth between Fort McMurray and St. John's, people who either live in Fort McMurray permanently and visit family in Newfoundland, or who travel back and forth on turnovers. This is a major concern for all those people. Many times we refer to the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca as the eighth member from Newfoundland and Labrador because there is no doubt that his constituency is made up of many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

I was delighted to see the member for Fort McMurray—Athabasca on his feet here today announcing that our government is supporting this private member's motion. We are taking the concerns of the travelling public of Canada very seriously. We have a situation here where, as I said earlier, we cannot regulate the weather or how things happen, but we can provide protection. We can provide at least an opportunity for the travelling public to be treated fairly in a situation where people cannot have their concerns addressed in an airport at 2 o'clock in the morning.

I want to congratulate Mayor Woodrow French of Conception Bay South, who on February 13, I believe it was, sent a letter off to the Prime Minister, asking him to look at bringing in a passenger bill of rights similar to ones in other parts of the world. When we did some research on that, we found that the passenger bills of rights in other parts of the world do not exactly fit everything that we have here in Canada.

Hopefully, we can enhance what we already have in place to protect consumers and the travelling public. We want to ensure that the concerns that are being brought forward to members of Parliament are addressed and that we can have something in place so that at least people travelling do not have to worry that they are not being treated fairly.

We have a large geographic region. I mentioned the daily flight between St. John's and Fort McMurray. We travel long distances. Sometimes people arrive in one town but their luggage is in another city. Some people do not find their luggage at all. The attitude sometimes of the airlines is well, too bad. That is not an attitude Canadians should have to put up with. It is absolutely unacceptable that the travelling public of Canada have to put up with anything less than the service they pay for and deserve.

We as a government are here today to make sure that the protections that are in place are enhanced for the travelling public. of Newfoundland and Labrador in our case. I am delighted that a member from Newfoundland and Labrador brought this motion forward. In that way, every one who travels can know that if something goes wrong, if something does not work out, there is protection and that those who are responsible have to step up to the plate and say, “We are responsible for what happened”. They are not responsible for the fog, they are not responsible for the snow, they are not responsible for the wind, but they are responsible for the paying customers who deserve a service that sometimes we find is lacking.

I am delighted that we are here today to support the motion. I look forward to enhancing the protections that are in place now so that members of the travelling public of Canada feel that they are protected in some ways and feel more comfortable when they sit on a plane. After all, it is a major mode of travel now.

Committees of the House May 14th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans on the main estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2009.

Fisheries and Oceans May 8th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, since 2006, we have seen a major turnaround at NAFO. Most recently, there was an intersessional meeting held in Montreal.

We understand that the United Nations General Assembly resolution on sustainable fisheries, which calls on high seas fishing nations and regional fisheries management organizations to identify and protect vulnerable species and habitats by December 31, 2008, was on the table for discussion.

Would the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans please provide the House with an update on this issue?

Petitions May 7th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I also have a petition signed by 2,192 people.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to replace the Millennium Scholarship Foundation with a national system of need based grants through the Canada student loans program for students at public universities and colleges.

Petitions May 7th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions. My first petition is signed by 436 people.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to effect necessary changes to CPP policy to ensure that applicants with terminal illnesses are provided with terminal illness special procedures, including those applicants who did not contribute to private disability insurance plans, sickness insurance, employment insurance sickness benefits and other short term sickness benefits, and to exempt them from the four month mandatory waiting period.