House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was liberal.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Conservative MP for Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 42% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Barrie—Springwater—Oro—Medonte June 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, after eight years on Barrie city council, a year of campaigning and a three-week re-count, I was afforded what will forever be one of the greatest honours of my life, being elected the member of Parliament for Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte.

I want to thank my staff; my wife, Erica; my children; all my extended family; supporters; and especially the incredible people of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte for this incredible honour.

As a Conservative, I know that I have fought for freedom, hope and opportunity, and that will never ever cease. It is the reason, even after this election, we will continue to partner with PIE restaurant providing backpacks to children in central Ontario through PIE Education and with the newly announced Boots and Hearts Barn Burner hockey game on August 7 to raise money for the RVH and many other local charities.

I look forward to seeing everyone there, and I am so very thankful for the honour.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to correct the record from earlier to include the name Lily Mesh in my speech in thanking my staff. I obviously had a moment of forgetfulness.

Members Not Seeking Re-election to the 43rd Parliament June 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak this evening. More than anything, I appreciate the opportunity I have had to serve in the House. I wanted to tell my story of how I got here and at the same time, thank all of the people who have contributed so immensely over the years.

I would like to begin by thanking my wife and my kids for allowing me to leave, and forgiving me for leaving, every single week to come to this place and do what we know is a passion for each of us. That passion is serving our country.

I would like to thank my mom and dad, my mom who is an activist and my father who knocked on doors. I cannot tell members how badly the man, who is 40-some years older than me, shamed me by being a better door knocker than me and going more quickly than me over the years, in election after election.

I thank the friends who gave so much time and effort to help me achieve my dreams; the president, John Thornton; Bruce MacGregor; Lynn Kelman, who served in the new riding of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte since its inception in 2013; and the board of directors who guided us.

Finally, I thank the staff who served in the offices in Barrie and here in Ottawa over the years: Amanda, Matt, Dion, Emrys, Stephen, Filip, Tiana, Laura, Kathryn and Naomi. I can tell members that their service was not just to me as the member of Parliament, but to the people of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte and the people of Canada. That can never be forgotten or erased. I want to thank them for all of the hard work they put in.

My story with politics started when I was 15 years old. I was more likely to be smoking pot in the forest beside the high school than I was to be in the high school where I was supposed to be. Mike Harris changed the education curriculum in the first year of the double cohort and created civics and careers. I took that civics class and I fell in love because I realized that something could be done to improve the lives of those people around me and my situation and my family.

The next part of the class was careers. At the end was a project, “What are you going to do when you grow up?” It was not an entry-level job like it is now, but naturally I chose Prime Minister of Canada. I also chose member of Parliament, and I have been able to work toward that since then.

When I was 18 years old, I ran for city council. I ran against my principal after dropping out of high school to run for council and I lost. Surprise, surprise. I went to speak at a Christian businessmen's association lunch and there was a guy named Arch Brown who created Canadian Tire money, that stuff they used to have and just brought back. He asked me if I was going to run again. I said, “I don't know. Who wants an 18-year-old running a council of a city of 100,000 people?” He said, “Alex, 17- and 18-year-olds signed up, went to Europe, fought for their country and died for their country so you could have the freedom to run here today.” He is no longer with us, but thank God he said those words to me that day, because they have never left. In fact, someone reminded me of them just a few days ago.

After that, at 21 years of age, I ran against my grade 4 teacher and my boss in Patrick Brown's office, but this time I beat the authority and I won as a city councillor. I was re-elected at age 25 to Barrie city council. Eventually, at the age of 30, I had my opportunity to run for member of Parliament, the goal that I set when I was 15 years of age. This time I ran against the president of the college that I attended, another authority figure in my life.

I had no idea when we started that election there would be literally $400,000 or $500,000 spent on the election and it would come down to 86 votes, that 51,000 people would vote in this riding and 86 people would be the determinant as to what would happen in terms of success, whether it be Liberal or Conservative.

When I came here, I was nothing but an idealistic Conservative, through and though. I certainly still hold those beliefs to this day.

When I walked into this chamber, I believed that Conservatives were good and others were bad. Quite frankly, it was a very divisive attitude. I was young, and still am, and I certainly did not understand the people around me, the perspectives they had and why they believed what they believed.

I can say today that I have grown as a human being. I have learned lessons. I will never forget to respect people on the other side of the aisle, to respect those beside me and to understand them.

What is incredible is that what saved me as a 15-year-old kid is the same thing I am seeing fall apart. I see the destructive behaviours of divisiveness and of calling each other either fascists or communists. The politics are the same now as they were then, and we must stop the destructive behaviours.

I am seeing it in our young people, as I travel from university to university serving in the shadow cabinet, serving an incredible leader. Our young people are becoming as polarized as the debates we are having both inside and outside the House.

I would like to take this opportunity to mention a couple of members from other parties whom I have grown to respect. My colleagues know how much I respect them, because we get to talk about it all the time.

When I first came here, I was on the industry committee. The member for Pierrefonds—Dollard and I were on opposite sides, and we had arguments for the first three or four weeks. It was not long before we realized that we wanted to achieve the exact same things, so we worked together. Since then, I have seen him work with members on all sides, certainly those in his caucus and mine, to fight for what he believes in terms of democracy, opportunity and hope for Canadians. I have seen that in every member in this place in one way or another.

While I am not running in this election, I hope the one lasting impression I leave on members of the House who are running is this. When they are out campaigning and speaking to the Canadian people, with the Canadian people, for the Canadian people, members should bridge the gap. They should not make it any larger than it is, because by doing so, in the end, nobody wins. The only people all of us want to see win are the Canadian people.

I am thankful for this opportunity. God bless Canada.

Criminal Records Act May 30th, 2019

Madam Speaker, this is an important piece of legislation. I have met with various communities over the years with regard to not just the records themselves, but the inequity in terms of the prosecution related to cannabis offences. Over the years, we know there has been inequity in terms of when it has been applied and when it has not. God knows that if it had been applied 100% of the time, I would be one of the people asking for an expungement at this point.

As I look forward, one of the questions I have heard from numerous people in Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte is whether the pardon would help when they try to cross into the United States. I was wondering if the member knows whether there has been any communication with the U.S. on this and whether a pardon would actually open the border to those who have been penalized for a cannabis offence, in some cases 25 years ago.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns May 6th, 2019

With regard to the preservation of documents and communication, including PINs, text messages, and all other forms of electronic communication by staff of the Office of the Prime Minister: (a) how many smartphones or other electronic devices assigned to an individual in the Office of the Prime Minister have been “wiped” or cleared of communication sent and received from the device, broken down by month since January 2017; and (b) for each instance in (a) what was the reason for the device being “wiped”?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns May 6th, 2019

With regard to the government paying for outside legal counsel for individuals related to the SNC-Lavalin scandal: (a) what is the complete list of individuals for which the government has approved paying legal fees; (b) for each individual in (a), (i) what firm has been retained, (ii) what is the retainer or agreed upon rate, (iii) what is the maximum expenditure amount the government has authorized?

Para Snowboard Champion April 10th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize para athlete Alex Massie, from Barrie.

In 2011, Massie's leg was amputated, a tragedy he is turning into triumph. Massie has represented Canada for five years as a competitor on the World Cup circuit and as a member of the national para snowboard team, but Sport Canada has been repealing his funding, while Massie has been shattering the competition. With support from his family, he has fought through his fears of lost funding. In fact, this past week, in Sweden, Massie won a pair of gold medals at the World Cup, winning top in the World Para Snowboard Championships, and was awarded two crystal globes. These victories follow a first place win at the World Para Snowboard World Cup in Big White, British Columbia.

The funding this amazing man relies on is in jeopardy. This is a young man who has done his country and his city proud. Canada should be championing him while he wins championships for Canada.

Committees of the House March 19th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I actually voted both for and against and want to apologize to the House for that.

I also want to say “let her speak”.

Committees of the House March 19th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that what we have seen is a Prime Minister who is willing to help his friends, in terms of big business, at the expense of pretty much everybody around him: the former attorney general, the chair of the Privy Council, his principal secretary.

I know, because we are seeing it in our offices, that all the Liberal members across the country are hearing the same thing from Canadians, which is that the Prime Minister has lost their trust. The Liberals need to get the government back on track. Unfortunately, they are not doing the right work.

Committees of the House March 19th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I just want to put straight an earlier point made by the member who previously asked a question. It was actually the Martin government that first had this issue of the Champlain Bridge and failed to do anything on it. I just want to put that straight.

In terms of the connection between the Liberal Party and SNC-Lavalin, it is everywhere. We know it is everywhere. As we look forward, these are the questions we need to have answered and explained to us. Unfortunately, the Liberal Party is putting its own ideas, the Prime Minister's future, the Prime Minister's job and the members' own jobs ahead of the best interests of the country.