House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

National Health and Fitness Day Act September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I realize I only have about three or four minutes this morning.

Some of my colleagues may be surprised to see me on my feet speaking to this motion today. It has been six years since I stood in my place and participated in a debate. Given that I am not reoffering in the next election, this could be the last time that I participate in a debate in this place.

I am here today to support my colleague, the hon. member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, on this bill. I know it has come from Senator Nancy Greene Raine at the Senate, but the principal mover of it over the last several years has been my hon. colleague from the west coast. We often discuss whether people who talk the talk can walk the walk. In this case, I think my colleague from that riding lives the values that are embodied in this bill.

My colleague from Burlington, and others this morning, talked about some of the challenges of maintaining health and fitness while we are members of Parliament. It is a challenge. We are constantly offered free food that is very tasty, and it is easy to get busy and not take care of ourselves. I have also been on the roller coaster. I am not sure that the highs and lows were quite to the extent that the hon. member for Burlington has experienced, but they were along the same vein. It is something that we all need to work at.

I think a collaborative effort whereby the federal government takes leadership and we identify an aspirational goal for our communities, so that municipalities large and small across Canada can come together and make their facilities available on a particular day where we focus on these values, is very important.

Statistics around childhood obesity and health are common, and I think we all know those numbers. However, it is a delight to rise in this place today to discuss something we all agree on. That is a rare moment. It is something that I am pleased to participate in. Therefore, I would encourage all of my colleagues in this place to not only support this motion and vote in favour of it, but to get back to their communities and make it real, both in their own lives and in the lives of their constituents.

Privacy Commissioner June 5th, 2014

This is the second day that this issue has arisen. Perhaps it is time to review what the Standing Orders actually say and what the expectations of members are.

When the bells for the vote started ringing, there were 30 minutes. It is an obligation of the members to be in the chamber when the 30-minute bell has expired.

I think it is obvious to all members that over the past months, or possibly years, members have slipped into the habit of starting to enter the House or getting ready to enter the House when the clock hits zero. In fact, it is the responsibility of members who want to participate in the vote to actually be in the chamber and to be ready for the vote when the clock hits zero.

As members also know, it is standard practice that the whips for both the government and the official opposition will be out in the lobby and will come down into the chamber together and take their seats. In almost all cases, members know they need to be in their seats at that point, so the vote can proceed.

What we had happen both yesterday and today is that one of the two whips, the government whip yesterday and the opposition whip today, waited until the bells expired and very quickly thereafter entered the chamber by themselves, addressed the Chair, and then took their seat. It is, in fact, not necessary for either of the whips to enter the House. The Speaker can rise and call the vote as soon as the bells have expired. It has become standard practice, in the co-operation that makes this place work better for all of us, that those two whips do that together.

However, it is important to point out to all hon. members on both sides of the House that this is a practice; it is not a rule.

In terms of who is or is not eligible to vote, the issue is that the member needs to be in the chamber in order to hear the question. That is the test for whether they can vote or not. I know that in the past, as I said, it has become common practice that members have been in their seats, sitting, when the two whips take their seats, at which point the chair occupant rises to put the question.

However, it is important to point out that this is not, in fact, absolutely necessary.

It is impossible for the Speaker to keep track of where all 300 members are as the question is being put. To a certain extent, there is an onus on the members not only to be on time but, if they are not here on time, to own up to that and to either not participate in the vote or, if it is pointed out, to subsequently say that their vote ought not to be counted. As is the practice and as members will know, there are times when members rise on a point of order immediately following a vote and point out that another member arrived late, was not here on time, and in their view, did not hear the question being put.

On that basis, being in one's seat, while always a very good idea, is not an actual requirement for being able to participate in the vote. Hearing the question is the requirement.

I have a suggestion for all hon. members. We can avoid this unfortunate circumstance in the future if members pay closer attention to the clock and actually arrive in the House, ready for the vote to be taken, when the clock hits zero, rather than be standing in the lobby.

The Chair is pleased to hear so many members applauding that, knowing that they will all be doing that in the future.

This month is, for many of us, our 10th anniversary of being elected to this place. We all know that there are rules and that there are Standing Orders. However, to a certain extent, this place only works with the good will and co-operation of all members.

After 10 years, the Chair is also aware that toward the end of session, particularly in June when the days get longer, the weather gets warmer, and thoughts of returning to our constituents grow fonder in our hearts, it gets a little crazy around here. I would say that we have had ample evidence of that in the past two days.

I will close with this. If the Minister of Justice says he was in the chamber and he heard the question being put, the Chair will accept that on the word of the minister. I will point out to all hon. members that in the future, the way to avoid this is to actually be in their seats, where they can hear the question being put clearly.

The chief government whip is rising on a point of order.

Republic of Azerbaijan May 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it was 96 years ago today that the Republic of Azerbaijan was established as the first democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world.

Among the most important accomplishments of that first republic was granting suffrage to women in 1919, making Azerbaijan the first Muslim nation to grant women political rights equal to men. Interestingly, that was the same year Canadian women got the vote, and years before British and American women gained the same.

Alas, this independent Azerbaijani state did not last long. Less than two years later, the Soviet Red Army rolled into Baku and a free and democratic Republic of Azerbaijan was no more.

This story does, however, ultimately have a happy ending. Shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Republic of Azerbaijan was re-established in 1991.

Recently, Azerbaijan took the courageous step of joining Canada in support of UN Resolution 262 that called on all nations, including Russia, to recognize the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

As chair of the Canada-Azerbaijan Interparliamentary Friendship Group, I congratulate the Azeri people on this special day and wish the Republic of Azerbaijan a bright future.

Capital Experience October 29th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, there is an impressive group of students in Ottawa today. They are participating in a program I call a “capital experience”, whereby student leaders from each of the seven high schools in my riding come to Ottawa for three days each year to learn about career opportunities in public life.

This is the tenth year of this program. They have visited Parliament, the Belgium ambassador's residence, Amnesty International, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the press gallery, the University of Ottawa, and Summa Strategies.

I wish to thank those who shared their time with the students and thank the businesses and service clubs who sponsored them.

Today I welcome to Parliament Jillian Ribich and Landon Barnes from Brock, Carly Parks and Caroline Ford from Crestwood, Kory Gavin and Lyla Belsey from Fenelon Falls, Jillian Hawley and Riley Tait from Haliburton, Kate Fiddler and Kaylee Pietroski from I.E. Weldon, Katie Brown and Kyle Pugh from LCVI, Elissa O'Neill and Lindsey Dart from St. Thomas Aquinas, and Joe Tucker from Apsley.

I ask my colleagues to join me in wishing these young people all the best as they make decisions regarding their future careers.

Trent-Severn Water Authority Act June 11th, 2013

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-530, An Act to establish the Trent-Severn Water Authority.

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise this morning to say something of substance for the first time in more than five years.

The Trent-Severn Waterway is a vast network of water management and recreational boating infrastructure in central Ontario that stretches from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay. The TSW region is home to more than a million people, including more than 120,000 properties, homes and cottages that front directly on the system.

The Trent-Severn Waterway is many things to many people, but, in my view, one thing it is not is a park. That is why I am introducing this private member's bill that would create an independent entity called the Trent-Severn water authority. It would help to realize the unbelievable potential that many of us believe the Trent-Severn has. Over the years the Trent-Severn Waterway has reported to Transport Canada as well as Canadian Heritage, and currently to the minister responsible for Parks Canada. This independent entity ought to report directly to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

I look forward to ongoing discussions with my colleagues about this idea of realizing the potential of the Trent-Severn Waterway.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act March 21st, 2013

Once again the Chair thanks the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake for rising on this point of order and the member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue for her reference to it as well.

I would like to reiterate a point I made earlier and possibly offer a suggestion on a go-forward basis.

The member for Selkirk—Interlake points out quite correctly that there are rules of relevance in this place, in particular that when we are at report stage and the House is dealing with specific amendments that have been put forward, debate ought to be focused on those amendments rather than on a broad, general discussion of the entire bill or the subject in general.

He has also suggested, if not stated outright, that in this way business before the House is in some ways similar to how a committee would deal with amendments. The points that he has made are all quite relevant.

The question becomes the latitude that the Chair grants to members to discuss business before the House, such as what would be considered allowable context, preamble or reference to other pieces of legislation or other amendments that had been brought forward on the same piece of business, possibly at committee, or other experiences that the hon. member has had.

Therefore, I would remind all hon. members that it is in the collective interest of this place and of all members that time in the House be used efficiently, that members stick to the matter before the House, keep their comments relevant to it and avoid repetition of points that have been made to the same end in terms of the efficiency of this place.

I would suggest to the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake that the Chair will review the comments he has made today regarding the points of order related to the debate that is taking place in the House today and will return to this matter if it is deemed necessary. However, within that context I would like the House to resume debate on this matter and would state that the Chair will continue to exercise judgment of relevance in a way similar to the way it has been exercised in the past, rather than in the more restrictive way requested by this hon. member. That will remain the practice of the Chair until the Chair has had an opportunity to review the matter. If changes to that practice of relevance are made, they will be announced in the House.

The point that the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake makes goes beyond this debate today and is a more general point. With all due respect to that point, it will be considered and if deemed reasonable or necessary, the Chair will return to this matter in the future.

The hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue.

Income Tax Act December 7th, 2012

There are five motions standing on the notice paper for the report stage of the member for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale's Bill C-377, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations).

While it is not usual for the Chair to provide reasons for the selection of report stage motions, in this case it has been decided to do so given that the Speaker has received written submissions from the hon. members for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale and Cape Breton—Canso, outlining exceptional circumstances surrounding the committee consideration of the bill.

As members know, consistent with the note to Standing Order 76.1(5), the Chair would not normally select motions that could have been presented in committee.

In the present case, however, there appears to be extenuating circumstances. The hon. members who have submitted motions at report stage were in attendance at the meeting scheduled for the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill by the Standing Committee on Finance. In addition, they had both submitted motions in advance of this meeting and these had been circulated to all members of the committee. At first glance, it would therefore appear that the amendments submitted by these members could have been proposed during the committee consideration of the bill.

In his submission, the member for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale explained the efforts that were made to ensure that the committee would actually begin the clause-by-clause study of the bill as scheduled in order to complete consideration of the bill within the prescribed deadlines attached to it. He reported that these efforts were unsuccessful and, as a result, there was no opportunity to propose amendments in committee.

The Chair has been met with this kind of circumstance before. On September 20, 2010, in the Debates on page 4,069, Speaker Milliken ruled on a case where the member for Scarborough—Guildwood faced a similar situation in relation to his Bill C-300, an act respecting corporate accountability for the activities of mining, oil or gas in developing countries. In that case, the Speaker selected report stage motions for debate because it had been established that the member had made clear attempts to have the clause-by-clause study take place so that amendments could be considered by the committee.

Similarly, in the case before us today, the Chair has carefully reviewed the sequence of events as well as the written submissions from the members for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale and Cape Breton—Canso and is satisfied that these motions could not be presented during the committee consideration of the bill.

Accordingly, Motions Nos. 1 to 5 have been selected for debate at report stage. They will be grouped for debate and voted upon according to the voting patterns available at the table.

I shall now propose Motions Nos. 1 to 5 to the House.

Student Trip October 30th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, there is a special group of students in Ottawa today. They are participating in a program I call a Capital Experience. Student leaders from each of the seven high schools in my riding come to Ottawa for three days to learn about career opportunities in public life.

They have visited Parliament, the South Korean embassy, Amnesty International, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the press gallery, the University of Ottawa and Summa Strategies.

I wish to thank those who have shared their time with these students and the businesses and service clubs who sponsored them.

Today I welcome to Parliament: Emma Drake and Iain Sullivan from Brock; Kelcey Cathcart and Kelsey Numan from Crestwood; Casey Barber and Raine Storey from Fenelon Falls; George Charlebois and Laura Pottier from Haliburton; Joey DeCunha and Jessica Sutton from I.E. Weldon; Amy Doiron and Eleanore Roundsky from L.C.V.I.; Megan O'Neill and Jessica Weitz from St. Thomas Aquinas; and Julie Hockridge from Apsley.

I ask my colleagues to join me in wishing these young people all the best as they make decisions regarding their future careers.

Business of Supply October 16th, 2012

I thank both the Minister of State for Finance and the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for their interventions. I understand that the question of relevance arose earlier this morning prior to my taking the chair at noon. I would like to make two points. The first is a general point and the second is more specific.

In general terms, there are rules in the Standing Orders that relate to relevance and repetition. It is fair to say that over the years chair occupants have taken a rather wide view of those two matters for the reason that the Chair does not want to unduly limit debate in the House and the opportunity for members to bring the facts that they feel are important or relevant to bear. There are times when the Chair asks members to come back to the matter at hand, but over the eight plus years that I have been in this place, I think it is fair to say that the Chair has taken a relatively wide view of the question of relevance. I think it is also fair to say that when members give a 10 or 20 minute speech, they will often use examples and make arguments that wander away from the principal matter before the House, but it is their responsibility to somehow connect it back to the question at hand.

I would encourage all hon. members to do two things.

First, when members make a presentation to the House, they be mindful of the business before the House and they be respectful of that business as well as the process. This place will function better if all hon. members make a good faith effort to do that.

Second, I would also remind all hon. members that wishing for a much narrower definition of what is relevant and wishing for the Chair to take a much narrower definition of that would have consequences beyond the matter before the House at that time.

I would ask all hon. members if they could balance those two principles. Again, it has been my experience that most of the time members do this very well. While some members take a circuitous route to come to the matter at hand, most of the time they do that.

I have a more specific comment. I have reviewed the blues from earlier today. When the question of relevance arose and when the hon. minister of state rose to speak, I listened very carefully to what he said in order to measure the relevance. Without getting into the substance of the debate before the House today, there is a question of the relevance of omnibus or comprehensive legislation and at what point that becomes inappropriate. The more specific suggestion is that the House ought to refer this to procedure and House affairs committee so it can come back with a ruling.

I heard the minister of state say that he disagreed with the motion before the House today, that he felt that omnibus or comprehensive legislation was not inherently unacceptable or inappropriate in this place. He further argued that matters such as the budget and budget implementation bills were by necessity broad in scope and that it was on that basis that he would vote against the motion.

Subsequently, my expectation is that the minister of state is bringing specific examples to light of how he feels, essentially making the argument that comprehensive legislation is in fact necessary and therefore suggesting that it is inappropriate and that the rules ought to be changed. He disagrees with that proposal. I respect the fact that there are other members in the House who would disagree with his point of view.

With that, I would ask the hon. Minister of State for Finance to continue, to be mindful of the question of relevance and to focus on the matter that is before the House, which is the opposition motion, and to move toward the end of his speech.

Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal June 19th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, every member of Parliament has been given the privilege of selecting 30 recipients for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal. For several months I wondered how I would select just 30 people from the 120,000 in my riding. Obviously there are hundreds of worthy candidates. Upon further reflection, I began to think about the Queen herself and about what she values and stands for. Words such as duty, honour and service quickly came to mind.

I think all Canadians are aware of the high regard the Queen has for our armed forces and how often she pays them respect. That is why I decided to select Diamond Jubilee recipients by honouring those who serve members of our armed forces. For example, there are unsung heroes in Royal Canadian Legions across the country who serve our veterans on a daily basis. In recent years, many Canadians have paid respect to our troops in Afghanistan. In my riding, one woman has sent scores of packages in the mail to soldiers she has not even met. There are also many cadet commanders across Canada who give their time to prepare the future leaders of our armed forces.

It is these people who will receive Diamond Jubilee Medals in my riding. I think my choices are most appropriate and I believe the Queen herself would agree with my decisions.