House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was terms.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Conservative MP for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 50% of the vote.

Statements in the House

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

Mr. Speaker, I suspect that this will be one of the final times I will get to speak in this amazing place. What an honour it has been.

I come from southwestern Ontario, from a little place called Denfield, which one cannot find on a map. All my life, all I ever wanted to do was farm. For those who have ever had a dream and lived it, that was my dream.

I graduated from agriculture college and had the great opportunity to become a dairy farmer and a cash crop farmer. It was an opportunity in my life when we exported cattle nationally and internationally. I also remember at that time, which was the 1980s, that for those of us who were in the business, who were expanding our business or who were buying farms and those types of things, 23% interest was a little more than a challenge. For people who were retired, it was a blessing. I was a long way from being retired. There were major bumps in the road.

Also at this time, I had been married to this amazing woman called Barb. Over those years, she has been with me with me, and together we went through those times. We survived it. We became stronger along with our three children.

Over 35 years ago, I got a call. I was asked if I would become a fence viewer for Lobo Township. I will not go into the details because likely nobody knows what a fence viewer is. Following that, I got a call asking if I would sit on the planning board for the township.

We had just finished planting soybeans when my councillor drove into the yard. He said that he was not running in the fall and asked me if I would run in his place. After 20 years, being a councillor, then deputy, then for 16 years being reeve, mayor and then warden of the county, it was time for him to step back. At that time, when that call came for the job of fence viewer, little did I know it would be the beginning of a political career.

It was a bit of a challenge because when Barb indicated that it would be a great idea to get married, she said she would never marry a politician. At any rate, she has been there with me all this time. Never in my life did I ever think I would be in politics.

After 20 years in municipal politics, some people showed up at my door and said they would like me to consider putting my name in to run for the Conservative Party of Canada. I said that it was not on my radar screen and it never had been. I told Barb and she said, “I think we need to pray about this.” This was the same beautiful woman who many years before had talked about me not being in politics. We prayed about it. Prayer has been one of the solid things in our lives and in our marriage. She said to me, “Whatever your decision is, I'll be there with you.”

I ran in 2004 and lost, and that was good. Not many people would say that, but there were things that happened in the two years before 2006 that make me thankful I was at home with our family.

Then on January 23, 2006, the people of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex allowed me to be the member of Parliament for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex. There should never be an election in the winter, not in Canada.

At any rate, for those who have been through this, there is no staff, no office and, as I found out, had a limited understanding of what the load would be with this job. I have referenced it as being like trying to drink water out of a fire hydrant. After a while, the hose gets smaller and then to gets to where a cup can be put under it and the water can be nourished and drank. It does all come together.

I am thankful and privileged to have served under the Right. Hon. Stephen Harper, a man of wisdom and a man of integrity. During that time, we all had our things, and I was so fortunate to have two private members' motions become legislation. The first focused on agriculture, which was the harmonization of the science for the registration of agriculture inputs. The next one was a motion that would end up, because of my colleague from Grasslands, establishing the Office of Religious Freedom. It would fall under the Minister of Foreign Affairs and would be responsible for monitoring religious persecution around the world. What an honour it was to have representatives from parties in the House support in those motions.

Now we have a new leader, who I believe has a new clear vision for Canada and who I believe will become the prime minister in October.

I want to thank the member from Yorkton for the prayer breakfasts we have on Wednesday mornings. What a stabilizer it is for those of us who have a strong faith.

After nearly 14 years, I could describe this as a walk in life because of the amazing people around me. That, my friends, is what makes it a journey.

I want to thank the special people in my life: my wife Barb, our three children, Cheryl, Greg and Chris, and our 10 grandchildren, with whom I will get to spend much more time.

I thank the incredible people who became my staff over the years and those who carried me through, people like Yvonne Hundey and Pat Davis, who have been there since day one; Stephanie Cattrysse, Todd Gurd and Sarah Brown, who is my corporal in Ottawa. To all the staff who have worked for me, they made a mark in my life and I thank them very much for that.

How do I thank neighbours and friends, the people who take care of things when I am not there? They look after my home and ensure Barb is safe when I am not there. I hope my thanks is enough.

Larry Weatherhead is an unsung hero. He would be embarrassed, but he is a friend and an employee. He carried a lot of the farm workload while I was not there over the years. I thank him.

To my colleagues in this place of all party stripes, I thank them for the friendships we have built and sustained.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank all the people who supported me as well as the ones who did not but who put up with me.

I pass the torch to Leanne Rood, the candidate for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex in October 2019. May the torch be held high.

May God bless each and everyone in this Parliament and may God bless this great country of Canada.

Petitions May 13th, 2019

Madam Speaker, residents across Canada are concerned because, even though equality means that all people are treated fairly without discrimination, individuals in Canada holding certain Christian beliefs are experiencing discrimination.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to permit Christians to robustly exercise their religious beliefs and conscience rights, both in their private and public acts, without coercion, constraint or discrimination.

Petitions May 10th, 2019

Madam Speaker, equality means that all people are treated fairly, without discrimination.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to permit Christians to robustly exercise their religious beliefs and conscience rights, both in their private and public acts, without coercion, constraint or discrimination.

Petitions May 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise to table a petition signed by residents of Canada calling on the House of Commons to permit Christians to robustly exercise their religious beliefs and conscience rights, both in private and public acts, without coercion, constraint or discrimination.

Agricultural Industry May 3rd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, this is a shout out to Canadian farmers, ranchers and the whole agricultural industry.

In April, I had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Produce Marketing Association trade show in Montreal.

I have been around agriculture for a long time, but it continues to amaze me. Canadian agriculture is high-tech, environmentally beneficial and it is a front runner in the world for safe, nutritious quality.

Also, from April 30 to May 5, 4-H Canada youth are in Ottawa for their annual citizenship congress. As a 4H alumni, we all want to welcome them. The knowledge and experience they gain will last a lifetime.

As students also prepare for college and university, they should remember that the agricultural industry is an exciting and rewarding career with a broad reach, from robotics to biochemistry to business management. Also, for each graduate, there are four jobs available.

I thank all Canadian agricultural producers for what they do for our families.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns April 12th, 2019

With regard to the consumption of alcohol and food on flights taken on government-owned Airbus and Challenger aircraft since June 1, 2018: (a) on which flights was alcohol consumed; and (b) for each flight where alcohol was consumed (i) what is the value of alcohol consumed, (ii) what was the origin and destination of the flight, (iii) what was the flight date, (iv) what is the breakdown of alcoholic beverages consumed by specific beverage and quantity, (v) what is the cost of food consumed on each flight?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns April 12th, 2019

With regard to spending on photographers or photography services since June 1, 2018, broken down by department or agency: (a) how much has been spent; (b) what were the dates and duration of each photography contract; (c) what was the initial and final value of each contract; (d) what were the events or occasions which were meant to be photographed as a result of each contract; and (e) what were the locations where the photography work was performed for each contract?

Committees of the House March 19th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I am wondering what happens now. This is seems like the sponsorship scandal only bigger because of the amount of dollars involved. The one likely to follow this is the case of Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, where again the Liberals will not release the documents needed so the second-highest commander in the Royal Canadian Navy can get a fair trial. This is being done to protect their own people in cabinet so they do not get drawn into it any deeper than they are.

Yesterday we found out that the Liberals hired Anne McLellan, of all people, to provide legal advice and look into this. She is a fundraiser for the party and she was actually part of the sponsorship scandal. Summer is coming. I think the Liberals were hoping this would just go away. I would like to hear my colleague's response to that. Do you think it will actually away? What are you hearing from your constituents?

Business of Supply February 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the member's speech was sort of interesting. He was saying that the Liberals are now going to have a deficit this year of some $23 billion.

Does that mean that their revenue has actually dropped, and that this is the reason, or has the revenue for the government actually increased? That would mean it has more money coming in but is spending more to create a $23 billion deficit.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 28th, 2019

With regard to projects funded since May 1, 2018, under the Atlantic Fisheries Fund: what are the details of all such projects, including (i) project name, (ii) description, (iii) location, (iv) recipient, (v) amount of federal contribution, (vi) date of announcement?