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- His favourite word is union.
Conservative MP for Red Deer—Lacombe (Alberta)
Won his last election, in 2015, with 71% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Ethics October 25th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, the only thing they rejected is them with their own rules. The rules that the Prime Minister published were clear: no stakeholder should get preferential access because they donate to a party or a politician. He either believes in his words or he does not.
The vice-president of RBC Dominion Securities attended an event with the finance minister in October. The CEO of EllisDon construction attended the Prime Minister's event in September. And now the chairman for Apotex is helping organize the finance minister's November high-roller event.
Does the Prime Minister believe in his rules, and if he does, when will he stop dodging these questions and put an end to these cash-for-access fundraisers?
Ethics October 25th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, on November 7, the finance minister will be the star attraction at another cash-for-access fundraiser, organized by Barry Sherman, the chairman of Apotex. We know that Apotex has lobbied thefinance minister three times in the last six months. Now, we learn that Apotex is actively suing the federal government.
Clearly, the Prime Minister's rules are being broken. Why will the Prime Minister not punish his ministers? Is it because the Prime Minister has secretly instructed his ministers to engage in these cash-for-access kickbacks anyway?
Ethics October 24th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, the open and accountable government document means absolutely nothing. We are not talking about the Elections Canada rules.
I am asking about the rules that the Prime Minister instructed his ministers and himself to abide by. When the Minister of Finance accepted $1,500 from Mr. Spatz, a public office holder, he clearly breached the Prime Minister's instructions.
Who is enforcing these rules? Or, is it just another case of the Liberals saying one thing and doing the other?
Ethics October 24th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, Jim Spatz was appointed to the Halifax Port Authority on the recommendation of his good buddy, the President of the Treasury Board.
On October 13, Mr. Spatz attended a $1,500 a ticket cash for access fundraiser. The Prime Minister's open and accountable government document says that public office holders, like Mr. Spatz, must not participate in political activity that is or is seen to be incompatible with their duties. Mr. Spatz has clearly violated the Prime Minister's ethics rules.
When will the Prime Minister start acting like a leader and enforcing his own rules?
Ethics October 20th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, we have learned that at least 20 cash-for-access fundraisers have taken place within this year with senior cabinet ministers and even the Prime Minister. The finance minister defended these shakedowns as part of the consultation process. The finance minister did two of these events in August, and he will be doing another one in November. Even the Prime Minister is doing his own $1,500 cash-for-access event tonight in London, Ontario.
Will the minister come clean about who he is meeting and what he promised his friends, or do I have to give him 1,500 bucks to get an answer?
Ethics October 20th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, the finance minister defended his cash-for-access scheme, claiming that it was part of the consultation process for the budget. Average Canadians will be disgusted to learn that they now have to fork over a $1,500 donation to the Liberal Party to be heard on the upcoming budget.
If the event was part of the consultation process, as the finance minister claims, will he rise in the House and tell Canadians who attended the event and what was promised to his friends?
Canada Labour Code October 19th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, we already had the polling information that I put out there that tells us there is already a broad consensus among the Canadian public about how they would like to see this particular piece of legislation.
Bill C-525 is no different from the laws that already exist in other jurisdictions outside of Canada and in our provinces within Canada. This is not some airy-fairy massive change. This is simply giving the Canada Labour Code, or whatever looks after the private sector, that ability. The legislation before Bill C-525 had “may” actually go to the union members and have a secret ballot vote. Changing the word “may” to “shall” is really all that Bill C-525 did. It took something that was optional and made it mandatory, at no extra cost, by the way. The bill did not need a royal recommendation or anything like that, because the labour council could simply absorb that. It is part of its mandate already. It is part of what it does.
No, I am not buying the member's argument. Is he saying that private members should not have the right to bring forward legislation to change labour laws or things like the wording of the national anthem?
Canada Labour Code October 19th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I brought forward my bill, Bill C-525, in response to questions about financial transparency. I looked after the accountability part of it, which dealt with the mandatory secret ballot vote. The member should understand that the people that had come to talk to me in my own constituency had differences of opinions with their union leadership.
I have been a member of a union as well, several different times. I am not arguing against whether or not unions should or should not exist. The reality is, though, that certain members get offside with their union leadership. That union then has the entire wherewithal of all of the money from union dues to use in court litigation and action against members who disagree with the leadership of the union. When they ask for that information and try to get specific information about their case, about how much money is being spent on litigation against one poor union member, a union member, by the way, who is supposed to be looked after by the union leadership and not sued and litigated by the union membership, they cannot get that information.
Is the hon. member standing in his place here and accusing my constituents of lying?
Canada Labour Code October 19th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, it saddens me that this is likely the last time I am going to get to rise in the House and debate this piece of legislation, unless we have some type of miracle in the Senate that protects the rights of workers.
I want to thank my colleague for his speech, but I find the comments that he made to be paramount in their hypocrisy when it comes to what he is actually saying. It does not make any sense to me. He said as the former labour minister for Ontario that Ontario had it right. Guess what workers in Ontario get to do when they are asked if they want to be part of a union or not? They get the right to a secret ballot.
The member talked about the rights of workers. These are workers' rights and human rights, so what about the right to vote? What about the right to know where a person's legislatively mandated union dues go? Those union dues are tax deductible at the expense of about half a billion dollars for the taxpayers of Canada. What about the rights of all those people to know how that money is actually spent?
We know. We do not have to rely on the misinformation campaign by the member opposite. We can simply look at the polling information that has been done time and time again, which has resulted in the very same regressive laws that the Liberal Party, with the support of the NDP, is going back to. These laws have been changed in virtually every other democracy in the world that we would consider to be our peers, and in the provinces of our very own country. The United States, for example, has mandatory secret ballot voting for workers to decide whether or not they want to be in a union. Various countries in Europe have the same thing. Various provinces in Canada have the exact same thing.
I do not know any members of Parliament who have stood in the House and said that a constituent asked them when once elected by a secret ballot to trundle off to Ottawa, rise in their places and make some speech about things that are flowery but do not make any sense whatsoever. I do not know of any members whose constituents have asked for their ability to see where their tax dollars or union dues are spent to be taken away. I do not know of any members who have said that their constituents have asked them to take away their ability to have a secret ballot vote because they do not want to make that decision on their own behalf. It is tomfoolery. That is absolutely ludicrous.
The Liberals talk a great game about union bosses and they talk a great game about employers, but they never talk about what an actual worker wants. Unionized workers are the people who actually pay the dues. They are not the people who live off the dues. They are not the people necessarily who subsidize the union dues. Unionized workers are the people who go to work and show up with their lunch pails in their hands every day. They are the people who pay these union dues.
Leger as recently as 2013 asked for people's opinion on the secret ballot when a union is formed or removed from a workplace. Across the country, 69% of Canadians completely agreed and 17% somewhat agreed. We are talking numbers north of 75% to 80% in the various regions of this country of unionized workers who absolutely want the right to have a mandatory secret ballot vote to verify whether or not they want to be members of a union. What is so wrong with supporting that notion? It is absolutely mind-boggling to me. This would be tantamount to members of Parliament knocking on doors in their constituencies during a byelection or a general election campaign with ballots in hand. They bring along two of the biggest people they know who stand right behind them and they tell the person who answers the door that it might be in his or her best interests to vote for them right there, right now. That is called card checking and that is sometimes how it is played out. I have heard that from my constituents.
The Liberals and the NDP like to claim that it was the previous Conservative government's notion to put this bill forward. I did it. I put Bill C-525 forward and I did it because I heard from workers in my riding that they were not getting the accountability that they wanted.
I do not think as a member of Parliament that I should be reaching into the internal operations of a union, but I do believe as a member of Parliament that I have a responsibility to give every accountability measure I can to workers so they can understand where their money is being spent, so they have the ability to see where it is being spent, and so they have the ability to hold that union to account if it is not doing a good job spending their union dues.
Absolutely, this is the right way to solve this problem. Give people the tools to look after themselves, and they will do it. I could go on about this poll.
Opinions on the disclosure of financial information is the other aspect of the bill. It is clear that the Liberals are simply promising things to their friends. Nobody in their right mind would actually take away financial transparency provisions in any piece of legislation. We move forward on transparency when it comes to letting taxpayers know where their dollars are being spent and letting people know what investments are being made on their behalf, but no, that is not what is happening here through Bill C-4, by the Liberal government, with the support of the New Democrats, the Green Party, and the Bloc Québécois. Only Conservatives actually want to let people know where their money is being spent.
It does not just stop at unions. They are doing the same thing by not enforcing the first nations financial transparency accountability legislation. The Liberals have aligned themselves with the elite at the top, the union bosses, the reserve chiefs, the band chiefs and council members. They are not actually looking after the so-called middle-class, everyday, ordinary person either living on reserve or carrying their lunch pail every day to their job.
This is a matter of saying one thing, and doing absolutely the opposite. Members do not have to trust me, but if they do not take my word for it, let us take a look at the opinion on disclosure of financial information. Respondents were asked for their opinion on the disclosure of financial information without giving them a preamble, and the majority of employed Canadians completely or somewhat agreed that it should be mandatory for unions to publicly disclose detailed financial information on a regular basis.
How many completely agreed? Not one region of this country actually had anything less than 60% who completely agreed, and nothing less than 16% for somewhat agreed for totals of north of 80%, again, on almost all of these indicators, 80%, when asked in a poll.
These are numbers that most people could only dream of getting in an election. I know, because I got it once. Having this kind of a mandate to be able to go forward and do something is wonderful. This is what Canadians want. This is what they expect. This is what they deserve. This is, however, what is being taken away from them.
If we take a look at the opinion on union due uses, most union workers might not actually know where their union dues are being spent. More than eight out of 10 employed Canadians completely or somewhat disagreed with using union dues to fund attack ads against a political party or making contributions to political parties, or making contributions to advocacy groups unrelated to their workplace needs.
The fact that that question needs to be asked at all in a poll is indicative of the problem, a problem that can be resolved by, one, shedding light on where the money is being spent, and two, giving people the right to vote on what their best interest is based on the performance of the union that is representing them or wanting to represent them.
I simply cannot fathom why anybody would want to take away somebody's right to a secret ballot vote, and take away somebody's right to see where their money is being spent on their behalf.
I have to appeal to the better angels in this place, the ones who know and understand what fairness is all about, the ones who stand up and speak for transparency, who speak in favour of accountability. These people need to stick to their convictions and vote against this regressive piece of legislation, taking us back to a time where nobody knows where the money is being spent, and taxpayers cannot be assured where their taxpayer-funded union due deductions are being spent, and where workers actually have the ability, each and every time, to decide if they want to be in the union, to recertify to be in the union, or to decertify.
The process under Bill C-525 made decertification and certification exactly the same, and yet the Liberals and the NDP and the other parties in this House say that it is now unbalanced, when it is exactly the same. It is in balance. We do not drive around with 15 pounds of pressure in the front left tire and 60 pounds of pressure in the front right tire. That is not how it works.
In conclusion, I can only say how proud I was as a member of Parliament to have a mandate from a secret ballot vote to come to this place to present a private member's bill that changed the legislation for the betterment of workers in this country, and I will stand by them all the way, regardless of what the government tries to do.
Government Appointments October 19th, 2016
Well, it gets worse, Mr. Speaker. The event was hosted at the waterfront mansion of Mr. Fred George, a land developer who just received a federal appointment to the Halifax Port Authority from his friend, the President of the Treasury Board. There could not be a bigger quagmire of conflicts of interest.
The Liberals appoint a land developer who is conveniently a bagman for their party who oversees the port's development. This bagman then hosts a fundraiser for the finance minister, who controls the purse strings and possible investments of this same port. In what universe would the finance minister ever claim that this was either ethical or acceptable?