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  • His favourite word is poverty.

Conservative MP for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 53% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Christmas October 19th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, my favourite time of the year is just two short months away. With the Christmas season just around the corner, Canadians from across the country will be spending special time with our families and friends.

Christmas is a time to reflect on our many blessings in Canada, while also celebrating the birth of Jesus, a saviour for all the world.

These are some timeless words from Luke that have given all mankind joy and hope over the centuries:

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.

And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”

May the Christmas story of this humble birth in a stable remind us of the real hope given to all of us.

From our Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies family to everyone across Canada, merry Christmas.

Business of Supply October 19th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, that is a great question. The industry views risk as a calculation. If a company's survival is at risk, that company will go somewhere else where it will survive and flourish. We have seen a lot of our Canadian forestry companies go south. Some of our older companies that used to be located predominately in Canada now have more than 50% of their mills in the U.S.

When we talk about over-regulation, these groups are going to make a decision just like we saw with Pacific NorthWest LNG, and so on. They look at the risk and decide to move out of Canada.

I would like to highlight something the member said: once we lose these companies it is going to be difficult to get them back.

Business of Supply October 19th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, that simply highlights the two philosophies of two different governments, with one that would subsidize everything.

During all of my discussions with forestry workers and mill owners, I have never been asked for a subsidy. They have only asked to get this agreement signed and done so they can do what they do best and open the gates of trade.

I have always viewed the role of government as keeping the doors of trade open, not to over-regulate, but to let the groups that want to trade do exactly that. We should be staying out of the way, not getting involved.

The Liberal government subsidizes. It subsidized Bombardier not long ago and I do not know how well that has worked for the government. The company has failed miserably to the tune of $500 million.

The forest industry is not asking for subsidies. It is asking for a good agreement, and I hope the government understands that.

Business of Supply October 19th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to speak today about the softwood lumber industry, the motion, and share some concerns. I come from a northern British Columbia riding. Forestry is big in Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies. Just two weeks ago, I visited Lakeland Mills in Prince George to see how it was doing. It was affected by the mill fire and loss of life. It has recovered well and selling its lumber, thankfully, with the temporary lifting of the tariffs until, I guess, the U.S. decides to re-establish them in November.

I made a lot of trips to the U.S. to understand its view on the softwood lumber industry. I got to know Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interior, and a week into the Trump administration's mandate, in February of this year, I understood where they were going. They are developing a lot of their public timber and fibre to be much more competitive with Canada's. The concern is that Canada supplies a lot of their timber and lumber.

When talking about the softwood lumber agreement, the reason I bring up the U.S. is that 69% of our softwood goes to the U.S., which is a big deal. Meanwhile, the U.S. administration to the south of us is sharpening its pencils and doing its very best and whatever it takes to develop its industry. We cannot blame it for that. It is defending its country, just as we defend ours. The government seems to be making a lacklustre effort to negotiate a softwood lumber agreement. It was the former Conservative government that actually negotiated and extended the last softwood lumber agreement. Conservatives think it was a successful agreement, with two streams to it. When I go to the U.S. and talk to the Secretary of the Interior, I ask why we cannot sign a similar agreement to the one that worked for everyone before and I argue that the U.S. needs our lumber, etc.

I will go back to why we are debating this today in the House. We have a government that does not seem to be interested in the softwood file. It is busy with NAFTA, which is a big part of what it is dealing with right now, but on softwood lumber, I would say as a person from the province of British Columbia, that it is equally as large in terms of exports. It is a massive part of our industry base, providing jobs and employing British Columbians and Canadians in the province and my riding. That is why Conservatives are deeply concerned.

When the Liberal government was elected in 2015, it seemed that some positive things were going to come from the relationship between the Liberal government and the then Obama administration. On softwood lumber, the Prime Minister and the president promised to have an agreement within 100 days. When those two key figures make a promise like that, there should be no reason why they could not come together. Ideologically, there were not many differences between the two administrations. There was a lot of hoopla, fanfare, and expense for the president to come to Ottawa. We always welcome heads of states from other countries in this place, in this room where we sit today. With all of the fanfare, we hoped that a book would be opened and the softwood lumber agreement would be signed.

Days went by, the president spoke in this place, and then left, with no agreement being reached. Members with softwood in their ridings knew it was a huge missed opportunity. It sent signals to forestry workers in B.C., Quebec, and across Canada that the government did not view softwood as that important an issue. Selfies, pictures with the president, and dinners with fancy suits and dresses were important, but no signal was sent by the Prime Minister and the president in reaching a softwood lumber agreement, which could have been done easily. That makes us question if the government understands how significant this industry is to the entire country. It sent a signal that really did not exist.

I understand that it is difficult to conclude a softwood lumber agreement, but when we hear a promise by a prime minister and a president that they can reach one within 100 days, we would expect them to have it all sorted out. They had three months to get it done. They already had a pre-existing agreement that had worked for both countries. It would have been very simple to bring that back to the table and sign off on it so we could continue.

Right now, we are caught in a dispute that is just going to get worse. With our American neighbours elbowing us out for their own industry to grow, it is likely not going to get better.

We cannot cry over spilled milk, but there was a whole bunch of spilled milk that day when the agreement was not signed and fulfilled. It left a promise unfulfilled by both individuals.

Concerning a lot of our communities, we wonder about our government's resource development philosophy. We see projects in B.C., even pipelines, being over-regulated to the point that companies are pulling out of the province of B.C. The Energy east project has been halted, with the company saying there are too many regulations and too many risk factors to proceed with that particular investment.

We look back at other industries like agriculture and forestry that have chugged along year after year over the centuries in Canada, and we look to rely on those even more for stability in our economy. It is troubling that the government appears not to understand how significant that is. It has really failed our forestry industry and workers.

As politicians we are often guilty of talking about the economy, numbers, GDP, exports, and import tariffs, and all of that kind of terminology, but it really comes down to food on tables, roofs over heads, and sustaining families where they want to live.

I was born and raised in the Peace region. We lived out here in Ottawa when my kids were small. We are happy to be back in Fort St. John and the north Peace area of the province of British Columbia. People ask why we would want to go back when we lived in such a nice city, in Ottawa. It is because it is home. A lot the forestry workers simply want a nice place to live, which we have in beautiful northern British Columbia.

Robson Valley is another place where there is a lot of forestry, including in Valemount, McBride, Prince George, and all the way up the Rocky Mountains. They all really rely on the forest industry. It is not a number they rely on in the forest industry; it is a person, a family, and other industries. There are subsets of those industries, employing heavy-duty mechanics and others. I have often said that a person at Tim Hortons selling coffee to people in the morning is likely selling it to someone who works at a mill and makes lumber. Likewise, someone who works on trucks, like my son, a heavy-duty mechanic, likely works for a company in forestry. He is a first-year apprentice. He works on trucks and heavy equipment that go right out into the forest. That is how he makes his living. It has afforded him a nice car and lifestyle.

I want to get back to the government needing to care about that person on the ground. We are coming up to Christmas. We will be celebrating a great season with our families and we want to make sure that those jobs and lifestyles are sustained.

I hope that the government considers how important the softwood lumber agreement is to British Columbia, Quebec, and Canada. I hope it will do a better job than it did in the past. We saw a lost opportunity, and I hope the relevant ministers and the Prime Minister grasp how important the agreement is and how much it means to Canadians. I hope they will think about the people who are attached to these forestry jobs and how they would be affected by a signed softwood lumber agreement.

B.C. Wildfires October 17th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, this past summer British Columbia was ravaged by wildfires, and as difficult as it has been, we have seen fellow Canadians step up to help their neighbours. The City of Fort St. John deployed five crews over the summer. It is my privilege to honour them now, as follows: Shift Captain Brent Morgan, Captain Ryan Tancock, Captain Simon Caughill, Matt Crompton, James Grant, Ryan Bowie, Jasen Donszelmann, Adam Horst, Craig Faulkner, Chris Austin, Matt Troiano, Matt Dawes, Gordon Mckay, Leo Sullivan, and Brandon Moore. I would also especially like to mention Chief Fred Burrows, who deployed during their first week at Williams Lake and took on the role of task group leader.

On behalf of all residents of Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies in British Columbia, I thank all the firefighters and first responders who worked so selflessly this past summer to battle the B.C. wildfires. We thank them from the bottom of all of our hearts.

Business of Supply October 17th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the hon. member across the way the motion reads:

That, given accusations by experts that the Minister of Finance’s family business, Morneau Shepell, stands to benefit from the proposed changes outlined in “Tax Planning Using Private Corporations” and assurances by the Minister that he has abided by his Public Declaration of Agreed Compliance Measures with respect to his family business, the House request that the Minister table all documents he submitted to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner between November 4, 2015, and July 18, 2017.

That is the motion before the House right now. I would hope the member across the way would recognize that is the topic of discussion today, not seemingly going down the topic the member is talking about. I just wanted to correct him on that. He might want to stick to the subject at hand.

Export and Import Permits Act September 28th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I just want to bring this to the attention of the House. We all remember former minister Baird as a great guy who represented a Toronto riding. This is just something that his office said. He wanted to have fairness for law-abiding hunters and sportsmen. One of the reasons we signed on to the original agreement was the desire to exempt sports hunters and sports shooters, etc. However, that did not happen and that is why we could not sign it. Former minister Baird referred to how afraid the Liberal Party was of being branded as re-establishing that registry because it has a lot of rural ridings. He said that it does not make sense to abolish that registry only to support one internationally. That is exactly why we are opposed to Bill C-47.

Does my hon. colleague think it is okay on the one hand as a government to get rid of a registry that nobody seemed to like in Canada, and that was brought in by a former Liberal government, and then establish another one internationally? Does he think that is okay?

Export and Import Permits Act September 28th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, once again we see the difference between what Liberals understand about the bill and what the reality is on the ground and how it would affect firearms owners in Canada and firearms sellers and exporters in Canada. I would like the member to fully explain so that members fully understand.

They defend some aspects that we agree on. The illicit arms trade is exactly something that we want to get to the bottom of and want to stop. Can you explain for the members across the way why this is really a big deal to our constituents in rural Canada and why another form of registry is a big deal?

Export and Import Permits Act September 28th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I actually have Bill C-47 in front of me. The Liberals keep talking about how they are not establishing a new firearms registry, but this is exactly what the bill does, and that is exactly the reason we did not ratify this particular agreement when we were in government. I had a private member's bill that challenged us not to sign on to the ATT because of that requirement to keep records.

Does the hon. member understand that the ATT requires organizations in Canada, such as firearms' dealers, to actually retain records for up to seven years? Does he understand that?

Export and Import Permits Act September 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I will answer his question. I just was not sure, because I read it out before. I was just being clear.

This is the actual bill. I could read what it states under, “Keeping records”, but I do not have the time to do that. I have it right here and it is even highlighted in yellow. After we have finished the debate, I will show the member the actual problems with the firearms community. There are two key parts. It is the fact that these companies would now be required to collect records of firearms sales, which includes long guns and handguns. That is a registry. When we got rid of the firearms registry, it was a big deal to a lot of Canadians. The Liberal government said it would never re-establish the long gun registry. This is establishing a new long gun registry.

If that is the question, I think you need to go back and talk to some of your firearms owners and maybe some in your firearms community and ask if it is a big deal that they collect records again, because I am pretty sure it is.