House of Commons photo

Track Bob

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • 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

Member for Cariboo—Prince George June 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize an individual and friend from Prince George. This individual and former hockey coach was on his way home to Prince George when he noticed a fellow passenger was in distress and fell unconscious. The former hockey coach sprung into action and performed live-saving chest compressions, saving the person's life. The passenger, once back in Vancouver, had to be defibrillated twice more.

Due to his quick thinking and this Prince George resident's actions, a person is alive today.

We cannot thank individuals like him enough. As he said, “I don't think we did anything different than anyone else would have done.” The individual I am recognizing today is our friend and life-saving colleague, the member for Cariboo—Prince George.

Committees of the House June 13th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I want to start off tonight by thanking the member for St. Albert—Edmonton for putting his heart in the cause.

I think a lot of us have heard the story about Constable Wynn and the family he left behind. His dear wife sits in this place tonight listening to our debate, which actually makes it a little more difficult to talk about, because sometimes this place is filled with a lot of words. However, tonight these are powerful words that have impacted somebody's life and will impact lives in the future.

Bill S-217 is asking for something very simple. However, I think the governing party is trying to mislead this place by making it something more complicated than it really is. For instance, “may” and “shall” refer to two different things. The term is “may...lead evidence”, which we would change to “shall...lead evidence” or shall present evidence. There is no aspect of this that would require proof. It talks about presenting evidence, to demand that evidence is put before the court in these kinds of cases.

I want to talk about an article in the National Post about the person who shot Constable Wynn, and I will go over some of the details.

...details a lengthy list of 57 convictions, starting in April 1999 when he was ordered jailed for two months for theft and break and enter.

In the years that followed, when Rehn wasn’t serving time, he was racking up convictions in Edmonton, Calgary and the smaller communities of Evansburg and Drumheller.

They were for assault, assault with a weapon, drug possession and possession of prohibited firearms. He obstructed a peace officer, escaped lawful custody and drove while disqualified.

He also was convicted for breaking and entering, theft and possession of stolen property.

Parole Board Of Canada documents show Rehn served two federal jail terms as an adult.

The first was a two-year sentence for possession of stolen property and driving while disqualified. The second was for three years on charges including escaping custody and possession of a loaded prohibited weapon.

Collectively, he was sentenced to serve more than 12 years in custody, but it’s not clear how much of that time he actually spent behind bars.

On the day he died, [the criminal]...was still facing 30 charges for four separate offences, including fraud, resisting a peace officer, escaping lawful custody, possessing a prohibited firearm, failing to appear in court, failing to stop for police, dangerous driving and multiple charges of breaching bail conditions.

Somebody mentioned that there were more than 50 convictions, but there were 57, and all the member for St. Albert—Edmonton is asking is that this evidence be put before the court when bail is being granted or discussed. To look elsewhere is absolutely a breach of justice for the Canadian public, to overlook those 57 convictions.

The opposition has the victims bill of rights on our side, which was one of the proudest moments of our government when I first arrived here in 2011. The victims bill of rights is something that recognizes victims and their meaningful place in these court cases in our justice system, because it is a system that often seems to overlook a victim. As soon as people are victims, as soon as they pass away or are gone, they are discarded and not even accounted for in terms of the case. It seems they do not matter. It feels as if they do not matter.

We have heard the other side say that they care about justice, that they care about Constable Wynn's family, and these kinds of issues. This is one of hundreds of issues across this country where these kinds of previous convictions are not taken into account in bail hearings, and they need to be. We absolutely need these cases and previous convictions brought before bail hearings so that these guys and ladies remain behind bars, where they should be.

Sometimes, unless it is happening next door or it is a personal issue, where a family member of ours is involved in a particular case, there is a distance there.

The government has supported this legislation before. I would challenge the government members to put themselves in that seat up there, where the wife of Constable Wynn is sitting. They should put themselves in that seat up there. Her husband is never coming home. I challenge the other side to do this very thing, to put themselves in the place of the family members who are left behind because somebody is out walking the streets with 57 convictions and multitudes of others.

I heard of one case where there are 150 previous convictions and yet this person is still walking the streets committing crimes in our country. How is that even possible? It is possible because there is a clause that says “may” instead of “shall”. If we put this clause into our justice system that says “shall...lead”, shall produce evidence or “shall...lead evidence” of previous convictions, I think we could greatly reduce the number of people walking the streets who really should not be, for our own safety, for the safety of the members on the government side, and for their kids' safety, as well.

Again, I am going to challenge the government side that was supportive of it. The members voted for it before and I challenge them to vote for it again, and support our justice system in Canada. We can make it a justice system again, not a legal system. There are too many stories of people getting hurt. They are not coming back. They disappear off the record. Victims often do. After the funeral and all things are said and done, the niceties that have been said and exchanged, people like the Wynns have to go back to living their lives without the patriarch of their family.

This simple wording change would help Constable Wynn and those like him who go out to do justice for us on a daily basis. They go out and have to deal with these types of individuals on the street. It would give them a better chance of coming home at night.

I see members on the other side shaking their heads. I see people smiling and having great conversations, but this is actually some serious legislation that we are discussing tonight. For me, I would appreciate a greater amount of respect for the issue at hand, considering the person who is sitting up in our gallery.

The member across the way heckles me. What I cannot understand, and maybe I will just go to my thoughts, is how this particular member and members with him on the government side, who supported this previously, and who say they are behind the intent of Bill S-217, all of a sudden are completely changed in what they think the intent of this bill is and what it can do and will not do. They are saying that it does not plug every hole, so they are not going to support it. It does not fix everything, including the kitchen sink, so the government members are not behind it now.

For once, maybe the government could put a word in the law that gives the RCMP members a better chance of coming home at night. Why would the government members not even give them a 1% or 2% better chance of coming home at night? The member across the way is shaking his head again. I do not understand it. Why would we not give our legal system a better shot at keeping these guys behind bars, as we should? We are all responsible in this place to do that.

I would call on the government side and other opposition members to seriously consider Wynn's law, as we have termed it, and the fine work that the member for St. Albert—Edmonton has done on this. I say this in all sincerity. We get partisan in this place, but this is absolutely not a partisan issue for us. This is about justice. This is about keeping dangerous people off the streets, so men like Constable Wynn can go home to their wives and children.

I would just challenge this place to do the right thing. Regardless of what our parties think of this, all members should vote and do the right thing in supporting Bill S-217.

Public Safety June 13th, 2017

There is a problem with what the minister just said, Mr. Speaker.

The Quebec data was ordered destroyed after a failed appeal at the Supreme Court, and further confirmed destroyed April 2015 by the RCMP deputy commissioner, Peter Henschel. The Information Commissioner did not ask for the data until June 2015, two months after it was allegedly destroyed by the RCMP.

Someone is not being honest here, and Canadian law-abiding firearms owners deserve to know the truth. If the long gun registry data is not destroyed, the minister is saying the RCMP did not tell the truth at committee, a serious accusation. An equally serious accusation is that someone illegally preserved the data. Which is it?

Public Safety June 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, according to RCMP deputy commissioner Peter Henschel's own testimony, June 4, 2015:

...the RCMP destroyed the records between October 26, 2012, and October 31, 2012, with the exception of the Quebec records, which were maintained pending the outcome of a Supreme Court decision.

When that decision was rendered on March 27, 2015, the RCMP deleted the remaining Quebec records from the Canadian firearms information system between April 10 to April 12, 2015....

Someone is not telling the truth. Can the minister explain why he is saying something different from the RCMP?

Business of Supply June 12th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Battle River—Crowfoot for bringing that up, because this is how good an agreement that was. It held up in the higher court and we actually won those battles. The Americans came back and tried to get us for $5 billion, and we won the case and we got the money back.

The proof is in the pudding that we could pull off a great softwood lumber agreement. It held up in the higher courts of the land and in international courts for that matter. Let me remind the Liberals across the way that we got that done under a Conservative government. The challenge before the Liberals now is to get their own softwood lumber agreement that is so strong it will hold up in those higher courts. The challenge is out there. I honestly hope they pull it off.

Business of Supply June 12th, 2017

Madam Speaker, that is actually a great question. We were working on it in 2006 and got it done. We had it extended in 2012. It is good to have an extension. Why create a new softwood lumber agreement if we can extend it?

There was a little thing called an election that got in the way of 2015. While we were working on a new agreement, trying to work out the details, the election got in the way. Had we got back, it is all speculative what we would have been able to do, but we did it before and we know we could do it again. Now the challenge is up to the government across the way to follow through on its promise of 100 days. The 100 days have gone and are behind us. The challenge is for the government to pull it off.

Business of Supply June 12th, 2017

Madam Speaker, it is actually funny that he wonders what planet we are on. Our government got a softwood lumber agreement and got an extension. I would challenge the hon. member. This is coming from a government that has zero softwood lumber agreements under its belt but just keeps throwing the mud back at us. We are not in government anymore to make that decision. I think the challenge is for the member across the way. The Liberals need to develop their own softwood lumber agreement. If they are so good at making softwood lumber agreements, let us see it. Let us see them pull it off.

The government had the opportunity with a willing Prime Minister and a willing president to get a softwood lumber agreement. What did we get? Absolutely nothing. Until the Liberals can prove they can pull off a softwood lumber agreement, they should think twice about saying that about our former government.

Business of Supply June 12th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Battle River—Crowfoot.

I would like to speak to the motion of my colleague for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, and I will highlight three key things on forestry.

The first part of the motion reads:

That the House recognize that the government has mismanaged the economy in a way that is damaging Canadian industries and diminishing Canadians’ economic stability by: (a) failing to negotiate a deal on softwood lumber...forestry workers;

This is a section of the larger motion the member has brought forward. However, it is a big deal to people in British Columbia and across the country for that matter. However, I will speak to how it affects people of Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies.

There was promise by the Prime Minister and President Obama that this deal would be reached within the first 100 days of the government's regime. I think we can all agree that there are some things other parties do that we like and want to see go through. It is not just about winning the political game; it is about what is good for our constituents. Therefore, we were hopeful that this 100-day agreement would come to fruition.

There was a big announcement that President Obama was going to come to Ottawa to speak, and he did. Regardless of whatever party the president represents, it is an honour to be in this place to hear heads of state speak. However, usually a visit from a head of state, especially one that promised a deal on softwood lumber, would follow with the signing of an agreement. We had hoped for that, and it would have worked out on timing. I think it was 90-plus days when the former president came to speak to us.

We heard the speech in Parliament, and I am sure many Canadians watched it on TV, and we waited. We thought maybe that night an agreement would be signed and we would hear an announcement the next morning that the Prime Minister and President Obama had come to an agreement. However, we were disappointed when President Obama left Ottawa without any documents signed. We knew then that we were in trouble. That was the window of opportunity for Canadians and Americans to get the agreement signed and done.

People say that it is a complicated thing to sign a softwood lumber agreement. I have the agreement that our previous government crafted. Anybody go to the web, under, and find the most recent softwood lumber agreement. All we were looking for was to have that reinstated. We negotiated this agreement before. It was fair to both countries. We were trading softwood lumber across our borders quite well with that agreement.

A group of us went to Washington in February. I wanted to meet with some of the members of the transition team for the new President. This was about a week after his inauguration. I met with about 10 members of the transition team and other members of the natural resource committee. We asked what the intent of the current presidency was on signing this agreement. We wanted to see where they stood on it. The message I received was quite clear. The new President was looking to expand the lumber manufacturing in the U.S. He wanted to develop his own industry and expand it even further. The new administration wanted to look at public land timber as opposed to private land timber, which would greatly expand timber and lumber manufacturing in the U.S.

What was clear to me was that we had a new regime in the U.S. that wanted to dramatically develop its resources, dramatically increase forestry production. What was also clear to me was that our window had passed. The window we had with what Obama and the current Prime Minister promised would have been the perfect opportunity, but alas, it did not happen.

I want to respond in the latter part of my speech to some of the comments that we hear, such as, “Conservatives didn't get it done under their watch.” Actually, we did get it done. We got it done, originally, in 2006, and we got an extension in 2012, up until a few months ago. They say we did not get it done, yet we actually have an agreement and we have an extension to that agreement that carried us from 2006 for 10 years and beyond.

To say that we, as Conservatives, did not get it done is, to me, laughable. We are the only ones who have produced a softwood lumber agreement in my recent memory. I would challenge the Liberals across the way to say otherwise. The fact of the matter is that former MP David Emerson was key in the deal, key in negotiating the softwood lumber agreement. That was under a Conservative watch, not under a Liberal watch, just to clarify that. If the Liberals want to check the record, they are more than free to do that. There is only one signatory at the bottom of the softwood lumber agreement, in 2006, and it is, again, the man I just mentioned, whose name is David Emerson. Certainly, a lot of people's efforts make an agreement. There are a lot of people who are needed to make that happen; for example, a lot of clerks are involved in writing it. However, it was still under a Conservative government that it happened.

I guess the hope was that since we had already done the legwork for the current government and the past president, all that really needed to be done was for it to be resubmitted and re-ratified and we would have another softwood lumber agreement until however long that agreement would be held, maybe six years, maybe more.

This is what is really problematic for me. I do not think the other side really understands how important that window was. We had, apparently, two willing parties to sign the agreement. The will was in the room and the will appeared to be strong enough. We saw the announcements and the Americans saw the announcements that President Obama was willing to do it and our Prime Minister was more than willing to do it. They had their meetings and they seemed to get along quite well. We were not upset about that. We were, frankly, happy they were going to get along, and hopefully get this agreement done, but then we saw that window float by and just disappear. To open that door again is going to be very difficult.

However, I think there is an answer. I think there is a way that we can get this done. Again, the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman has put forward this motion to challenge the government to develop its agreement. I think it is possible. What I think we need to understand, and what the government especially needs to understand, is that the current president of the United States, President Trump, is doing what he is doing for his country. He is trying to make his industry as competitive as possible in the market, to get as much of that market as possible. We cannot fault him for that.

The way we respond to that is not by putting in a carbon tax to make costs go higher for our industry. I know some may think that is the answer, but it absolutely is not. We need to get more competitive. We need to sharpen our pencils. We need to meet the new president on the same field as he is on. Where he is becoming more competitive, we need to become more competitive to compete with the new reality in the U.S.

There is an answer to this issue. I would suggest we look back at when former prime minister Harper was here. We had a competitive capital tax regime for corporate tax rates. We had a competitive regime for small business tax rates, etc. I think the present government needs to look a few pages back to see why we were so strong in the G7, why we were so strong in the world economy when, really, everybody else was failing.

Why was our economy strong? It was because it was competitive. I think we need to understand how to get back there. I look back to our government in 2011, and a bit further back, as the way we can be successful in the new reality that is before us in Canada.

Public Safety June 12th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, we learned on Friday that the Minister of Public Safety intends to hand over the long-gun registry to Quebec. The only problem is that it is not supposed to exist. The long-gun registry was ordered destroyed by the former minister of public safety and affirmed by our Supreme Court. RCMP Deputy Commissioner Peter Henschel confirmed to finance committee that the registry data, except Quebec's, was destroyed in October 2012, and the remaining Quebec data was destroyed in April 2015.

How can the minister possibly offer a long-gun registry database to Quebec that either does not exist or exists illegally?

Natural Resources June 8th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' dithering on the softwood file just keeps getting worse. We learned this week that Obama's visit, expected to result in the signing of the softwood lumber agreement, cost Canadians $4.8 million, with nothing to show for it, while hundreds of thousands of good-paying Canadian jobs are being lost and are at risk. Now we find out that lumber remanufacturers are paying twice as much as regular mills.

Why is the Prime Minister refusing to protect the softwood lumber industry, specifically our remanufacturers?