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Track Bob

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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

Export and Import Permits Act September 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the member asked, so I will give him that information. I read it already. I do not know if he was in the House when I read it earlier. This is Bill C-47.

I am sorry; I cannot recognize whether he was in the House or not. It was my mistake.

Export and Import Permits Act September 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, “bogus” is certainly language I would not use to refer to the concerns of this community. We are talking about doctors, lawyers, professionals, carpenters, and mechanics who are all part of the hunting community and are advocates against what this particular piece of legislation is trying to collect. I suggest that the government really needs to listen a lot more closely to that particular community. The government made promises to this particular community that it was not going to bring in a registry, and by bringing Bill C-47 in through the back door, that is exactly what it is doing.

This seems to be the government's attitude when it chooses language like the word “bogus” with this particular community. This community has said loudly that it does not want a registry, and I think it is prepared to speak loudly again. I just hope the member is prepared for that.

Export and Import Permits Act September 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I had a private member's motion in the last Parliament. It specifically addressed the ATT and our not signing on to the particular agreement, and not being a part of it in the form that it was currently in. It was Motion No. 589 which stated:

That, in the opinion of the House: (a) Canada already exceeds all the standards listed in United Nations resolution 55/255 concerning firearms (the resolution); (b) the regulations envisioned in the resolution would do nothing to enhance public safety, and would serve only to burden the law-abiding firearms community; and therefore, the government has already surpassed its obligations with respect to the resolution and is not required to take any further steps.

I mention that today because the same problems that existed when I presented my private member's motion in the last Parliament still exist to this very day. What needs to be understood by a couple of our friends who maybe are not part of the firearms community out in Canada today, and they are watching, is that Canada already has an extremely good system in terms of monitoring the sales and permitting sales of military equipment around the world.

The trade controls bureau regulates the Export and Import Permits Act, which, since 1947, has allowed the minister to prevent the supply of military equipment to countries for a variety of reasons, including security threats, internal and external conflicts, or sanctions by the United Nations. That is already in place, and Canada already abides by that and uses it effectively.

I will bring the question back to the firearms community. Why not exclude the firearms community from this particular Arms Trade Treaty? We would maybe have broad agreement throughout the firearms community that it would not be such a bad thing, but since it is not exempted, it would become a big problem for firearms owners.

I will bring this all back to pre-election 2015. The Liberal Party promised it would not reinstitute a firearms registry in Canada. It was a very hot topic for the Liberals. There were many rural Canadians who were upset by a firearms registry, and it was a big problem for the government because the prior Liberal government was the one that brought it in.

It was not a very popular piece of legislation. Pre-election, the Liberals said they were not going to do this again. The minister, by all his actions, is showing the exact opposite. He is just trying to do it through the back door, and we have mentioned it many times. My colleague from Red Deer—Lacombe and I mentioned this before when this was brought forward in the House. With Bill C-47, there is a real desire to bring in a back door registry without saying so.

I will read out some of the parts of what this bill would actually require. This is Bill C-47 for all those in Canada watching. They can see the actual act. I am going to read what it would require of business owners who sell long guns and firearms. It would require them to keep records.

It states:

Every person or organization that applies for a permit, import allocation, export allocation, certificate or other authorization under this Act shall keep all records that are necessary to determine whether they have complied with this Act.

If company X is a company that sells firearms, it might export and sell them to somebody from the U.S. who buys them. This would then apply to that company's database. I might go in and buy a firearm from this particular company, and this is a question that some have asked. What limitations are there to access the records of that particular company? Are all records accessible? For every firearm that was bought and sold, is the record accessible? Because the bill does not exclude firearms owners or long gun owners, it really says that all databases would be made available to the minister.

I will talk about some more things in the actual act, and why we have problems with it. Under electronic records, the bill states:

Every person or organization that is required to keep a record and that does so electronically shall ensure that all equipment and software necessary to make the record intelligible are available during the retention period required for the record.

Those are computers, so they need to be accessible. Under inadequate records, the bill states:

If a person or organization fails to keep adequate records for the purposes of this Act, the Minister may, in writing, require them to keep any records that the Minister may specify, and they shall keep the records specified by the Minister.

Those are not some records; those are any records.

The period for retention is another issue with firearms communities. Is it just for a week? Is it just for a certain period of time? It is actually much longer than a week. The bill states:

Every person or organization that is required to keep records shall retain them until the expiry of six years after the end of the year to which they relate or for any other period that may be prescribed by regulation.

It could be up to seven years. Firearms companies such as a little local firearms store in my community's backcountry, like Corlanes in Dawson Creek, because they are exporters and importers, would be required by the minister of public safety and this Parliament to have accessible records of those sales. It sure sounds like a firearms registry to me.

Let us get to the bottom of it, where this is all coming from is demand by the minister. The bill states:

If the Minister is of the opinion that it is necessary for the administration or enforcement of this Act, the Minister may, by a demand served personally or sent by mail, require any person or organization that is required to keep records to retain those records for any period that is specified in the demand, and the person or organization shall comply with the demand.

There it is. There is the back door registry. The minister has already talked about, in another piece of legislation that is coming before us very soon, handing over the previous firearms registry data to a province in this country. It seems that on one hand he reassured his electorate, especially those in Saskatchewan who sent him back to Ottawa, that there would never be a firearms registry brought forward again by a Liberal government, but here we have two examples—today, in Bill C-47 and next in Bill C-58—of doing the exact opposite. That is why our firearms community is so concerned.

We saw it was ineffective the last time it was brought in. It was very expensive and it was putting the focus on the wrong individuals. I am a firearms owner myself. I do it lawfully. I have been trained in how to safely fire and handle restricted firearms, non-restricted firearms, etc. For people who obey the law and do it properly, this is unneeded attention on a community of people who safely and lawfully buy and sell firearms and do it as part of our history.

I have a pin on my lapel. I am co-chair of the parliamentary outdoor caucus. I do that with my colleague across the way. We support hunters, anglers, outfitters, trappers, etc. We support the historic events that really started this country. It started with the fur trade. A lot of my constituents still hunt, trap, and fish. I like to do that when I have time to get out there. These kinds of laws have a negative effect on those communities, because we put the focus on them as if they are criminals already, when they have done nothing wrong. All they have done is chosen to buy a firearm to go hunt and provide food for their family.

The crux of my argument today is that the Liberal government said it was not going to bring in a firearms registry. The Liberals said it over and over again, because it was a big deal to a lot of their constituents. A lot of rural folks elected Liberal members of Parliament with the reassurance that it would not happen, and here we have a minister and a government that is trying to do that. From one back door or another, it is determined to get a firearms registry re-established in the country.

We need to come into this with our eyes wide open. Voters who are watching this today need to understand this is a big deal. This is why we did not accede to the Arms Trade Treaty when we were in government. It was because it did not have exclusions for firearm owners written within our particular act. My private member's bill spoke to that. It was one more reason why we did not accede to it.

I challenge the government to have a sober second thought and look at this again. We implore the government not to accede to the ATT. We already have enough regulations and laws that get to the same end the ATT is trying to get to in terms of selling military equipment across the world. The Liberals should especially think about the firearm owners to whom they promised they would not start a registry. Hopefully, the government will not support this legislation today.

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.