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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was forward.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Westlock—St. Paul (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 78% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Environmental Protection Act April 10th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I will talk a little about the legislation and put a question forward for the hon. member about his speech.

There are different aspects of this legislation. It is very important that we recognize the diversity of this. We have to ensure we take steps forward on the environment and we have to ensure we concentrate on it. However, this is also about agriculture. This is also about ensuring that we can increase the farm gate prices for our farmers by giving them more options.

I am really tired of seeing the NDP members consistently standing up for their cheap food policy in Canada. An amendment was put forward in committee. We worked with the NDP member of the committee to ensure a review process was put in place with which the NDP was happy and that everyone around the table could accept. Then we come to this place today and the NDP members are trying to put restrictions on it. They are trying to stand in the way of enhancing agriculture for our farmers once again.

When is the member going to finally stand up and support our farmers and support putting good prices and rising commodity prices in place for them rather than a cheap food policy?

Sponsorship Program April 4th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, Canadians will not easily forget the biggest scandal in Canada's history, the Liberal sponsorship scandal. They will not forget the money that was taken from them. Canadians elect public officials with the understanding that they will manage taxpayer money with the utmost care.

As much as the Liberals hope that this will just quietly go away, this affair is not over. This issue will not go away until those who took advantage of their position of power for their personal and partisan benefit have been held accountable for their shameful actions.

Today, the media reports that Canadian taxpayers will be getting some of their money back. Eric Lafleur, son of Jean Lafleur and a former ad man whose company received $10 million in sponsorship subcontracts, is being forced to pay back $150,000. That is good news, but this is just a small portion.

When will Canadians see the rest of the money that was taken from them? Why has the Liberal leader not encouraged those who received sponsorship money to pay it back to the taxpayers? When will we find out what happened to the $40 million.

Bonnyville Pontiacs March 7th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to give tribute to a dedicated group of young men who lace up their skates and play their hearts out each and every night, all in the pursuit of a common goal. With Hunter from Kool FM calling their names from far and wide, they sprinkle in a mix of hometown talent, like Isley and Cadrin.

After 62 games and months of travelling and dedication from players, including Jensen and Gerhardt, Coach Mercier and the training staff have the boys ready to go. The Bonnyville Pontiacs are ready to roll to an AJHL championship.

In their quest for glory, the Bonnyville Pontiacs do far more than entertain a small rural community. They inspire and stoke the dreams of parents and children alike.

This year the dream is in reach. With Easton's scoring and Chenard's tending, Sherwood Park is already behind them. Whether the road to the cup goes through Fort McMurray or Camrose, it does not matter, because this is the year of the Pontiacs.

Alberta Election March 4th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, we in the Alberta federal caucus are proud of many things in our great province, not the least of which is the fact that we are rat free.

For weeks the opposition parties and the national media were convinced that the winds of change were blowing across the prairies, but once again a warm chinook wind has taken over Alberta.

Albertans have decided on a change that works for them. With 52% of the vote, Premier Stelmach will be bringing 28 new Conservative MLAs with him to the legislature, with 72 of 83 seats.

Albertans have chosen a leader who brings a mature, professional approach to federal–provincial relations and a Conservative government that leads on issues such as the environment, health care, infrastructure and accountability.

Albertans have once again proven that in Alberta good guys still do finish first.

I extend congratulations to Premier Stelmach and his government.

Afghanistan February 25th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, what a sad diatribe it is and how sad it must be for the hon. member opposite to live in such a world where everything is seen as a negative and reality is often overwhelmed by the negative stories that are conjured up in the local and national press. However, the reality on the ground in Afghanistan, from the people I have talked to and the people in my riding who have been there, is that it is far different than what the hon. member is describing.

Maybe we should not be surprised that the member has wrapped himself in the cloak of negativity since he does come from a party that does not even realize how wonderful it is to live in such a country as Canada and does not understand why these men and women are going over there and standing up for this country in the first place.

My colleague asked the member, “what are your solutions to the problem?” It is not all right in this debate, where we are trying to transcend some of the partisanship, to just stand and do the typical political move, which is to dodge around the question. We want an answer. What is it that you see as the solution?

Afghanistan February 25th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, it is far too easy for members on the opposite side, who wish to oppose the mission, to stand up and say that Canada's is but a peacekeeping mission. That is the paradigm we have created in our country.

While it is true that we are the founders of peacekeeping, we are also the founders of another paradigm called the responsibility to protect, which talks about our responsibility as a free and democratic country to have a role in the global world. Afghanistan is clearly a place where we need to demonstrate this role. It is a place where we need to help lift up other people of another nation. To do that, sometimes the responsibility to protect very clearly shows that we have to use security forces to enforce peace.

I do not know of any aid workers from my area who would want to go to Afghanistan if they did not have protection from those security forces, some of the best trained men and women in the world.

I have had the privilege of talking to many of the men from Edmonton Garrison. Just the other week I talked to a sergeant who did an original rotation in Afghanistan and just finished a rotation this summer. He said that the difference he felt that he and his colleague had made in Afghanistan in those seven years was far more and outweighed anything he could have done anywhere else in the world, including at home in Canada. He is proud to be a part of that. Every one of the men and women of our bases, to whom I have talked, is also very proud to be a part of that.

Afghanistan February 25th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by saying that I am humbled to be able to walk these hallways and follow the steps of real heroes and to stand in the House and talk on the predominant foreign policy issue of our time with some of the heroes of our time, such as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, a retired lieutenant colonel with the Canadian Forces.

It is an honour to stand here today to speak to the Afghan mission, a mission that has positively impacted the lives of Afghanis and Canadians alike. It is an honour to represent the people of Westlock—St. Paul and, within that riding, a real privilege to represent the military bases of 4 Wing Cold Lake and Edmonton Garrison.

With two military bases in my riding, it has allowed me a unique opportunity to hear from our brave men and women in uniform about the ways in which they are helping to create a better life for the Afghan people. Our brave soldiers risk their lives each and every day to help bring about peace, hope and change to a people who have all been but forgotten by the world.

This hope has been realized in many tangible and concrete forms. It has been realized in the light of an Afghan woman's eyes when she has been approved for a business loan, an opportunity never before given. It has been realized in the aspirations for a better tomorrow of a farmer who was once forced to grow opium but now has a variety of crops to choose from. Hope is realized in the smile on a little girl's face when she has seen a classroom for the very first time.

Those are the reasons that our brave men and women risk their lives every day. Those are just some of the faces for which they risk their lives. Those are the reasons that I stand fully committed behind our brave men and women in uniform as they bring hope back into the lives of Afghan citizens.

It is not just the sacrifice of our soldiers and their families that I would like to mention today but also our Canadian diplomats and civilians who risk their lives every day as well to create sustainable development and good governance while helping to decrease poverty. Our civilian diplomats and soldiers are working shoulder to shoulder with our NATO partners at the invitation of the democratically elected Afghan government to bring about a better Afghanistan, a better world and a better tomorrow.

This is the Canadian vision. The mission in Afghanistan brings hope, aspirations and dreams to a people who have been neglected and oppressed for far too long.

While in Afghanistan, Canada has played a multifaceted role, bringing positive change to Afghanistan's educational system, economy, health care system, security, good governance and rule of law, to name but a few. To date, there are roughly six million children in school, one-third of those are girls, while in 2001 only 700,000 children were enrolled. We should think about that. Today there are nearly three times as many females enrolled in Afghan public schools as there were before that.

Directly, Canada supports the establishment of 4,000 community based schools and the training of 9,000 teachers, 4,000 of whom are women. Approximately 120,000 children will benefit from these community based schools. That is incredible and something that Canadians should be and are proud of.

Between 2004 and 2007 per capita income doubled in Afghanistan. As the top microfinance program donor, Canada has helped women take out loans and start businesses for the first time ever. More than 418,000 people in 23 different provinces have benefited from microfinancing, two-thirds of those being females, with a repayment rate of over 90% already.

I am proud to say that 83% of Afghanis have access to basic medical care compared to 2004 when only 9% of the population had this access. Thanks to Canada, more than 7 million children have been vaccinated against polio and 400,000 people in Kandahar province have benefited from food aid.

Canadians should also be proud of the contributions we have made to create a safer, better Afghanistan. We have helped with police reform; a global approach that includes mentoring, training, financing, salaries, building police stations and providing supply equipment and uniforms for the Afghan national police. We have also helped train the Afghan national army by working side by side with the ANA, helping them to become a self-sufficient force, while helping them display leadership to be extended in the hopes of providing influence for the central government throughout their country.

Finally, with respect to security, Canada has been working toward a mine free Afghanistan. We have put millions of dollars toward demining initiatives, including mine risk education, victim assistance and capacity building. These are but merely a chip off the iceberg in what we are doing to help create a safer Afghanistan.

Canada is also working toward creating good governance for the people of Afghanistan. Ten million-plus Afghanis were registered to vote in free and fair elections for president in 2004. In the 2005 parliamentary elections, 374 candidates were women.

The rule of law is being brought back to a country that has been without it for far too long. More than 70 prosecutors, 68 public defenders and 200 judges have been trained by Canada. These are but merely a glimpse of the results of the hard work and dedication of brave Canadians.

The hopes and dreams that have been brought to Afghanistan do not come without a price, however. It is one thing to build infrastructure and to train the Afghan National Army, but it is another to ensure the country maintains stability, even after foreign actors have left.

Many challenges still lie ahead, but it is through the successes that we have already seen that remind us why we have worked so hard and must continue to do so. No doubt much of the story that I tell today will be news to many Canadians, yet the history of our role in the world is not. Our forefathers have always stood on the side of justice and peace.

Since World War I and, as Dr. Nathan Greenfield so aptly called it, our baptism of fire through the second world war, the Korean conflict and numerous peacekeeping missions across the world, Canadian soldiers have been acknowledged, especially by our allies, as a perpetual inspiration. Yet our role on the world stage has grown increasingly into that of a country determined to rest upon our laurels.

As a free, prosperous and democratic nation, we have the genuine ability to effect change and inspire hope around the world. Our mission in Afghanistan has continued the reputation of Canada in the eyes of those most in need of hope. The work we are doing is most definitely beginning to bring about the change so desperately needed.

Our job is not complete and will not be complete in Afghanistan until the democratically elected Afghan government, the Afghan National Army and all Afghani people are able to stand together in strong, capable opposition to the forces looking to tear their country asunder.

To withdraw our troops before the job is done would jeopardize the progress we have made and the hope we have offered. We have begun to give the Afghan people the tools they need to rebuild and protect their country. However, we need to ensure they know how to use those tools properly. In this task, our most pressing concern must be the effectiveness of our lessons, not the speed with which they are completed. For surely, as the base of understanding and ability is broadened and defined in this war-torn nation, our role will pass from guardian to partner.

It is our responsibility, as elected members of Parliament, to give our soldiers and Canadian citizens a clear mandate and vision on the Canadian mission in Afghanistan. We owe that much to them. That is why I support the Manley report. I support this motion and urge all members, especially those on the other side of the House, to also support it.

Let us not give our enemies any doubt as to where the people of Canada stand. This is about more than red versus blue. This is more than Liberal versus Conservative. This is an opportunity to show a side of politics that many think has been lost on our country. This is an opportunity to transcend partisanship and unite us in the House and unite us as a country.

Official Languages February 13th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, at a speech in Edmonton, star Liberal candidate Justin Trudeau showed his true colours. His comment that Canadians who do not learn a second language are lazy is an insult to the 22 million unilingual anglophones and francophones in our country.

Can the Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity) comment on Mr. Trudeau's insulting remarks to over 68% of the Canadian population?

Tackling Violent Crime Act February 7th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to keeping our communities and streets safe, which is why it is imperative that members on that side of the House come to their senses and do the right thing and pass the tackling violent crime act which imposes mandatory jail time for serious gun crimes, cracks down on drug and alcohol impaired driving, increases the age of protection for sexual activity from 14 to 16 years old and ensures that high risk and repeat offenders face tougher consequences when they are convicted.

Our government is committed to keeping our promises and committed to passing Bill C-2. By stalling the passing of this bill in the unelected and unaccountable Liberal Senate, the Leader of the Opposition continues to put our communities and children at risk. Canadians demand more. They demand cooperation on a bill that affects the lives and well-being of all our loved ones.

It is time that the opposition stopped playing its petty partisan games and work with us to better protect our children. It is time that the Liberal leader do just that: lead, follow or get out of the way.

Aboriginal Affairs December 10th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, on international human rights day, I am astonished at the actions of the opposition.

Government Bill C-21 seems to finally give aboriginal Canadians the same access to human rights as other Canadians.

At last week's aboriginal affairs committee meeting, opposition members voted for an amendment that would water down the intent of the bill. The Liberal member for Winnipeg South Centre, who continues to try to derail this process, then adjourned the committee early to avoid any more discussion on this important issue.

Would the minister explain to the opposition why all Canadians deserve access to human rights and why the legislation needs to be passed now?