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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 Gas Association April 25th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mark the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Gas Association.

Earlier today, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Parliamentary Librarian were presented with a commemorative book for the occasion called Fuelling Progress: A History of the Canadian Gas Association.

This book connects the natural gas industry to the everyday life of Canadians. It tells the story of the people, events and developments that impacted not only the industry's evolution but our very way of life. From the gas lamps of the 1830s, to the 1970s era of cooking with gas, to today's focus on clean energy, this book tells all.

As the Minister of Natural Resources said, natural gas is an important part of Canada's energy mix. This book is an excellent research tool which provides a glimpse into Canada's history and the role that natural gas has played in shaping our country.

I congratulate the Canadian Gas Association on its 100 years and for generously providing a complimentary copy of this book to all university and public libraries in Canada.

Battle of Vimy Ridge March 29th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, April 9, 2007, will mark the 90th anniversary of Vimy Ridge. On this date in 1917, 30,000 Canadian soldiers stood in the line of fire to defend and protect our great nation. Attacking at dawn, Canadians had taken Vimy Ridge by noon.

A mission tried and failed by many, this was the first time in Canadian history that four Canadian divisions fought simultaneously. In fact, on April 12, 1917, Canadians controlled the entire ridge.

This victory is one that Canadians hold dear to their hearts and has helped shed the yoke of British imperialism.

The price: 3,598 men were killed while 7,104 were wounded.

The outcome: freedom, democracy and rule of law, to say the least.

The words of Brigadier General A.E. Ross say it best: “In those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation”.

Let us all remember these brave souls, as well as the brave men and women of today's Canadian Forces, who carry on with the same courage and honour as their brothers who fought at Vimy Ridge.

Canadian Forces March 26th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, our government has demonstrated its support for our armed forces from the very beginning and has showed gratitude toward our men and women for getting the job done for Canadians.

Whether it is carrying out search and rescue operations, asserting our sovereignty and ensuring the security in the north, supporting other government departments, including dealing with illegal fishing and product smuggling, and in helping us when we are hit with devastating ice storms, major floods or other natural disasters, our leader, the Prime Minister, and every man and woman in our caucus has demonstrated support of our service men and women at each and every turn.

Within this group, we are privileged to have several who have already spent a career serving in our armed forces. Even within this small group, the passion and support for our Canadian Forces personnel is unsurpassed by the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke whose motion I am honoured to stand in support of today. I know the member is extremely proud of CFB Petawawa, which is housed in her riding, as I am of the brave men and women of CFB Four Wing Cold Lake and CFB Edmonton in my riding of Westlock—St. Paul.

Duty, honour and country, those are the words that come to mind when one speaks of Canadian military service. I have already mentioned but a few of the functions that our Canadian Forces perform domestically.

We also know that in today's world our military personnel are posted abroad to protect our national interests and promote our values of freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law. Among other things, they are working closely with our neighbours to the south to survey and protect our skies and to monitor our maritime approaches. Our soldiers, sailors and air force personnel are making a vital contribution to international peace and security all around the world, most notably today in Afghanistan.

Without a doubt, we ask a lot of our military personnel. In carrying out their jobs, they are often faced with difficult and stressful operational environments. They can find themselves dealing with harsh geography, extreme climate conditions and prolonged separations from family and friends. They are willing to put their lives on the line for our country. In recognizing the sacrifices they make for our country, I think it is only fitting that we try our best to ensure they have what they need to be successful in their jobs.

I am pleased to note that since the government took office in February 2006, we have moved quickly to begin rebuilding our Canadian Forces. Budget 2006 and this year's budget reflect that commitment.

Just last week, our Minister of Finance announced several new initiatives to bolster our military. Among other things, the government will invest $60 million to increase the field operations allowance, set up five new trauma centres to help veterans and their families deal with stress injuries related to their military service, and advance $175 million of budget 2006's $5.3 billion to the 2007-08 from the 2009-10 budget. This acceleration will help us to implement the Canada first defence plan.

The new budget demonstrates yet again that the government supports our military. It complements and builds upon our first budget which committed $5.3 billion over five years for defence to address some of the immediate needs of our Canadian Forces.

Among other things, budget 2006 funding will help support the transformation of military operations and defence administration but this funding will also help the Canadian Forces acquire new equipment so they can better carry out their domestic and international roles.

It is the last point that I would like to focus on today, if I may, equipping our Canadian Forces. As the motion before us asserts, we want to support our men and women in uniform by providing them with the best possible equipment to help them succeed in their roles.

I am proud that in June of last year the government made a firm commitment to our military personnel to acquire new equipment for them. In fact, we have already made several procurement announcements. These investments are long overdue.

Most members here will know about the government's recent announcement which finalized the contract for the strategic lift. Strategic airlift is required to carry a large number of passengers and oversized cargo long distances, not only within Canada but also between Canada and the theatre of operation.

In the past we have often had to rely on our allies to get our troops and equipment into theatre. These new aircraft will change all that. With the C-17s, the Canadian Forces will be able to better deliver equipment, supplies and personnel on their own terms, where they are needed and when they are needed.

Our military personnel will be faster and better at reaching out to all our communities, including those in the far north and the Arctic. Our disaster assistance response team, or the DART, will be capable of flying quickly anywhere in the world if called upon in the event of a natural or humanitarian disaster. They will be able to fly heavy equipment, such as generators, water purification systems and hospital units, to areas that desperately need our support.

I am pleased to note that the government has committed to meet the long overdue need to replace our aging Hercules. Our Hercules fleet has logged more flying hours than any military Hercules fleet in the world. New tactical airlift will also improve the way our Canadian Forces manage on domestic and international operations.

These planes are a lifeline for our Canadians Forces men and women who are deployed on operations. They are used for transporting equipment, troops and supplies from within their area of operation. They need to be replaced. The government is wasting no time in doing exactly that.

Similarly, this government recognizes the need to purchase new medium to heavy lift helicopters to support our troops in meeting the challenges posed by increasingly dangerous environments that today's mission presents. At home and abroad, the helicopters will allow the Canadian Forces to reach remote and isolated locations and respond more quickly and efficiently to emergencies.

To date, our Canadian Forces on operations have had to rely on our allies to provide helicopter transport. This limits our military's ability to conduct independent operations. It also means that our troops have had to opt for ground transportation when helicopters have been unavailable. This places them at a greater risk of ambushes, landmines and improvised explosive devices.

The new helicopters will significantly reduce these risks. They will also increase Canadian operational independence and enhance our credibility with key allies and international organizations.

The Conservative government has also committed to move forward with the joint ship project. We will procure three new ships to improve our military's ability to travel significant distances and stay deployed for extended periods of time. The new ships will enable naval task groups to remain at sea for up to six times longer than they can now.

Finally, our procurement initiatives include the purchase of approximately 2,300 new, medium size logistic trucks. For some time now this has been one of our military's most pressing equipment needs. These new trucks will replace the current fleet which has been in use since the 1980s and is reaching the end of its service life.

Whether deployed on operations overseas, providing assistance during domestic emergencies or in day to day operations in Canada, these vehicles will be the army's backbone, getting supplies and people where they are needed in the most efficient way possible.

I believe these procurement announcements will help the Canadian Forces in their current missions both in Canada and around the world, as well as allow the Canadian Forces to meet the challenges they will face in the decades to come.

We cannot stop there. Our military has a tradition of success and a culture of excellence, from the trenches of the Great War on the battlefields of Europe, Vimy Ridge, Somme, Ypres, to the defining moments of the second world war, the Battle of the Atlantic, the liberation of Holland and Juno Beach. These words alone spur on images of Canadian soldiers from Edmonton, Calgary, Fort Assiniboine, Cold Lake, Westlock and countless other small communities across our country helping to define our nation, while defying overwhelming odds to bring freedom and hope to people and places in the world whom had long since given up on such thoughts.

It is from these brave men and women that we have learned that it is our responsibility to protect and defend democracy, that we cannot take solace in the oceans that separate us because isolationism will not work and cannot work in a world that is continually growing smaller.

I am proud to say that this tradition that was started over a hundred years ago is still being carried on today by the men and women in Canadian Forces uniforms. I have met many of the men and women from my riding who have taken on the responsibility of carrying on this tradition. I have had the privilege to greet many of them on cold windswept nights on the tarmac and look them in the eye and thank them for their service, and on too many occasions I have looked in the eyes of their loved ones that they have left behind.

These men and women draw out an emotion in all of us that comes from our inner core. It is one of overwhelming gratitude and as we speak with them we cannot help but to ask why. The answer I consistently get back is duty, honour and country.

It is for these reasons that we must accept our duty as parliamentarians to show support not only by kind words, but by actions. Our men and women of the Canadian armed forces have demonstrated beyond any doubt that they are worthy of the crests they wear. It is now our duty to our country to honour their commitment by providing them with the equipment and resources they need to continue to excel at their job.

This is why I am proud to support this motion. Thank you Mr. Speaker and God bless.

Aboriginal Affairs March 23rd, 2007

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, at the aboriginal affairs committee, the Liberal members accused the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development of moving too quickly in bringing human rights to some of the most vulnerable Canadians, our first nations citizens.

Section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act prevents first nations from access and recourse that is available to all other Canadians through the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs please inform the House of the measures our government is taking to bring about the repeal of section 67 and bring human rights to our first nations Canadians.

The Budget March 20th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I will try to keep my answer as brief as I can. We in Canada's new government believe in working with all facets of our economy and that includes industry. I think the hon. member will note that the biggest tax reductions and tax breaks this government has given in its first two budgets are somewhere in the neighbourhood of $39 billion. These tax breaks will go to individuals and hard-working families. That is the most important thing.

The last thing I want to mention is that this government is going after those tax havens that for far too long have survived in our country.

The Budget March 20th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I can talk only about what I have witnessed and what I have experienced with the men and women of our armed forces. I represent not a small number of them. Over 7,000 men and women in our Canadian armed forces are housed right in my riding. They are ecstatic with the measures taken by the government. They are hoping that we are in for a long time so that we can continue to fix the neglect of 13 years of Liberal government.

However, I really want to make sure I address the question on the gas tax funding, because I think the member brings up an excellent point. It was a Reform-Alliance proposal in the first place that finally drove the Liberals to put this funding in place. Now we, as a Conservative government, have only expanded that program. I think the steps taken by this government and the extra infrastructure dollars are very positive. I know that my municipal councillors and municipal reeves, to whom I talk on a daily basis, thank us and ask us to continue with this great work.

The Budget March 20th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I first want to thank my hon. colleague, the member for Crowfoot, for long being a leading advocate in Alberta for our farmers and our producers, both on the opposition benches and on the government benches, making sure that farmers are heard and pushing the same programs and the same priorities. He has delivered the same message in opposition and in government.

It is a real privilege to be part of a government in which for the first time in years the farm programs and the agriculture debate is actually taking place. A very important part of what the member talked about was the biodiesel and ethanol incentives that we have put forward so our industry can be competitive.

This is exactly what Conservatives focus on. They focus on bringing industry into it. They also focus on levelling the playing field so people can be competitive. That in turn is going to drive up the prices at the farm gate, as it already has, and that is the most important thing.

Subsidies are important and we have acknowledged that with over $1 billion in our first budget and an extra $1 billion in this budget, and in eliminating the CAIS program, which is very important, but no farmer I have ever talked to wants to be a subsidy chaser. He wants to have farm gate pricing. That is exactly what this initiative is bringing forward.

The Budget March 20th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Glengarry--Prescott--Russell.

I want to start by addressing the fact that I personally feel this is the best budget that the people of Canada, and particularly the people of Alberta, have seen for a generation.

For far too long, we have suffered at the hands of a Liberal government that chose the privileged class over hard-working Albertans who work 60 hours a week to keep our province prosperous. For far too long, we Albertans have had to deal with Liberal governments that chose to pit one region against another for partisan purposes. For far too long, Alberta has suffered at the hands of fiscal mismanagement from successive Liberal governments that promised everything and delivered nothing. At the end of the day, they just did not get the job done.

Turning the page, however, today is a great day for Canadians. With the release of budget 2007, Canadians will finally have fiscal balance. Thanks to Canada's new government, we have rectified Liberal negligence by providing a budget that has something in it for everyone. From families to farmers to seniors to military personnel, this budget leaves no rock unturned.

Canada's new government is giving back to Canadians. We are putting money back where it belongs: in the hands of hard-working Canadians.

In the province of Alberta alone, fiscal balance is being restored with over $3 billion in 2007-08. Our government is giving provinces the resources they need to deliver the front line services that matter to all Canadians.

Finally, we have a government that respects the role of the Constitution and the role of municipalities and the provinces.

During my first term in office, I have had the privilege of knocking on many doors. One such door I want to tell a quick story about was in Redwater. I was talking to a nice young lady by the name of Carrie Fischer. When I knocked on her door, I asked if I could go in and elicit her support. She said certainly, but she had a message she wanted to give me first. I sat down at her kitchen table, across from her three young children, and listened to her talk about how she felt she had been mistreated for years by the Canadian system of taxation. She felt that as a married mother who stays at home to look after her children she had been penalized because her husband goes off to work.

I am proud that our Prime Minister has listened to those people sitting around kitchen tables. Hard-working families are the backbone of this country and Canada's new government recognizes this.

Families in Alberta and across the nation will enjoy a new $2,000 child tax credit that will provide more than three million families with tax relief of up to $310 per child. In Alberta, parents will save an estimated $173.2 million.

Albertan families will also enjoy a new “working income tax benefit” of up to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for families. This will benefit Alberta workers, with over $55.2 million going back into their pockets.

That is not all. Alberta residents will save roughly $30.2 million with an increase in the basic spousal amount that will provide tax relief of up to $209 to a supporting spouse or a single taxpayer supporting a child or relative.

Alberta taxpayers will also save $13.5 million with an increase in the RRSP and registered pension plan maturation age limit from 69 to 71 years of age. This is well over $272 million back in the hands of Alberta families alone.

The buck does not stop there. Canada's new government is just getting started.

Farmers and homegrown biofuel producers will also have their fair share of what it means to have a government that not only listens to their problems but also acts on those problems.

One billion dollars will be committed to farmers for the improvement of national farm income programs. Of that commitment, $600 million will go toward contributory-style producer savings accounts.

This is exactly what farmers in my area are asking for. In Westlock--St. Paul, we have some of the most progressive, advanced, hard-working farmers in the world. They feel they need a system like this. They feel that we need to make some of these changes to help get rid of the CAIS program and move on to a new style of program. This is exactly what they are looking for.

While there will be an additional $400 million paid directly to producers to help address high production costs, Alberta farmers will receive roughly $210 million of these initiatives. That is $1 billion and $210 million more than the Liberals ever gave Canadian and Alberta farmers respectively.

Homegrown biofuels producers will also be able to put their hands on the money, given the $2 billion in incentives for renewable fuel production over a seven year span. A renewable fuels operating incentive program will bring stability, allowing the domestic ethanol and biodiesel industry to finally flourish and compete with national and international markets.

The program will provide 10¢ per litre for domestic renewable gasoline, ethanol, and 20¢ per litre for domestic renewable diesel production for the first three years. By bringing over 20 new world class biofuels facilities to Canada and creating over 14,000 new jobs in rural communities, this provides a new market for over 200 million bushels of Canadian grains and oilseeds.

I had the privilege this summer of going around my riding to many town hall meetings and talking to hundreds of different producers. All of them were very hopeful that we would not go just partway in the budget, that we would not just promise something, give a little bit of what was promised in the first year and 20 years later have it all doled out when it is too late.

Our producers wanted us to do it and to do it right the first time. I am proud to say that our Minister of Finance has heard that message loud and clear and our Prime Minister has endorsed it. These initiatives are exactly what our agricultural producers have been looking for.

I would be very remiss if I did not speak on one of the most pertinent issues in my riding: the men and women of our armed forces. It has been my biggest privilege as a member of Parliament in this first 14 months to serve and to have the opportunity to deal with many of the men and women from CFB Edmonton and from CFB Four Wing, Cold Lake. I have taken a lot of time to listen to what these men and women have to say to us and to what they have to tell their government.

I want to tell another quick story. When I was in Bon Accord during the campaign, I was knocking on doors. Like most politicians, I was a little nervous at the beginning. A man walked up to me and said, “Is that a politician coming up here? If it is, I've got something to tell him”. He happened to be a sergeant in our armed forces, with over 20 years' experience. He was very perturbed. He said that we send our armed forces over there and give them difficult missions, which they do not mind, and they do not mind being worked hard or being put in harm's way because that is why they signed up, but he said they do mind us not giving them the means, the tools and the equipment to do their jobs properly.

I am proud to say that I had the opportunity to go back this summer to talk to that same gentleman. He thanked me and wanted me to pass on the message to the Prime Minister or whoever is in charge of it, because at the end of the day the forces got what was most important to them: the tools and the equipment they need to do their job properly.

I am proud to say that we are putting in $60 million per year to level out the allowances paid to soldiers serving in army field units. This is very important for the men and women of CFB Edmonton. There is also $10 million for operational stress injury clinics, showing that we are concerned about the men and women not just while they are in theatre but also when they are out of theatre.

There is $19 million going to the veterans ombudsman to help ensure the enhancement of the veterans' bill of rights. Probably most important, as I have already stated, there is $175 million in budget 2007-08 for the Canadian Forces Canada first defence plan.

I am running out of time. The budget has so many tremendous things to talk about, but I will wrap up by mentioning municipalities. I served as a town councillor in the community of Barrhead and had the privilege of dealing with many of the concerns that come forward at the local level. One of the biggest concerns is that municipalities are never given the funding or the tools to do their job.

Once again, our Prime Minister and our Minister of Finance have listened to this. They have brought forward $16 billion in infrastructure over a seven year period. They have also brought forward $2 billion per year to municipalities from 2010 to 2013 by extending the gas tax fund transfer. Most important for Albertans, they have increased the transfer by $171 million by per capita funding. That is very important.

It is a privilege to speak to the budget. I look forward to taking questions.

Canadian Forces February 21st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, while today may not be red Friday, it is still a day to honour and remember our Canadian troops who risk their lives to defend and protect Canada.

My riding of Westlock—St. Paul is privileged to house Canada's top tactical fighter base, 4 Wing Cold Lake. it is known as the home of the fighter pilot and hosts Exercise Maple Flag, a six week international air combat exercise that takes place in May and attracts more than 5,000 participants globally.

As a vital component of the Canadian Forces, make no mistake that 4 Wing's success could not be achieved if it were not for the unsurpassed dedication of the brave men and women who lay their lives on the line defending Canadian airspace, flying search and rescue missions and providing aid during disasters such as floods and ice storms.

I thank those brave men and women for defending Canadian values at home and abroad. I thank them for creating a better and safer future for our children. I thank them for helping to restore peace around the globe. I thank them for risking their lives to save ours.

May we celebrate red Fridays today, tomorrow and every day.

Terrorism February 19th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, today the Canadian Coalition Against Terror called on all MPs to support the extension of two critical anti-terrorism measures. They state:

We are deeply dismayed that Canadian MPs are talking about significantly diminishing Canada's capacity for fighting terrorism by removing critical provisions from Canada's Anti-terrorism Act.

We urge all MPs to approach this vote with the security of Canadians in mind.

They go on to state, “We hope that federal MPs will join fellow Liberals, such as the members for Mount Royal, Etobicoke North and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, in supporting such an extension”.

Our government is concerned with maintaining the safety and security of all Canadians. It is unfortunate that the Liberal leader has stated his opposition to extending these measures despite the advice of his colleagues. Perhaps he will heed the advice of those Canadian victims of terror.