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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

Committees of the House October 18th, 2006

Do not let the facts get in the way of a good story.

National Family Week October 4th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, this week Canadians across the country celebrate National Family Week. This is an opportunity for all of us to celebrate families and recognize their importance in our lives.

Strong families draw from and benefit the communities in which they live, work and play. Families are the building blocks of our society and our country. This government is committed to providing them with the support and recognition they deserve.

Canada's new government is helping families with the cost of kids' sports, public transit and everyday purchases.

We are there for farm families who need short term financial relief, while also looking at ways to improve income for the long term.

Millions of parents are now receiving direct support for child care through the universal child care benefit.

Canada's new government will continue supporting our country's future by supporting Canadian families. I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing National Family Week.

Canada Student Financial Assistance Act October 2nd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on behalf of the government to this private member's bill.

I thank the member for Halifax West for bringing forward this important topic for discussion. I also congratulate the member opposite whose daughter is now going to Acadia University. Acadia is an excellent university; however, if he is looking for second options I would suggest the University of Alberta is a top university in this country.

The bill seeks to amend the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act in order to extend the provisions of the Canada access grants. This bill raises two important questions. The first is whether or not this is the appropriate time to be making changes to this relatively new student support measure. The second is whether or not amending the act is the right way to proceed. Let me address each of these in turn.

On the question of extending the financial support now provided by the Canada access grants, the member opposite has identified a concern which Canada's new government definitely shares. We want to make sure students from low income families and students with disabilities have access to post-secondary education and can receive the financial support that they need.

Indeed, this government wants to look at the whole issue of how post-secondary education is financed in this country. The Minister of Human Resources and Social Development has indicated that she will be initiating discussions with the provinces and territories to discuss the overall objectives for post-secondary education and training appropriate roles, while at the same time working toward developing a framework for ensuring measurable results and accountability in respect of funding support. Issues like those raised in Bill C-284 may very well be considered during the course of those discussions.

Expanding access to post-secondary education to students from low income families and those with disabilities is a concern Canada's new government recognizes and is sensitive to. However, it is important to keep in mind that the Canada access grant is not the only way the Government of Canada helps finance post-secondary education in this country.

A brief overview of the current measures in place clearly demonstrates the Government of Canada has a broad commitment to investment in education and training on behalf of all students. Budget 2006 is a demonstration of this commitment as it included concrete measures in support of post-secondary education.

Having the lowest debt to GDP level in 24 years is bound to help all aspects of our economy, including children looking to obtain post-secondary education, but this government did far more. There are investments such as $15.5 billion annually to the provinces and territories for post-secondary education and social services through the Canada social transfer; $1.7 billion to fund research in post-secondary institutions; $1.8 billion in loans and grants for post-secondary education; $1.5 billion in tax credits and education savings incentives; and another $1 billion in federal funds to help provinces and territories make urgent investments in post-secondary infrastructure.

Additionally, we also introduced a new textbook tax credit, a measure expected to benefit millions of students over the next two years. We expanded eligibility for the Canada student loans program, meaning an additional 30,000 students will now be able to access this program. That is right, I said an additional 30,000 students.

Clearly, when it comes to supporting post-secondary education and helping Canadian students and their families with its costs, Canada's new government has demonstrated its willingness to make the necessary--

Agriculture September 27th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, under the previous Liberal government farmers in my riding suffered through years of neglect and disastrous Liberal policies.

We can imagine the surprise of farmers two days ago when the Liberals suddenly announced they have a plan for agriculture. Where was support for farmers when Liberals were in power?

In 2005 the member for Malpeque was the parliamentary secretary to the agriculture minister. What was his plan for farmers?

In a report on farm income last year, the member for Malpeque recommended exactly none of the solutions he calls for so loudly today. It is Canada's new government that is standing up for farmers.

We promised an additional $500 million. We delivered $1.5 billion. We promised a better inventory evaluation method. We not only delivered, we made that change retroactive.

The member for Malpeque and the Liberal Party had their chance. Unfortunately they failed farmers miserably for 13 long years. Canada's new government is standing up for and will keep delivering for farmers.

Petitions September 25th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today signed by the constituents of Westlock—St. Paul who support an immediate increase in the age of consent from 14 to 16 years of age.

The petitioners feel that children under the age of 16 are the most vulnerable members of our society and that they need continual support against sexual exploitation. They therefore call upon all members of Parliament to enact the full protection of law by raising the age of consent.

Federal Accountability Act June 21st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I find it a little rich to be given a lesson on accountability by a member of the former Liberal government.

I should first mention that members in two of the committees that I sit on voted for both of our chairs. It is nice for a change to see a Prime Minister who is actually willing to stand by his word and stand by the first piece of legislation that is being passed in the House, the federal accountability act. This is a great step for the Canadian public.

It is, however, disappointing to see opposition come from the Liberal Party on the accountability act. I was hoping that after January 23 the former Liberal government would have learned a lesson and came on board with the accountability act, and perhaps made it even stronger.

Why is my colleague not embracing the accountability act? Why did he vote against some of the strong amendments, particularly the amendment to include the Wheat Board within the ATI provisions?

Business of Supply June 19th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, when we talk about this issue, it is very important that we talk about accountability. It is very important that we talk about giving the money to the people who need it most. That is something that has been lacking for far more than 13 years.

My riding of Westlock—St. Paul has a large number of first nations people. My riding also has an unemployment rate of under 3%. What we need to do and what we are doing in the town of Bonnyville is working at creating a first nations training centre, one of the largest first nations training centre in all of Canada to help employ more people and to help educate the first nations people so that we can continue to help with the infrastructure needs of Alberta and Canada.

Business of Supply June 19th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I recognize my colleague's devotion to this subject.

It is important to realize that this government is taking a new approach. We are taking an approach that is focused on working with our aboriginal, Inuit and Métis people. We are taking an approach that is focused on getting effective results, not simply making promises, not simply committing to things prior to an election and then never actually putting them into a real budget.

It is very important to recognize the $450 million that we have put into this and which is actually being utilized to help with things such as education and water treatment facilities on reserve.

I respect the hon. member's question because it is a simple fact that the best way to get any area of our population out of poverty is by continuing and advancing the educational levels of those people. That has to be a priority for everyone and it is a priority for this government.

Business of Supply June 19th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, as this is my first time standing to give a formal address to the House, I want to say what a privilege it is to speak on such an important issue as our aboriginal people. I am pleased to speak in response to the motion of the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre.

Aboriginal Canadians contribute a great deal to Westlock—St. Paul, the riding I represent, and to Canada as a whole. We owe it to them and to Canada to find real solutions to poverty many aboriginals face.

The government has consistently recognized the need to improve the quality of life experienced by first nations, Inuit and Métis. We are keenly aware of the importance of reducing aboriginal poverty. We are taking action in a targeted, tightly focused fashion on priorities, action that will yield prompt, visible and measurable results. We are also laying the foundations for sustainable long term improvements to make life better for aboriginal people in Canada.

Past policies, as all members of the House should recognize, have produced dependency, hopelessness and despair in many of our aboriginal communities. That is why the government will not follow the practice of throwing money at the problems. Success is not and should not be determined by how many billions of dollars the Government of Canada spends. That is not a new approach. That should be a thoroughly discredited approach. The government is committed to finding real solutions, as its actions since taking office can attest.

I would like to speak specifically to our actions in the area of drinking water on reserves. We have designed and are implementing a plan of action that will make real improvements in people's lives. It is universally acknowledged that safe drinking water is a fundamental need. Within weeks of coming into office, the government launched an action plan to address long-standing drinking water concerns in first nations communities.

This comprehensive plan consists of four immediate measures: first, identify the first nations communities most at risk from unsafe drinking water and complete and implement detailed remediation plans to fix the specific problems of water treatment and distribution systems in these communities; second, ensure that certified operators oversee all treatment plant facilities and require mandatory training for all treatment plant operators; third, implement the protocol for safe drinking water for first nations communities, a series of benchmarks for local operators that establish clear standards for the design, construction, operation, maintenance and monitoring of treatment facilities; and fourth, determine options for a regulatory framework for water in first nations communities as the basis for sustainable solutions. Together these four actions will inject much needed improvements into the current system, but the actions are only the centrepiece of a much larger effort.

To appreciate the impact of these actions, though, it is important to point out that under the current system the leaders of a first nations community, typically a band's chief and council, are responsible for the operation and maintenance of water treatment facilities and for the delivery of safe drinking water to residents.

Our plan of action means that the government will ensure that first nations community leaders have access to the tools and resources they need to deliver clean water to their residents. We are working with those communities most at risk to develop remedial plans to reduce their risk level and assess what resources are required for long term solutions.

This collaborative effort will help address the most serious water quality problems, to establish national standards for the operation of treatment facilities and to institute clear rules for the people responsible for water quality. The ultimate goal is to ensure that residents of first nations communities enjoy the same protection afforded other Canadians when it comes to drinking water.

More recent, the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations announced the establishment of an independent three member panel of experts to examine options for this regulatory framework. The expert panel will host public hearings in the coming months across Canada to obtain suggestions and advice from people with technical expertise and experience in the operations and management of water systems. At these hearings, participants will have the opportunity to provide their views and suggestions on what should be regulated and what legal framework should be used. I am pleased to note that the hearings are starting tomorrow in Yukon.

The panel's interim report on regulatory options will be submitted to the minister by September 2006. A report on the panel's findings to date will be submitted to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development in September of 2006.

The establishment of the independent expert panel is definitely a step in the right direction. It is in keeping with the tone and direction of our action plan to address drinking water concerns in first nations communities. It fulfills a commitment made in the recent federal budget to improve water supplies in first nations communities. It is demonstrable proof that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Indian Affairs are steadfast in their resolve to continue to work with our aboriginal partners to establish clear priorities and develop effective, sustainable approaches to overcome pressing challenges in our aboriginal communities.

A focused effective approach to addressing challenges is exactly what my constituents have asked for. They ask and expect their government to find practical common sense solutions. They want to know is it practical, is it affordable, and does it achieve results?

The people of my riding of Westlock—St. Paul know that past policies toward native people have not worked. This government is taking action that is practical, affordable and will achieve real results.

The government's action plan on water is focused on tangible results and clear accountability. It is a sterling example of this government's determination to effect positive change in aboriginal communities and to bring about the change in a focused effective manner.

To make everything a priority is to make nothing a priority. Our priorities have been and will continue to be set according to the most important and urgent needs. Moreover, our priorities will change because action will have been taken to address those needs, not because a new opinion poll will have been taken.

Canadian Forces June 16th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, Canada is committed to assisting in the development of a free, democratic and peaceful Afghanistan. We are helping the people of Afghanistan in many ways, but the work of our soldiers to bring stability to the countryside is a precondition for progress.

My constituents and I are grateful to our troops for their valour and dedication, to giving hope to the Afghan people.

The community of Redwater has decided to show their support by hosting a Support Your Troops Day on July 15. I invite everyone to attend this celebration and bring a donation for the troops. The event will include the dedication of a Memorial Wall, at the Legion, to the fallen soldiers of Afghanistan and the collection of personal items and treats to send to our soldiers.

Everyone in Redwater is excited about this event, which will include displays of military vehicles, personnel from CFB Edmonton as well as the Edmonton city Police Pipe Band.

Our soldiers are risking their lives for Canada and they deserve our full support.