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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

Financial System Review Act March 27th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, this process and the consultations have been in place since 2010.

The sunsetting clause, the sunsetting of the legislation this year, makes this important legislation to come to the House today, not only to ensure that we give it its due diligence, but to ensure that we pass it.

As for significant amendments to the legislation, as I said in my speech and has been said by members on both sides of the aisle, the banking system that we have in Canada is one of the best in the world. It is recognized around the world as one of the strongest banking systems there is. It is one of the reasons why we did not have to bail out the banks in our country as has happened in the United States, England and other countries around the world. It is very important that we continue along this line, without adding substantial amendments that the NDP would like to put in place.

Financial System Review Act March 27th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, what an interesting debate we are having here, where the NDP are claiming to be Liberals and Liberals NDP. The leader of the NDP was a Liberal and the leader of the Liberals was an NDP. I am confused about it. I am just happy to be a Conservative.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to the House, and to all Canadians, on Bill S-5, the financial system review act. Bill S-5 would make improvements to one of the key components of Canada's economic success, our financial system.

Before I continue, I just want to remind members of the opposition that, unlike in Europe and the United States, not a single Canadian bank collapsed or had to be bailed out by Canadian taxpayers. The reason for this is our strong, stable and flexible financial system. Canada's well regulated financial system is universally recognized as one of the primary reasons for Canada's swift recovery following the global crisis.

Recently, an independent Financial Stability Board peer review validated this claim by praising actions taken by the Conservative government to ensure that Canada's financial system remains strong, enabling Canada to emerge from the global financial crisis in a position of strength.

In its review, the board highlighted the resilience of Canada's financial system, calling it a model for other countries around the world. The board's review said the strength of Canada's economy and its financial system meant that no Canadian financial institution failed or required government support in the form of a capital injection or debt guarantee during the global financial crisis. The report said:

The good performance of the financial system both during and after the crisis provides further evidence of its soundness and resilience.

As the board's report also noted, since 2008, the Conservative government has taken steps to make our financial system more stable, reduce systemic risks and ensure that we have the flexibility to protect the financial institutions when needed. The report went further, citing Canada as an example that other jurisdictions should emulate in developing financial sector policy.

Clearly, these sentiments are felt by jurisdictions around the world. A recent report from the United States congressional research service identified our financial system as a model for others to build on. It said:

... Canada’s supervisory system and regulatory structure have proven less susceptible to the bank failures that have loomed in the United States and Europe and may offer insight for U.S. policymakers.

British Prime Minister, David Cameron, praised our financial system. He said:

[Canada's] economic leadership has helped the Canadian economy to weather the global storms far better than many of your international competitors.

The praise goes even further. Numerous observers have noticed and paid tribute to Canada's well regulated financial sector. For example, over the past four years the World Economic Forum has ranked our banking system as the soundest in the world. Forbes magazine has ranked Canada number one in its annual review of best countries to do business. Five Canadian financial institutions were named to Bloomberg's most recent list of the world's strongest banks. That is more than any other country.

At the same time that our system is receiving international praise, we cannot be complacent. Bill S-5 would make necessary improvements to Canada's financial system so it would continue to be the envy of the world.

As Canadians, we are justifiably proud of our financial services sector, which employs over 750,000 people in well paying jobs, represents about 7% of Canada's GDP and is a leader in the use of information technology. We are the world leaders in this field. We aim to keep it that way. It is for this reason that the government has the long established practice of reviewing the statutes governing federally regulated financial institutions every five years. This mandatory review helps to maintain the safety and soundness of our sector.

How would this legislation accomplish these goals? Under the proposed legislation, certain larger foreign acquisitions of financial institutions would need the approval of the Minister of Finance. This merely reinstates some of the historical oversight provisions repealed by previous Liberal governments in early 2001. In practice, it would require ministerial approval if a federally regulated financial institution were to acquire a major foreign entity which significantly increased its assets by more than 10%.

This is a move supported, not only by industry stakeholders, but also by Julie Dickson, the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

The legislation would also reflect the natural growth of the banking sector by increasing the large bank ownership threshold from $8 billion today, to $12 billion. This would have no impact on Canada's five large banks. They would continue to be subject to widely held requirements. This change would merely reflect growth in our financial sector.

Bill S-5 would also build on this government's proven record of improving consumer protection by making important changes to federal financial institution statutes. In particular, the bill would increase the maximum administrative penalty that the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada could levy from $200,000 to $500,000. It would confirm that Canadians, including bank customers, would be able to cash government cheques of amounts less than $1,500 free of charge at any bank in Canada.

The legislation would also demonstrate this government's continuing support for credit unions. Building on the federal credit union charter, Bill S-5 would amend the Canadian Payments Act so credit unions would fall within the co-operatives class in the act rather than the bank class.

Speaking to this change, the Credit Union Central of Canada, which is the national association of credit unions in Canada, had this to say:

Placing the federal credit union in the cooperatives class will preserve and strengthen the credit union system representation at the CPA. It will ensure that a federal credit union will be represented by a director, who speaks for the interests of cooperative financial institutions in CPA matters.

In short, this change would promote a level playing field within the financial sector, which would generate competition in the industry, which would ensure a stronger, more stable system overall. Bill S-5 would also include a number of technical refinements to ensure the effective implementation of what is referred to as a bridge bank tool. This would build on our government's commitment in the 2009 budget to strengthen the authorities of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, to effectively preserve the critical functions of a financial institution in dire straits and to help maintain stability in the financial system.

I would like to finish by saying that it is constant improvements like those included in Bill S-5 that make Canada's financial system the envy of the world. Surely, even the members of the opposition can see that it is the routine fine tuning of Canada's financial institution legislation that would keep our financial system strong, stable and flexible for Canadians. On that note, I urge the members of the opposition to stand and support the swift passage of this very important legislation.

St. Paul and District Hospital Foundation March 7th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday I had the honour of attending the fourth annual St. Paul and District Hospital Foundation fundraiser in my riding. After proceeds from tickets, donations and live auctions items were tabulated, the foundation raised $60,000 from the over 300 people who attended.

The money raised will be put toward a monitor for post-operative patients who have had general anesthetics and two Life Pak 12 defibrillator monitors, which are used in each of the trauma rooms in the emergency department for heart attack or cardiac arrest patients.

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the St. Paul and District Hospital Foundation and all its volunteers, including Dr. Albert Harmse for his leadership in this role, as well as the community of St. Paul for supporting this important fundraiser that will help to save lives in our community and for partnering to bring the best health care possible to rural Alberta.

Firearms Registry February 16th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, Canadians gave our Conservative government a strong mandate to end the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry once and for all. This is exactly what we are doing.

I am proud to report that last night this House passed, by a vote of 159 to 130, the ending the long-gun registry act.

Would the Minister of Public Safety please update the House as to the status of this legislation and how close we are to finally scraping this ineffective registry?

Canadian Human Rights Act February 14th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Malpeque does not like open and free debates. That is why he tried to hold western Canadian farmers away from freedom for so many years.

I will now take the time to address some of the concerns of opposition members.

Members of the Liberal Party have come forward today and said that section 13 is very important and that protecting against hate speeches is critically important, but that it is not so important that we should actually have any penalties for those who break it. That is actually what the Liberals came forward today and said.

Every member of the NDP caucus who has stood has used the excuse that the burden of proof under the Criminal Code of Canada is too great and that it is too complex. They propose that we have two tiers of hate speech. I, for one, do not necessarily understand that. I do not understand how we can have one tier of hate speech that is worse than another tier of hate speech.

When we talk about the burden of proof and trying to make it easier, what we are giving up as Canadians are some of our natural rights as Canadians. What they are asking Canadians to give up is the right to an attorney, the right to a speedy and fair trial, and the right to face our accuser. Heck, they are even saying that we should not have the right to defend ourselves with the truth, that the truth should not be a defence in this country.

When my constituents hear about this and they hear about these quasi-judicial courts, they are absolutely appalled. That is why I believe it is important that we, as Canadians, stand up and defend our civil liberties and say that it is time to repeal section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act and ensure that these types of trials happen in an open, fair and transparent system called the Criminal Code of Canada where there are checks and balances that Canadians have already approved.

The core message of Bill C-304 is protecting freedom.

The last thing I will address is the hesitancy on the opposition benches. I know there are a lot of new members of Parliament in this place but when I look at the weak arguments of burden of proof I see people who have already been told by their whip how they will vote so they need to formulate a reason for voting against it.

What I would ask members on the other side to do is to please throw off the shackles of their whip. This is a private member's bill. I would ask them to please stand and vote the conscience of their constituents. I have consulted my constituents on this bill. I hope all members will consult their constituents before they take the time to vote on this because protecting our freedom of speech is one of the greatest things we can do in this country.

Canadian Human Rights Act February 14th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I will begin by acknowledging all my colleagues who have stuck around and participated in the debate. As it is Valentine's Day, I thank them and their spouses for allowing them to be here to participate in it. I also thank my lovely spouse who is here supporting me tonight, giving up part of our Valentine's Day.

The purpose of the bill is to protect our fundamental freedoms. The core freedom, the pillar of our democratic society, is the freedom of expression. It has been argued on the other side that all freedoms are about equal. However, without the freedom of expression, the freedom of religion and the freedom of assembly have less value if we do not have freedom of expression to go with them. This is the tool that all truly free and democratic societies use to push the societal norms.

Open debates in our society are not just necessary, they are imperative to having a healthy and free western democratic society. Open debates are what this place was built on. It is what our society was built on.

Business of Supply February 9th, 2012

Madam Speaker, I was pleased to hear my hon. colleague from Halifax speak to this issue. I know my hon. colleague was a cabinet minister in the previous the Liberal government. This is clearly something that he feels very strongly about. He must have had briefings on this when he was in cabinet. Why was it that a Liberal government never undertook this then?

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act November 28th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, as I stated in my speech, the 2008 Informa report clearly outlines the benefits to western Canadian farmers. In the Wheat Board committee, the working group took a look at about four other reports and tabled them. This is available if the member is truly interested in the benefits to western Canadian farmers. The Informa report said about $450 million to $628 million a year would be put directly into Canadian farmers' pockets. That is a tremendous amount of money for our farmers.

It is important to note that western Canadian farmers are asking to have both options, and that is what we are giving them. We are giving them the Canadian Wheat Board, the interim board that would be there, but we are also giving them marketing freedom. I fail to see how the member sees a downside to that.

Other than some little, hand-drawn chart that the member for Winnipeg Centre held up, the opposition has not shown us any proof that this would be detrimental to the western Canadian economy.

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act November 28th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the hon. minister is absolutely correct. The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food has done several outreaches, and our government has done many outreaches, to ensure that we had a smooth transition process moving forward.

I am very upset. The fact is that this could have happened a lot more smoothly, a lot more cohesively if, after we announced after May 2 that we would be moving forward with this, Mr. Oberg and the Canadian Wheat Board had helped facilitate the process rather than trying to burn the house down before they were out of it.

In fact, our government will continue to move forward with marketing freedom for western Canadian farmers because it is the right thing to do for western Canadian farmers and for our economy.

Marketing Freedom for Grain Farmers Act November 28th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it would be interesting to note that my position on the questions he asked has not changed.

The opposition, particularly that member, continues to stand and say the Wheat Board is going to be eliminated. It is not. The Wheat Board will still be in place for western Canadian farmers. What they will also have is marketing freedom. When they put in their crops, when they hope for rain and hope that they do not get hailed out, and then do all the work before winter comes to get the grain in their bins, some of them want to get paid that year. They do not want to wait a full year for the Wheat Board to pay them. Some of them want to access open markets so they can get better money. Some of them want to use the board as a risk management tool. This will all be available to western Canadian farmers.

It is not helpful for members of the opposition, for their own political purposes, to try to create fear in western Canada by saying that the board will be eliminated when, in fact, that is not true.