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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was conservatives.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Green MP for Thunder Bay—Superior North (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 8% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 4th, 2015

With regard to government funding allocated in the constituency of Thunder Bay—Superior North, broken down by fiscal year from 2011-2012 to present: (a) what is the total amount of this funding, broken down by (i) department, (ii) agency, (iii) program, (iv) any other government body; and (b) how many jobs are estimated to have been created by this funding, broken down by (i) full-time jobs, (ii) part-time jobs?

Respecting Seniors Act June 4th, 2015

seconded by Mr. Rathgeber, moved for leave to introduce Bill C-685, An Act to amend the Celebrating Canada’s Seniors Act (living situation of seniors).

He said: Mr. Speaker, I am introducing the seniors bill of rights to amend the Celebrating Canada Seniors Act in order to establish a yearly mandatory comprehensive review of the living situation of seniors.

It would provide an annual overview of seniors' living standards. It would report on the access to affordable, accessible, and secure housing. It would deal not only with housing but with the determinants of seniors' health. It would provide information on access to universal health care, including primary care, dental care, home care, long-term care, pharmacare, and what we will all face eventually, palliative care.

Canadians have a right to be worried about the condition of seniors. We need a comprehensive approach. The public wants immediate action for us to improve the healthy aging of seniors, and this would lead to that.

We must ensure our seniors are protected from abuse, neglect, and exploitation and enjoy freedom, dignity, and independence in their older years.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Petitions May 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the World Parks Congress long ago recommended that 20% to 30% of all ocean habitat be protected from fishing to actually help fishing outside of those areas.

Canada established marine protected areas. There are 161, but 95 were intended to be areas free from harvesting. However, that has not happened. Only one has happened. There are 11 classifications for marine protected areas included by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The petitioners are calling on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to actually close some of these areas to harvesting and to work with other relevant branches to make the system work.

Safe and Accountable Rail Act May 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the member for Halifax West has repeatedly used the word “responsible”. He has implied that the Greens are not being responsible by wanting to stop the expansion of growth of the tar sands and shipping unprocessed crude overseas. That is not the case.

However, speaking of responsibility, the real question is whether it is responsible on the part of the Liberal Party to have absolutely no plan to price carbon and to leave it up to the provinces to do it. Is that leadership? Is that the kind of leadership it promises after October 19?

Infrastructure May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is great that Paul Martin was forced into sharing gas taxes with the municipalities by Jack Layton, but the priorities of the current Conservative government are completely out of whack. While other countries are investing in infrastructure, Canadians are left dodging potholes and falling bridges and dealing with antiquated sewers that back up into basements in Thunder Bay—Superior North.

Meanwhile, Canada is a world leader when it comes to handouts to rich multinational oil corporations. The government needs to smarten up, stop taxing average citizens each at $952 every year, and giving that money to oil executives to stash in Bermuda and Panama. Instead, when will the government begin giving infrastructure in municipalities across Canada the attention that they deserve and need?

Infrastructure May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, infrastructure is the backbone of any economy. Canada's economic success depends on smart and strategic investment in infrastructure programs.

Unfortunately, the Conservative government has allowed Canadian infrastructure to crumble and decay, including by ignoring Ontario, our country's industrial heartland, in favour of subsidizing the energy sector in Alberta.

Ontario pays 39% of all federal revenues but receives only 34% of federal program dollars. My riding of Thunder Bay—Superior North in northern Ontario represents a vast and remote region. However, our region's economy faces unique challenges and threats. Unemployment rates are high, commodity prices are falling, forestry continues to suffer, tourism has fallen without adequate federal marketing, exports have decreased, and there are no roads or power lines to most remote first nations communities.

The economic growth rate in Canada from 2006 to now, under the Conservatives, has fallen to a miniscule 1.77%, the lowest growth rate since 1930. The wrong economist is running Canada.

The IMF estimates that Canada pays out an astonishing $34 billion a year in subsidies and untaxed externalities to the fossil fuel industries. That is $34 billion a year to some of the wealthiest corporations in Canada, while total investments in infrastructure, the building block of our economy, are receiving only a quarter as much, at about $7.5 billion a year.

The population of Canada is 35 million. That means, if we do the math, a whopping $952, or almost $1,000, per year in energy subsidies from every Canadian to the oil sector. On average, every Canadian was taxed—it is really a tax—$952 in 2014 to subsidize big oil. This is on top of the payments we make through our energy bills. David Lipton of the IMF explains that removing these subsidies worldwide could lead to a 13% decline in C02 emissions.

Infrastructure monies to municipalities have gone down significantly under the Conservatives. Budgetary holdups meant that some Canadian cities are likely to be receiving no infrastructure funding for the third year in a row.

FedNor has steadily decreased its funding to various programs in northern Ontario, despite increased applications for funding. Those applications are held up, stuck on his desk, by the minister from Kenora, who puts his party before his communities and his constituents.

What could Canada do with an extra $34 billion a year? We could build about 140 kilometres of badly needed urban subway lines every year, or we could build about 560 kilometres of light rail transit.

Canada's infrastructure deficit of crumbling roads, rusting rail, and outdated water and sewage treatment is pegged at $171 billion in backlog. That huge backlog could, and would, be wiped out in five years with the revenue we are subsidizing to the oil, coal, and gas sectors, but our Prime Minister has refused repeatedly to even meet with the premiers to discuss it.

When will this government start supporting important infrastructure projects, including those in Thunder Bay—Superior North and all across Canada?

Rail Transportation May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, on May 14, the government tabled VIA Rail's troubling annual report. Ridership and on-time performance are down and costs and losses are up, but there may be hope. VIA is off track, but Amtrak is on track.

There are two unfilled positions on the VIA board. Will the Minister of Transport consider appointing former Amtrak president and Cape Breton resident David Gunn to our VIA board?

Petitions May 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, people from across Canada are concerned about climate change, including Diane Beckett from here in Ottawa. They are concerned about the extreme weather events that are becoming more frequent and that we have no climate change plan here in Canada; that we need a plan, targets and prescriptions; and we need to do our part. They also are concerned that we need to have a plan for climate change adaptation.

Post-Secondary Education May 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, well-off Conservatives think that student debt is a student's problem, but Roman Jakubowski, president of the Lakehead University Student Union, would disagree.

Fifteen billion dollars in student debt is a tax on the future of our young people and a drain on our economy.

Meanwhile, Conservatives hand out $34 billion in fossil fuel subsidies each and every year. How will our Minister of Finance reduce high tuition costs?

The Environment May 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, in 2007, the Prime Minister visited Nipigon in Thunder Bay—Superior North, proudly proclaimed our newest national marine conservation area, and promised $20 million and an interpretive centre. He reaffirmed those promises in 2009.

In good faith, Nipigon has invested heavily in waterfront development.

Nipigon kept its part of the deal. After eight years, will the Prime Minister finally keep his word and his part of the deal?