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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was terms.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Taxation March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, tax season is approaching and the tax-free savings account is another example of our Conservative government fulfilling on promises to keep taxes low. It is a way for Canadians to save for retirement, their children's education or a down payment on a house. The TFSA is helping Canadians, but the opposition wants to take it away.

Could the Minister of Finance tell the House how the TFSA is helping Canadians provide for their future?

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 February 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, in response to the hon. member, that is the purpose of committee work, and that is why we encourage this legislation to get to committee and not be held up in the House.

In my role as a committee member on public accounts and the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, we take the opposition's views quite seriously. We do listen and we bring forward witnesses. The whole purpose of that process is so that we ultimately bring forward good solid legislation.

Although I am not on the public safety committee, I have confidence that all members will take the questions very seriously.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 February 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is not surprising that New Democrats bring forward fearmongering tactics. They talk about an isolated incident that occurred. New Democrats automatically assume that CSIS and the RCMP would be the body to commit abuse and human rights abuses. I think that is an unfair assumption. This is simply speculation, and if, for some reason, serious human rights abuses occur, then not only is SIRC in place as an oversight body, but so too are the courts.

This is a judicial oversight at the front end of the process, and new powers are provided to our judicial authorities to tackle this at the front end. I am confident that they will be quite capable of doing that.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 February 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to discuss Bill C-51, anti-terrorism act, 2015.

This is important legislation that was developed with much consultation. In the wake of the horrific terrorist attacks this past October, our Conservative government, led by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Public Safety, and the Minister of Justice, consulted with Canadians from coast to coast while they were developing the legislation before us today.

We saw the results of those consultations when statistics come out last week: four out of every five Canadians fully support this legislation. That is because they know that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada. Canadians are being targeted by jihadi terrorists simply because they hate our society and the values it represents.

That is why our government has put forward these measures that protect Canadians against the jihadi terrorists, who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world in which to live. That is also why Canada is not sitting on the sidelines, as some would have us do, and is instead joining our allies and supporting the international coalition in the fight against ISIL. In line with measures taken by our allies, these new measures will specifically ensure that our law enforcement and national securities agencies of Canada counter those who would advocate terrorism, prevent terrorist travel and the efforts of those who seek to use Canada as a recruiting ground, and disrupt planned attacks on Canadian soil.

I reject the argument that every time we talk about security our freedoms are threatened. Canadians understand that their freedom and security go hand in hand. Canadians expect us to protect both, and there are protections in this legislation to do exactly that.

It is currently not a criminal offence to advocate or promote terrorism. The ability to arrest someone who in general terms is advocating or promoting the activity of terrorism does not exist. The threshold for arrest under the Criminal Code is specific to someone who knowingly instructs, directly or indirectly, any persons to carry out terrorist activity.

The anti-terrorism act, 2015, makes it an offence to advocate or promote terrorism in broader terms, a measure that is supported by 90% of Canadians, according to a survey done by the Angus Reid Institute. The fundamental fact is that our police and national security agencies are working to protect our rights and our freedoms, and it is jihadi terrorists who endanger our security and would take away our freedoms.

CSIS currently does not have the legal mandate to take action to disrupt threats to Canada in order to keep Canadians safe. When the CSIS Act was originally developed, Soviet espionage was the greatest threat to our national security. Today, violent jihadists are the greatest threats to Canada and Canadians, and the threat continues to evolve. It is imperative that we provide our national security agencies with the tools they require to face this evolving global threat.

Let us look at a case study. A terrorist entity puts up a terrorist-promoting propaganda video on YouTube, which concludes with the words “Attack Canada” on the screen. No description of the kind of attacks to be carried out is given. Under the current law, counselling the commission of a terrorism offence is criminal, whether the attack is carried out or not. However, the counselling must relate to committing a specific terrorist offence, for example, counselling someone to kill someone for a political, religious, or ideological purpose.

In the case study, there is insufficient detail to allow one to conclude that the person was counselling to do a specific terrorism offence in the Criminal Code to kill someone, as opposed to disrupting an essential service. Under the new anti-terrorism act, posting such a video, with its call to carry out attacks in Canada in general, which is a form of active encouragement, would now be caught by the criminal law.

With respect to oversight, I think third-party, non-partisan, independent expert oversight of our national security agencies is a better model than political intervention in the process. Furthermore, the key powers of the new legislation are subject to judicial review and authorization. In fact, any activity that infringes on a person's privacy or charter rights would require a warrant, such as entering a person's home to remove their passport, or tampering with a possible chemical weapon to render it harmless.

I would like to acknowledge the concerns raised by the Liberals and the NDP regarding resources for national security agencies.

Our Conservative government has already increased the resources available to our national security agencies by one third. The Liberals and the NDP voted against these increases each step of the way. Seven times our Conservative government brought forward proposals for more funds for these agencies, and seven times the NDP and the Liberals voted against these measures.

Despite the Liberals' and the NDP's votes against these increases, our government will continue to ensure that our national security agencies have the resources they need to keep Canadians safe.

I mentioned earlier in my comments that Canadians had expressed strong support for the legislation. I would like to take this time to discuss what some prominent Canadians think about the legislation before us today.

CSIS director, Michel Coulombe, said:

Last fall, two terrorist attacks took place in Canada, the first one in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and the second in downtown Ottawa. Since then, the threat has accelerated as extremist groups call for additional attacks on Canada.

[...] CSIS welcomes the introduction of legislation to better enable the government to safeguard the nation's security interests. The new legislation will help CSIS protect Canadian lives from a terrorist threat unprecedented in our country's history.

What is more, Bob Paulson, the Commissioner of the RCMP said, “The recent terrorist attacks on Canada and against our allies have shown us that the threat can materialize rapidly and that we cannot be complacent when it comes to terrorism. The proposed legislation would provide the RCMP with new tools to carry out its national security criminal investigations and, ultimately, to keep Canadians safe”.

Members opposite may say it is a certainty that the national security agencies whose powers would be enhanced would be supportive. They may say that they are interested in a view from the academics.

Queen's University professor, Christian Leuprecht, said:

There's a balance to be struck here between civil liberties and between protecting individual, public, and community safety [...] I think the government is trying very hard to strike a fine line and find a middle ground....

The opposition may say that none of that which I have cited speaks to oversight.

To that, I would answer with comments from Ron Atkey, the first chairman of the Security Intelligence Review Committee. He said:

Some of the instant critics [...] have missed the mark in decrying lack of oversight. [...]

But regarding new powers of terrorism disruption to be given to CSIS, oversight is alive and well.

I would also like to cite S.A. McCartan, a criminal prosecutor, in Ontario. He said:

Canada is alone amongst Western countries in not allowing its spy agencies any powers whatsoever to prevent terror. It is alone in having a spy agency still operating 30 years in the past. It's time to fix that.

Last, I would like to quote two esteemed members of Canada's Jewish community.

David Cape, chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said:

We welcome this legislation which enhances the capacity of authorities to address a growing threat in our society. We are supportive of the Government of Canada's efforts to respond to the terrorist threat in as comprehensive and forceful a way as possible.

Avi Benlolo, of the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center, said:

It is especially significant that this new legislation will enable the removal of websites promoting jihad and related materials on the Internet. Jewish communities are a favourite target of jihadis, and the provisions of this bill will do a great deal to help ensure the safety and security of all Canadians as we continue to fight this threat to western democracies [...]

As I said earlier, 82% of Canadians support the legislation.

I am proud to be part of a government that is standing up for the wishes of Canadians, as well as delivering important measures to keep them safe.

H.R. Lash February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, before the House today I would like to recognize an incredible business in my riding. Four generations of the Lash family have owned H.R. Lash, a fashionable clothing boutique, specializing in men's wear. Established in 1914, H.R. Lash has survived two world wars, the Great Depression and a couple of recessions.

H.R. Lash is one of Sault Ste. Marie's oldest and most beloved shops, carrying both imported fashions and Canadian made products. The customer service at H.R. Lash is bar none. From tuxedo fittings to its extensive collection of Canada Goose jackets, patrons can always find new, trending or popular fashions at H.R. Lash Men's Wear.

The dedication of the Lash family to serving Sault Ste. Marie is why H.R. Lash has been able to continue such a long history and upstanding legacy. On behalf of the Government of Canada, congratulations to the Lash family as it begins its next 100 years.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, to respond to the question, it is obvious what Canadians want: Canadians want choice. What we are providing them is more discretionary income to use as they see fit, and that is incredibly important to all Canadians.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, what is most important, as I mentioned in my speech, is that the average family of four would pay $3,400 less per year in taxes. What we have introduced with our new tax plan would mean that every single family that has children under the age of 17 would benefit.

I am not sure I agree with the comment that we would only be reaching 15%. That being said, every single proposal the government puts forward does not necessarily meet the needs of the population as a whole. When we talk about veterans, there are currently 200,000 veterans we are putting in programs for through Veterans Canada, at a cost of $3.5 billion a year. Those programs impact veterans. We have to look at the broad scope.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I was not aware of that, because I did not hear the member's speech, quite frankly. Although I did sit in on the budget implementation clause by clause, that did not come up during my time.

I am aware, however, that there is an initiative on the table by the federal government. I believe it is a $40-million initiative specific to enhancing ports. In my own riding, we will be looking into those funds. That will not apply to our deep sea harbour, which has not been constructed. It will be for existing ports and harbours.

I would anticipate that those funds would be able to assist the member. I am certainly prepared to meet with him afterward to discuss it more fully and so he can brief me.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 2 December 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to Bill C-43, economic action plan 2014.

I want to step back for a moment. Three and a half years ago, I sought the nomination for the Conservative Party. At that time, I was not a political guru. Part of the nomination process was to go through the policies of the government. I read the Conservative policies and realized that they so applied to me. These were policies that spoke to caring for our families, supporting our businesses, ensuring that we are participants rather than observers in the global economy, caring for our seniors and our veterans, and promoting jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity, to name but a few.

Economic action plan 2014 builds on those policies and those initiatives. Today I want to focus a bit on those that are particularly important to northern Ontario and Sault Ste. Marie.

My history is in northern Ontario. I went to high school in North Bay, when my father was stationed there as part of the Canadian Armed Forces. I went to college in Sudbury and got a diploma from Cambrian College and then received a university degree from Laurentian University. I then moved to Sault Ste. Marie, where I reside now. I have been there for 33 years. During that tenure, I travelled all around northern Ontario as part of the Ontario March of Dimes, so I am very familiar with northern Ontario and its needs.

One of the most important components of the economic action plan is FedNor, which is the economic development fund for northern Ontario. It is a significant fund. The economic action plan continues to fund this program. It is a program that delivers programs that support innovation, sustainable community economic development, and business growth and competitiveness. Since 2006, $329 million has been funded through FedNor for 1,600 projects across northern Ontario that have created 21,000 jobs.

As part of economic action plan 2014, the minister announced what is called the targeted manufacturing fund, which is part of FedNor. This would provide financing for operational assessments and upgrading capital equipment. I encourage those who are watching at home to go to fednor.gc.ca to learn more about the programs offered through FedNor.

On December 4, the Minister for FedNor announced the community investment initiative for northern Ontario. This is a great initiative for rural municipalities and first nations communities that will facilitate staffing, the identification of opportunities, and the management of local economic development efforts to strengthen the economy and create jobs. Up to $100,000 per year is available over a three-year period for non-repayable financing toward staffing positions.

This agency has been incredible in Sault Ste. Marie. I just want to speak to a couple of the projects that have occurred in Sault Ste. Marie.

One is a company called JD Aero Maintenance. FedNor provided financing of $475,000 to assist it in its hanger development. As a result of that, it has created 28 jobs in Sault Ste. Marie, as JD Aero services the last Porter flight that comes into Sault Ste. Marie every evening.

Recently, $762,000 went to the Innovation Centre to deliver broadband e-business and marketing and innovation accelerator programs to enhance innovation, commercialization, management, and trade capacity for small and medium enterprises in northern Ontario over the next two years.

The Economic Development Corporation in Sault Ste. Marie just received $2.2 million. This is for an incredible new initiative in Sault Ste. Marie. A study done in 2013 by KPMG stated that the “economic and other benefits of the proposed harbour expansion are expected to be significant”. The report states that combined with anticipated production capacity increases by Sault Ste. Marie's steel products manufacturers, the expanded port would add as much as $228 million to Canada's GDP and would support up to 1,800 new employment positions as a result of the direct, indirect, and induced economic impacts. It would provide $262 million in economic activity generated by the infrastructure investments in the harbour and would support just under 1,400 person years of employment.

The project right now is in the process of establishing the critical path for port development. They are doing logistics, a market and commercial sensitivity analysis, a traffic forecast, and business planning and development. There is also port project infrastructure planning, design, and preparation, port logistics, and the preparation of the business case. That is what is really critical. Once that is done, the port project will apply to the new building Canada fund. This is a national infrastructure component. This project is a $120-million to $150-million investment that will happen in Sault Ste. Marie.

That leads me to another component of economic action plan 2014 that is incredibly important to northern Ontario and to all of Canada, and that is the new building Canada fund. The new building Canada plan is the largest long-term infrastructure plan in Canadian history. It will provide stable funding for a 10-year period. It includes the community improvement fund, consisting of the gas tax fund and the incremental business services tax rebate for municipalities. This will provide $32 billion to municipalities for projects such as roads, public transit, recreational facilities, and other community infrastructure.

I spent eight years on city council in Sault Ste. Marie, and one of the biggest concerns was infrastructure funding. Through our gas tax fund, which we will increase by at least 2% per year, we have put $4.6 million a year for the past couple of years into that fund for major infrastructure projects for Sault Ste. Marie.

There will also be a $14-billion new Canada fund, which will consist of the $4-billion national infrastructure component that will support projects of national significant. For smaller communities, there is the $10-billion provincial-territorial infrastructure component for projects of national, regional, or local significance. Of this amount, $1 billion is dedicated to projects in communities such as Sault Ste. Marie, with populations of fewer than 100,000 residents.

An additional $1.25 billion will be put into the P3 public private partnership Canada fund, and that will go along with the $6 billion in funding that continues to flow across the country this year and beyond under existing infrastructure programs.

I want to talk a little bit about taxes. The average family of four, under our government, pays $3,400 a year less than when we formed government. We formed government in 2006. Since then, we have administered over 160 tax cuts, and most recently, under economic action plan 2014, we have done some incredible things for families.

The first is the universal child care increase. It was originally $100 per month. It would now go up to $160 per month. If a family has a child under six years of age, there would be $1,920 available to use as the family sees fit. We would also expand the program to include funds for children aged six to 17. We would put $60 a month into that program, so there would be an additional $720 a year available.

On top of that, we have introduced the family tax cut, which is geared towards couples with minor children. This would allow a transfer of up to $50,000 a year in income to the spouse in the lower tax bracket, and it would be capped at a $2,000 credit. We would also increase the child care expense deduction limit by $1,000 and double the fitness tax credit to $1,000 and make it refundable. These initiatives in economic action plan 2014 would put an average of $1,140 back into the pockets of families with children.

On top of that, we have introduced initiatives for empowering Canadian consumers, investing in skills and training, investing in Canada's youth, supporting small business, supporting seniors, supporting Canada's veterans, and supporting Canada's farmers.

I could go on and on. I am just very proud to stand here and talk about these policies that are so incredibly important to Canadians.

Regional Economic Development December 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our government is focused on creating jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity. Through our government's investments, we are ensuring that northern Ontario is well positioned to reap the benefits of economic development. However, many small communities in northern Ontario have limited capacity to undertake economic stimulus projects.

Could the President of the Treasury Board share with this House what our government is doing to create jobs in northern Ontario communities of all sizes?