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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

Afghanistan Veterans May 13th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on Canada's National Day of Honour this past Friday, Canadians across our nation paused to look back on our contributions and achievements in Afghanistan with tremendous pride and appreciation, knowing that those who served made a positive difference in the lives of the Afghan people.

It was a privilege to represent Sault Ste. Marie at the National Day of Honour ceremony on Parliament Hill. This was a historic event that will be embedded in my memory forever.

This was an occasion for all Canadians to remember the valour and dedication of our troops and pay tribute to the fallen, including Sault Ste. Marie's very own Master Corporal Scott Francis Vernelli and Sergeant John Wayne Faught, both of whom made the ultimate sacrifice in service to Canada.

We will remember their courage and bravery forever.

Lest we forget.

War Memorials May 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to condemn the vandalism of our nation's war memorials and cenotaphs that commemorate the sacrifices of our veterans. The memories of our brave veterans should be remembered, honoured, and cherished, not disgraced. That is why I am pleased that the member for Dufferin—Caledon introduced a piece of legislation that proposes harsher punishment for delinquents who vandalize war memorials and cenotaphs.

It is shameful the Senate Liberals are stalling this legislation. This demonstrates they do not value the importance of preserving the memories of our veterans.

I encourage the swift passage of this legislation to ensure these criminals are held accountable.

Birthday Congratulations March 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge my sons, both of whom I am so proud of. I thank Kevin and Brandyn for their support on my campaign and their belief in my abilities. I thank them for taking their education seriously and for the trust they place in mom and me to ask for our advice.

I thank them for the poker games with their friends, for our great outings on the golf course, and for our constant text messages. I thank them for the love, support, equality, and respect they show their beautiful gals, Chantal and Emily. I thank them for being best friends to each other, but above all else, I thank them for the love and caring they show to their mother as she loves them more than, as men, we will ever understand.

They have turned into superb young men. I admire them, look up to them, respect them, and love them both for who they are. God has so blessed us as a family. It is so cool to be their dad, and I want to say from the bottom of my heart that I am sorry for turning them into Maple Leafs fans. I love these guys.

Happy birthday, Brandyn.

Veterans Affairs March 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, members on this side of the House want to see qualified veterans placed at the front of the line for posted federal public service jobs. That is because only this side of the House truly supports Canadian veterans transitioning from military to civilian life.

Will the Minister of Veterans Affairs please update this House on the position PSAC took and what he intends to do about it?

National Lyme Disease Strategy Act March 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for bringing forward this important piece of legislation on behalf of one of my constituents, who suffered for the longest time in terms of finding a diagnosis and then treatment. She was not able to find appropriate treatment in Canada, and I believe she went to Mexico three times for treatment.

In terms of best practices and treatment, is the intent to look worldwide and go outside of Canada and the United States, to search for the best treatment possible?

Winter Olympic Games February 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend my congratulations to Team Jacobs from Sault Ste. Marie on winning the Olympic gold medal in men's curling.

This victory comes less than a year after winning the Brier, followed by silver at the Worlds. Consisting of skip Brad Jacobs; third Ryan Fry; second E.J. Harnden; lead Ryan Harnden; along with alternate Caleb Flaxey; coach Tom Coulterman, this team played with true Canadian spirit.

As Team Jacobs took their place front and centre on the Olympic podium, Saultites and Canadians across the country were filled with pride and admiration at their incredible talent, drive, and strength. This is the first Olympic gold medal for Team Jacobs and for Sault Ste. Marie, and it is the first time in history that both the Canadian men's and women's curling teams, with Jennifer Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, and Dawn McEwen, have won gold in the same Olympics.

Congratulations to the entire team and coaching staff for once again putting Sault Ste. Marie on top of the international sporting stage.

Afghan Veterans Monument February 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have eagerly awaited this opportunity to join the debate on the motion before the House, Motion No. 448, for a tribute to the Canadian mission in Afghanistan.

I, like others, congratulate the hon. member for Palliser for sponsoring this important and timely motion, and for displaying the commitment to see it through to approval and passage. It is a worthy and commendable gesture by the member, and it appropriately honours the courage of the Canadian men and women who have served in Afghanistan. Simply put, the motion speaks to the concept, the ideal, and the purpose of duty.

“Duty” is a word I plan to repeat several times in my remarks. The Afghanistan mission required some Canadians to serve not just one tour of duty, but two or three, and in some cases, even four or more tours of duty. My colleague beside me on the left served one of those tours, and during his tour, there were 24 losses of life.

These men and women did their duty. They did their duty to our country, to their service, and to their comrades and, at the same time, we understand that they did so, that they answered Canada's call at great personal sacrifice.

It mean placing themselves in harm's way every day of every month while completing a tour. It meant fighting an enemy who redefined oppression and cruelty, if not barbarity. It meant protecting innocent civilians from those who dismissed every basic principle of civilized conduct. It meant long and stressful absences from loved ones—missing birthdays, anniversaries, special holidays, and even the birth of children. It also meant standing and saluting fallen or wounded comrades.

We lost 158 members of Canada's Armed Forces during this mission. We lost 158 Canadians who exemplified every trait, value, and ideal that we admire and each of us wishes to emulate. We lost 158 of Canada's finest men and women.

We lost Master Corporal Scott Vernelli and Sergeant John Wayne Faught from my riding of Sault Ste. Marie. May they rest in peace.

Our lost heroes personified what has made this nation so great. They willingly grasped the torch passed on from previous generations of Canadian veterans and held it high with pride, courage, and distinction. They added new chapters to our proud military history.

Through a tribute to the Canadian mission in Afghanistan, we can perpetually honour and remember them. Through this tribute, we will always honour our nation's loss of 158 of her finest sons and daughters, and we will go even further. We will also honour, remember, and support those who were wounded while performing their duties.

Over 2,000 Canadians were wounded in the Afghanistan mission. Some have returned to duty, others struggle to adapt to life with their injuries. Some, unfortunately, are still trying to hide wounds that we cannot see, wounds of the mind, the heart, and the spirit. These wounds are sometimes the most difficult to heal.

I say to my fellow members that we cannot simply approve this motion and then walk away with the sense that our duty is done. Every member of this House has, in my opinion, a duty not only to honour and remember, but also to support those who served and survived, as well as those who continue to serve.

That is our duty and, as long as we place our Canadian Armed Forces personnel in harm's way, this duty can never be done. I am proud to contribute in part my duty as the son of a 36-year member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and by being a member of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, where we all work so very hard in support of our veterans.

The Afghanistan mission was conducted in a country halfway around the world and in a land that can be harsh and inhospitable. It was a mission that brought new terms or expressions into our daily vocabulary, such as “IED” and, tragically, “ramp ceremony”. It created a unique memorial: The Highway of Heroes.

We were introduced to the Silver Cross Mothers, who did not display a silver hair, so young were they and the loved ones they lost.

Every conflict has similarities, but they are remembered and expressed in different and, sometimes, unique ways.

Our government continues to anticipate and meet the needs of Canada's veterans, be they borne from duties performed in conflicts that occurred decades ago or more recent ones, such as the first Gulf War, the Balkans and, indeed, Afghanistan.

Each conflict represents unique challenges that we must meet in order to support Canada's veterans and their families.

The Afghanistan mission was, and is, no exception. It has represented the most significant and sustained engagement by Canada's Armed Forces since the Korean War.

I must commend the hon. Minister of Veterans Affairs, who has been tireless in his efforts to implement and build upon the innovative support programs and benefits brought about by our government.

Other members have spoken in detail of such programs, services, and innovations. I will not take up the time of the House to repeat their observations and valuable contributions to this debate. I will simply state with honesty that this government is working incredibly hard on behalf of our veterans, and I experience proof of that, every day, through my involvement on the Standing Committee of Veterans Affairs.

I am proud to say that this government is meeting its duty to Canada's veterans. It continues to strive to provide our veterans with programs and benefits that demonstrate compassion, foresight, and efficiency in their delivery.

As an hon. member has already asked: is there room for improvement?

Of course, there is. It is the duty of the government to always improve. It is our duty to participate and provide a meaningful contribution to a process that is so vital to sustaining democracy, and we are fulfilling that duty.

In closing, I ask all members to support the motion. We will not be glorifying war. We will be honouring the readiness of our fellow Canadians to sacrifice their security, their future and, indeed, their lives in defence and promotion of the values that make Canada the envy of the world.

So, let us do our duty. Let us stand together with Canada's veterans and their families and reassure them, very clearly, that we will remember their fallen comrades and that we will always honour their devotion to duty.

Youth Forum February 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in January I hosted a round table discussion in my riding of Sault Ste. Marie with the community's youth. The attendees provided their perspective on several pieces of current and pending legislation, including my own private member's motion.

All participants supported the government's pending bill on cybercrime, as well as Senate reform as opposed to Senate abolishment. The overwhelming majority do not support the third party's intent to legalize marijuana. However, all of them supported my pending private member's motion on domestic violence prevention.

Jobs were also discussed. I am proud to say that since 2006, the Conservative government has helped more than half a million young Canadians develop the skills they need to help them succeed in the job market. Economic action plan 2014, announced yesterday, builds upon this record by providing $55 million toward paid internships, as well as $100 million for interest-free student loans for apprentices.

This government recognizes that youth are our future, as do I , and I look forward to hosting more youth forums in my riding.

Regional Economic Development February 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to responsible resource development that creates jobs and economic growth in northern Ontario. Can the minister responsible for the Ring of Fire and northern Ontario please update the House on the important work that our government is doing on this file?

Regional Economic Development January 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, recently the member for Timmins—James Bay celebrated our Conservative government's investments in northern Ontario. He stated:

Timmins—James Bay is a centre for economic development in Ontario. It is good to see that we are getting strong federal investment in the region.

While we agree with the member opposite, it is shameful that the member and his shrinking NDP northern Ontario caucus—