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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was reform.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Conservative MP for Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2008, with 62% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Champlain Bridge March 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, they are going to call this one the Pont Champlain election.

We have money in the budget to make sure the bridge remains safe. We are also waiting until the end of this month, when a report will be tabled with Transport Canada that will detail options for replacing the bridge. Of course, that is what one does when in government. One thinks of the long-term and working with the Quebec government to get it done.

The nearest I can tell, at the Bloc's convention the only change it made to its party constitution had nothing to do with the bridge. All it had to say was, “Let's form a coalition with those other parties over there”.

Champlain Bridge March 25th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, in the budget is an allocation to ensure the Champlain Bridge will remain safe. The engineers say that it is absolutely safe. The amount of money set aside in the budget will ensure that it stays safe for the next 10 years. We will be working with the Quebec government.

Near as I can tell, from watching the last convention that the Bloc Québécois had, the only bridge those members seem to be concerned about is building bridges with the other parties in a coalition. Why did they not deal with the Champlain Bridge when they had the chance?

Resignation of Members March 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it has been written that to everything there is a season. In my political career, everything came together some 17 years ago when I was first elected to the House of Commons. While I can assure members of my good health and although I still feel honoured and privileged to be a member of Parliament, I have decided I will not seek re-election when Canada next goes to the polls.

I was 36 years old when this adventure started, and all four of our children were still at home. Now they are all grown up, married, and Deb and I have 10 grandchildren. I vowed I would leave politics one day with the one thing that mattered most when I entered into it: the love and respect of those closest to me. It is thanks mostly to my wife, Deb, who is the anchor and love of my life, that this will happen. It is my life's greatest achievement.

I was elected first as a Reformer and quickly learned that listening to and serving the public had its own unique rewards. My constituents are passionate about their issues and politics and working with them has been an ongoing inspiration and motivation. They are wonderful, commonsense people and I will forever be grateful for their encouragement and support.

One of the best parts of political life is the friends we make along the way. A whole new world of people we would never have met otherwise have become near and dear to us. Not just political partisans either, but interesting, thought-provoking folks from all kinds of backgrounds, religions and regions. Like the rock solid friends we have always had in our home town, these new friends have become an integral part of our lives. We are richer and better people for their loyal companionship.

Of course serving in cabinet has been an exceptional experience. I will always be grateful to the Prime Minister who went out of his way to assure me that he not only wanted me to be a minister, but he was confident I could do the job. He appointed me right on the heels of my serious encounter with cancer, and his encouragement to me at the time was, “Don't let people tell you that you can't still contribute – don’t let them push you aside”. Cancer survivors need to hear words like that and they need to know in their heart that they are true. I thank the Prime Minister for those words. My health has been good ever since.

Throughout it all, my staff have been exceptional. The workload, the high expectations and public pressure on these people is enormous, but they have consistently risen to the occasion and they have all served Canada with distinction. Any good reputation I may have garnered over the years is due in large part to their efforts. The same can be said for so many of the professional civil servants I have worked with in three separate ministries, and the Clerk and her staff are on that list as well. Our country is fortunate to have these people toiling on our behalf.

In all ways, large and small, my experiences these past 17 years have reinforced the conviction that Canada is one of the most blessed countries in the world. Full of abundant natural resources and a generous, stoic people, consistently peaceful and generally prosperous, we are among history's most fortunate. What a great country.

One day, and perhaps soon, I will leave this place and my role here behind. I will leave with mixed feelings, because I love serving our country and its people. But for everything there is a season, and I am convinced this is the right time for me and Deb to seek out the next, wonderful purpose that God has in mind for us.

I thank one and all for the honour and privilege of serving together in the common service of our constituents and country.

Champlain Bridge March 23rd, 2011

That was a good question, Mr. Speaker. How much money are we going to spend on the new Windsor bridge? We are going to spend zero taxpayer dollars. It is a P3 project. It will not have a single dollar in it.

Perhaps that is an option for the Champlain Bridge. The reason we are not saying that is because we are going to wait for the report to be tabled with me. When that report is tabled, options will be presented to us, including design ideas, whether it should include a railway, whether it should include rapid transit, whether it should include a bus route. There are lots of options. We are certainly not going to go into this willy-nilly.

While the bridge is safe, Montrealers should use it.

We will be working with the Quebec government to design an option.

Champlain Bridge March 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, clearly the Champlain Bridge is an extremely important bridge. That is why we are investing almost $400 million in it over the next 10 years to make sure it stays safe.

I am not an engineer. A good question to ask is: whom do we ask about this? We ask the engineers who inspect the bridge. We ask the CEO who oversees the bridge. We work with the provincial government, which works with us to make sure the bridge is safe.

Of course the bridge will have to be replaced in the longer term. However, Montrealers should know that the bridge is safe and will be safe. We will be working closely with the Quebec government to make a long-term plan for its replacement in the years to come.

Champlain Bridge March 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, of course we are not playing with people's safety. That is why when I spoke with the CEO of the federal bridge authority, when I talked to the engineers a month ago in Quebec, they said that the investments we have made in the bridge will keep it absolutely safe for the next 10 years.

At the end of the month or thereabouts, there will be a report given to us on options for the bridge. Everyone knows the bridge will need to be replaced in the long term, but what we cannot know without that option paper presented to us yet is if contains light rail, if it contains a rapid transit option, if it contains a bus option. Those options will be presented to us and, of course, we will make a decision working hand in hand with the Quebec government.

Champlain Bridge March 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Champlain Bridge is very important to entrepreneurs and the people of Montreal and Canada. We have invested a great deal of money in this corridor because the bridge is very important. Furthermore, I spoke with the Quebec minister this morning, and we discussed the bridge's condition and its safety. The future is clear: we must have discussions with the Government of Quebec about the future of—

Champlain Bridge March 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, just to remind the member, when I was in Montreal holding a stakeholders' meeting about a month or so ago, the people in Montreal said, that 25% of all the goods that come out of Montreal go across the Windsor Bridge. They are intensely interested in an additional bridge at the Windsor crossing.

However, to get back to the Champlain Bridge, we are awaiting the final report that will make recommendations on what should happen to the Champlain Bridge. We look forward to receiving the final recommendations. We are working with the Quebec government and stakeholders to ensure the bridge is safe in the meantime and will be replaced in the long term.

Champlain Bridge March 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, that is why we have invested a great deal of money in that corridor. It is very important for Montreal and for the Canadian corridor. I am also pleased to inform the hon. member that we tabled a letter in this House yesterday afternoon confirming that the Champlain Bridge is safe.

In fact, in a personal conversation I had a month ago with both the CEO and the engineers for the bridge, they said that the bridge was safe and that it would be that way for the next 10 years.

Champlain Bridge March 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food does not agree with the hon. member.

It is inappropriate to talk about a new bridge until the final feasibility study on the future of the Champlain Bridge has been received. Once we have received that study, we will look at the findings and we will consider all the options, including replacing the Champlain Bridge.