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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is liberals.

Conservative MP for Oshawa (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 38% of the vote.

Statements in the House

International Trade March 2nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister blamed the Indian government for making him look bad. Here is a news flash. The PM is doing an excellent job of embarrassing us on the trade file all by himself: softwood lumber, failed; China trade, failed; U.S. trade, failed; and now the Americans have announced devastating tariffs on our steel and aluminum manufacturers. While our PM feels his job is only ceremonial, Canadians are looking for real leadership. Has the PM confirmed that Canada will be exempt from these new devastating tariffs? Jobs are at risk.

Henry “Chick” Hewett March 2nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to a World War II veteran we lost earlier this week. Henry “Chick” Hewett spent nearly all of his life in Oshawa. Like so many of his generation, he valiantly answered the call to defend our freedom during the Second World War.

Chick served as a navigator on a Lancaster bomber. He flew 35 missions with the Royal Air Force's 90th squadron in 1944-45, but his service did not end there. He went on to contribute immensely to the 420 Wing Oshawa and many other groups in my community.

Anyone who knew Chick had great respect and admiration for him. His boundless love for his country and for his family was well known to all. It was my privilege last year to award Chick with a Canada 150 volunteer medal for his service to Oshawa and to Canada.

There is no doubt in my mind that Chick Hewett was a true Canadian hero whose bravery will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace.

Business of Supply February 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I want to say how disappointed I am with the parliamentary secretary for suggesting that the member for Windsor West is doing something just to appease the Conservatives. I have worked with the member for Windsor West and I respect that member. Guess what? We can have disagreements in the House and still have respect.

Just like the members over here, the member is hearing from his constituents. Members are hearing that people are hurting. They want action from the government, and the government is ignoring the pleas from the civil servants who are hurting from this.

I want to give my colleague from Windsor West the opportunity to answer a question about leadership, because that is what this is about in the House today. It is about leadership and the lack of leadership of the government.

We see the Prime Minister going on another vacation, to India, spending eight days there with his family taking photo ops, and spending tens of thousands of dollars on costumes. Instead of dealing with the issues that are important for constituents, he is going for the photo op.

How important is it for the government to come up with a plan? Instead of asking the NDP and the Conservatives to come up with a plan, the government needs to come up with a plan because people are hurting. What comments does the member want to make about that to this member, who is abdicating all responsibility for that?

Business of Supply February 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I commend the NDP for bringing this forward. I see this as an extreme lack of leadership. When the system was originally reviewed, the previous government decided not to implement it because there were so many warning signs. I can list the pay modernization transition activities checklist. The government was clearly told to clear the backlog. The summary of the Phoenix testing results showed huge failure rates. The office of the comptroller general said there were huge failure rates. This was a month before implementation.

There were so many reasons for not moving this forward, but the government chose to do it. We see the Prime Minister travelling around the world. The Ethics Commissioner said clearly in her report that he sees himself simply as being in a ceremonial role, but we need leadership on this.

My colleague from Elmwood—Transcona was right when he said it is affecting people on the ground and every single MP because this is not fixed. We are hearing from our constituents and they are hurting.

What message is the government giving to Canadians by not giving our civil servants the respect they deserve, especially by not correcting this mistake that the government has made?

Fisheries Act February 13th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very important speech and his comments to the government which really does not listen.

I wonder if the member could comment on a statement by the Hon. Sergio Marchi from the Canadian Electricity Association. He is a previous Liberal cabinet minister. He said that Bill C-68 “represents one step forward but two steps back”. He went on to say:

In practical terms, this means that virtually any action, without prior authorization, could be construed as being in contravention of this Act...will result in greater uncertainties for existing and new facilities, and unduly delay and/or discourage investment in energy projects that directly support Canada’s clean growth agenda and realize its climate change objectives.

Here we have a government that is not listening to the conservation side of things, first nations, and is not listening to the business side of things.

I wonder if the member could comment on how much work has to be done in committee to get the bill right.

Youth Employment February 12th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, we all know that the Prime Minister said he admires the basic dictatorship of China. We now understand some of what he means.

This past Friday, applications closed for the Canada summer jobs program. In my riding of Oshawa, the number of applicants is down by about half. This means fewer jobs for students at UOIT, Trent University, and Durham College. It means fewer summer camp options for parents already struggling to make ends meet.

All of this is happening because of the Liberals' new values test: attest to their values or be punished. If one does not agree with the ideological positions of the Liberal Party, one's organization will no longer be eligible to receive funding for a summer student. It is as simple as that.

One organization in my riding wrote to me saying, “we are desperately concerned that this government overreach is just a test run for a more insidious plan”.

This values test has no place in Canada. While the current Prime Minister talks a lot about respecting diversity, his actions tell a very different story.

Business of Supply February 6th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his comments about this extremely important ethical issue that we are facing in the House. We know that the current government has said it wants to set the bar higher than ever before. My colleague was my seatmate before. I remember when we were first elected, we all sat down and were told the rules about what we could and could not do. Most members of the House do their best. When people make mistakes they pay back what is expected.

I think what is really bothering people about this situation is the Prime Minister's priorities. He was at a town hall, and a veteran came up to him and said he was prepared to give his life for the country and now the government was turning its back on veterans. The Prime Minister answered by saying, “Why are we still fighting certain veterans groups in court? Because they're asking for more than we are able to give right now.” That was the answer he gave, which is incredibly disturbing.

The Prime Minister took an illegal vacation, and he had money for that. What does he think he is doing by providing that example of behaviour especially toward our veterans?

Tobacco and Vaping Products Act January 30th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I enjoyed my time serving on the health committee with my colleague as well. I think he is aware that there is a tobacco strategy out there that is going to be sunsetting. At the end of the day, all of us want to put things into the public domain that would help decrease the amount of smoking. When we are talking about the regulations of these products, the vaping products and e-cigarettes, I think that everyone in the House is in full agreement.

I have one concern where I am not in total agreement with my colleague. We have heard members in the House today trying to extrapolate from the experience in Australia, saying that it would apply directly to Canada. Canada has a different situation, where even today we have a huge contraband industry. In some places up to 60% of cigarettes sold are contraband. These will be increased by going to plain packaging, so I am not sold on it as much as my colleague is.

However, I very much support this legislation going to the health committee. I trust him and the other members of the health committee to work on this legislation to get the best possible piece of legislation that we can, with the understanding that all of us would like to see less smoking, especially among our youth.

Tobacco and Vaping Products Act January 30th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for a very important question because this is a major question that has not been addressed. The government is proposing to have all the markings taken off these cigarettes. From a consumer protection standpoint, when a person goes out to have a cigarette, it could be a contraband one or a properly manufactured one. We all know that cigarettes are bad, but we also know that contraband cigarettes are way worse. They can have all kinds of chemicals, animal feces, sawdust, and things along those lines.

My colleague has brought up a key point that will have to be addressed at committee. There are ways to make things easier to counterfeit. There are suggestions, and it just intellectually makes sense, that plain packaging would make it much easier for people to make contraband cigarettes, which would be an unintended consequence. Everybody in the House would like to see fewer cigarettes, and if they are going to be out there as a product, a safer product. However, we may end up having the exact opposite occur.

Some of these special markings should be allowed, so that it is not entirely plain packages that go out because they are too easy to counterfeit.

Tobacco and Vaping Products Act January 30th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I am speaking today in regard to Bill S-5, an act to amend the Tobacco Act and the Non-smokers’ Health Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts. We have heard today that everyone is committed to reducing the smoking of tobacco products, as it has been a proven health hazard. We support the regulation of vaping products, as well as other consumer products. However, some stakeholders have some legitimate concerns, and some things need to be looked at, so we support the bill going to committee to address these concerns.

I want to start by talking a bit about a conversation I had today. I have a 16-year-old, and I was having this conversation with her about smoking and marijuana around the schools, and so on. I asked her about vaping and what she thought about it. She told me she has an older friend who vapes, and he said she should not start, because if she started vaping, she would not want to stop. Coming from a 16-year-old and a young person who obviously is already addicted to it, it is good advice. We all have to consider the big picture. We all want to see less of these products used.

There are two parts to the bill. One part is on plain packaging and the rest is on vaping. The bill aims to build strong regulations and legislation that builds upon what our previous government has done. About 55 years ago, in 1963, Judy LaMarsh, Canada's minister of health, declared there is scientific evidence that cigarette smoking is a contributory cause of lung cancer and that it may also be associated with chronic bronchitis and coronary heart disease. It began half a century ago, addressing this public health problem of tobacco use in Canada, but also around the world. At that time, about 50% of Canadians smoked, and a lot has happened since then.

Personally, I am very proud to be part of a government where I served as parliamentary secretary to the minister of health. We made some gains in that regard. We tackled the issues of smoking rates throughout the introduction of legislation to encourage smoking in Canada to decline. Today, approximately 13% of Canadians are smokers. Smoking is now at an all-time low, with most progress shown among our youth. Smoking rates of males aged 15 to 17 dropped from 19% to 10%, and those 18 to 19 years of age dropped from 33% to 20%, according to Stats Can statistics. Smoking rates of females aged 15 to 17 dropped from 22% to 9%, and those 18 to 19 years of age dropped from 34% to 19%. It is going in the right direction.

However, over the last few years e-cigarettes and vapes have been emerging on to the Canadian market, and they create a new set of challenges for Canadian lawmakers and health officials.

E-cigarettes were developed in 2003, apparently first in China. They were introduced in the U.S. in 2007. These e-cigarettes are part of a category of products called “electronic nicotine delivery systems”. The e-cigarette is a battery-powered device designed to look and feel like a traditional cigarette, and it is meant to deliver inhaled doses of a nicotine-containing aerosol to users. It does this by heating a solution commonly referred to as an e-liquid.

The vaping industry has been keen to share figures regarding the use of vapes among Canadians, and I would like to summarize a few of those stats. In Canada, in 2015, one in four Canadian youth aged 15 to 19 years reported having tried an e-cigarette, and one in three young adults between the ages of 20 to 24 had tried it.

Some of the research out there suggests that e-cigarettes are safer than combustible tobacco cigarettes, and that makes sense. In 2016, a total of 24 studies, including three randomized clinical trials, were reviewed. Two of the trials, with a total of 662 participants, so a good study, showed that people using e-cigarettes with nicotine were more likely to stop smoking for at least six months compared to those who received placebo e-cigarettes without nicotine. We are seeing some evidence that these may have a use, particularly for people who are trying to quit smoking.

Some of the research suggests that e-cigarettes are less harmful as they reduce exposure to combustible tobacco. For example, cardiovascular risks associated with smoke are dose-dependent. To reduce the number of cigarettes smoked from a pack a day to 10 cigarettes a day would reduce the risk. There is something to be said perhaps about vaping and e-cigarettes that have less of these combustibles.

Second-hand exposure to vapour from e-cigarettes has been tested, and to some extent have been found to be less toxic than cigarette smoke, as it does not contain carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds.

It is important to note that because nicotine is a drug, it is subject to the requirements of the Food and Drugs Act and must be authorized by Health Canada prior to sale based on the evidence of safety and efficacy, things along these lines. To be clear, and people do not realize this right now, no vaping product has been authorized to date in Canada, and all nicotine-containing vaping products are being sold illegally. People do not understand that. That is why this debate is so important today, and it is important that we move the bill forward.

Of importance is that the restrictions on access and sale of tobacco cigarettes to those under age 18 would also apply to vaping products. To be clear, these are still unregulated products, and the average Canadian may not know a lot about them.

I want to thank my colleague from Cariboo—Prince George, who I think is watching tonight, for an article he sent that calls for stronger vaping regulations. Here is a big shout-out to him to get better soon. We still do not know the long-term effects of these products, and we have to keep them out of the hands of our kids.

However, I have had the opportunity to witness a demonstration of the technology with people from the vaping industry in my riding of Oshawa. I watched these devices and the inhalable vapour. I had a conversation with them and I listened to them. Many vaping advocates champion vaping as an effective quitting mechanism for cigarettes. For some of these folks it works. They start with a certain nicotine percentage and eventually work their way down to lower amounts or nothing at all. A study on vaping done in the U.K. showed a 95% reduction in harm from vaping over regular tobacco products. This is something we have to keep in mind.

Another large aspect of the vaping industry is the flavours. This is going to be very controversial because this e-liquid can be made in almost any flavour, but are all these flavours safe? What do we know, and what do we not know?

We know that the vaping industry is totally unregulated and there are no government quality controls in place. In Canada, the majority of products on the market are regulated, so we have to move this forward. It is the sensible thing to do.

Another reason for regulating is the variety of products on the market. Many companies are creating new devices for sale in Canada, and e-cigarettes are no different. We are seeing new, emerging technologies from the tobacco industry aimed at reducing harm versus the traditional cigarette. These technologies are out there and they need to be properly regulated by the federal government.

These products are not the same as vapes. They heat tobacco without burning it to create a smoking sensation with less harmful methods of consumption. There has been some research to suggest that this is less harmful, with up to 75% harm reduction for these products. They could be viewed as positive trends in reducing harm and moving Canadians off smoking, but in order for this positive narrative to continue, we urge the government to regulate these things appropriately.

The second part of the bill is about plain packaging of cigarettes and the contraband and quality control issues that must be addressed. Let us review what we know about plain packaging in other countries.

There has been a lot of extrapolation about Australia. As a matter of fact, in 2012, Australia was the first country to legislate plain packaging, and in March of last year the World Health Organization released an executive summary, which said that Australia had witnessed a decline in smoking prevalence rates between 2010 and 2013. However, this decrease in Australia's national smoking rate had brought on an unintended increase in the import of contraband tobacco. As we are aware, Australia imports all of its tobacco, and the contraband part of it grew from 10% to 26%.

These things need to be addressed. According to a study by the Canadian Convenience Stores Association, 30% of cigarettes sold in my riding of Oshawa are contraband. As my colleague said earlier, there is a lack of markings on these cigarettes and it is hard for the consumer. This is where we have to focus on consumer protection. We have seen an increase in contraband cigarettes, and we have heard the stories about cigarettes being contaminated with animal waste, dirt, and harmful bacteria.

We have heard about consistency. The Liberal government is going to be regulating marijuana. Unfortunately, it is not going to be consistent and have the same protections in here. I look forward to moving this legislation to committee so that we can address some of these issues.

I think all of us here in the House can agree that we need to do more to protect our kids from these smoking products.