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  • 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

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for sharing what young people are actually saying about this legislation. I have heard the same thing. My youth group also told me that this is a bad idea.

I would like him to address two important things that the Liberals keep repeating over and over again that I find very misleading. They have said the reason they are doing this is to keep it out of the hands of kids and organized crime. Everyone in the House would agree that that is a great thing to do, but this legislation would not do it. The Liberals are trying to push a message out, but I find it is really misleading and, in a way, very deceitful.

Could my colleague please address why the bill would not keep it out of the hands of kids and not keep the profits out of the hands of organized crime? We know it will not do that.

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Madam Speaker, the sad part is that we are all going to be blame. This is an issue about the health and safety of Canadians. If we look at the facts, we see there are no roadside tests, no tools that can actually test if somebody is impaired or not. We are going to be relying on drug recognition experts. Earlier, my colleague said that these experts are well trained. However, we have to send them to the States to be trained, and they are not going to be ready. We may need thousands of these police officers to be trained, and it is going to take resources away from other things on the road. The entire system is not set up for this yet. The science is not there. This is something that is totally irresponsible.

I have to give credit to my NDP colleagues as well. They realize that things have to be done, but not through this bill. This is a horrible bill. Canadians need to know they are being sold a bill here that is not going to do what the Liberal government is claiming, just based on that irresponsible promise the Prime Minister came up with during the last election campaign. This is not the solution.

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Madam Speaker, there were so many fallacies in that statement. First of all, we cannot really compare tobacco to marijuana. This is the bill of sale: the Liberals keep repeating their talking points. It is not me; it is the Canadian community health survey on mental health that said the total percentage of teens aged 15 to 17, the target group, went from 40% to 25% from 2002 to 2012. Let us take a look at it; maybe it was working.

We are not saying we do not have to do something, but we have to responsible. This entire approach by the Liberals is an experiment. It is hypothetical. They want to take all our kids and put them into a system that no one else in the world has used before. What we are saying is let us take a breath and let us put the brakes on this legislation, instead of using closure so that we cannot even finish debating it properly. I am talking to my municipality, and the police officers in it are not going to be ready. There is going to be horrible case law that is going to develop from this because the proper rules, regulations, and testing are not going to be in place.

My colleague and I agree on a lot of things in this House. Truly, too many Canadian kids are smoking marijuana, but this bill is a rotten piece of legislation. We are not going to let Canadians be sold a bad bill of sale. It is a very deceitful way of putting this forward.

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-45, the cannabis act. I have been here since 2004 and it is probably one of the most badly written pieces of legislation I have ever seen, and there is some frustration on this side in that regard because we have heard the Liberals are going to bring in time allocation. For a bill of such importance and such reach within our provinces and territories, the requirement to have different Houses of Parliament coordinated on this is totally irresponsible.

I want my colleagues, especially on the Liberal side, to understand that there are certain important points to bear in mind in my speech. First of all, everyone agrees that too many kids are smoking marijuana. In my community of Oshawa, no one wants to see a kid who has a couple of joints get a criminal record or get thrown into jail. Most Canadians would agree with that, and that is why it is really important that Canadians recognize that the Conservatives favour making the possession of small amounts of marijuana a ticketable offence only. This is exactly in line with the position of the chiefs of police. This is a responsible approach, one that Canadians would be very supportive of, but not of the bill that we see in front of us.

The Liberals claim that the status quo is not working, but how does the Liberal government define that? According to a Statistics Canada report dated April 2015, based on data collected from the Canadian community health survey on mental health, the total percentage of teens aged 15-17, which is the target group, reporting having used marijuana had dropped from 40% in 2002 to 25% in 2012. That is a 15 percentage point decrease. This means that something in the status quo is working, but why are the Liberals not telling Canadians about that? What are the Liberals saying? They are saying they want to legalize marijuana because it will it out of the hands of our kids and keep the profits out of the hands of organized crime. We agree with that. These are good ideas, but does C-45 accomplish that objective? Anyone who has read the bill would say no.

At the health committee we had scientists testify, and the science is clear. Any use of marijuana under the age of 25 can cause permanent psychological damage to our kids, and currently the bill allows kids aged 12 to 17, as young as grade 6, to possess up to five grams of marijuana, equivalent to 10 to 15 joints. That is ridiculous in light of the medical evidence of the harm it can cause our youth. There is no provision to prevent them from selling or distributing cannabis. The amount should be zero.

I am asked if a child in grade 6 could share it with younger kids. That is an important question. It is a great concern of parents and teachers. It would allow drug dealers to target kids and use them for profit.

Bill C-45 allows up to four plants to be grown in the home. Any home can become a grow op. Four plants under the right conditions can yield up to 600 grams or 1,200 to 1,800 joints. This is a concern for homeowners, landlords, law enforcement. Moreover, there is no mandatory testing for the potency or toxicity of the homegrown plants, and no money for inspection. There is no federal requirement to lock up the marijuana. This is going to expose kids and even pets to the drugs. Grow ops lead to a 24-fold increase in incidents involving fire. Landlords are concerned that they will not be able to forbid grow ops or smoking if they are already renting their properties.

Other jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana have said that home grows were hugely penetrated by organized crime. We know it from the science and the evidence out there. For this reason, Washington state does not allow home grows, except for medically fragile people who cannot get to a dispensary. It has been able to reduce organized crime to less than 20% of the market.

The legal opinion is that allowing four plants per dwelling will end up being challenged in court as well. The government has not thought through the bill. There will not only be danger in the homes of Canadians, but on the roads too. Drug-impaired driving is not addressed in Bill C-45. It is encompassed in Bill C-46, but a study recently issued by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction put the cost of impaired driving from cannabis at one billion dollars. The AAA found there has been a large increase in the number of fatal accidents in Washington state involving the use of marijuana after the state legalized the drug. In fact, impaired driving has increased in the American states that have legalized it, and there is no current instrument that can accurately measure one's level of impairment on the roadside. The science is not there yet.

Canada is unable to train our own officers in Canada and needs to send our officers to expensive, lengthy training in the United States, and this training currently has wait lists.

The legalization of marijuana will definitely impact our ability to trade internationally. Have the Liberals noticed that we are negotiating NAFTA? Do the Liberals think that having a drug policy way out of sync with our American neighbours will improve trade or thicken the border? For Oshawa and my community, this is a huge problem, as it is for other communities as well.

Let us look at the treaties. Passing Bill C-45 would violate three UN treaties to which Canada is a signatory. In order to legalize marijuana by July 1 and not be in violation of the UN treaties, Canada would have had to withdraw by July 1 of this year, and the Liberal government did not do that. How can Canada hold other countries to account on their treaty obligations when Canada does not even honour its own?

This leads me to this question. Why the rush? There are only 241 days to go until this arbitrary date that the Liberals selected. Provinces, municipalities, police forces, and our indigenous communities have stated they are not ready to implement this legislation. The government knows this; members have heard it in committee.

So many questions have been left unanswered. Will Canadians who use marijuana be able to cross the border into the United States where marijuana is still illegal? No department has been able to answer this question, and Canadians deserve an answer before the legislation is implemented.

How will enforcement officers test for drug impairment on the roadside? Can these tests be constitutionally challenged? Is the science valid? Canadians deserve an answer.

What education programs are in place now to inform youth about the dangers and consequences of marijuana? If they are not in place now, when will this education process begin? The health minister said today $43 million, but there is no timeline.

What will happen to the current medical marijuana system and how will recreational sales impact medical marijuana pricing and distribution?

Canadians deserve answers to these questions before the legislation is passed.

The Liberals talk about the black market. One of the stated goals is to eliminate the black market by creating a legal framework for marijuana, but this is a flawed way of thinking. A variety of factors are being left up to the provinces, such as pricing, distribution, which products are included, and packaging.

We need to listen to the real experts on the ground.

Assistant Commissioner Joanne Crampton, of federal policing criminal operations, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said:

As Kathy mentioned, organized crime is a high priority for federal policing, in particular, for the RCMP. We target the highest echelon within the organized crime world. We're very cognizant...and realize that the chances of organized crime being eliminated in the cannabis market would be.... It's probably naive to think that could happen.

Naive, that is what the experts say about the Liberal approach.

Our Conservative position is the same as the Canadian chiefs of police position, to issue tickets for the simple possession of small amounts of marijuana. This approach is more sensible regarding marijuana possession. Instead of rushing to legalize marijuana, Conservatives are working with law enforcement to protect the health and safety of Canadians. Canadians would be spared a criminal record for simple possession of small amounts.

To summarize, the Liberals promised that they wanted to keep marijuana out of the hands of kids. They also promised that they wanted to keep profit out of the hands of organized crime.

My speech ultimately has proven that the Liberal approach is wrong. This bill would not accomplish what they are promising Canadians. This is like a big bill of sale. The bill would actually place children further in harm's way by permitting possession for kids as young as 12. That is grade 6. Home grow ops will expose children living in a dwelling to dangerous living space and increase the production of marijuana and diversion to organized crime. This approach will increase the rate of impaired driving.

The bill leaves so many questions unanswered, which has blindsided law enforcement and other levels of government.

The question is why the Liberals are force-feeding us this deeply flawed bill. The only answer I can come up with is that the government has no problem being deceitful to Canadians in order to keep the Prime Minister's irrresponsible election promise, muddying the water about the implications of full legalization under the bill.

Instead of blindly trying to keep campaign promises at the expense of Canadians' health and safety, perhaps the Liberals should refocus their attention on protecting kids and protecting the public, protecting our trade agreements, and not putting international relationships in jeopardy, particularly the one we have with the United States. They have had no problem breaking other promises, whether it is the balanced budget, electoral reform, or openness and transparency.

It is time the Liberals put the brakes on this legislation until the science supports the ability to ensure the health and safety of Canadians, particularly our kids.

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Madam Speaker, first, how outrageous is this. The Liberals want to bring in legislation that we have studied at committee and experts have said that the bill will not do what the Liberals have told Canadians it will do, that it will not get not get the job done.

I have a question for my NDP colleague. Many of the things she brought forward are reasonable and sensible. They identify the problems with the bill. It will not get the job done, as the Liberals have promised Canadians, to keep it out of the hands of kids and away from organized crime.

My question for the member is one that many people have ignored. It is about the three international trade agreements to which Canada has been a signatory. They basically state that stated we would not legalize marijuana. If the Liberals wanted to get out of these trade agreements, they had to state that in July. What effect will the bill have on our international reputation, on our international ability to trade, especially with our most important trading partner, the United States, especially when we are undergoing NAFTA negotiations? Will it be detrimental or will it help open up the border?

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want my colleague to address something we have heard over and over, and that is the deceitful approach I see in bringing this to Canadians. The Liberals have said that the status quo is not working. I would like to cite a study from the Canadian community health survey, mental health, from 2015. It said that for teens aged 15 to 17, which is the target group, they have lowered marijuana use from 40% to 25%. In other words, the status quo lowered it by 15%.

The Liberals say that they want to keep this out of the hands of children and keep it out of the hands of organized crime. Experts at committee said this bill would not do that.

Could the member comment on the deceptive nature of the Liberals? They are telling Canadians one thing, when they know that the facts do not support this bill.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 2nd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is really important as parents that we talk to our kids about financial literacy. Our government put that concept forward and I think the Liberal government has put some resources toward it.

When we teach our kids about financial literacy, it is important that we tell them not to borrow money on credit cards to a point where the debt cannot be paid down.

We just had the government's fall economic update. The Liberal government promised a small $10 billion deficit. This time around it is $20 billion. In the last two years, the deficit has been closer to $30 billion. The Liberals brag about all of the money they are handing out to Canadians, but the reality is that this year alone a family of four will be further in debt by $2,222 approximately. During bad times the Liberals like to spend money. Now they say we are in good times so they are spending more. The deficit is twice the amount they promised. That is Liberal ideology.

Does the member believe in financial literacy for children? If so, does he believe in financial literacy for the government, because it is putting us further in debt even in good times?

Judges Act October 25th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, on September 29, I rose in the House regarding the absence of community consultation before the Liberal government decided to close the CBSA office in my riding of Oshawa. The parliamentary secretary to the minister of public safety stated that consultations did in fact take place, specifically with the mayor of Oshawa. Since that time, the mayor has been vocal about the fact that he was not consulted and has called on the parliamentary secretary to set the record straight.

I would like to give my fellow Durham MP the opportunity to correct the record and apologize to Mayor Henry and for misleading the House.

Business of Supply October 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my NDP colleague and everyone else in the NDP and the House who has spoken to this, because it is an extremely important issue that goes to the heart of our institutions here. Frankly, the NDP and the Conservatives will quite often disagree. We have principles that we disagree on, but we do have principles.

Could the member comment on what it will do to the institutions we are here to support if the motion before the House is not supported and members on the other side do not respect the fact that we have rules, that we have the Ethics Commissioner, and that we are not supposed to do something indirectly that we cannot do directly?

Could the member please comment on how important it is to Canadians and the institutions we support here that every member of this House support this motion?

Post-Secondary Education October 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure to recognize and celebrate the outgoing president and vice-chancellor of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa, Dr. Tim McTiernan. Tim has had a profound impact on Oshawa. His work at UOIT has been instrumental in developing our community as a STEM-based institution and a research and innovation hub.

Tim is from Kilkenny, Ireland. He earned his bachelor of arts from Trinity College in Dublin and his masters and Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia. In his six years, Tim oversaw enrolment increase from 8,300 to over 10,000 students. He opened a new software and informatics research centre, increased the number of scholarships and bursaries available to students, and finalized the agreement of the joint UOIT/Durham College campus master plan. The impact of these projects will be felt in our community for generations.

Because of Tim, Oshawa's students will be focused with the skills they need to innovate and compete in a globalized environment. I thank Tim for all his great work.

Ádh mór ort ! Good luck.