House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was veterans.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for West Nova (Nova Scotia)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 63% of the vote.

Statements in the House

French-language newspaper in Nova Scotia February 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, on February 10, Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse, the only French-language newspaper in the province, celebrated its 80th year of publication. Le Petit Courrier was founded in 1937 by Desiré d'Eon at a small print shop in Pubnico to report the local news in the southwestern part of the province.

Nearly 40 years ago, in 1977, Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse expanded its reach across the province, with the objective of linking together each Acadian community.

A great defender of the interests of Acadians and francophones in the province since its early days, Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse continues to bolster the linguistic vitality of Acadian communities.

I ask all my hon. colleagues to join me in congratulating Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse on its 80th anniversary.

14 Wing Greenwood December 7th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the people of West Nova are proud of 14 Wing Greenwood's rich military heritage and the contributions made by its members to our military and civilian communities.

Recently, the President of the Treasury Board and I broke ground on a new $34 million air traffic control tower and announced an additional $4 million for infrastructure upgrades at 14 Wing Greenwood, the largest air base in Atlantic Canada.

Ongoing investments will help ensure that military members have the necessary facilities to train, work, and live in the Annapolis Valley for years to come.

With the holiday season fast approaching, and most Canadians making plans to celebrate with family and friends, let us remember the men and women in uniform who continue to serve our country, protecting our rights and freedoms both at home and abroad.

I thank them for their dedication to our country. It is greatly appreciated.

To members of the Canadian Forces and their families, merry Christmas and happy new year.

Holidays Act December 5th, 2016

Madam Speaker, it is a privilege to give my right of reply with regard to the debate that has taken place on my private member's bill, Bill C-311.

I want to thank all the members who participated in the debate on my private member's bill. I want to acknowledge the members of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs I have served with who have presented their points of view on this bill. I am so pleased to have worked with them on that committee to make sure that we are continuing to honour the service of those brave men and women who have served our country, past and present, and that we are doing the right things to honour their service.

I think we can all agree on the importance of Remembrance Day in Canada. We also share the desire to ensure that we are appropriately honouring those brave Canadians in uniform who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

My bill is a modest measure that seeks to change the language in the Holidays Act to make Remembrance Day a legal holiday and to ensure that consistency of language is reflected in the act. This bill would ensure consistency with both Canada Day and Victoria Day in the Holidays Act and would elevate the status of Remembrance Day to put it on an equal footing with those other days.

Some have expressed that this provision would do more than that. Let me be clear that my bill, by adding the word “legal”, would not impact the Canada Labour Code, which establishes the policy on non-working days for holidays. Federally speaking, the day is already and will remain a federal paid non-working day.

Furthermore, and I want to be very clear on this point, it is up to each province and territory to determine whether Remembrance Day on November 11 is a statutory holiday or a day off in their jurisdiction. This is what determines whether there is no school and whether it is a public paid non-working day.

This bill does not and cannot make Remembrance Day a national holiday, because it is not within the purview of Parliament to do so. I am hoping that this bill may provide an occasion for the provinces and territories that do not already do so to determine whether Remembrance Day should indeed be a statutory holiday.

I note that some of my colleagues in the debate have mentioned that the bill would not make it a statutory holiday, and it cannot, but what it can do is elevate the day, put it on an equal footing, and hopefully provide an occasion for those jurisdictions that do not already do so to allow it to be a statutory day.

There are examples of other jurisdictions that do not mark the day as a so-called statutory holiday, but they mark the solemn occasion in other ways. For example, in my home province of Nova Scotia, it is separate from other statutory holidays, but it is kept in force under the Remembrance Day Act to ensure that people have time off to attend ceremonies. I would like to see this across the country, but of course, our Constitution requires that we respect the jurisdiction of provinces in this regard.

I want to address one issue that has been brought up by some who oppose the bill, which is the argument that students should be in school on November 11 to ensure that they are marking the day and reflecting on what November 11 at 11 a.m. means for our country. I respect their point of view. However, in my experience in Nova Scotia, and I believe in most places in Canada, it is far more meaningful for the students to learn the importance of Remembrance Day and the sacrifices of our forces in the days leading up to November 11.

Veterans come into the schools during Veterans' Week, and in addition to the teaching, there is also a remembrance service in schools, which veterans attend. Of course, if these were marked on November 11 at 11 a.m., veterans marking the occasion with the community could not attend those school services. However, if students had time off, they could mark November 11 in the community with veterans at their public ceremonies. We have seen increasing attendance, including by children and their families, in Nova Scotia.

I believe that all Canadians should be able to have the same experience and that all veterans should have the opportunity to be publicly appreciated for their service and remembered on November 11 at a collective experience with the whole community.

As I mentioned in my speech to begin this debate, proposed subsections 3(2) and 3(3) are not at all essential to my intent in raising the profile of Remembrance Day. Since I now recognize that those are problematic provisions, I support their removal at committee, and I will be asking the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage for their removal if the bill is sent to it following a debate at second reading. We should therefore turn our minds to just proposed subsection 3(1) of this bill.

As my final words in this debate on Bill C-311, while the bill of course is about November 11, I am sure that we all agree that we must show respect to our veterans and members of Canadian Forces throughout the year and honour them in our words and our deeds.

As we come into the holiday season, let us keep them and their families top of mind and always show them extra kindness and warmth for all that they do for our country.

Report Stage November 28th, 2016

Madam Speaker, the hon. member raised an interesting point that I had not heard raised before with regard to comparing the carbon tax and what the Conservatives, in this instance, say is a payroll tax.

The member mentions that that would be a good example to show that we are not being consistent. However, in fact, on this side of the House, we do not believe that the Canada pension plan imposes a payroll tax. It is the Conservatives who are saying it is a payroll tax.

Therefore, I would like the member to understand that if it is payroll tax and that is going to mean that job creators are not hiring people, then that obviously means that it does affect behaviour. Taxes affect behaviour. Conservatives are the ones who think it is a payroll tax. Therefore, the carbon tax would affect behaviour and consumption.

I would like to turn the member's argument on its head. The Conservatives are the ones who are saying it is payroll tax, when on this side of the House we say see it as an investment in Canadians' future.

November 28th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we have heard one Conservative after another get up to talk about it being a payroll tax and the difficulties of enhancing the Canada pension plan.

Does my hon. colleague agree that the Canada pension plan does good for Canadian society—indeed, Canadians overwhelmingly support it—and why is it a good thing for this country?

Canadian Mixed Curling Championship November 16th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, in Yarmouth this past Sunday, the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship kicked off, welcoming to southwestern Nova Scotia amazing curling teams representing each province and territory in Canada.

Games will take place all week at Mariners Centre in Yarmouth. I am looking forward to being there for the final game this Saturday, November 19.

I wish all visitors to the area an excellent week. I am sure they will enjoy the hospitality and charm of Yarmouth and Acadian Shores, with its world-class seafood, beautiful coastline, and friendly people.

Thanks to Rick Allwright and the rest of the 2016 Canadian host committee and the team of over 140 volunteers. Their hard work has resulted in another successful major event in Yarmouth. We are proud of our community's great reputation for hosting such events.

Finally, to the competitors at the Mariners Centre this week, have fun, and good curling.

Canada Pension Plan November 4th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to my colleague's speech. Every argument in every part of his speech could be used as a rationale for cancelling entirely the Canada pension plan. Would he be logically consistent and admit that he would agree that the Canada pension plan serves no useful purpose whatsoever and should be scrapped entirely?

Holidays Act November 2nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to speak to the national Legion. In previous iterations of the bill, when testifying at committee, members of the national Legion had expressed reluctance in supporting this type of bill because they thought that it should not lead toward a national holiday. The bill does not do that, of course.

In my discussions with representatives from the Royal Canadian Legion, national branch, they expressed the same reluctance to accept what the bill does. However, I look forward to continuing those discussions. As it relates to Legion members I have spoken to, those in my riding, and many other Legion members across the country, they are supportive of the bill.

Holidays Act November 2nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I share my colleague's enthusiasm for meeting with veterans. In my riding in particular, I have a number of veterans that I am privileged to represent in the House of Commons.

I have met with many different veterans' groups in my riding, and certainly the legions. On every occasion I have the opportunity to attend one of their functions I am so pleased to do so. It really is an honour to share in their marking services, which are coming up next week. Just the contribution that veterans and Canadian Forces members make to our communities right across the country is something we need to celebrate more often.

Holidays Act November 2nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, certainly I have consulted with veterans in my riding in particular, but I have also heard from veterans across the country who feel that it is important at every opportunity possible to elevate, to recognize Remembrance Day, and to make sure that it is in the forefront of Canadians' minds to mark this special day of solemn remembrance.

With regard to veterans, in my riding, they have been very supportive of the bill. They feel that it is a good measure. I know that there are other veterans who may not share that view because they feel that rather than a day off, which the bill does not provide, but if it were to go that way, it would be better for the schoolchildren, for example, to stay in school.

The examples I gave from my experience in Nova Scotia show that veterans have the opportunity to come into schools, meet the children, and then everybody gets the chance to go to the cenotaph or memorial ceremony on November 11.