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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was chair.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Prince Edward—Hastings (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 42% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Foreign Affairs February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the terrorist group, ISIL, is already responsible for countless heinous and barbaric war crimes. Now it appears that it is intent on erasing the record of an entire civilization from the history books. A new video has shown ISIL thugs destroying ancient and priceless Mesopotamian statues and other Assyrian Christian artifacts in northern Iraq.

Can theParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs please provide Canada's reaction to the destruction of these priceless artifacts?

Legion of Honour Recipient February 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today I wish to recognize Ewart Wannamaker, a young 92-year-old and a native of Carlow Township who is now a knight in the National Order of the Legion of Honour of France.

At a ceremony at the Bancroft Legion, he received his medal and certificate from Lieutenant Colonel Roger Vandomme, deputy defence attaché at the French embassy. In his presentation Lieutenant Colonel Vandomme spoke of the French nation's desire to honour young Canadians who left their homes and careers to bring freedom to France. “The medal is but a small token of our continuing gratitude to those Canadians”, he declared.

When joining the Canadian army in 1942 as a corporal craftsman with the Royal Canadian Electrical Mechanical Engineers, he help liberate France, Belgium, and Holland from the Nazis. Wannamaker was in the advance recovery unit, salvaging damaged vehicles so they could be repaired and returned to action or destroyed. He is still a member of the Bancroft Legion, and for his work he has received both a Certificate of Merit and a national Meritorious Service Medal.

To his family and friends, we honour Corporal Wannamaker, now a French knight as well as a beloved native son.

Canada Revenue Agency February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, before Bill C-31, CRA officials were inexplicably prohibited from passing along evidence of serious criminal activity, uncovered on the job, to relevant law enforcement agencies. Clearly, this was and is unacceptable.

Can the Minister of National Revenue today please explain to this House why this change was necessary and how it is consistent with our government's commitment to protecting Canadians?

Parliamentary Precinct Security February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I likewise appreciate the contribution the member has made through the years and the manner in which he deals with an issue.

Quite frankly, I do not have a problem with the spirit of the amendment proposed by the member. I think it is honestly well intentioned, and quite frankly, if it were to be ignored, we would have a problem. However, it is my understanding on reading the motion that while it does not explicitly say it, it does say:

....while respecting the privileges, immunities and powers of the respective Houses.

To my mind, that is pretty darn clear.

I would agree with the member if all a sudden this House of Commons became chief cook and bottle washer for the entire situation, but that is not the case. It is up to us to set the rules, and it is up to other people to administer those rules. I cannot see any situation in which we would be directing the authorities on safety.

Quite frankly, I understand the member's concern, but I am quite satisfied that the legislation does not take us down that road. However, I thank him for his work on that.

Parliamentary Precinct Security February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is really unfortunate that the member would make that assertion.

The member made the statement that the RCMP failed on this. That is absolutely incorrect. One of the problems we had was that there was no real level of accountability for who was in charge, so I think we as a nation have to accept that we have failed. We as parliamentarians were part of the problem here as well, in that we did not set forth a clear plan and a clear direction through which there would be an integrated command so that there would be levers of accountability. That is what we need. That is what this bill is all about. It is so that we actually have a proper plan.

Quite frankly, to suggest that we are doing this because we want to replace one of the security forces here is shameful.

Parliamentary Precinct Security February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we are all proud Canadians, and we all recognize that the House of Parliament is an important symbol of Canada's democracy. It really exemplifies who we are and what we are, and the history is an expression of what we stand for as humanity and as a beacon in the world.

We have visitors here. They are not just parliamentarians and the people who work here. Tens of thousands of people come to the parliamentary precinct every year. They tour the grounds freely and at any time, day or night. As such, the precinct is an obvious target for those who wish to hurt Canadians and impede our way of life.

It is our responsibility as elected officials to take the measures to ensure the safety of all Canadians, especially those who work to support this bastion of democracy. That is why we believe we must enhance security. Most of my colleagues in the House agree with that.

Where we do disagree, to a certain extent, is how we will do this, because we have to meet the evolving threats. Canadians and their elected representatives are safe when they are inside this precinct or, at least, they thought they were. Of course, October 22, 2014, changed that thought.

Regarding enhancing our parliamentary security, I was very fortunate to sit on public accounts committee, like my friend across the way. The Auditor General's 2012 report recommended a unified security force for the precinct under a single point of command, making it possible to respond to situations more effectively and more efficiently. Sadly, as parliamentarians what have we done about that? Obviously, we have not done enough.

The time for action is now. The integrated security model we are debating today is in keeping with that recommendation of the Auditor General, balancing the level of access to the public, while ensuring that the security threats and rifts are alleviated.

Security forces have always been present on Parliament Hill, but these threats did not really manifest until recently. We live in a different world from that of 30, 40, or 50 years ago, when the idea of terrorism did not really exist. As we, visiting delegations and others witnessed on October 22, 2014, either in our committee rooms or in our respective offices on the Hill, that threat is very real. If it is taken lightly, innocent people will become victims.

Let me just speak for a second about our security forces of which we are so proud. On behalf of all parliamentarians and Canadians, I honestly thank each and every one of them. They did most of the right things on October 22, 2014. I say “most” and not “all” because there are lessons to be learned. However, our Hill security was absolutely incredible. We have witnessed that first hand as we have had the opportunity to work with it.

We are not saying that one is better than the other or that we have to pick and choose. This is a team approach. It is a team that works together here. We are a team of parliamentarians. Whether we agree or disagree a little bit now and then, we are a team going forward. We try to make the right decisions for the right reasons to help Canadians across the country.

However, we do need a seamless and integrated system, and that has to be led by one entity. That entity should have a national presence, with a connection to all of the other things beyond just security at the door here. Security is not just guarding the precinct. It is rapid response training. It is security assessments. It is intelligence. It is observation. It is surveillance. It is the whole ball of wax that encompasses what it means to keep people safe. It is also our armed forces. It is a coordination of everything. We cannot have more than one group or individual disseminating all of that information. It just does not happen and it cannot happen effectively.

That is why we have to come to the point where the silos of operation are one thing. The silos of management and command have to be totally eliminated so we have one integrated command in order to be effective.

Other countries, such as our allies, the United Kingdom and Australia, have pursued integrated security models at their locations. However, on the day of the attack here, there were four silos of authority with different jurisdictions, as all of my colleagues know.

There were our respected House of Commons security and our Senate security, all responsible for their respective bodies, and they did their work well. There was the RCMP in charge outside, between the front doors and the front gate, where there were a lot of things done well, but there were obviously errors and omissions there. As well, we had the Ottawa city police beyond that point.

The bureaucracy of these four silos stands in the way of bringing us proper security.

The motion we are debating today calls on the Speakers of the House and Senate to invite the RCMP to lead operational security. The RCMP would not run the security of this entire precinct lock, stock, and barrel, but simply operate as a point of command and take responsibility for ensuring that it builds a collective team to come up with the model that we need to make security work well here. This is the administrative starting point, in my mind. It is not the end run. This is the administrative starting point that is going to take us to where we need to go.

A unified approach is critical to ensuring security on the Hill. As a matter of fact, it is not only critical but essential. That is why this government is proposing to fully integrate security throughout the precinct under the operational leadership of the RCMP, thus providing one chain of command and one point of accountability.

Somebody has to be the bottom line that we can go to and ask what is being done and how it is being done. In this particular case, the RCMP will work with the Speakers and the various other levels of justice, administration, and security to come up with the best means to do this. This would allow for access to all types of resources.

The only administration that has the resources we need to encompass the entire range of security, including surveillance, communication, international relationships, terrorism, or cyberattacks, is the RCMP. That does not mean that the RCMP will manage and micromanage every department here to tell all the departments how to do their jobs. Members of the existing parliamentary security, as has been mentioned by all of my colleagues who spoke before me, are highly valued and respected. We respectfully honoured them and their bravery as they marched into the House and got a standing ovation from every person in this room because we were so thankful for the wonderful job they did on our behalf. They serve a variety of functions, not just in the House of Commons, and this will continue under the integrated security unit.

I want to stress that all decisions related to the integrated security unit will ensure continuous employment. This is not a question of just getting rid of a few people and bringing in others or saying they do not have responsibility for something anymore and that someone else will do it. There are going to be responsibilities, but there still has to be one chain of command. That is the point.

Over the coming months, a detailed implementation plan will be developed in consultation with all the people involved. It will outline a phased approach to the implementation of the fully integrated security model, while ensuring that the rights and privileges of Parliament and its members continue to be respected, as per the Constitution.

As I have said, that is explicitly in the motion. Were it not in the motion, quite frankly, as a member, I could have had some difficulty, because I want to respect what we have here. I want to respect the parliamentary tradition and the history, values, and principles that we have in civil society, but that does not mean we can operate without an integrated command.

It is our objective to implement this transition as soon as possible, in partnership with all the security partners. I really believe speed is critical. The need exists. We cannot just sit around and wait for months or years, because we are absolutely sitting ducks in this place and in this precinct. That is a sad situation. We have to come to terms with that reality.

As a number of my colleagues said, if it had been a serious, planned attack by multiple people carrying automatic weapons, many of my colleagues might not be here today. That is the reality. We have to get off our butts and deal with this, and we have to deal with it now.

I know there will probably be questions from my colleagues. I respect them very much for their contributions today. I am expecting a colleague whom I work very well with to get up shortly. I will certainly wait for their questions and see if we can work together on this issue.

Committees of the House February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, entitled “Social Finance as It Relates to Crime Prevention in Canada”.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Committees of the House February 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security in relation to Bill C-12, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. The committee studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act January 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will also give the member for Malpeque the courtesy of stating that I enjoy working with him. Quite frankly, I take significant counsel from his tremendous experience coming from his many years in Parliament, having worked as a former solicitor general and being involved with the administration of justice and the realities that we all have to face in various legislation.

I think he would also admit, quite frankly, that in dealing with the direction of government, he, as a former cabinet minister, understands that complete dialogue takes place on a consistent basis. Not only do CSIS and Public Safety have to confer with Foreign Affairs, but on cabinet decisions all cabinet ministers talk on a consistent basis. Whether we are talking about trade or foreign affairs, they absolutely interact on a consistent basis, and the communication lines are always open. Whether it is defence, foreign affairs, or trade, the member for Malpeque knows full well that communication happens on an ongoing daily basis. He suggests it does not; maybe it did not happen in the Liberal Party, of which he is a member, and I cannot comment on that, but if it did not happen, it sure as heck should have.

Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act January 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, with all respect, the member is wrong. There would be three levels of accountability that can and will and must take place.

First of all, there has to be a warrant from the Federal Court. The judge must rule that there is valid evidence to conclude that it would be beneficial. It also has to be approved by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Of course, it is also subject to the scrutiny of the Communications Security Establishment.