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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was going.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Conservative MP for Chatham-Kent—Leamington (Ontario)

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

Statements in the House

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 3rd, 2017

With regard to exposures or potential exposures to fentanyl by Correctional Service Canada guards, since December 1, 2015: (a) how many exposures have occurred; (b) what is the breakdown of reported exposures, broken down by (i) month, (ii) location or institution; and (c) how many of the exposures required medical treatment?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 3rd, 2017

With regard to the advertising or decorating on federal vehicles including customized paint jobs, decals, or wrapping, since January 1, 2016, what are the details of each such expenditure, broken down by department, agency, crown corporation, or other government entity, including for each the (i) total amount spent, (ii) vendor, (iii) amount of contract, (iv) date, (v) number of vehicles, (vi) description of work completed, (vii) description of campaign associated with expenditure, (viii) file number of contract?

Criminal Code October 24th, 2017

Madam Speaker, the legislation is good insomuch that it would increase the fines. However, the fact remains, and this is what police officers and police chiefs are telling me, they are not even slightly ready for this. They can have great legislation that would not be able to be enacted because law enforcement simply does not have the tools. We haven't even talked about what premiers and municipalities are saying, and what costs are involved. This is a giant mistake, and the hon. member needs to take a good look at what the Liberals are proposing, and back-track. Let us talk about this again. We need to talk about this a whole lot more.

Criminal Code October 24th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I say, “so what?” The member is right. We have a huge number of young people who are smoking marijuana, far too many. It does not change the fact that this legislation would not correct that or move it in the right direction. Speaking to Bill C-46, the legislation that we are dealing with right now on the laws pertaining to driving, I have three sons who are policemen. They have told me, as have the police chiefs and countless others in law enforcement, that this is crazy, that we are not near ready for any of this, that we are not ready for that legislation in itself, let alone the fact that we would be encouraging young people to smoke marijuana. We are not talking about just the legalization. When a government takes it upon itself and says, “This stuff is legal, go for it”, what is it actually saying?

I would just encourage the member to take a good, hard look at what his government is proposing and I am hoping that by July 1 the government does an about-face.

Criminal Code October 24th, 2017

Madam Speaker, it is a privilege to speak to Bill C-46. We have discussed the proposed legislation at length here. The bill introduces new and higher mandatory fines and maximum penalties for impaired driving crimes as well as mandatory alcohol screening at the roadside.

The Conservative Party supports measures that protect Canadians. However, we are concerned for a number of reasons, one of which is that the police, municipalities, and premiers are not prepared for the legislation that would be enacted, and I am referring to Bill C-45.

This is good legislation insomuch that it would increase fines and the penalty for impaired driving would be less of something that people generally who are driving would consider. However, some serious complications have ensued.

I want to take us to the very heart of this legislation, which is Bill C-45, the legalization of marijuana bill. What does that entail? For starters, it means that 18-year-olds in this country would legally be able to purchase and legally be able to indulge in smoking marijuana.

There has been a lot of talk about this proposed legislation. There has been a lot of talk about what the bill would do. I would like to bring to the House's attention a recent poll in the Vancouver Sun. The question was, “Where do you think people should buy their pot?” Multiple choices were listed. The highest group of people, 82.31%, answered “None of the above. I don't agree with legalization”. If we are hearing that this is what people want, it certainly does not reflect what we are seeing at the polls. The number dwindles down from there, shops that sell cannabis, pharmacies, liquor stores, etc.

I was pleased to hear from the member for Steveston—Richmond East the same news as was contained in the Vancouver Sun, that the federal government will not move ahead with marijuana legalization if it is not ready. It is good to hear that members on the other side are starting to talk this way. The member further said, “The concerned group is right. Things are not ready yet. We are still in the process.” We are looking for more of that encouragement from members on the opposite side. It is a step in the right direction, but it is a long way from where they should be.

I have been in this place for 12 years. I have served on a number of committees. Oftentimes when legislation is being proposed or new ideas come up, I always ask: Are there other jurisdictions that we can point to that have had this experience? What have they discovered? What have they learned from their enactment?

I am pleased to say there are a number of jurisdictions, and I am going to cite a few from a study on the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. Colorado took it upon itself in 2013 to legalize marijuana. It had relaxed laws and it continued on in that direction. We must remember that when we legalize marijuana the legal age will be 18, whereas in Colorado the age is 21. I do not have time to talk about that, even though it is an important issue as well.

The Colorado experience was such that it talked about impaired driving and fatalities. Marijuana-related traffic deaths more than doubled from 55 deaths in 2013 to 123 deaths in 2016.

If this foolish legislation, Bill C-45, is passed we are going to hear moms and dads, sisters, brothers, and grandparents asking the Liberals to answer for their situation, for their circumstance, for their pain, since they brought the legislation forward.

Marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 66% in the four-year average since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. There is more.

In 2009, Colorado marijuana-related traffic deaths involving drivers testing positive for marijuana represented 9% of all traffic deaths. By 2016, it doubled to 20%. On youth marijuana use, we are talking about 21-year-olds. Youth past-month marijuana use increased 12% in the three-year average from 2013-15. In the latest poll, 2014-15, results show that Colorado youth ranked number one in the nation compared to number four in 2011-12. Colorado youth past-month marijuana use for 2014-15 was 55% higher than the national average. We know what is coming down the pipe.

Colorado is one jurisdiction that we can point to, but we can talk about drug usage and what other countries have experienced as well. When we do that, I would like to talk about the Netherlands. I have a little tie to the Netherlands. My parents emigrated from the Netherlands and I have family who live there, so I have a little understanding of what goes on there.

Before I talk about that though, I need to say that although there are some different opinions and different laws in other countries, the current UN treaty forbids countries to legalize or regulate drugs for recreational use. We are a signatory to that. Most countries, with the exception of Uruguay, moved in another direction. Holland tried something different. It tried a two-tier system. It sounds complicated and I would explain that the Dutch have an attitude. Let me quote what Prime Minister Mark Rutte said. He is a hip guy, he is not a stuffy old guy. Mark was the guy who rode his bicycle when the G7 participants went to the Netherlands and President Obama came in with choppers and cars. Mark said during an interview that, “people should do with their own bodies whatever they please, as long as they are well informed about what that junk does to them.” He was talking about marijuana usage.

He went on to say that cannabis legalization of the Colorado model for 21-year-olds, “—where the state taxes and regulates all levels of the supply chain and adults age 21 and over are allowed to purchase weed from state-licensed stores—was out of the question”. He said “if we were to do that, we'd be the laughing stock of Europe.” In relation to the system that they tried to adopt, which would maybe allow some marijuana usage for those with the right to do so, this two-tier system where it is being sold openly but cannot produce it, is complete bankrupt. This is from Jon Brouwer, a law professor at the University of Groningen who specializes in Dutch drug policy. It is a system that is fundamentally flawed, pumping millions into the criminal underworld. Of course, the Liberals insist that this will greatly hinder the underground and the criminal element. We are finding out in Holland, which started to tamper with it, it did not work that well.

I spent some of my time yesterday reading a report by the World Health Organization. I recommend it. It is a great read. It reinforces pretty much everything I have been saying. The health and social effects of non-medical cannabis use is what we have all signed to. I encourage members to read that. I will not be supporting Bill C-45. I think Bill C-46 is moving in the right direction, but we certainly need to do a lot more work.

Questions on the Order Paper October 23rd, 2017

With regard to meetings between Environment and Climate Change Canada, including the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and her office, and the Council of Canadian Innovators or its member companies, since November 5, 2015: what are the details of any such meetings, including for each meeting the (i) date, (ii) attendees, (iii) purpose of meeting, (iv) agenda items, (v) location, (vi) titles and file numbers of any related briefing notes?

Business of Supply October 5th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am beginning to think my hon. colleague is seeing the light.

The member is absolutely right. We have to make sure that we understand the costs and that, if we are going to get to that objective, we are going to get there in a reasonable fashion and not saddle ourselves with more debt. I cannot repeat that enough. I agree, that must be the way we move forward.

Business of Supply October 5th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague, and I do enjoy the time we spend together on the health committee. We are good friends. We disagree on a lot of things, but we certainly want to do the best for all our constituents.

I want to correct the record. The member is absolutely correct that the new NDP leader is proposing the decriminalization of all drugs, which is an important clarification to make.

As I said earlier, we disagree on some things, and I do not see this issue that way, unless the NDP can show us on paper. I am still involved with a dealership, and I used to have a mentor who was one of the finest actuaries I have ever known, and he would say “It's in the numbers, Dave”. We often hear, when there is a new project being proposed, that it would save us money.

I have trod the soil a little longer than most. I am going to be 62 this week. I find that with all of the promises I hear, the opposite becomes true, and things cost us more money.

We want to do the right thing. We want to do what is good, but we have to pay for what we plan to do, and I cannot say that enough.

Business of Supply October 5th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, today we will be discussing the motion by the NDP for a universal drug plan. The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer released a report entitled, “Federal Cost of a National Pharmacare Program”. This 88-page report sets out to give Canadians an overview of its findings. It concludes that a universal pharmacare program would cost $22.6 billion.

There was a time in the House when governments would explain how they would pay for new programs. I understand the NDP is not the current government, but there is a responsibility that falls on all of us in the House to save for the future and take responsibility.

I want to tell a great story, one I heard from the former Speaker Mr. Milliken. We would sometimes have the privilege of entering his chambers in the back and he would point to this wonderful chandelier. There was a great story attached to that.

He told us that there was a former Speaker who felt that because important dignitaries and people would be invited to the office, a proper light was needed instead of the plain looking light that was there. He went out and bought himself a beautiful chandelier. Later on, he was called into the office of then prime minister John Diefenbaker. John threw him the invoice, wanting to know what it was for. The Speaker explained that it was for the new chandelier in his office. John looked at him and said that they did not pay for light fixtures, and the Speaker wound up paying for that bill. I love that story, and I tell it to people.

The real story behind that was that John Diefenbaker knew what was being spent in the House. I wonder how many of us today know exactly what is being spent in our office, let alone in the House. It teaches us something. It teaches us that we are responsible for the public purse. I want to talk about that a bit today. I will talk about other things too, but I want to talk about the Liberals and what they seem to have done.

The Liberals have this new approach to governance, as witnessed by their reckless spending in the past budget. There will be a $30 billion deficit, with no sign of changing that trajectory in the foreseeable future. Now, they adopted a budget that was balanced, yet they set out to indebt future generations, our children and grandkids. They will saddle them with that debt. They had a great explanation that they had a wonderful program. I have kids with kids, and they receive this monthly cheque for child care. It is nice to receive, but they recognize, as do most Canadians, that somebody has to pay for this.

In all fairness, and I want to be fair with my colleagues on the other side, they have been telling Canadians how they are going to pay for this and how they are going to handle their reckless spending. It is through higher taxes. We just had a series of debates and pleadings with the Liberals, putting pressure on them to please stop what they were doing. They are going to put a tax on businesses and start taking away some of the benefits from businesses, farmers, and ordinary Canadians in order to try to balance their books. They want to take this money to pay for their reckless spending.

The Conservative Party knows that businesses hire people. In fact, SMEs, the small and medium-sized businesses, account for most of the hiring in the private sector today. Make no mistake about it. All of us get really excited when we hear about a big corporate organization or company moving into our riding, and those are great things when they happen.

However, the vast majority of jobs in our country are created by small and medium-sized businesses. They account for the wealth that is generated. They fill the coffers of the government, through taxes, so we can give back to the people what they expect to receive. They expect to receive good health care. They expect to receive education. They expect to be defended by our military. The list goes on and on. All in all, we have done an admirable job of doing that as a society. However, there is a troubling trend. We have forgotten that we have to pay for what we want.

The Conservatives, because we understand markets, opened markets for our businesses, our farmers, and our resources. I served on the trade committee as well as the finance committee. It always surprises me when I see the number of free trade agreements for which the Conservatives were responsible, countries like Colombia, Honduras, Peru, Panama, Jordan. One might think these are small countries, but there is bigger stuff, such as Israel and South Korea. For the Ukraine agreement, the work was done by the Conservatives when we were in government. The Liberal government, to its credit, has finalized that. A Canada European free trade agreement was made before the famous CETA one. I will talk about that in a second. There were a number of small countries in Europe that were not part of CETA. Then of course, there is CETA, the largest trading agreement that has ever been entered by two groups. There are 500 million people in Europe, and the possibilities are vast and endless. That is the sort of thing we need to do if we want to grow the economy so we can afford to do the very things the NDP has proposed.

In all fairness, the Liberals are pushing through a new drug bill. I sit on the health committee. We went through clause-by-clause. That bill will be enacted in July of next year. It will give everyone over the age of 18 the ability to smoke marijuana legally. There are a number of added parts to it that, which people really have to get a grip on and understand. We will have an opportunity to talk about that later. The NDP supports the bill. In fact, the party's new leader supports legalizing all drugs.

I am a dad. A lot of members know I have a lot of kids and grandkids. I love to give my kids gifts and good things. That is why the Conservatives, when in power, fought for lower taxes. We knew that if we wanted to give those things to our constituents, the people of Canada, we had to pay for them. We recognized that we had to get our goods to market. Therefore, we began the process, right to the door of the completion of the Gordie Howe bridge, so we would have access to our largest trading partner at the busiest port.

I say these things because we have to pay for what we do in this place. It is our duty as legislators, as representatives of our constituents, to ensure we do not saddle our children and grandchildren with the debt now. We can do a number of great things in the area of drugs. There are things that are possible for us to do, but the proposal by the NDP is not sustainable. As such, I will not be supporting the motion.

Highgate Fair October 2nd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, this Saturday, I attended the 163rd opening of the Highgate Fair in the eastern part of my riding of Chatham-Kent—Leamington.

We enjoyed all one could expect from a great country fair, beginning with a great parade by parade marshal “Woody” McKillop, a pie auction, craft displays, old and new farm equipment, as well as farm animal showings by the local 4-H club. This was especially exciting for Faye and me as we watched our grandkids compete in the calf, beef, and rabbit competitions. All in all, the weather was great, the crowd was enthusiastic, and all the kids had a great time.

I say thanks to all the organizers and congratulations to the community of Highgate for putting on a terrific event. I look forward to next year and enjoying another wonderful day at the Highgate Fair.