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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is regard.

Conservative MP for Flamborough—Glanbrook (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 44% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Points of Order March 21st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order pertaining to the session on the presentation of petitions.

I noticed in today's session that the Standing Orders have been ignored. When members present a petition, they should not state whether they are for or against the petition. They should simply state what the petitioners are presenting.

I noticed that the member for Kingston and the Islands stated that he was personally in support of a petition, and I am not particularly centring him out. I have noticed it on several occasions, particularly this time. I just wanted to point that out and let members know that the Standing Orders are clear. Members can present petitions from their constituents but they cannot speak to whether they support them or not.

Bob Morrow February 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker our nation and my city, Hamilton, Ontario, lost a statesman and a leader this week with the passing of our longest serving mayor, Mr. Robert Morrow. He was immediately hailed as a kind-hearted man, and that he most certainly was. As Hamiltonians have recounted their stories and memories, including my parliamentary colleagues, it is clear that Bob Morrow was an extraordinarily selfless person in so many ways. He was also a relentless promoter of Hamilton. That is what I want to focus on in the celebration of his life.

A strong proponent of revitalizing Hamilton's waterfront, Mayor Morrow famously plunged into the Hamilton Harbour for a swim on a media dare to prove that the water was clean enough. Never missing a single opportunity to boost Hamilton, he often travelled back from his vacation cottage in Muskoka to attend a store opening or a community event, and then he would drive back all night. As a citizenship judge in the last decade, he welcomed thousands of new Canadians to the city he loved so much.

Bob Morrow was one of the most truly honourable people I have had the privilege of knowing. Bob is and will be sorely missed by all. Rest in peace.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 29th, 2018

With regard to Chart 2.1 on Page 27 of the Fall Economic Statement 2017 and specifically the chart titled “Nearly 300,000 Children Lifted Out of Poverty”: (a) what income level was used as the poverty line for the chart; (b) if the income level used in (a) differentiates between regions, what are the various income poverty lines used for the chart, broken down by region; (c) does the government consider families who’s income is slightly higher than the poverty line to be “middle-class”; (d) is there a classification for income levels which is between “poverty” and “middle-class” and, if so, what is that classification known as and what is the associated income level; (e) of the “nearly 300,000”, what is the breakdown by (i) province, (ii) municipality; (f) as of what date are the figures referred to in (e) representative of; (g) what was the start date to which the figures in (e) were compared to in order to make the 300,000 claim; and (h) what is the government’s definition of poverty and what official measure is used to track it?

Questions on the Order Paper December 11th, 2017

With regard to access to the National Holocaust Monument: (a) during what time periods will there be (i) access restrictions for pedestrians, (ii) closures for maintenance purposes, (iii) closures for non-maintenance purposes; (b) for each closure in (a)(ii), what are the details of the maintenance performed; and (c) for each closure in (a)(iii), what is the purpose?

Jewish Refugee Day November 30th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, today is Jewish Refugee Day, a day that is set aside to commemorate the 850,000 Jews across the Middle East who were displaced from their homes as a result of religious persecution during the 1940s to the 1970s.

This year, B'nai Brith has once again put together a campaign to commemorate these refugees in a bid to promote awareness of this great injustice.

I am proud to share with the House that this year, B'nai Brith Canada has teamed up with Judy Feld Carr, a Canadian activist who single-handedly and secretly helped 3,228 Jewish Syrians leave Syria over a period of 28 years.

B'nai Brith is doing truly outstanding work in honouring and educating people on the horrors that Jewish families and individuals have faced.

Mindful of the stories and memories of Jewish refugees on this day of commemoration, please allow me to assure the Canadian Jewish community, on behalf of my colleagues, that we will always fight against anti-Semitism and racism in any form and in any place around the world.

Community Service November 24th, 2017

Madam Speaker, Canada 150 has been an opportunity to celebrate how far our great nation has come over the past century and a half.

In this sesquicentennial year, I set out to honour the many unsung heroes in Flamborough—Glanbrook, the community leaders, volunteers, and activists who have been a vital part of building a better Canada.

One hundred and fifty outstanding Canadians were honoured in Flamborough—Glanbrook and the greater Hamilton area during the award ceremonies that took place in October and November at Mount Hope, Binbrook, and Copetown.

While these unsung heroes never seek the limelight, there is no doubt to any of us that they are true nation builders. They included farmers, hockey coaches, Lions Club presidents, food drive volunteers, and the list goes on. It is profoundly humbling to see the incredible work of so many outstanding individuals. These nation builders are living examples of the very Canadian values of duty, honour, community, good-neighbourliness, and selfless commitment that we celebrate in Canada 150.

I wish to offer my congratulations and thanks to everyone in Flamborough—Glanbrook for their nominations and their dedication to the community and to all the nation builders.

Cannabis Act November 24th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I will capitalize on one point. One of the experiences I had as a small business owner over two decades ago, and I hate to admit that here, I had a fleet of tow trucks in the Region of Peel and we did the police towing. At that time, with just alcohol, on Friday at 4 p.m. we knew there was going to be an onslaught of drunk drivers on the road. Now we are going to exacerbate that with drug impairment. It is not the right way to go.

Cannabis Act November 24th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to be in full agreement with my colleague. That is exactly what I was saying. Why not expedite the removal of a criminal record for those young people who were guilty of simple possession so that they no longer have to say they have a criminal record when filling out a job application? That would be a positive step. That would be peace, order, and good government, and that is what we are all about. Decriminalization should be used as a first step and the government should take some time then to monitor how that affects young people.

The government should also start an education program to tell young people that just because it removes a criminal record does not mean it is the right thing to do. We already know the risks for young people who already have mental health concerns. We know that marijuana exacerbates it, so why put it in their hands without any kind of education program whatsoever? Why give it to 12-year-olds, for goodness' sake? This is absolutely absurd.

Cannabis Act November 24th, 2017

Madam Speaker, with all due respect and dignity toward my colleague, full legalization is not the way to keep drugs out of the hands of our youth nor do I think it is easier to find marijuana than it is alcohol or cigarettes. I already told the House that one-third of cigarettes that are sold in Ontario are contraband.

The very notion that Hells Angels and Satan's Choice are going to find something else because the government has their market is absolutely absurd. They are not going to leave this business. In fact, they will have a larger appetite now that the government has endorsed marijuana knowing that people who have never tried will now try it and they will be there with their supply ready to meet their needs.

Cannabis Act November 24th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I would like to advise you from the outset that I will be splitting my time with the member for Mégantic—L'Érable.

I rise to take the opportunity to speak today against Bill C-45, a rushed and ill-conceived piece of legislation, which many of my colleagues have already pointed out has many flaws. Please allow me to amplify their concerns and add mine.

First and foremost, what is the rush? What is the rush with one-step, full-scale legalization, without interim steps? What is so important about the arbitrary deadline of July 1, 2018?

Really, if we are looking to do something substantive in a rush, maybe the Liberals could listen to my NDP colleagues who have been calling, for a long time, to make sure that the records of people who have been found guilty and have a criminal record for simple possession would be eliminated, so they could get a good job. If the Liberals want to rush something, why do they not rush at that?

Why ignore police and medical professionals' advice and push ahead with Bill C-45? Why not allow police, provincial and municipal governments, as well as health officials to better prepare for the onslaught of issues this legalization will unleash?

Believe me, there will be an onslaught of issues. All members need to do is look at other jurisdictions that have legalized marijuana to find that there will be a slew of issues that the government will need to deal with.

To date, why has there been no public education of the risks of smoking marijuana? What we have heard most often about many of the risks of marijuana is that they are so much more detrimental to our youth. No one should assume that some of us who are speaking against this, because we are parents and public figures, are trying to be condescending. None of us are trying to be patronizing. No one should assume that any of my colleagues or myself are trying to stereotype anyone either. We do not have some outdated notion of society.

What we are saying is that there is a massive number of risks that we are concerned about, and the government has not taken them into consideration. Data shows 30% to 40% of young people who use cannabis under the age of 25 will develop psychotic disorders, depression, and anxiety disorders. Let me repeat that, upward of one-third of people under 25 who use marijuana will develop psychotic disorders, depression, or anxiety disorders. That is far too many.

Where are the human rights champions over there who know already of the growing mental health epidemic with our youth, and who are not speaking up about the way drugs exacerbate those mental health issues? Where are they?

As a father of a daughter who suffered mental health issues to the point of taking her own life this past summer, I have seen first-hand the risks of drugs at an early age. My family and I have seen this path and what it leads to, the hurt and the pain, the suffering. We have felt the consequences most directly as many, too many, other families have.

Our heart aches thinking about what could have been, what should have been, had Lara not been exposed to drugs, on top of all the other demons she had to fight on a daily basis. It is tragic, and it is all to common.

That is why I am particularly concerned about the provisions in Bill C-45 when it comes to possession by children ages 12 to 17. As currently written, the bill allows children aged 12 to 17 to be in possession of five grams of pot. This is approximately five to 10 joints. What is positive about that, in any way, shape, or form? How is that good government? How is that having a concern about the safety and security of Canadians?

I am profoundly concerned. At 12, children cannot buy cigarettes, they cannot drink, they cannot drive, they cannot vote, they cannot enlist to fight for our country, but they can possess five to 10 joints. Really?

Medical professionals have told us that the number should be zero. In fact, they oppose Bill C-45 based on the harm it would do to our youth, and they are concerned about the young age at which it allows youth to possess pot, thereby condoning and encouraging it.

I do not accept the argument that, just because we pass legislation, we do not endorse something. Come on, that is always the case. Whenever we legislate, we are saying that we are doing it for the public good and are endorsing the behaviour.

How can I stand by as a parent who has lost a child to the struggle she had with many anxieties and depression, or as a member of Parliament whose primary concern is the safety of Canadians, and allow legislation that would exacerbate those depressions and anxiety in Canadian children as young as 12? How could I not speak out? It would be unconscionable.

I am not blind to the obvious. I know, and all members of the House know, that whether by peer pressure or otherwise, there are many teenagers who use marijuana; too many, and I wish it were far fewer. I wish they could see the damage they are doing to themselves. I wish they could have had a conversation with Lara in her later years. She would have counselled them otherwise. She would have warned them of the harm of smoking marijuana and the consequences on their cognitive abilities, how it amplifies any mental health issues, and how it is a slippery slope from one joint to a few joints to harder drugs, and on and on.

There are other reasons why Bill C-45 is flawed, not the least of which is that legalizing marijuana would not remedy the underground economy. We need only to look to tobacco. By some estimates, 40% of tobacco sold in Ontario is contraband. In fact, a study that came out last month by the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco found that one in three cigarettes sold in Ontario is contraband. Do members opposite honestly believe that it will be any different with pot, that it would be above board, and every single joint is taxed?

There was a similar experience with gambling, so we are not talking about something that does not have a track record in the past. After gambling was legalized, the stranglehold of organized crime continued in that business. It did not stop the gambling. In fact, by all measures, it increased it. In legalizing it, we inadvertently made matters worse for our young people. Studies indicate that up to 60% of children and adolescents engage in some form of gambling each week. This is because they are a generation that was exposed to legal gambling from a young age and it was not frowned upon, which is why the predominant concern about problem gambling is not primarily for adults but young people.

I heard some heckles about that, but we are not talking about somebody who is buying a lottery ticket. Are those members out to lunch? I am talking about someone who begins in gambling and then is trapped in gambling, and then that is a lifestyle. They can never ever enjoy their job or buy a house or anything, because they fritter away all their money on gambling. If that is what some members feel is okay for youth, then fine with that.

We must question the signals that we are sending to our teenagers. What precedent are we setting? Are we fully ready for all the social impacts that this will have on the years ahead?

My colleagues have raised a number of other points about Bill C-45, such as drug-impaired driving, the super-sized amount of pot one could grow at home, the lack of a public education program, and scientific evidence. However, the point I want to stress today and the question I want all members of the chamber to think through clearly is the exposure of marijuana to young children and adolescents. It is not too late to change it. It is not too late to stop it. It is not too late vote no on Bill C-45.

In closing, I will ask again, as I did at the outset. Why ignore police and medical professionals in regard to Bill C-45? Do we really think that 12 to 18 year-olds having five or 10 joints in their bedroom is a wise thing to advocate? Why do we not have more public education right now? Why not allow police, provincial and municipal governments, and health officials to better prepare for the massive upfront cost? I say again, what is the rush? Officials are not ready. I implore members to listen to the experts, doctors, scientists, and law enforcement. I ask all members to vote against Bill C-45.