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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was mentioned.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Conservative MP for Flamborough—Glanbrook (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions November 27th, 2020

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present.

The first petition is germane to a decision that was made by the Subcommittee on International Human Rights. The petitioners call upon the House of Commons and the Government of Canada to recognize that what is happening to the Uighur Muslims in East Turkestan, also known as Xinjiang, as a genocide.

Criminal Code November 27th, 2020

Madam Speaker, in a debate this important, I think it is important that my hon. colleague, whom I have respect for and have worked with on human rights, would not stoop so low as to impugn the motives of my colleague in regard to the 10-day period for reflection. The notion that he would want someone to suffer more is reprehensible.

It is a different situation, but my daughter took her own life and left a note. She took her own life in the context of having, at one point of her life, an unbelievable amount of stress so that she made a bad decision one evening, alone. It is not temporary. It is absolute.

The point that we are arguing is that, once this decision is made, it cannot be reversed. The notion that we are trying to make people suffer, as I said, is reprehensible. The idea is to make sure that someone who is in a bad situation, who might the next day find more light and hope, would not make a bad decision and completely eliminate the breath of their own life.

Global Nexus for Pandemics November 24th, 2020

Mr. Speaker, COVID-19 has opened our eyes to the impact infectious disease can have on our population, society and economy. These diseases pose an existential threat to Canada.

Before COVID-19, there was H1N1, SARS, Norwalk, West Nile, Ebola, measles and polio all within the last 50 years. Although the next biological threat is inevitable, the ability to cause human and economic devastation is not. For that reason, McMaster University recently announced the timely launch of the Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats in Hamilton, Ontario.

The Global Nexus brings together leaders from a multitude of disciplines all devoted to one goal: preventing future pandemics and mitigating global health threats. Along with the David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery, the Global Nexus will build on McMaster’s record of being a leader in comprehensive infectious disease research.

We know the threats and solutions to serious health challenges are often found outside the lab. The work of McMaster’s Global Nexus will create a bulwark against future biological threats to protect Canada and the world.

Citizenship Act November 23rd, 2020

Madam Speaker, I think the member may have been talking about UNDRIP. I am not entirely certain. The principles in UNDRIP are very good, but there are some aspects that are problematic. We are one of the few countries that has first nations rights in our Constitution. That is my position.

Citizenship Act November 23rd, 2020

Madam Speaker, I disagree with my colleague.

If I have a minute, I will speak to something I wanted to get to. When indigenous nations first encountered Europeans on Turtle Island they began incorporating them into a long-established protocol of treaty making. Treaties created the necessary diplomatic space in which very different societies could communicate and negotiate complex relationships despite radically different world views.

The Crown was a natural vehicle for settlers to enter into long-term relationships with their indigenous partners. A treaty, like the institution of monarchy, is an organic creation that evolves or devolves depending on those who are engaged with it. It is meant to be the best reflection of the constituents. Treaties also requires personal relationships to be effective.

Citizenship Act November 23rd, 2020

Madam Speaker, I was hoping the member was going to call me a Kingstonian because only people from Kingston know that is the real name. I thank him for the kind comments.

This is a really passionate area for me. I think back to the spirit of 1967, our first centennial year, when we celebrated not only the nation but also our first nations people. If we remember that spirit and that time, I think we can have a renaissance and bring about some really powerful change with our first nations sisters and brothers.

Citizenship Act November 23rd, 2020

Madam Speaker, it is always an honour to rise in this chamber, and for this debate, it is a very big honour for me.

Members have alluded to their experiences with citizenship ceremonies. They are, of course, overwhelmingly emotional. They are, of course, overwhelmingly filled with gratitude by those who are getting their citizenship, as well as those who were born on these shores when we realize the great lottery we won by being born here, the best country in the world.

I have a number of memories, but I will just mention two of them. There is the citizenship ceremony in which my father-in-law, after many years of being a German citizen, received Canadian citizenship, and subsequently my own wife, who received Canadian citizenship. Those were big days.

I also want to recognize a phenomenal citizenship judge who happened to have been the mayor of Hamilton for eight years and then became a citizenship judge for six years. I want to recognize the late Robert Morrow, because he was one of the citizenship judges that I knew who could encapsulate the history of Canada, going from first nations, indigenous and Métis peoples all the way through to modern day. He could capture the entire room for 20 minutes while bringing that whole history to life, and what a beautiful history it is. I thank Bob Morrow very much for his contribution to citizenship.

I would also note what one of my colleagues alluded to earlier, the campaign to make sure that Sergeant Tommy Prince would be pictured on the five-dollar bill. Tommy Prince was the recipient of 11 medals, including battle honours. He served in the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. I will read from a CBC article, which quoted my colleague for Calgary Shepard, who said:

He's a founding member of Canada's elite first Canadian parachute battalion, and the Devil's Brigade during the Second World War.... He was one of the soldiers who defended hill 677 in the battle of Kapyong during the Korean War. He won 11 medals. That makes him the most decorated Indigenous war veteran, combat veteran, in the history of Canada.

I would encourage my colleagues, because we have talked a lot about not only a message in principle but doing the right thing, to support that initiative.

I will read the oath and note the wording that will be changed. It begins, “I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada,” and then continues with the addition from Bill C-8, which reads, “including the Constitution, which recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.”

One way we can illuminate this is to get to know our first nations brothers and sisters. My best education about indigenous peoples came from all of the indigenous individuals I have known. I had a dark time in my life, which is public knowledge and I do not mind mentioning it. I was institutionalized when I was young, and there were two dozen first nations individuals I knew who were there from all across the country. They generally were there because they were very poor. In those days, one could be incarcerated as a youth if one was incorrigible, so many of them were incarcerated in what they called “training schools” in those days, which I have spoken about before in the House. They were really prison institutions for boys eight to 16 years old, and there were several institutions for girls in that respect as well. I do not want to dwell on that as much as to say that I got to know first nations boys at that time, and I had never met a first nations individual before.

I grew up in Kingston, Ontario, and the member for Kingston and the Islands may be happy about that or he might not, but I grew up on Alfred Street, Earl Street and Frontenac Street. My brothers went to KCVI, LCVI and QECVI. I went to the old Victoria School, which has now been repurposed for Queen's University. However, I had never met anyone from a reserve or an indigenous person who lived off reserve. It was not until I was there at that institution that I began my education about what it meant to be a first nations citizen.

To my great fortune, I met many more. I was on the board of a charity with an individual named Ross Maracle, a Mohawk leader from Tyendinaga. Ross will be happy that I still remember his Mohawk name, Rowedahowe. Another person I met was a Cree leader from Manitoba, Larry Wilson, who I just found out recently is now a chaplain in prisons helping individuals get back on their feet and into a better way of life. I remember meeting Chief David General too, at a very tough time, in Caledonia. I remember touring first nations with Chief Anita Hill.

All of these relationships were profoundly educational for me and made me understand the history. They also made me understand people's desire to be appreciated as individuals and not to be labelled as groups. So often when we try to solve problems, that is what we do.

I am happy for this addition to the oath, as long as we bring it to life.

One of my friends, and I hope he is okay with me calling him a friend, is named Nathan Tidridge. He recently won a Governor General's award for teaching history. He is one of the most significant Canadian citizens I know building bridges for reconciliation with first nations.

I got to know him most intimately after he raised money for a monument. In the riding I represent, there is a town called Waterdown. It is growing in leaps and bounds. That means there is lots of development, but traditional lands of first nations are being gobbled up in it. He wanted to make sure there was a marker there for the Souharissen people.

He raised the money for the monument, and got permission from the city to lay the monument. The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario was there, along with me and some others, to make sure there was not only a ceremony but a solemn oath in the community that the Souharissen natural area be remembered. It is the traditional territory for Neutral, Haudenosaunee and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations peoples.

The more I got to know Nathan Tidridge, the more I admired him. I will quote something he wrote in regard to our stewardship of the promises we have made to our indigenous brothers and sisters:

An Indigenous teaching is that for non-Indigenous People, ceremony often bookends the real work of governments, whereas for Indigenous People, it is interwoven into the entire process. In Canada, the Queen and her representatives sit at the apex of our state and are therefore the keepers of our highest protocols and national ceremony.

The unique relationships between the Queen’s representatives and First Nations provide vehicles for convening community—bringing together diverse stakeholders in a non-partisan way to focus on a particular issue—and fostering communication that are not available to politicians tied to a system dominated by a four-year election cycle.

Invitations from the governor general, an office bound to Indigenous People through Treaty and infused with centuries of history, are more readily accepted than those from a politician or government. This unique power allows members from different communities and perspectives to gather in the apolitical space that is required to reflect the values inherent in Treaty.

The power to convene community in no way interferes with the convention of responsible government. However, it can build on the Crown’s traditional rights to be consulted, to encourage, and to warn, first articulated by the 19th-century British constitutional expert Walter Bagehot. The Crown’s unique ability to convene community above the political fray is even more important in these polarized and volatile times.

It is my hope that not only will this be part of the new oath but the current government and future governments will consider empowering the office of the Governor General, the Queen's representative here, to really deal with the relationship aspect between us and first nations to bring about real change and real reconciliation.

Petitions November 23rd, 2020

Mr. Speaker, given that the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of this very chamber, after comprehensive study, concluded from all the witness evidence that was presented that the threshold was met to call what is going on with Uighur Muslims in East Turkestan by the Communist Party of China a genocide, the petitioners call on the House of Commons to take the following actions to address the situation. They ask the government to formally recognize that Uighurs in China have been and are being subject to genocide, and to use the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, more commonly known as the Magnitsky act, to sanction those who are responsible for the heinous crimes being committed against Uighur Muslims in East Turkestan.

David Braley October 29th, 2020

Mr. Speaker, our nation and our hometown of Hamilton lost a statesman, an icon this week with the passing of Senator David Braley.

The successful entrepreneur from humble beginnings to kind-hearted philanthropist with an avid passion for sports and arts, David Braley was the first Hamiltonian to serve in the Canadian Senate. He was an extraordinarily selfless person.

When the Hamilton Tiger-Cats were on the verge of bankruptcy in 1989, David Braley stepped in to save the team. The senator also chaired the committee that brought the extremely successful World Cycling Championship to Hamilton, was a director of the successful 2015 Pan American Games bid, and has donated millions to amateur sport.

Never missing a single opportunity to help his fellow Hamiltonians, he has led fundraising campaigns and donated millions to the Royal Botanical Gardens, local hospitals, art galleries and other educational institutions, including his alma mater McMaster University, where an athletic centre, a health sciences centre and a centre for antibiotic discovery all bear his name.

When asked why the senator was so generous, he responded, “I'm making sure Hamilton has the best. I think Hamilton is a very special place.” David Braley was one of the most truly honourable people I have had the privilege to know. David, my friend, is and will be sorely missed by all.

Petitions September 28th, 2020

Mr. Speaker, I too am honoured to rise, but it is unfortunate that I have to present a petition from Canadians who are profoundly concerned with what is going on in East Turkestan, also known as Xinjiang province in China. The Chinese Communist Party has been subjugating the Uighur Muslim population to crimes against humanity that amount to genocide.

The petitioners ask the House and the Government of Canada to recognize these acts as a genocide and also to implement the Magnitsky act and sanction those individuals in the Chinese Communist Party who are responsible for these outrageous crimes against humanity.