House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was regard.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Kootenay—Columbia (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 June 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that whether it is my riding or any riding across Canada, the implications of taking $1,000 out of any household's salary is just devastating, and we cannot allow that to happen. That is why our government continues to lower taxes, not only for families but for business as well, to ensure that every Canadian has the greatest opportunity for a good job and to provide a good income for their family.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 June 15th, 2015

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It won't take me long. I would never support anything the Liberals would do.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 June 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, that was a fairly long-winded one question. There were several questions involved in there, but the reality is that low-income Canadians pay no income tax right now. It is our government that has eliminated income tax for those low-income families so that they can better provide for their families with the income that they do get.

With regard to day care, I believe that each family in Canada should be able to decide how it chooses to provide that. I do not think it should be mandated as the NDP would like to have it, with a mandatory day care system that would be provided to very few.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 June 15th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to stand today to speak on Bill C-59, the implementation of budget 2015. It is a budget that benefits all Canadians by creating jobs, giving benefits to families, and providing funding for communities.

In the time that I have today, I would like to focus on the benefits that this budget would bring to Kootenay—Columbia.

Small business is a significant driver in the Kootenays. Tourism forms an important part of the riding. World-class ski resorts in Revelstoke, Golden, Panorama, Kimberley, and Fernie employ thousands of people each year so that people from around the world can come and enjoy great snow.

Every coffee outlet, every gift shop, and many more would benefit from the reduction in the small business tax rate from 11% to 9%. This would put an estimated $2.3 billion back into the pockets of those people who are the engine of the Canadian economy. It would provide small business owners with the opportunity to invest and to continue to grow their businesses, which in turn would benefit the communities where they live.

Our Conservative government has also reaffirmed the small business job credit, which would lower business payroll taxes by 15% for the next two years.

Unlike the Liberals and the NDP, we believe that lowering taxes for business is beneficial for all, as it drives the economy. In fact, the NDP has voted against every small business tax cut since 2006. The NDP would implement the $15 minimum wage, which would be devastating for small business. To top it off, the NDP would implement a job-killing payroll tax increase. The Liberals' answer: well, budgets just balance themselves. Tell that to any business owner.

Companies like Canfor and Louisiana-Pacific and the Interior Lumber Manufacturers Association would benefit from the forest innovation fund and the expanding market opportunities program. A lot can be learned from those in the forestry industry. They were able to manage a renewable resource and keep it viable for centuries. However, they also need to be able to market their timber, and programs like these allow them to stay with the times in an ever-evolving global market.

What is the answer from the Liberals and NDP? Raise corporate taxes and let them spend that money, because they know best.

Companies like Teck Resources, Joy Global, Finning, and many others will benefit from the reformed skills training system, which will align the curricula of post-secondary education institutions with the needs of employers through an investment of $65 million over four years. Post-secondary institutes such as the College of the Rockies and Selkirk College will be able to work with companies to provide courses that will open up opportunities for students in many fields, such as heavy-duty mechanics, welders, electricians, wood forest operations, and many more.

Our Conservative government will continue to work with the provinces to break down internal trade so that goods within Canada can flow freely. In my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, the wine industry and other businesses will benefit. Recently the Minister of Industry announced that he had met with all 13 provincial and territorial counterparts to have an internal trade agreement in place by 2016.

When it comes to families, our government believes that moms and dads should be able to decide what they do with their money and how they save it. That is why we increased the allowable annual contribution to a tax-free savings account to $10,000 annually. One-third of Canadians, approximately 11 million Canadians, have contributed to tax-free savings accounts.

Let us think about that for a minute. There are 11 million Canadians contributing to a TFSA, and what is the answer from the opposition parties? They will get rid of it.

That would mean that one-third of Canadians would have to find a different way to invest their money because what the opposition really wants to do is raise taxes on hard-working Canadian families.

Another opportunity our government is providing is reducing the minimum withdrawal factors for RRIFS for those over the age of 71. It would provide them with the opportunity to extend their retirement savings.

Moms and dads across our country work hard to provide for their families, and that is why such things as income splitting and the universal child care benefit, which were introduced by our government, are so beneficial. The opposition parties have said they would get rid of these two benefits. Perhaps they would like to tell that to those who hold down the most underrated and lowest-paid positions in all of Canada. Who are they? They are the parents who choose to stay home and raise their children.

I personally do not think there is enough money that could be paid for this position. However, I know income splitting and the UCCB put a little more money into the pockets of those families to save or spend as they choose, and that is the way it should be.

Kootenay—Columbia boasts four of the most magnificent national parks in Canada. Yoho National Park has 28 mountain peaks over 3,000 metres in height. It has Takakkaw Falls, with a free fall of 254 metres, the third-highest waterfall in Canada. There are over 400 kilometres of hiking trails there, spiral tunnels that are an engineering marvel, and much more.

Kootenay National Park has vast valleys and rock formations such Marble Canyon, Numa Falls, and Sinclair Canyon. The world-famous Radium Hot Springs are found there as well..

Glacier National Park has awe-inspiring mountain peaks and glaciers. A stop at Rogers Pass is jaw-dropping. Of course, there is the final link in our national rail line that connected Canada as a nation.

Finally, Mount Revelstoke National Park comes alive in late August when wildflowers abound.

The staff at Parks Canada do an amazing job at providing a great visitor experience. I was very pleased to see that budget 2015 dedicated $2.8 billion to national parks and national historic sites. Improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway, hiking trails, and camping facilities, to name a few, will continue to draw people from around the world to our Canadian treasures.

The security of Canada is paramount, and I am proud of our military and police for their ability to promote and protect our values at home or wherever they may be deployed. Our Conservative government will continue to provide our military and police with the tools they need to combat terrorism and aid countries like Ukraine in fighting for their sovereignty.

Also, let us not forget about the valuable contributions of our DART teams, which deploy all over the world to aid after disaster has struck. The most recent example is deployment of DART to Nepal, for which I would like commend Lieutenant-Commander Kelly Williamson, RCN, the spouse of the member of Parliament for New Brunswick Southwest, for her leadership role in the recent deployment.

Whether it is in combat, peacekeeping, or disaster relief, our military is regarded as one of the best in the world.

Now let us look at the record of the Liberals. First they cut funding to the military to the point of non-existence. Then, when they decided to deploy our men and women to Afghanistan, they had the great idea of sending them in green combat fatigues for a brown environment.

The NDP votes against any military action that Canada is involved in, believing that other countries should protect our values while we sit idly by. While the NDP has decided its fight is with CSIS, our focus will be on ISIS and the real terror that exists not only on our home soil but abroad as well.

Our Conservative government, led by Prime Minister Harper, is the only party that can be trusted to lead Canada into the future. We will stay focused upon jobs, the economy, family, and security of our nation, because that is what Canadians want.

Alzheimer's Disease and Other Forms of Dementia June 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to Motion No. 575 on Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

Dementia is an issue that affects a large number of Canadians, so it is important that we have ample opportunity to debate it in the House and ensure that it receives the attention it deserves. I know my colleague, the hon. member for Huron—Bruce, brought forward this motion with exactly that intention.

Motion No. 575 calls on the government to continue to take the necessary measures, while respecting provincial and territorial jurisdiction, to prevent Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, and to reduce the impact of dementia for those living with this disease, their families and caregivers. The things called for in this motion will ensure that is done.

Dementia is a complex public health challenge that affects thousands of families across Canada. In fact, three out of four Canadians know someone who is affected by dementia, and it is estimated that the number of Canadians living with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, now estimated as high as 15%, will double by 2031.

Dementia is a health condition with important social implications. Its effects are wide-reaching and have a significant impact on those living with the condition, their families and caregivers. These can include the loss of independence, stigma and discrimination, as well as social isolation for those affected.

Dementia has no cure, and as the causes are not precisely known, we do not know whether it is preventable. Possible risk factors include physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, environmental influences, genetic factors and severe brain injury.

While the search for a cure continues, there is a need to develop innovative approaches and new models of care and support to improve the quality of life of those living with dementia today. A significant part of this includes addressing any stigma and incorrect assumptions about what it is like to have dementia or to care for someone who has dementia. Our government is making investments to help improve our understanding of dementia and the full scope of its impact. It is important to understand what dementia is and what it is not.

Dementia is often thought of as a disease affecting memory. While forgetfulness and the fear associated with suddenly not remembering people and places is certainly one aspect, it is important to realize that dementia is a neurological condition that affects the whole brain, and not just the memory. The ability to communicate, changes in mood and behaviour, and the capacity for judgment and reasoning are also affected by dementia. Over time, daily and routine tasks become difficult to perform.

By better understanding how dementia affects the lives of people from its early stages onward, as well as the potential risk factors, we can better support people affected by dementia in maintaining their independence and quality of life.

As symptoms progress, people with dementia generally require increased levels of care. With the increase of the number of people living with dementia, it is important for us to develop innovative solutions that can extend the independence of people living with dementia and improve their quality of life.

Most of the care and support provided to persons living with dementia takes place in the community and comes from informal sources, such as spouses, family and friends. Those who provide care for individuals living with neurological conditions such as dementia tend to provide more hours of support and are twice as likely to experience distress compared to other caregivers.

As dementia becomes more prevalent, it is increasingly important that caregivers also receive the support to respond to the levels of care they need to give and maintain their own well-being.

These social challenges of dementia are being recognized, and our government is investing in efforts to improve the quality of life of those living with dementia, their families and those who care for them.

The motion calls on the government to focus on education and awareness to reduce the stigma associated with dementia, including the implementation of the Dementia Friends Canada initiative.

I am pleased to see that our government has been moving quickly to support those who are working on this project. Just last week, on June 5, our Minister of Health announced the launch of Dementia Friends Canada in collaboration with the Alzheimer Society of Canada. This program is a national public engagement initiative to support the growing number of Canadians living with dementia. It will engage Canadians in understanding what it means to live with dementia and how to better support those affected in our communities.

Through an investment of more than $2 million over two years, the government is supporting the Alzheimer Society of Canada in launching this initiative across the country.

An important aspect of Dementia Friends Canada is that we seek to engage workplaces and individuals in a dialogue that will help everyone understand what it means to have dementia and what kinds of steps can be taken to make Canada more dementia friendly. By becoming aware of the actions that can be taken, Canadians can help people affected by dementia feel connected and supported. Larger organizations, workplaces, and communities may find other innovative ways in which they can meet the needs of those affected by dementia. I am very impressed with this program.

The health minister also undertook to raise awareness of it just last night through an open house to encourage all parliamentarians to sign up as dementia friends, learn about what they can do, and commit to making a difference.

People with dementia need our support, kindness, patience, and understanding. Dementia Friends Canada encourages people to make communities and workplaces across Canada more welcoming to those living with dementia, their families, and their caregivers.

The goal is to reach one million Canadians participating in Dementia Friends Canada within the next two years. There is some precedent for success already. Dementia Friends Canada is in fact modelled after similar programs in Japan and the United Kingdom that have helped advance support for those living with dementia in those countries.

Dementia is about people. How we treat those living with dementia can make a difference. Simple, everyday actions can help people living with dementia feel supported, stay connected in their communities, and improve their overall quality of life. Initiatives such as Dementia Friends Canada represent a call to action to work together to make life better for the growing number of Canadians who are living with dementia.

While we are making inroads in addressing the challenges presented by dementia, we are by no means done yet. By working in partnership with other sectors, including the provinces and territories, workplaces, not-for-profit organizations, the private sector, other countries, international organizations, and people living in communities across Canada, we will continue to advance our progress in addressing dementia.

I encourage all my colleagues to visit the Dementia Friends Canada website and register as dementia friends. It is through initiatives like these collective and individual actions that we can help to make a positive change today.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) June 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Quanto's law is best described, for me personally, as an extension of the police officer's arm. The service animal, the dog, is instructed by the police officer or the handler to do what that specific animal is charged to do. It questions not who, why, what or when, it just does it. In that reality with regard to the criminal investigations and investigations that pertain to police service dogs and their handlers, the dog is an extension of the handler and the dog will just do what it is told to do.

I believe those are the extenuating circumstances with regard to Quanto's law and why we need to have this law in place to ensure the protection of those specific law enforcement animals.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) June 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the best explanation I can provide for mandatory minimum sentences with regard to Quanto's law is that the police service animal has the dedication toward its handler to do what it is told to do, when it is told to do it and how it is told to do it. It questions nobody. It works toward the ultimate goal, which is to apprehend. It has no voice in the judicial system, and it never will have a voice in the judicial system.

Probably the best example I can provide for that member is with regard to Brigadier the horse that was killed in 2006. The person charged and convicted of the offences in December 2007 was convicted of causing bodily harm to a human, but there was absolutely no charge with regard to the death of the horse. In actuality, the horse was the main target in that incident, not the human being.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) June 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to speak today on Bill C-35, commonly known as Quanto's law. I will begin my remarks today by acknowledging the broad support that Bill C-35, the justice for animals in service act has received not only in this House, but from many Canadians across our country.

Commonly referred to as Quanto's law, this bill is further evidence of the government's continued commitment to bringing forward criminal justice legislation that contributes to making Canadian communities safer. It should be noted that it was under this government in 2008 that existing penalties under the Criminal Code relating to offences for the mistreatment of animals were increased. An offence is committed under section 445 of the Criminal Code when someone wilfully or without lawful excuse kills, maims, wounds, poisons or injures an animal other than cattle. The maximum sentence that may be imposed where this offence is prosecuted as an indictable offence is five years imprisonment. As well, paragraph 738(1)(a) of the Criminal Code authorizes the court to order the offender to pay the costs associated with training a new animal as restitution for the loss of the animal where the amount is ascertainable.

As many members will know, Quanto was an Edmonton police service dog that was fatally stabbed on October 7, 2013, while assisting police in apprehending a suspect. The person who killed Quanto was subsequently convicted under the existing section 445 of the Criminal Code for the wilful killing of a dog, along with other offences arising out of the same set of events on October 7, 2013. He was sentenced to a total of 26 months, 18 of which were specifically for the killing of Quanto.

The judge stated:

...[the] attack on this dog wasn't just an attack on a dog. It was an attack on your society and what is meaningful in our society.

The tragic death of this law enforcement animal struck a chord with many Canadians. Law enforcement, legal and community groups have repeatedly called for greater recognition and protection of service animals. I am proud to say that Quanto's law fulfills a 2013 commitment in the Speech from the Throne to enact a law to recognize the daily tasks undertaken by animals used by police to assist them in enforcing the law and protecting society. Dogs like Quanto have been employed by Canadian law enforcement agencies for many years. Sadly, from time to time, some of these law enforcement animals have been intentionally injured or killed by criminals in the course of police operations.

The loss of such highly trained and motivated members of a law enforcement team not only has a direct operational impact on its ability to protect the community, it has significant financial implications for the affected police service. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has estimated that the cost to train a police dog and its handler as a team is in excess of $60,000. Our government believes that the creation of a specific Criminal Code offence that includes a tailored sentencing regime, would contribute to the denunciation as well as deterrence, both general and specific, of such crimes in the future. Quanto's law proposes the creation of a new specific offence for the killing or injuring of a law enforcement animal, a service animal or a military animal. The objective of the amendment is to denounce and deter this conduct.

A law enforcement animal would be a dog or horse that has been trained to aid a law enforcement officer in carrying out the officer's law enforcement duties. A service animal would include an animal that has been trained to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities. This would include, for example, guide dogs for persons who are blind or have reduced vision, and dogs trained to assist persons suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. A military animal would include an animal trained to aid a member of the Canadian Armed Forces in carrying out his or her duties.

I would like to say something more in respect of the second and third enhancements, the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment and the consecutive sentence. During second reading debate of Quanto's law, questions were raised about the constitutionality of the mandatory minimum penalty of six months imprisonment for the new offence of killing a law enforcement animal that was assisting an officer in carrying out his or her duties.

The government's position remains firm that the mandatory minimum penalty proposed in this legislation would not result in a grossly disproportionate sentence and would withstand charter scrutiny. If this provision is challenged, the government will vigorously defend its constitutionality. It is our position that the requirement that the sentence imposed on an offender convicted of the new offence of killing or injuring a law enforcement animal, a service animal or a military animal be served consecutively to any other sentence that might be imposed on the offender arising out of the same event or series of events, is also justifiable.

Our law recognizes that in certain circumstances the nature of an offence committed is so serious and distinct that it requires a consecutive sentence in order to properly denounce and deter such conduct even though the offences might be committed as part of the same event or series of events. That is what Quanto's law does.

It also enhances the protection of law enforcement officers by adding section 270.03 to the Criminal Code. Going forward, the law will require that the sentence imposed on a person convicted of committing an assault, an assault causing bodily harm, an assault causing bodily harm with a weapon or an aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer be served consecutively to any other sentence that might be imposed arising out of the same event or series of events.

I just want to speak briefly about my own experiences as a member of the RCMP. A good friend of mine, whose name is on one of the markers just to the west of Centre Block, Michael Buday, was killed on March 19, 1985 as he went to apprehend Michael Eugene Oros near Atlin, British Columbia.

He was with his police service dog, Trooper. They had been taken along with the ERT team to apprehend Mr. Oros. Unfortunately Mike did not come home that day. Sadly, we could tell that Trooper missed his handler, missed his best friend, and they had to deal with Trooper in a different way than we would deal with any other type of animal. Trooper only knew one person and that was Mike, and he would go the nth end for Mike.

I remember with some humour putting on their arm guard myself as Trooper would run me down outside of a field. I made sure that I would put the arm guard out first, because if I did not, I was sure that the dog would grab on to some other part of my body that might hurt a little more.

We heard at committee several times from police service dog handlers that the dog is their best friend, and the dog will do what it is told to do with no hesitation, no question. It just does what it has to do. If that means running into a burning building, it will run in. It is just amazing what these dogs will do.

We heard from the member opposite just a few minutes ago with regard to police service animals. The horse, Brigadier, in Toronto, was run over by a vehicle in 2006. It shows that these police service animals will go to the nth end.

With that, I call on all members to stand up for the men, women and animals who risk their lives every day to keep Canadians safe, and support this landmark legislation.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) June 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I understand the passion the member brings forth in her speech and that her party is opposed to mandatory minimums. However, I want to give her an example and get her reaction to it.

On February 24, 2006, the service horse Brigadier was killed. On January 15, 2007, the person responsible was found guilty and received a two year conditional sentence for dangerous operation of a vehicle causing bodily harm and failing to stop at the scene of an accident causing bodily harm. Obviously, the charge of bodily harm was with respect to the rider of the horse, not the horse, as there was never a charge laid in that respect. This is why we need Quanto's law. More succinctly, with respect to the death of the horse, there was no jail sentence given whatsoever. The severity of what was done on February 24, 2006, should be recognized. Could the member respond to that.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) June 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I wonder if you could ask the hon. member to get back on track with regard to Bill C-35. I listened, for probably about the last five minutes, where she swayed off with regard to talking about the Criminal Code in general.

This is specific to Bill C-35 and service animals and police dogs, service animals in general.