House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was liberal.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Cariboo—Prince George (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 56% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Forest Products Association of Canada May 24th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, this week the Forest Products Association of Canada celebrated its 100th anniversary. Its members have guided the health and well-being of Canada's forest industry through a very challenging period in its life, and they have come out on top through hard work, incredible perseverance and a bold vision to continue to be world leaders through the use of next-generation forest technology. This vision has resulted in a huge leap in the effective use of wood fibre, and the industry has become a star in forest environmental friendliness.

I want to thank our government for its continued funding support for science and technology research. Much of this research has been used to dramatically increase the use of wood fibre and help the forest industry become environment-friendly leaders.

This week the Minister of State (Science and Technology) announced yet another $413 million for discovery researchers. I know that our forest industry will continue to benefit from research such as this.

Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act May 23rd, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I want to encourage the parliamentary secretary to reassure the scattered New Democrats across the way there that the sky is not falling. It is not falling because of this bill, as it did not fall because of the Auto Pact bill, as it did not fall because of the free trade bill, as it did not fall because of the softwood lumber bill, which everyone in the softwood lumber industry supported.

The sky did not fall, it is not going to fall, and it will never fall as long as the Conservatives are sitting on this side in government and the New Democrats maintain their consistent loss record.

Could the parliamentary secretary reinforce that?

Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal May 1st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, over the past year, I have had the honour to meet some very special people who have done some very special things in their lives that contributed to their communities, their provinces, their country and their fellow Canadians.

I was honoured to present to them, in recognition of their contributions, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, on behalf of our Queen and our Governor General.

Two weeks ago my heart was really touched as I presented the Diamond Jubilee Medal to Mrs. Josephine Selkirk of Prince George, B.C. This lady, simply known as “Joey”, is 101 years old and has had a remarkable life, having served in the armed forces and being active in the Second World War and in leadership in the Royal Canadian Legion for over six decades. Joey Selkirk is indeed a very special person.

While I am up, may I quickly add a big happy birthday to the most beautiful 60-year-old woman on the face of the earth, my wife Annie.

Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada February 15th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, the NDP is full of contradictions. The leader of the NDP says he supports western Canadians, but then turns around and calls the industries they work in a disease. The NDP claims to support trade, but it has opposed every single free trade deal brought forward by our government and even sent an anti-trade mission to Washington to advocate against Canadian jobs.

Yesterday it tried to claim that it was standing up for Canadian taxpayers, but the NDP has a plan to impose a new $20-billion carbon tax on everything. The NDP leader's new job-killing carbon tax will raise the price of gas, groceries and electricity. This new NDP leader's job-killing carbon tax will kill jobs and stall the economy.

Our government will stand up against the NDP leader's job-killing tax, and we will continue to lower taxes for all Canadians.

Foreign Affairs February 8th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, speaking in Montreal, the Leader of the Opposition tried to articulate what the NDP's foreign policy would be. Unbelievably, his speech demonstrated to Canadians that the NDP leader wants to take Canada back to a foreign policy approach where Canadian values are secondary and every dictator with a vote at the UN would be pandered to.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs please tell the House our government's approach to foreign policy?

Forestry Industry February 5th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, the forestry sector is a key employer for rural communities across Canada. Our Conservative government has taken unprecedented steps to help renew our forestry sector after a damaging recession, and we continue to show that support through our economic action plan by investing an additional $105 million to transform and put this sector on a stable footing.

Would the parliamentary secretary inform this House of more good news about the forestry sector?

Fair Rail Freight Service Act February 1st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, to my colleague across the way, whether shipping is within North America, south of the border to our biggest market, the U.S., to either coast or across oceans, continuity and reliability in the shipping of our products is so important to our producers. That is what we are trying to accomplish, so that when producers want a specific number of cars in a specific time period, they can count on it. Their whole business and Canada's international trade reputation demands that those cars be there when they need them and that the product be shipped when it is supposed to be.

Fair Rail Freight Service Act February 1st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member for Ottawa Centre agrees that government regulations should be a last resort. That is why we gave the two parties, the shippers and the rail lines, a period of time to try to work this out in a private commercial agreement.

Unfortunately, they were not able to do that.

Based upon that, we knew it had to be done. We have had many talks with the stakeholders. We listened to all sides of the story and looked at the challenges they have and tried to put a bill together based upon the input from the stakeholders on both sides. We think Bill C-52 contains the substance we need, including the period of time from when the complaint is first brought, the time allowed to resolve it and, if not resolved, a brief arbitration period, which can be extended for a short time. At that time, if the railways, for whatever reason, fail to rectify the situation they are subject to fines of $100,000 per day per complaint. If one single shipper has five complaints about bad rail cars, that would be $500,000 a day. If we multiply that by the number of forest outfits across the country, it could be significant.

Fair Rail Freight Service Act February 1st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague for giving such an informative, accurate and superlative presentation on Bill C-52. As proof of that, Mr. Speaker, you saw that everyone clearly understood the value of the bill. They clearly understood my friend's message. Of course, there would be no questions or comments given that situation, so he is to be congratulated.

Let us look at the genesis of the bill and understand that Bill C-52 would not be in the House were there not some disparities in the rail service that has been provided to shippers across Canada by Canada's two railways. The Minister of State for Transport this morning described that as a duopoly, which is just a hair's breadth away from a monopoly. The bill would not be in the House if the relationship between the railways and the shippers was a perfect one.

The relationship has been far from perfect. The shippers could be appropriately called “captive shippers”; there is little or no alternative for shipping their products. These are primarily bulk products from the agriculture, mining, oil and gas and propane sectors. Rail is the most economical and most profitable way to ship bulk shipments across Canada. I am sure that is a point that will not be debated.

I am happy to support Bill C-52 because I have spent some time working with a particular sector that is prominent in my riding, the forest sector. While that sector reaches all across the country, my riding of Cariboo—Prince George, which I am sure my colleague from Prince George—Peace River would agree, could be appropriately called the forest capital of the world. In my riding, and the Peace River, Okanagan—Shuswap, Kelowna—Lake Country, Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, Kootenay—Columbia and Okanagan—Coquihalla ridings, we all have sawmills, pulp mills, fibre mills and pellet mills. I can honestly say that those ridings combined probably ship the bulk of forest products from their locations to the U.S., Asia and abroad.

I serve as the chair of the Conservative forest caucus, and the members I just mentioned are part of that. I can remember, going back six years ago when I took on that position, that we were talking with the CEOs and the leaders in the forest industry across the country. They were telling us about some of the challenges they have; one of them was the rail service they were getting.

There were a number of other things, which our government has successfully addressed. One that we can be very proud of is the green transformation fund, which was a real winner in the forest industry across the country. It helped us to stay in tight competition with our U.S. counterparts. That is good because the U.S. is still our biggest market for forest products. We send the bulk of our products into the U.S. by rail, as we send to the coast for shipments overseas.

I remember this meeting from about four years ago. We had solved most of the problems and challenges and we asked what was left. They said we still need to deal with the service we are getting from the railways.

My colleagues and I made a promise to the leaders of the industry. We said that it was number one on our bucket list, that we would see this fixed. We said that we would get this solved one way or another and we began to work on it.

I will not say we did not have encouragement from colleagues across the way. It is a common interest. I thank them for their assistance.

We pushed that forward. There were a multitude of meetings where we got a very clear understanding of the problems with which the forest product shippers were faced. Also, it became evident that they did not have any means to seek remedy to get those problems fixed. There were problems such as were mentioned today, where an individual was expecting to have 65 railcars on site for the week of July 5, had a promise they would be there, only to find that after the shipper had geared all the production to be shipped that week, there were 37 cars, not 65. When the shipper called up the rail lines to ask where the rest of the cars were the answer was that they had not been able to get them, that they would give them to the shipper as soon as they got them.

That is not good enough. When railways make a promise to shippers that they will have 65 or 75 cars in that particular week, they have to keep that promise because an agreement, honesty and a good working relationship is all about that.

When shippers have cars show up to the pulp mills, where they are shipping rolls and bales of pulp and paper out of their mills and lo and behold there are holes in the roof and it is raining, they know there will be damage to the cargo inside. That is unacceptable. They need to have a way to seek remedy to that.

Shippers can be in production and all of a sudden 27 cars show up that were not ordered. When they phone the rail line, they are told that they probably will need them. If they say they do not need them for two weeks, they are told they already have them. They are then paying demurrage on them every day they are sitting on the site while they are trying to gear production to get them full. They did not ask for them, but they have them and they are paying rent on them until they use them.

The way it has been in the past is if the captive shippers, as I will call them again, were to bring their complaints to the rail lines, they could not seek a remedy that would be lasting. That is why they looked for help from the government. They tried to have a commercial arrangement that would solve things, but that was just simply not possible.

They looked to the government. We were pleased to step in and get this service agreement done so it would satisfy the shippers across the country, while at the same time it would make it something that the rail lines could work with. We know how important they are to moving goods back and forth across the country. It has to be an agreement that works for both sides. I think we have that.

It has been applauded by the shippers' coalition and major shippers across the country, since we put it all together after continuous discussions with them, trying to figure out how we could solve the problem. What would the remedy time be? How long would we give to get the agreement to work, to get the thing fixed? We have fines in there for not having remedies.

I am proud to stand here with my colleagues who have forest industries in their ridings, who were there to make that promise to the forest industry that we would get this fixed. These folks are from all across the country.

Our government has now done it. I want to thank the minister and the minister of state for their hard work in putting this together. I thank the forest industry for giving us the opportunity to put this together for it, to work with it. We thank it for their input.

Let us hope the bill will pass through the House and committee quickly. Maybe it can be approved. It is pretty good right now. At the end of the line, we will bring out the best product that these shippers can possibly expect.

Fair Rail Freight Service Act February 1st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the hon. member for Wascana already knows this, but I would like to assure him that Bill C-52 was crafted based on mountains of consultations with shippers all across the country. That is how the bill was formed. I am sure the member will appreciate hearing the shippers' applause for the bill as their input helped to put the bill together. The member and his party will be able to support it wholeheartedly.