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Conservative MP for Abbotsford (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 48% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Jack Robertson October 16th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, Abbotsford has lost a community champion. On October 1, my good friend Jack Robertson died at the age of 91. Jack loved our community and did everything he could to contribute to its success, but he never sought recognition for his own accomplishments.

A former city councillor, he spearheaded the creation of Rotary Stadium, which remains the jewel of Abbotsford's sports facilities. Jack was the founding president of the Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame and chaired the highly successful 1995 Western Canada Summer Games. He also co-founded the Abbotsford Police Foundation on which he sat as a director until his death. Jack was the recipient of the Order of Abbotsford and is a member of the Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame.

What I will miss most about Jack is his willingness to inspire and encourage the next generation of community leaders. I am among that ever-growing cohort, and those public servants are perhaps the most enduring legacy he has left behind.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jack's wife, Jean, and their family. I thank them for sharing him with us.

Oceans Act October 16th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from the west coast for understanding how important it is that we consult with those most impacted.

The member talked about establishing minimum standards for the oil and gas industry. Canada is a world leader when it comes to the oil and gas industry and the technology we bring to bear when we operate in the field. We will find this time and time again with some of the companies that have leading-edge technology that not only protects our environment but also reduces the footprint of a barrel of gasoline for example that is taken out of the ground.

Canada is doing well as a country but we can do more. More protection is necessary. We need to ensure that we meet our Aichi targets, not the ones the Prime Minister set, but the ones that were established beforehand.

Oceans Act October 16th, 2017

Certainly not, Madam Speaker.

It has been pointed out time and time again by members on this side of the House that this is about a Liberal government that chose to make a commitment to Canadians, has realized it cannot meet that commitment, and is now going to meet that commitment by undermining transparency and consultations.

The member is suggesting that the Liberals have been having ongoing consultations, but everything that we have heard and all the quotes that we have heard in the House from various members show that the industries that will be most impacted are saying there is not enough time, that they have not been adequately consulted.

The same thing happened earlier with electoral reform. The Liberals pretended they were consulting but at the end of the day, the fix was in. They had a preferred option that they realized they could not get and they cancelled electoral reform. It goes on and on.

This legislation is an effort to undermine the transparency of imposing something significant on those who derive their livelihood from these marine protected areas.

Oceans Act October 16th, 2017

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to get up and speak about conservation, something that we, as Conservatives, know a lot of about and have done a lot about. When we were in government, I note that we were able to increase by 50% the amount of protected area around Canada. This is an accomplishment that is unrivalled in Canadian history. For example, we set aside the world's first protected area extending from the mountaintops to the sea floor, which would be Haida Gwaii; the largest freshwater protected area, which was the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area; a sixfold expansion of the Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories; and three new national wildlife areas in Nunavut, protecting close to 5,000 square kilometres of marine, coastal, and terrestrial habitats, including the world's first sanctuary for bowhead whales. It goes on. There is so much more I could talk about.

Canadians understand that we should be protecting our environment. One of the keys to achieving that is to make sure our conservation goals are ambitious and that our conservation strategies are effective. I am looking at the bill before us, Bill C-55, an act to amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act. Now, there would be those on the Liberal side who would have us believe that this is a conservation piece of legislation. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

If one actually reads this carefully, this is about the Liberal government doing an end run on those people who should be consulted before we set aside any marine protected area. We are hearing that from all over. We are hearing it from the territories, which have expressed significant concern about the lack of consultation that has taken place. We have heard it from the key stakeholders from one ocean to the other. For example, let me just go to some of these concerns.

From the east coast fishery we have the Prince Edward Island Fishermen's Association that says it:

...understands the requirement to protect marine environments, but we do have concerns surrounding the tight timelines to accomplish these goals. [We are concerned about] the displacement of fishers...we must also consider the independent owner-operator fleets and their significant financial contribution to the economy of Canada.

The concern is raised that small businesses that are fishers, the processors that rely on the fishers themselves, and even the recreational anglers and fishers have not been consulted adequately.

Let us go to the west coast fishery. Jim McIsaac, managing director, BC Commercial Fishing Caucus says, “We need to engage stakeholders from the start, not bring stakeholders along at the end”,which is what the Liberal government is doing. “We need a place where we can sit down and set some of these overarching objectives. If we don't do that, it's just going to disintegrate into a mess.”

That is what stakeholders are saying about this bill. What it is doing is avoiding key consultations. Let me paint the picture for everyone about why this bill is even here. Countries around the world have recognized that if we do not protect the earth's biodiversity we are going to pay a huge price for that. Under the auspices of the United Nations, countries like Canada came together and said that they should establish targets for setting aside marine protected areas and terrestrial areas so that over time they achieve protection of the biodiversity of our globe.

Canada decided what its target would be. By the way, this happened under the previous Conservative government, which I was very proud to serve in. That government said that it would set a target of 17% for terrestrial areas by the year 2020, but for marine protected areas it would be 10% by the year 2020.

Now, for some reason, during the last election, the Prime Minister thought it would be a smart idea to one-up the previous government, and said that he could do better, that he would do 5% by the year 2017, not 2018 as someone mentioned earlier.

Two years have elapsed, and what has the federal government done? What has the federal government done to achieve the 5% by 2017 goal? Absolutely nothing. Now it is scrambling to try to get some legislation in place that will allow it to do this by fiat, top-down government.

Let us imagine this, we have less than three months left to go before 2017 is history. The federal government promised that by this year it would have 5% marine protected areas set aside. It realizes now that it is not going to achieve that, because to do so properly would require ongoing consultations with the key stakeholders. These are the stakeholders I mentioned earlier, the fishers, the recreational angling industry, those who depend on the processing industry.

There is also the mining, and the oil and gas industries that have to be consulted. These are areas that many of them have concessions. They have invested billions in exploration. They have invested billions in securing rights. In order to impose these protected areas on them, they have to be consulted. Compensation has to be talked about, compensation to be paid to large businesses and smaller businesses that derive their livelihood from the sea.

What do we see happening here? We have a Liberal government that made a promise, like so many other promises the Prime Minister made in the last election. In fact, the Liberal government is a monument to broken promises. It is a road littered with broken promises. This is another one where the Prime Minister promised that we were going to achieve 5% marine protected areas by the year 2017. Now that we are getting close to the end of 2017, the government has run out of runway, and is now asking how it will do this. Then it says that it will pass legislation that gives it the power to just, boom, impose this on the different communities around the country. Then after the fact, it will consult. After the fact, not before.

I would refer members to the mandate letter that the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard was given when the government was elected, and he was appointed to the cabinet.

One of the mandates is, “Work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to increase the proportion of Canada's marine coastal areas that are protected—to five percent by 2017, and ten percent by 2020”. Then it goes on to say “supported by new investments in community consultation”. That is what the Liberals are doing an end run around.

If we look at the mandate letter that was issued to the minister, it talks about strengthening the middle class and those working hard to join it. We hear that every day in this House, and it is not happening because the Liberals are dumping on small business. Time and time again, they are undermining our small business sector.

With this bill, the Liberals are again undermining the economic viability of the small businesses that operate in these proposed marine protected areas. It is a scandal.

We can go through this mandate letter and see the commitments that supposedly the minister was making to his Prime Minister, and it is just a record a failure. It talks about setting a higher bar for openness and transparency. This bill, this end run, has nothing to do with transparency. It undermines transparency and openness.

I am looking at this piece of legislation that should have been about conservation but instead is about the Prime Minister not being willing to acknowledge his mistake in making a commitment that he could not keep. He made many promises during the last election. We knew he could not keep them, but he kept making them. Time and time again, he would make a promise, and he would break a promise. He is doing it again. Now he is trying to cover his tracks.

Federal Sustainable Development Act October 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am pretty sure that the Minister of Environment and Climate Change has not been sleeping well this week, because the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development delivered a scathing report, a damning indictment, of the present Liberal government's performance on the environment in meeting its greenhouse gas emission goals and meeting its goals to make sure Canadians adapt to climate change. It just was not happening, so it got a failing grade. That should be pretty embarrassing to the Prime Minister and his government.

Federal Sustainable Development Act October 6th, 2017

Please, no heckling from the NDP. I have time for an answer, and the guy behind me is heckling like crazy because he does not understand the tax act and he has not read the reforms that the Liberal government is bringing forward.

I have spoken to tax specialists. In fact, just last week, at a round table in Mission, British Columbia, a friend of mine who is a very good tax consultant in Abbotsford confirmed that under the Liberal tax proposals, small businesses will pay up to 73% tax.

I should not be surprised that the NDP does not get that, because it has never gotten small business.

Federal Sustainable Development Act October 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, that is a pretty easy question to answer. As small businesses across this country earn income, some of it will be paid out in salary and some in dividends, but many small businesses will actually keep the money within their small corporations, put it away in a rainy day fund, maybe to cover maternity leave in the future, maybe to provide a pension fund for the future. What the government is proposing to do is tax those corporations' earnings that have already been taxed at the corporate tax rate, and tax it at 73%. That would be the net tax rate—

Taxation October 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, while the finance minister has been artfully dodging questions about his own foreign tax shelters, it turns out that exactly a year ago, his billion-dollar company, Morneau Shepell, was registered in Barbados where he only pays tax at a rate of two and a half per cent. Yet, he is asking Canadian small business owners to pay tax at a rate of 73%. How do they spell “hypocrisy”? Again, for the artful dodger himself, can he tell this House whether any of his proposed tax increases would actually apply to him?

Natural Resources October 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, this week, Canadians were dealt two major body blows. First, the Liberals shut the door on further consultations on their cold-hearted, mean-spirited project to bash Canadian jobs and middle-class Canadians. A second body blow was the $15-billion energy east pipeline, with 15,000 middle-class jobs cancelled due to Liberal interference in the environmental review process. Why have the Liberals abandoned middle-class Canadians?

Federal Sustainable Development Act October 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, that is a great question. In fact, Conservatives have wondered the same thing.

I mentioned the small business tax. That is the first body blow that has been delivered by the Liberal government against small businesses. However, we found out this week that the energy east project is not proceeding, which is a pipeline that would have connected western oil in Canada to the east coast so that we could be self-sufficient in oil, rather than importing from despot countries like Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Algeria. Why would we not want to supply our own oil for our own needs?

I thank the member for raising this point, because it is another abject failure of the Liberal government. It goes on and on. Promise after promise has been broken by the Prime Minister, by the Minister of Environment, and by the natural resources minister, who is waving at me, hoping he will get me off my game. He is not going to get me off my game. It is a disaster that is happening on the other side, and the media are finally picking up on it.

Again, I thank the member for that question. I believe Canadians are looking for a change.