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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is liberal.

Conservative MP for Abbotsford (B.C.)

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

Statements in the House

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 28th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, although the member and I occasionally will disagree on trade policy, one thing we do agree on is that Canadians have lost trust and confidence in the Liberal government. More particular, they have lost trust in the finance minister, who has the most senior role in the Liberal government, a finance minister who just will not come clean on whether he put his assets into a blind trust the way he said he would do. It turns out he did not. The finance minister was fined $200 by the Ethics Commissioner for not disclosing a company that owned a villa in France.

Canadians are watching this. They are saying that he is a senior minister in the government and they cannot trust what he says. Now there is some speculation about stock trades that took place. We do not know yet if they were made by him. He will not tell us. He was asked 21 times yesterday in question period if he was the person who undertook the trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and 21 times he would not say yes or no. That should be embarrassing. This is why the Liberal government has struck fear in the hearts of Canadians. They do not trust the government anymore, and certainly not on trade policy.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 28th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, CETA is the free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union. It was an agreement that was negotiated under our former Conservative government. When the Liberals got their hands on that agreement, they made a big error in judgment. They agreed with the EU to reopen the agreement. Once they did that, there was a big problem when some of the European states wanted to renegotiate the agreement the previous Conservative government had negotiated.

Again, getting back to the spine, the backbone, when we are negotiating trade agreements, we have to be tough. The Liberal government is not tough. In fact, the member is wrong. When CETA was signed, it was the foreign affairs/trade minister who walked across the floor and embraced me for the work our Conservative government had done. That is a correction on the record. I think he would agree that this is actually what happened.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 28th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to again engage in debate on the budget implementation act. As we know, the budget implementation act comes out of the budget process. Every year, the government tables a budget, and that budget tells Canadians where the government wants to go, where it wants to land; the taxpayers' money it is going to spend; where it will be spent; and how it will be spent. The budget implementation act, of course, is effectively the master plan going forward. It is the government's plan to implement the budget.

I would like to focus my remarks on one of the most important drivers of economic prosperity in the country, which is trade. Members will have noticed that in the budget implementation act, the government proposes to spend $10.1 billion in trade and transportation projects. The Liberal government believes there is $10 billion worth of taxpayers' money that should be spent on promoting Canada's trade and transportation interests at home and around the world.

I believe Canadians have the right to ask whether the Liberal government can be trusted to actually negotiate trade agreements in Canada's best interests, and whether the government has the competence to get these agreements right. I am going to digress and talk about three different trade negotiations that are presently ongoing that should give Canadians great concern in terms of the ability of the Prime Minister to negotiate agreements that serve Canada's interests.

First is the softwood lumber agreement. As we know, back in 2006 the softwood lumber dispute had escalated to a point where there was tremendous fear within our softwood lumber industry that we were going to lose companies, opportunities to drive economic growth, and hundreds and hundreds of jobs across Canada because the government of the day, the Chrétien government, just could not resolve that dispute with the United States.

It was at that time that our Conservative government, under Stephen Harper, appointed David Emerson to be the trade minister. His number one responsibility was to negotiate an end to the softwood lumber dispute. Guess what? Mr. Emerson got the job done. He negotiated an agreement that served Canadian interests well, and returned to Canada billions and billions of dollars that the Americans had levied against our softwood lumber exports.

The agreement that we entered into with the United States, under the leadership of David Emerson and Stephen Harper, was a seven-year agreement. Seven years of peace in our woods. Again, it served Canadians well. When that seven-year period expired, there was a provision in the agreement for another two-year renewal. That required the consent of both the United States and Canada, and guess what, we had a great relationship with the American government and were able to persuade it that a two-year extension was in its interest and our interest, and so the agreement was renewed. Now we had a total of nine years of peace in the woods.

It just so happens that on the approximate date the new Liberal government was elected back in 2015, the standstill agreement, the softwood lumber agreement, expired. Canadian forestry companies were left faced impending duties, which have indeed now been imposed by the Americans.

We have had a new trade minister and new foreign affairs minister as of 2015, and they set to work to get this agreement resolved and put to bed. In fact, there was a meeting in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C., where our Prime Minister and President Obama got together and said they had established a framework for resolving the softwood lumber dispute and that within 90 days they wanted get the framework in place and resolve it. Here we are two years later and there is no resolution to the softwood lumber dispute in sight. Whether it is incompetence or a failure to understand the softwood lumber agreement, we know that the Liberal government has failed on that front.

The second is the North American Free Trade Agreement. I know the media has been paying a lot of attention to the renegotiation of that agreement. That agreement is now subject to renegotiation because our Prime Minister, when asked by the Americans to renegotiate it, simply said he would gladly renegotiate it, and yet the issues that Donald Trump, the president of the United States, had were with Mexico, not Canada. The Prime Minister has made the fateful decision of aligning Canada's interests with Mexico's, when in fact those interests are not aligned at all.

Members may recall that the first comprehensive trade agreement in the world was actually between Canada and the United States, and Mexico was added in years later. Today, the United States and Canada have a perfectly balanced trade relationship. Canada exports as much to the United States as they do to Canada. Therefore, the president of the United States, if truth be known, does not have a big beef with Canada on trade. He certainly does with Mexico. To entwine our interests with those of Mexico, I believe, is a strategic mistake.

NAFTA negotiations are going nowhere. In fact, most pundits are looking at what has happened in the last few rounds, where the Americans have put demands on the table that are completely unacceptable to us as Canadians, somehow expecting us to surrender or cave in on these negotiations and give the United States everything it wants. Why do they get away with that? It is because we have a government in place that does not have the spine to say absolutely not. We have a government that embarks upon trade negotiations in a manner that does not serve Canada's interests.

The last trade negotiation I want to deal with is the trans-Pacific partnership. That negotiation commenced under the Conservative government. It was completed in Atlanta in November of 2015. Then the United States left the TPP, and now the remaining 11 partners are trying to negotiate a deal among themselves. One of those partners happens to be Japan, one of the largest economies in the world, which we would have a trade agreement with if the TPP actually comes into force.

What happened in Vietnam when the Prime Minister was at the APEC summit? All of the 11 parties to the TPP agreed that the basic essentials of that agreement were now in place and had gathered in a room, where they were going to make the announcement. Where was Canada? It was missing in action. The Prime Minister was nowhere to be seen, a national embarrassment on the international stage. This is what we get from the Liberal government. There is no understanding of what it means to build trusted relationships with some of our most trusted trade allies, like Australia, New Zealand, or Japan. Not to show up at a meeting when it was agreed ahead of time that there was a consensus on the basic elements of a trade agreement is unconscionable. That is not good trade negotiation.

Canadians have a right to ask whether the Liberal government can be trusted to negotiate trade agreements in Canada's best interests as an economic driver for prosperity in Canada? The resounding answer has to be no.

There are many Canadians across Canada who have heard that the Prime Minister now wants to run pell-mell to China to negotiate a trade agreement with that country. They are thinking that he is not getting any of the other deals done. He is juggling them and he cannot put them to bed. How will he ever negotiate an agreement with what he called the “basic dictatorship” that is China?

In summary, when it comes to promoting our economic prosperity, economic growth in Canada through trade, the government so far has been an absolute disaster.

Ethics November 27th, 2017

Yes or no?

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I will say this. The member suggested that we in the Conservative Party want to make the use of marijuana criminal. Here is a news flash: the use and selling of marijuana in Canada is illegal right now. We want to preserve the state of the law as it is. The best thing we can do, something that has been resisted by the NDP and the Liberals for time immemorial, is to come up with targeted mandatory minimum prison sentences for those who produce and sell marijuana, especially those who sell marijuana to our youth. I articulated in my speech the terrible impact that marijuana use has on the young developing brain. Therefore, we should be going after the predators who produce the stuff and sell it to our kids, rather than simply saying that we should give up and normalize it. That is a backward solution.

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I did want to reiterate what my colleague said. We do work very well at committee and get a lot of things done, which indicates there is a lot of goodwill around the environment committee table.

He has suggested that a significant percentage of Canadian youth already use drugs to some degree. He is right. Therefore, the member asked if this was not already a problem. Yes, it is.

This bill would make that problem much worse for the reasons I articulated. Just because there are youth who have been using it illegally, like our Prime Minister did, it does not mean it is good for them or that we should normalize its use. It means we should find new and creative ways of discouraging the use of marijuana.

The irony is that with this bill, the government's legalization of the use of marijuana will increase marijuana use amongst our youth at the same time the government is establishing a policy to communicate with youth telling them not to use marijuana. The hypocrisy is jaw dropping.

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to engage in this debate. Bill C-45 is, of course, the bill that would legalize marijuana in Canada.

When we talk about legalization, we have to understand what this legislation would do. It would normalize the use of marijuana in everyday life across Canada. Like cigarettes, which were normalized many years ago, and the same with booze, marijuana would now become an accepted part of Canadian life. The message we send to our children would be a terrible one. It is one that says we give up, we surrender, because we are no longer going take action to eliminate the use of marijuana and other drugs in our society. We are simply going to go, as my colleague said, the coward's way: acquiesce and legalize it.

I am absolutely confident that Bill C-45, which represents the normalization of the use of marijuana in Canada, would become a massive public policy failure for the Liberal government, just like its tax reforms, where it attacks small businesses, diabetics, those who are getting employee discounts, and the mentally ill. That has become a massive policy failure, and Bill C-45 would also become a massive policy failure for the reasons I will articulate.

The bill would effectively legalize the sale, use, and cultivation of marijuana. As I said, it would normalize its use. We have worked so hard as a society to discourage cigarette smoking, and yet here we are opening the door to what is arguably an even more dangerous substance. The irony is that the current government, while it would pass the bill to legalize the use of marijuana, would then engage in a public relations and communications strategy telling young people who would be purchasing marijuana that they should not buy it because it is very dangerous and they should not use it, but it would be legalized and normalized. I mean, the hypocrisy of that is jaw-dropping.

I was an elected official in the City of Abbotsford for many years. I was very pleased to serve there as a city councillor. I can tell members that, as a council, one of the biggest challenges we had was the growing of marijuana plants at home. Many of these were illegal grow ops. Eventually, medicinal marijuana was approved for use in Canada, and homes are now growing this under the auspices of providing some kind of medicinal relief. What has happened is that we have communities and neighbourhoods within Abbotsford that are wonderful neighbourhoods, but they have houses in which marijuana is grown. Historically, they would cover the windows with foil, and the stench emanating from those properties was overwhelming. There was a constant stream of neighbourhood members who would come to us council members and complain about it.

This bill would authorize the growing of marijuana plants at home. I can assure members that many Canadians, unfortunately, will take that opportunity to grow more than the four plants that would be allowed under the proposed legislation. This would result in continued challenges with our neighbourhoods across Canada.

There was a stated objective of the government that it wanted to protect youth, and that the regulation and legalization of marijuana would achieve that end. The Liberals stated that they also wanted to eliminate organized crime, but we know that children under the age of 18 are not supposed to be buying marijuana. Anyone over the age of 18, under the proposed legislation, would be able to legally purchase and consume marijuana, but those under the age of 18 would not. Ironically, those between the ages of 12 and 17 would be allowed to possess small amounts of marijuana. Where would they acquire that marijuana? They cannot buy it legally. Who are they going to go to? Well, organized crime would supply that drug.

There is a bigger problem. All of the medical and and scientific research says that marijuana use among young people has a very negative impact on their developing young brains.

Why would the Liberal government want to legalize a drug that we know will be used by our youth in increasing numbers, because it will be that much more available to them? Why would we allow this to happen when it is very clear from the medical literature that the use of marijuana amongst young people invariably leads to significant mental health issues? In fact, I am predicting that if this legislation passes, in 5, 10, 15 years from now, Canada will face a mental health crisis. All of these youth who have had greater access to marijuana will be suffering from significant mental health challenges. What a terrible legacy for us to leave for our children.

I want to address the issue of the timing of this legislation. As we know, the Prime Minister has said he is going to ram this thing through and implement the legislation by July 1, 2018. However, we have heard from police chiefs across Canada that it is impossible for them to get ready and implement this legislation with all the challenges this bill represents. We have heard from communities across the country, including from my own city of Abbotsford, which communicated with the federal government, made a submission to the committee that studied this bill, and said, “Please, you cannot do this by July 1”. The provinces and territories are saying to the Prime Minister that July 1 is way too ambitious a date to implement this plan by, that they will not be ready for it. Their police services will not be ready, their educational system will not be ready, and Canadians will not be ready for it.

Generally speaking, it is going to result in a fiasco. However, that is what we have to expect from the Liberal government. Whatever file it touches, it it ends up being a huge mess. That includes ethical failures like those of the finance minister and the Prime Minister and his fundraiser having offshore accounts. No one trusts the government anymore. There has been a fundamental breach of trust.

Let us look at some of the other challenges. I want to be very clear that we support ticketing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. We are supportive of decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana. We do not want to leave young children with a criminal record.

However, this bill goes far beyond decriminalization. It is clear-cut legalization of the use of marijuana and the normalization that will follow. We run a huge risk as we normalize the use of marijuana in Canada, where people will be entitled by law to possess small amounts of marijuana. Many Canadians will be travelling. They will have used marijuana regularly. They will have some of it in their glove compartments. When they get to the U.S. border, suddenly the border agents will be asking, “Hey, what do you have in your car? Do you have any guns or drugs?” People will say, “No, we do not.” The agents will rifle through the car and find marijuana in the glove compartment. Those people will probably be apprehended on the American side of the border. They will have a criminal record on that side of the border. They will have to go through the legal process there. That is one of the many small consequences the bill will generate.

Finally, it is very clear that the government has run out of money. That is why it is taxing Canadians to death. It has gone after small businesses, diabetics, employee discounts, the mentally ill, and now it is going after marijuana. The government is going to tax marijuana. More and more, it is because the government is running short of money. Can members imagine that being the reason for passing a bill like this that will have enormous consequences for Canadians?

I say to my Liberal friends across the way in closing that they should give their heads a shake and reconsider what they are doing here. This is bad policy that will hurt future generations of Canadians. They should not do it.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 9th, 2017

With regard to the tendering and construction of a new fire hall in Grasslands National Park: (a) what are the details of the tender, including (i) criteria, (ii) amount of the winning bid, (iii) winning firm, (iv) number of bidders; (b) what are the details of the construction of the new fire hall, including (i) total budget, (ii) construction start date, (iii) expected completion date; (iv) overall construction budget; and (c) what are the details of any government expenditures in relation to the new fire hall, with the exception of the tendered payment to the winning bidder referred to in (a), including (i) date, (ii) vendor or recipient, (iii) description of goods or services provided?

Foreign Affairs November 8th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, Syria is a country from which thousands of refugees have fled to Canada. President Assad has murdered countless of his citizens. Canada's Armed Forces are helping to fight this tyrannical regime. However, during this Remembrance Week, the Minister of Environment shocked Canadians by praising Syria for supposedly taking action on climate change.

Instead of blaming her staff for the tweet, will the minister apologize to Canadians and to our Syrian refugees for legitimizing the murderous Assad regime?

John Davidson November 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, one of Abbotsford's finest died in the line of duty. Sadly, John Davidson, a member of the Abbotsford Police Department, was killed doing what he loved to do; protecting our community. This is a defining and tragic moment for Abbotsford. There are very few of us who do not have a friend, family member, or acquaintance who is a member of a police force. My family is no exception. The death of one brave officer affects us all.

John worked as a police officer for 24 years, and was loved and respected for his police work, and for his contributions to our community. As Police Chief Bob Rich said, “The officer who gave his life today is a hero. He will always be my hero.”

I thank Chief Rich, and the entire Abbotsford Police Department, and all of those who work to keep our community safe. Our thoughts are with the second wounded officer who is recovering in the hospital. Our hearts and prayers are also with John Davidson's wife and kids.

May he rest in peace. His sacrifice will not be forgotten.