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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was benefits.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Souris—Moose Mountain (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 74% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply May 7th, 2014

Mr. Chair, we heard from a number of witnesses in committee from the Canadian firemen's association with respect to the flow of information with respect to what is being transported.

I wonder if the minister can tell Canadians of the discussions she has had with the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs with respect to rail safety and the role of first responders in the event of an accident.

Business of Supply May 7th, 2014

That is right, Mr. Chair.

It is my pleasure to speak to the House tonight on the help the federal government provides to municipalities and first responders.

First responders are the front line in public safety and when an emergency occurs, multiple 911 calls flow into municipal emergency centres. This begins the all-important response by police, fire, and ambulance personnel to the scene of the incident. Without this vital safety link, Canadians’ lives would be placed further at risk.

That is why our government recognizes the importance of proper first responder capability and has provided assistance to municipalities to ensure that Canadians have access to the support they require following an incident related to the transportation of dangerous goods.

For example, our government has allocated funding to support municipalities, and a portion of that funding is being provided by Public Safety Canada toward helping in the response and recovery in Lac-Mégantic.

By their very nature, the vast majority of emergencies in this country are dealt with at the local level; by provincial, territorial, and municipal governments. Under Canada's emergency management system, first responders and provincial officials are responsible for addressing the immediate needs of their residents in times of disaster. However, the federal government can and does play an important role through the disaster financial assistance agreements, particularly when communities are devastated by a large-scale natural disaster.

These arrangements were put in place to provide financial assistance to provinces and territories, on a cost-shared basis, when response and recovery costs for a natural disaster exceed what they could reasonably be expected to bear on their own. Through this program, our government has provided more than $2.5 billion in post-disaster assistance to help provinces and territories with the costs of response and of restoring infrastructure and personal property to pre-disaster condition.

However, as we learned last summer, our communities can be shattered by incidents that do not fall into the category of large-scale natural disasters. The unprecedented nature of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy was such that our government was compelled to find an exceptional and rapid funding response. In the face of such a devastating and immediate impact, it was clear that there was no time to waste. The priority was to deliver immediate help to the people whose lives had been ripped apart. With its commitment to provide $60 million to the province of Quebec, that is exactly what our government did. Since then, we have also provided up to $95 million to help with the decontamination of the water and soil.

In addition, to help meet this extraordinary need, Public Safety Canada committed to provide $25 million of the total funds, to help the Province of Quebec in its immediate response and recovery efforts, as well as to help repair, rebuild, and restore this devastated community.

The funds provided could be directed to a number of eligible costs, which would include: the delivery of emergency services; rescue, transportation, and emergency food and shelter; the registration of people who were displaced from their homes due to the destruction; incremental short-term security measures, including removing valuable assets and hazardous material from the sites; emergency provision of essential community services; the removal of damaged structures that constituted a threat to public safety; repairs to public infrastructure, such as roads and bridges; and finally, the cleanup costs.

Since this announcement, our government continues to work with officials in the Province of Quebec and Lac-Mégantic to ensure that provincial requests for federal assistance are handled without delay. The health and safety of Canadians is our government's top priority, and this funding is just another example of how we are working closely with the provinces and territories to assist Canadians when large disasters strike.

We continue to support first responders to make sure they have access to information that may assist them in dealing with an incident.

That is why on November 20, 2013, my colleague the hon. Minister of Transport took action to make sure that municipalities and first responders have access to information about dangerous goods that flow through their communities. This government has obligated industry to provide municipal emergency planners and first responders with the information they need to conduct proper risk assessments, emergency planning, and first-responder training.

Moreover, the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, provides the federal government with the necessary authorities to develop policy, verify compliance, conduct research to enhance safety, guide emergency response, and develop regulations and standards to manage risk during the transportation of dangerous goods.

To further help municipalities deal with an emergency, the transportation of dangerous goods directorate within Transport Canada, operates the Canadian Transport Emergency Centre, CANUTEC, to assist emergency response personnel in handling dangerous goods emergencies. This world-renowned centre is staffed by bilingual professional scientists, specialized in emergency response and experienced in interpreting technical information and providing advice to first responders.

The centre operates 24 hours a day and handles some 30,000 phone calls a year related to safety. Delegations from around the world regularly visit CANUTEC to incorporate Canadian practices into their own countries' dangerous goods programs.

CANUTEC was involved immediately after the incident in Lac-Mégantic, providing first responders involved in the tragic incident with information regarding potential hazards of the dangerous goods, evacuation distance, train consist information, and protective clothing requirements, among others.

First responders regularly communicate the importance and necessity of CANUTEC to help them accomplish their response work and to understand the risks associated with the transportation of dangerous goods. CANUTEC also offers first responders access to immediate dangerous goods information following an incident.

A rail operator is required by regulation to provide CANUTEC with the train consist immediately following an incident. This train consist provides first responders with detailed information on the specific products the train in question was transporting, beyond the general information provided by the placards on the cars. This is much more detailed information.

It allows CANUTEC specialists to target detailed advice on handling products, which may have spilled and mixed, or recommended initial evacuation zones. It enables them to understand immediately what risks they face when they are involved in an incident.

This existing requirement for immediate information to be provided to first responders through CANUTEC, in combination with the new requirements to provide municipalities with historical information through the protective direction, demonstrates our government's commitment to support first responders with the information they require to respond to a dangerous goods incident.

We are fortunate. Anyone involved in emergency response and the transportation of dangerous goods safety knows the importance of CANUTEC and its emergency response guidebook. This guidebook, produced by Transport Canada, helps first responders, police, fire, ambulance and paramedics, to respond and protect Canadians during the initial phase of a dangerous goods incident.

The emergency response guidebook is an informative and comprehensive guide designed for use at a dangerous goods incident occurring on a highway, aircraft, ship or railroad. It enables first responders to quickly identify the specific or generic hazards of the material involved in an incident. The guidebook is used by many first responders. It is something that is widely provided.

Could the minister clarify a number of oversight positions for each mode of transportation, and for the transport of dangerous goods? After she has done that, perhaps she could comment on the January 23 Transportation Safety Board-issued recommendations regarding emergency response assistance plans, ERAPs. Perhaps the minister could tell the House what actions our government took to respond to these recommendations.

Business of Supply May 7th, 2014

Mr.Chair, it is my pleasure to speak to the House today—

2014 Esso Cup May 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Weyburn Southern Range Gold Wings, who won the 2014 Esso Cup, Canada's national female AAA midget championship, on April 26, 2014, in Hamilton, Ontario. The Gold Wings defeated the Edmonton Thunder with a 2-1 victory in the gold medal game to become the national champions.

The 2014 Esso Cup was presented in partnership with Hockey Canada, the Ontario Women's Hockey Association, Tourism Hamilton, and the Stoney Creek Girls Hockey Association. The win was a high honour for Weyburn and area, and indeed all of Saskatchewan, as well as for all players, coaches, parents, and all who participated.

My congratulations on an exceptionally well played tournament and a most exciting national championship win. To all the players especially, we are all proud of them.

Business of Supply May 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I was heartened to hear the member for Newton—North Delta say that where a real need exists, and not a made-up need, we need to have the program operative, and that we should not vilify employers who are not abusing the system. In my riding I had some correspondence with a person who said he needs my help because he has lost all hope. His restaurant is located in Kenosee, the southeast corner of the province. Not enough cooks meant his service suffered and he spends much of his time on the line cooking; so he is at work 12 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week, to keep the doors from closing.

Another person writes that a town like Moosomin has a great economy, but it makes it extremely hard to attract staff to his industry. He is also looking at not developing or moving ahead with future locations because of what this will do to his staffing.

I want this member to make a comment. In southeast Saskatchewan, we have the lowest unemployment rate, at times, in all of the country of Canada. In the southeast part of the province, at times we have the lowest unemployment rate in Saskatchewan, with the highest employment participation rate. Would the member agree with me that the program should be continued, particularly in regard to those statistics, which are not unscientific, but are exact and precise?

Foreign Affairs May 2nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the crisis in Ukraine continues to concern us. Canada has taken a leadership role. In coordination with our allies, our government has imposed sanctions and travel bans on those responsible for the instability in Ukraine.

We also have a role to play in ensuring global energy security. Can the Minister of Natural Resources update this House on what action our government has taken on this important file?

Foreign Affairs April 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the situation in Ukraine remains very troubling to me, to my constituents, and indeed to all Canadians. Russia's illegal occupation of Ukraine and provocative military activity remains a serious concern to the international community.

Can the Prime Minister inform the House of any additional steps Canada is taking in response to the situation in eastern Europe?

Business of Supply April 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I listened to this member, and she started her comments by asking if we know if we have a labour shortage. I think the implication is that the program should either be discontinued or not there at all.

I would ask the member what she might have to say to the chambers of commerce and the various members of the chambers of commerce in areas like Souris—Moose Mountain, where they are not able to fill positions. One city has over 400 unfilled positions. Estevan has over 1,000-some unfilled positions. Places such as Moosomin, Saskatchewan, cannot attract people to fill many of the food and service industry positions.They are in dire need of people and would hire anyone who might want a job in that industry. They have used them and still cannot fill the positions. There are facilities that have not opened or that cannot remain open to the degree that people would like simply because they cannot fill those jobs.

Do we know if we have a labour shortage? In certain areas of the country, in particular in Souris—Moose Mountain, this is a very important program, and there are significant shortages. What would the member say to that?

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we have maybe not done the specific thing that the member speaks of, but we have done a number of things for apprentices. We had the apprenticeship incentive grant, the completion incentive grant, the tradesperson tools deduction, and the apprenticeship job creation tax grant. We have taken a number of initiatives in the trades and a number of initiatives for apprentices.

Can more be done? I am sure there is more that can be done, but we have had significant improvements in that area, and I know apprentices have really appreciated that.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure how the member is defining the middle class.

I can say that an average family of four is saving at least $3,200 in income taxes. Not only are they saving dollars in income tax and putting more money in their pocket, but we have provided a whole range of services with respect to skills training for youth, for older people, and for those transitioning to jobs, into the millions of dollars.

We have helped students by ensuring that they have the ability to get a student loan, that they can qualify for student loans with higher incomes. We have said that while students are going to school, they can continue to work.

In fact, when we start adding up all the things we have done, we have actually enhanced the position of taxpayers exponentially compared to when we took over from the previous Liberal government in the last number of years.