House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was veterans.

Last in Parliament August 2023, as Conservative MP for Durham (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2021, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply December 7th, 2021


That, given that real-time parliamentary oversight was impossible due to the dissolution of Parliament, the House appoint a special committee with a mandate to conduct hearings to examine and review the events related to the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, including, but not limited to, the government's contingency planning for that event and the subsequent efforts to evacuate, or otherwise authorize entry to Canada of, Canadian citizens, and interpreters, contractors and other Afghans who had assisted the Canadian Armed Forces or other Canadian organizations, provided that:

(a) the committee be composed of 12 members, of which six shall be from the government party, four shall be from the official opposition, one shall be from the Bloc Québécois, and one shall be from the New Democratic Party;

(b) the members shall be named by their respective whip by depositing with the Clerk of the House the list of their members to serve on the committee within 24 hours of the adoption of this order;

(c) membership substitutions be permitted, if required, in the manner provided for in Standing Order 114(2);

(d) changes to the membership of the committee shall be effective immediately after notification by the relevant whip has been filed with the Clerk of the House;

(e) the Clerk of the House shall convene an organizational meeting of the committee no later than Friday, December 17, 2021;

(f) the committee be chaired by a member of the government party and, notwithstanding Standing Order 106(2), there shall be one vice-chair from each of the other recognized parties;

(g) quorum of the committee be as provided for in Standing Order 118 and that the Chair be authorized to hold meetings to receive evidence and to have that evidence printed when a quorum is not present, provided that at least four members are present, including one member of the opposition and one member of the government party;

(h) the committee be granted all of the powers of a standing committee as provided in the Standing Orders;

(i) the provisions of Standing Order 106(4) shall also extend to the committee, provided that any request shall be signed by members representing at least two recognized parties;

(j) the committee have the power to authorize video and audio broadcasting of any or all of its proceedings;

(k) the Prime Minister, the Minister of International Development, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Public Safety, the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, and other ministers and senior officials, be invited to appear as witnesses from time to time as the committee sees fit;

(l) the committee be instructed to present a final report within six months of the adoption of this order;

(m) the committee's initial work shall be supported by an order of the House issuing for all memoranda, emails, documents, notes or other records from the Privy Council Office, the Department of National Defence, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, and the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, including the Office of the Prime Minister and the relevant ministers' offices, which refer to:

(i) the initiation of evacuation planning,

(ii) instructions to implement those plans,

(iii) the effect upon the implementation of those plans attributable to the dissolution of Parliament, the caretaker convention, or the facts that relevant ministers were simultaneously occupied with seeking re-election to the House and that many ministerial exempt staff were on leaves of absence, or

(iv) the determination of the number of individuals who would be evacuated or otherwise authorized to enter Canada,

provided that,

(v) these documents shall be deposited with the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel, in both official languages, within one month of the adoption of this order,

(vi) a copy of the documents shall also be deposited with the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel in both official languages within one month of the adoption of this order, with any proposed redaction which, in the government's opinion, could reasonably be expected (A) to compromise national security, military tactics or strategy of the armed forces of Canada or an allied country, or intelligence sources or methods, or (B) to reveal the identity or location of any Canadian citizen in Afghanistan or of any interpreter, contractor or other Afghan individual who had assisted the Canadian Armed Forces or other Canadian organizations,

(vii) the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel shall promptly thereafter notify the Speaker, who shall forthwith inform the House, whether he is satisfied the documents were produced as ordered;

(viii) the Speaker shall cause the documents, as redacted pursuant to subparagraph (vi), to be laid upon the table at the next earliest opportunity and, after being tabled, they shall stand referred to the committee,

(ix) the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel shall discuss with the committee, at an in camera meeting, to be held within two weeks of the documents being tabled pursuant to subparagraph (viii), whether he agrees with the redactions proposed by the government pursuant to subparagraph (vi),

(x) the committee may, after hearing from the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel pursuant to subparagraph (ix), accept the proposed redactions or, reject some or all the proposed redactions and request the production of those unredacted documents in the manner to be determined by the committee; and

(n) any proceedings before the committee, when hybrid committee meetings are authorized, in relation to a motion to exercise the committee's power to send for persons, papers and records shall, if not previously disposed of, be interrupted upon the earlier of the completion of four hours of consideration or one sitting week after the motion was first moved, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the motion shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Mr. Speaker, thank you for reading the first opposition motion of the 44th Parliament completely into the record. I am honoured to divide my time with the shadow minister for foreign affairs, the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills.

Canada's Conservatives are using our first opposition motion of this Parliament to examine the failure of the Liberal government to act in the years and months leading up to the fall of Afghanistan. The Prime Minister put his own political interests ahead of taking care of thousands of Canadians and Afghans. He chose an election for himself over salvation for others. People were failed, and Canada's reputation has paid the price.

At the outset of my remarks today, I want to thank some of the incredible Canadians who stepped into the breach when their own government failed them. Veterans and volunteers from across Canada stepped into the void of leadership and did the job their own government should have been doing for months and years. That form of passionate and active citizenship inspires me and should inspire all Canadians.

“Canadian Dave”, Dave Lavery, a Canadian Armed Forces special forces veteran, one of the original JTF2 soldiers, was on the ground in Kabul literally risking his life every day. I also want to mention veterans like retired general Dave Fraser, David Mack from Oshawa, Ontario, and Tim and Jamie Laidler in Vancouver.

Through the Veterans Transition Network, Tim and Jamie raised a million and a half dollars to help get interpreters and Afghan contractors to Canada. They personally travelled overseas to do the job their own government failed to do.

I want to thank these outstanding Canadians for stepping up for our values on the world stage.

Everyday Canadians have to step up because their government has failed to act, and we must ensure that it never happens again. We must learn from another failure from the Liberal government. A special committee would assess what needs to be done today to ensure that people are brought to safety. It would examine what went wrong in Afghanistan when Afghanistan was deteriorating and the government was equivocating.

We all saw the images of people running down runways, families desperate to get out of Afghanistan and women bristling with the fear of repression coming with the return of the Taliban. Those images are etched in our minds, and Parliament must now do the work that the election prevented us from doing at the time.

Our foreign policy should be based on the following principle: Canada should never turn its back on its friends and allies.

Thousands of Afghans helped Canada, but when they were in danger, Canada did nothing to help them. That makes the work of this committee vital.

The Prime Minister and the Liberal government must explain why they failed to act. We could have done work in the years and months before the crisis peaked this summer. We must know what can be done now to make up for lost time. This committee would focus on that.

As I said in my response to the Speech from the Throne last week, rhetoric and empty promises are often a substitute for meaningful action by the government: ambition over achievement; symbolism replacing action; and diversions and excuses rather than leadership and accountability. That is why Parliament must act.

Rescuing people from Afghanistan should have been a non-partisan issue. Our long mission in Afghanistan began under a Liberal government and peaked in terms of activity under a Conservative one.

Canadians bled in Afghanistan. Afghans took risks for our country, and many are still suffering today from that mission. One veteran who wrote to me during the campaign said, “I left part of my life in Afghanistan.” We owe it to that country to never leave it behind.

This government's indifference is putting lives at risk. I have been urging the government to act for six years. I have worked with our veterans to try to bring those who have been forgotten back to Canada as quickly as possible.

That was important for me as a veteran, but also as a Canadian, a father and a patriot.

The Liberals listened only once, a long time ago. In 2016, they brought interpreter James Akam to Canada. However, unfortunately, that is where the non-partisan efforts stopped.

We did get one interpreter back, but shortly after that the Prime Minister removed John McCallum as immigration minister. From that point forward veterans, advocates and opposition MPs such as myself and the MP for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman could not get the government to act when we had time to get people out of Afghanistan safely. The Liberals ignored the plight of thousands of people for many years. Even when the American pullout was imminent, the government did not act. Canadians watched in horror as those who helped our soldiers, our aid workers and our diplomats in one of the longest, most arduous missions in our history were left behind. Some even left to wade through sewage to get to the tarmac at the Kabul airport, only to find no flight out of the country.

Sadly, this inaction is a pattern for the current government. Time and again it fails to act. It ignored our calls for immediate funding to keep safe houses open. It downplayed a government data breach that may have exposed hundreds of vulnerable Afghans to danger. We repeatedly called for it to release a transparent timeline on when those who supported Canada could arrive safely on our shores. There was no action.

Canada has a moral obligation to find a way to bring to Canada those who are at risk because they helped Canada. We need to be a refuge for people like Ahmad: an Afghan interpreter who supported NATO and Canada for seven years. He, his wife and their three children, the youngest of which is two years old, have taken refuge in Pakistan, but a bureaucratic mess under the current government is asking them to go back to Afghanistan and put themselves at risk to qualify for help.

Let us take the case of Mohammed, who stood guard over Canada's embassy for almost a decade. In August, when he applied for a special program for ex-employees to bring his wife and family here, what was Canada's response? It stated:

Rest assured that we have received your message and that we will respond to your enquiry shortly. It is not necessary to send us another message unless your situation has changed.

It was an automated reply. How does Canada become a country that asks people to leave a message when their lives are in danger? What happened to the Canada that rescued American diplomats in Iran at its own risk? What happened to the country that over generations has become known as a safe harbour for those at risk? Stories such as Ahmad's and Mohammed's remind us that there are people being left behind that this Parliament needs to give a voice to.

These men and women and their families have had it with pointless symbols and gestures.

It is time to take real action. It is time to do something to bring them home. That is why we need this committee.

Today and every day, the Conservative opposition will be a voice for those losing hope, for those fleeing persecution and for those being left behind by a government of warm words, but cold inaction.

From Vimy Ridge to Kandahar, Canada has been known as a dependable ally that will be there to act and to help. For the thousands of people left behind who are losing hope, and who need a voice in Parliament, Canada's Conservatives will be this voice. This parliamentary committee would show what we need to do now, and would learn the lessons of the government's failure.

The Economy December 2nd, 2021

Mr. Speaker, I have a question about Canada's big cities.

Inflation and the cost of living are not priorities for the Liberal government. During the election campaign, the Prime Minister even said, and I quote: “you'll forgive me if I don't think about monetary policy.”

Canadians and Quebeckers are tired of living paycheque to paycheque. When will this Prime Minister decide to truly help Canadians make ends meet?

The Economy December 2nd, 2021

Mr. Speaker, inflation is creeping out everywhere in this country. In fact, a few years ago the Prime Minister said he would never run a deficit greater than $10 billion. Inflation has led that commitment to be that he is never going to run a deficit greater than $500 billion.

When will the finance minister and the government commit to Canadians, who are seeing the inflation crisis price them out of their own homes and neighbourhoods, to finally balance a budget?

The Economy December 2nd, 2021

Mr. Speaker, I am hoping one basic economic equation that the finance minister will inform her Prime Minister of after six years is that budgets clearly do not balance themselves, do they, finance minister?

New data in August from Statistics Canada said that we had 24% more business failures. Thousands of family-owned businesses are struggling. Inflation is hitting small business, too. On January 1, the minister is going to raise payroll taxes on those family-owned businesses.

How many more small businesses are going to have to close before the Liberal minister learns her basic economics?

The Economy December 2nd, 2021

Mr. Speaker, that comes as quite an ironic response from the only Canadian parliamentarian flagged by Twitter for misleading Canadians.

As the minister once said, better is always possible, so better is always possible for the Prime Minister. I have a simple question for her. Prices are going up across the board. She has the opportunity to ask the Bank of Canada to get inflation back down to 2%. Will she do it? Yes or no.

The Economy December 2nd, 2021

Mr. Speaker, news is just leaking out about more massive spending plans from the Liberal government that just recently acknowledged its role in the inflation crisis. Reuters news is reporting the finance minister will only give limited information in her fiscal update. The government has already refused to account for $600 billion of its spending and now it is planning to spend more without any accountability.

Why is the government covering up its out-of-control spending?

Employment December 1st, 2021

Mr. Speaker, there were one million job vacancies in Canada in September. The labour shortage is another factor affecting the cost of living. Nothing is being done about the labour shortage.

When will this government address the problem in order to help Canadians?

The Economy December 1st, 2021

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are feeling the effects of inflation. Even though some products are made here in Canada, the cost of groceries, gas, housing, chicken and beef continue to rise. Increased spending means fewer opportunities for families and seniors.

When will the Prime Minister realize that monetary policy matters?

The Economy December 1st, 2021

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister likes to go back in time to a Conservative government, back when there was a balanced budget and low taxes, and when Canadians were not falling behind in their monthly payments. There is no debate when Canadians are going to the gas pump; fuel prices are setting records.

The Prime Minister and the finance minister complain about the global supply chain shortage. Want to know the best example of a smooth supply chain? Pipelines. If we could actually get pipelines built in the country, we could get gas prices down.

When will the Prime Minister stop the attacks on our energy sector?

Housing December 1st, 2021

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister says that it is a “priority for this government”, but Canada has the largest housing bubble in the world.

Canada's inflationary crisis is only getting worse under the government. Just today RE/MAX has stated that housing prices are going to rise another 10% in 2022, and the reason, according to it, is “the ongoing housing supply shortage.” Therefore, now we have an inflationary crisis and a housing supply shortage.

Why does the Prime Minister not have a plan to get houses built?