House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Liberal MP for Guelph (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees of the House February 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals agree to apply the vote and shall be voting yea.

Veterans Affairs February 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Veterans Ombudsman has said that he is “...disappointed that the update provides no details on how the substantive deficiencies with the New Veterans Charter (NVC) are to be addressed.” He continues that “...we’re not starting from scratch. Much research has been done and many reports have focussed on them.”

Now VAC needs to act. The Royal Canadian Legion has said that the government had plenty of time to make changes, but lacked the willingness to look after our veterans.

The minister thinks veterans can be satisfied with a late Friday night tweet. What happened to his new approach? Is he really any different from the predecessor?

Congressional Gold Medal February 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, against tremendous odds, a unique group of Canadians and Americans were called upon to perform some of the most difficult tasks of the Second World War.

Yesterday, for their achievements and their sacrifices, members of the Devil's Brigade were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honour the United States Congress can bestow.

The first special service force was an elite group made up of soldiers from both sides of the border who were trained to jump out of planes, climb mountains, sneak behind enemy lines and fight hand-to-hand if need be.

I want to congratulate Canadians John Callowhill, James Summersides, Vernon Doucette, Herb Peppard, Arthur Pottle, Wilfred Paquette, George Wright, Donald Ballantyne, Morris Lazarus, H.R. Hawkyard, Charles Mann, Ralph Mayville, Leonard Corbet and Maurice White.

I also want to honour veterans like Bernard Cooper who could not travel to the ceremony, and like Al Wilson who sadly passed away the day before.

Lest we never forget these men and the men who went before them.

Veterans Affairs January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, in June the veterans committee published a report in which every member agreed on immediate changes necessary to the new veterans charter, which the government keeps kicking down the road.

Recommendations included ensuring enough case workers so veterans like Ron Clarke are not forced to wait up to six weeks for assistance. The government has had over six months to act on the recommendations.

Will the minister confirm he will table, by tomorrow, an update on their progress on implementing these recommendations, and provide a concrete timeline for when veterans can finally expect the changes for which they have all been pleading?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 26th, 2015

With regard to government public relations, for each contract for the provision of photography services to the office of the Prime Minister, a minister, a Minister of State, or a Parliamentary Secretary, since January 1, 2006: (a) what was the date, file number, and value of the contract; (b) what were the dates on which the photography was carried out; (c) what was the event or occasion, if any, to which the photography related; (d) were the photographs which were produced used in any government publications or on any government websites; (e) were the photographs used in any other way, specifying the way in which they were so used; (f) who has custody or care of the photographs which were produced; (g) if no longer required for the day-to-day operations of the office, have the photographs been transferred, or will they be transferred, to a library or historical division within the department, a national museum, or Library and Archives Canada; (h) does the department, agency, or other government organization for which the Minister, Minister of State or Parliamentary Secretary is responsible, have an office or position which has the capacity to carry out photography, identifying the office or position; and (i) if the answer to (h) is affirmative, why were the services of an outside photographer engaged?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 26th, 2015

With regard to Veterans Affairs delegations to Cyprus in March 2014, to Normandy in June 2014, and to Italy in November 2014: (a) for each delegation, what was the (i) total cost to each department which incurred expenditures related to the delegation, (ii) total cost for accommodation, (iii) total cost for travel, (iv) total cost for gifts, (v) total cost for meals and incidentals, (iv) complete list of delegation members, (vii) complete itinerary, (viii) reason for each delegation; (b) for each member of the delegation, what was the (i) total cost to each department which incurred expenditures related to the delegation, (ii) total cost for accommodation, (iii) total cost for travel, (iv) total cost for gifts, (v) total cost for meals and incidentals, (vi) reason for inclusion on the delegation; (c) for each contract for accommodations, was the contract competitively or non-competitively sourced and, if non-competitively, what was the rationale for non-competitive sourcing; and (d) for each delegation, (i) when was the itinerary tentatively established, (ii) when was the itinerary finalized, (iii) when was the Minister of Veterans Affairs own travel booked, (iv) if there were any changes to the booking referred to in (iii), what were those changes and when were they made?

Veterans Affairs January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the Minister of Veterans Affairs to his new role. I am glad that the Prime Minister has finally recognized how poorly the previous minister was treating veterans. A new face does not mean a change in attitude though.

The new minister already started off on the wrong foot by excluding from consultations the veterans groups with whom he disagrees. This does not offer us much hope for movement on major issues like reopening veterans offices, ending budget cuts on the back of veterans services, and recognizing the sacred obligation owed to veterans.

Why was the minister's very first act an attempt to silence Canadian veterans who have rightly called the government out for mistreating them?

Alzheimer's Awareness Month January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, January is Alzheimer's Awareness Month, a time to renew our efforts to be more attentive to and to better combat Alzheimer's disease, its stigma, and the heavy burden it places on the family and caregivers of the hundreds of thousands of Canadian sufferers.

In Canada, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease every 5 minutes, and with baby boomers approaching their senior years, this rate will increase exponentially over the next few decades. Beyond the $33 billion direct cost to our economy, this disease takes a terrible physical, psychological, and financial toll on the many families who care for a loved one with a form of dementia.

Family caregivers spend hundreds of unpaid hours a year looking after loved ones with cognitive impairment. It shook the foundation of my family when my father, Mico Valeriote, developed Alzheimer's. The disease took a terrible toll, not only on his quality of life, but it also dramatically altered how my mother, siblings, and I related to him and to each other.

In his memory and the memory of so many Canadians with Alzheimer's we all know, let us be the difference this year.

Veterans Affairs December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, at least 160 Canadians who bravely served this country died by suicide over the last decade.

The current Conservative government was warned two years ago by the Auditor General that it was unprepared for dealing with veterans' mental health. It was told again this year that the wait time for mental health services was unacceptable. That any member of the Conservative government can stand up and say that they are doing a good job without any sense of shame is an insult to the memory of anyone lost because of their inaction.

The minister has allowed us to get to this point of crisis. When will he do the right thing and resign?

Government Contracts December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, while we believe the Conservatives should have long ago invested in mental health services for those who serve, they seem incapable of announcing money for military mental health without skirting into questionable ethical grounds.

Today's announcement of a new centre of excellence includes funding of a half a million dollars from military contractor General Dynamics Corporation, which receives tens of millions of dollars in contracts from the Conservative government.

In its rush for good news announcements, does the government really not see the conflict of interest created by General Dynamics Corporation contracts with DND?