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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was medals.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Perth—Wellington (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 55% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Transportation March 8th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, since arriving in Ottawa, I have heard from numerous stakeholders about the need for the federal government to commit to improving rail services.

Recently, in a meeting with the mayor of Stratford, and in a letter from the mayor of St. Marys, it was made clear to me that local rail service is an area of much concern.

Rail service is very important to the people of southwestern Ontario. Tourism and manufacturing industries rely on the rails. The railway lines are what helped to bring prosperity to this region of the country and, if the federal does its part, can promise to deliver continued success for the future.

If Canada is to meet the lofty goals set out under the Kyoto protocol then, surely, safe, efficient and environmentally-friendly rail lines will be a major part of meeting these obligations.

Instead of cutting back service, the federal government needs to commit to provide the resources necessary to offer the best level of service possible.

Supply February 26th, 2004

I am a very proud member of the new Conservative Party of Canada. I feel that the Wheat Board is a very important part of our trade agreements, but I also feel that it should be the choice of the farmer if he wants to deal through the board. That is where I stand.

Supply February 26th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I will reply to that. Of all of the parties that the member calls the new Conservative Party over here, I never heard him say Progressive Conservative Party. Is that not funny? I happen to know a little about that.

I do know that when I was in Cancun I supported and we do support supply management. Maybe we could get a few of the transcripts from that particular time. The member can read into it what he wants. We are supply management people.

Supply February 26th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I think that fairness is an attribute and is something that everyone should look at. I have looked at so many things that have come down from the government, like the VIP, the veterans independence program, for veterans' widows. A date was set. I think it was May 20. If a widow's husband passed away on one particular day, she would not get the VIP, but if she was lucky enough that her husband passed away on the day after, she would get this VIP for the rest of the time. I would have given it at that particular time to all veterans' widows, maybe cutting it in half.

As for the member's suggestion of 10% for everyone, yes, in all fairness, a cull cow is a cull cow whether it is a beef cow or whether it is a dairy cow. The member is right on. That is fair.

Supply February 26th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Saskatoon--Rosetown--Biggar for allowing me to share my comments today.

I rise to add to the debate concerning the supply day motion put forth by the Conservative Party of Canada. The motion reads:

That the government reallocate its resources from wasteful and unnecessary programs such as the sponsorship program, or badly managed programs such as the gun registry, to address the agricultural crisis at the farm gate across Canada.

Farmers in my riding of Perth--Middlesex are seriously concerned about their future. Farming is a billion dollar industry in my riding and it is a huge issue for us.

I have met with many commodity groups from my riding and I have listened to their concerns. They are worried about their future and whether the federal government cares about them. Based on the actions of the government, I cannot say I blame them.

The beef industry is suffering because of BSE. Too often we fail to consider that it is not just the beef industry that has been impacted by the crisis, but agriculture and the agri-food industry have been impacted as well.

I have met with representatives of the Perth County Federation of Agriculture to listen to their concerns. It has been a tough time for our farmers. I must let the House know that supply management was a big part of that. When I was at the WTO talks, we were strong on supply management. It is not something that this side of the House would get rid of.

One issue that has not received much attention from the current government is the state of rural Canada, specifically, its economy, infrastructure, and agriculture. The recent throne speech had very little about rural Canada. It further illustrated the low priority the Liberal government has for rural Canada.

Rural communities are concerned about their long-term survival. Rural residents prefer rural living but are concerned about their jobs and the lack of job prospects. Most youth growing up in rural Canada have no choice but to find work in urban centres.

The new Conservative Party, its caucus, and its candidates, know the importance of rural Canada. We have an action plan that will revitalize our rural communities. The current government has no plan.

Where is the plan to keep our rural communities competitive? Many manufacturing jobs, particularly those in the auto sector of southwestern Ontario, have been lost because of the high Canadian dollar and declining auto sales. The government has done nothing. There was nothing in the throne speech about that important sector of our economy and little on rural development.

The BSE issue has devastated the beef industry and has indirectly impacted our agri-food industries like trucking, seed companies, dead stock removal, farm implement dealers, and replacement heifers to name just a few. Thousands of Canadians work in these businesses and are being laid off because of the downturn. Still the government has taken no notice.

There is a crisis in rural infrastructure. This encompasses several areas, including health care, municipalities, water, sewage, bridges, housing, transit, schools, and rail transportation. Cuts in transfer payments over the years are starting to show. The provinces and rural communities do not have the financial stability to pick up the slack.

Farming and agriculture, in general, have not received the kind of respect and fair treatment that they deserve from the federal government. CAIS is not the answer according to many in the farm community. Many farmers in my riding do not have the money to get into the CAIS program.

Our rural communities suffer when our farmers and their agri-food industries are suffering. The fact that farming received two sentences in the throne speech speaks volumes about the government's priorities. The future of rural Canada depends on a vibrant rural economy, solid infrastructure, and a healthy agricultural sector.

I will refer to an e-mail that I got on Thursday, February 5 about an article entitled “Cattle producers hail mad cow report”. From Regina, it stated:

An international panel of experts reviewing the American discovery of mad cow disease said the U.S. should show leadership by stopping “irrational trade barriers,” a comment welcomed by Canadian cattle producers anxious for trade to resume.

The report, authored by five scientists...says the mad cow case found December 23 in Washington State can't be dismissed as an imported case.

Wildeman said the panel's findings further Canada's position that if a country has adopted adequate disease prevention standards, trade can resume.

“Those people that are prepared for political reasons to stand up and say we shouldn't reopen the border put their credibility at risk...Who do they point to for evidence that trade shouldn't be normalized...[again].

“Therefore the subcommittee recommends that the U.S...encourage the discontinuation of irrational trade barriers when countries identify their first case of BSE.”

The report also recommended the U.S. increase BSE testing, but dismissed the notion that all cattle slaughtered for human consumption should be tested.

Here is something I have been thinking about. I have had various comments from some of my producers and some of the people around this. Part of this might be figured out through the reopening of the mothballed MGI plant in Kitchener, Ontario. I very much hand it to the Gencor people for taking over the plant and working toward rectifying some of the problems with the cull cow market. They intend to open in early April, I think, probably killing 200 to 300 cull cows per week with a total of 1,500 as time goes on. Unbeknownst to me, a lot of the cattle we do export from the country are brought back in as processed meat. We do not have the capacity to process it, so we feel there could be a market there.

One thing has crossed my mind as we keep hearing that the money the government puts out to help agriculture in difficult times does not get to the farm gate. I have to say that when the new Minister of Agriculture took his little junket to Japan to tell the Japanese that our science was safe and that our beef was safe, I think the Japanese said that they test all their cattle. By the time the minister had left and had said our science was good, the Japanese said they test all their cattle.

I feel that what we should do in that particular case, if we do want to get into that market, is test all our cattle that are for export. We should put some finances toward a good testing regime. We do not have to test our domestic market; Canadians have said that. They have increased the amount of their consumption. They know our product is safe. But if we are in a market, bidding for a contract, then we have to comply with the rules of contract.

There is one other thing that is an environmental issue in regard to the fisheries and oceans department. We have a tremendous problem in our area--and I think in the farming community--with fencing of water courses in flood plains. Some of these people have had cattle grazing on flood plains for years. Right now they are being threatened by the environment ministry and by the fisheries and oceans department. They are being told they have to shut down or fence. We cannot fence. It does not make sense. If we till it, we will cause more pollution.

These are some of the various things that the farm community is getting beat on very heavily.

Agriculture February 23rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the provinces have taken the initiative and left the federal government and that minister behind in helping their farmers cope with the BSE crisis. Almost every province has initiated individual programs, so the minister cannot use the provinces as a reason to hold up his new program that he is planning to announce.

Will the minister stop using the provinces as his excuse and actually do something for our cattle producers rather than just talking about it?

Agriculture February 23rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, there are reports today in the press that the Minister of Agriculture is delaying additional help to cattle producers until all the provinces agree to the details of his program. The provinces have repeatedly stepped up to the plate without the participation of the federal government.

Will the minister stop fighting with his provincial colleagues and announce, unconditionally, the program today?

Stratford Festival February 13th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, yesterday morning it was my great pleasure to sponsor a meeting concerning the Stratford Festival of Canada.

The Stratford Festival employs some 700 people and is responsible for contributing $125 million to the economy. The festival is world famous for its excellence in presenting Shakespearian classics and has taken a leadership role in offering new works illustrating the cultural mosaic of Canada.

The festival is truly a national performing arts organization. The stages at Stratford also serve to train young emerging Canadian actors and playwrights and prepare them for careers.

The federal government's matching endowment program is a very important and appreciated source of funding.

I want to thank the MPs representing multiple parties who took time out of their busy schedules to discuss this great Canadian institution.

I am proud to have the Stratford Festival of Canada located in the heart of my riding of Perth--Middlesex.

2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games February 11th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I will talk to the coaches. I have been a coach. I have been a volunteer and I have great support for all those people.

I support 100% the minister's remarks. I will gladly work with the minister to help achieve these goals, but to achieve these goals we will have to be willing to show real commitment, to put our heart and soul into this. In the absence of this, I will hold the government's feet to the fire. It is wrong to give people false hope. Let us make things happen.

2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games February 11th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I wish to offer my sincere congratulations to the minister on his appointment to cabinet. I look forward to working with the minister in this important area.

I want to thank the hon. minister for taking time to address the House this afternoon. However, at this particular time, I think we are hearing from the wrong minister. Sport is a very important portfolio, to be sure. I played a lot of sports in my day and I still feel if it was slow pitch, I could get back to it again. I do not run the bases quite as fast as I used to, but it has been great. I have always been a team player.

Considering recent events transpiring outside the House, we should be hearing from a minister in response to the serious problems raised in the Auditor General's report that was tabled yesterday.

I have no doubt the people of Vancouver and Whistler appreciate the kind words and best wishes as offered by the minister. In fact, I too, on behalf of the people of Perth—Middlesex and the Conservative Party of Canada, want to let all Canadians know how proud we are of the folks out in Vancouver and Whistler.

I have every confidence that the 2010 Paralympic and Olympic Winter Games will be some of the most successful ever and will serve to showcase Canada in all its magnificent splendour. I somehow think, however, that the good folks in the Vancouver-Whistler area would appreciate if the government would be accountable, not misappropriate funds, and spend responsibly. One of the keys in sport is to play by the rules. The government should set a good example and play by the rules.

It is also nice to recognize the great work done by the vast majority of the country's civil servants. Sadly, because of the actions on the part of the government, many hard-working professional civil servants will see the reputation of their professions tarnished. I bet they would rather see the government conduct itself in a proper fashion and would gladly forgo the occasional pat on the back.

Sport is about teamwork. The minister is right about that, though one could make the same observation about government.

Why does the government not want to work with all the hon. members? From BSE to softwood lumber, from the state of Canada's underfunded military to the awful treatment of our veterans, why will the government not take this attitude concerning the importance of teamwork to these areas?

I want to help and the people of Perth—Middlesex want to help. I can assure the House that my colleagues in the Conservative Party of Canada want to help. When will the government start acting as partners in the House so that we can help and work toward policies that will benefit Canadians?

I hope the minister's stated desire to involve more aboriginals, new Canadians, young people, economically disadvantaged people and persons with disabilities is a sentiment that he is serious about. These are excellent objectives indeed. I will be most pleased if we can achieve success on these fronts.

What I do not understand is how huge payments, false receipts, false invoices and untendered contracts handed out to friends of the Liberal Party of Canada with Canadians receiving little or no value possibly moves Canada any closer to achieving these noble goals? We are mired in a culture of corruption. As more evidence comes to light regarding this matter, it is becoming evident this type of irresponsible and scandalous behaviour is rampant throughout the day to day operations of the government.

Experts are reporting this to be arguably the greatest scandal in Canadian history. I must admit that in reading through the Auditor General's report last night I found cause for great concern. When Canadians are bombarded with one scandal after another, with mismanagement--