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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

Supply September 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the support of the hon. member for Huron—Bruce on this motion. As we know, the compensation package ended on August 31. It did not cover a wide enough scope of the agriculture industry, as we have talked about on various occasions. For instance, the dairy issue is very strong in my riding, yet is has not been a part of the compensation package.

I have one particular incident. An auctioneer held an auction in eastern Ontario and 130 head dairy cattle were purchased by a person from Michigan. That was on May 19. On May 20, as these cattle were being taken to Michigan, the border closed. The individual still has some of them boarded out at various places but they are still in his domain.

Along with that, this person also is a big supplier of replacement heifers in the dairy industry. At that time he had a lot of springing heifers. Of course right now they have all sprung and this is a problem. He has a lot more calves and so on. However just to look after them he has had to hire more staff to feed them. It has been suggested that he dig a hole and get a gun, a registered gun.

We do not want those things to happen. However there should be more compensation, and it should not have stopped at the end of August. What would your remarks be in this regard?

Supply September 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, yes, I feel that the border is open but only a slight bit. We are talking about 10 million pounds of boxed beef having been shipped to the United States. I calculate that to be, and I am using a Liberal calculation here, about 1,000 head per million, so 10 million is 10,000 head.

One particular farm in southwestern Ontario, not out west, has 8,000 head of cattle. It did not even look after one farm. If we do not get these doors opened wider I think we may have to go to a domestic market instead of being an export market?

Supply September 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, being a small businessman I do understand what it takes to make a good relationship and carry on business. I have been involved in small business for over 40 years. Some of the remarks that were made to our friends and largest trading partner, the United States, have been less than likable. I know what I would have done had I been there. I would have shut the door too.

I do believe that as far as BSE is concerned we have had one mad cow. We do know that. However when the congressman told me that we should err on the side of caution, I think it was a very weak answer.

Most of us in this room fly every day. Far more people will die this year from airplane crashes than from catching mad cow disease from any meat that they have eaten, but do we fly? Yes, sir.

They are using this particular instance as a play. I think it is all political. They have been kicked and kicked and they are just showing us right now that they are not going to get kicked any more.

I appreciated being part of the parliamentary delegation at the WTO. I have touched some of those people. I know how hard it is to touch some of those people. That is why I am requesting help from someone even higher than the parliamentarians in here, and there is only one higher than them, the Prime Minister.

Supply September 23rd, 2003


That, in the opinion of the House, the Prime Minister should convene and lead a multi-party delegation including representatives of the industry to Washington at the earliest possible date to discuss with officials of the Congress and the Government of the United States all possible means to fully reopen the U.S. border to shipments of Canadian livestock.

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time this morning with my colleague from Dauphin—Swan River.

I think it is very unfortunate that I feel compelled to rise today to speak on this motion, a motion that surrounds a situation of tremendous importance to Canadians. I should not have to and the fact that I do is very unfortunate indeed.

Currently Canada is suffering from a major crisis in our agriculture community. Farmers, some of them fourth and fifth generation, some of them in my riding of Perth—Middlesex, many of whom I consider friends, are facing financial ruin, too many of them. At kitchen tables and at county fairs, these hard-working and proud people are telling me that they may not be able to get past this issue.

We have a disaster on our hands in Canadian agriculture. As if disasters are not bad enough, we also have a government that is not willing to take the appropriate steps necessary to help address this issue.

But the Liberal government does not take that action because the country is also suffering another crisis: a profound crisis in leadership. Instead of proactively addressing the challenges facing Canadian farmers, the Liberals choose to concern themselves with waging internal party battles, settling old scores and placing their interests within the Liberal Party of Canada ahead of the best interests of the nation.

The Prime Minister chooses to focus on legacy issues like same sex marriage and Liberal leadership, and stories regarding the shadow prime minister headline the front page of the major dailies across the countries. The media all too often, it seems to me, get caught up spending most of their time on these issues. Unite the right is another example, Mr. Speaker, and please forgive me for this as I am not a journalist, but it seems to me the issue of this crisis in Canadian agriculture has virtually been ignored as the Prime Minister and the media focus on other issues, issues that it seems to me are of far less importance than the decimation of a domestic industry, and more than an industry, a way of life that the country was built upon. This issue promises to ruin lives, tear apart homes and throw small communities in rural Canada into economic chaos.

Instead of opening a dialogue with our friends and neighbours in the United States, the Prime Minister has elected to mock them with disdain and scorn. Just yesterday the Prime Minister went to New York to the UN and took cheap shots and lobbed thinly veiled attacks at our American friends. Such actions do not go unnoticed by the powers that be in Washington, D.C.

While the Liberals play these games, it seems the same cannot be said of my colleagues in the caucus of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. Our leader, the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, has been out in front on this very important issue like a true leader, championing this cause.

I want to thank my friend, the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, for pointing out in the House on numerous occasions how the Liberal government has chosen to ignore this crisis and, in doing so, how our Prime Minister and his cabinet have elected to take the path of least resistance and abandon Canadian farmers, abandoning the very people who entrusted them with the authority to govern their lives.

I also want to acknowledge several of my hard-working colleagues in the Alliance, NDP and Bloc, who have tried to shame the government into action. There are also several Liberal members who have shown courage in trying to convince their masters in cabinet to do the right thing and help Canadian farmers.

Sadly, because of the pattern of Liberal government inaction on this issue, those fourth and fifth generation farms I mentioned earlier are unlikely to produce fifth and sixth generation farms.

It has taken 100 years or more to build a proud, vibrant, Canadian agricultural industry and it is likely the history books will one day report that it took the Liberal government about a decade to completely destroy all the hard work; all that Canadian innovation, determination and perseverance under some of the harshest conditions faced by any people anywhere in the world. This looks to be the legacy of our two current Prime Ministers, who may be trying to distance themselves from each other now but who have walked hand in hand down the aisle of Canadian economic disaster orchestrating their ill-advised policy decisions as the Bobbsey Twins of grit governments.

It is sad, terribly sad.

All we hear about lately is our Prime Minister. I apologize to my colleagues and to you, Mr. Speaker. I need to clarify that remark. I am now talking specifically about the Prime Minister who is currently living at 24 Sussex. All we hear about is his concern over his legacy. If things continue down the same path his legacy will be the elimination of the family farm in Canada and, considering our state of relations with the United States, perhaps an end to Canada's positive balance of trade with the Americans.

What of the concern for the humble farmer in rural Canada who wishes only the legacy of one day turning his family farm over to his son or daughter?

As a small business person I can tell members firsthand how important it is to have good relations with one's best customers. I can say with total certainty how important it is to do business with people who have money. The Americans are great customers and they are wonderful friends. They also have wants and needs for which they can pay. They not only pay their bills on time but they have a history of bargaining in good faith with Canadians; good faith that sadly the Liberal government has not shown toward our American friends during debates over recent foreign policy issues.

Those are issues that have witnessed Canada abandoning our traditional allies, allies like the U.K., Australia and, yes, the United States, and seeing Canada aligning ourselves with nations like Russia, France and China.

At least the current Liberal regime shows some consistency. It has taken a prosperous cattle industry, which has taken 100 years to develop, and promptly set to work destroying it within the timeframe of about a decade. It then takes over 100 years of noble Canadian diplomatic tradition and completely rearranges our strategic international alliances.

Alas, an examination of the last decade shows that the current Liberal government has not been treating the Americans like good customers and best friends.

One would think that with two Prime Ministers currently, one of them could find time between fundraisers for the Liberal Party of Canada to lead a delegation of top level political, diplomatic and industrial officials to Washington, D.C. to sit around a table with Americans and talk through some of these issues. Is that unreasonable? Roughly 85% of our exports wind up in the United States, paid for by valuable American greenbacks. What could possibly be of more importance than insuring the maintenance of a strong relationship with the Americans?

After spending time working on this abroad I can tell the House that our counterparts in the U.S. congress echoed many of the concerns I have raised here in the House today. When I asked one congressman about opening the U.S. border to Canadian beef he said “If we make an error, is it not safer for us to err on the side of caution?”

I appeal to the sense of fairness and decency I truly believe exists within the hon. members of the House. I appeal to my colleagues to do the right thing and to take action at the highest diplomatic levels, to travel to Washington, D.C. to engage our most important trading partner, most reliable ally and, frankly speaking, our best friend so we may sort this out and save the livelihood of Canadian farmers.

Veterans Affairs September 22nd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Veterans Affairs is treating widows as a budget item.

Mr. Murray spent one and a half times the budget of the average Canadian family for food. He spent more on hotel costs per month than most Canadians pay in rent. The reality is that there are thousands of widows who do not qualify for the VIP and the minister is doing nothing about it.

Main Estimates 2003-04 June 12th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, thank you for the advice.

I rise here this evening to speak on VIA Rail. The people of Perth—Middlesex are interested in seeing the VIA Rail service improved because it is such an essential part of life in the riding from both a tourism and an industrial perspective.

Perth--Middlesex is right in the thick of Canada's railroad heartland, the Windsor-Montreal corridor. Many municipalities in our area are very concerned about upgrades to VIA Rail. Cities and towns in southwestern Ontario such as Stratford, Kitchener and Windsor have had various meetings and are quite interested in high speed rail service and upgrades to be made, primarily because of the tourism sector and commuting to jobs.

Private sector railroads have done very well in our area. Through the little town I live in it is only a 50 mile run, but a private railroad took over from CN quite a number of years ago and has turned it into a very profitable enterprise, so I have a vested interest in closely monitoring the process of funding for VIA Rail.

As I watch the process unfold, some initial questions come to mind. Will this proposed $9 million increase in spending result in better service for my constituents? Will it meet the regulations in Kyoto? Will it help cut down on greenhouse gases? I would think it should.

The transport committee did not seem to think so or did not think the $9 million was needed. According to this committee, the folks from VIA Rail were never able to justify the increase in spending. The minister says he can. I do not know who to believe, but I know I am not very impressed with this process. I have watched what has happened in various committee processes and a lot of the time the recommendations brought down by the committees are ignored by this government.

I also know that I am not interested in scoring cheap political points by investigating the issue of the shadow government or the infighting between different camps in the Liberal Party, although I do think it is awful for government institutions to be used as battlegrounds to settle old scores in the Liberal Party of Canada.

We have a Minister of Transport allegedly threatening members with job losses in their home ridings if they do not support the spending increase and the government House leader trying to have the committee's recommendations thrown out as illegitimate. What is the actual benefit to the Canadian public in increasing the budget of VIA Rail by this proposed $9 million? What programs will be hurt because these moneys are earmarked for the VIA Rail increase?

We are told that passenger numbers and revenues are up, so if this is the case then why does VIA need more money, not less? Something is not adding up here. Why are the Prime Minister and his Minister of Transport willing to walk all over the findings of their own parliamentary committee? Why do they want this money put into VIA Rail so badly?

These are the issues and questions the House should be addressing. I have always been concerned that there is a lot of time spent in committee with a lot of good points brought forward. I have listened this evening to statistics and dollar figures and various issues mentioned. I have listened to how a private rail service in B.C. running from Vancouver to Calgary may have competition from VIA Rail again, a private company that originally bought out VIA Rail. Again, that is a terrible type of competition.

All the hon. members of this House first came to this chamber wanting to help people, wanting to do some good. It seems to me that some members of this current government would be well advised to take a refresher course in why they became members. It was not to settle old scores within the Liberal Party of Canada.

An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals) June 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough.

I have been told by many concerned farmers in my riding of Perth—Middlesex, who through their common farming practices may be charged or challenged by various animal rights groups, that their common practices may result in charges being trumped up against them. Have these concerns been addressed?

Agriculture June 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the beef farmers of Perth--Middlesex are facing serious threats to their livelihood. Livestock disposal, laid off workers and financial hardships are big problems.

Some of my constituents are facing bankruptcy. At $11 million a day, the cost of industry inaction is approaching $200 million. The borders are still closed.

Will the Minister of Agriculture inform the House when Perth--Middlesex farmers and plant workers can expect financial assistance from the government?

D-Day June 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, today marks the anniversary of the Canadian landing at Juno Beach on D-Day, June 6,1944. It was a shining moment in our nation's history. All Canadians should today reflect on the valour and selfless dedication of its veterans. They should be thanked and remembered for fighting in the name of democracy and freedom.

This reflection harks back to a time when the Canadian military had the political and material support to lead the charge. At that time we were an equal contributing partner with our American and British Allies. We could and did make a difference.

I would like to take this opportunity today to thank the veterans and their families in my constituency, and across the country who participated in this historic event. They will forever represent the best of Canada.

Firearms Registry June 5th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the PC Party launched a website to collect stories from the thousands of Canadians who have had serious problems registering their guns. This site can be found at, and it has already had 50,000 hits in less than a month. We have collected hundreds of submissions from every province of Canada, and so far, no crash. At a peak time we had 2,500 hits in one hour, and guess what, no crash.

The website comes at a total cost of $20 a month. Meanwhile the government spends $1 billion on a system that works poorly and rarely. We in the Progressive Conservative Party are getting more bang for our buck.

On May 6 the Solicitor General said in the House that he wanted to hear from all Canadians who had difficulties registering their guns. We are here to help. By visiting, people can fill out an online form outlining the problems they have had with the system. We will personally put them in the hands of the Solicitor General.