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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for South Shore—St. Margaret's (Nova Scotia)

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

Statements in the House

Business of Supply February 2nd, 2015

The benefits are tremendous, Mr. Speaker.

In the fish and seafood sector, there will be a reduction of 18% in the tariff on cooked and peeled shrimp, a reduction of 6% on frozen lobster, a reduction of 8% on live lobster, a reduction of up to 25% on cod loins going into the European market, and a reduction in the tariff on snow crab. That is only the fish and seafood sector. All our primary industries, including the forestry sector, stand to gain.

Most importantly, and quite frankly overlooked entirely by the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and by most of the provinces, P.E.I. being a good example, is the services sector. The services sector is a strong sector in Newfoundland. Almost 50% of Newfoundland's GDP is in the services sector. It will have open access to the EU services marketplace. It will be able to bid on that. It will have qualifications for our technicians and engineers.

There will be open trade between Canada and the EU, not just in goods but in people. The opportunities that will arise from that alone are worth a fortune.

The list goes on and on.

Business of Supply February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I can only repeat what I said before, and I was pretty clear in what I said the first time. I was not wrong.

I remember the Nova Scotia-Newfoundland offshore accord. I remember the sticky situation Newfoundland found itself in during that debate. What happened then was that it was great politics to pick a fight with the federal government. The reality was that Newfoundland was becoming a have province, and good for them. I hope it continues. I would like to see oil prices stabilize for our own economy in western Canada, especially, and for Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.

That debate was about the fact that the agreement had changed slightly, because Newfoundland was no longer a have-not province. Again, I congratulate Newfoundland on that. That is what that debate was about.

This debate is about a clear agreement we made with Newfoundland and Labrador, with no questions asked. We are going to keep our part of that agreement. We have never backed away from it. If Newfoundland and Labrador is to lose money because it gets rid of its minimum processing standards, we will be there to help backstop that.

Business of Supply February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fact that the hon. member listened to at least part of my speech, but he obviously missed the beginning, when I addressed the question in some detail, even to the point of stating that I participated in a number of the stakeholder discussions at the time as parliamentary secretary to the minister for international trade. I can say that from the industry, the fishermen, and the unions as well, although the unions were being very careful, there was support to move away from the minimum processing standard in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

An agreement was reached that should Newfoundland and Labrador, because it is getting rid of the minimum processing standard, lose money in the fishery, there would be a fishery renewal fund, quarterbacked by the federal government and cost-shared with the province. The reality is that Newfoundland is going to make money by getting rid of a 20% tariff on its most important seafood products. It is going to have more money coming in, it is not going to lose money, and it is going to be more competitive, because it will have gotten rid of the trade-restrictive minimum processing standard.

Business of Supply February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this is going to be an interesting debate today, because the member for Halifax just said that we should not make a deal. Well, the deal was made and the deal was clear, and it is quite the contrary to what the Province of Newfoundland is trying to say, that it is something besides what it was.

I participated in a number of those stakeholder meetings, with the industry in Newfoundland and the rest of Atlantic Canada and the unions. It was all very clear what was being discussed. In my mind, there was nothing untoward, nothing secret.

The Government of Canada agreed to put a fund in place if Newfoundland and Labrador showed losses, because the agreement was getting rid of their minimum processing standards. The reality is that the industry and many of the fishermen in Newfoundland and Labrador want the deal and saw the merit in getting rid of the MPRs. They looked at this as an opportunity to do that and, if Newfoundland and Labrador lost money, the federal government would backstop it up to a maximum amount. That was the deal.

As for what the NDP members are talking about here today, I have no idea. That part of the $400 million would be from the Province of Newfoundland is the only way I can figure it, because the federal government never put $400 million on the table.

There are a number of issues here, and let us take the politics out of them. Let us look at the trade agreement, CETA, for what it is worth. Never mine the posturing. Never mind picking a fight with the federal government to maybe give oneself a better chance at re-election in the provincial government. Quite frankly, everyone in this place can be guilty of that. I think we have seen movie before, and that is exactly what is going on in this case.

I want to talk a little about CETA, but before I get to the gist of my speech, there are a number of issues that need to be put on the table and, frankly, that need to be clearly understood by the public who out there listening.

The NDP members already said that they are not supporting CETA. Now they want a part of CETA that was never agreed, and then they are still going to vote against it. I am confounded. I really cannot figure that one out. The Liberals are saying that they will support the motion and are also going to support CETA. The provincial premiers outside of Newfoundland and Atlantic Canada are saying that if we give a special deal to Newfoundland, we have to give them a special deal too.

The reality is that Newfoundland has a particular and special system. It has minimum processing standards in place, with a guarantee that a certain amount of the fish and seafood are to would be processed on the island of Newfoundland and in Labrador. It made good sense maybe 30 or 40 years ago, but in today's economy, in today's world market, not so much.

The industry and fishermen saw this as an opportunity to move away from the MPRs. We cannot defend them at the WTO and quite frankly, if we are challenged at the WTO, we will lose that challenge. Therefore, everyone wins here if we stick to the original agreement.

I want to drill down on the MPRs a little more. I listened to the NDP talk about the minimum processing standard as if there were one. There is not one minimum processing standard at all. There are 25 minimum processing standards. They are different for the different species. Arctic char, dogfish, salmon, shark, swordfish, trout, and tuna only have to be gutted. That is a long way from completely processed.

There are other minimum processing standards, such as for billfish, hagfish, and smelt. There is blackback flounder. There is capelin and mackerel. Those are three more categories. There is clam, cockle, periwinkle, and quahog, as another category. Some are frozen and packaged whole. Some are whole packaged. Some are solid and packed in a carton not to exceed 110 kilograms.

There are 25 minimum processing standards. It is not that every piece of fish that comes ashore on the island of Newfoundland and on Labrador gets processed into a fish stick. It is far, far from it, because that is what the industry demands today.

We have a modern, dynamic seafood industry in Atlantic Canada. We can compete with anyone in the world. It is a valuable industry.

Today, Newfoundland is paying an 18% to 20% tariff on cooked and peeled shrimp. That is something it has been trying to get rid of for a long time. We have been totally unsuccessful in getting rid of that. It will go down to zero in this agreement. In 2006, cooked and peeled shrimp was worth $124 million. Today, that shrimp bloom is down a little bit because the cod, its predator, is coming back. The shrimp is disappearing but is still worth $91 million. If we take 20% off of that and give it to the processors and the fishermen, it is a win-win situation for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Shellfish was worth $134 million in 2006. Today, it is down a bit because the cod, a big predator, is coming back. However, it is still worth $98 million. That is almost $20 million that would go back into the pockets of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. That is 8% on lobster and a high of 20% on other products. It is straight down the line with respect to cod, mackerel, and other groundfish. Therefore, we have a seafood total that was somewhere in the neighbourhood just shy $200 million in 2007, $173 million in 2006, and $104 million today. Over $20 million would go back to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

If we want to look at the background of this, as I said before, this is a contentious issue with the WTO. It is a restrictive trade barrier that would be difficult to defend. At the very best, if Newfoundland and Labrador want to keep it in place, the federal government and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador would probably pay through the nose to do that.

In the meantime, we have the best trade agreement that we have ever signed with any country anywhere in the world on the table. Now, is not the time to fight amongst ourselves. Now is the time to reach common ground. We already reached common ground with the Province of Newfoundland. We put a package in place for the fish and seafood industry in Newfoundland. That package would allow the provincial government in Newfoundland to get rid of the MPRs. If it were to suffer losses because of that we would be there to help backstop it. That was the agreement. There was never an agreement to say that it had a blank cheque to give it an advantage over the rest of the seafood industry in Canada. It would not make sense for the federal government to do that, nor would it make sense for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador to even ask for it. What it did ask for and what was negotiated and settled on was a fund to backstop it if it were to lose money. That is not that much different from the agreement we had with the dairy industry in Quebec. If it were to lose money, then we would help backstop it. That was the agreement. Anything else is pure fantasy on the part of the NDP.

I want to talk a bit about CETA. It is all about creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians in every region of the country. We know that at this time our economy depends more than ever on global markets. Canada is an exporting country and we need to participate in that global supply chain. Trade and investment are the twin engines of growth for the global economy. Our prosperity requires expansion beyond our own borders into new markets for economic opportunities that will serve to grow Canada's exports and investments.

The Canada-European Union comprehensive economic and trade agreement, CETA, will make a significant positive contribution to Canada's economy by opening markets for Canadian businesses and creating jobs for hard-working Canadians across the country.

The success of the Canadian economy is increasingly linked to our trade with other countries and the ability to sell our goods in other markets and integrate our industry into global supply chains. This has made Canada more prosperous and allowed Canadians to enjoy a higher standard of living, with more and higher paying jobs than would be possible if we relied only on our internal market.

In fact, more than 60% of our GDP is directly related to trade and nearly $1 out of every $2 of Canadian manufacturing output is sold outside the country, over 50%. CETA is a major win. We should all be celebrating this new opportunity that will be created by unlocking the world's largest integrated market. For example, in 2012, the EU's imports were worth $2.3 trillion, far surpassing Canada's GDP of $1.8 trillion. Canadian exporters of goods and services will also benefit from the lucrative European government procurement market that alone is worth $3.3 trillion annually.

I want to talk about the services opportunity here for Newfoundland and Labrador, as 49% of Newfoundland's income is derived from the service industry. Here we have an opportunity to work on a level playing field and participate in a $2.3 trillion import and service market in the EU, which I will talk more about later. Is Newfoundland and Labrador going to pass that up? I do not think that would b a good idea at all.

CETA will provide new access to the EU market of over half a billion of the world's most sophisticated, affluent customers. It will also provide a competitive advantage for Canadian businesses over other exporters, including those from the United States. Once the agreement is implemented, Canada will be the only G7 country in the world with preferential access to both of the world's two largest markets, making Canada the envy of the trading world, as our exporters will have preferred access to both the $16 trillion U.S. economy and the $18 trillion economy of the European Union. That is a golden opportunity for Canada.

A joint Canada-EU study that supported the launch of negotiations concluded that the agreement would raise our GDP by $12 billion annually, add $1,000 to the average Canadian family income, and create almost 80,000 new jobs for Canadians.

The government's approach to CETA has been unprecedented in its openness. The negotiations were the most transparent and collaborative in Canadian history, which explains why Canadians from coast to coast have also hailed CETA as a landmark achievement for the country. Negotiations were open and we did deal directly with the provinces, who were at the table during the negotiations. If anything affected any individual province in this country, they had the opportunity to speak up about it. While the provinces did represent the municipalities, the Minister of International Trade also had regular briefings with municipal leaders across this country.

In short, is this a good deal? It is not just a good deal; it is a great deal. This is a fantastic deal. Let us look at some parts of it. First, with respect to trade in goods, we are all familiar with the richness and diversity of our primary sectors, but we also know that manufacturing, including obvious sectors like the automotive, chemicals, and plastic industries, touches every part of the economy.

There are also significant manufacturing interests within the primary sectors, such as agrifood, forest products, fish and seafood, and metal fabrications, to name just a few. CETA will provide benefits for all of these manufacturing sub-sectors and for every hard-working Canadian employed in them.

For example, on the day CETA comes into force, 98% of all EU tariff lines will be duty-free, ensuring that Canadian goods can compete on a level playing field in the world's largest and most sophisticated single market.

Mr. Speaker, I see that you are holding your hand up for five minutes, and I have way more than five minutes of speech, but I will try to conclude in the time I have.

What is this about? This is primarily about tariff elimination. It is secondarily about non-discriminatory treatment of Canadian products in the EU and parameters aimed at limiting the use of other import-export restrictions. For example, CETA contains provisions that will commit governments to pursue policies that are transparent, clear, and fair and that will minimize the costs for our respective business communities. The agreement will also provide for favourable rules of origin that are consistent with Canada's established value chains and that will more easily allow Canadian goods to qualify for duty-free treatment in the EU.

If we look at agriculture and agrifood products, 93.6% of the EU's agricultural tariff lines will be eliminated immediately on the day of implementation under CETA, rising to 95% after seven years. That is a remarkable achievement.

Do members know what tariff-free access for agriculture products is in the EU today? Maybe the NDP should take a look. Maybe it should listen. It is 18%. It will rise from 18% to 95%, and to 93% immediately. Let us be clear. We accomplished all of this while keeping in tact the three key pillars of supply management and without changes to the current level of EU access for poultry and eggs.

Again, this is unprecedented access. If we compare Canada's position to the rest of the agrifood countries of the world, such as Australia and the United States, here we are with preferential access, primarily against the United States, which will not have tariff-free access on the day we conclude CETA. Quite frankly, they will have a very difficult job concluding a CETA-like agreement, because they will have a very difficult job getting sub-national procurement in place with the system they have and the powers the individual states have.

We have reached an agreement on genetically modified crops, which had formally been a non-tariff trade barrier. These discussions will be anchored on the principle of regulatory co-operation, promoting an efficient science-based approval process and minimizing the adverse trade impacts of regulatory practices.

In the time I have left, I want to get back to the gist of this debate today and the fish and seafood sector. In my part of the world, in southwestern Nova Scotia, it is absolutely the most important sector of the economy. There is a lot of manufacturing as well. We have a pretty diverse economy in the part of the world I live in, but the fish and seafood sector is extremely important.

On fish and seafood, CETA will eliminate 100% of the EU's tariff lines, some as high as 25%, on Canadian seafood, 96% of which will be eliminated on the agreement's entry into force. Again, this is an even better agreement than we were able to get for agriculture, and we got an outstanding agreement for agriculture. This significant new access to the EU's fish and seafood markets led some stakeholders to refer to CETA as a game-changer for the Canadian fisheries.

Others have also stressed the benefits of CETA to the Canadian fish and seafood producers, indicating that CETA would increase shrimp and lobster exports. Shrimp exports, as well as lobster, are extremely important to Newfoundland and Labrador. Certainly lobster, in my part of the world, is an extremely important export to the EU. For fresh lobster being shipped out of Nova Scotia to the EU market, we are paying 8%. It is nearly 10%. That will be money gained. That money will go back to the processors, and a portion of it will go back to the producers, the fishermen themselves.

It will increase shrimp and lobster exports, facilitating the fisheries sector market diversification strategy and allowing Canadian seafood products to compete on a level playing field in the world's single largest integrated market and the world's largest fish and seafood market. It goes on and on for the automotive sector, the forestry sector, and the regions of Canada.

This is a great agreement, and it is one the province of Newfoundland and Labrador needs to be a player in. It should not be standing on the sidelines. It needs to take advantage of this, and I certainly hope the NDP will change its mind on this motion today and support CETA when it comes before the House.

Business of Supply February 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this is going to be an interesting debate. I watched it this morning, and I would like to ask the member a simple question.

Some $280 million has been put on the table by the federal government if Newfoundland's fish and seafood industry can show losses from getting rid of their minimum processing standards. Meanwhile, the Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and P.E.I. are all saying that if Newfoundland gets a special deal, they want the same thing.

Is the hon. member willing to see Newfoundland get a special deal at the expense of the seafood industry in Nova Scotia?

Agriculture and Agri-food January 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we are listening to producers, and as part of Canada's economic action plan, we brought in clear legislation to provide fresh produce sellers with a single dispute resolution body, a clear promise we made to our horticultural sector. These changes will allow industry to manage its own system of effective trading rules.

Meanwhile, we continue to expand our markets for fresh fruit and vegetable growers beyond the U.S.A. to new markets such as Europe and Asia. I expect when we do that we will get full support from the member.

Agriculture and Agri-food January 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that our government understands the vulnerability of Canada's fresh produce industry and its contribution to our economy. That is why we introduced clear legislation to provide a single dispute resolution body that would help reduce issues of non-payment faced by the fresh produce industry.

We consulted widely on Canada's bankruptcy and insolvency laws, and we will share the results with Parliament in the near future. The fresh produce industry and other stakeholders will be able to participate in the parliamentary review process, and our government is committed to supporting Canadian producers and exporters and will continue to look at this issue.

Intergovernmental Affairs January 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. Free trade between Canada and the European Union will deliver tremendous benefits for businesses, workers and their families in Newfoundland and Labrador and across Canada.

In the meantime, we fully intend to ratify free trade with the European Union, as is within our authority. We remain committed to the minimum processing requirements fund and remain open to receiving proposals from Newfoundland and Labrador on implementing that fund.

Nautel Limited January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to recognize a great example of small business in my riding of South Shore—St. Margaret's. Nautel Limited, headquartered in the community of Hackett's Cove since 1969, manufactures and designs high-power transmitters for radio and TV stations and navigation equipment for airports and the offshore.

A company known for its innovative products, Nautel is a Nova Scotian an Canadian export success story, shipping to over 177 countries worldwide. During its 46 years in business, the company has contributed over half a billion dollars to the Nova Scotia and Canadian economies. Nautel has been recognized as a Profit 500 company, as a Passion Capitalist winner, and most recently as Halifax's Business of the Year—all this from a rural company located on the shores of St. Margarets Bay near the scenic landmark of Peggy's Cove.

Congratulations to the management and employees of Nautel. Well done.

Transportation December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, at CRA we take tax evasion very seriously. We expect all Canadians to pay their taxes here in Canada. We expect all companies and all individuals to pay their taxes, and we will take all measures to make sure that happens.