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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was history.

Last in Parliament May 2018, as Conservative MP for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 47% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Rockport Dock April 19th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands in my riding on its recent acquisition of the Rockport customs dock. I am pleased that the site will receive a facelift after a close to nine-year effort to acquire it from Public Safety Canada.

Almost nine years ago, a small group of citizens approached me to acquire the historic property that had been a steamship dock, and then, since 1934, a customs dock, before being closed a number of years ago. Although only 60 feet wide, it was a social hub for generations of Rockport families and their children, who gathered to swim, picnic, and enjoy the views of the beautiful Thousand Islands.

This weekend a lease will be signed with the Friends of Rockport Customs, and fundraising will begin to repair the dock to ensure that it opens to the public again. Congratulations to the members of the Rockport Development Group: Hunter Grant, Wendy Merkley, Diane Phillips, Bob Pickens, Morris Huck, and Heather Howard for their efforts on behalf of the residents of and visitors to Rockport. I look forward to the official ribbon cutting.

Beer Escalator Tax March 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, over 46,000 Canadians signed a Beer Canada petition to remove the government's automatic escalator tax on beer. The Canadian beer industry supports 149,000 middle-class jobs, generates $5.7 billion in tax, and adds $13.6 billion to Canada's GDP.

In a letter to the industry, the government calls this yearly escalator tax an inconsequential tax increase. Already, 47% of the price of beer in Canada is tax. Meanwhile, the United States federal government lowered its federal excise duty rates on beer, wine, and spirits as of April 1. The top federal excise duty rate on Canadian beer will be 90% higher than the top U.S. rate. Beer drinkers in Canada pay close to $20 a case in tax, while in the United States, beer drinkers pay about $2 in tax.

To suggest that there is room to increase the Canadian beer tax rate even further is just not credible. When will the government stop adding tax increases on top of tax increases?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns December 13th, 2017

With regard to the government’s plan to negotiate mutual logistics support arrangements with Spain and Chile, as required, to provide at sea replenishment, until the arrival of the joint support ship (JSS), as referenced in the government’s response to the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence’s Report titled “The Readiness of Canada’s Naval Forces”: (a) what estimations have been done to determine the cost of having Spain and Chili supply the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and will the contract including costs be tabled; (b) what studies have been done to ensure Spain and Chile can provide the necessary capabilities for the RCN; (c) what are the operational limitations imposed on the RCN in relation to its contract with Spain and Chile, including (i) period of use, (ii) restrictions to operations, (iii) utility of vessels for multi-role capabilities (hospital, HADR, and ammunition carriage) and will the list be tabled in Parliament; (d) was the feasibility of contracting the construction of a third JSS in Canada performed and will this assessment be tabled in Parliament; (e) was the feasibility of procuring a second Resolve Class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessel performed and will it be tabled; (f) what analysis was done to understand the impacts of the support arrangements with Spain and Chile on Canadian jobs, as well as the readiness of the RCN in comparison to acquiring an additional Resolve Class ship Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment; (g) what is the duration of the contract with Spain and Chile; (h) how does this contract help Canada's middle class in the near and medium term; and (i) will the government table any study of social, economic or political risks associated with contracting Spain and Chile to supply the RCN into the mid-2020s when the first JSS will be ready?

Interparliamentary Delegations December 13th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it has been a while since I have had the opportunity to present some reports from the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group. As the former chair, I did that regularly, but on behalf of the current chair, the member for Malpeque, I have the honour today to rise in the House.

Pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, two reports of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group. The first report concerns the U.S. congressional visit held in Washington, D.C., the United States of America, from March 14 to 16 of 2016. That one is a little old.

The second report concerns the 55th annual meeting with members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, in Washington, D.C., United States of America, from June 20 to 22, 2016.

Mr. Speaker, since this will be the last time I have an opportunity to rise in the House in 2017, I wish everyone here, and all of my constituents, a merry Christmas and happy new year.

Child Health Protection Act December 12th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I think all of us want young people and children to eat healthy, and parents have some responsibility in that.

I have been hearing quite a bit about the bill. I am coach of Timbits hockey. Tim Hortons sponsors kids hockey for five and six year olds across Canada. It also supports young people in playing soccer. McDonald's happens to support atom hockey across Canada.

Could the member assure us that the bill in no way would preclude them from continuing to support children's sport, which is important. It is part of a healthy lifestyle for our young people.

Health December 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, six months ago, the health committee reported to the minister that Canada's thalidomide program needed to be revamped to include the forgotten survivors, beyond the 25 that the government continues to reference. It is almost Christmas again and these survivors are still suffering pain, discrimination, and humiliation.

When will the minister show some compassion, do the right thing, and include the forgotten survivors in the compensation program?

Taxation December 1st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, families with children who have autism need the disability tax credit to help offset the costs of expensive therapy. The Liberals are nickel and diming these families to pay for their out-of-control spending. It is a disgusting attack on vulnerable Canadians. Do these families not have enough to deal with without having to fight the Liberals to get the credits that they need?

Big Brothers Big Sisters November 21st, 2017

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend I was on hand to congratulate Big Brothers Big Sisters of Leeds–Grenville for 40 years of mentoring children. Since 1977, the organization has paired adult mentors with children who can greatly benefit from an adult role model.

Last year, the agency provided direct service to 1,782 children throughout Leeds and Grenville, including the traditional match program, as well as a curriculum-based program in schools and an after-school program where children learn skills such as sewing, woodworking, painting, guitar, cooking, and stained-glass work, just to name a few. The agency has a hot-lunch subsidy, courtesy of the Carolyn Sifton Foundation, and provides school supplies, clothing, and support for families at Christmas.

Volunteers, who are always needed, are the backbone of the agency, and I am pleased to recognize everyone who has had a hand in helping raise great children in Leeds–Grenville through the Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Health November 20th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the parliamentary secretary for his interest in this issue.

The evidence that we heard at health committee meetings and the recommendations that were made by the committee really do speak for themselves.

There is only one thing left to do to wrap this up once and for all, and that is for the minister to accept the letter and the recommendations and provide compensation for the few remaining survivors who have not been able to access that compensation.

It was the Government of Canada that approved thalidomide. Ironically, it was a Canadian expert working in the United States who refused to approve it in that country. Had she been working here, we would not have had close to 60 years of this blight on our health care system.

It is past time to do the right thing. It is time for the government to respond to the recommendations of the committee, first, to ensure that an in-person interview is conducted, and second, that the government err on the side of compassion. It is time to do the right thing. The victims have endured a life of pain, suffering, and discrimination. It is time to do the right thing.

I would appreciate a response to the committee. I know the government wants to do the right thing.

Health November 20th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I rise tonight, as I have risen a number of times in the House, to seek an answer from the government about when it will do the right thing and compensate all of the victims and survivors of thalidomide. As I recently stated in this place, for close to 60 years, these Canadians have suffered from the ravages of this horrible drug which was approved by the government of the day. As they grow older, their conditions worsen, and they require more assistance that they cannot afford.

This past spring, the health committee made a series of recommendations to the minister after hearing from thalidomide compensation evaluation experts from around the world. These were experts from different countries where compensation has been awarded to all the sufferers. Based upon witness evidence, the committee recommended that the Canadian criteria for compensation be re-evaluated, that survivors who had been rejected receive a physical exam, and that the compensation requirements err in favour of probabilities.

These folks have suffered all of their lives because of their exposure to thalidomide, and now they are being denied even the decency of an in-person interview or the benefit of the doubt to see if they are truly suffering from the effects of thalidomide. The forgotten thalidomide survivors cannot produce paperwork or witnesses to prove that their mothers took thalidomide, as the current compensation package demands. These folks need to be given a personal interview by a qualified professional, and then given whatever tests are required to prove that their physical disabilities are not caused by a genetic anomaly. I am aware that there is no test that can prove thalidomide use by their mothers, but the physical evidence that they all display, and genetic testing to prove it is not something else, can go a long way to drawing a conclusion that thalidomide is the cause of their disabilities.

These survivors have all had extreme health and medical issues that continue to this day. These issues have required hospital stays, and many have had operations. Many have suffered from abuse and cruelty from other children. Many have taken as much training as possible, but have been unable to work or even find employment. One woman, who was featured on a W5 report about the forgotten survivors, has suffered a lifetime of rejection and lives alone in the backwoods of British Columbia. These stories are heartbreaking.

The thing that bothers me is that we are only talking about two dozen people. In the overall scheme of things, what financial impact will assisting them have on our country as a whole? Let us put the cost into perspective in order to make their lives a little easier for however long they have remaining. As I have said in the past in the House, it is disgusting to think that we, as members of Parliament in the greatest country in the world, cannot collectively do something to assist a few of our fellow citizens who have suffered since birth as a result of a decision by our country's health department at the time.

Canada offered a compensation package in 1991, and it included an in-person examination. Many people were either not aware of the 1991 package, or their mothers never admitted to them that they had taken thalidomide. The second compensation package, which has now been closed, was too restrictive in its demand for paperwork. It is important to note that Canada is not alone in its compensation offerings. In Britain, there was one offering, and then there was a second and greater offering when the victims realized the first package was not enough to compensate them. Victims in all of these places received the courtesy of an in-person examination and the benefit of the doubt.

I am calling on the government to show some compassion and understanding, and to move on the health committee's recommendation immediately.