House of Commons photo

Elsewhere

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was aboriginal.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Kenora (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 29% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Energy Safety and Security Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure that there is any logic to that question.

In addition, I am not sure there was anything in that question pertinent to either time allocation or the substantive dimensions of what is contained in the bill.

Notwithstanding that, it is important then to make the point that this is an opportunity for us all to move forward on legislation with respect to offshore nuclear liability that is modernized. We have some agreement there. It also reflects appropriate responsible thresholds for the offshore and nuclear sectors.

Energy Safety and Security Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is always at his best when he keeps some of the more aggressive words and tones out of the debate with me personally, but notwithstanding that, there is some substance to his question and it merits further discussion.

The liability regime has two important aspects. Fault and negligence still have an unlimited liability component, and that is important.

With respect to unlimited liability of the operator as is done in other countries, this has been done not necessarily with success. The practice of the capacity for operators to compensate for damages is somewhat limited.

We have gone to great lengths in crafting and establishing a threshold that reflects a modern reality and reasoned threshold. We all agree that Canada is in need of dramatic change in terms of its monetary value, maintain a fault to negligence regime for liability that is unlimited and move to a threshold that based on facts and experiences around the world would be reasonable and achievable.

Energy Safety and Security Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, the very helpful and supportive parliamentary secretary, for her important work on this file in particular. She raised two points in her comments.

I mentioned in previous responses the importance for consistency across all of our liability regimes for the purpose of protecting Canadians. This piece with respect to nuclear liability would put Canada's liability limit among the highest internationally. There is a mix among countries with respect to nuclear civil liability limits. The United Kingdom, France, Spain and other European nations are moving to an operator threshold of $1 billion and some non-European nations, for example, South Korea, South Africa and Argentina have lesser amounts.

In addition to the alignment exercise here domestically, the $1 billion liability limit is consistent with countries around the world. They will be looking to Canada ultimately for its leadership on establishing, by legislation, a reasonable and acceptable threshold for liability that is anchored by the safety of Canadians and our communities.

Energy Safety and Security Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's question and his important exercise in word count in this place. I would also point out that it is quite likely he is standing in a glass house when he talks about omnibus bills, but we will debate that at another time.

I think what is important here is to understand that the purpose of time allocation is to ensure that adequate time is allocated for further debate and the consideration of a bill. It is a tool that creates certainty. The benefits include greater certainty for all members in organizing their affairs and business to accommodate votes. It also helps folks interested in this, from the media to citizens, to improve their ability to inform and be informed as the general public. Therefore, time allocation in this sense is really a scheduling device.

On the importance of the debate within either time allocation or on this important piece of legislation, as I said earlier, we agree. This is an important bill that has gone through its due process. It needed to be updated and would now reflect an appropriate and responsible legislative framework for offshore and nuclear liability regimes. As well, it is an exercise to make this area consistent with other areas of liability, as I mentioned, pipeline safety, marine safety and the like.

Energy Safety and Security Act September 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity and the question from the member, who is the critic for Natural Resources. It is nice to be debating something in Natural Resources with her.

In the spirit of consensus, we have some agreement on a couple of key points. The government agrees that this is a critical and very important piece of legislation with respect to offshore safety and liability, as well with respect to nuclear liability. Furthermore, time allocation has given us an opportunity and in fact it is in place to ensure that adequate time is allocated for further debate and consideration of the bill. Therefore, we are moving toward some agreement on this.

I would make the observation that all of our regimes with respect to nuclear, offshore, rail, pipeline, and marine safety have some important alignments, particularly with respect to the principle of polluter pays.

On the more specific point of nuclear liability, I would just point out to my colleague that the current stage of the legislation is unacceptable. It is time for change. This was set in 1976 and has never changed. This piece of legislation and its amendments take into consideration, among other things, an amount that is sufficient to deal with the consequences of controlled release, and for a reasonable and fair assessment of insurers' capacities in this regard.

State of Canada's Forests September 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to table the 2014 State of Canada's Forests report.

I encourage all Canadians to read this document on Canada's forests.

Energy Safety and Security Act September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I hope the member is signalling support for this industry as a whole. I had a chance to be in Newfoundland not too long ago where the palpable enthusiasm in economic activity in Newfoundland was very clear to me. The important role that we play in working with Newfoundland and Labrador on offshore activities, particularly in regard to this act, is significant in terms of striking that right balance between a liability regime that works for continued economic activity.

Canada's current absolute liability limits, as I said earlier, have not been updated since the 1980s. This bill seeks to ensure that Canada's offshore regime for oil and gas remains world class. The $1 billion absolute liability would place Canada's regime squarely among those of its peer countries. As I have said before in answers to previous questions, in the case of fault or negligence liability remains unlimited.

Energy Safety and Security Act September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, while some countries have an unlimited liability limit, which would be Finland, Germany, Switzerland and Japan, in practice the capacity for operators to compensate for damages is limited.

For example, in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident, the Japanese government stepped in to bail out its operator. This meant it was effectively putting the utility under government ownership in order to allow it to continue to supply electricity to its customers.

Energy Safety and Security Act September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's contributions and her hard work on the standing committee with her two hands, and not my invisible one.

I appreciate the fact that energy is a key issue for her constituents. What I can assure her is that our regime and what is proposed in this bill, in both offshore and nuclear liability, compares well with the international community in terms of competent, independent regulators and their ability to enforce the kinds of standards about which she is concerned. We recognize that there are other countries that have provided benchmark standards. Norway and Australia are world leaders in offshore regimes, based on their respective regimes of extensive regulation and predictable process.

We have looked to those regimes. We have considered the important and rigorous role that the independent boards perform at arm's-length in the interest of putting the safety of our Canadian communities in these areas, and Canada as a whole, at the forefront in developing these kinds of regimes, whether they are nuclear, offshore, pipelines, tanker safety and the like.

Energy Safety and Security Act September 15th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's curiosity on this issue.

Canada's current absolute liability limits have not been updated since the 1980s. Indeed, we are taking a significant leap forward from the $30 million to $40 million range in the Atlantic and Arctic to $1 billion. This will place Canada's liability regime squarely among those of its peer countries.

In case of fault or negligence liability remains unlimited.