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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is colleague.

Conservative MP for Kitchener—Conestoga (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply November 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I hate to raise this point again, but my colleague assured all of us that he was just in his preamble earlier when he had not yet referred to the motion before us, other than that one phrase. Therefore, I would ask you to call my colleague to order.

Business of Supply November 23rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, repeatedly today, during the speeches by our Liberal colleagues, they pointed out a very rosy picture of our economy, yet we know that the average family is paying $840 more in taxes than it was two years ago when the Liberals took office. In fact, 81% of middle-class families are paying more in taxes today than they were under our government. The Liberals have continually tried to divert the topic back to their supposedly rosy picture.

With the motion before us today, we are asking the minister to simply open up the curtain to let the sunshine in as a good disinfectant. Could my colleague comment on whether his constituents have contacted him about the egregious errors of our Liberal finance minister and how that is impacting the level of trust Canadians have in their elected officials?

Business of Supply November 23rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, I was so hopeful that the member's speech was finished. I thought he was out of time. Seeing that there is still so much time, I would ask you to please enforce your ruling that the member is not talking about the topic at hand and that he needs to come back to the topic at hand.

Business of Supply November 23rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I want to remind my colleague that we are not talking about the budget implementation act. We are not talking about the budget. We are here today to discuss a very clearly defined motion by the opposition. I would ask you, Madam Speaker, to ensure the member addresses the motion in his comments.

Earlier today, the same kinds of games were being played by other members when they went on and on to talk about the government's accomplishments, but today we are talking about the ethics, or lack thereof, of the finance minister.

National Security Act, 2017 November 20th, 2017

Madam Speaker, my colleague pointed out the fact that over the previous week, many of us in this chamber had the opportunity to participate in remembrance services across our ridings to thank our men and women in uniform for standing up for the freedoms we enjoy today. He also pointed out that Bill C-59 makes it more difficult for our security and police officers to intercept emerging threats.

However, one of the most disturbing comments I heard this past weekend is what appears to be an attempt to rebrand these terrorists who are returning to Canada as simply “returning foreign terrorist travellers”. Does my colleague have any comments to make on this attempt to rebrand a group of people we should be doing everything we can to keep out of our country?

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Absolutely.

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative position is not to go down this very dangerous road. We have heard many times today about the Colorado experiment and what that state is doing. I do not have the very latest report, but I do have this one dated September 2016 showing some of the negative impacts. Marijuana-related traffic deaths have increased 48% in over three years on average, from 2103 to 2015. Before that period, the increase was only 11%.

I would ask for unanimous consent to table this document or, better yet, the updated one from 2017 to allow my Liberal colleagues to see the negative results in jurisdictions that have authorized the recreational use of marijuana. The statistics are alarming. For my colleagues not even to want to look at this, I find unconscionable. We have an obligation in the House to stand up for the protection of the youth of our country, and I hope we will do that.

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the deceitful aspect of the bill is very similar to what the Liberals are doing on the taxation front. They say they are going to tax the wealthy and put those dollars into the hands of the middle class, when in fact in the last couple of weeks we have seen exactly the opposite. Those who are wealthy and well-connected have been left totally alone, with not a cent increase in their taxation, while those in the middle class who are working hard, including farmers and small business owners, are being accused by the Liberals as tax cheats.

To imply that this legislation would keep drugs out of the hands of youth is certainly not accurate when we see that kids aged 12 to 18 will be able to have five grams in their possession. This is not the way to go.

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the member said anything above five grams would be a criminal offence. The bill does not indicate that anything above five grams for those 18-years-old and beyond would not be a criminal offence. My concern remains.

When we give a message to youth aged 12 to 18 there will be no prohibition for being in possession of up to five grams of marijuana, and in addition give homeowners the ability to grow up to four plants within each household, we have a recipe for easy access for youth, and not one that would keep this drug out of their hands.

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak to Bill C-45.

Before I start my comments on Bill C-45, let me take a minute to reflect on the upcoming weekend and the remembrance services that many of us in this room will be attending this coming weekend, and to thank our veterans for the freedoms that we enjoy. Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending a number of remembrance services in New Dundee, New Hamburg, Linwood, and Elmira. This coming weekend, I will be in New Hamburg, Waterloo, Kitchener, and Elmira again. Let us just to think of the sacrifice that our veterans have made, and thank our legions for the great work that they do in not only supporting our veterans but also in helping us never to forget. I want to highlight that before I get into my remarks on Bill C-45.

There are a number of really important issues that are dealt with in this chamber on a daily basis. Over the last number of weeks, we have discussed a number of them, from rising debt to taxation, supposedly fair taxation, the economy, the deficit that is growing every day, and the amazing excessive interest we will be paying on that over the next four years of $33 billion per year. All of these things are important. However, in relation to the topic before us today, really they are of minor significance. This topic we are discussing today will have a life-changing impact not only on our youth and our citizens but on the very nation of Canada. I think it is important that we think clearly and soberly about the changes we are making, especially as it relates to three areas.

I first want to refer to our youth. That has been referred to many times today, the health, safety, and well-being of our children and our grandchildren, the safety of all Canadians on the roads, and the social risks that are involved in our communities with complaints and issues that will arise between neighbours.

However, let me first refer to our youth.

In question period today, my colleague from Richmond—Arthabaska, and I just happened to catch it, made this great statement that the decisions we make reveal the values we hold. How much do we, as members of Parliament, in this room value the youth of Canada? That is a question that we need to ask. I believe youth are a sacred trust that every one of us in this room has an obligation to guard seriously. We cannot take this obligation lightly.

The Liberals claim repeatedly that the purpose of this legislation is to protect our young people and to increase public safety. How can we keep this drug out of the hands of our youth when we are actually allowing four plants per household? How can we say we are keeping it out of the hands of our youth when we are allowing 12-year-olds to have up to five grams in their possession? We often hear of people being polled about whether they favour the legalization of marijuana, and the polls are all over the place, but it is somewhere around 50:50 or 60:40. However, I am convinced that if we were to give the details of what this bill entails with respect to the availability of four plants per household and up to five grams for 12-year-olds, we would get a much different answer.

The Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Psychiatric Association have both stated that Canadians who consume marijuana recreationally under the age of 25 have a higher risk of developing mental illness, such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. We can all probably tell some anecdotal stories of family members or neighbours who have been derailed by the early use of marijuana.

The Canadian Psychiatric Association says:

Regular cannabis use in youth and young adults can affect aspects of cognition...attention, memory, processing speed, visuospatial functioning and overall intelligence. Worse performance is related to earlier adolescent onset of use.

I do not know how much earlier an onset one could get than offering this availability to a 12-year-old. Therefore, parents and grandparents are very concerned about the direction in which this bill is going.

Dr. Diane Kelsall in the Canadian Medical Association Journal wrote, “Most of us know a young person whose life was derailed because of marijuana use. Bill C-45 is unlikely to prevent such tragedies from occurring—and, conversely, may make them more frequent.”

There are far too many young people who have already been derailed. These are not just opinions, these are medical and psychiatric experts, and it is important that we listen to them.

I want to use the bulk of my time today to listen to one of the youth of Canada, who is concerned that this legislation and the actions we approve here in this House would, or could, in fact derail young people. She does not want to be one of those derailed, and she does not want her friends to be derailed. This young person is my granddaughter who wrote this two years ago, in November 2015, when she was 15 years old. She wrote:

Marijuana, the dangerous substance that damages our lungs, brain, educational value and social activity is the substance the government of Canada is trying to legalize. Claims say that legalization will erode the black market but in reality, legalizing marijuana will give people easier access to the drug. Recently I heard the testimony of a man who at age 14 was heading to Toronto for 420 with one hundred dollars worth of Marijuana. The fact that ten years ago a 14 year old boy who had no job and no car was able to get his hands on one hundred dollars worth of weed blows my mind. Can you imagine how easy it would be for someone to get marijuana now, especially if it were to become legal? Easier access to Marijuana will have many negative effects for Canada such as major health damage, ruining our educational system, our workplace and our society. The future of Canada rests in the hands of our generation, there is no way marijuana will be a positive tool in that regard....

With long term and short term effects the list of things that marijuana does to damage your health is endless. Short term effects include impaired memory, impaired body movement, changes in mood, hallucinations, paranoia, difficulty thinking and problem solving. Along with temporary damage Marijuana proves to once again be a dangerous substance having a long lasting effect on your brain and mental health. A study showed that people who started heavily smoking marijuana in their teens lost an average of eight IQ points between ages of 13 and 38. Even after quitting as an adult the lost mental abilities did not fully return. There are many different ways to consume Marijuana but no matter which way, it is harmful. Marijuana smoke contains the same tar and chemicals that are found in tobacco smoke which will lead to the inflammation of bronchitis. The drug harms cells lining and respiratory tract leading to precancerous changes that are associated with lung, head and neck cancer. Marijuana also stimulates your heart rate and blood pressure which can increase the risk of heart attack among individuals. I have named only a few of the health risks that occur when marijuana is consumed however, I hope that this is enough to strongly discourage you from believing the legalization of medical marijuana will infact be a positive thing in any way shape or form.

She went on:

The damage of marijuana does not end with your health, the drugs negative effect leads into your educational life as well. A review of 48 different relevant studies all found that marijuana use is associated with reduced chances of graduating. A recent analysis of data from studies in Australia and New Zealand found that youth who have used marijuana regularly were significantly less likely to finish highschool and obtain a degree than their non-using peers. Marijuana is encouraging lazy work habits and a 'don't care' attitude, leading students down the path of becoming a high school dropout. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that while under the influence of marijuana the still developing brain will have difficulty retaining memories, when related back to school this can seriously affect your learning skills as a student. “Falling behind in school is par for the course when marijuana use is a factor. It's not an issue solely based on loss of memory; they also report that psychological skills are reduced among students as well, decreasing their ability to sustain their self-confidence and remain focused on achieving academic and other goals”—NIDA. Even though marijuana is an illegal drug it has not stopped teens and students from buying and using the drug, what is to happen now if marijuana becomes legal? By legalizing this drug we are practically encouraging students to go out and get high, ruining their high school career and affecting whatever may lay beyond that....

Believe me when I say that marijuana not only negatively affects your health, your education but your social and work life as well. Studies show specific links between the use of marijuana and the workplace such as increased risk of injuries and accidents. One study among postal workers found that employees who tested positive for marijuana on a urine drug test had 55 percent more industrial accidents, 85 percent more injuries, and 75 percent greater absence compared with those who tested negative for marijuana. After all of the papers you wrote, tests you studied for and emotional trials you went through over the minimum of 16 years of schooling, is it really worth it to throw that all away for the temporary high of marijuana?

....Before make the decision to legalize this dangerous substance lets first think of all of the health risks caused by this drug, the negative effect that it would have on our educational system and how different and harmful the workplace and our economy would be with marijuana easily accessible and legal.

I have so much more to share.

Let me finish with some comments by Dr. Diane Kelsall, director of the Canadian Medical Association, in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. She says, “If Parliament truly cares about the public health and safety of Canadians, especially our youth, this bill will not pass.”

I hope my colleagues will listen.