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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was concerned.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Independent MP for Nanaimo—Alberni (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions June 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have a number of petitions to present but they are bundled into three issues.

The first petition is from about 680 persons from Nanaimo, across Vancouver Island and across British Columbia.

These citizens would like to draw the attention of Parliament to the murder of Kimberly Proctor. The petitioners are calling for changes to the Criminal Code dealing with young persons 16 years or older regarding trial, sentencing, and custody amendments to be known as “Kimberly's law”.

The Economy June 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, thanks to our government's determined direction, Canada's economy is a model among developed nations. The World Economic Forum has rated our banking system as the most sound in the world for the past six years. Forbes has rated Canada the best country in the G20 in which to do business.

Under the leadership of our Prime Minister, we continue to open new markets for Canadian businesses, supporting them as they compete in the global marketplace. The anti-trade NDP, au contraire, wants to implement risky schemes to raise taxes, while the Liberal leader thinks that budgets balance themselves.

Every middle-class family knows that it takes discipline to balance the chequebook, but only our Conservative government is focused on the priorities of Canadians: jobs, growth and economic prosperity. We are keeping taxes low, we are on track to balance the budget and we are getting the job done for hard-working Canadians.

Health May 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Motion No. 501 is about refining a strategy for sustainable health care through innovation and targeted initiatives that demonstrate both effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.

There are low-cost options to deliver healthier people and save billions of dollars in the process. In the past few weeks, I have drawn attention to a regulatory failure at Health Canada that has contributed to thousands of deaths and hundreds of millions in unnecessary expenditures in each of the past 10 years. We can do better.

On Monday, scientists who are experts on vitamin D gathered in Ottawa, urging Health Canada to increase the upper level of D recommended to Canadians. They argue for billions in savings through reduced diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and infectious disease management costs.

Motion No. 501 is patient-centred. It combines wellness promotion and disease prevention. There is more information and petitions on my website.

Sustainable health care is everyone's concern. Let us work together with the provinces and territories to make Canada a leader in first-class sustainable health care.

Western Forest Products May 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the citizens of Nanaimo are reeling from yesterday's tragic shooting at the Western Forest Products mill at the downtown harbour assembly wharf, which killed two people and left two others injured, one critically.

Fred McEachern and Michael Lunn were killed instantly on their arrival at work in the early morning by a gunman who started his rampage in the mill's car park before proceeding to the administrative office. Tony Sudar, vice-president of manufacturing, survived the attack after being shot in the side of his face. He is reported as being stable. A former employee has been charged with two counts of first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.

Grief counselling has been offered to the employees and families affected by this heartbreaking incident, and a makeshift memorial of flowers is building up outside the mill.

Nanaimo is a close community. It is unimaginable that this kind of senseless act could happen in our city. I am sure all members of the House will want to join me in extending our sympathies and prayers to the families of the victims, and the mill and the port employees. We hope they are comforted by knowing that they have the support of all Canadians at this difficult time.

National Defence April 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, transnational criminal organizations use the Caribbean base in Central American as trans-shipment areas for illicit traffic in drugs, weapons, money, and people.

Illicit trafficking is a significant source of revenue for organized crime and a growing threat to national, regional, and international security, and therefore to North America and Canada.

As part of a multinational campaign to combat and prevent illicit trafficking, Canada has contributed significantly to Operation CARIBBE. Today HMCS Whitehorse and HMCS Nanaimo return home from participating in this operation. Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence advise this House about their work in this important operation?

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 April 3rd, 2014

More than ever.

Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act March 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that exports create about 35% of the economic opportunity and employment in Canada. We see this as an opportunity, which our friends opposite fail to appreciate, unfortunately. Creating opportunities for our Canadian companies to engage in other parts of the world, in fact, expands trade.

NDP members were opposed to the North American Free Trade Agreement. On that side of the House, they are opposed to every free trade agreement we bring in. They said it would be a disaster and terrible for Canada. However, in fact, NAFTA brought great opportunity to Canada, and so has every other trade opportunity.

I just mentioned in my speech that our trade with the north-south axis has increased 32% in the last few years. That creates opportunities, and opportunities are what we need in a very competitive world.

That is why on our side of the House we support engaging with other nations. It is one of our best opportunities to help them with governance capacity, to help them with aid, and to help them develop economic opportunities in their own nations. We want to share Canada's expertise with the world and create opportunities for our own businesses at the same time.

Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act March 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I think the member, typical of the NDP, is opposed to trade agreements in general.

What the member fails to appreciate is the fact that part of our north-south agreement is to help develop governance capacity in the nations with which we are engaging. We are investing through our aid programs and helping to build justice, train them in justice, train police forces, and help build governance capacity. These are all important measures in helping to stabilize any country.

By providing employment and creating employment opportunities for Canadian businesses to interact, we want to help establish best practices to help them understand how proper labour arrangements work and what stable employment can provide for people in terms of economic opportunity to create a stable society. That is what free trade arrangements are about. If we waited for countries to be perfect, well, a lot of countries would miss an opportunity to get a hand up to a better level of life.

Canada has had a very successful democracy. There are people who think we do not have it quite right yet. It is a work in progress, but we are trying to help those who are further behind to come up to a better level.

Canada-Honduras Economic Growth and Prosperity Act March 6th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, at the onset, I would like to inform you that I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Red Deer.

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to speak about what our government is doing to support prosperity for all Canadians and how the Canada-Honduras free trade agreement would be part of the bigger picture.

The Canada-Honduras free trade agreement would be another step in fulfilling our Conservative government's ambitious pro-trade plan. International trade is critical to the Canadian economy. We need to ensure open borders for our exporters. One in five Canadian jobs is related to exports. Freer, more open trade would ensure that we could support domestic economic growth and new jobs. Our Conservative government has always been a supporter of free and open trade. For this reason, our government made it a priority to diversify our international trade negotiations agenda and place increased focus on concluding regional and bilateral trade agreements, such as the Canada-Honduras free trade agreement we are discussing today. These agreements would be complementary and, in fact, would strengthen the important work of the WTO.

It may surprise many Canadians to learn that, in 2006, Canada only had free trade agreements with five countries. Our government recognized the situation was not good for Canadian companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, which depend more and more on international markets for their success. Lack of competitive access to global markets was putting Canadian exporters, investors, and service providers at a competitive disadvantage. This was especially apparent when key competitors from the U.S. and the EU were already enjoying preferential market access.

It was clear that the Government of Canada needed to act. That is why we introduced the global commerce strategy in 2007. The global commerce strategy was focused upon expanding our global trade network, strengthening Canada's competitiveness in established markets, while also expanding into fast-moving, emerging economies. The strategy supported Canadian company participation in international markets; in particular, helping them to seize opportunities as part of global value chains. It has also identified markets in which Canada should focus its trade negotiating capacity.

Our Conservative government has concluded new free trade agreements with nine countries, which is something to celebrate, beginning with the European Free Trade Association member states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, followed by Colombia, Jordan, Peru, Panama, and of course, most recently, Honduras, which we are debating today.

Of course, there is the landmark Canada-European Union comprehensive economic trade agreement, which once ratified, would mean that Canada would have free trade agreements with 42 nations.

The CETA with the EU took some time to negotiate. The Europeans, having brought together 27 countries—now 28 with the addition of Croatia less than a year ago—have extensive experience in negotiating agreements, as they brought this coalition of 28 countries together. Therefore, for Canada, it is a tremendous credit to our Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and our own minister, the hon. member for Abbotsford, that we have developed tremendous capacity and experience in advancing trade agreements.

This is a major achievement, but we will not rest on our laurels. We recognize the success of the 2007 global commerce strategy, and in the 2012 economic action plan, we confirmed our intention to build upon success.

It is important to us that we respond to the evolving needs of Canadian companies. We do not deliver strategies in a vacuum. We get out there and talk to business. That is one of the reasons why our low tax regime is so important to Canadian businesses.

The hon. Minister of Finance is reported by some to be the best finance minister in the world. We give him credit for helping to keep taxes low in Canada, which creates an environment for business to prosper and for Canadians to do well. I am sure members will remember that, because of the more than 160 tax cuts we have brought in since forming government, the average Canadian family is now saving $3,400 every year. That is a tremendous accomplishment.

Bloomberg business magazine recently said that Canada is the second best country in the world with which to do business. That is something to brag about.

The work is not done. There is a lot more to do. It is a competitive world. These agreements are about creating opportunities for our small and medium-size businesses, as well as large enterprises, to engage with the world and for countries like Honduras to engage with Canada to expand and strengthen the family of nations through trade.

We have conducted consultations right across Canada. We have engaged with around 400 business and industry stakeholders. They were not just large corporations but also small and medium-size businesses, which are the lifeblood of the Canadian economy. That is why we are proud of the global markets action plan we launched in November 2013. It is not some bureaucratic exercise. It is a concrete plan for Canadian businesses, developed with Canadian businesses.

The global markets action plan focuses on our international economic engagement by identifying priority sectors and markets. It also underscores the importance of economic diplomacy. It aims to help Canadian small and medium-size companies expand their global reach.

Through this government's initiatives, we want to support Canadian companies, whether they export goods or services or want to invest to be competitive in new markets.

Speaking of new markets, our government has long recognized the growing importance of the Americas. The Prime Minister confirmed this when he made the region a foreign policy priority in 2007. Increased trade and commercial engagement are part of the Prime Minister's vision for a more prosperous, secure, and democratic hemisphere. It makes economic sense to Canadian businesses too. Total trade between countries in the Americas and Canada increased 32% from 2007 to 2012, not to mention that Canadian direct investment was up 58.6% over the same period. That is why we want to deepen trade relations with countries in the region, such as Honduras. Our government realized that we needed to get results faster for Canadian companies, so we moved to bilateral negotiations with our most ambitious partner, which is Honduras.

In August 2011, the Prime Minister was able to announce the successful conclusion of our free trade talks. The Prime Minister recognized the importance of this agreement. He confirmed that the Canada-Honduras free trade agreement was a key part of our government's agenda to open new markets for Canadian business, to create new opportunities for our workers, and to contribute to Canada's future prosperity.

This free trade agreement would provide numerous benefits to Canadian companies that are active or interested in Honduras. Not only would it eliminate the vast majority of Honduran tariffs, but it would help raise the profile of Canadian businesses in the country, and further deepen and strengthen Canada's commercial and economic relationship with Honduras.

The Canada-Honduras free trade agreement would also make us competitive with players from the U.S. and the EU, which already enjoy free trade with Honduras, not to mention giving Canadian companies a secure and predictable framework for business.

In responding to a question earlier, the minister commented on one Canadian company with 20,000 employees that is employing Hondurans and helping to raise the standard of living for them.

In my remarks, I have highlighted how this Conservative government is proactively addressing the needs of Canadian business, both globally and in the dynamic region of the Americas. It is also clear that the Canada-Honduras free trade agreement would create new opportunities for Canadian companies in the Honduran market. Moving this agreement forward would respond to the needs of Canadian companies. It would be yet another step in support of our growth and prosperity agenda.

For these reasons, I hope all hon. colleagues will support the ratification of this free trade agreement with Honduras.

Committees of the House March 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the refugee situation we are discussing today involved 820,000 people. It was a massive displacement of people from their homes, lands, culture, and language. They had to leave everything behind. Here we are just a few decades or maybe half a century later.

I wonder if the member would comment on how it is possible that a displacement of 820,000 people could largely be forgotten. Everybody seems to know about Palestinian people and the Palestinian refugees, which is a common thing to talk about, but how is it possible that the displacement of so many people has largely been forgotten?