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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was fact.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Conservative MP for Kootenay—Columbia (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2008, with 60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Points of Order November 23rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I suggest the House is reaching another point of difficulty. I have a great deal of respect for the member for Saint-Jean. He is on the special committee for Afghanistan. When he was asking his question in French, I received the English translation that he was referring to the fact that the Prime Minister had his “goons”, which is a slur on birds, attacking Mr. Colvin.

I also heard the member for Ottawa South not once, but at least twice, when the defence minister was giving his answer to his questions, hollering out at the top of his lungs, obviously kitty-corner in the House so I could hear him, “weasel words”.

Both the expression of the word “goons” in English and “weasel words” from the other member are not at all helpful. This is a very heated debate about which we all have very passionate feelings. All members would do well to kind of tone down the words and the rhetoric that we use.

October 19th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I would like to point out that at the political level, I believe within the G8 we have a cabinet committee comprising senior members whose sole purpose is to focus on, guide, and provide political leadership to oversee Canada's engagement in Afghanistan.

Without any question, our government is fully engaged in this issue and is doing what needs to be done, notwithstanding the titles that the member may or may not wish to have. Titles are easy to apply. For us to get the job done is more difficult, and that is exactly what we are doing.

October 19th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to stand in the House and capitalize on this opportunity to discuss the government's approach to Afghanistan.

First, allow me to review the nature of Canada's commitment to Afghanistan and our government's effective priorities, namely diplomatic, development and reconstruction.

I would like to take a moment and remind the House and the members currently present that on March 13, 2008, in this very chamber we voted on a motion of the future of Canada's mission in Afghanistan, which stipulated that our government's contribution to Afghanistan would:

—be revamped and increased to strike a better balance between our military efforts and our development efforts in Afghanistan;

Following the motion, this government carried out an extensive review, an assessment process to define Canadian priorities and programming for Afghanistan. As a result of the work of many on this side of the House, Canada's mission in Afghanistan now has a greater emphasis on reconstruction, development and diplomacy.

The government identified six key strategic priorities for Canada's engagement in Afghanistan for the 2008-2011 period, namely: first, enable the Afghan National Security Forces in Kandahar to sustain a more secure environment and promote law and order; second, strengthen Afghan institutional capacity to deliver basic services and promote job-oriented economic growth, enhancing the confidence of Kandaharis in their government; third, provide humanitarian assistance for vulnerable people, including refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons; fourth, enhance border security through facilitation of bilateral dialogue between Afghan and Pakistan authorities; fifth, build national institutions that are central to our Kandahar priorities and support democratic processes, such as elections; and sixth, facilitate Afghan-led efforts toward political reconciliation.

Helping our government to deliver on these priorities and commitments over the last year our civilian presence in Afghanistan doubled. Today over 100 Canadian civilians are working in Afghanistan, including personnel from DFAIT, CIDA, the RCMP and Correctional Service Canada.

This coordinated effort is an excellent example of our Conservative government's whole of government approach to the mission in Afghanistan. Our civilian partners work in a very challenging environment. These individuals exemplify the ideals of the Canadian mission and our government's streamlined priorities.

On the question of envoys, the fact is different countries have different approaches and mechanisms in place. We on the government side are less concerned with the actual title our officials carry than we are with the actual work they carry out and the quality of our assistance in Afghanistan.

The key is the Canadians working for Afghanistan, both on the ground in Afghanistan and here in Canada, are among the best and the brightest the world has to offer.

The hon. member asked for leadership. Allow me to clearly state, here it is, we have it. We are delivering real results. The results are far more important than the semantics and the titles. On this side of the House, we know this. It is time for the opposition to figure it out, too.

Our government clearly indicated its commitment by putting a senior ambassador in Afghanistan. Our ambassador to Afghanistan, William Crosbie, and our High Commissioner in Pakistan, Randolph Mank, worked very closely together coordinating our government's efforts at the regional level.

The work of the government also focuses on broader issues. We see no necessity for a special envoy.

Committees of the House October 5th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I will conclude my comments.

The second thing is that the NDP wants to slow down the EI bill so that we can remain in the House, which is a good thing because, indeed, that is what the Conservatives and the Prime Minister want to do.

That said, having raised the cover as to why this is happening, I would like the parliamentary secretary again to underscore why in the world the NDP thinks that we can achieve the rebuilding of Afghanistan without first creating security for the people of Afghanistan.

Committees of the House October 5th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to downgrade the importance of this debate because it is a debate about the fate of our armed forces, the people currently serving and those who have given their lives.

I do however want to raise the cover on why the debate is happening right at this second. The NDP wants to delay Parliament because those members do not want the free trade bill to proceed. The second thing is they asked for--

International Aid October 2nd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, Bob Geldof had this to say on national television this week, “It's almost a cliché now, but it's true. You do exactly what you say you do”. What was he talking about? The fact that our government doubled aid to Africa. He went on to say, “Canada was the first of the countries to achieve what was agreed to at Gleneagles in 2005. Canada almost predictably and gloriously was the first country to get there”.

Let us set the record straight. Contrary to the opposition rhetoric, we are moving Canada forward.

Employment Insurance Act September 17th, 2009

Madam Speaker, it is regrettable. I recognize that sometimes we get some words like the member has just used in this place, and it happens from both sides, I grant that. However, I must admit I am a little disappointed with the member. I thought, as a person who has been around this chamber as long as she has been, that she might find a little more appropriate way of expressing her disappointment in the way things have been going.

That said, I want to ask her a question. Does she accept the fact that we represent probably the vast majority of Canadians who think it is really quite, if I must use frivolous words, silly to be thinking of coming up with a revision to the employment insurance scheme that would give a year's benefits for 45 days of work? Does that really make any sense to her? It certainly does not make any sense to any right thinking Canadian with whom I have had any conversation, and it does not make any sense to me. I do not understand why that is the one thing the Liberals put in the window as a proposal. It really is rather—

Employment Insurance Act September 17th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I was listening intently to the member's speech. Obviously she has done her research and she has a number of very interesting quotes. My quote would be that it is interesting that in the 16 years I have had the privilege of doing this job for the people of Kootenay—Columbia, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The change is that we have become the government; what stays the same is the disconnectedness of the Liberals and the Liberal Party.

I would like to ask the member if she would care to reflect on the fact that the regime under which the employment insurance system works was a creation of her government. We are making some very concrete positive steps to do away with some of the more onerous and odious parts of the revisions that the Liberals did, and we are getting 190,000 more people on to the benefit side of the program. Surely she can see this is an improvement. Other than the blind political--

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act September 14th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I think if we take a look at the first comments I made in my speech, we will see that the Government of Canada believes the government of Colombia has taken real steps that demonstrate a real effort to curb violence against workers, bring justice to the people responsible for such crimes, promote security, peace and human rights, and establish the rule of law.

Is the job finished? No. It probably has a long way to go. Should we do what the NDP would do, just throw up our hands and leave them? No, I do not think so.

We are committed to working closely with the people of the Colombia as represented by their government to get this kind of an agreement moving forward so they can have useful, productive employment that they can go to so they can generate the wealth required to be able to do the things the member is referring to.

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act September 14th, 2009

Madam Speaker, that was a very good question. I say it was a very good question because we have to take a look at each individual free trade agreement. In other words, in the case of Colombia, as I have outlined, because Colombia and Bolivia are two of our countries of focus in South America, some of the comments I made about this agreement are going to be different from comments that we would be making about a free trade agreement with another jurisdiction, another country.

However, in broad-brush terms, from my own personal experience, having had the responsibility and privilege of being the member of Parliament for Kootenay—Columbia for 16 years now, I can say that I have worked very closely with the trade organizations and have a tremendous amount of respect, and I know that our government has a tremendous amount of respect and wants to make sure that these are balanced agreements.

In the 10 minutes that I had, I focused my speech specifically on children and youth at risk. There are many other aspects to this. I am sure that when further comments are made by my colleagues about this agreement, they will be able to fill in some of the blanks. Suffice it to say that, yes, that is definitely a part of our consideration.