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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 March 13th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I want to draw to your attention your ruling on the statement of the member for Edmonton—Sherwood Park.

I have had the privilege of representing the people of Kootenay--Columbia in this chamber now for 15 years and have seen an awful lot of things. Of all places in Canada, this place most of all is a place of freedom of speech. This is a place where we as members come and are accountable to each other and are held accountable by each other on behalf of the people of Canada, so naturally there is criticism.

I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that it is obvious that you were using the Speaker's ruling yesterday and the days before as a guide, without a doubt. However, my concern, as a long-term member of this House, is that the current interpretation by the Speaker may be dangerous. I am suggesting that it could very well be the thin edge of the wedge in terms of the freedom of speech that we must have in this chamber.

This is a place where we come and have a competition of ideas. In having the competition of ideas, the competition is guided by the referee, the Speaker in the House, so I would like to draw an analogy to a hockey game.

If, during the middle of a hockey game, there is a change in the way in which a referee ends up ruling on certain infractions that are now infractions that were not previously infractions, we end up in that hockey game with a whole changed game and an undesired result.

I would point out that if we look back to June 2006, the Liberals were the ones bringing their whole month of harpocrisy, which, obviously, was a play on our Prime Minister. They accused the Prime Minister of hiring a convicted fraud artist to work in the PMO.

I also would point out that Reg Alcock, a former Liberal minister, denied that he called the member for Calgary—Nose Hill sweetheart but explained that he had called our current defence minister a scumbag. These are unfortunate references that are historic and are in Hansard

We can also look at Bill Matthews, a former Liberal member in the House, who called the Prime Minister a liar and refused to apologize. I can even recall former Liberal minister Doug Young calling our friend, Deb Grey, more than a slab of bacon.

Those kinds of things have been going on in this place from time immemorial. I would suggest that in the same way that a referee in a hockey game might want to take a look at the tapes and consider the way in which the calls were made, how it may have changed the tenor of the game, that you might want to ask Mr. Speaker if he would do the same thing in reviewing his rulings and take another look at his current direction in which he is going.

I understand what he is attempting to achieve but in the same way that a referee who changes the rulings in a middle of a hockey game can completely ruin a hockey game and create infractions that are unintended, I believe we could be on the same course with the current rulings of the Speaker of this House.

Millennium Summit March 13th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague, the House leader, has pointed out, Canada is doing very well in this area. We are doubling the amount of support we are giving to our African programs.

This is well under control. The people of Canada are very proud of the way we take our place in the world.

Committees of the House March 12th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I find this issue very interesting. I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, with respect to your concern, that, in the same way that we have developed a certain set of phrases within this House as common practice so that we respect the Standing Orders, the rules of the House and the previous rules of yourself and previous Speakers, we have certain phrases that we use. I would suggest, for your consideration, with respect to your concern, that we could probably come up with a five or six word sentence that would cover that issue that you raised so ably.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009 March 3rd, 2009

Madam Speaker, I think my friend doth protest way too much. With respect to the issue of navigable waters, apparently she does not understand that there is an environmental assessment done anytime a public work will touch a body of water. The province is responsible for the foreshore of a river and a lake, the bed of a lake, the bed of a river and the water in the river. The only thing the federal government has anything to do with on the navigable water is what people so on the surface of the water.

What we want to do is to get the money out. We want to create economic activity in Canada. Having the additional environmental review about what people do on the surface of the water is redundant, considering the environmental review that will already have been done by the province.

She does protest way too much. In fact, by making this amendment, it creates the ability of being able to efficiently assess environmental concerns and, with satisfaction, moving forward.

She really does protest way too much.

Budget Implementation Act, 2009 March 3rd, 2009

The sky is going to fall.

Service Canada March 2nd, 2009

Madam Speaker, I will get to the subamendment, but I have to establish the context.

For people in my constituency, there is a challenge when they have an emergency to get to a passport office, so I have the same sympathy that the other 307 members of this place have.

The government has reacted positively through Service Canada. It has created a receiving office in my constituency that has resolved the majority of issues, but as I say, I have an awareness of the concerns of all member of the House, and I share them.

As a result of the changes that were made, my office has received many compliments from my constituency on the service provided by my office and Service Canada. It was a pragmatic, practical way to address the challenges that we had with the invention of the western hemisphere travel initiative.

The proposed motion and the amendments would create a number of new concerns. For example, because this is the most valued travel document in the world, how would we maintain the high level of control and our absolute integrity by expanding to about 300 offices, as opposed to the ones that we presently have?

Considering the inestimable value of blank passports and equipment, how would we achieve absolute security at all the new locations? Where would we get the trained staff for the myriad of locations? Would it actually speed up the process? What would it cost, considering all the above? If we were to make these changes, what would they be, and what is the present situation?

As has been described, Passport Canada services are already offered through a wide range of access points. Application forms may be picked up at Canada Post outlets. People can complete them online, using a printable form, in person at 33 regional passport offices, or one of 197 Service Canada and Canada Post receiving agents. In addition to that, the forms can be submitted to the passport office through our offices.

For this most recent subamendment to the motion, it would add yet another level and another consideration of security for the blank passports themselves, for the ability to print on to those passports at all those locations and, on top of that, we would have the concern of training the people at all those centres.

In total there are 231 offices where Canadians can go to get answers and submit their passport applications. To suggest that any of us, my office included, have not been approached by constituents who are frustrated and have concerns would not be factually accurate. There have been concerns, but what would be the cost to the integrity of the Canadian passport, this most valued document, by opening up the number of offices?

Not only has Passport Canada been successful in remaining within its published processing times, which are totally reasonable in my judgment, it has done it as the number of applications has increased.

Is the hon. member aware that Passport Canada does not receive a penny of her constituents' tax contributions? What that means is one of two things would have to happen. If we were to increase the number of issuing passport offices from the 33 we presently have, there would have to be a cost increase to the passports. There would have to be more people trained. There would be a lack of efficiency moving the passports from one passport issuing office to another, where they could be handled. There would be immense increase in cost. From where would this cost come?

Would the member prefer that the cost of Canadian passports be increased substantially. It is a stand-alone cost, which means that only people who choose to get Canadian passports are paying for them. Or, would she take it out of Canada's revenue, in which case, people who are not applying for passports and who do not consider they need a passport would be paying for the passports of people who do? It must come from one place or the other.

My colleague probably misunderstands the intent and function of Passport Canada's receiving agents in relation to Passport Canada itself. We have all of these receiving agents in our constituencies, 231 of them. We have our own office and office staff to help our constituents. The present situation is that the passport issuing office is under the absolute control and integrity that is required for this to continue to be the world's most valued travel document.

I do not believe the members would want to change that status nor do I believe they would want to increase the cost of a passport. Perhaps there are members in this House who should pay attention to the training and the calibre of the staff they have in their own offices. I am very proud of the people in my office who have trained themselves and others who have come into my employ and who have been able to help my constituents through some very difficult times.

We need to ensure that whatever we are doing with respect to this issue, we are not making law for the exception. I grant that I receive telephone calls and correspondence from some of my constituents from time to time when they have been legitimately frustrated with the passport service. I have brought two files with me to Ottawa, as a matter of fact, to speak to the minister and the ministries involved. That does happen. However, we need to be careful that we are not going to be doing something that will deal with the exception at the cost of the integrity of the Canadian passport.

Every member of Parliament must think this issue through very clearly as to the cost and the benefit. I suggest that when members have an opportunity to look at the reality, they will not be prepared to incur the cost because there is no benefit to this bill.

Service Canada March 2nd, 2009

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise and debate this motion. I am rising today concerning the motion and the amendments submitted by the hon. member for Brossard—La Prairie. The motion seeks to transform 320 Service Canada offices into fully functional passport offices. As members are aware, more Canadians than ever hold a passport for business trips, leisure or simply as a trusted means of identification.

There is no doubt that Canadians are applying for passports in record numbers. In response to pressure from constituents, it is important that all members of Parliament be aware of all the issues involved with passports. We must note that Canadian passports are the most highly valued travel document in the world, which is no accident. The control of the process creates that integrity.

This control, however, causes frustrations for constituents from time to time that require intervention from MP offices. In my constituency, for example, the issue of access is important in Kootenay—Columbia because we are a three to eight hour drive away from Calgary, the closest—

Situation in Sri Lanka February 4th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the answer to the question is, as I stated in my speech, this is a new $3 million for a total of $6 million. That is exactly it and I am just confirming that number for the member.

Situation in Sri Lanka February 4th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, as the member will be well aware, parliamentary secretaries, ministers of state, my minister, and the foreign affairs minister, all have our own responsibilities, and within that context, his question is a perfectly valid question. Would I be the person who would be doing the speaking? Probably not. The constructive suggestions that have been coming out of this debate tonight have been very helpful on balance and I commend the vast majority of members in this House.

Situation in Sri Lanka February 4th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, it has been very interesting to listen to this debate tonight. By and large, there have been tremendously constructive comments, some differences of opinion, some concerns about timing, all of which are absolutely valid.

The question the member has put to me is one born of a very partisan perspective. I do not know the purpose of the question.

Since our government has taken over, we have done a tremendous amount of work in terms of accountability, which is not to say that we have had any serious questions about those agencies, as he seems to be alluding. The fact is we are putting in place an accountability for the people of Canada that the money, the assets, will be going to the people for whom it is intended.