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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

December 9th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I must admit one of the frustrations in politics is when our opponents decide that they are going to continue to repeat falsehoods. Repeating falsehoods does not make them true. The fact is that the Government of Canada has doubled aid to Africa from the APEC conferences. We not only doubled aid to Africa but we did it a year earlier than we were required to do it.

This member and others regrettably continue to perpetrate the myth that we have abandoned Africa. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that Canada has doubled its aid to Africa. We continue as a good world citizen and are recognized by many people in Africa as a nation that is their friend. I am very proud of that.

December 9th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for the opportunity to elaborate on the great work that CIDA and our government are doing in terms of food security and the Francophonie. Let me first tell the hon. member that CIDA's shift to concentrate its bilateral aid in 20 countries is by no means a move away from working closely with countries of the Francophonie.

The countries of focus only apply to our bilateral program funding. Through our multilateral and partnership programs we continue to assist any nation where a need exists. This means that well over half of CIDA's budget continues to be available to countries like Burkina Faso and the other country she has named.

CIDA and this government take seriously the responsibility we have when working with developing nations. We take pride in the exceptional work of our partners and those around the world when it comes to development.

The opposition members never miss an opportunity to tell the House about the countries of the Francophonie that did not make it to the countries of focus list, but they consistently fail to remind Canadians about the seven members of the Francophonie that are included in the countries of focus. That is seven out of twenty. Our government is doing its part and is a leader in the Francophonie.

This government has a long standing and deep relationship with the countries of the Francophonie. In fact, CIDA's support to the countries of the Francophonie has increased over the last several years. In 2007-8 our total bilateral aid to members of the Francophonie was approximately $430 million. In fact, at the 2008 meeting of the Francophonie the Prime Minister committed the government to continue support for cultural, security and environmental issues affecting the Francophonie and other countries.

The hon. member has mentioned Burkina Faso. This country is one of the African success stories. The government of Burkina Faso has introduced a series of policies, strategies and action plans in recent years to address the many challenges of sustainable development, economic growth and poverty reduction in Burkina Faso.

It has moved on several fronts: basic human needs, development of agriculture including the livestock industry, public service reform and policies on good governance, decentralization and competitiveness.

While CIDA is changing the criteria of bilateral funding, Burkina Faso continued to be eligible for multilateral and partnership branch funding. In terms of Burundi, Canadian official development assistance is focused mainly on humanitarian aid for famine relief, internally displaced persons and refugees. In fact, this type of assistance will continue.

As the member noted in the original question she asked in October, the minister did move quickly to help developing nations through the world food program. I am also proud as a member of this government to let the hon. member know that the minister announced an additional $30 million to the world food program just last week. CIDA's $30 million contribution is in addition to the $185 million provided to the world food program so far in 2009.

I am very pleased and very proud with the work that we are doing with Burkina Faso and the other members of the Francophonie.

December 3rd, 2009

Madam Speaker, it is always interesting to listen to my friend. He has some rather interesting ideas. He can trust me that we have never envisioned him in a Maple Leafs uniform, so he can go to bed safely.

I really do not know what the member is after. I truly do not. We have complied with the act. We were already doing things that are covered by the act. We have simply formalized our reporting system.

In his first question, if I heard him correctly, he was complaining about the fact that we gave him too many statistics. I have a lot of difficulty with that. It seems to me that no matter what, the member will never be satisfied and maybe he should try his fate in the NHL, I do not know.

December 3rd, 2009

Madam Speaker, on September 29 the Minister of International Cooperation tabled in Parliament the first summary of our government's official development assistance, ODA, activities, the first such report since the Official Development Assistance Accountability Act came into effect.

This evening, on behalf of the minister, I am pleased to tell the member that the government has taken a significant number of steps to fully implement the act.

Allow me to note that the act requires federal departments administering ODA to demonstrate that they are contributing to poverty reduction, that they are taking into account the perspectives of the poor, and that they are being consistent with international human rights standards. Naturally, we were already doing this.

Two new reports are required, one within six months of the start of the fiscal year, focusing on the nature of results achieved through our government's development assistance activities, and the other at the end of 12 months, giving a statistical report on ODA disbursements.

As I mentioned, the first report was tabled on September 29. The next one will be tabled before March 31 of next year. The ODA disbursements included in the summary report meet the ODA definition of the act and of the OECD.

In addition to regular reports, consultations are an important part of the act. CIDA is responsible for about two-thirds of our government's ODA and thus plays the leading role in implementing the act. We see consultations as an integral part of our policy and programming cycles.

This summer consultations with experts and stakeholders took place on three thematic priorities which we, as the government, have mandated for our ODA: increased food security; sustainable economic growth; and a secure future for children and youth.

In addition, prior to the announcement of our 20 countries of focus, we held discussions with many governments, international organizations, leading experts and civil society organizations about the need to focus our bilateral development assistance program. I would like to point out that we are making our aid much more focused, and this is the country of focus policy. It only applies to our bilateral funding. Every other nation in need of aid can still receive our multilateral and partnership support.

Before the ODA Accountability Act was passed, our project assessment process already took into account those principles and they are incorporated in our planning documents, including the country development programming frameworks that guide our funding decisions.

Our government has led CIDA into incorporating poverty reduction, human rights and perspectives on poverty in its policies and programs. Our programs are consistent with international human rights standards, which require a do no harm approach, ensuring that our programs do not contribute to violations of human rights.

We have also provided direction to CIDA staff through a variety of tools that spell out how the act is to be applied to the work of the agency. Finally, the agency has developed a consultation directive to give its employees formal direction on consultations.

As the member can see, our government had already taken steps to ensure that our aid is focused, accountable and effective. It is imperative that we use our aid to produce real results to assist the people of our world who are struggling against various circumstances.

Unlike the previous government's administration, we are taking our foreign aid seriously and continue to make CIDA an effective and respected agency. Our approach to foreign aid already reflected the principles of the act and it was therefore not difficult for us to abide by it.

Resumption and Continuation of Railway Operations December 1st, 2009

Mr. Speaker, if you are looking for precedents about people being in the House, if you were to go to the very long Nisga'a vote, you would find that the Speaker of the day ruled that when a vote is called, the Speaker announces the contents of the vote, and a member must stay in his or her seat for the entire duration until the vote is actually called by the Clerk and reported to the Speaker.

Business of Supply December 1st, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I am rather interested in this whole debate primarily because, as the member said, Mr. Colvin's testimony was somewhat incredulous. I was there and I asked him if it was true what he said in his testimony, that the people he interviewed, who he said had shown signs of torture, were people who had been turned over by the Canadians. He said no and that he was not really sure. I suggested that that was maybe rather important.

He also suggested that when they were walking back to their cells as he drove off, he happened to notice that they were holding hands with their guards and laughing as they walked back to their cells. I suggested to him that maybe there was some question as to whether they had been tortured, considering that they were laughing and walking gleefully back to their cells with the people who were holding them.

It went on and on. People can take a look at the testimony. I cannot really understand the request for a public inquiry. As I pointed out, Colvin is one of 5,000 Canadians who had gone through the theatre in that period of time. He made some very interesting observations and came to some really crazy conclusions.

According to this member, she wants to have a public inquiry. At what cost? Would it cost $1 million, $2 million, $5 million, $10 million, or $15 million of Canadian taxpayers' money? Would that money not be better to continue the polio eradication program that we are conducting—

Points of Order December 1st, 2009

Mr. Speaker, one of the things that I think that we should be taking a look at, bearing in mind that of course we are governed by the documents that are currently on the Table, is the issue of the additional expenditures that would be required by a given department from time to time, as a result of private members' legislation.

Let me give an example. We presently have Bill C-300 before us at committee. If we were to take a look at the documents on the Table of this House, there may be some question as to whether that bill, should it succeed to come back to the chamber, would require a royal recommendation. Perhaps within the documents on the Table, there are a number of questions about that.

There is no question, however, with respect to that bill, and perhaps with respect to my Liberal friend's bill, that there will be either a complete reordering of finances within a given department in order to take care of the requirements of being able to enact a piece of legislation that again is not specifically covered by the documents with which we govern ourselves.

Mr. Speaker, I know that you are a very knowledgeable traditionalist, in terms of taking a look at what has gone before and what the rules of the House are. I invite you to take a look at the additional aspect with respect to a royal recommendation where, for example, if I may use the example of Bill C-300, we received testimony just this morning from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, that in order for that bill to be enacted, it would require many millions of dollars of expenditure by the department.

In other words, Mr. Speaker, that is not covered by the specific rules that you have on the Table in front of you, and perhaps the advice that you would normally receive by the Table.

However, the fact of the matter, nonetheless, is that there will be a further expenditure, either that or a starving of current programs that are run by DFAIT or run by my minister, the Minister of International Cooperation.

So, Mr. Speaker, when you are looking at this intervention by my Liberal friend, I do invite you to take a look at it in the broader picture. Because there are other private members' bills that are going to be coming back to this chamber, which may or may not be successful. However, in the event that they are successful, you are going to be challenged with the fact that, in spite of the specific wording within the given bill that comes back, nonetheless, the government's hands will be tied and the President of the Treasury Board and the government will have to make other financial considerations other than what is currently contained on the Table.

Points of Order December 1st, 2009

Mr. Speaker, as one who frequently goes on this kind of trip, I always make it very clear that it is not a parliamentary delegation. I do not think there is any question, at least I did not hear any question by my colleague, of the content of what the member spoke about or any inference that he wanted to censor what she was talking about. However, I do believe there may be an issue here, as raised by my colleague, of the representation that she and a Liberal colleague made as being some kind of an official delegation.

We have a very rare privilege as members of Parliament of representing Canada. It is absolutely critical when each one of us does it that it be done in a very precise way. Indeed, if she represented herself as being part of a parliamentary delegation, I would join my colleague in his censure of what she did.

Resumption and Continuation of Railway Operations November 30th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I want to quickly address a question to my NDP colleague.

Not in this instance but in the future, for industries like rail and grain handling, would she be in favour of final offer binding arbitration which would allow the two sides to go to an independent third party to arrive at a conclusion, so that people like those who own lumber mills and need supplies for Christmas would not be fundamentally put out of business as a result of a strike like this? Would she be in favour of exploring the possibility of final binding offer arbitration?

Criminal Code November 23rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to the presentation by the NDP member. I noted she was talking about the fact that the system, as it currently exists, works fairly effectively and efficiently.

She also quoted extensively from the Canadian Bar Association, which has its own perspective on this bill.

I would like to give her an opportunity here on public television and in Hansard to speak directly to the victims, not the victims who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, unfortunately, but the parents, the friends, the family and neighbourhoods of those victims who are once again faced with the reality of what they were feeling 15, 20, or 25 years ago, and the immense loss they and their communities have suffered, when the faint hope hearing comes up. They again face the same tearing, the same shredding, of their emotions from the heinous crime that was perpetrated against a loved one in their family. I would like the member to relate her perspective to them on why this bill should not be repealed and why these people should not have an opportunity to avoid the kind of tearing that happens at these faint hope clause hearings.