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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was going.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Conservative MP for Yellowhead (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 72% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Respect for Communities Act February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, I will not do that right now because I am in the House. I will do it after I leave the House. I will look into it and ensure that it does not conflict with my other responsibilities within my riding. However, I would really enjoy going to one of those meetings. I will endeavour to attend in one of my communities, because it is being observed in several of them, as I understand from my hon. friend. I will endeavour to be there.

Respect for Communities Act February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is a very good question. As a former police officer, serving 35 years in the force, I know how important it is to get that information from within the community to the appropriate officials. As a former police officer, I would want the Minister of Health to know exactly what my officers know on the street level. We would want to pass on information from our town council, which knows what is going on. We would want to pass that information from the community, from the people who run the businesses on the streets to the local residents. In particular, the residents of that community would have to pass this on.

It is imperative that this information is part of the whole focus that the minister can look at to make a decision whether to grant or deny the site.

Respect for Communities Act February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I was not aware of this conference, but if I get an invitation, I will attend, and I will give my opinions based on what I learn from that.

Respect for Communities Act February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise today to support the proposed legislation, the respect for communities act, otherwise known as Bill C-2. I do not think that anyone can deny the enormous public health harms associated with illicit drug use. In some way, we have all seen the damage that illicit drug use can cause, not only to the health of the user, but to families, friends, and communities.

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the CDSA for short, is the federal legislation that controls substances that can alter mental processes and may produce harm to health and society when diverted or misused. The CDSA has the dual purpose of protecting public health and maintaining public safety.

The substances covered by the CDSA have a risk of abuse and pose serious risks to individuals when they are misused or abused. Those risks are significant. They increase when the controlled substance is unregulated, untested, and obtained from illegal sources. That is an important point that often gets lost in this debate. The drugs that would be used at any proposed supervised injection drug site are bought on the black market. We are not talking about drugs that are prescribed by a doctor and have the needed medical oversight. These drugs are purchased on the street and then used by people suffering with addictions.

Our government takes safety very seriously, and we have a number of controls in place when it comes to prescribed drugs. In fact, this House recently passed Vanessa's law in order to strengthen the safety of prescription drugs. Given this, I think it is only appropriate that we give all Canadians an opportunity to comment on the measures which could be needed to protect health when a site is proposed to allow the injection of illegal street drugs.

Our government believes that exemptions from the CDSA for activities involving illegal substances at supervised consumption sites should only be granted once rigorous and relevant criteria have been addressed by the applicant. The criteria that are outlined in the bill stem directly from the five factors laid out in the 2011 Supreme Court of Canada decision on lnsite. The court's decision requires the Minister of Health to consider the following five factors when assessing an exemption application for a supervised consumption site: evidence, if any, on the impact of such a site on crime rates; local conditions indicating a need for such a site; the regulatory structure in place to support the site; resources available to support its maintenance; and, expressions of community support or opposition.

All of the criteria proposed in Bill C-2 relate to one of these factors that I just referred to. Much like the dual purpose of the CDSA, which is to protect public health and maintain public safety, the criteria in this bill balance both the public health and public safety considerations of the operation of a supervised consumption site. The criteria included in this bill are relevant to matters of public health or public safety, and some of the criteria address both.

Today I would like to focus on some of the public health criteria in the bill and discuss how each one relates to the factors set out by the Supreme Court of Canada. One criteria requires that an applicant provide a letter from the provincial minister responsible for health in the province in which the site would be located, which outlines his or her opinion on the proposed activities at the site and describes how those activities are integrated within the provincial health care system. I can guarantee that the health minister in my province of Alberta would want to be consulted on proposals for a site like this. It is only appropriate that provincial ministers be afforded an opportunity to have their views heard. This relates to the Supreme Court factor that requires that community expressions of support or opposition be considered.

These criteria allow the professional opinion of the respective provincial minister of health to be a part of what the federal minister would consider when assessing or assigning an application. Moreover, information about access to drug treatment services, if any, could help to understand how drug users would be supported within the provincial health care system.

Other public health-related criteria fulfill the court's directive to look at evidence, if any, on local conditions indicating a need for such a site. These criteria are asking for relevant information on things like the number of people who consume illicit substances or have infectious diseases in relation to illicit drug use in the area of the proposed site.

Another requirement for applicants which contributes to the minister's understanding of the local conditions is official reports, if any, that are relevant to the establishment of a supervised consumption site, including any coroners' reports. These reports, including those from a coroner, could be used to support evidence of illicit drug problems in the area, indicate important drug use patterns, and identify the demographic of the individuals who could benefit from the services provided by a supervised consumption site.

We all know that the best laid plans can sometimes run into local circumstances that present unexpected challenges to a plan, so it is critically important that the bill require that the facts on the ground be considered when any proposed site is being looked at.

Additionally, following an initial exemption, if an applicant wishes to continue activities at a supervised consumption site, subsequent exemption applications would have to inform the Minister of Health of evidence, if any, of any impacts of the site's activities on public health during the period that the site had been operating.

This information provides the minister with an understanding of public health impacts that the site has had and would potentially continue to experience with a future exemption. This criterion builds on the Supreme Court factor requiring the minister to consider local conditions in the area where a site would be located.

In its decision, the Supreme Court affirmed the discretion of the Minister of Health to grant or deny exemption applications and to request information for this purpose.

This proposed legislation clearly identifies information to be addressed in an exemption application to assist the minister in considering the information relevant to the Supreme Court factors. Her decision must balance the protection of public health and maintenance of public safety in accordance with the charter.

Moreover, the criteria serve to add clarity and transparency to the exemption application process. With this legislation, all persons wishing to open a supervised consumption site would know exactly what is expected as part of their application.

While the focus of my speech today has been related to public health, it is important to note that the proposed legislation balances both public health and public safety. Indeed, Bill C-2 would amend the CDSA to create a more robust legislative structure to balance protection of public health and maintenance of public safety with respect to supervised consumption sites.

It is imperative that there be strong controls around activities with these dangerous drugs, and I urge all members to vote in favour of the bill.

Taxation February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Canadians support the tax relief our government has brought forward to date. Bringing in higher taxes and higher debt is not the path we believe Canadians want to be on. A carbon tax is not a way to deal with economic issues in our country. Canadians cannot afford more of the NDP and Liberal risky tax-hike schemes. Luckily for Yukoners, the premier has come out condemning a carbon tax, saying it would hike taxes on northerners and raise costs. A job-killing carbon tax is reckless.

Our Conservative government is lowering taxes for families and putting more money back into their pockets. Keeping taxes low and creating jobs are essential to keeping this economy on the right track.

We will never punish Canadians with a job-killing carbon tax.

Fallen Four Memorial Park February 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, on March 3, 2005, four RCMP constables were shot and killed near Mayerthorpe, Alberta in my riding of Yellowhead.

A tribute park was built by the Fallen Four Memorial Society to honour the memories of fallen constables Schiemann, Johnston, Gordon and Myrol.

In the park are four bronze statues, representing each fallen member, and a 24-foot centre obelisk honouring all uniformed peace officers across Canada. It is topped by doves representing the heroes whose spirits now fly free.

The Fallen Four Memorial Park was built by volunteers with donations from across the country. It is a promise to loved ones who have grieved, that their heroes will never be forgotten.

We are nearing the 10th anniversary of this tragic event. I invite all Canadians to join me in remembering them, either in person or in spirit, at the remembrance ceremony and memorial candle lighting at the Fallen Four Memorial Park on March 3.

Lest we forget.

Child Poverty January 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to participate in the debate on private member's Motion No. 534, introduced by the hon. member for Scarborough—Rouge River. Her motion asks that the federal government work in collaboration with the provinces, territories, first nations, Inuit, and Métis to develop a national plan to eradicate child poverty in Canada.

As I am sure the member opposite is aware, there are already significant government measures in place that are helping to address poverty across this country. A recent UNICEF report backs up the action by this government, stating that child poverty has been reduced to an all-time low under this government.

In fact, changes our government made to Canada's social programs cushioned many families and their children from falling into poverty during the global recession. That being said, our government does not think it is enough to simply help people keep their heads above water in tough times. The best strategy to address income equality and to help people in low-income situations is to create more jobs and to grow the economy.

As demonstrated over the past nine years, our long-term goal is, and always has been, to consistently improve economic conditions and to in turn improve the quality of life for all Canadians all the time. Our government's pan-Canadian approach includes working with the provinces and territories to help Canadians get the skills and experience they need to find jobs and take advantage of the opportunities.

It goes without saying that to address such an issue as complex as poverty, all levels of government, as well as the community and not-for-profit organizations, need to work together. In this matter, we have had a great deal of success. Take, for example, the yearly Canada social transfer. Our government provides funding through the Canada social transfer, which provinces and territories may use to support poverty reduction initiatives. Funding for the Canada social transfer is at an all-time high, at over $12 billion in 2014-15, an increase of $4 billion since our government took office in 2006.

The Canada social transfer also helps fund specific provincial and territorial programs targeted to families with young children and represents a federal commitment that will rise to $1.3 billion in the next fiscal year. This funding supports provincial initiatives in early child development, early learning and child care, and post-secondary education. It also supports social assistance and other social services for low-income families with children.

Furthermore, the national child benefit, also known as the NCB, is an example of federal, provincial, and territorial governments working in partnership to deliver benefits to families with children. The NCB has been enormously successful at delivering support for low-income Canadian families. By reducing the number of families with children living in low-income situations, our government continues to show that we have taken action to help those Canadians who need it most.

Thanks to our government's stewardship of the NCB, the low-income rate for children was 1.8% lower in 2011, which is the most recent data we have. This represents 118,000 fewer children living in poverty than there were under the previous government. With all our benefits combined, our government provides over $15 billion a year in benefits for families with children. Even better, just last month, the Prime Minister proposed new support measures to improve the lives of families and their children.

Under these proposed changes, the universal child care benefit will be enhanced to provide $160 per month for each child under the age of six and $60 per month for children aged six through 17. This means that parents will receive more than $1,900 annually for each child under the age of six and $720 for each child aged six to 17.

Every single family with children under the age of 18 will benefit from these new benefits announced by the Prime Minister. These proposed changes also include the proposed family tax cut, a tax credit that will allow a spouse to transfer up to $50,000 of taxable income to a spouse in a lower tax bracket. They also include the proposed increase of the child care expense deduction limit and the doubling of the children's fitness tax credit. As members can see, we are committed to helping families prosper and to making life more affordable for all Canadian families.

Of course, having proper shelter is also essential. That is why the government has invested more than $16.5 billion in housing since 2006 through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, also known as CMHC. Working with its partners, CMHC has helped nearly 915,000 Canadian individuals and families find adequate and affordable housing. This measure will support new affordable housing and existing social housing needs.

Let us not forget that there is also a great deal of work being done by the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. It funds a number of programs that seek to create safe and affordable housing; improve access to high-quality child care, childhood nutrition, and the economic security of families; and meet the unique needs of first nation, Inuit, and Métis communities.

In addition to targeted support for those most in need, the government has also provided almost $160 billion in tax relief for Canadian families and individuals in the past eight years.

We know that many Canadians still face a variety of financial challenges. The major government initiatives I have just talked about will continue to help more and more people move up the income ladder. Our government has achieved tangible and measurable progress in the fight against poverty. More importantly, our support has changed the lives of Canadians for the better.

Since 2006, there are 225,000 fewer children in poverty thanks to our government. According to David Morley, president of UNICEF Canada, it is really impressive. He said, “It's better than the majority of other countries did during the recession”, and we will continue to do even more.

Taxation January 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, my constituents have been clear that they cannot afford another tax hike. Families are trying to save to help pay for their children's education and the everyday expenses incurred in raising a family.

Would the Minister of the Environment please update the House on our government's plan to help Canadians keep more of their hard-earned dollars in their pockets?

David Wynn January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today, joined by family, friends and members of his law enforcement family, Constable David Wynn will be laid to rest in St. Albert, Alberta. With a heavy heart, we pay our respects to Constable Wynn for his dedication and service to our nation.

He was an RCMP officer, a paramedic, a father of three and was noted for his work in local minor hockey and the food drive during Christmas.

Let us also spare a thought for Auxiliary Constable Derek Bond, his partner who was also shot in the line of duty and is recovering.

Together, these two brave officers worked to keep us safe, and for that they have our gratitude. The horrific tragedy in St. Albert was a stark reminder of the dangers faced by all law enforcement officers.

On behalf of the government and all Canadians, I would like to thank all front-line police officers for putting themselves in harm's way each and every day to keep us safe.

Firearms December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, law-abiding hunters, farmers and sport shooters know that there is only one party that will stand up for a safe and sensible firearms policy.

It is not the Liberal Party, whose leader said it would bring back the long gun registry and makes claims about firearms laws that either show a deep cynicism or a fundamental misunderstanding of how the firearms laws work. It is not the NDP, who has committed to bringing back the gun registry and tracking every gun in Canada.

It is our Conservative government. We have taken numerous actions to make our firearms policy safe and sensible. We ended the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry once and for all, and introduced the common sense firearms act. We will always stand up for law-abiding hunters, farmers and sport shooters.