House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was procedure.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Elgin—Middlesex—London (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 58% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply April 6th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to recognize you on your first day in the Chair.

I rise today to praise the Speech from the Throne but first, if I may be allowed a moment, I would like to thank the great people of Elgin—Middlesex—London for allowing me to come back to this great place.

We come to this place at a time when many Canadians think we, as the representatives of the people, are not respected. An attitude of disrespect has fallen over this House. We will change this. We will work hard to earn the people's trust every day.

In this throne speech we bring forward five priorities, five new leaves of change. We must first accomplish these changes.

As we have heard in this debate and from the other parties, there are perhaps over 100 other changes that they would like to see happen. We have seen in past throne speeches 50, 60 or more issues in a throne speech but those were simply issues brought forward not action taken.

We would like to talk about the change in Canada by bringing forward five priorities and acting on all of them and getting them done, rather than 50 priorities, 50 promises made and all of them broken. We are bringing forward five priorities that are the biggest changes that Canadians would like to see.

The change on January 23 was that Canadians said they wanted change, that it is time for a change, a change in the way that we do business in Ottawa by making the federal government more open and accountable. I will speak in more detail to the accountability act later in this speech.

Canadians also spoke of change in the taxes they pay. They want to keep more of their income to pay for the necessities of life. We have heard, as I have said, from other parties and other members here today of more support being needed and of so many more requests that we could do. If Canadians were allowed to keep more of their hard-earned money, these supports may not be needed. They may in fact be taken care of by fine Canadians on their own.

There is change in how Canadians and communities are kept safe. We must protect victims and not criminals. We must remove gun toting criminals and drug dealers from our streets, not duck hunters from our woods.

We must provide Canadian families with the opportunity to do better in raising their children, the opportunity that families can do better and the choice is that of the parents, not of the state.

There must be a change in the speed at which Canadians can get urgent medical care. In a country as rich as ours, it is a shame that we wait for critical medical procedures. Canadians have called for change and we will deliver. By turning over five new leaves they will form our five priorities.

I would like to speak in depth to cleaning up the government and the use of the accountability act. The first leaf we will turn over involves the cleaning up of a mess left for us here in Ottawa by providing Canadians with open, accountable and, most important, honest government and ensuring that the sponsorship scandal or anything like it can never happen again.

The key to this will be the new federal accountability act which will change the way business is done in Ottawa. How? How it will change it forever is by eliminating the undue influence of big money donors, by banning large personal and corporate donations to political parties, by toughening the rules governing lobbying and getting rid of a revolving door that was so often seen in the past involving political staffers, bureaucrats and, yes, even members of this chamber.

We did not come here so that we will be better off when we leave here. We have seen too much of it. In the past House we saw many examples of people who came here even as members of Parliament and left here very rich as lobbyists. This is not why I came to this House and it is not why the people of Elgin—Middlesex—London sent me here.

We will make the federal government more transparent and accountable by increasing the powers of the officers of Parliament, as was just mentioned by the previous speaker, specifically the Auditor General. We must provide real protection for whistleblowers, those who come forward with information about unethical and illegal activities within the departments in which they work. In a perfect world whistleblowers would not be needed because no one would be doing things wrong. We have learned over the past many years that we do not live in a perfect world. Our government does not exist inside the vacuum of a perfect world and there is wrongdoing. We must be able to protect those who come forward. The idea is to give Canadians the good, clean government they expect and deserve.

We said that the first move of our government would be to clean up Ottawa and that is why the first bill we will bring forward will be the federal accountability act. Canadians expect politicians and public sector employees to conduct themselves with the highest ethical standards. Our goal and commitment is to make government more effective and accountable to Parliament and to Canadians.

The federal accountability act builds on the platform of commitment and takes into account our discussions with officers of Parliament, such as the Auditor General and the Information Commissioner, with public policy experts and with eminent Canadians and unions. The package will address long-standing and difficult issues head on. We must change and become more transparent.

We will increase public confidence in the integrity of the political process by tightening the laws around political financing and lobbying and we will take steps to make government more accountable by eliminating the influence of big money donors and by banning large personal, corporate and union donations to political parties. We will toughen the rules around lobbying and get rid of that revolving door syndrome as we have seen in the past.

The accountability act will be one of the toughest anti-corruption laws in Canadian history. It will bring in a corruption watchdog to protect whistleblowers against the bullying that can happen in their workplaces. It will end the revolving door between lobby firms and ministers' offices. It will give the Auditor General the power to shine, look in every corner and to hunt for waste and theft. It will ban big money and corporate cash from political campaigns and it will move from a culture of entitlement to a culture of accountability. We are fixing the system for Canadians.

Speech from the Throne April 5th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to applaud the Prime Minister for his vision that was laid out in yesterday's Speech from the Throne.

The Prime Minister has been consistent in presenting the five priorities of the Conservative government. The previous prime minister tried to be all things to all people. In one throne speech he made 56 promises, but kept few. Our government would rather keep five promises than break 56.

Under this government, Canadians will see guaranteed wait times, ensuring all Canadians get access to timely health care when they need it.

Canadian parents will receive true choice in child care with a $1,200 a year allowance. Unlike the Liberals' institutional day care scheme, we believe parents should have a choice in who raises their children.

Canadians will be able to feel safe in their communities. We will invest in front line police officers instead of a gun registry that targets duck hunters.

We will lower the GST and put Canadians' hard-earned money back in their pockets

We will introduce the federal accountability act. After 13 years of Liberal waste and corruption--

Agriculture November 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of Finance released his “please vote for me” mini-budget.

Canadian farmers are asking why they were not included in the Liberals' vision. The answer is plain and simple. The Liberal Party has never cared about Canadian farm families.

In fact, agriculture was continuously cut and ignored while the Prime Minister was finance minister. If we look in this fall's mini-budget, we will find no money for farmers, and the word “agriculture” is not even mentioned.

Meanwhile, the Liberals' ineffective support programs, increased costs and high taxes have forced farmers out of business.

Farm families across Elgin—Middlesex—London and this country are wondering when they will see a government that understands their concerns. I can tell them it is only days away.

Government Spending November 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, today we learned that the Liberal government spent $751,000 of taxpayers' money on a ball at a football stadium for the Governor General, even though she wanted a more modest event.

I respect the new Governor General, but this issue is simple. The Liberals used the gala to invite hundreds of Liberal donors, lobbyists and fundraisers, all at taxpayers' expense.

It was just another way of getting around the rules to reward their friends and supporters. Is this how they do business?

Parliament of Canada Act November 2nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, it is fair for the member for Mississauga South has asked me to comment on it. He is right. A fair number of members of the House come here with less than 50% of the vote. We sit with a three or four party system. However, I sit near some colleagues who achieve better than 50% of the vote on a regular basis, the seconder of my bill being one of them.

I do not think that makes it wrong. It makes it more important to have this type of legislation. When we come here with margins that may not be a full majority, then the people who came out to vote for a member would want to know that the person was representing them.

The member spoke also about how leader and party may not make the difference in an election. I recognize it is not the overall difference. I recognize there is a mix, that party affiliation and the leader of that party is part of what gets us sent here, part of what makes people vote for us in our ridings. However, the good work members do once they get here certainly helps them. The reputation they had before then also is a part of it.

It is such a large part that we cannot ignore it. We cannot ignore the people who may have voted for us because of the party. We will need to have the voters tell us whether we can stay or not.

Parliament of Canada Act November 2nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I find it somewhat amazing that the member talks to us about waste. I believe he used the term “draconian measures”, and “convulsions” was in there too.

He has said that going back to the people to ask them if that is what they want, or taking it back to the voters of his own riding to ask them if that is what they would like him to do, is somehow a draconian measure. I can see how that party will be judged in the next election if that is the typical response we might we get; that asking the voters what they would like to see in their riding is a draconian measure.

Parliament of Canada Act November 2nd, 2005

moved that Bill C-408, An Act to amend the Parliament of Canada Act (change of political affiliation), be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, during this Parliament, we have seen need for legislation such Bill C-408.

The people of Elgin--Middlesex--London chose me as their representative here in Ottawa. It is a duty that none of us take lightly. The choosing of MPs can include many decisions, most important, the people themselves, their moral character, work ethic, past behaviour and the ability to problem solve. We are now shown that in the world of instant media of 30-second sound bytes, of CNN and other news channels, we are not judged as strongly or as closely as individuals in our ridings, as we may have once been. We are now chosen for our party affiliation, at least partly for that.

We could dispute whether it is good or bad that we are now chosen as members of a party rather than as individuals for the role of MP. However, I do not believe it is inaccurate that this is now happening.

The policies of a party or its leader now have a great deal of weight on the elector's decision. It is not only a choice made about the party today, but most likely an historic decision about the decision making process. What has this party done in the past? What are the current practices? What is the potential future behaviour of that party?

I came to this place with the true altruistic motives of continuing to help the voters of Elgin--Middlesex--London, to work hard to represent the interests of the riding. I also have discovered the need to help the government bring back this proud tradition to the House.

The beast of democratic deficit must be slain. We must return to a time of responsibility, a time of personal, individual and political responsibility. It is time to stand and be counted. Members are either here to represent their constituents and their wishes or they are not. If this is true and members elected find they cannot remain in the political party that they arrived in the House representing, then they should stand up for the constituents, go back to the people and let them verify the decision members have made to leave.

I would like to read a bit from the bill. It simply asks that:

If a member of the House of Commons leaves the political party to which that member belonged when the member was elected to the House of Commons, that member shall sit in the House of Commons as an independent for a period of 35 days.

At the end of that, it states:

Once the period of 35 days has elapsed, the member’s election to the House of Commons shall become void, the seat of that member shall be vacated, and a writ shall be issued for the election of a member to fill the vacancy.

The bill proposes that a member should to take it back home to ask his or her constituents if the choice is the right choice. They elected that person as a member of a party and as an individual. When one of those two things no longer becomes valid, we believe it should be the choice of the voters to make the difference.

We speak highly of this House, the decisions we make and what we stand for. There are times when what one party stands for is drastically different than what another party stands for. It is easy to see that in these days of Gomery reports and other scandals that perhaps a member may not be as proud to represent the party, but his or her electorate sent that member here to do that.

The point I am making is if members substantially change their affiliations, they must go back to the people who sent them here and ask them if that is what they want. It is not about what the member wants. It is about what the voters want. It is only right and fair that the decision making process remains with the group who is supposed to make it, and that is the voters.

Criminal Code October 25th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Vegreville—Wainwright for trying to explain the motives. He said in his debate that he would talk a bit about victims' rights. I am not certain if he was able to get around to that, so I will ask him if there is more he has to say about victims' rights other than those of his five children whose cars seem to keep getting broken into and stolen.

Criminal Code October 25th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her story today.

Mr. Cadman came forward with two pieces of legislation, the one we debated last week and this one that we are debating today. Those bills were very strong and were very dear to his heart. They had some very good teeth in them, so to speak, to help prevent the two crimes he talked about, including this particular one about vehicle identification number removal.

Could the hon. member share with the House why she thinks the government, in Chuck Cadman's name, has watered down his two pieces of legislation, specifically this one, and has made them not nearly as strong or as easy to enforce as they might have been?

Criminal Code October 18th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Mississauga South for sharing the information with us today. I will try to get to a question as soon as I can.

In the points he made he suggested that perhaps the problem was with the courts themselves in enforcing the current laws and that this bill would somehow assist by having a stronger maximum sentence. The point is that if they are not enforcing the sentences that exist now, how will increasing maximum sentences help the courts enforce it more?

We both know, and I think the member knows deep down inside, that the true answer is in the minimum, not the maximum. The true answer is in the first offence and the elevation for the second and third offences. It is in the minimum sentence that is given to people who commit bodily harm or kill someone through street racing. The protection of the innocent is the reason for these laws. People are being killed and hurt on our streets by street racers.

We talked about how much tougher it is because of the maximum sentences. I guess I will ask the question again. Who has been given the maximum sentence? The courts are not enforcing this to any degree and we know people are not getting the maximum sentence, so the importance is in the minimum sentences.

The member stated that we need to get behind this legislation, that it is great legislation, and that we should get behind the memory of Chuck Cadman. And if we indeed wanted to change it, we could change at committee, debate it in the House, and maybe even at third reading send it back to the committee again. I ask the obvious question. Why not just bring good legislation to the House in the first place?

Trying to get it changed after the fact is just a way of dealing with the problem the member mentioned of trying to print off the Criminal Code. He said he was a foot deep in paper. I will suggest that he was a foot deep in water because he and his party have watered down the Criminal Code in this country.

I will out and out ask him to not talk about maximum sentences. We know the courts are not giving them. Let us talk about minimum sentences. Does he truly believe that the setting of minimum sentences is the true action and the true way of reflecting what Chuck Cadman might have wanted?