House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was liberal.

Last in Parliament March 2015, as Conservative MP for Ottawa West—Nepean (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 45% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Resignation of Minister February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, let me start by saying how overwhelmingly optimistic I am about the future of this country, optimistic because over the past nine years, I have seen the stature of our country grow in the eyes of the world. The world has seen and come to know and to count on Canada's strength, strength created by sustained economic growth and by our enduring values, strength through our commitment to freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Simply put, the world has seen, in fact the world continues to see, the best that Canada has to offer.

When I joined my good friend Mike Harris back in 1995, I was perhaps just a little naive, driven by ideology, defined by partisanship, at the age of 25. I quickly learned, though, that to make a difference, to really make a difference, one cannot be defined by partisanship, nor by ideology. One needs, instead, to be defined by one's values. I believed then, and I continue to believe, that government has to be there for people and that through hard work, it can be a force for good.

When each of us chooses to enter public life, we do so united in one simple desire, the desire to leave behind a better country, a better province, and a better community and to pass on to the next generation a better place than the one we inherited from those who came before us.

Today, after serving 10 years in provincial politics, 10 years here in federal politics, in 10 ministerial portfolios, and with more grey hairs than I choose to admit, I can step back and say that we have an Ottawa that is vibrant and strong, a province whose future is bright and hopeful, with strong health care and an innovative and resilient workforce, and a country that is the best in the world. We led the G7 in job creation, and we have been a beacon of dependable light in a world that is ruled by far too many dark and stormy seas.

Today Canada stands tall in the world, united with our allies and partners in the fight against terror, side by side with the only liberal democracy in the Middle East, with strong relationships in the Arab world, firm in our objection to militaristic expansionism in Eastern Europe, an expanded diplomatic footprint in Asia, and strong trade ties that will create lasting prosperity for generations to come. Canada stands tall in the world.

Last night I spoke to the Prime Minister and informed him that I was standing down from cabinet. I expressed my intention not to run in the next general election in the new riding of Nepean. I also expressed my intention to stand down as member of Parliament for Ottawa West—Nepean in the weeks ahead.

I will miss this place very much, and many of the people in it, on all sides, but the time has come for me to start a new chapter in my life.

If the House will indulge me, I would like to extend my profound gratitude and admiration to a few individuals who really made a difference for me.

I wish to thank my family for always being at and on my side. It is never easy to see one's son, grandson, brother, or uncle under the public's microscope. Not only have they been my strength during the difficult times, they have kept me grounded during the good ones.

To the Prime Minister, in 2005, when I was a younger, somewhat thinner, provincial MPP, when many others counted him out, I believed in this Prime Minister, and I continue to believe in him today, all these years later. There is no better person to lead our country into its 150th year. He is one of our country's great leaders. I leave genuinely humbled to have enjoyed his confidence and truly honoured to have served with him, profoundly grateful to have sat in his cabinet all these years, and immensely proud of what we have been able to accomplish together for all Canadians. I am also distinctly privileged to count him as a friend and a mentor. I wish him and our party continued success for many years to come, and I look forward to campaigning for him and my colleagues in our party in the upcoming general election.

To all of my friends in this place, for a Canadian there is nothing more meaningful and nothing more special than to sit in the benches of this sacred House and to serve with all of them. I am grateful to them for their friendship, for their counsel, and for their wisdom.

John Diefenbaker once said that Parliament is more than a procedure; it is the custodian of the nation's freedom. There is no greater honour for a Canadian than to serve in this place, no greater honour than to serve the people who place their trust in us.

To my staff, past and present, it is said that behind any successful minister are great staff, and that is truly the case for me. I want to thank all of the staff and security in the House of Commons for their continued service to our democratic traditions.

To the public service in all the portfolios I have served in, and to our diplomats abroad, I leave with the feeling that my political career has been one of success in delivering real results for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. I thank all of them, from the bottom of my heart, for standing by my side and for their valued contributions to our country.

Finally, and most importantly, I thank the people of Ottawa West—Nepean, the people of Nepean, and the people of Ottawa. I am grateful for their continued trust, their vision, and their community. Their support over these past 20 years means more than I can ever convey in words. Being foreign minister was a tremendous experience, but I never took their trust for granted. I never forgot about our city. Every day I was reminded that it was they who put their trust in me and gave me this incredible opportunity. I was always committed to our people and its future.

I am so grateful for the volunteers in countless campaigns and riding associations, anyone who believed in me, in our party, in our government, and most importantly, in our message.

I stand before the House with many emotions. I am optimistic about Canada's future as a country. I am optimistic about my future and the opportunities that lie before me. At the same time, I am very saddened to leave this place behind. I am saddened to leave behind those for whom I care so deeply. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my country, proud of the legacy of our government, and honoured to have had the opportunity to stand in this place.

May the true north stay strong and free, and may God bless Canada.

Foreign Affairs January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I spoke to Saudi officials directly more than a week ago.

Foreign Affairs January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Canada considers the punishment of Mr. Badawi to be an insult to human dignity. It is of extreme concern for us. We continue to call for clemency in this case. The promotion and protection of human rights is tremendously important in Canada's foreign policy. While Mr. Badawi is not a Canadian citizen, I want to assure the member opposite and the whole House that we will continue to advocate on his behalf.

Foreign Affairs January 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Canada condemns the terrorist attack by Hezbollah on northern Israel. We stand with all of the Israeli people after this terrorist attack.

Far too often the Jewish people and the Jewish state are on the front lines in the battle against terrorism. That is why this government unequivocally stands against terrorism and stands in support of the only liberal democracy in the region, the state of Israel.

Foreign Affairs January 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, no government in the world has stood up stronger than Canada in our support of the Ukrainian people. Canadians can be very proud of that leadership.

I will give the facts to the member. In terms of sanctions, Canada has implemented 199 separate sanctions, while the United States has only 127. There is no government in the western world that is standing up against Putin and against his war in Ukraine more than this government and this Prime Minister.

Questions on the Order Paper January 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as announced on October 26, following Tunisia’s legislative elections and again following the first and second rounds of the presidential election, Canada is pleased to have supported the deployment of both domestic and international election observers. These election observers served as a confidence building measure for the Tunisian population as they voted in their first democratic elections, and monitored and reported upon the conduct of the elections in line with national regulations and international election benchmarks and standards for democratic elections.

With regard to (a), the delegation included four Canadian observers for the legislative elections and nine for each round of the presidential elections.

For the legislative elections on October 26, 2014, the observers were Darrell Dexter, Elizabeth Weir, Eric Duhaime, and Sylvia Thomson.

For the first round of the presidential election on November 23, 2014, the observers were Les Campbell, Olivia Chow, Paul Hong, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, Michael Ferrabee, Mathieu Jacques, Greg Lyle, David McLaughlin, and Chris Yonke.

For the second round of the presidential election on December 21, 2014, the observers were Les Campbell, the Hon. Ken Dryden, Darrell Dexter, Paul Hong, Greg Lyle, John MacDonell, the Hon. William Paul Robert Norris, Nathan Rotman, and Chris Yonke.

With regard to (b), while a number of international organizations sent election observers to Tunisia, Canada’s funding was through the National Democratic Institute, NDI. The aforementioned Canadian observers formed a part of the NDI delegation.

With regard to (c), the recruitment, selection, and deployments of observers were done by the partner, NDI, who selected individuals through its global network of experts and partners. NDI draws upon current and former members of parliaments and other legislative bodies, current and former heads of state, current and former government officials, election commissioners, technical and legal experts, and civil society activists, among others.

Canada supports the tremendous progress that has been achieved in the pursuit of a free and democratic Tunisia and will continue to support Tunisia’s continued efforts to strengthen its democracy and build a prosperous and secure future for all Tunisians.

National Defence December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have been here every day this week during question period to be accountable and the member for Ottawa Centre has not asked a question, I do not think, in four months.

We said from the outset that we would report to Parliament in the normal way about all the associated costs. With respect to extension, no decision has been made. We will go through this day by day and, obviously, make our contribution.

Evil people are doing barbaric things, and the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces are trying to stop them.

National Defence December 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is this government that brought forward a resolution to Parliament and had a full debate in this place. We called the foreign affairs committee back early. I, the Minister of National Defence, the ambassador for Religious Freedom and officials were all there. We have been regularly accountable for the mission in the House. The Canadian Armed Forces have had many public briefings to ensure that Canadians are informed of this exercise.

Rouge National Urban Park Act December 12th, 2014

Where is the Christmas spirit over there?

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to respond to the issue of mining. One of the challenges is that when there are mining sites, with approved investment and a lot of capital put in, and we want to create or expand a national park, taxpayers will be required to buy out the mining rights. The families in Ottawa West—Nepean, which might be seniors on fixed incomes or families with two kids, would have to reach into their pockets to buy out the mining rights.

The second thing that would happen is that all the people who work in the mine would lose their jobs. That is why it is so tremendously important, particularly in the far Arctic, to preserve the best and most important parts of our country, these natural wonders, before there is mining there, before there is any destruction and before there are any problems. That way we can avoid this problem in the future.

That is why it is so important to get bills like this passed, so there is no new mining in areas that we want to protect.