House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was aboriginal.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Vancouver Island North (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Budget April 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have a much larger speech that I have been using as my constituency-based speech on the budget. I can talk for 40 minutes on the budget at the drop of a hat. A lot of what I was speaking about is exactly what we are doing in the budget for seniors, for families, for businesses, for communities, for growing the economy and for providing jobs.

One thing that really attracts a lot of attention, particularly from municipal governments, which are the closest government we have to the people, is what we as a government have done consistently with respect to infrastructure throughout the piece. Our infrastructure investments are actually three times what they were under the previous Liberal administration.

The Budget April 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Whitby—Oshawa.

I am dedicating the 10 minutes I have to speak to the budget today to my friend Darrel Wong, who passed away much too young on the weekend. Darrel was the very long-time president of the large International Woodworkers local in Courtenay, British Columbia, and subsequently the Steelworkers local after the unions merged.

We collaborated on many issues. Our goal was the same: to represent our constituents. He represented his membership at all times. Perhaps his greatest triumph was to negotiate the Coast Sustainability Trust, a $35 million fund to assist union and non-union members, their families and communities, including first nations communities on the coast.

I am reminded of our collaboration by the upcoming softwood lumber agreement anniversary in October, as 10 years ago, we held a series of joint press conferences in B.C. and Ottawa, pushing for free trade in lumber with the United States. Of course, two-thirds of our production is exported, and two-thirds of our export goes to the U.S. That was a very important measure.

Darrel was non-partisan because he wanted to work in the best interests of the larger community, and he succeeded. The proof was in the pudding, which is why he was re-elected so many times by the membership.

I am pleased to see in the budget that the forest sector, which contributes $21 billion to Canada's GDP, is recognized with a provision to extend for two years the innovation and expanding market opportunities programs.

The budget is a large document and it is of much interest. I can only touch on a piece of it during my speech. We all know that in the lead-up to the budget, there is much speculation. In the case of this year's budget, most of the speculation revolved around pre-election posturing. There was no speculation about new taxes. This is unlike speculation about new revenue sources, also known as tax increases, in previous federal administrations and as we just witnessed, in Alberta and Ontario. Governments in many jurisdictions continue to do exactly the things that got previous governments into trouble. I am very proud to be part of a government that is consistent and reliable, that displays respect for the taxpayer, and that is leading Canada in a direction that is responsible and increasingly is the envy of much of the world.

Canada's economic action plan is working. Our job creation record since the depths of the recession is the best in the G7. Our overall federal tax burden is at its lowest level in more than 50 years. Canada's net debt to GDP ratio is less than half of the G7 average. Since 2006, we have reduced greenhouse gases by almost 6% while growing the economy by 11%.

Former finance minister Jim Flaherty delivered great budgets before, during and after the global recession. His wish was to deliver a balanced budget post-recession, and he almost achieved it last year. Pre-recession, he paid down $37 billion in debt. Our current finance minister delivered a surplus budget on April 21, with the promise of growing surpluses in succeeding years. At the same time, the budget supports job-creating businesses, contributes to safe and healthy communities, supports families and seniors, and strengthens our security and enhances improvements to meet the needs of veterans.

I would like to talk about the doubling of the tax-free savings account contribution limit to $10,000. As the member of Parliament for Vancouver Island North and with a brother living and paying taxes in the U.S., I became intrigued by the tax-prepaid Roth, individual retirement accounts that the U.S. introduced in 1998.

Subsequently, I put forward a private member's motion in 2004 to urge the government of the day to initiate a tax-prepaid savings plan in Canada. I had heard that Paul Martin had thought about it. In 2005, at the Conservative national convention in Montreal, I brought my private member's motion as a Vancouver Island North constituency organization-backed resolution, and the party adopted it. This became the rationale for Jim Flaherty making it the centrepiece of the 2008 budget.

There are now 11 million Canadians with tax-free savings accounts, and 60% of tax-free savings account holders who max out their contribution earn less than $60,000 a year. Over half of those who have these accounts earn less than $42,000 a year. I am proud to have been part of this development. I do not understand the opposition stating that tax-free savings accounts only benefit the wealthy.

We have had much speculation about the tax-free savings accounts since the budget. I can quote a little from The Globe and Mail:

For retirees, the increased limit has placed a greater light on TFSAs being efficient tools to use in tax planning

We have another vehicle that is becoming much more useful with tax-free growth, and we are running the math and seeing that instead of waiting until someone is in their 70’s, we should be drawing out smaller amounts of money earlier than we historically would’ve but at a lower rate of tax over all and then shift it into the TFSA.

For young people buying their first house or condo in their 20s or early 30s, the advice we have been giving if you are in a lower tax bracket is don’t even contribute to an RRSP because chances are you will be in a higher bracket when you have to take it out.

Clients also have the added benefit of having a flexible repayment anything taken out of the TFSA will be added to your contribution room for the following year (unlike the home buyers' plan, which requires investors to start repaying the fund two years after the withdrawal).

This has changed many things in a positive direction.

I think I have a minute or two. The ground is shifting on the comprehension and understanding of the federal role in providing funding to the provinces for health care. I can quote from Maclean's magazine, Paul Wells, on April 20, and this has to do with health care transfers:

....the Conservatives have kept transfers to the provinces growing at six per cent a year for as long as they’ve been in office. But after 2017, that rate of growth will fall to somewhere between three per cent and six per cent, depending on how fast the general economy grows.

But something odd has happened. Growth in health spending has slowed right down, as provinces with very different governments decided, all by themselves, to curb this runaway budget line. In 2011-12, health spending grew by 6.2 per cent in British Columbia, six per cent in Alberta and 4.4 per cent in Ontario. This year it will grow by 2.9 per cent in B.C. and 1.8 per cent in Ontario. Alberta will cut health spending every year for the next three, then let it grow again at less than three per cent per year.

As we can see, the federal transfers are greater than what the provinces are currently budgeting. Therefore, what we are providing is leading to less provincial input into health care spending. That is an observation made by anyone who does the math.

I see my time has elapsed. We are moving in the right direction with budget 2015.

Ways and Means Motion No. 18 April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, you shall find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, any recorded division demanded on Thursday, April 23, 2015, in relation to proceedings on Ways and Means Motion No. 18 shall stand deferred to the ordinary hour of daily adjournment on Monday, April 27, 2015.

Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act April 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I think if you seek it, you would find agreement to see the clock at 1:30 p.m.

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the member for Vancouver Kingsway was not in his seat when you read a good part of the question, so I question whether he actually heard the amendment.

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 30th, 2015

I appreciate that, Mr. Speaker.

As recently as March 15, the Liberal leader was assuring the Kurdish community in Toronto of support to end the inhumanities committed by ISIL. The reaction of this same community to the position of the Liberal leader on March 24 when he opposed the Canadian military mission was one of shock, dismay and extreme surprise. The Liberal and NDP positions are considered to be an embarrassment. This community agrees that the military capability of ISIL must be degraded, and the position that the Liberals have taken does not address the profound humanitarian situation, because ISIL must be degraded to successfully deal with the humanitarian needs.

Our principal concern remains the safety and security of all Canadians.

We are proud to be part of the global military alliance committed to degrading ISIL. Violent takeovers of towns and cities in the region by ISIL militants and other armed opposition groups have displaced an estimated two and a half million people since June of last year. The United Nations estimates that more than 840,000 children in the region now face severe deprivation, exposure to violence and abuse, and lost opportunities for education.

Through expanding our mission, we are committed to stabilizing the region and degrading one of the worst threats to human life in the world today. We are not sitting on the sidelines. We must all co-operate to move forward in the most effective manner.

A Global News and Ipsos Reid poll found that by last week, three-quarters of Canadians support our country's participation in the anti-ISIL campaign. Two-thirds of respondents also said they would support a mission extension. In that poll, fewer than half of NDP supporters support the NDP leader's position, and two-thirds of Liberal supporters do not support their leader's position.

Canada is in a unique position to join the military alliance and to provide humanitarian relief simultaneously.

Since 2012, a Canadian initiative headed by a humanitarian group in my riding of Vancouver Island North, called Medical Hope for Syria, has raised over $200,000 to provide medical aid to Syrian refugees. Medical Hope for Syria purchases physician travel packs from Health Partners International of Canada. These packs contain 600 treatments and it figures that each pack saves at least 120 lives.

This group is in a unique position, as in Israel, to deliver medical aid and other aid to refugee camps. It buys its medications for 10% of retail, and that is matched by a donor in Calgary. This group supports the expansion and extension of our mission, because it knows that delivering humanitarian aid requires the degradation of ISIL.

Those who are most affected by ISIL's actions are the most vulnerable, including women, children, the elderly, and the disabled. Ethnic and religious minorities have also been targeted.

There are horrific reports of violence against women and girls. Sexual violence continues to be widespread, particularly among girls and women who are vulnerable because of conflict and displacement. Rape and sexual violence are being used as reprisals and to create fear.

In the face of this ongoing humanitarian catastrophe, we take pride in our commitment to expanding our mission and eradicating ISIL.

We have all seen the reports. Among other acts of brutality, ISIL is carrying out a systematic campaign, one that disproportionately targets ethnic and religious minorities. ISIL rapes women and girls, enslaves them for sexual purposes, sells and traffics them, marries them off to their soldiers, and uses them as a recruiting tool.

We can only imagine the suffering of the women and girls who remain in ISIL hands. We do know of the suffering of the survivors who have escaped and sought refuge in camps and communities outside of ISIL areas.

Such is the magnitude of displacements that survivors often continue to suffer. Families in conflict situations may use child, early and forced marriage as a desperate coping mechanism in an attempt to better provide for and protect their daughters. Others feel pressure to marry off daughters who are survivors of rape in an effort to reduce the social stigma they face.

Recent reports reveal how violent extremist groups like ISIL use sexual violence and the enslavement of women and girls as an integral strategy to pursue their perverse aims. Their abuse of women and girls from religious and ethnic minorities is used to so-called “cleanse” territory that they wish to dominate. They also use the enslaved women and girls to attract recruits and raise revenue through trafficking and ransom.

ISIL actions toward women are an affront to Canada and to the world. Equality between women and men, the empowerment of women and girls, the respect for and promotion of their dignity and human rights, and the prevention and response to sexual violence against them are fundamental Canadian values.

It is my honour to describe some of the actions and policies of the Government of Canada to promote the empowerment, the human rights and the well-being of women and girls in countries of concern. Canada has been instrumental in bringing world attention and action to this issue.

In 2013, Canada played an active role in the development of the first resolution focused on child, early and forced marriage at the UN human rights council. In 2014, we co-led a UN resolution on child, early and forced marriage. We are advocating for a specific target on ending child, early and forced marriage in the post-2015 development agenda. We have intensified our programming efforts to end child, early and forced marriage globally. We are supporting UN efforts to support some 640,000 displaced women and girls, including survivors of sexual violence.

We are committed to supporting survivors of sexual violence in conflict and to holding perpetrators to account. We will continue this important work. Canada will continue to deliver humanitarian aid and join our allies in this essential military mission to degrade the military capability of ISIL to make this all possible.

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we were quite well behaved when the leader of the NDP was speaking. It would be nice if the behaviour would continue.

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I speak today to stress the significance of why we are extending and expanding our military mission against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. ISIL is a direct threat not only to Iraq and its surrounding region but also to Canada and our allies worldwide.

The NDP objects to the ISIL mission because NATO is not leading it and the UN never authorized it. This is incomprehensible and completely hypocritical, given that Canada's engagement in Afghanistan was NATO-led and UN-authorized, and the NDP opposed it and instead promoted negotiations with the Taliban.

Nevertheless, for most people the incoherent NDP position was no surprise. The surprise is the Liberal position.

Interim Supply March 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, you will find consent to apply the results from the previous motion to the current motion.

Interim Supply March 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, you will find consent to apply the results from the division at second reading of this bill to the current motion.