House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was forestry.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Thunder Bay—Rainy River (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Forestry Industry March 13th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the NDP has launched a study of the forestry sector at the natural resources committee, one that is so important to so many communities in northern Ontario and across the country.

We have lost more than 100,000 forestry jobs under the Conservatives' watch. Many forestry towns are in crisis. The government support for industry transformation is drying up.

Will the minister commit to ensuring there is new support for forestry in the upcoming budget?

Pensions March 13th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are facing a retirement security crisis. The Conservatives have blocked attempts to make retirement more secure for Canadians.

The Canada pension plan is proven and reliable, yet the Conservatives have broken their promise to strengthen it for future generations of Canadians.

The Conservatives have also raised the age of retirement from 65 to 67. Private pension plans and the workers who own them must take a back seat during bankruptcy proceedings. The Conservatives want to make it easier for employers to change secure defined benefit pension plans to risky target benefit plans. As well, younger Canadians today are financially squeezed between having to care for their aging parents and raising their own children.

Canadians want their government to act, and New Democrats are ready. We will secure and enhance the CPP, restore the retirement age to 65, help make the workplace pensions of Canadians more secure, help lift seniors out of poverty, and help our young people prepare for their own retirement.

All Canadians deserve a secure and dignified retirement, and a New Democratic government will take action to ensure that each and every Canadian has just that.

Veterans Affairs February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we heard the sad news yesterday that Ernest Côté, a Second World War D-Day veteran, passed away at age 101.

Now we need to be there to better help our veterans today, like the story of Master Corporal Paul Franklin who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan. Unbelievably, Veterans Affairs has required him yearly to prove that he has no legs. Yesterday we learned that he is once again being asked to prove that he is disabled.

Can the minister explain this callous incompetence?

Mining Industry February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will be attending, along with the Leader of the Opposition and other New Democratic MPs, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada annual conference in Toronto this weekend.

As members know, mining is a very important part of northern and northwestern Ontario's economy, and new investment in the sector is needed more than ever. Why? Because nearly every other sector in our economy is in crisis or on the verge.

The forestry sector has lost more than 38,000 jobs in northern Ontario alone since the Conservative government came to power. In Thunder Bay—Rainy River, we have seen hundreds of jobs lost in forestry and other sectors. With the closure of Resolute's pulp and paper mill in Fort Frances, 240 jobs were lost. Another 46 jobs were cut at Wasaya Airways on the Fort William First Nation. Another 160 jobs were announced last week at Teleperformance in Thunder Bay. Another 200 jobs will be lost at our Target store in Thunder Bay.

We urgently need new investment in our fledgling mining projects, especially the $50 billion Ring of Fire project. As we head to the PDAC meetings this weekend, it is clearer than ever that the families of northern and northwestern Ontario want and need an active and engaged federal government that finally puts their interests first.

National Defence February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the sad fact is that the Conservatives spend hundreds of millions of dollars on war and yet fail to provide basic services for our soldiers when they come home injured.

Reservists, like those in Thunder Bay and right across the country, are now waiting two years or more for severance pay, and there is a backlog of over 2,700 and growing. It is simply unacceptable.

We welcome the new minister, but when will the Minister of National Defence fix this mess and finally give the Canadian Forces and reservists the support they need and deserve?

Have a Heart Day February 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, let me draw the attention of all members and all Canadians to an event this Valentine's Day called “Have A Heart Day”, sponsored by the First Nation's Child and Family Caring Society of Canada.

This is our opportunity to stand with the children of first nations for the chance to grow up safely at home, to get a good education, to be healthy and to be proud of their cultures, in short, to know first nations children have the same services and opportunities as all other Canadian children.

Canadians can explore the Have A Heart website for more information and send an e-valentine to the Prime Minister or to their member of Parliament.

Let us remember Jordan's principle and help put an end to government red tape, depriving children of first nations of government services available to all others. Let us support Shannon's dream for safe schools and equitable education for the children of first nations.

This Valentine's Day, Canadians should show their heart. They should plan their own celebrations or join one of the many nation-wide Have A Heart events.

We should help all children of first nations to be proud and successful, because their dreams matter too.

Veterans Affairs February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the new Minister of Veterans Affairs has an interesting idea of transparency. It seems to involve posting blurry photos of anticipated reports on Twitter. I do not know any World War II veterans who use Twitter or any veterans who like staring at a computer screen to try to make out tiny text.

Perhaps the minister could be transparent and tell us how he is progressing in re-opening the closed Veterans Affairs offices, like the one in Thunder Bay, and if the Conservatives will be stopping their $700,000 lawsuit against veterans.

Veterans Affairs January 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, one year ago, the Veterans Affairs office was closed in Thunder Bay as part of Conservative cuts to services, which have left veterans across the country struggling without the support they need. The minister has refused to reopen these offices.

The government has a legal and moral responsibility to help veterans. Will the minister do the right thing, reopen these offices and start giving veterans the support and the respect they deserve?

Jesse Tait January 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today we mourn the loss of Sgt. Jesse Tait of Sudbury. He was a father, husband, son and soldier, serving at CFB Shilo in Manitoba. All of northern Ontario and all Canadians stand with his family at this time of loss.

He joined the Canadian Forces in January 2002 and was posted to the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. He served in Bosnia in 2003 and in Afghanistan in 2008 as a sniper. His family described him as ambitious, hard-working, a natural leader with a penchant for adventure, who loved nothing more than spending time with his two young boys,

This tragic death serves as another reminder of the commitment and service of our Canadian Forces. It also reminds us of the duty we have as members of the House of Commons to those who serve, to only place them in harm's way after careful consideration, and to be there for them when they return.

We shall not forget Sgt. Jesse Tait.

Rail Transportation January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, just as everyone in this place has seen, I am pleased to see the Minister of Transport back, safe and sound. However, it has been a year now since I asked the minister to help get the James Street bridge in Thunder Bay reopened.

The loss of this bridge has a significant economic impact on both Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation. It impedes the work of first responders.

CN should not be allowed to hold a community hostage like this. Will the minister finally respond to my request and intervene to get this important bridge reopened?