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  • His favourite word is conservative.

Liberal MP for Winnipeg North (Manitoba)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 69% of the vote.

Statements in the House

National Security Act, 2017 November 20th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I was here when the previous government brought in Bill C-51, and there was a great deal of resistance to it from every region of our country. The Liberals ended up supporting that piece of legislation, recognizing that it would become part of our election platform in terms of the need to make changes. This legislation would enable some of those changes.

I would ask the member across the way why the Conservative Party does not seem to understand or appreciate the need to have a parliamentary oversight group, when the other countries in the Five Eyes already have them? That is one of the fundamental flaws of Bill C-51. The Conservatives are out of touch with what the other countries are doing, such as Australia and the U.S.A, and recognizing the importance of having an interparliamentary oversight committee, which would guarantee the rights of Canadians. Why do the Conservatives continuously oppose that?

Department of Employment and Social Development Act November 20th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the words from the member across the way. One of the things I want to pick up on is that there is a role for the national government to play, and I would suggest, a leading role. One is to ensure that the provinces and territories and other stakeholders recognize that to advance the causes the member referenced, there needs to be a higher sense of co-operation with those different stakeholders.

I am interested in the member's thoughts on how important it is that those other groups, some of which I referred, also be engaged on this important issue.

Automated External Defibrillators November 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I have enjoyed the discussion this evening. I will take a bit of a different approach in addressing this very important motion. I commend the member across the way for recognizing an issue about which all Canadians would be very concerned.

Let there be no doubt that there is a role for all of us to play. However, what interested me the most was the amount of information provided. Every speaker talked about the percentages and the strong desire to save lives. It did not matter what side of the House they were on, all members chose to rise in their place and address the issue. They talked about how it could really make a difference.

Over the years, I have seen a lot with respect to the impact of medical technology. Many years ago when I was a member of the Manitoba legislature, I was one of the two health critics for the province. I can recall the amount of money we spent in health care, and most people would be quite surprised. Some of my colleagues have also served in provincial legislatures. I was first elected in 1988 as a parliamentarian, and the health care budget back then was roughly just over $1 billion. Today, I believe it is over $6 billion and counting. The single greatest expenditure in Manitoba is in health care and there is no end in sight it seems.

What I have experienced first hand through those years is how technology has advanced to a certain point where we can make fairly profound and positive impacts. We can look at how that technology can be used to save lives.

The impact of AEDs is second to no other equipment or machinery that has been introduced over the last number of years. As Canadians become more familiar with the benefits of AEDs, that broader knowledge will drive the demand to see more AEDs installed in different places. The results are compelling. The most compelling argument is in some of the statistics that have have been shared by the members.

I thought it was interesting when my colleague across the way referred to casinos. The member is right that casinos have all sorts of elements of stress because of their activities. We can call them security cameras, but a great number of individuals are in the background watching. When someone goes into cardiac arrest, those individuals are very quick. I would be surprised if there were not AEDs in all casinos in Canada. Therefore, I was not surprised when the member made reference to the fact that there was, I believe, a 74% or 71% survival rate. That is a fantastic goal to establish how effective it could be if we had a better educated population. When I say population, we need to look at where most cardiac arrests take place, which is in homes, in public places, and at work. Chances are the person who goes into cardiac arrest is known by the individuals there. More often now, when people witness a cardiac arrest, they wonder if an AED is available.

Another speaker talked about timing being critical. We all know that we cannot be quick enough to get access to an AED, from the moment of the arrest to using it to ultimately save a life.

We have witnessed over the last number of years people becoming more educated about it. They understand its benefits. We are starting to see AEDs in many different places, such as workplaces. In some situations AEDs are brought into people's homes. General knowledge on how to use an AED and making these machines accessible are absolutely critical to saving lives. It would be very beneficial.

We have standing committees in Ottawa. I do not think we take as much advantage as we could of good ideas, such as this motion the member has brought forward today.

I can go through both aspects of the motion, but I want to read the second part of it. It reads:

...the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security should undertake a study to determine the availability of AEDs in first responder vehicles across Canada and make recommendations to the House in that regard while respecting the jurisdiction of other levels of government.

If time permits, I will try to deal with the issue of the RCMP and the issue of jurisdiction.

I do want to pick up on the point of the standing committee and whether this would be the only directive that would be given to the committee, or if we could maybe expand it or widen its scope, because this goes beyond RCMP vehicles.

As the member for Ajax pointed out, we might think it is fairly simple to get a defibrillator put into an RCMP cruiser, but it is not. All sorts of people and groups are involved, such as independent contractors and stakeholders. Negotiations are held at different levels. On my own part, I would like to get a better understanding of it.

I would also like to see how we might be able to use the Standing Committee on Health, or any other standing committee for that matter. I am content, however, with what the member has suggested in regard to the health committee. I would love to have one of our standing committees hear the benefits of taking action on such an important file, as a few of us heard this evening.

I do not think there is a legislator in the House of Commons who would not recognize the importance of trying to advance the file on AEDs. There are organizations in Canada, like the Heart and Stroke Foundation, which have done so much work with different stakeholders. These organizations have heard the stories that clearly indicate the need is there.

A standing committee is in the best position to hear the different stakeholders make their presentations. Let us hear the facts. Let us get some of the statistics. Let us hear how the federal government could play a leadership role in this. Let us enable the standing committee to get a better appreciation and understanding of this issue. Let us establish this as a priority.

That is how I see this particular motion by the member across the way. I consider it a priority. We might differ with some of the words and so forth, but at the end of the day, I see this as a positive suggestion on an important issue that we know our constituents would like us to address.

I would like to expand that. I challenge our standing committees to do just that, to look at ways in which we can deliver on such an important issue that will obviously save tens of thousands of lives.

I am thankful for the opportunity to share a few thoughts on this.

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the member has drawn the conclusion that he will not support this proposed legislation. This is legislation that was campaigned on in the last federal election, and the government got a very strong mandate. I think that Canadians as a whole want to see cannabis and marijuana dealt with in a very progressive fashion, and we have a bill that would really make a difference.

In terms of the criminal element, and the number of young people, this is good-news legislation. I would suggest to my Conservative colleagues across the way that they might want to reconsider their position on this proposed legislation. I believe society will be in a better place if we have a regime where there is strong regulation and the ability to keep more cannabis and marijuana out of the hands of children. We know that, here in Canada, we have the highest percentage per capita of children using cannabis of any country in the world.

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, when I look at Bill C-45, for me, personally, it is saying that we need to do what we can for our children. I hear a lot of the arguments from the Conservative benches that under the new law, somehow our children would be worse off, not recognizing that Canada already has the highest participation of youth in the consumption of cannabis in the world. A big part of that driving force is the criminal element. Criminals realize that they can sell and profit by selling to our kids. Would my colleague not at the very least concede that for criminals, it is a viable option to make money by selling to minors? That is something that is happening today.

This is a step in the right direction to deal with crime and deal with young people and the issue of cannabis and marijuana.

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I have grandchildren. Like the member across the way, I do not want my grandchildren to go in a direction that is unhealthy for them. That is one of the reasons why I think this is good legislation. I do not want some 22-year-old individual trying to sell my grandchild marijuana. If he sells him that little bag of marijuana, he will make money that will go into criminal activities. Millions of dollars go into criminal activities, and that happens today. It is out of concern for my grandchildren and other children that we need this legislation passed.

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Madam Speaker, whether with this legislation or other legislation, we have seen a change in attitude at the standing committees. I am very familiar with the amendments and the process in which amendments are brought forward. The standing committees control the committee, what is debated, the votes, and so forth. We have had standing committees in which amendments have been brought forward and have passed. Opposition amendments have passed, many in fact, on a wide variety of legislation. We can contrast that to the former government. I could not name one amendment that ever passed during the years of the Conservative majority government.

Our government listens. It is very responsible with all ideas brought forward. I do not want to comment specifically on the amendments the member across the way might have brought forward, but our government gives consideration to all amendments.

Cannabis Act November 9th, 2017

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to share a bit of information that will hopefully be of benefit to members and will get Conservative members to rethink some of the spin they are hearing from their Conservative colleagues, or possibly their research team. I do not know exactly where they are getting their facts. On the last question, about the five grams, it would be illegal under this legislation to have five grams in one's possession. Less than that would be under provincial jurisdiction.

Let me start by commenting that I was really touched by the comments made earlier today by representatives of all political parties. As someone who has served in the Canadian Forces, I have had the opportunity to participate in many marches in remembrance. I would like to briefly provide a comment of respect for those war veterans I marched with back in the early 1980s. I applaud and recognize their ultimate sacrifice to make Canada what it is today.

I understand that the New Democrats and the Green Party will be supporting this legislation. Canadians need not be surprised. Liberals talked about this in the last federal election. It was in our election platform that this was what we would do. At the end of the day, there has been a great deal of support for what the government is moving forward with. I am surprised at the degree to which the Conservative Party seems to want to fight this issue. What surprises me most is the fact that it does not have any problem using misinformation.

In Canada today we have the highest consumption rate in terms of young people engaged in using cannabis. That means that there are more young people per capita in Canada who have tried or used cannabis than in countries like the United States, the U.K., and Australia. We already know that our system is not working, and we need to address the issue. It might affect some ridings more than others, but at the end of the day, it is a national issue.

There are already too many young people being encouraged to use cannabis. There is a criminal element out there that wants young people to use it. They sell it to young people, because they have a vested financial interest in getting young kids to use cannabis. This legislation, in good part, would deal with that.

The Conservatives seem to have no problem with people going into our schools and telling children to buy bags of cannabis. Those students are going to be experimenting with who knows what, because criminal elements are trying to get our kids to smoke marijuana. We do not know what is in the bags being circulated in our schools, or in the cigarettes, or tokes, or whatever they are called. Excuse me for not knowing the word. We have no idea what the drugs are being laced with or what is sold to children in our schools. What we know for a fact is that there are too many young people in Canada who are being enticed to participate in the consumption of cannabis.

We finally have a government that is saying that it is going to strictly regulate, legalize, and restrict access to cannabis. In the area I represent, I believe that is good news. Every year we get gangs or that criminal element making hundreds of millions of dollars. A major amount of that money comes through selling cannabis to young people. I am talking about 11 to 13-year-olds.

When people talk about the impact on the brain and on a young person's growth, there is no question that we need to be concerned about this. However, if members are really concerned about this and they want to do something about it, they might want to consider voting in favour of the legislation. If they are really sincere in their comments about about young people, they will vote in favour of this.

I am concerned about the young people whom I represent in Winnipeg North. I want to see less money going to the criminal element there. I want to see fewer 11-year-olds consuming cannabis. This legislation is a giant step in the right direction to allow that to happen. The Conservatives seem to believe that if the legislation passes, people who have consumed cannabis will be driving around on streets all over Canada. I have news for them. That happens today.

When it came to training our police or our law enforcement agencies, the Conservatives committed $2 million. This government is committing $161 million for training of law enforcement officers and providing the type of equipment that is going to be necessary. Therefore, not only are we doing the right thing by bringing forward the legislation, we are also providing the financial means necessary to assist our law enforcement agencies. I do not share the opinions of Conservative members who seem to think that our law enforcement agencies will not be ready in time. The resources and the sense of commitment we see day in and day out from law enforcement officers will ensure we are in a ready position to deal with this good, sound legislation.

A great deal of effort has been put into this legislation. I made reference to the fact that we had an election platform. Canadians have been consulted extensively on this issue. We have had a task force on it. We have standing committees that have dealt with it, either directly or indirectly. A great deal of debate has taken place, not only in Ottawa but in our constituencies. We now have before us legislation that would make a positive difference.

I want to bring it down to the real grassroots communities we represent. Today, far too many dollars flow to the criminal elements in our communities. Cannabis is one of those things that contributes hundreds of millions of dollars every year to that. This legislation would help to get rid of that. By doing that, we will see fewer young people using cannabis because we will be taking the profit away from the criminal element, which has a financial interest in getting our young people on cannabis or at least trying it. That is one of the reasons why more young people in Canada use cannabis than in any other country in the world.

Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act November 9th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I disagree with much of what the member across the way is saying. He is trying to create an impression that is just not true on a number of counts.

We have seen prosperity in all regions of the country. This is a government that truly cares. It is unfortunate whenever there is layoff of any nature. We try to do whatever we can to improve the conditions so that we all have a better way to move forward.

Would the member not, at the very least, acknowledge that we have seen substantial growth? Around 500,000 jobs have been created in all regions of our country. I believe that is a good indication of the policy and investment in Canada's middle class. Will he not acknowledge that—

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand at this time.