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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was liberal.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Conservative MP for Battle River—Crowfoot (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 81% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Tourism May 8th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I apologize.

Business of Supply May 7th, 2019

Madam Speaker, my riding is a very rural riding. At this time of year, farmers are beginning to plant new crops. Hopefully they have nothing to say about the weather and the rain, but they are very conscious of the input costs that they have to deal with, such as the cost of fertilizer and the cost of seed. This year farmers in my riding are talking about the cost of fuel, which is a massive issue to them, but it does not really stop there.

A number of individuals have referred to other countries around the world and the taxes they put in place to curtail the use of fossil fuels, but many of these countries have a small land mass. I look at Germany as an example. Some provinces in Canada are larger in area than Germany, although it has 80 million people. It is not just the planting of the crop that is of concern to farmers; the cost of transporting grain, of transporting the harvest, is also a concern.

What is my colleague's answer to this massive increase in transportation costs? Farmers need to get food products to cities and across this large country, so what is the government's answer to the high cost that farmers are expecting?

Committees of the House April 9th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present three reports this morning.

First, I have the honour to present and table, in both official languages, the 62nd report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, entitled “Report 6, Community Supervision—Correctional Service Canada, of the 2018 Fall Reports of the Auditor General of Canada”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to the report.

Second, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 63rd report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, entitled “Report 1, Connectivity in Rural and Remote Areas, of the 2018 Fall Reports of the Auditor General of Canada”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to the report.

Third, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 64th report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, entitled “Report 4, Physical Security at Canada's Missions Abroad—Global Affairs Canada, of the 2018 Fall Reports of the Auditor General of Canada”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to the report.

Business of Supply March 20th, 2019

Madam Speaker, we watched as the new Prime Minister chose his cabinet. He defended his Attorney General because he had full confidence in her. He knew that she was the one the Liberal government wanted as its attorney general. However, he found out that the Attorney General did not simply hearken to every word that was inappropriate to him; she stood her ground.

To my colleague who gave his speech, with regard to the issue of the former attorney general standing her ground and coming to the justice committee, now the Liberal government has backed away from it. My colleague talked about the five attorneys general who have spoken up. I wonder if he would expand on that.

One Liberal attorney general from Queen's Park in Ontario said that if any leader or any premier ever asked him to do such a thing, he would immediately pick up the phone, dial 911, and call the police. That is the significance of what we saw the Prime Minister doing. I am wondering if the member feels that Canadians have a full understanding of the depth of the law that has been broken here.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act February 26th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I can recall that when we looked at the prison farm program, one of the interesting components of what we noticed when that program was phased out was that there were very few people, after being integrated and rehabilitated, who ever went out and became employed on a farm. Any of the great lessons they would have learned while they were out working on someone's farm were not necessarily lessons that enhanced opportunities for them to get jobs after. There were different programs, such as carpentry and welding. More resources were put into those programs, because that is where the jobs were when these individuals left the penitentiary system.

I am personally not in favour of cutting a chaplaincy program. The faith component is one that does help with rehabilitation. However, that was the answer on the farm program.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act February 26th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I am not going to get into the long issues with the current government. The Liberals came in promising low deficits, a cap on deficits, and the Liberals have thrown every plan out the window and just thrown money at every problem.

The problem is that when it comes to corrections, my colleague tells me that over the next three years, the government is saying that it is going to cut over $200 million. The Liberals are going to cut from public safety and from the Correctional Service Canada file.

I know one thing. Sometimes when governments look, they try to find ways to streamline programs. When a program is in they come in with new programs. There is always a shuffling around of funding. I think every Canadian understands now that when the Conservative Party was in power, the Conservatives cared about law and order. They were concerned about a justice system. They were concerned about a correctional penal system. They understood that our guiding principle always has been the protection of society and making sure that dangerous offenders are in a penitentiary, not the 9,100 we see out under community supervision somewhere.

There are massive differences of opinion between the current government and our former government, but make no mistake. All Canadians understand that when it came to law and order, policing and the issues that deal with prisons, parole, police and CSIS, the Conservative government got it, and they got public safety.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act February 26th, 2019

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure today to rise to speak to Bill C-83, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another act.

This legislation proposes to limit administrative segregation in correctional facilities; replace these facilities with new structured intervention units, or SIUs; introduce body scanners for inmates; set parameters for access to health care; and formalize expectations for indigenous offenders, female offenders and offenders with diagnosed mental health issues.

I have the privilege of chairing the public accounts committee, and at committee, we work very closely with the Auditor General's office. We studied the reports the Auditor General released, and much of what I want to speak to today actually quotes from the Auditor General's reports.

One of those reports, in the fall of 2017 reports of the Auditor General of Canada, was entitled “Preparing Women Offenders for Release”. The objective of this audit was to determine whether Correctional Service Canada assigned and delivered correctional programs, interventions and mental health services to women offenders in federal custody, including indigenous women offenders, that responded appropriately to their unique needs and helped them successfully reintegrate into the community.

As noted by the Auditor General, “Under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, Correctional Service Canada is required to provide programs and services that respond to the needs of women offenders.”

What the Auditor General found was that, again, CSC had not implemented an initial security classification process designed specifically for women offenders, and as a result, “some women offenders risked being held at inappropriate security levels”. Furthermore, CSC had not implemented an appropriate tool for referring women offenders to correctional programs that were in line with their risk of reoffending, nor had they “assessed the effectiveness of its correctional programs in addressing the factors associated with a risk of reoffending”. Last, and most relevant to our debate today, the Auditor General concluded that CSC “had not confirmed whether its tools correctly identified women offenders with mental health issues or assigned them the appropriate level of care.”

Paragraph 5.104 of “Report 5” revealed, “We also found that out of 18 women offenders identified with a serious mental illness with significant impairment, 7 were placed in segregation at some point during 2016.”

According to the Auditor General's report, CSC acknowledged that segregation for persons with serious mental health issues “should be limited.” I draw my colleagues' attention to the word “limited”. The AG disagreed with limited use and recommended that CSC ensure that women offenders “with serious mental illness with significant impairment are not placed in segregation” and that there be improved oversight and enhanced observation of these offenders.

Correctional Service Canada agreed with the Auditor General's recommendations, and therefore, the public accounts committee had asked in our report that by May 31, 2019, CSC provide us with a report regarding the relocation of observation cells out of segregation ranges. Obviously, this request was thwarted by the introduction of Bill C-83 on October 16, 2018, less than five months after the public accounts committee tabled our report, which would eliminate administrative segregation and establish the SIUs, or structured intervention units.

Proposed section 32 of Bill C-83 says:

The purpose of a structured intervention unit is to (a) provide an appropriate living environment for an inmate who cannot be maintained in the mainstream inmate population for security or other reasons; (b) provide the inmate with an opportunity for meaningful human contact and an opportunity to participate in programs and to have access to services that respond to the inmate’s specific needs and the risks posed by the inmate.

In other words, CSC is simply being compelled to do exactly what it is already mandated to do: deliver correctional programs, interventions and mental health services that respond appropriately to an offender's unique needs.

As pointed out earlier, an audit by the Office of the Auditor General revealed, with respect to women offenders, that CSC has failed in its mandate. In the fall 2018 report of the Auditor General, it was also revealed that CSC has not properly managed offenders under community supervision. As of April 2018, approximately 9,100 federal offenders, or 40% of all federal offenders, were under community supervision. According to “Report 6” of the fall 2018 Auditor General's report:

The number of offenders released into community supervision had grown and was expected to keep growing. However, Correctional Service Canada had reached the limit of how many offenders it could house in the community.... Despite the growing backlog [for accommodation], and despite research that showed that a gradual supervised release gave offenders a better chance of successful reintegration, Correctional Service Canada did not have a long-term plan to respond to its housing pressures.

CSC “did not properly manage offenders under community supervision”. Parole officers “did not always meet with offenders as often as they should have”, nor did they always “monitor [offenders'] compliance with special conditions imposed by the Parole Board of Canada.”

We met with CSC last week, and we discussed this very report. These deficiencies were brought out with an action plan to correct them. However, I would humbly suggest that the Liberal government should be focused on ensuring that Correctional Service Canada fully meets its mandate, as the safety and security of Canadians depends on the successful rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into society upon their release.

To meet its mandate, a good start would be for Correctional Service Canada to start listening to its correctional workers. I am fortunate to have Drumheller penitentiary in my constituency. Over the years, I have met countless times with wardens, correctional officers and other staff in Drumheller. I can tell members that there are concerns about this bill. Concerns have come forward to the public safety and emergency preparedness committee. Again, I am concerned that many of these correctional officers are not being listened to. In fact, Jason Godin, president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, stated that they were not consulted on Bill C-83. We have a leader of one of the unions of correctional officers, and his frustration is that the Liberal government has not consulted.

The Correctional Investigator has said:

What I would agree with is that there has been very little detail provided by the Correctional Service or the government on how this [Bill C-83] is going to be implemented. If you read the proposed bill as it's currently written, there's a lot of stuff that seems to be pushed to regulation, as prescribed by regulations. We don't know what those regulations would look like. I think that's why there's a lot of uneasiness about this particular piece of legislation.

Given the findings of the OAG, I believe that this uneasiness with respect to the safety and security of Canadians extends well beyond Bill C-83. I certainly know, from the number of calls and emails I have received from correctional workers, that considerable uneasiness exists in the Drumheller Institution. The reason for that anxiety ranges from concerns about their safety and their colleagues' safety to pay issues around Phoenix. I currently have 70 files, some inactive, on Phoenix.

We have a bill now that would affect correctional officers, and they are bemoaning the fact that the government is not listening.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act February 8th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, on the first trip I made to Israel, one of the things that really stuck in my mind was the incubator projects. They were almost like greenhouses, where they brought people together to come up with innovation and new ideas that they would be able to develop in their country and then export around the world.

I was challenged by the way they would bring people in, scientists or those in electronics or innovation, and how then they would commercialize it and send it out around the world.

The member talked about health care and the delivery of medical devices. Why is that so important to Canada? How is a free trade agreement going to benefit us in that area of health care?

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act February 8th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I really enjoyed my colleague's speech. First of all, as far as the New Democratic Party's question, I think Canadians need to know that before any free trade agreement is ever signed, regardless of which party is in, human rights is one of the main essentials, where we recognize certain human rights. There indeed have been some foreign free trade agreements that have not proceeded because of that.

However, what I liked about my colleague's speech was that he went through, province by province, showing how with this small democracy but a very important partner in trade and ally with Canada, how every part of our country exports to that country. Indeed, we are an exporting nation. Whether we grow it or take it out of the ground, we are an exporting nation.

I think the member spent a little too much time on his riding and the wine. I say that tongue-in-cheek because he is always representing his constituency. I want to thank him for laying out so clearly how agreements like this benefit Canadians and Canadian business.

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act February 8th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, my colleague talked about the importance of the Canada-Israel relationship. Indeed, since 1997 and the trade agreement put in place between the two, our trade has tripled.

I have had the pleasure of going to Israel in the past. Israel is one of our closest partners in the region and is the only democracy in the region. Actually, I am looking forward to going to Israel tomorrow. Over the break week, we will be doing some work in Israel and meeting with different people.

Israel has one of the best educated populations in the world, a strong industrial base, scientific institutions and natural resources. Because of that, certainly there are opportunities for Canada and for Israel. That is the way trade agreements work. Israel can export some of its industry here, and we can export there.

The member also mentioned agriculture, which is a big part of my constituency. We are always looking for free trade agreements that give our agriculture access. It is another reason this agreement is so important.

Although we support this, we wish it could have been completed a little sooner. We finished and concluded some of the negotiations in 2015. I am not throwing this at the member, but in good spirit, maybe my friend could comment on the four years in between.