House of Commons photo

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

Customs Act December 11th, 2018

No, Mr. Speaker, the lack of empathy I referred to is that of the Liberal government.

My point was that when we open the borders to those who want to simply jump across from New York state, allowing those asylum seekers or refugees to come into Canada, we are really prolonging the period of time that people are legitimately and legally waiting. In some cases they have gone through years of paperwork. Allowing our borders to be wide open only allows people to jump the queue.

The person who fills out the proper applications may be a husband whose wife is waiting to come over. When they hear of tens of thousands of people jumping the queue with no paperwork and with barely anything else, it teaches the wrong lesson to those who are trying to be legal, law-abiding people who really want to come to Canada.

I do not blame them. We live in the greatest country in the world. I have met people who gloried in the fact when they heard that I was from Canada. They would love to be here. We welcome people who are going to contribute to our economy and who are going to be good, solid citizens here.

We also have empathy for refugees, but when we start pushing back those who have made the application and done due process, that is where we fail.

Customs Act December 11th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-21, an act to amend the Customs Act. Once enacted, this legislation would create an entry/exit program to keep track of when Canadians enter and leave the country. It is a measure I support. In fact, it was our previous Conservative government that negotiated the beyond the border agreement, which included a provision to share entry and exit information with our close friend and ally, the United States.

It is important that our border services have the tools they need to keep Canadians safe, and this legislation would provide one of those tools. It is extremely unfortunate that while Bill C-21 would provide for added security at our borders, that security is being negatively impacted by the influx of illegal immigrants at our borders.

Canadians expect our refugee system to be safe, orderly and compassionate. Unfortunately, what we have seen under the Liberal government is insecurity, chaos and a lack of sincere empathy. Thousands of illegal, or irregular, as Liberals call them, border crossings have occurred since the Prime Minister irresponsibly tweeted “#WelcomeToCanada” in January 2017. As a direct result of that, twice as many refugees are being admitted into Canada as the system was designed to handle.

While I do not want to cast blanket aspersions, some of those coming into our country may very well have criminal records. Without proper background checks, which cannot be done before one crosses illegally, persons who pose a safety risk to our citizens may be slipping into Canada.

The newly appointed Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction certainly has his hands full taking on the huge task of trying to stem the tide. Only time will tell if this new minister can, in fact, effectively take control of this illegal and dangerous situation. He has not so far.

This queue jumping we are seeing has also created an unfair situation, whereby those waiting in refugee camps or facing persecution in dangerous places around the world must wait longer as more and more scarce resources are being spent processing people who are just jumping across the border with the United States. This two-tiered system is compromising the integrity of our entire immigration system while putting those patiently waiting to be legally approved to come to Canada at even further risk.

It is not compassionate, nor fair, when individuals who have been brought here on humanitarian grounds are forced to live in homeless shelters, university dormitories and tent cities, because this country is ill-prepared to handle such volumes of asylum seekers.

The Syrian refugees, who a majority of Canadians overwhelming supported being brought here, have faced housing shortages, particularly in Toronto and Montreal. The mayors of these two large cities recognize that, as well as the newly elected Ontario Conservative government, and they have been requesting federal financial assistance to redress this situation. Saskatchewan and Manitoba have also asked for some additional funding.

To date, the Liberal government's only solution, as it is with so many other issues, has been to use more taxpayers' dollars to manage the crisis instead of resolving the issue with a fully costed plan. Just last week, the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed that if left unaddressed, this crisis will cost Canadian taxpayers $1.1 billion by 2020, not including the hundreds of millions of dollars incurred by the provinces.

My Conservative colleagues and I will continue to call for policy solutions that go beyond simply spending more money and adding new ministers to the fold. We want to see our immigration system run on a safe, orderly and compassionate basis that prioritizes the world's most vulnerable and ensures that when refugees are brought to this country, we indeed have the ability to help support them.

We do not, and will not, support the newly signed United Nations global compact on migration. While the immigration minister has tried to defend this compact, calling it an effective way to address migration challenges worldwide, Canadians really would not know, as the Liberal government did not bother to consult or brief them at all in regard to the United Nations global compact. In fact, if it had not been for this side of the House, this compact would have been quietly signed by the Liberals, and Canadians would have been left completely in the dark.

As a direct result, many questions and concerns remain, such as whether Canada is surrendering our sovereignty. That is a good question. What are the costs associated with this compact? What exactly does some of the language found in the compact mean, such as “sensitizing and educating” Canadian journalists on how they should report on migration issues?

Conservatives believe that Canadian journalists should be free to scrutinize the government on immigration policy without influence from an international body and without being bought out, to the tune of $600 million, which is the Liberal government's other plan.

Canadians, rightfully, deserve answers to these questions. I know that the constituents in my riding of Battle River—Crowfoot expect and deserve those answers. I have been receiving letters, emails and telephone calls ever since this issue was brought to the front.

I would like to read a portion of an email that I know all members received:

“I am a 58-year-old female born and raised in Canada. I spent over two decades travelling across this great country, from Newfoundland to B.C. and north to Yellowknife. For my work, I spent weeks in towns, cities and rural areas meeting people of different faiths, races and creeds. Nowhere did I see the kind of racism and hate the Prime Minister thinks he needs to 'quell'....

“My only concern is the U.N.'s global migration pact. This agreement is the most destructive piece of literature I have ever read. It will be the end of our great country and the last nail in the coffin of free speech in Canada. This has been hidden on purpose, and after I read this rambling strait jacket of so-called agreement, I understood why. Something so divisive, damaging and horrendous to the future of Canada and it citizens should have been on the front page of every newspaper and magazine in the country.... If it wasn't so sad, I would give a round of applause to our Prime Minister for hiding it so well....

The letter goes on:

“...stunned that there was no vote for us to voice our objections, and they were against signing Canada to it!.... The PM of course, was voted to represent the people of this country, but more and more he decides what this country should look like.”

While time has not allowed me to read this email in its entirety, I would like to finish by quoting a few last words:

“Canada has had decades of peaceful and orderly immigration. Allowing our borders to be open and under the control of the U.N., and not our own government, is the death of our country. What is a country without a border to stop people that may do us harm? We should be the ones to say who, what and why people and things may cross into our country. And this document says that the government will quell or silence any disagreement or negative comments....”

If members on all sides of this House have not yet read the email from Ms. Lori Gagne and Mr. Gunter Retzer sent to them on December 6, I urge them to do so and to please really listen to what they have said, because their sentiments are being expressed by many Canadians.

In closing, I would like to once again state my support for Bill C-21, because I agree with Lori and Gunter that our borders should be under the control of our government.

I would also like to take just a moment to express, as the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman did earlier, the overwhelming sense of loss I am experiencing right now as I stand in this place for the last time until the renovations are done, which is expected to take 10 to 12 years. I have had renovations done in our home that I thought would last six months, and they lasted way longer. I know that when governments do renovations, it typically takes even longer than they expect.

I have spent 18 wonderful years in this amazing chamber, both as part of the government and as part of the opposition. Whichever side of the House I have been on, it has been a real honour and privilege to have been granted the opportunity to rise in this place, time and time again, to debate, to question and to provide answers to questions. I have tried to do so with the utmost respect for this institution and with the sole purpose of trying, to the best of my ability, to represent the constituents of Battle River—Crowfoot.

While I look forward to coming back after Christmas and going into our new chamber in West Block, it is not going to be the same without the amazing architecture, the history and the debates that have taken place in this chamber. I will forever carry with me the memories and the nostalgia of rising in this place to utter the words, “Mr. Speaker”, although I will do it in the other chamber.

I thank the House for the privilege of being able to stand here and speak to Bill C-21, and for the opportunity to just be nostalgic about this beautiful chamber.

Criminal Code December 6th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, there are basically two questions there.

First of all, I think all Canadians recognize that sexual assault victims should be supported, not subjected to undue delays or other difficulties they may face.

To answer the member's first question in regard to having a lawyer present, we expect that people have the ability to access legal advice, whether through legal aid or other measures. This is imperative.

Second, for reasons of the consensual aspect of this and the rape shield part, and because sexual assault victims need to be supported, we support those measures.

Criminal Code December 6th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to the beginning of this. When this bill was originally brought forward, there was an outcry regarding the measures being taken to minimize the offence of disrupting a service of worship, from which clergy are protected under section 176. We saw it on every social media out there. Twitter, Facebook and all of them were going crazy about the current government coming forward with those measures to repeal section 176. Thousands of people protested that it was wrong, and to the Liberals' credit they appeared to have backed down.

However, my point is that the Liberals backed down on this bill, yes, but then they turned around and put similar wording into Bill C-75, which as we know is now going to the Senate. Therefore, the Liberals hybridized section 176, turning much of it into a summary conviction with a lesser charge.

We live in a time when we recognize religious freedom. That means that as a Christian, I nevertheless expect that in every type of worship service, be it Jewish, Muslim, name the religion, people have the opportunity to worship whom they wish and how they wish. As long as it does not impede anybody else, they have the ability to do that. Lessening the offence of being able to come in and disrupt that service sends the wrong message.

Criminal Code December 6th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to stand in the House to debate Bill C-51, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Justice Act and to make consequential amendments to another act.

I would first like to highlight the fact that this is an omnibus bill, containing many changes to a variety of different matters. Similar to many other Liberal promises we have heard in the House, or before the last election, the introduction of this bill breaks another promise not to table legislation of this nature. In debate in the lead-up to the election we had that commitment, just like we had a commitment on the deficit. However, it is another broken promise.

Ironically, Bill C-51 was introduced on June 5, 2017, just after the government House leader called for major reforms that, among other things, aimed to limit a government's ability to introduce omnibus bills. Just a couple of days later, it introduced an omnibus bill.

Second, it would remove a number of sections of the Criminal Code that no longer have any particular relevance. This includes section 365, some of which deals with witchcraft and sorcery; and section 71, related to duelling in the streets. Much of this we can support. Other aspects may be a little more problematic.

It also originally proposed to repeal section 176 of the Criminal Code, which makes it a crime to unlawfully obstruct, threaten or harm a religious official before, during or after he or she performs a religious service. It also makes interrupting or disturbing a religious service a crime. We have voiced our concerns in regard to that in the House many times.

As a number of my colleagues, including the former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, pointed out during debate on the bill, the Conservatives were the first to identify this grave mistake of the Liberal Justice Minister and to draw the attention of Canadians to this flagrant attack on their freedom to worship without fear in their own way.

I will be splitting my time, Mr. Speaker, with the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.

Our highlighting of Bill C-51 and this offensive Criminal Code amendment resulted in significant backlash from tens of thousands of Canadians who signed petitions urging the Liberals to back down on minimizing an obstruction or disturbance of a worship service. The government finally relented, and as such, Liberal members of the justice committee were instructed to introduce an amendment that effectively stopped the repeal of section 176.

That is one of those times where Parliament works, when the Conservatives can bring forward a concern like that. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes the outcry of tens of thousands of Canadians speaking up about what the Liberals were trying to do to our worship services of all different faiths.

While many of my constituents of Battle River—Crowfoot are thankful the Liberals finally saw the light, I still remain stunned by the fact they even contemplated the removal of section 176 of the Criminal Code, let alone attempting to do it.

After steady but relatively small increases since 2014, in 2017, hate crimes in Canada rose sharply. We can see that on the front pages of most papers. It is up 47% over the previous year. For the year, police reported 2,073 hate crimes, 664 more than in 2016. Higher numbers were seen across most types of hate crimes, with incidents targeting Muslim, Jewish and black populations, as well as Christians. These increases were largely in Ontario and Quebec.

Barbara Perry, an expert on hate crimes and professor of criminology at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, was quoted in The Globe and Mail, on November 29, saying, “This is staggering. You don’t see this kind of increase in any sort of crime data”, adding that “the numbers should be a wake-up call for provincial and federal leaders.” She went on to say, “It’s an assault on our core values of inclusion and equity.”

In the same article, Leila Nasr, a spokesman for the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said, “We’re devastated to see the numbers go up yet again.”

As revealed in the Globe and Mail article:

Hate crimes also rose across all categories of religion, with those targeting the Jewish population accounting for 18 per cent of all hate crimes in the country. The surge echos B’nai Brith Canada’s tracking of anti-Semitic incidents, which saw a record last year.

Chief executive Michael Mostyn, in a release that recommended an action plan to counter online hate, as well as enhanced training for police officers, said, “We need real and effective measures to extinguish this rise in hatred”.

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation called the numbers:

....a warning against complacency and....a stark reminder that hate crimes are an attack not only on individuals and their communities but on the very fabric of our society.

As I pointed out, those remarks were issued or reported on just a week ago today regarding the 2017 hate crime statistics, the year in which the Liberals introduced the bill. Again, whatever motivated them to repeal section 176 Criminal Code?

What has motivated the government to retreat on the one hand, while still sending the wrong message that the disruption of religious service is not a serious offence? That is exactly what they have done by taking it out of this legislation and moving it into Bill C-75. Currently, it is a solely indictable offence which, as we know, are for the most serious offences. However, in Bill C-75, by hybridizing it, this offence could be prosecuted as a summary conviction offence which is reserved for less serious offences.

It is important to note that the maximum sentence under section 176, if prosecuted as an indictable offence, is two years. Making it a hybrid offence, the maximum sentence as a summary conviction offence would be reduced by only one day. It would fall into the two years less a day, with the indictable offence being much more than that. Therefore, why the change?

Again, we really have to question why, at a time when hate crimes against religious communities across Canada are significantly increasing, are the Liberals trying to downgrade the seriousness of these offences?

Section 176 is not unconstitutional, has never been challenged in court and is not obsolete. Furthermore, a number of individuals have been successfully prosecuted under section 176. It is the only section of the Criminal Code that expressly protects the rights and freedoms of Canadians to practice their religion without fear or intimidation, a freedom that is a fundamental freedom guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

One can only surmise that despite the outcry from all across the country and them retreating on repealing this offence, the Liberals really do not believe it is a serious crime, just like they do not believe impaired driving causing bodily harm is a serious offence. That is what they have changed again in Bill C-75.

This past Tuesday, the Minister of Justice and the newly appointed Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction took to the air waves to remind Canadians that in two weeks they would be subject to mandatory alcohol screening if they were stopped by the police, something I support, as I want the horrific loss of life and injury due to impaired driving stopped.

While one minister bragged this was a game charger and another defended the change because impaired driving remained the leading cause of criminal death in Canada, both were being disingenuous in that they failed to reveal the fact they had downgraded the offence of impaired driving causing bodily harm. Under Bill C-75, this offence, which is currently solely an indictable offence, becomes a hybrid offence and as such, if proceeded summarily, may result in two years less a day of prison time or worse, a monetary fine.

I would like to state my support for the government motion to reject a Senate amendment to the bill before us today, Bill C-51. Bill C-51 clarifies that consent can never occur when an individual is unconscious, which is consistent with the J.A. decision. The Senate amendment would only lead to added complexity and confusion over what evidence would be relevant to determine consent in sexual assault cases. Instead of adding certainty to the law, it would lead to further litigation.

We cannot afford further delays in our courts due to prolonged cases. Sexual assault victims should be supported, not subjected to undue delays, so for that we commend those measures within Bill C-51.

I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me a bit of opportunity to veer off and go to some of the things that were pulled out of this bill. I recognize that.

Committees of the House December 6th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 55th report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, entitled, “Report 6, Employment Training for Indigenous People—Employment and Social Development Canada, of the 2018 Spring Reports of the Auditor General of Canada”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 56th report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, entitled, “Report 3, Administration of Justice in the Canadian Armed Forces, of the 2018 Spring Reports of the Auditor General of Canada”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Madam Speaker, while I am on my feet, I want to wish you a very merry Christmas, as well as the staff who work for the committee. We are very fortunate to have André Léonard and Dillan Theckedath as our analysts, as well as Angela Crandall, who is in the hospital recovering from knee surgery. We wish her a speedy recovery. Nancy is filling in for her as clerk and doing a great job. We wish them all a merry Christmas. I know everyone is waiting with great expectations for these two reports from the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Natural Resources November 30th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, Alberta is losing over $80 million a day on heavily discounted oil. We are losing foreign investment that is leaving Alberta and Canada. We have lost over 100,000 jobs, and the bleeding is not about to stop anytime soon, because the current government has halted, cancelled or delayed every major energy project, has put in ridiculously onerous regulations and is giving us the no-pipeline bill, Bill C-69.

I am not asking if but when this Minister of Natural Resources will kill Bill C-69.

Canada's Oil and Gas Sector November 28th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, on Monday night we debated in an emergency debate about the 2,500 people laid off in Oshawa. I appreciated the member's speech then, and I appreciate it again tonight.

There is nothing that would shut down investment in Alberta and investment in Canada like Bill C-69, according to a whole list of gas and oil people. It would shut down investment in jobs. Money would be leaving our province and country, and one report said it would be $100 billion, but what I have is $85 billion. We are seeing jobs leave, 100,000 in Alberta and a carbon tax coming in. There is the purchase of a pipeline that leaves those who would invest in the sector asking why they would invest, because the government is just going to take over, or the government is going to make it impossible for them to take the oil to tidewater. The government also banned shipping traffic on the west coast.

Maybe the member could fill us in a little more about the policy she talked about that is hindering job creation in this country.

Canada's Oil and Gas Sector November 28th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I appreciate that very gentle rebuke.

We sat here listening to rhetoric tonight for the last 10 minutes and we did not hear once about the workers. Tonight's emergency debate is about the 100,000 workers who have been laid off from this sector and we did not hear anything about the workers. We heard a rant against a former government, a rant against the current government, nothing about any workers.

I took a cab tonight to a meeting on the far side of Ottawa. I met a young man driving that cab and asked him how long he had been in Ottawa. He told me it was just a few weeks. I asked where he had come from and he told me Toronto. I asked if he had been in Toronto long. He said no, he had come from Calgary. He said that he came from Africa as an engineer to work in an oil company as an engineer. He was laid off shortly after that. He said, given what the government is doing now, he sees zero hope that there is going to be another pipeline built. Bill C-69 is going to put the screws to men like him.

My constituency depends on the energy sector. China, India, the world wants the energy we have and the government is putting roadblocks in front of them. The member who spoke has not mentioned the workers once, the people of her province. Shame on her.

Natural Resources November 27th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, Tides Canada has led the coordinated campaign against the construction of new pipelines and the Alberta energy sector.

We know foreign money flows into Tides to help fund that campaign. However, this morning we found out that the Liberal government has decided to flow money to Tides to support the campaign as well. No one believes the Prime Minister supports Alberta's struggling energy sector while he funds the greatest opponents to it.

Can the Minister of Natural Resources explain why the government is funding the Tides campaign against Alberta jobs in the energy sector?