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

Business of Supply October 2nd, 2018

Madam Speaker, again, I was not the minister of the day, but as was said earlier, there are hundreds of transfers a day within our federal penitentiary system and within the corrections system. For many of them, the minister is not made aware of who are being transferred where. However, there are other occasions when the Liberals today have muddied the waters, so to speak, because they have kept talking about, in 2014, McClintic being moved to a medium-security penitentiary.

We heard earlier today that the institution that she was transferred to was a medium-maximum security facility. Therefore, she may have gone from a maximum-security facility into the maximum of the penitentiary that she was transferred to in 2014. That would be normal. Those things can happen, and for a number of reasons they happen. They may happen because of programming. They may happen because of safety of the offender. There is a host of reasons. In taking someone from a maximum-security facility and cascading her down to a minimum-medium security healing lodge in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, undoubtedly there will be the public outcry that we are hearing today. Therefore yes, our motion calls on the government to bring forward legislation so that this cannot happen again.

Business of Supply October 2nd, 2018

Madam Speaker, I rise today to partake in this debate, but I do so with a very heavy heart. I had the opportunity to sit in the House all day today and listen to both sides of this debate. I say both sides because, certainly, my Conservative colleagues have all shared their disgust and horror that we have had to resort not only to this debate but that we have had to bring forward this debate in order to get some action. I am shocked, as are many of my constituents and Canadians all across this country, to witness yet another failure by the Liberal government. The Liberals have failed to do what is right. They have failed Tori Stafford's family. They have failed to protect the most vulnerable members of our society. They have failed our children.

Nothing in this life is as important as the innocent, vulnerable children. As a father and soon to be grandfather, I have sat today putting myself into the position of a number of people, first, of Tori Stafford as the vicious rape and murder took place, and also of her parents. We must do absolutely everything and anything we can in our power to protect them. I repeat, the government has failed, and that is totally and frighteningly unacceptable. I strongly believe that a majority of Canadians, particularly parents and grandparents, would agree with me, and we are hearing from them. Countless numbers have emailed and called.

We brought this motion to the floor today because of the deaf ear of the Liberal government. Why do we have to call upon the government to exercise its moral, legal and political authority to ensure the decision to move Terri-Lynne McClintic is reversed and cannot happen again with others? Why does this murderer remain in a healing lodge without fences and with the presence of other innocent children, innocent children like Tori Stafford was? Why has the government not done the right thing and directed the commissioner of corrections to move this murderer back into maximum security to serve out the rest of her life sentence without eligibility for parole for 25 years? Why? That is the question that not only the opposition is asking but it is the question our constituents and Canadians are asking.

This morning I listened very closely to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and her defence of her government in allowing Correctional Service Canada officials to determine the placement or transfer of offenders. She said it was not the elected officials' job to make this determination. If the Canadian public overwhelmingly believe that an error has been made, it is the government's responsibility to stand up and be counted.

Clearly, under subsection 6(1) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the minister has the authority to direct the commissioner of corrections in all matters. This would include issuing a directive that a broad class of offenders such as those convicted of murder of a child are not eligible for transfer to a minimum security facility or to a minimum-medium security or to a healing lodge, and as we have heard, one without fences, without bars, and without what we would expect from a normal maximum security penitentiary.

Furthermore, the parliamentary secretary pointed out that it is our job to draft and approve legislation that provides clear guidelines and directives. It is our job as policymakers to propose and pass Criminal Code and Corrections and Conditional Release Act amendments to respond to the concerns and the demand of our electorate. However, in this particular case, those demands are for first-degree murderers to be placed and kept in maximum security facilities where they belong.

Under subsection 96(z.6) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the government could immediately pass regulations setting out the eligibility requirements for minimum security facilities and healing lodges. This could include prohibiting those convicted of murder involving a child. The government could do that, but unfortunately, we are having this debate here today because it will not, just as it will not vote in favour of this motion, as so many of my colleagues have implored it to do throughout this debate today. Why would the government not do that? It will not because, as previous Liberal governments have done, it has always and will always allow the scales of justice to be tipped in favour of offenders.

I will have been in the House for 18 years as of this coming November. I served in opposition as the public safety critic from November 2000 until January 2006. I repeatedly stood in the House in that capacity to oppose legislation after legislation introduced by the previous Liberal government, legislation that created conditional sentencing which resulted in rapists and other violent offenders serving time at home. That is correct for those who are watching. Violent offenders were doing their time at home.

I opposed legislation that made rehabilitation and reintegration the guiding principles of sentencing, as opposed to the protection of society. Reintegration and rehabilitation are much needed; that is unquestionable. We want to prepare those individuals as they go back into society, but our guiding principle must always be the protection of society.

I could go on to make the point that successive Liberal governments have prioritized the rights of offenders over the rights of victims.

It was the Harper government that created the office of the victims ombudsman, wrote the Victims Bill of Rights, eliminated section 745 of the Criminal Code, which gave murderers early parole eligibility and allowed for consecutive parole ineligibility for those convicted of multiple murders. It was fought the entire way by the Liberal opposition.

It was a Conservative government that restored the scales of justice in favour of victims. Unfortunately, the present Liberal government has once again tipped the scales in favour of offenders, and murderer Terri-Lynne McClintic remains in a healing lodge. That is proof enough.

How should politicians respond in a short period of time? There may be legislation that needs to be rewritten and amended, but what could politicians do? That is the question our constituents are asking us.

Yesterday, the Ontario legislature at Queen's Park found a way. Yesterday, it unanimously passed a motion calling for the transfer of this individual to be reversed. This murder, this rape, this kidnapping took place in Ontario. Provincial MLAs heard the public's outcry, and all parties in the legislature in Toronto responded together, unified, unanimously. I commend them for that.

Will the government, will the Liberal Party join with the provincial Liberals, NDP and Conservatives in condemning this decision? I very much fear that the answer will be no.

Business of Supply October 2nd, 2018

Madam Speaker, this happened in the member's constituency. This terrible, atrocious crime happened in his constituency, and I felt his heart cry as he gave his speech.

The previous question was why the Conservative government did not prevent her from going to a medium security facility that had bars, a prison cell and all of those things. The member rightfully answered that Conservatives were not aware of it at the time, which the hon. member finds very hard to believe. He is laughing. The Liberals must then believe that the current public safety minister was aware the moment she was transferred to a healing lodge, because they come from that perspective. I would ask the member for a point of clarification on that, please.

Business of Supply October 2nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my colleague across the way. I think all of us recognize a few things. A terribly atrocious crime took place. We recognize something else, and that is that we have very good public servants and very good bureaucrats. However, we also recognize that on occasion there are times where the general public responds to a decision that was made and says that it is unacceptable. For that reason, we have subsection 6(1) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, which gives the minister the authority to intervene at a time like that.

I have listened to the members of the Liberal Party today. It is almost as if Parliament is out of its realm if it should ever question a decision by anyone in our bureaucracy.

I would ask the member if he believes there is ever a place in which a minister should do that. We know the Liberal agriculture minister, when he was minister of public safety, intervened in one case. Does the member believe there should ever be a case where a minister should step in and intervene? If not in this case, then which case?

Business of Supply October 2nd, 2018

Madam Speaker, I appreciate my colleague from the NDP giving us his opinion on proper ways the opposition should hold these issues to account. I take my responsibility here very seriously as a member of Parliament, and I have had countless calls to my office, on Facebook accounts and others, from the public expressing its outcry about the injustice in this case.

We can get into a rut where we all of a sudden say that we should not criticize the bureaucrats, that even if they made a mistake, they are the experts. We have to hold them to account, and if we do not bring up debates like this in this place, when we have Tori Stafford's father crying that an injustice has been done, it is easy to see why the general public and our constituents may think we have lost touch with the common person.

Therefore, when parole boards release people very early and they go out and re-offend, should we not question it? Should we not bring it up? Should we not hold them to account?

The opposition here takes this responsibility very seriously. A vicious murder and rape took place, and now the perpetrator has been cascaded down, not just to a medium-security facility with prison walls, but to a healing lodge where there are remarkable amenities.

Business of Supply October 2nd, 2018

Madam Speaker, I listened with great interest to my friend across the way. This is a solemn day, as we debate an issue that has received public outcry from coast to coast. We have heard that Tori's father, who on Facebook, has asked the government to reverse an atrocity. This criminal was sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years, because she had kidnapped, raped and murdered a young eight-year-old girl.

My question for my colleague is more personal. We believe that dangerous child killers whose conduct has been bad in prison should not leave any type of institution where there are no prison cells, no gates and no methodology for keeping them behind bars.

Why do you believe she should be cascaded down to a healing lodge that has other children on the facility? This is the biggest example of injustice being done for the victim and for the family?

Committees of the House October 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 50th report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, entitled “Report 7, Consular Services to Canadians Abroad—Global Affairs 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 the report.

Small Business September 21st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal summer of failure in addressing the concerns of small business owners is causing serious harm and driving out investment from this country. The Liberals have been raising taxes on passive investment, limiting the sharing of business income, raising CPP premiums in 2019 and hiking EI premiums by 3%, plus putting a carbon tax on everything.

When will the finance minister stop failing small business, or does he believe, like the Prime Minister, that they are nothing but tax cheats?

Firearms Act September 20th, 2018

Madam Speaker, it is a real pleasure to stand in this place and speak, not necessarily just on this bill, but on this issue. I have been speaking on this issue in the House it seems for 25 years, but in reality it is 18 years, because that is when I came to the House. Today it is Bill C-71, which has been dubbed the firearm owners harassment act, and most of my constituents believe that is what Bill C-71 is.

Last spring, I wrote a biweekly column for the papers in my constituency. In that newspaper column, the reference was Groundhog Day, because when Bill C-71 was introduced, it was much like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day reliving a very memorable and disturbing day. For me, that day happened back on February 14, 1995. Over and over, we have had reference to that day here in the House of Commons. It was the day that ultimately led to my seeking election for this place in 2000. It was the day that Bill C-68 was introduced by former Liberal justice minister Allan Rock. I will say that there is still a distrust among law-abiding gun owners in this country of the Liberal Party of Canada.

I will paint this picture a little clearer. We are debating Bill C-71, but today in the Globe and Mail, the story is that one of our ministers is going to begin consultations on banning firearms, banning handguns, across Canada. Therefore, although we debate Bill C-71, which has bad proposed legislation in it, the background is that there is more going on with the Liberal government. One of my colleagues from Lethbridge earlier this week delivered a petition to Parliament with 86,000 signatures from law-abiding gun owners in this country. There are over 10,000 from Quebec and tens of thousands from other provinces across this country. There is very little trust in the Liberal government when it comes to this issue, because we have seen it in the past.

While the grip that the Liberal government is trying to put on law-abiding firearm owners this time is not as tight as the one that Mr. Rock tried in the mid-1990s, we believe that any movement on this bill that takes away the rights of law-abiding gun owners is not right, fair, or in the best interest of Canadians.

On the day that the public safety minister introduced Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms, many were immediately ready to jump to compare it to the infamous predecessor. I thought at that time that I would reserve judgment. That reservation lasted about 20 minutes, as it did not take long, after reading through the legislation, to see what the Liberal government was trying to do. It does not bring it back to the extent of the ineffective long-gun registry, but it is a very good step toward that.

In the mid-1990s, Bill C-68 created the billion-dollar gun registry and made criminals out of law-abiding firearm owners such as farmers and duck hunters. However, it did not solve the problem. Many Canadians, particularly anglers, hunters and farmers, which is the majority of my riding, who had been in possession of their firearms for a long time, were made to retroactively, and at a great cost both financially and emotionally, ensure that the make, model, serial number, calibre and barrel length of their firearm was properly recorded and placed on the firearm registry. Failure to do so could turn them into an immediate criminal. That is the kind of intent that the Liberal government has in regard to legal firearm owners, law-abiding citizens.

Soon after forming government in 2006, Stephen Harper and our Conservative caucus immediately moved to eliminate the long-gun registry and to restore the respect that law-abiding firearm owners had been denied since former Liberal justice minister Allan Rock tabled Bill C-68. Unfortunately, once again, that respect is being stripped away, and firearm owners will be made to feel like criminals under the reference number provision outlined in Bill C-71.

Section 5 of the Firearms Act is being amended to include the requirement for anyone transferring a long gun to obtain a reference number from the firearm registry. Before any firearm can be sold or given away, the buyer has to show a licence, and the seller, whether a retailer or private citizen, has to confirm it is valid with the registrar. The problem with this, and I mentioned it in the House before, is that all throughout constituencies in western Canada and indeed Canada—Ontario is similar and possibly Quebec, but I am not certain—there are gun shows going on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, where thousands of collectors, farmers, and law-abiding firearm owners are buying that next rifle for hunting or protecting their livestock. That is going to cause massive problems with the industry gun shows, like gun shows in Concort, Hanna, Castor and Torrington, and the list goes on throughout my constituency.

Currently, vendors are trusted to do a requisite licence check without confirmation. The registrar will issue the reference number only if satisfied that the person buying or receiving the firearm holds or is able to hold an eligible licence.

I see that my time is up. I just want to underscore that this is bad legislation. I encourage the Liberals to back off on Bill C-71.

Firearms Act June 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised by my Liberal colleagues, who always like to compare us with the United States any time we defend lawful farmers and firearms owners. There is no comparison between the Canadian system and the American system. Zero. There is none.

Again, I believe that Canadians expect that we put in safe regulations, which we have. I have to go through an afternoon or a whole day of courses to be able to purchase a firearm. That is the point. The person who is in a gang does not have to go through that. He just buys one off the street, which the Liberals cannot seem to shut down.

What does the member suggest we do? First of all, we want to continue to educate. We want to say that we are all right with the PAL. We are okay with going through that type of exercise to own a firearm. The other thing we could do is continue to recognize safe storage. This is a very important part that makes sense. We do not have a problem with that. Gun owners I know realize that there are some expectations, and they all believe that this is over the top.