House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was yukon.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Liberal MP for Yukon (Yukon)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1 June 22nd, 2021

Madam Speaker, it is especially important for the north because the north, as I have been saying for two decades now, is experiencing climate change three times more than the rest of the world. Some of the species our indigenous people depend on are moving or dying out.

New pests and diseases are coming in, such as spruce budworm, which hurts the forests. It is very important for the north to have adjustments and innovation related to climate change. There are some specific funds that first nations are involved in. A couple of days ago we announced some great projects where they are adding traditional knowledge to scientific knowledge to come up with a plan for the future, so they can adapt to these critical changes to the environment that are happening in the north.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1 June 22nd, 2021

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his very thoughtful work in Parliament which I am well aware of.

I answered that question for a colleague yesterday. What I forgot to say was that in all the tourism supports to get people back to work was the new $700 million fund for small businesses. I also mentioned that 80% of jobs lost in Canada during the pandemic are back now, but as people move back, the various supports for businesses and individuals will start to go down.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1 June 22nd, 2021

Madam Speaker, of course we support the very important role indigenous communities play in protecting the environment. As the member mentioned size, we are protecting record amounts of land and water. Also, there are record amounts of funding to support the nature funds he mentioned, which support the increases of protected areas to the record levels they are at now and will continue to be.

In the fall economic statement, I believe, is our mandate to increase indigenous guardians because of the important role they play. I do not know what happens in other ridings, but in my riding of Yukon, almost all the indigenous communities are really showing leadership on climate change and accessing our program to help indigenous communities get off diesel. They have wonderful projects to get off greenhouses gases with wind, solar and biodiesel. They are really showing leadership, and that is why we are happy to support them in any way we can with the funds we are providing.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1 June 22nd, 2021

Madam Speaker, to my understanding, the answer is yes. This is going to be a very flexible program that will be targeted at those who have less access. There is up to 75% support for it. It will help with the needs of small communities. With the RRRF approvals by the regional development agencies, there are 7,000 projects in Quebec and over a million jobs have been created, and 173,000 business have the CEBA loan grants. The regional development agency in Quebec is a reason for the money being provided to regional development agencies, as it is totally in tune with the local economy and the people. Instead of the direction coming from Ottawa, it is received by local employees.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1 June 22nd, 2021

Madam Speaker, I emphasized in my speech things like the new community revitalization fund, $500 million for small villages, hamlets and NGOs. There has not been a fund like this recently to which small organizations will be able to apply. The rural transportation fund is brand new and exciting for rural Canada. There are some agriculture initiatives like food subsistence funding. The increase to the northern food security program is very exciting. There will be hydroelectric generation for far more remote areas. Remote air transport in the north is helpful right across the country to keep small communities connected that depend on it for their supplies. The regional development agencies have helped thousands of businesses in remote Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1 June 22nd, 2021

Madam Speaker, I am happy to speak from the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation and the Ta'an Kwach'an Council. As tomorrow is the last day that Parliament will sit before the summer, I want to thank all Yukoners, again, for the great honour they have provided me to represent them. It is a very eclectic riding, which makes it an even bigger honour. With 14 unique first nations, we are dealing with over 50 countries in immigration. It has the largest icefields outside the polar caps; the highest mountains in Canada; the world's greatest gold rush; the greatest poet, Robert Service; and the great painter, Jim Robb. Most important, the people are very caring, which is why it is such a great honour to represent them.

I will not use all my time. The budget is so important and we need to get it done quickly, which I think members realize. I will talk quickly and try to limit what I have to say to some highlights.

First, the $3.8 billion toward 35,000 more affordable units is very important. I made a number of big announcements related to housing, even before the budget. It is very exciting for my riding.

Another big investment is the $3 billion to extend sickness benefits from 15 to 26 weeks. There are also flexible EI provisions to help people through the pandemic, which are being extended until the fall of 2022.

The Nutrition north Canada subsidy program is being expanded. It provides nutritious foods to those in the Arctic and remote communities as they cannot get food for a reasonable price. That is very exciting.

I could spend my whole speech just on climate change. I am sure no one objects to the money, $17 billion we have provided and the support to the resource sector for mining, forestry, etc. to transition to a clean economy. I am sure no one objects to the zero-emission technologies like hydrogen that we are supporting and renewable energies. There is a big tax cut to clean energy technology producers. Hopefully with that $17 billion we can also help get mines that are off the grid in the very remote areas like my area off diesel.

Another area I could spend my whole speech on are the $18 billion for indigenous people. People will remember the Kelowna accord and the historic $5 billion proposed by Paul Martin, one of the greatest prime ministers in history. This is $18 billion. I will just mention two items of the many. One is over $4 billion for indigenous infrastructure. Another area is community policing and safety.

I want to give a big-shout out to Chief Doris Bill of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation as well as Gina Nagano and the Selkirk First Nation. They have provided some great leadership, and innovative and very successful community policing.

I am very happy with the IRAP expansion. It is one of the most successful programs in Canada, and more than in any other government's history, and harnesses industrial research excellence. For NGOs and charities, where there are seldom things in budgets, there is a social financing fund of $200 million; a Canada community revitalization fund; $50 million for getting ready for the social financing fund, and even a social bond. Looking at those and the green bond of maybe $5 billion on the first issue, NGOs and charities will also be eligible for the small business financing fund.

I think everyone in rural Canada too is pretty excited about the recent announcement of the rural transportation fund. I am very happy that the declining debt-to-GDP ratio makes it possible for us to help so many people and businesses that are in need.

I want to move on to to the north. On top of everything else, there are things that are particularly exciting for us in the north. One is the new exciting community revitalization fund for main streets, farmers markets and other gathering spaces that underpin local economies. There are $500 million to help people in these rural communities. If someone is in a little village, a hamlet, a town or a small NGO, this is specifically for them. They should start getting those applications ready for this brand new community revitalization fund.

What is really exciting for the northern half of Canada, is the very large northern travel allowance deduction. Before this, only people whose employers gave them a travel allowance and put it on their T4 slip could access it, but now all northerners will be able to access to it, which is very exciting.

The biggest employer in my riding is tourism as a private sector employer. The historic, first-time ever $1 billion dedicated to tourism is very crucial and exciting. There are $200 million for small festivals, small cultural events, heritage celebrations, local museums and amateur sporting events, which is perfect for my riding. We have a lot of those. For the bigger cities, there is also another $200 million for all the same events but in bigger cities. The $500 million tourism relief fund will help tourism businesses adapt their products and service, and meet public health requirements.

Then specifically in my riding is mining, which is the biggest GDP since the gold rush. Its biggest ask was help for hydroelectricity. The finance minister came through with $40.4 million for hydroelectricity studies and for preparation in the north. Also, the Yukon government has one of the most effective climate change plans, and we are giving $25 million to that.

A lot of people probably do not know that all five species of Pacific salmon: chinook, sockeye, coho, chum and pink, come into the Yukon through the Alsek-Tatshenshini drainage, or the Yukon River, the longest salmon run in the world, 2,000 miles. Therefore, historic amount of $647 million for salmon is very exciting. In fact, I had a first nations organization contact me a couple weeks ago, happy that the consultations had already started with it.

The northern trade corridor fund is essential for infrastructure for the north, $1.9 billion in the budget for that of which the north get 15%. Considering we are less than half of 1% of the population, this is tremendous support for the north as are funds for the polar continental shelf for Arctic research.

The work to lower credit card interchange fees and to have those fees the same for small businesses as large businesses is music to our ears as is the $146 million for women entrepreneurs. We have a higher average in Yukon of women entrepreneurs.

The critical mineral strategy, which I do not have time to go into as much as I would like to right now, is very important, again, mining, which is so important to our economy in the north. Mines like Victoria Gold are a very big support.

There are small business financing changes, with working capital lines of credit now being allowed, and lending against intellectual property, which would be great for our large NorthLight Innovation Centre. The digital adoption program would bring us into the new economy, with many young helpers for businesses, potential zero-interest loans and grants to help transition.

To get into the new economy, we have a plan. I am glad the Conservatives are onside for a long-term prosperity growth budget, which is exactly what this is, with money for food security; indigenous and women entrepreneurs; an artificial intelligence strategy; the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research; a quantum strategy; the Photonics Fabrication Centre; business-led R and D through colleges; Mitacs for 85,000 placements; CanCode; the net-zero accelerator; the clean-growth hub; support for Measurement Canada; strategic innovation funds; Elevated IP; the strategic intellectual property program review; innovation superclusters; data in the digital world; Stats Canada data gaps; and support for the Standards Council of Canada.

I think most people in this place and the other place know how important it is to get this budget through, and that a number of major supports are going to expire in eight days, including the wage subsidy and the rent subsidy. There are 447,000 employers that have accessed the wage subsidy; five million people in Canada need it to put food on the table, and 192,000 organizations for rent subsidy. The Canada recovery benefit will be extended for 12 more weeks, and the Canada recovery hiring benefit would not be able to go ahead without it.

People realize the importance of getting this bill through. Those programs will expire in eight days if we do not get this through today or tomorrow. Even the Conservative member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes said yesterday that a number of our expenditures were great, like the County Road 43, recreation projects like the new arena in Prescott, the Vincent de Paul project in Brockville, with affordable housing for seniors. They will ask for many more government funds for Gananoque, Westport, Rideau Lakes and North Grenville.

For all these reasons and with these important investments, I hope all parties will support this bill that would help so many workers who are still in desperate need and so many businesses that need support to get through the last part of this pandemic, to ensure these programs do not expire and all the initiatives that can get help us into the new, modern digital economy to create even more jobs. Eighty per cent of jobs have already been brought back, but much more needs to be done.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1 June 18th, 2021

Madam Speaker, it is absolutely shameful that the member would accuse the RCMP of partaking in criminal activities. The member should apologize right now to the RCMP.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1 June 18th, 2021

Madam Speaker, you are doing an excellent job as always.

The member always speaks very well. I have to correct the last intervention though. The budget implementation act is an exception. It is always an omnibus bill because it always deals with a whole bunch of departments.

It was interesting how parts of the member's speech asked for all sorts of expenditures and then the other half complained about all the expenditures. I wonder if he could tell us what significant amounts of money to reduce the debt he is talking about and the expenditures he is complaining about.

The second item I would like to ask him is about the recovery benefit, the wage benefit and the rent subsidy all running out in 12 days. A lot of businesses in Quebec are going to be hurt. Will he vote for the budget to support them?

Business of Supply June 17th, 2021

Madam Speaker, the Bloc member that asked a question said that we should be concentrating on the victims, which we totally agree with. The NDP and the Bloc have said that today. If we look at the committee records, we will see time and time again that the Liberal members are the ones who concentrated on the victims.

Unfortunately, what the other three parties concentrated on was an anonymous email that, for the privacy of the person, no one knew what was in it. Unfortunately, most of the members in the debate here do not realize that there was roughly an hour of testimony at committee on all the things this minister has done dealing with sexual misconduct, which is more than any other minister in history.

Does the member think that it would really hurt those victims to remove the minister who has done more than anyone else, is ready to action right now and who says there is a lot more that needs to be done? That would hurt the victims the most.

Business of Supply June 17th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, the member did a pretty good job of showing that the far more serious allegations related to General Vance were from his appointment, and that there were rumours at the time among the Conservatives.

As to the present Minister of National Defence, there was an email, and for privacy reasons no one was allowed to know what was in it. It was dealt with within 24 hours, which was very fast action by the minister. It was investigated as far as it could go at that time, because for privacy the person did not want the information to get out.

I am glad the member mentioned that we should be concentrating on the victims. That is what the Liberals have done 90% of the time at committee. Because the member is on the status of women committee, which had good witnesses, I would like her to suggest what needs to be done to change the culture. At committee, we found that was probably the biggest problem facing the military.