House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Conservative MP for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 47% of the vote.

Statements in the House

National Defence Act February 28th, 2019

Madam Speaker, my colleague talked about the conditions under which somebody would make a ruling. I would point out that the conditions in the military for all members, male, female, native, non-native, whatever one's race or background, are the same. They are treated the same way, except for what is coming in the bill. That is all I am pointing out.

Again, I do not have the complete answer, but when we start treating people differently because of the colour of their skin, it is unacceptable in today's society, no matter how good one's intentions are.

National Defence Act February 28th, 2019

Madam Speaker, the member is obviously trying to distort what I said. I simply pointed out that there is a difference. We should not start applying laws based on race, gender or whatever. In the military, if there are four soldiers, and two of them are aboriginal and two of them are not, and they make a mistake, two of them would have the potential of being treated differently than the other two. That is all I was trying to point out. I do not think that is right. I do not have a clear answer on it, but doing anything race-based is not acceptable, even less so in this day and age. That is all I was trying to point out.

National Defence Act February 28th, 2019

Madam Speaker, if my partisan colleague across the way had just given me another 10 seconds, that is where my next paragraph was going. The issue of carrying the course of justice is, in fact, not out of place within the context of the debate here today on Bill C-77, so there is relevancy.

Bill C-77 is all about carrying out the course of justice within our military in a way that protects victims. The legislation would bring forward changes to our military justice system that would give some protection to victims. That is something the Conservative government was working on, and as we heard earlier today from my colleague for Cariboo—Prince George, the bill is almost a duplicate of what we had proposed in the last Parliament.

As I said, the legislation would bring forward changes to our military justice system that would give some protection to victims, which is vitally important. Our previous government recognized this. It is why we brought in the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights and worked to enshrine those rights within our military justice system.

Former Bill C-71, which did not pass before the last election, looked very much like the legislation before us today. Our proposed legislation would have given victims the following: first, enhanced access to information through the appointment of a victim liaison officer; second, enhanced protection through new safety, security and privacy provisions; third, enhanced participation through impact statements at sentencing; and four, enhanced restitution, meaning a court martial would be required to consider making a restitution order for losses.

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery and that is on full display here. The Liberal government knows that what the Conservative government tried to do in the previous Parliament was the right thing to do, and that is why it is copying it with this legislation. However, there are a few differences that I would like to highlight.

Perhaps the most glaring difference between the two bills would be the addition of the Gladue decision, in relation to paragraph 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code of Canada, into the National Defence Act. This addition would mean aboriginal members of the Canadian Armed Forces who face charges under the National Defence Act may face lighter punishment if convicted.

There is absolutely no place in the Canadian Armed Forces and in Canadian society, for that matter, for discrimination of any kind. No one should ever be discriminated against based upon race, gender, religion, culture or any other factor. That being said, the insertion of this principle has the potential to result in different consideration of offences committed by aboriginal forces members than for those committed by non-aboriginal forces members. This could lead to sentences that are less harsh, could undermine operational discipline and morale in the forces and could even undermine anti-racism policies.

I truly believe, and I think all of us in this place do, that judicial systems, military or otherwise, operate most effectively when the defining principle is equality before the law. By definition, equality applies to all. If we want true equality before the law, we cannot have separate levels of standards or sentences for some segments of the population. It must be applied uniformly.

Furthermore, while I am pleased the government is moving forward with legislation to help the men and women who are currently serving our country, it must be reminded that our veterans need our support as well.

A recent report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed our veterans are paying for the mistakes of the government. The PBO's report, titled “The cost differential between three regimes of Veterans Benefits”, is clear proof that the pensions for life scheme by the government is falling well short of the mark when it comes to supporting the men and women who have served our country. The report confirms veterans with severe and permanent injuries will be worse off by an average of $300,000 under this scheme. This is unacceptable and needs to be addressed.

That said, it is my hope that Bill C-77 moves on to consideration in the Senate and that those in the other place will conduct a fulsome review of the bill to ensure that military justice reform works for all those who serve our country.

We cannot ever do enough for our veterans. A lot of veterans from the Second World War and many from the Korean War have left us and there will be more as time moves on. It is times like this, in their later years, when they need veterans services more than ever. I remind the government to change its attitude, change its ways and change Veterans Affairs so that the main goal is to serve these veterans instead of keeping the strings on the bank book unreasonably.

When Conservatives were in government, the same type of thing happened and it is happening now.

National Defence Act February 28th, 2019

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to have the opportunity to again speak to Bill C-77. This is important legislation that I believe has a good amount of support from all sides of the House.

Before I get into the heart of my remarks today, I want to take a few moments to applaud the hon. member for Vancouver Granville, the former attorney general, for the courage she showed yesterday at the justice committee. All Canadians have been watching this story very closely. The hon. member laid out a very clear picture of what has happened.

It is now crystal clear that the Prime Minister and his office carried out a coordinated effort to try to obstruct the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. It is shameful, and it needs to be looked into further.

The Criminal Code defines the charge of obstructing justice as anyone who “wilfully attempts in any manner to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice in a judicial proceeding.” Applying sustained pressure to the former attorney general once she had already made the decision to proceed to trial would 100% constitute a wilful attempt to obstruct, pervert or defeat the course of justice.

The RCMP needs to look into this and needs to hold all of those responsible accountable for their actions, including the Prime Minister. The buck stops with him. It was his office and people in his government who carried out this pressure, and he needs to own up to it, something he is not very good at.

Further, the Prime Minister has to agree to call for a public inquiry so all Canadians can once again have faith in an independent judiciary.

Canadian Alpine Skier February 26th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to one of Canada's best alpine skiers, Larisa Yurkiw. Born in my riding in the city of Owen Sound, Larisa is a world-class skier who represented Canada for over 10 years, including at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.

Larisa's accomplishments run deep. She made her World Cup debut in 2007 and has been on the podium three times. At the time of her official retirement in 2016, Larisa ranked third in the world. An accomplished athlete, business woman and academic, Larisa has done everything from fundraising her own budget and managing her ski staff to completing her MBA.

Over the next few days, Larisa is graciously volunteering her time with the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa during their annual charity ski day. I ask all members to join me in recognizing her outstanding athletic career.

Larisa has made all residents of Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, and indeed all of Canada, very proud. Well done.

Birthday Congratulations February 20th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, today I want to recognize two individuals who have been important members of our community for years and who have recently celebrated significant birthdays.

Albert McConnell, of Kilsyth, who just turned 90, moved to Kilsyth in 1942 with his parents and six siblings, when he was just 16 years old. Ab immediately bought his first registered Hereford cows, and a few years later, expanded into sheep farming. Ab continued to farm beef cattle with his three sons for over 70 years, until he retired in 2015.

John Garvey, of Owen Sound, just celebrated his 95th birthday. John refereed hockey and broomball for over 50 years, retiring at age 80, but John continued to umpire baseball for over 70 years, retiring at age 90. He still golfs three to four times a week, recording scores a 40-year-old would be proud to achieve.

Please join me in celebrating Albert and John, two remarkable men from my riding.

Indigenous Languages Act February 7th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend and colleague from Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo for acknowledging that the Conservative Party will be supporting this bill at second reading.

The member thinks along the same lines I do, in that we find it very troubling that the Prime Minister pretends. I use that word because he talks the talk, but does not walk the walk. What happened to the now Minister of Veterans Affairs, the former attorney general, is obviously not something a true feminist would do to a female minister. The other troubling aspect is that he has said he supports native rights, native culture and so on, but his actions all speak contrary to that.

If the member could respond to that, I would appreciate it.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 28th, 2019

With regard to the Prime Minister’s tweet on December 2, 2018, pledging $50 million to Education Cannot Wait: was this funding approved by the Treasury Board before or after the Prime Minister posted the tweet?

Questions on the Order Paper January 28th, 2019

With regard to government involvement and funding for Digital Democracy Project at the Public Policy Forum: (a) on what date did the government provide funding for the project; (b) how much money did the government provide for the project; (c) what is the detailed description of this federally funded project; (d) what specific assurances did the government receive, if any, to ensure that this project is not biased towards the Liberal Party of Canada; and (e) will this project expose and examine “fake news”, propaganda, and non-answers given or perpetuated by the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers?

Christmas December 11th, 2018

Mr. Speaker,'Twas the month before Christmas and all through this House
Canadians miffed, Liberals quiet as a mouse
Taxpayers hung stockings by the chimney with care
With fear that the carbon tax soon would be there.
The Cabinet were nestled all smug in their beds
While visions of deficits danced in their heads.
When out on the borders there arose such a clatter
PM says, “Open the borders, what does it matter?”
To the window the Finance Minister flew like a flash
He tore open the shutters and threw out more cash.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a ministerial sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver, could it be St. Nick?
No, it was little Gerry Butts, it was just a trick.
With his sleigh full of handouts, in they came
Gerry whistled and shouted and called them by name.
On deficits! On spending! On with the fiscal mess!
All of this contributing to Canadians' stress.
'Twas the night before Christmas, October 19 is near
We'll throw them out and replace them with Andrew Scheer.