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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was riding.

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 October 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, before I get into the issue at hand, it is no wonder that taxpayers and voters across this country get skeptical about politics when somebody, whether it is the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister or the Minister of Veterans Affairs, stands up every day and tries to pretend that something is exactly like something else when it is not. I am referring to what he just talked about on the minimum-security prison where this murderer, child killer, was moved to. She was behind bars in minimum security. She is not today and that is a huge difference. People get it, no matter how they try and spin it.

Before my blood boils much more, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-77, which will amend the National Defence Act to bring about some changes to the Canadian military justice system. For the most part, these changes are both needed and welcomed. The bill before us today is in fact very similar to a previous Conservative bill, Bill C-71. I do not want to confuse anyone. The Bill C-71 that I am referring to is a bill from a previous government. It is not the same Bill C-71 that the Liberals have passed through this House which is a direct attack on law-abiding firearms owners. That is most certainly a Bill C-71 that I will never be supporting. The Bill C-71 that I am referring to was put forward by our previous Conservative government in an attempt to accomplish many of the same goals that the bill before us here today seeks to accomplish.

The fundamental objectives of this legislation, that I believe are supported across party lines, are aligning the military justice system in Canada with the Criminal Code of Canada, enshrining the Victims Bill of Rights into the National Defence Act, putting a statute of limitations of six months on summary trial cases and clarifying what cases should be handled by a summary trial. These are all very positive steps forward that are contained within Bill C-77 and I am supportive of them moving forward.

I would like to take some time to focus on one of these central points, with respect to enacting the Victims Bill of Rights. It should be pointed out that it was the former Conservative government that brought forward the Victims Bill of Rights when we were in government. It was an incredible step forward to ensure that Canadians who are victims of crime are supported. That is our party's record when it comes to supporting survivors.

Unfortunately, time and time again we see the Liberals talking the talk but not walking the walk when it comes to support for victims in this country. In fact, they've adopted a “hug a thug” mentality when it comes to modernizing the Criminal Code. Through Bill C-75, the Liberals are actually making it possible for perpetrators of heinous criminal acts, some carrying sentences of 10 years in prison, to get off with only a ticket, fine or minor jail time. Bill C-75 introduces a number of measures that are intended to deal with delays in Canada's court system. However, as I have said, the massive 302-page bill will also end up reducing sentences for a number of dangerous crimes. This will be done by provisions in the bill that could reclassify indictable offences so that they may be punishable as summary offences, which would carry a maximum penalty of only two years.

A potential 10-year sentence lessened to two years is the Liberal solution to judicial delays. I sent a mailing out to my constituents that informed them of Bill C-75 and what it would do. I invited them to respond to me via a response card. The response card asked them if they agreed with Bill C-75. To be clear, there was literature that went with it to explain exactly what was there so that people understood what they were voting on.

In my entire time serving the riding of Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, I have never had such an immense return to a mailing like this. I received nearly 1,600 responses to this question. Of the responses, 97% of respondents said that they disagreed with Bill C-75, while only 31 individuals out of that 1,600 agreed and 17 were unsure or needed more information. This was certainly a message heard loud and clear. Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound does not support Bill C-75.

Canadians are also having a hard time believing that this government supports the men and women who serve this country.

I rose in the House last week to make the Minister of Veterans Affairs aware of a veteran in Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound who cannot receive the important support he needs. He is 87 years old and is a veteran of the Korean War. His name is Barry Jackson. I know the family well. He served our country admirably and is now looking for any kind of help from Veterans Affairs. Unfortunately, it will not return his calls.

First I will provide a bit of history. It took years for Barry Jackson to be approved for a wheelchair ramp. Now he needs a scooter, and all he gets is silence from Veterans Affairs. His son Jonathan contacted my office after learning that the Liberals were paying for PTSD treatment for a convicted murderer who has never served in the military one single day in his life. It truly is shameful that a murderer and cop killer with not one day of military service is receiving benefits.

When Barry Jackson got the call from Canada in 1951, he answered that call and headed off to Korea, just like thousands of other young Canadian men did. However, years later, when Barry Jackson needed help and reached out to Canada, nada, nothing, zero. From Veterans Affairs, nothing; from the Prime Minister, nothing; from the Minister of Veterans Affairs, nothing. They should all be ashamed.

Christopher Garnier, meanwhile, committed unspeakable acts, but because his father served in the armed forces, he is getting support, while actual veterans like Barry Jackson wait and wait. It is unfair and, I would say, un-Canadian. What is really ironic, and we can use whatever word we want, is that with the money in Veterans Affairs and the services available, veterans like Barry Jackson, who laid their lives on the line to earn those services when they needed them, are the ones who cannot get them. However, a cop killer and rapist like Chris Garnier, one of the worst human beings one can imagine, has no problem getting them and did not serve one day. That is why people shake their heads and wonder why they even support or want government. It is things like this that give it all a dirty feeling.

When it comes to supporting victims and the men and women who serve this country, the Liberals do not have a great record.

Earlier in my remarks, I mentioned that Bill C-77 almost directly mirrors Bill C-71 from a previous Parliament. There are, however, a few differences 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 subsection 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code of Canada to the National Defence Act.

This addition would mean that aboriginal members of the Canadian Armed Forces facing charges under the National Defence Act may face lighter punishment if convicted. There is absolutely no place in the Canadian Armed Forces, or 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 considerations for offences committed by aboriginal CAF members than for those committed by non-aboriginal forces members. This could lead to sentences that are less harsh and could undermine operational discipline, morale in the forces and even anti-racism policies.

I want to point out, while I have the opportunity, that there are two reserves in my riding. Cape Croker, which is just north of my home town of Wiarton, has the distinction of having the highest percentage of young men who have served in wars. That is something I know they are proud of. Wilmer Nadjiwon, a former chief, just passed away a year or so ago at 96. I stand to be corrected, but I believe that he and seven of his brothers, the eight of them, were in the war, and some of them did not come home. They gave it all, so this is not a slam against aboriginal veterans across this country.

Veterans Affairs September 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, Barry Jackson is a Korean War veteran who lives in Georgian Bluffs. He fought bravely for our country and now, at 87 years old, is looking for support. Unfortunately, Veterans Affairs has been giving Barry the runaround.

While an actual veteran fights for help, the Liberals are providing support to convicted murderer Chris Garnier who has never served a day in his life.

In 1951, Barry Jackson answered Canada's call. Will the Prime Minister today now answer his call and quite giving the resources that he earned to murderer Chris Garnier?

Firearms Act June 18th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I guess I misunderstood his first response. I thought he was going to stand and clarify it and he did not. He wants to target something that is already happening to law-abiding firearms owners. Tomorrow or the next day, I hope the member contacts me because as a law-abiding firearms owner and a politician, a legislator like he is, I would like to better understand the situation and at that point maybe we could have a good dialogue.

Firearms Act June 18th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague's question is a good one. My condolences go out to the family. That is the kind of stuff that we all hate to hear about, it does not matter where it is.

Respectfully, the answer to his question is in part of the comment that he made. The 11 handguns, if I heard him right, were basically sold to gang members. If that is not the case, I would like to talk to him in private because that was my understanding from listening, that they ended up in the hands of the gangs.

Young lives were lost and I feel very bad for the mother, but I do not know what we have to do to get the hon. member and others to understand that the bill does nothing to address gang crimes and illegal firearm sales. It only puts another burden on the people who already register and are law-abiding firearms owners.

Firearms Act June 18th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand here tonight and talk about Bill C-71. This is an important bill for my riding. I have spoken to this a number of times.

Before I get into the bill's history, I want to talk for a minute about so many of my good colleagues around here, especially my colleagues from Quebec. We added to their numbers tonight up in Chicoutimi--Le Fjord. I am looking forward to another Conservative member coming here. I used to buy cattle in the Chicoutimi area. I also used to hunt and fish up in that area. There is no doubt in my mind that Bill C-71 is one of the reasons that Mr. Martel, apparently one of the most famous hockey coaches in Quebec, was elected tonight with a huge majority.

The reason I mention that is that Canadians everywhere, whether they are in Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, in Yukon, or in Chicoutimi, Quebec, are ordinary Canadians who hate to be told they are criminals just because they like to hunt or farm and they have a rifle.

I was a farmer in my other life. Most farmers in this country, whether they hunt or not, have a firearm. They use their firearm to go after that rabid fox that gets in with the livestock, or a coyote or bear that is trying to take down a newborn calf, or as the member for Prince Albert mentioned, intruders who come on the property with the intention to steal stuff. It is commonplace in rural Canada for people to have a firearm.

Earlier, the member for Oakville North—Burlington commented that firearms owners are law abiding until they are not. What in the heck does that mean? I just shake my head at that. I have a lot of respect for that member who sits on the public safety committee but if that is not aiming a dart at a large law-abiding group of people in this country then I do not know what is. I am ticked off by her comment. I am offended by it and I am sure a lot of people across this country are offended by it as well.

Turning to some of the history as to why Bill C-71 came out, the Liberal government said it was going to do something about gang violence and the illegal firearms trade. What did it do? It did not do one thing. I have talked privately to a number of members across the way who admitted there is nothing in this legislation. This is a signal to a group of people who are absolutely against firearms for various reasons, or they are against hunting or whatever, and the ultimate goal is to get rid of firearms everywhere. It does not recognize the fact that lots of people know how to handle them.

I have had a gun in my hand since I was eight or nine years old. I was taught by my father how to handle it safely. My boys got their licence when they were 12 years old, which is what the legal hunting age was. I taught them how to handle a firearm, the same as I taught them how to ride a bike or do whatever. Respect is taught along with that. It is not just about learning how to operate a firearm. It is the same when it comes to running farm equipment. The member for Malpeque, who sits on the opposite side of the aisle, grew up on a farm. He would have taught his kids the same way. Whether it is a piece of farm equipment, a firearm, or whatever else, we have to teach the proper way to handle it and to treat it with respect and then everything will be good.

I sat in on a public safety committee meeting a few weeks ago. Some of the testimony that I heard that day would blow one's mind, no pun intended.

What came out of Bill C-71 was that the government fudged the numbers. The crime rate with firearms has been dropping since the mid-1960s, which is common knowledge. However, they really dropped in 2013. What did the government do? It used that as the base number, knowing that no way would we get the same drastic drop in firearms crime in 2014, and it went up a bit. All of a sudden, my God, the sky was falling, and everybody was shooting everybody everywhere, but that was not the case. On fudging numbers, two witnesses both said something long the same lines.

The reason I mention that is because of what we got from the member for Kenora. I have hunted and fished in his riding. I have a lot of friends up there. I am sure they will be happy after his comment tonight. He said that among firearms owners, there was a lot of mental health issues. There sure as heck is not in my family, friends, and the people who I know who hunt and handle firearms. That was a pretty blanket statement. I do not know if he meant to say it, but when I asked in a question, he pretty well repeated it, so I kind of think he meant it. That kind of thing is not helpful. It is not correct. Sure there are examples, but the one thing worth pointing out in this is when he talked about some of this mental health, he started off by talking about the U.S.

The U.S. has a way worse record and a way worse problem with firearms than we do in Canada. Why? Because we have the toughest laws in the world. We have had the toughest handgun laws in the world since the 1930s, and we are well ahead with long guns, etc.

We all know the history of 1995. In fact, one of the things that motivated me to get into federal politics was the long gun registry. I can still hear my dad. At 86, he is still hunting. He was made to feel like a criminal. My father-in-law was felt the same way. God bless his soul, he has passed away. However, he was going to bury his guns rather than register them, and he did not want to break the law. That just shows us that when we attack law-abiding firearms owners, they get upset, they want to fight back, and they shove back.

In this most recent attack, the numbers were fudged and members tried to pretend that we had the same crime problem or gun problem as the people in the United States. When members start comparing us with the U.S., they are going down a road they should never go down. It is like apples and oranges. We just cannot do it. The U.S. has problems because it does not have the same kind of laws as we have up here.

I talked about the crime rates dropping and the Canadian firearms advisory committee. My good friend from Calgary spoke a few minutes ago. About a year ago, I had a long conversation with her about this. She had a bit of a personal issue with firearms. She finally realized that she did not understand it and did not know what it was. She said she had a lot of people who hunted in her riding. What did she do? Probably the smartest thing any politician could do. She went out and got a PAL. Everybody was telling her that it was so easy to get a gun, a licence, and do all of that. She went out and did it all, and it took her over a year. There is nothing wrong with that. We are not complaining, but it just goes to show that all kinds of rules are in place. If more members went out and did what the member from Calgary did, we would be a lot better off.

Every member who sits on the Canadian firearms advisory committee should have gone out and got a PAL, like the member from Calgary did, so they would know how the system worked instead of bringing their bias to the committee.

Firearms Act June 18th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for his obvious knowledge of the bill. He knows the harm that it could do. Again, it would be attacking not gang crimes and the underworld of illegal firearms, but law-abiding firearms owners. That seems to be the pet whipping horse of the government.

The member across the way tried to imply that we were soft on crime, which is absolutely not the case. Everybody in this place knows that.

Why does the member think that the government, once again, instead of doing what it said it would do to fix gang crime, illegal firearms, and that kind of thing, at the end of the day is attacking only law-abiding firearms owners?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 8th, 2018

With regard to consultation sessions organized by the government on Bill C-71, An Act to amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms: (a) how many consultation sessions were organized by the government; (b) where did these consultation sessions take place, broken down by (i) city, (ii) constituency; (c) what groups and individuals were invited to each of the consultation sessions, broken down by session; (d) what groups and individuals participated in the consultation sessions; (e) what was the date for each of these sessions; (f) which Members of Parliament attended the consultation sessions; (g) how many online consultation sessions took place; (h) regarding the consultations in (a), by which criteria did the Minister responsible decide which individuals, communities and organizations to consult with; (i) what are the details of the discussion questions brought to each session; and (j) what are the details of any briefing notes, meeting transcripts, minutes, or correspondence related to the sessions in (a), including the (i) title, (ii) date, (iii) sender, (iv) recipient, (v) subject matter, (vi) file number?

Impact Assessment Act June 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I have had the pleasure of attending a few NATO meetings with the hon. member down the way, and I have a lot of respect for her. Maybe there is some minor stuff in here, but it is the whole target or aim of this bill. It is all about virtue-signalling and about reversing what a previous government did. That has happened so often that maybe I am a little thin-skinned about it. I will grant that. However, changing a bill because another government brought it in is not the way to govern. This thing just basically throws it wide open.

The member asked if there is nothing more left to do. I would say there is: Instead of driving investment away as happened with Kinder Morgan, her government and leadership should not buy companies out but encourage them to build, by at least having a fair and reasonable approval process.

Impact Assessment Act June 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I hope the member is saying that in jest. Of course we do.

I find that some members, including the member who just spoke, still believe the theory that lakes and rivers were not protected. In that act, the only ones mentioned were ones where changes were made. Anything else in that act remains protected, as always. I think members know that, and she probably does as well.

I hope the hon. member quits repeating mistruths like that, because that is exactly what they are.

Impact Assessment Act June 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, absolutely. I believe the gentleman was in the House when my hon. colleague, the member for Foothills, explained a lot better than I can the number of pipelines that were done. There were four major ones done, and I believe it was over 8,000 kilometres' worth of pipe that went in the ground. Sure, we would like to have done more. However, for anyone to be able to sit there without smirking and distort the truth like that member just did—well, that is about all I am going to say about it.