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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

Impact Assessment Act June 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I do not think I have enough time to tackle every part of this loosely put together bill, but I am going to attempt to target as much as I can.

Right off the bat, one of the things that would happen under the bill is that the Liberals would change the National Energy Board, which was created in 1959 by Prime Minister Diefenbaker. It was totally made a fool by Pierre Trudeau. He wrecked the energy industry in Alberta and the west for a generation, and Junior is about to do it for three generations. It would change the name of it to the Canadian energy regulator act as well, just to try to get rid of that family's connection to it. No inches or miles of pipeline are going to be built because of this bill. It is, “Let us wash it down, get a new face, and pretend that none of the other ever happened.”

I am going to get into the navigable waters act in a bit, but everything the government does has everything to do with virtue-signalling and nothing to do with reality or getting things done. I can give all kinds of examples.

On the Firearms Act, what did the Liberals do? They bragged during the election, and every chance they have had since, that they were going to tackle gang crime and illegal firearms. What did they do? They brought out a bill that sends a virtue signal to all Canadians who hate firearms and want to get rid of them totally, and they pretend that they are tackling gang crime and illegal firearms. It would do nothing. It would tackle law-abiding firearms owners.

Another example is that they want to send signals to environmentalists, tree squeezers. They lied to the veterans and said that they would give them everything they wanted, and then all of a sudden, they said that they were asking too much and that the government could not do that.

The reason I am mentioning this is that there is a trend here. It is all about virtue. It is not about actually doing anything.

We have to go back in history. When the environmental approval process was changed by the previous government, one of the worst examples was the Mackenzie Valley pipeline. For some 25 to 30 years, we kept leading companies along, saying we would do this or that. It was set up to basically fail. Why would any government, why would any person, want to take our companies, which want to invest in industry, whether it is the oil industry or whatever, and tie them up in a process that is made for the objector and tie them up for years?

The previous government made a process that was still a thorough approval process, but there were timelines. Do not drag companies along for years and years. Give them a timeline. If we have to tell them no, tell them no, but do not lead them along for 25 to 30 years, as happened with the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, because that is not good for anything. Aboriginal communities up there were banking on money that would have flowed to them from that job. Their hopes that were built up for 25 years or more went totally gone down the drain, and I do not mean that as a pun.

There was a 180-day planning phase. Ministerial discretion was put in and also veto power. Again, that was put in after going through the process that basically said it was done. Say yes or say no, but do not lead them along.

Why should Canadians trust this new system? It is obviously catering to different groups. It goes back to that virtue signal. There is always a process where intervenors can get in and have their say. Of course, that is a good thing. However, what the government has done with the changes it has put in is that we now have to accept all foreign intervenors. Why in the world would any government want to add that? This is about a Canadian project, not a pan-world project. To allow foreign intervenors or foreign money is totally unacceptable.

If anyone has any doubt about why this is not going to work or whether it will make things worse than they already are, all we have to do is look at the recent Kinder Morgan decision. The government created a climate so bad that Kinder Morgan basically said, “Why in the world would we take our shareholders' money and invest it in this project?” I totally get that. Why would it? It never asked any government for one red cent. However, to save face, or to tie this thing up for many more years, what did the government do? It reached into my pocket, and my kids' and grandkids' and all the members' pockets as well, to pull out $4.5 billion to give to a company that paid $550 million for that pipeline. I have to mention that it is a 65-year-old pipeline. Now that $4.5 billion of taxpayers' money is going to be spent somewhere in the United States, where it will be able to create some industry and generate some income on that investment. That is all taxpayers' money.

Under this bill, it is only going to get worse. We have not seen the tip of the iceberg. It is a trend that is certainly not going to change with this bill.

I want to talk a bit about what stakeholders are saying about this legislation.

The Canadian Environmental Law Association stated:

...Bill C-69 perpetuates the much-criticized political decision-making model found in CEAA 2012.

Unless the proposed Impact Assessment Act is substantially revised as it proceeds through Parliament, [the association] concludes that the new EA process will not restore public trust or ensure credible, participatory and science-based decision-making.

That science-based decision-making is something we should think a lot about.

The Canadian Energy Association stated:

CEPA is very concerned with the scope of the proposed new Impact Assessment process. From the outset, CEPA has stated that individual project reviews are not the appropriate place to resolve broad policy issues, such as climate change, which should be part of a Pan-Canadian Framework. Including these policy issues adds a new element of subjectivity that could continue to politicize the assessment process.

The Mining Association of Canada stated:

At first glance, the draft legislation introduces a range of new concepts related to timelines and costs, which depending on how they are implemented, could adversely impact the industry’s competitiveness and growth prospects.

I have more, which I will not get into. However, I want to touch on the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

The changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act came about a number of years ago when the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, SARM, came to the rural caucus I happened to chair at the time. That in itself is not significant, other than that I know the history of this act. I thought navigable waters, and the way DFO's overzealous officials handled them, was just a rural Ontario problem. It turns out it was right across Canada. SARM is the one that deserves credit for initiating the changes to that act. I am very proud of it and how the changes went.

Waterways we can float our grandkids' or kids' little rubber duckies down maybe for a couple of days of the year in the spring were deemed to be something we could paddle a canoe down. We got rid of that in the changes.

I know I am running out of time. We fixed the process.

Now the cost is going to be unbelievable, and it is not going to be good for Canadians.

Natural Resources June 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, just for clarity in my questions, I did not realize it at the time, but from the answer from the agriculture minister, he obviously thought I was talking about registered seed. I do not know why. However, I was talking about antibiotics in feed, and I just wanted to make that clarification.

Agriculture and Agri-Food June 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, if I wait for an answer from my good friend across the way, my hair will be white or have fallen out before I get a straight answer.

These new regulations will become effective in December of this year. There is still time for the Liberals to do the right thing and cancel these changes.

Farm supply and feed stores are an essential aspect of the delivery of feed to farms across Canada. These businesses are the lifeblood, as the minister should know, of many rural communities. These changes will take away their ability to sell products that they have been selling without any issues for generations.

Agriculture and Agri-Food June 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals continue their attack on Canadian farmers and the Canadian agricultural industry. First it was a new Canada food guide and front-of-package labelling, calling milk and meat products unhealthy. Now they are attacking feed distributors.

The Liberals are eliminating the ability of retail stores, like feed stores and farm supply outlets, to sell feed mixed with antibiotics in any form to anyone. These businesses have sold these products to farmers safely and effectively for years.

When will the Liberals stop their attacks on Canadian agriculture?

National Security Act, 2017 June 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, my colleague gave a very balanced speech. He totally understands the issues. The hypocrisy from the member from Kingston is unbelievable. His leader supported Bill C-51, and now they all try to pretend it never happened, which is not the case.

I would like to talk about pre-emptive detention. It is a preventative arrest tool in the Criminal Code that enables police to arrest a suspect without a warrant so long as the arresting officer believes an arrest would be crucial in preventing a terrorist act, and the case would be presented before a judge immediately. We are all well aware of the case of Aaron Driver, on August 10, 2016, in Strathroy, Ontario. With this tool, police were able to move quickly and prevent Driver's attempt to detonate explosives in public spaces.

If this legislation had been in place in 2014, we all know that Corporal Cirillo would still be alive as would Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent from Quebec. I would like the member to comment on that and the damage that has been done, or at least the limits that would be put on police, with this being removed in Bill C-59.

Instruction to Committee on Bill C-71 June 4th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, that is a great point. No, there is no public safety issue here. Bill C-42, which the previous government passed in 2015, actually streamlined some of these. It did not let people off the hook. They still had to get these transport permits. However, the government before that, and the party across the way today, actually made the rules so that people had to get an invite every time. If people could not show that they had an invite from, say, the Bruce Peninsula Sportsmen's Association in my riding to go there, and they were heading to an advertised legal shoot, all of a sudden they were criminals because of some technicality that they may or may not have even known about. That frustrated and ticked off law-abiding firearms owners.

While I am on this, I want to talk about the registry part of it and some of the testimony that we heard last week. When it comes to the registry, we know that this is the backdoor idea. At the meeting I referred to, Mr. Solomon Friedman's comment was, “If it walks like a registry, talks like a registry, and even seems to quack like a registry, it's a registry.”

Instruction to Committee on Bill C-71 June 4th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the question from my colleague from Saskatchewan leads right into something that my colleague from Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke mentioned previously about the temporary MPs on the other side of the House. In 2011, there were a few MPs over there who, because of their past support for the long gun registry and so forth, ended up being temporary MPs. I can tell members that there are going to be a lot more of those temporary MPs over there, in those rural ridings, if they continue to go after legislation like this, pretending to target gang crimes, illegal firearms, and organized crime but instead tackling law-abiding firearm owners because they are an easy hit, instead of going after the others.

Instruction to Committee on Bill C-71 June 4th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to speak to this motion tonight. I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Lethbridge, who just had a very good question in the House.

This motion is a simple motion that should play well to what the Liberals talk and brag about. I will use the fisheries committee. Every time we want to get something done there, we had better consult. The Liberals have their chance this time to actually go and consult with Canadians on a very important bill. They are fighting it tooth and nail. It does not surprise me, but it is certainly wrong.

This is a good motion and is one that is certainly needed, as many have said here tonight. It asks that the public safety and national security committee travel throughout Canada to hear testimony from witnesses as they continue to review Bill C-71. The reason this is necessary is that the government has failed, as with a lot of other consultations it says it is doing or has done, with Canadian firearms owners and other interested groups when it comes to the new firearms legislation. It really is shameful. As I said earlier, it is not surprising, but it is certainly shameful.

The government has introduced legislation that will make significant changes and will impact only law-abiding firearms owners. However, they have proposed these changes without truly engaging with these individuals to fully understand what these changes would actually do.

Since the 2015 election, the government has conducted more than 2,000 different consultations on a wide range of subject matter. However, a search through those consultations shows that they did not, or would not, consult with firearms owners about legislation that would significantly impact them. What is the reason for that? Is it that they are not going to like what they are going to find? I think they know that this bill, Bill C-71, has nothing to do with what they said they wanted to tackle, which was gang crime and illegal firearms. Why they do not want to, I do not know.

We have the hon. colleague from Scarborough, a former police chief. When he was in the public sector working as a police chief, he was adamantly against the legalization of marijuana. What he is doing today? He is the guy who is managing how it is going to come about. It is total hypocrisy. Things change when one puts on a political stripe. I cannot get my head around that and how wrong it really is.

In fact, I have been hearing from a number of concerned Canadians regarding this exact issue. They are concerned that not only did no consultation take place but that consultations were only conducted with groups that support the government's agenda when it comes to firearms. They keep asking me where this gang crime and illegal firearms issue is the government purports to want to address. Again, there is exactly nothing in here about it.

I put a question on the Order Paper on April 18 . It asked the government where, when, and with whom the government consulted when it came to Bill C-71. I am still anxiously awaiting the government's response. It is coming up to two months. I strongly suspect that the reason I have not had an answer to my Order Paper question is that the government did not consult at all on Bill C-71.

That said, this is another reason this motion is necessary. The government has been unwilling to listen to firearms owners, and we need the public safety committee to do the work the government is unwilling to do. They need to travel across Canada to ensure that any firearms legislation that is passed through this House directly targets gangs and illicit firearms and not individuals who have safely and properly used firearms for years, like me. I have had a gun in my hand since my father taught me when I was eight or nine years old. I had my granddaughter, who is now 13, on the range with a safety instructor there when she was 12.

It is all legal. It is the way to teach things. It does not matter whether it is manners or anything. If people are taught the right way, at the right age, they will learn it, and it will stay with them. That is what I want my granddaughter to do, and my other grandchildren as they come of age. That will happen the same way. It is what people in rural Canada do. Actually a lot of urban Canadians do the same thing. It is just a higher proportion in the rural parts, for different reasons.

Had the government conducted consultations, it would have heard that its proposed legislation only would create more red tape for those who already followed the law. It would do absolutely nothing to fight the real problems when it came to firearms violence in Canada: gangs and illegal firearms.

I sit with the hon. member for Avalon on the fisheries committee. I have a lot of respect for the gentleman. He told the previous member about a terrible incident that had happened in his riding. Unfortunately, with people, things happen from time to time, but that is not the norm and is not what happens every day with law-abiding firearms owners. As I said, it was very unfortunate

However, because something like that happens, we do not go out and basically victimize every law-abiding firearm owner in the rest of the country. We already have the toughest handgun laws and firearms legislation in the world. There is no doubt about that. It is not up for questioning. However, we have a segment of people out there, and I hope my colleagues across the way understand this and realize it, whose goal is not for stricter rules on firearms. Its goal is to at some point in time have absolutely no guns in the world. If it ever gets to that point, there will still be guns, but they will all be owned by the criminal sector of gangs, organized crime, etc. Why those guys across the way cannot get that through their heads always leave me shaking mine.

We hear time and again from a diverse range of groups, associations, and individuals that Bill C-71 is an attempt to solve problems that do not exist.

Last week, I was able to sit in at the public safety committee for my colleague to my right. It was a great meeting. We had some great witnesses on both sides of the issue. I have some testimony of that day. For example, Mr. Soloman Friedman of the Criminal Lawyers' Association told the public safety committee “Bill C-71...fails to meet that mark” when it comes to meeting the benchmarks of being modest, fundamentally rational, and supported by objective evidence. He went on to say that the apparent problems that Bill C-71 would attempt to solve were ”unsupported by evidence”.

I would like to quote again from his testimony before the committee. He stated, “in presenting its rationale for this bill, the government has misrepresented the objective statistical data to create the appearance of a problem that simply does not exist. As a society, we are the poorer for it when government promotes criminal legislation on a misunderstanding, or worse yet, a willful manipulation of what it claims is empirical evidence.”

These are very strong words, and they are true. One thing the government did was use the year 2013. Gun crimes have been steadily dropping since the mid-60s, but in 2013 they really dropped. What did the government do, and it was pretty sneaky? It used that year as ground zero, knowing it was going to go up the next year. It started with the wrong data. It is misleading.

Long Service Awards May 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, in order for all of us to carry out our work as MPs, it is vital to have the support of our spouses and families, but it does not end there. It takes good staff. Today I want to recognize two of my staff who are being presented with long service awards later today.

Dianne Ackert started in my constituency office in Owen Sound in August 2007 as my executive assistant, and is my longest-serving employee. Chad Richards, who is from Chesley, started as my legislative assistant in Ottawa in April 2012. Dianne and Chad will receive their 10-year and five-year pins today.

We are all in the service industry, just like a motel or restaurant, and without staff like Dianne and Chad, our constituents would not get the service they expect and deserve.

For Diane and Chad, from Darlene and I, their colleagues Pam, Kara, Genielle and Shea, we are thankful for their years of loyal service, and congratulations on a job well done.

Mother's Day May 9th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, this Sunday is Mother's Day, and I would like to pay tribute to mothers everywhere. I lost my mother a year ago, and I still miss her dearly. We are all blessed with just one mother, and mine was the best, just as yours is, Mr. Speaker, I am sure, and as is every other member's mother.

Mothers are the glue in every family, the one we run to first at a very young age when we scrape a knee, and the first one we go to as adults when things are tough or we are having a bad day.

Today I say, “Thanks, Mom. You were the best.” I thank my wife, the mother of our three sons; and my daughters-in-law, who are the mothers of my grandchildren. Indeed, I thank all mothers across Canada for being who they are. This Sunday, they should sit back, put up their feet, and enjoy the day. They have earned it.

Happy Mother's Day.