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

Canada Pension Plan November 24th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, a report by Canada's Association for the FiftyPlus says seniors are being shortchanged $1 billion by the CPP fund. A comedy of errors, including missing records and confusing terminology, is preventing one in six seniors from receiving their full CPP payout. That is not funny.

CPP provides retirement income and financial help for seniors. Sixteen million people contribute to the fund which is managed by the Liberal government.

My question for the minister is, when will the government clean up its act and give the money back to the seniors who desperately need it?

Agriculture November 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, thousands of livestock producers in my riding and across this country are suffering from this Liberal government's complete failure to address the BSE crisis. It has consistently used the American election as an excuse for not challenging the border closure. With the U.S. election now over, this government can no longer stall in taking further action on the BSE crisis.

I ask the agriculture minister, why has this government refused to stand with producers by taking effective trade action through the WTO or NAFTA?

Victoria Cross October 21st, 2004

Mr. Speaker, next week Branch 6 of the Royal Canadian Legion in my riding of Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound will play host to the southwestern Ontario unveiling by Canada Post of two stamps commemorating the Victoria Cross. Owen Sound was selected as the site for this prestigious unveiling because four of the 94 Canadian Victoria Cross winners have Grey-Bruce connections. I would like to pay tribute to these people today.

In World War I, Samuel “Lew” Honey of Conn was awarded the medal. In World War II, the recipients included Owen Sound born and famous flying ace Billy Bishop, Thomas William Holmes, and David Currie, who are all buried in or near Owen Sound. I would also like to acknowledge Mrs. Shirley McGregor, niece of Mr. Holmes, who will be participating in the ceremony.

The 49¢ stamps mark the 150th anniversary of the war. One stamp features a medal based on photographs provided by the Canadian War Museum, and the other an illustration of the Canadian Victoria Cross, approved in 1993 by Queen Elizabeth II.

The Victoria Cross is a medal awarded in recognition of the most exceptional bravery, and on behalf of my constituents--

Riding of Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound October 15th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, today I rise for the first time in the House to thank the fine people of Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound for their overwhelming support in electing me to represent their interests in Ottawa.

My riding is the largest producer of beef and lamb in the province of Ontario as well as many other agricultural products. I would like to pay tribute to these hard-working individuals as they struggle to cope with the ongoing BSE crisis. Some of my friends and colleagues have already filed for bankruptcy. The government must immediately start the flow of money it promised on September 10 before it is too late.

My riding is also surrounded by 175 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, and my constituents are some of the more than 15 million Canadians who would be affected by the American proposal to divert large volumes of Great Lakes water to points south of the border.

The government has already bowed to the Americans on the issues of BSE and softwood lumber. It is time that the government stood up and assured Canadians that our water, our most precious commodity, will stay where it belongs; on this side of the border.

Agriculture October 12th, 2004

Madam Chair, I want to go back to the comments by the member for Peterborough.

I am very aware that he is not the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture. Where I was leading on this was that in an important and very urgent crisis like the one we have on our hands, I would presume there would probably be two or three updates a day, maybe even hourly, from the agriculture minister. No matter where the member sits, I would presume he would have that kind of information on something this important.

Agriculture October 12th, 2004

Madam Chair, I congratulate you on your appointment and wish you well.

The hon. parliamentary secretary indicated earlier that he had learned a lot of things from his colleagues about BSE and I am glad to hear that. The government and the media have not done a good enough job in educating our urban friends on how big a problem this is.

I would like a bit of education myself from the hon. member tonight. The minister was here for the debate last Thursday night and I informed him about some discussions I had had with some industry leaders. They informed me that the meeting they had had with Agriculture Canada staff was not very fruitful. They implied that the staff was not very flexible and did not seem willing to come up with an agreement.

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture indicated earlier tonight that the government wanted to hear some good general comments. The minister said that they are working night and day, seven days a week. Those were his exact words last Thursday night. I would like to know the play by play action. What happened on Friday? What happened on Saturday? Does he get the picture? I would like to know what was accomplished over the weekend.

Agriculture October 7th, 2004

Mr. Chair, I appreciate the member's comments and the appearance of his wanting to work with them. That is good, but my point in this whole thing is that I do not think it is getting through to his staff. I think he still needs to have that. One thing he mentioned is the different provinces. I understand very clearly that is a complex issue and it throws some wrinkles into the whole thing.

The bottom line is that federal dollars have to get out to these cash-strapped farmers and I think the federal government will have to put them out there. I know there is the fear of the uneven playing field but I think we have to fix as many of these family farms and businesses as we can before they are all gone and sort out the uneven playing field at some other point. I think that maybe as we get into it we will find it probably will.

I urge the minister not to play games too long with how the different provinces react and to get on with our game of getting the dollars out there.

Agriculture October 7th, 2004

Mr. Chair, on the comments from the hon. minister, he said earlier tonight that he wanted a made in Canada solution. He also said shortly after that that he was depending upon the industry leaders. I talked to Mr. Eby early this morning. When I asked him how it went, he said in five words, “Not very good at all”. The other thing he said was that the flexibility by the minister's staff did not appear to be there whatsoever.

I still implore to the minister, that what I am hearing and what he is hearing are two different things. He needs to meet with his staff and see that they do try to come to an agreement. In his comment about depending on the industry leaders, let us not pretend. His staffers and all the politicians in this room do not have as much knowledge about the industry as the people who are actually in it and leading the different farm organizations.

Agriculture October 7th, 2004

Mr. Chair, I was told that I would be splitting my time tonight with the hon. member for Lethbridge, but I am at your disposal.

It is a great honour for me to have my first official get up in this great House that Macdonald built. Mr. Speaker, if you will indulge me, I would like to compare it to the Montreal Forum and my first game in the big leagues. I am on my first shift, I have a breakaway, I see an open net and I all I can hope for is that if I hit the boards, a Liberal will be there to cushion me. I throw in that sense of humour not to make light of the situation we are here to discuss, but to show the House that as a farmer I am fast losing my sense of humour.

I rise here tonight to address a very serious matter that is affecting not only my riding of Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound, but almost every rural riding in this great country, and that is the BSE crisis.

My riding is a very rural. It is the number one beef and lamb producing riding in Ontario. It also has a very large number of dairy farms as well as a number of elk, bison, deer, emu, hog, poultry and goat producers. We tend to focus our minds on beef farmers as being the only producers affected by this issue. That certainly is not the case, and it would have been remiss of me not to have pointed that out.

Another forgotten fact that should be pointed out to the government, especially after the curious but blatant absence of any mention of agriculture in Tuesday's throne speech, is what areas of Canada this crisis actually affects.

The government obviously needs a quick and valuable lesson in geography. Contrary to Liberal beliefs, there is life in rural Canada. There are hard-working Canadians who do live north of highway 401 in Ontario and outside the boundaries of our large cities. There is also a perception by the government that the BSE crisis is an Alberta or a western problem. It is time for the government to wake up and smell the beef. This fiasco is happening from coast to coast.

The minister's government is quickly filling up a library full of ineffective programs that have not helped in any way to solve this crisis, from the laughable program last summer that funnelled government money into packers pockets, which by the way the government could have saved a lot of administration costs if it had just asked the packers to pick their cheque up at the door, to the unworkable CAIS program that the minister admitted was not working. However, he also said that he would fix, but that is yet to happen. The government in essence has done nothing but stick its head in the proverbial sand, praying and hoping that the border will open or even that this problem will go away on its own.

While the minister stands idly by, producers in my riding are filing for bankruptcy. These people are not abstract numbers but fellow farmers and friends of mine, such as the Barfoots, the MacDonalds and the list goes on.

Just yesterday the national advisory committee established to set out the policies to get needed moneys to cash strapped farmers met in Calgary. This group consists of industry leaders and government staffers from Agriculture Canada. The group came away from that meeting yesterday totally disgusted in Agriculture Canada staff and with their lack of flexibility or willingness to come up with an agreement.

Will the minister take leadership and instruct his staff to come up with a suitable solution? Will he make the necessary changes to the CAIS program immediately so that it will do the job it should have been designed to do?

Agriculture October 7th, 2004

Mr. Chair, it gives me great pleasure to speak through you to the hon. member across the floor.

My first thoughts were that we should take a sample of what was in his glass tonight. He started out very clearly representing that Canadian food was not safe. We have the safest food in the world, bar none.

As said earlier by my leader tonight, our consumers in Canada proved to us how safe our Canadian beef was. The last figures that I have seen show consumption in this country having gone up a little over 5%. Although the member recovered a little later on in his comments, I took exception to that. I think it needs to be pointed out that we have the proudest farmers and the safest food in the world.