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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Vegreville—Wainwright (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 80% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, in the second petition, the petitioners call upon Parliament to bring in tougher laws on impaired driving. One of the things they call for is to change the charge of impaired driving causing death to the offence of vehicular manslaughter.

Petitions February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.

In the first petition, the petitioners call on Parliament to condemn the discrimination against girls that occurs through gender selection abortion.

Freedom of Religion February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our right to freedom of religion was recently questioned by law societies and national banks across the country.

Once again, law students at Trinity Western University were under threat of being barred from practising in Canada simply because of their religion. Let me be clear. Because they believe in God, they were being told that they had no right to be lawyers in our country.

Clearly, neither law societies nor the Bank of Montreal have any right to deny Canadians the right to practise law because of their religious views. Thank God, Trinity Western has defeated this most recent discriminatory attack.

It is unacceptable that organizations such as the Bank of Montreal and members of the law societies have attempted to undermine this most fundamental of rights.

Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms confirms and protects our religious freedoms in our country, and that includes the religious freedoms of Christians.

Pipeline Safety Act February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. He served with me on the natural resources committee for a number of years. I know that he has looked at this issue before.

I really have a lot more confidence in our oil companies than believing they are going to produce excess capacity. Maybe the member meant excess capacity beyond what these three new pipelines would carry. I see now from him that that is what he was indicating. If that is the case, companies will build another pipeline. That is what happens. They are not going to produce substantially more than what they can move, and all companies would prefer to move most of their oil by pipeline.

I have a lot of confidence in the oil companies working with the pipeline companies, as long as we can start getting these pipelines built. There have been a lot of roadblocks thrown in the way that have caused undue delay. I would suggest that the balance will be there, and Canada will continue to grow its economy based on natural resources as one of the major building blocks, including the oil and gas sector.

Pipeline Safety Act February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to major pipeline spills, the average cost of the cleanup is between $5 million and $20 million for major spills. For smaller spills, it is much less.

The bill proposes $1 billion in absolute liability where no fault would have to be proven, and companies would have to have the resources available to cover the cost of the cleanup to that extent. Further, if it turned out that they were found liable and the costs were somehow above $1 billion, which is hard to understand when it is now between $5 million and $20 million for major spill cleanups, those companies would still be responsible for the full cost of the cleanup.

It is in the bill; it is clear and it is substantial. Many would argue that the government may be going a little too far with this. I have heard that concern. We will certainly have to be conscious of the smaller companies when it comes to the $1 billion absolute liability, but I do believe that it would be taken care of.

The member does not have anything to worry about when it comes to companies covering the cost.

Pipeline Safety Act February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to speak today on the government's new pipeline safety act. I will be splitting my time with the new member for Whitby—Oshawa.

During this debate, all members have reminded us of the great importance of Canada's energy infrastructure. We heard how Canada's pipeline network functions as a vital energy highway, delivering oil and natural gas to our homes, our businesses and industry, and supplying energy to all forms of transportation. While the New Democrats would prefer to deny this fact, it is clear that we all benefit daily from the energy that Canada's pipelines carry. We rarely think about this key infrastructure because, quite frankly, there is rarely a problem with it because it is so safe.

Canada has a vast network of federally regulated pipelines—in fact, over 73,000 kilometres. Those are just the federally regulated pipelines across this great country. In addition, 70 pipelines deliver oil and natural gas across the Canada–U.S. border every day safely and reliably.

In 2013, Canada and the United States' energy trade was the largest in the world, at some $140 billion that year. That is far more than total trade between any other two nations on earth. Today, historic volumes of Canadian energy are being supplied to the United States. In fact, Canada and the United States have dramatically reduced their oil imports from offshore. I think most of us in the House would agree that that is a good thing. At the same time, oil imports from each other are at record highs, contributing to greater North American energy security and economic growth in both countries.

As large as Canada's pipeline network is, the United States' pipeline system is even larger. According to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are over 2.6 million miles of pipelines in America moving oil and natural gas throughout the United States. The American pipeline network is more than 50 times the length of the United States interstate highway system, which really makes the point that it is a tremendously huge system and a very safe one as well. Again, since pipelines have proven to be the most efficient, safest, reliable, and energy-efficient way to transport oil and gas, we rarely think about these energy highways and the fact that they link most communities throughout North America.

When it comes to pipeline safety, Canada's record is outstanding. Our pipelines are among the safest in the world. Between 2008 and 2013, 99.999% of the oil and products shipped by federally regulated pipelines arrived safely. Canadians can and should be proud of that record. Instead, I hear criticism and doubt from the members, particularly the NDP across the aisle. We have seen the conversion on the road to Damascus, as it were, of the Liberal members opposite. I am happy to see that they have got on board, after seeing that it is something they absolutely have to support.

Moving that same amount of oil by road or rail would require 15,000 tanker trucks or 4,200 rail cars every day, and would consume more energy and cause higher greenhouse gas emissions. The choice to move these products by pipeline is clearly the right one. There is no doubt about that, and I honestly do not think anyone in the House would deny that truth.

When it comes to safety, Canadians demand and deserve the very best. We want our communities to be safe, and we want the environment to be protected. That is why the pipeline safety act is so important. In short, we understand that public safety and environmental protection are necessary conditions for energy development. The pipeline safety act is one more way in which we could continue to build public confidence in our 73,000 kilometres of pipelines.

Bill C-46 would build upon Canada's already impressive pipeline safety record by focusing upon three key areas: prevention, preparedness and response, liability and compensation.

Bill C-46 would include preventive measures that would clarify the rules and responsibilities of pipeline owners to prevent pipeline incidents, increase safety for Canadians, and provide better environmental protection.

The bill would require companies operating major oil pipelines to have $1 billion in financial resources at their disposal, with sufficient resources always on hand to ensure an immediate and effective response.

We would enshrine the polluter pays principle in law so that polluters, not Canadian taxpayers, would be held financially responsible for the costs of damages that any incident might cause.

We would introduce absolute or no-fault liability so pipeline operators would be held responsible, even when fault or negligence has not been proven. That is an important point that I think has been somewhat missed, even though we have had quite a bit of debate on the legislation.

For companies operating major oil pipelines, the amount for absolute liability would be set at $1 billion.

Of course, our first priority is to prevent spills from happening in the first place. That is why we are proposing amendments to the National Energy Board Act that would build upon other recent improvements our government has implemented. These include increasing the number of inspections and audits conducted each year and giving the National Energy Board the authority to levy monetary penalties.

As well, we would ask the NEB to provide guidance on the use of the best available technologies in pipeline projects. This would include materials, construction methods, and emergency response techniques. As a result, the National Energy Board, one of the most respected energy oversight bodies in the world, would be involved in all stages, including new construction of pipelines.

We are proud of Canada's safety record with pipelines, but we have no intention of resting upon our laurels. There is no room for complacency when it comes to the safety of Canadians or the safety of our environment. Bill C-46 would reflect our government's commitment to doing even better, in spite of the fact that the record of pipeline companies is already impeccable.

We also understand the importance of consulting with Canadians, including with aboriginal peoples who are often living closest to where our natural resources are found. That is why, beyond this new legislation, our government is also taking an inclusive approach to safety and resource development. We are deeply committed to working directly with aboriginal peoples throughout Canada, in all aspects of pipeline safety operations, including planning, monitoring, incident response, and related employment and business opportunities.

The Government of Canada has a constitutional duty to consult with aboriginal communities whose aboriginal and treaty rights may be adversely affected by a proposed project, and we are doing that. We believe that aboriginal peoples must be partners in everything we do, from ensuring the safety of our pipeline system, to protecting our marine environment from incidents, to sharing in the benefits of developing our resources. That is why our government is determined to forge ahead with a strong and lasting partnership with aboriginal peoples in the responsible development of our resources and our pipeline safety system.

We have seen the NDP continuously vote down all of our increased pipeline safety measures, and Canadians know they simply cannot rely upon the NDP to prioritize their safety or the environment. Canadians can trust our government. With Bill C-46, we would be making Canada's world-class pipeline safety system even safer.

I urge all hon. members, from both sides of the House, to support the truly effective proposals put forth by this legislation. I look forward to hearing the rest of the debate on the bill.

Petitions February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, in the second petition the petitioners call on Parliament to condemn the practice of discrimination against girls occurring through gender-selective pregnancy termination.

Petitions February 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to present two petitions today. The first is on impaired driving. The petitioners want to toughen the laws for those who cause death through impaired driving. They want to do that through putting in place new mandatory sentencing for those persons convicted of impaired driving causing death, and they also want the Criminal Code of Canada to be changed to redefine the offence of impaired driving causing death as vehicular manslaughter.

Assisted Suicide February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Canadians tend to trust our courts, especially the Supreme Court, but this court has strayed into the role of law-making on several occasions over the past 10 years, in fact over a dozen times. Most recently, the Supreme Court has overridden its own past decision on physician-assisted suicide, and much more importantly, a clear decision of Parliament not to allow assisted death.

I want to point out that during deliberations, the court gave weight to legislative developments in Belgium, Switzerland, Oregon, Washington, and the Netherlands but ignored the legislative record of Canada's Parliament.

It is the role of Canada's Parliament to draft laws. The Supreme Court and the police are tasked with administering and enforcing them. It seems that this runaway court is more often basing decisions on the personal beliefs of the judges than on the law, so we have, in effect, a lawless Supreme Court.

Petitions February 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the third petition is about seeds. The petitioners want to ensure that small farmers in particular have a right to grow their own seeds.