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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was going.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Sydney—Victoria (Nova Scotia)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 73% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Impact Assessment Act June 13th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I have been here over 19 years, and I have never had a prop. I do not think it is important to have a prop, and I do not think we should have a prop. I can see across the aisle that the members are all wearing props. In due respect for this Parliament, if they want to make a point and convince the public, they should not have to wear a prop. We do not wear props here. I would hope that you, Mr. Speaker, would make a ruling for all of them to take their props back home.

Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Kitchener South—Hespeler. He is not on our committee, but he is always asking questions and making sure that we stand up for the auto industry.

I am glad he brought up the Japanese carmakers, because our committee recently had lunch with the Japanese automakers Honda and Toyota. They are not leaving Canada. They are making reinvestments in Canada. They see that the environment is good, especially with this agreement. They also see Canada, for a lot of their vehicle models, as a stepping stone to Europe. Because we have a trade agreement with Europe now, a lot of the vehicles they make in Canada they can sell in Europe without tariffs. It is a win-win.

We should be proud of ourselves in this Parliament for having a European agreement and this agreement, because Canada is the best place to invest, and we see that from the Japanese automakers. Those vehicles will be sold not only in North America but in Europe, which will help the good folks in the member's riding who put them together.

Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, it began with the European agreement. I will give credit to the Conservatives, who started the agreement, but we finished it off. We had to tweak it quite a bit, of course, and one tweak was on the investor dispute mechanism.

It is a very modern trade agreement that we have with Europe. However, coming out of that, our negotiators' position was to protect our governments from multinationals being able to sue them. Therefore, we had that in there, which I think is really a product of what we did in the European agreement.

I am glad that NDP members are starting to look favourably on this agreement, because they often state that they do not agree with any trade agreement, which is not true. I know a lot of NDP colleagues on the other side. They represent workers and they know trade is important.

Everybody wants to have a good agreement. This may not be a perfect agreement, but it is a darn good agreement, which has a lot to do with the work we did on the European agreement, which the Conservatives started and we completed.

I think the NDP members are becoming a little more open-minded about these agreements and know they are important for the workers and their unions.

Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the number one thing that I hear from people back home and across the country is stability. What we have created here is stability for companies to invest, for example, in the automotive sector or fish plants, and they know they can invest with stability down the road.

On supply management, when our committee was down in the United States, we met with Wisconsin, who said that they did not get enough and wished they could have had more dairy.

The member also talked about pharmaceuticals. We only got 10 years and we wanted 12. Is it perfect and is it what everybody wanted? No, but when we go down there and talk to them, they wish they had more too.

At the end of the day, we had the best negotiators in the world, and we have seen that with our other agreements. We see that in action right here. However, number one is that we have to look at stability for investment in this country. Nobody is going to invest in our country unless stability is there so that men and women can continue to have a job.

Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to inform you that I will be splitting my time with the member for New Brunswick Southwest, who is a hard-working member of our committee. Wherever we go, she mentions how important trade is to her riding, as it borders on the United States, so I am glad to split my time with her.

I rise today add my voice in support of Bill C-100, the Canada-United States-Mexico free trade agreement, or what some would call the old NAFTA or NAFTA 2.

I have had the great pleasure of chairing our international trade committee over the last four years. Some say it is the most active, vibrant, hard-working committee on the Hill. It helps when I bring lobsters once in a while to get everybody to work together. We do not always agree, but we all work together for Canadian companies and for Canadians in making sure we have fair agreements and that they are good for us. Together, we went through the European agreement, the TPP and of course the new NAFTA.

I would like to thank the clerk and staff of the committee, who travel around with us. They put our travel itineraries and our studies together, making sure they are in proper form and getting them to the House. We could not do work at committee without the great staff we have around us.

I would like to commend the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister for the great job they have done. I also commend the premiers. A lot of premiers worked closely with governors in the United States and Mexico. They went down there on their own dime from their own provinces and helped us work this through. There were even some mayors from our country, and of course Canadian stakeholders went back and forth as well to help us get through this deal.

Unions also helped. They were often there with us. In Washington, they worked with us. They worked with their counterparts south of the border. This was very important, and we saw that in what we did for the Mexican workers to improve their lives.

Canada is a trading nation, and currently we have 15 trade agreements. I think we have more than any other G20 country. Our government understands how important international trade is in growing and strengthening our economy, and that is exactly what we are doing. In fact, in 2017, the total trilateral trade among the three countries reached over $1 trillion U.S., which represents almost 30% of the world's GDP. It is amazing, and it is the envy of countries all over the world that would love to be in this trading bloc.

Our trade committee had the privilege to travel not only to Capitol Hill in Washington a couple of times, but also to San Francisco, Columbus, Detroit, Chicago and other places in the United States, where we had very productive meetings with senators, members of Congress and chambers of commerce. In these meetings, we stressed the importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement, what it holds for all three economies and how deeply connected our countries are.

My son-in-law is from Mexico, and I have cousins in the United States and friends in Florida. Our countries are closely connected with each other, not only in regard to trade and the military, but in all the things we do.

Our committee was at a chamber of commerce meeting in San Francisco where the guest speaker was George Shultz. He is a former United States secretary of state who worked under a couple of presidents. He made a wonderful speech. He told us that people can have a good job when they start life and can have a good home, but there is nothing like having a good neighbour. He said Canada is the best neighbour that any country could have. I was very proud to hear that from him.

He also said we could work on those things, and said—surprisingly, as he worked for the Republicans—that the next big thing after the trade agreements is to work together on the environment. It was very progressive of him to state that if we work together on that, we can change what is going on in the world with our environmental standards and also be leaders in the business of environmental technology.

We had a big job to do in going to the United States. Most Canadians realize how important trade is, but many times American politicians do not realize the importance of American trade with Canada. The staff at the Canadian embassy in Washington did a great job for us and gave us a map of the United States, which I have with me, showing what each state sells to Canada. Out of the 50 states, every state sells at least $1 billion of product to us.

These are some of the numbers for a year: Florida sells $8 billion to us; Washington state, $10 billion; New York state, $20 billion a year; Ohio, $22 billion, out of Columbus; California, $28 billion. People would think it is mostly the border states, but the biggest is Texas, where we buy over $32 billion worth of product.

One of our biggest jobs as the committee was going down there and explaining to the senators and congresspeople how much we buy from the U.S.A. I was very proud of our committee and the work we did. We met all these different representatives, and it was part of doing the job. We are a smaller country, but the job we have to do sometimes is to reinforce that understanding.

In my riding alone in Cape Breton and in Atlantic Canada, how much trade we do is unbelievable. For instance, in my riding we have Victoria Co-operative Fisheries. It is a co-operative that started years ago. After the Depression, the co-op movement was big in Cape Breton, and these fishermen got together and had their own co-op. They process their own fish. They buy their supplies together. It is a very good co-op, and when I was talking to them, it was amazing to find out that over three-quarters of their product is sold into the U.S. market. They have beautiful products.

That is just one company in my riding. We also have Protocase, a new company in Sydney that is making electronic boxes and selling them all over the world, but of course the biggest customer is the United States.

We also have Copol International. We are talking a lot lately about plastics; Copol International, from North Sydney, buys plastic pellets from Ohio or Louisiana and mixes discarded shells from lobster, crab and shrimp with the plastic so the plastic can be biodegradable. The company is making a great product and is selling it to California.

That is just in my riding alone, but in all of Atlantic Canada, 62% of exports go to the United States. In Nova Scotia, our biggest export to the United States, over $1 billion, is seafood, which comes from all over Nova Scotia.

We also have Michelin Tires, which has three plants in Nova Scotia, with 3,500 employees, and most of those tires are sold all through the United States. Nova Scotia is also the biggest exporter of wild blueberries, and 50% of Nova Scotia's frozen wild blueberries go to the United States.

In the other provinces, in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the Irvings sell lumber. In P.E.I., we cannot have lobster and crab without a feed of French fries or potatoes. Over $1 billion worth of French fries and potatoes come right out of P.E.I. and New Brunswick.

We see the importance of trade. Agricultural trade alone in Canada is $50 billion. It is almost half and half. We buy $25 billion in agriculture and we sell $25 billion. The numbers are huge, and the United States is not the only major partner: Mexico is Canada's fourth-largest market, where we export $2 billion every year in just wheat, canola and beef.

Our trade committee studied e-commerce as another opportunity for Canada to export more products to Mexico. Canada imported almost $30 billion in trade from Mexico in 2017, so trade is not just with the United States; though we often focus on that, it is with other countries also.

What I am getting at with all these important statistics is that this new agreement is not only preserving existing trade agreements to keep what we have but also improving on them. Every agreement needs a touch-up once in a while. We have to strengthen our economies and open up more doors to opportunity. Trilateral trade among our three countries has always been strong, and now it is going to be stronger.

I am proud to work with this government and this committee and I am proud of what we have done on this agreement. It is not there yet, but we are getting there.

Our committee visited Washington and we have to go in tandem there a bit with them, but I am sure we are going to get it done. It is not just for us in this Parliament; it is for the men and women who are working in fish plants, in the car assemblies or in the pulp and paper mills or on the grain farms. That is what we are here for. We are here to help them, to make sure that trade comes, because without that trade, we do not have prosperity.

Committees of the House June 6th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise to represent the trade committee, but I would also like to say that five years ago I had the honour to represent the House with Mr. Harper and Peter Stoffer at the beaches in Normandy. I thank the House and Canadians for sending me there. It was an honour to be there, and I wish everyone there well today.

This is probably the last time I will rise in the House to represent our international trade committee by presenting the 17th report of the committee , entitled “Canada's Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Federal Support for their International Trade Activities”.

I thank the clerk and the analysts and the great committee we have. It is a non-partisan committee. We work well together for Canadians, trade, businesses and our citizens. I thank them very much for the hard work they did. We did many trade deals and many reports together.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1 June 4th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise to give some of my thoughts about my good friend from Owen Sound. As the two of us ride off in the sunset in our tractors and leave this wonderful place, I will say a few things.

We were on the agriculture committee together when we were in opposition in government, but I never noticed much difference. We both worked hard together. It was a pleasure working with him, especially on agriculture.

Whether it was at committee, or at community centres across the country or in people's farmhouse kitchens, we were always there for the farmers and the people who produced the agriculture products for our country. I appreciate the work he has done. We are from different areas, but we worked well together.

I wish him, Darlene and his family all the best.

I would like to ask him a question. He came to our farm, ate the Eyking eggs and stayed with us. Will he and his lovely wife Darlene come back and have a feed of lobsters down on our beach?

Member for Sydney—Victoria May 30th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, it may be the last time I speak in this House, and I want to recognize the communities I represent. From Bay St. Lawrence to Baddeck, Iona, Millville, Big Bras d'Or, and Frenchvale, and the rural communities in between, it has been an absolute pleasure to work with them on their vital fishing, farming and tourism industries and to enjoy their festivities every summer.

I thank the wonderful people of New Waterford, Florence and Sydney Mines, rich in coal mining history, for their unending support and hard work. On the north side, I loved attending Bartown days every summer in the gateway to Newfoundland. Sydney, formerly an industry leader in steel production, has not only maintained its vibrant immigrant culture but has created many new local businesses and has had many great projects.

I thank the three first nation communities I represent: Eskasoni, Membertou and Wagmatcook. It has not only been an honour to work on their many community projects but to also embrace their culture. I loved their powwows, and they taught me how to chicken dance.

I invite fellow members to come visit the beautiful communities I have had the honour to represent over the last 19 years.

Petitions May 30th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a huge petition signed by hundreds of Cape Bretoners. It is very similar to the petition from the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

The petitioners call upon the House of Commons to support Bill S-214 and ban the sale and manufacturing of animal-tested cosmetics and ingredients in Canada moving forward. They are looking for similar legislation that has been passed in other countries, such as Switzerland, New Zealand, Iceland and Norway.

Canada–Madagascar Tax Convention Implementation Act, 2018 May 14th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, there is so much love in this room that I think I am going to stay.

I do not want to challenge the Speaker; I never did in my 19 years. However, I am challenging him on this one. We are not divorced. We are just separated because of the kids, and we are all right.

I would like to make a few comments, and I guess I will start with the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands. I have to confess that not everybody in our family votes Liberal. There is one in our family who has a crush on her, but he has to let that go because she is married now. We have a Greenie in our midst.

I wish good luck to the member from Niagara, with Hayes MacNeil and Vince MacLean, his cousins. They are pretty entrenched back there, so good luck getting one of the MacNeils and MacLeans to run, but I appreciate it. There is so much Cape Breton connection here.

The tar ponds were also brought up. That was a really big challenge, but it was one of those things that happen where nobody in this House could disagree it had to be done. It started with a community group, with Dan Fraser and the community. They started it. At that time, there was a good Conservative premier, John Hamm, who stepped right up to the plate with the member for Cape Breton—Canso and me, and we got it done. If you, Mr. Speaker, and others in this chamber ever come to Sydney, go downtown and see this beautiful park. There is a new business there now with 300 or 400 employees. It is just a wonderful thing. It is a project that is not about me; it is about Canadians all doing the right thing and getting it done.

To the member for Timmins—James Bay, the beaver story comes up and for the record I have to straighten this out about what meeting the member for Cape Breton—Canso and I were coming from. It was a meeting at D'Arcy McGee's, and it was one of those meetings with the member for Cape Breton—Canso where I would say, “It's time to go home now.” It was April 1. God love the poor lady who was on 911 on the other end, but it was April 1. We saw the beaver and the member for Cape Breton—Canso called 911 right off the bat. He calls 911 and says we are two members of Parliament, on April Fool's Day, and we are on Sparks Street and we have a beaver. She told him he was tying up the line and all that stuff. I asked the member for Cape Breton—Canso how that was working out; well, it was not going very well. Anyway, we did get the beaver. The member for Cape Breton—Canso has some qualities. I do not think he was ever on a farm before, but he has some qualities. Anyway, we got the beaver across the road and he was not paying attention very much but we got the beaver in the river. However, he was following us back to the Cape Breton embassy and we had to go back and chase him down again, so we got the job done.

The member for Prince Albert and I came up here, and we are farmers and we worked hard for our people. There is never a day that we do not think about the fine people in this country and around the world who produce the food for us to put on the table. We always agreed on that and worked together on that. I thank him very much for being on agriculture and on trade with me. Maybe we can go down there. He knows Spanish better than I do, so maybe he can do the translation down there and we can do more projects.

Mr. Speaker, I will close. This has been such a wonderful experience for me, being in this House, as the son of an immigrant and being a business person. It is not easy for someone in business coming up here. Having so much support back home and here, I never had to worry about what was happening behind me, so I could always look ahead. I thank my colleagues very much.