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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was environment.

Last in Parliament June 2019, as Conservative MP for Langley—Aldergrove (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada Border Services Agency Act December 13th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Kootenay—Columbia.

I am pleased to speak today on Bill C-26 to establish the Canada Border Services Agency, which will provide integrated border services and facilitate the flow of persons and goods across our border.

This bill is of particular interest to me given that my riding of Langley is on the international border with the United States and I have a border crossing in my community.

As members know, the policy of the Conservative Party is to develop a strategic partnership with the United States to ensure that both security and trade issues are resolved in Canada's best interests. We are hopeful that the creation of the CBSA will assist in achieving those goals.

The CBSA is responsible for the smart border program, including Nexus, which expedites pre-approved low risk travellers, and FAST, which expedites the movement of low risk goods.

For the transportation industry in my riding, border clearances are a giant headache. We have heard other members speak on that problem. According to the British Columbia Trucking Association, located in Langley, the typical trucker has to contend with the usual security check as well as completing the time consuming and complicated forms while waiting for the government agents to arrive so they can approve the truck's contents.

With increasingly frustrating waits at the border and a trucking industry that lacks enough personnel, the in-demand truckers now realize that they can afford to stop crossing the border and are considering just driving within Canada. If that were to happen, there would be a loss of international trade.

The Aldergrove border, which is in my riding, is currently closed from midnight to 8 a.m. The issue of opening Aldergrove to a 24/7 crossing needs to be considered. The Aldergrove crossing is at the south end of provincial Highway No. 13. At the north end of Highway No. 13, intersecting with Trans-Canada Highway No. 1, is a large Canadian industrial park known as Gloucester Industrial Estates. Along Highway 13 is Aldergrove's Department of National Defence military base. To add to that, we have the Abbotsford International Airport, which is only 10 kilometres to the east.

It is easy to see that if Canada-U.S. truck traffic were permitted to flow efficiently at this crossing, it would be of tremendous benefit to the economic future and life of Langley and the surrounding communities.

I would like to speak regarding illegal border drugs. Interstate 5 in Washington state, just to the south, is the west coast pipeline not only for trade but also for illegal drugs. The issue of illegal drugs crossing the border is a hot topic in Washington state.

Washington and B.C. share the third busiest border crossing in the country. Prosecutors and sheriffs in Whatcom County are currently seeking a $1 million U.S. grant to help deal with crime spawned by their border crossing with British Columbia. This money is needed to deal with a large range of offences, including drug prosecutions, money laundering and auto theft.

According to Dave McEachran, the prosecuting attorney with Whatcom County:

--we have a huge flow of B.C. bud coming down and we've got cocaine going up to B.C., along with laundered money and guns.

While law enforcement is involved in intercepting criminals on both sides of the border, U.S. authorities are lamenting Ottawa's approach toward decriminalizing marijuana and its link to organized crime in Canada.

It is unclear at this time how many immigration officers will be financed by the new Canada Border Services Agency to combat illegal immigration, people smuggling and trafficking. In fact, people smuggling is not just an overseas problem. In my riding, people smuggling is second only to drug smuggling. Immigrants from the Philippines, Mexico and Korea are paying smugglers to bring them across the border.

The bushes at the border are riddled with well-worn paths used by smugglers. Some of the trails are even named, including the most popular, the Ho Chi Minh trail, named by the local law enforcement. Security cameras in place on the border are not solving the problems, because there still is insufficient manpower in place to actually apprehend illegal immigrants.

Front line border guards must be resourced properly to do their jobs. We have heard that from other members. Canadian customs officers have asked for backup from armed police at some of the busiest airports and border crossings. Recent stories of border guards working alone have raised concern.

My hon. colleague from Kootenay—Columbia, who will be speaking next, has made it clear that two guards are needed at each crossing. This was tragically demonstrated after border crossing guard Adam Angel fell ill and then tragically died while working alone.

As well, a female border guard was forced to work alone with faulty communications equipment. None of her colleagues were able to notify her that a potentially dangerous felon could be on his way to her border crossing while she was working alone.

These types of stories should not happen in this day and age when we should put the safety of our staff as a high priority.

Appropriate staffing levels at Canadian border crossings should also be a priority for another reason: terrorism. The 9/11 attack was the impetus for the Anti-terrorism Act, the allocation of $8 billion for national security, and the implementation of the airline security tax.

With the establishment of this new Canada Border Services Agency, we must be under no illusions about the severity of terrorist attacks on Canadian soil. Our top national security adviser, Robert Wright, has stated:

Osama bin Laden has publicly identified Canada as a country he believes his followers should attack. He ranked Canada as fifth out of seven countries, and every other country on that list has already been attacked...So this is not someone else's problem.

In fact, an Ottawa intelligence report states that al-Qaeda apparently considers Canada a legitimate target because of the presence of our troops in Afghanistan. The report surmises that terrorists might attack Canada in retaliation for the arrest of a few alleged al-Qaeda associates, including at least one from Vancouver whose deportation is currently being sought. That does not just hit close to home; it lands in our front yard.

Another recent national security warning comes from Colin Kenny, chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence. Mr. Kenny criticized this Liberal government for ignoring a Senate report which concluded that most Canadian cities would not be able to cope with the devastating impact of a major terrorist strike.

Kenny said Ottawa has been lax in several security areas, including the protection of electrical transmission systems and oil pipelines. As well, we need better surveillance on our coastal waters, which stretch nearly a quarter of a million kilometres, making them the longest undefended borders in the world. Kenny says, “They are vast, they are vulnerable, and, unfortunately, they are largely unattended”.

There is much more to be achieved before Ottawa can claim to be able to defend itself against terrorism. According to Martin Rudner of the Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies:

--the government has not done nearly enough to address terror threats to our infrastructure--especially when it comes to the energy sector. It has failed to actively crack down on fundraising for terrorist and terrorist-affiliated groups, despite legislation to enable such a crackdown, and the Tamil Tigers--responsible for more of the world's suicide bombers than any other group--have not yet been outlawed by Cabinet.

Why not?

While somewhat improved, our intelligence agency still falls short of the necessary level of sophistication, mostly due to the lack of sufficient funding that also plagues the RCMP. Our immigration system, which has roughly 36,000 failed refugee claimants lingering long past their deportation orders, is simply not tight enough for any country that takes security threats seriously.

Marriage December 13th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been misleading Canadians, saying that the traditional definition of marriage was unconstitutional. Now we know that the Liberals have been deliberately misleading Canadians. The Supreme Court did not fall for that Liberal trap and has sent the issue of marriage back to Parliament where it belonged. The Conservative Party was right all along.

I agree with the majority of Canadians on the definition of marriage being between a man and a woman. That definition is constitutional, yet the Prime Minister wants to outlaw that definition against the democratic wishes of the majority. He will be tabling his own legislation and has threatened his caucus to vote for it or else.

Will the Prime Minister stop dithering, come clean about his hidden agenda where religious freedoms will be lost, where marijuana will be made legal and supplied by his government, and where child pornography will be considered art? He is wrong. I challenge him to permit a free vote for all members on these important issues.

Supply December 9th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the government needs to develop a fisheries management framework that would give provinces and territories more input and control over fisheries management in their regions.

There are many problems with attempting to solve this crisis with a DFO review, which this Liberal government suggests is the right approach. If DFO is investigating itself, there is a clear conflict of interest in establishing and controlling a review of what happened.

The membership of the committee being proposed by the Liberal Party, which would be made up of first nations and commercial, recreational and environmental interests, could also be in a position of conflict of interest because they have a direct financial interest in the outcome of that review. How would that committee be capable of getting real answers to the problems?

Bureaucrats do not testify under oath and are less likely to point a finger at themselves or their minister and give honest observations if their jobs are on the line. What guarantee is there that DFO would take a review seriously? It has reviewed this issue year after year but does not implement recommendations.

Supply December 9th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, on the silt buildup, a pipeline runs from Langley Township into McMillan Island. Silt is now building up from that pipeline and going upstream. Silt has been continuing to build up since the pipeline was put in, and it has not been maintained.

The maintenance of the Fraser River was the responsibility of the Coast Guard. Up to Langley, it is now the responsibility of the Fraser port authority. The Coast Guard, with an agreement, gave $14 million to the Fraser port authority to maintain the Fraser River. The funds were insufficient but that was all that was offered so the funds were taken. The Fraser port authority is looking for additional funds so it can maintain that very important part of the Fraser River. So up to Langley it is being maintained, but the money has run out. That is an issue that the government needs to deal with.

From Langley up, there is no maintenance of the Fraser River. The silt has built up into the Bedford channel and now commercial fisheries are having a very difficult time. All navigation on that part of the river is very difficult and dangerous. It has caused a change in the flow of the Fraser and now 10 to 15 acres of McMillan Island, which is part of the Kwantlen reserve, have disappeared. It is a very serious situation. Lack of maintenance of the Fraser could be one of the causes for some of the loss.

Supply December 9th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Langley, which is a community on the Fraser River, I am proud to address this most serious issue in the House of Commons today.

If we are to discover the root causes of the 2004 Fraser River sockeye salmon disaster, which is a very appropriate word, the department's fisheries management practices must be exposed by a judicial inquiry bestowed with the powers and independence found in the Inquiries Act, which includes witness testimony under oath.

What we must avoid is a time-consuming toothless review that is beholden to the minister for its authority. Our government tried this approach in 1992 and 1994 following similar salmon stock depletions and look where we find ourselves today.

A judicial inquiry is a must and to not have it would be, in my opinion, a serious dereliction of duty by the Government of Canada on behalf of the people, especially those whose survival hinges on the fishery, including aboriginal peoples.

The facts are that out of a total count run of 4.4 million, more than 1.8 million salmon disappeared from where they were counted at the counting station on the lower Fraser at Mission this year and the spawning beds upstream.

Four major factors are being touted as the cause or causes for the 1.8 million missing salmon: first, warm water; second, a miscount; third, overfishing at sea; and fourth, overfishing and poaching in the river.

I would like to discuss these issues and bring to the attention of the House another factor that may have played a role, which is silt buildup, a significant problem in the Fraser River through Langley and Maple Ridge and may have contributed to the warm water theory.

Finally, it cannot be ignored that the common denominator for all these factors, including the warm water theory, is to some degree the mismanagement by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Mr. Speaker, I forgot to mention that I will be splitting my time.

The DFO has claimed that unusually high water temperatures in the Fraser kill some sockeye by acute thermal shock or by heat induced disease. The fisheries department says that 21° Celsius is lethal to sockeye, while other data suggests a toleration point up to 24°. Due to hot weather, the Fraser River was about 4° higher than the normal of 16° this summer, resulting in high fish mortality.

While this act of God theory seems credible scientifically, we must consider that there certainly were not 1.8 million dead fish floating on the Fraser River this summer. I do not recall any sightings of dead fish on the Fraser and I live there. I ride my bike on the beautiful trails along the Fraser River and I saw no dead fish.

This issue is of particular concern to interested parties in my riding of Langley. On November 12 of this year I had the opportunity to meet with the mayor of Langley township, the Fraser River Port Authority, Fort Langley business leaders and the Kwatlen First Nations.

As a group, we toured the Bedford Channel and the Fraser River. A primary issue of concern is the man-made backup of silt deposits. The silt starts filling in from upstream where a gas pipeline was installed across the Bedford Channel. There has not been any maintenance of that channel and we now have literally changed the topography for the worse.

It is a very serious situation on the upstream tip of MacMillan Island where 10 to 15 acres of land have disappeared into the Fraser River. This slough is being caused by a change of the current in the river which is a direct result of silt buildup in the Bedford Channel. In some places the level of silt is so high it has impeded the flow of the river. I could literally wade across that channel, where usually a boat would be required.

It could also be argued that the flow is so low at some points that the salmon have difficulty passing through. They are spending more time in shallower and warmer water and this could be costing them their lives.

The silt buildup has also become a navigational problem for watercraft. The high silt levels are man-made problems. Shallow water flow means higher water temperatures in hot weather. Higher temperatures means dead fish. This is a maintenance issue. This is also a mismanagement issue.

The salmon habitat is suffering from the spread of urbanization, forestry and agriculture, yet the provincial and federal governments have no clear vision for sustaining wild stocks.

The B.C. auditor general, Wayne Strelioff, said that the province should take more aggressive action to sustain wild salmon and report on the provincial role in the management of wild salmon.

Mr. Strelioff also said that B.C.'s ability to ensure the sustainability of wild salmon is handicapped by the lack of a clear vision on priorities and the inability of the two governments to produce a common strategy or develop clear goals and objectives.

Strelioff teamed up with Canada's Auditor General who also criticized the lack of a management plan. The Auditor General's report says, “This is the fourth time since 1997 we have reported on a salmon related issue and we continue to see little progress in managing key risks”. It continues to state:

Overall, we are not satisfied with the progress made by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in responding to the recommendations we made in the three previous audits in 1997, 1999, and 2000. While many stocks are abundant, some Atlantic and Pacific salmon stocks are in trouble. We continued to identify significant gaps in managing risks.

Again, this is a mismanagement issue.

With regard to a possible miscount of the number of fish that were counted at 4.4 million by the Pacific Salmon Commission, a sonar equipped boat crosses back and forth across the river 215 times a day at Mission to provide a count of the adult fish. Did it err? A judicial inquiry would be needed to determine that.

With regard to overfishing at sea, in 1988 the public commercial fleet delivered 1.8 million in gross escapement at Mission which resulted in 1.4 million sockeye on the spawning grounds. In 2004, in staggering contrast, 2.6 million in gross escapement resulted in only 200,000 to 300,000 in the spawning grounds.

The numbers simply do not make a valid argument. If part of the blame were to lie with overfishing at sea, it would be the management of the fishery that allowed the overfishing, that would have to come under scrutiny. This is a mismanagement issue.

Now with regard to overfishing in the river itself. While DFO's regional director of fish management, Don Radford, has acknowledged that native poaching increased in 2004, it is very important for me to note that overfishing, or not reporting stocks, is not a problem that is the exclusive domain of the aboriginal fishery. Illegal fishing charges have also been laid against members of both the commercial and sports fisheries.

There are many factors that would allow for an unchecked number of salmon to disappear via that route, including that in 2004 aboriginal fishermen enjoyed legal access to fish processing plants, including two new plants in the lower Fraser aboriginal reserves, and commercial freezing operations. Aboriginal fishermen also have legal access to unscrupulous fish brokers and a legal ability to transport fish in semi-trailers across the Canada-U.S. border and into Alberta.

As well, it appears a hands-off enforcement policy in certain areas of the river also facilitated the harvest, transport and processing of unreported stocks by all fishermen.

Much blame has been laid on the wall of nets used by aboriginal gill netters on the Fraser, but it is important to realize that the drifted gillnet fisheries between Mission and Hope were authorized by DFO as part of negotiated agreements. That makes it a fisheries management problem, not an aboriginal fishery problem.

This summer, members of the B.C. Fisheries Survival Coalition in Langley staged a fisheries protest by turning their Canadian flags upside down, the universal marine message for a vessel in distress. The fishermen were protesting the apparent inequality of the aboriginal gillnet agreement which allowed for 50% of the fish caught by natives for food, social and ceremonial purposes, to be sold commercially, while other commercial fishermen have been asked to dry dock their nets. That is a mismanagement issue.

Transport December 3rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, on November 13, Vernon Auxiliary Constable Glen Evely was killed when a stolen vehicle slammed into his cruiser. A day earlier, Pattie Lee Kibbee was killed in Edmonton when a stolen vehicle slammed into her car. In Nova Scotia, Theresa McEvoy was killed when her car was struck by a stolen vehicle.

Twenty-five to thirty-five Canadians will die this year at the hands of auto thieves. Why will the Minister of Transport not ensure that all new vehicles are equipped with ignition immobilizer to protect Canadians, and stop the carnage?

National Arts Centre Orchestra November 29th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate and recognize the National Arts Centre Orchestra, led by Pinchas Zukerman, on its return from its triumphant tour of beautiful British Columbia. The two week tour consisted of four concerts, student matinees and over 80 educational events involving teaching of children and first nations communities across British Columbia.

Pinchas Zukerman is world renowned for his dedication to teaching and to the musical development of the next generation of young artists. He passionately believes that every child should have access to a musical education.

Bravo to the National Arts Centre Orchestra for taking its talent on the road and delighting audiences on the west coast. I also express thanks to the corporate sponsors that made the tour possible.

Supply November 18th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments made by the hon. member and I agree that our mandate is to work hard for Canadians and to make sure that the food we provide in Canada is safe.

I believe the mandate is also to provide good decisions. Good decisions are based on the information we have.

I have a question for the hon. member. Why would the mover of the motion be opposed to having this referred back to committee to have all the information put on the table so that the decision the House makes is based on all the information? Why would we want to rush through this and make a decision that may turn out to be the wrong decision? Would the member support having this go back to committee to get all the information?

Criminal Code November 18th, 2004

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-294, an act to amend the Criminal Code (destruction or desecration of national flag).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce a private member's bill to amend the Criminal Code to create an offence related to the destruction or desecration of our national flag. I again thank the hon. member for Blackstrap for seconding this motion.

Canadians are proud of our flag and all that it represents. It symbolizes the strength of our nation and the freedom purchased by those who paid the ultimate price for our country. I believe that, as legislators, protecting our national symbol sends the message that as we stand at the crossroads of history we can make the right choices and lead the effort to preserve loyalty, pride and commitment to this great nation.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Criminal Code November 18th, 2004

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-293, an act to amend the Criminal Code (theft of a motor vehicle).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to introduce my first private member's bill, an act to amend the Criminal Code, for theft of a motor vehicle. I would like to thank the hon. member for Blackstrap for seconding this motion.

Auto theft costs Canadians in excess of $1 billion per year. The courts have considered auto theft a simple property crime. The fact is, tragically, that 25 to 35people per year are killed in Canada and countless others seriously injured by auto thieves driving a stolen vehicle. Auto crime has become a serious epidemic in Canada, putting all Canadians at risk.

The bill provides for minimum sentencing to ensure that there will be a serious consequence for stealing a motor vehicle and that auto thieves will serve appropriate time for the crime.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)