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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

Drug Strategy November 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the Health Canada web page includes the national drug strategy and it is only three paragraphs. Its quoted goal is to reduce the demand for drugs, yet the Liberal government has just tabled Bill C-17 which seeks to decriminalize large amounts of marijuana. It is a fact that this will increase drug usage and the demand for the illegal production of marijuana.

When will the government begin to show some true leadership and create a national drug strategy that addresses the marijuana problem?

The Environment October 29th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, last night Fraser Valley residents and politicians travelled to a Washington state public hearing to oppose the construction of a new polluting power plant only 500 meters from the Canadian border. SE2 would become the largest new air polluter in the Fraser Valley air shed.

Every day this week I have asked the environment minister about this. That minister was not at that meeting last night. November 1 is his last chance to oppose this polluter.

Will the minister act now to oppose that polluting power plant and stick up for the Canadian environment?

The Environment October 22nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, on October 28, busloads of citizens from greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley will be heading down to Washington state to speak at a public hearing on whether a U.S. power plant called SE2 should be granted an extension of its air emission permit.

SE2 plans to build a polluting power plant less than 500 meters from the Canadian border, which will become the largest air polluter into the Fraser Valley air shed. This must not happen.

There has been unanimous opposition to SE2 from local citizens, local governments and the province of B.C. The only one not actively opposing SE2 has been the federal Liberal government. If it does not take this opportunity to oppose this environmental polluter, its support for Kyoto is nothing more than a political ploy to deceive Canadians.

Will the environment minister agree to go down to Washington state on October 28 to make a stand for our environment and help fight this Goliath?

Criminal Code October 22nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this very important bill. I also want to thank the residents of Langley for the honour to represent them here.

The purpose of Bill C-10 is to modernize the mental disorder provisions of the Criminal Code to make the law fair and efficient. I do support the general intent of the proposals which take into account many of the recommendations of the 2002 justice committee report calling for legislative reforms and further Department of Justice consultations on mental disorder provisions of the Criminal Code.

The report was approved by all parties. In fact, the results of this review are an important example of how the committee process can work in a cooperative fashion with no interference from the minister or from the PMO.

The amendments in Bill C-10 address six key areas: the expansion of review board powers; permitting the court to order a stay of proceedings for permanently unfit accused; allowing victim impact statements to be read; the repeal of unproclaimed provisions; streamlining of transfer provisions between provinces; and the expansion of police powers to enforce dispositions and assessment orders. It is on the issue of dealing with victims that I will be focusing today.

The Conservative Party's justice platform features a reorientation of the criminal justice system to take victims' rights into account in sentencing and in granting conditional releases. I believe that those found not guilty by reason of mental disorder fall into this category as well.

As a newly elected member of Parliament I have experienced an incredible learning curve during the last four months. I have already had the opportunity to assist a victim of a truly gruesome crime committed by a person later found not guilty by reason of a mental disorder. I have received a crash course in the process of review board hearings from the perspective of the victim. It is a perspective which this House could benefit from hearing as this bill is discussed today.

I would like to share with the House the story of Dr. Verne Flather and the incredible commitment of his family to ensure that what happened to the Flather family does not happen to another family.

In 1993 Dr. Verne Flather was shot and killed outside his North Vancouver home. The accused was a man named David Henderson, a former patient of Dr. Flather's. Mr. Henderson felt let down by the medical profession. He created a hit list of 10 medical professionals to kill. Tragically, Dr. Flather was the first person on that list.

Fortunately, Mr. Henderson was arrested at the scene, potentially saving the lives of the others on the list. He was later found not guilty by reason of a mental disorder and sent to a forensic psychiatric centre in B.C. He lived there for 10 years until he was gradually released back into the community.

It was then discovered that since his release from the psychiatric hospital, Mr. Henderson had been volunteering at yet another public hospital. Although the caseworkers knew this man's history, it was only when the Flather family protested that Mr. Henderson was asked to cease his volunteer activities at the other hospital.

How can it be that Mr. Henderson passed the criminal record check process and was allowed to volunteer at a hospital? This case brought to light a large loophole in the screening of criminal record checks, disclaimers and waivers for community volunteers and job applicants.

I am concerned about this factor in the proposed bill. The volunteer and job applicant criminal record checks in B.C. do not take into account those found not guilty by reason of a mental disorder. The ramifications of this omission are startling. Criminals can be brought under the current criminal record check system, but the criminally insane are not.

As a result of that realization, the B.C. minister of management services was asked to consider amending the criminal record check applications to allow community organizations to amend their forms to include the following question: Have you ever been found not guilty of a criminal offence by reason of a mental disorder? Minister Sandi Santori agreed last December that it would appear to be reasonable and relevant to screen individuals on the basis of whether they have been charged with a criminal offence but found not guilty by reason of a mental disorder.

Assuming the amendments have actually been made to the screening process, I believe we are one step closer to protecting the public to the best of our ability. I credit the Flather family with that facet of public protection coming to pass. However, we must ensure that every province and territory follows B.C.'s lead in this matter.

Regarding the subject of victim impact statements, there is the question of what type of issues should be addressed in order to further the interests of justice. Since these types of proceedings do not have the same element of a normal criminal case, since criminal intent is not a factor, there is a question of what the nature of these statements would be and how they would contribute to the proceedings.

Bill C-10 gives the relevant courts or review boards the authority to allow the victims to present their case at the initial hearings. It does not, however, mandate the courts or review boards to take the victim into account when rendering a decision.

Bill C-10 also amends the Criminal Code to allow the transfer of an accused. Under the proposed amendments in Bill C-10, prisoners would be transferred without obtaining statements or input from victims. This was a major criticism of Bill C-15 when it received royal assent in May 2004.

In preparing this speech, Dr. Flather's widow, Julia Murrell, was asked to give her opinion of the review board system. She indicated that being allowed to read a victim impact statement was only one part of the process. She stated: “It's like we're in a foreign country with this and there are no guidelines. You think this system works for you until you get into it. It's like there is an underground system, and you have to figure out how it works to get anything done”. There must be full disclosure to the victim's families throughout this process.

The most upsetting experience for the Flather family was with the review board. Ms. Murrell described the review board as an old boys' club. She said: “Unless we, as a family had taken an active role, we wouldn't have found out anything. If we had not been assertive we wouldn't have gotten as far as we did. Families need to be brought into the loop. We need to be able to see the success of the accused as they go through the system”.

She added: “We need to see it to be convinced that the system works. One of the things that would be helpful is to create a network for family support. I don't know of any other families who are going through this. You can't understand what other families are going through unless you go through it yourself. We also need to be told what the rights of the family are. In the review board process, we are not even acknowledged. We are just there as observers, but you have to wonder, what kind of system is this when the victim's concerns are trivialized and not considered at all”.

Julia Murrell described the shock tremors that went through her family when she discovered that the accused was travelling back to her neighbourhood. She said: “The review board told us we weren't notified because they were concerned about the risk to Mr. Henderson by our family! It is us who are concerned about him”!

In conclusion, I would like to extend my greatest appreciation to Julia Murrell and the Flather family for their commitment to ensure that their experience is not repeated.

I would like to ensure that all criminal record check applications bear the question: Have you ever been found not guilty of a criminal offence by reason of a mental disorder? I would like to ensure that victims are given a greater voice at review board hearings and receive full disclosure of an accused's whereabouts. I would also like to see the justice system create a process by which victims can be put in touch with other victims if they so choose.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 20th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I believe Canadians want change and I believe and hope that the leader of the official opposition will be the new prime minister.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 20th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the compliments. I am glad he was able to enjoy Langley. I encourage him and all members to return.

The concerns that Langley residents have are with accountability. For me to comment on a newspaper article would be inappropriate. Canadians want a change. They want honesty and integrity. They want the government to be honest.

I want to focus on accountability. I want to know what happened in the sponsorship scandal. I want to know that our children are going to be protected. I want to have legislation that protects our children and the loopholes removed for child pornography.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 20th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate you on your appointment. It is an honour to speak before you today. This is my first opportunity to speak in the House.

I would like to thank the wonderful people of Langley for the honour to represent them in this 38th Parliament. My commission is to represent them, and it is about them and their needs that I want to speak about today. I am honoured to be Langley's first member of Parliament because Langley finally has its own riding. I would also like to thank my wonderful wife, children and family for their support and prayers.

Canadians across this country continue to be concerned about health care, our environment, transportation needs and crime. These are just some of the issues I will be working on on behalf of my constituents in Langley.

It is appropriate that I should make my maiden speech in reply to a throne speech that should be dedicated to defining and reforming the government's role in a modern society. I am here today to represent my constituency and to stand up for an ideal, the power of our action together to create a more equal and productive society.

As an elected representative, I am the conduit for communication between the residents of Langley and Parliament. As such I have included a few quotes from some students at Langley Meadows Elementary School. They share with us why Langley is such a great place to live.

Selassie said, “I like Langley because it has many beautiful and nice nature places to go. It is great because it has water parks, ice rinks, restaurants, stores and so many other fun stuff. It is big, but not like a city”.

Partik said, “I think that Langley is such a great town because it is nice and peaceful which is really what more people want. Here in Langley the parks are nice and relaxing”.

Ben said, “Langley is a wonderful city. The schools are great. Our school has nice teachers and we get a good education. In our school we have good computers and we get to stay on them for a long time. We also get awesome field trips”.

Perhaps one of these young community advocates will one day take up a seat in the House to represent Langley with so much heart and goodwill.

Langley is actually two communities with rich heritage and great diversity, Langley City and the Township of Langley. The first nations people, the Sto:lo, are thought to have been the principal occupants of most of the Fraser Valley throughout the last several millennia.

The Langley Township area was where the European settlement was first established. Fort Langley, built in 1827, achieved global attention during the Fraser Valley gold rush. The crown colony of British Columbia was created in 1858, thus Fort Langley was proclaimed the birthplace of British Columbia.

In 1873 the Township of Langley was incorporated. Langley Township is made up of various communities including Aldergrove, Brookswood, Fernridge, Fort Langley, Murrayville, Walnut Grove which is my home, Willowbrook and Willoughby. The township occupies 316 square kilometres and is now home to approximately 91,000 residents.

Langley is also known as the horse capital of B.C. Its horse industry has been valued at over $40 million. Approximately 1,000 horse farms in Langley have produced over 6,500 horses and ponies which represents approximately 16% of the provincial total.

The original settlement of Langley City was known as Innes Corners, established by gold rush enthusiasts William and Adam Innes. In 1955 the City of Langley was incorporated as a separate municipality. In the years since then the population has grown from approximately 2,025 to approximately 25,000 today.

Combined within just 10 square kilometres, the City of Langley contains established suburban residential neighbourhoods, a natural wetland of regional significance, parkland exceeding 300 acres, high density residential development, and a beautiful pedestrian oriented downtown.

The township and city share a regional shopping centre, and one of the most active industrial and commercial land bases found in the Fraser Valley in the Lower Mainland. With a diverse economic base, including well established agricultural communities, state of the art manufacturing industries and a strong retail sector, the Langleys offer excellent potential for investment and business. A favourable tax base, a skilled labour force and the proximity of Langley to Seattle, Vancouver, and overseas markets have made Langley an attractive area for investment and development.

Langley is a constituency that is known as the place where city and country meet, a community of communities, and the place to be. I believe Langley is as close to an idyllic community in Canada that we can find. However, Langley does not exist in a vacuum.

In the three and a half months since I was elected, a young Langley man has been convicted of serious sex offences against young girls in our community. In another instance, an 11-year-old Langley girl was abducted by a stranger and sexually assaulted until she managed to escape her captor.

During my short tenure, I have already established priority issues to work on in the coming year: transportation, auto crime, illegal drugs and child pornography legislation without loopholes.

Transportation is a major issue in Langley. The majority of Langley residents must drive outside of the community to their jobs. This increases traffic congestion to, from and within the community, a problem which has become critical.

A rail line runs right through the middle of Langley and is one of the main contributors to traffic congestion in the central part of Langley. With the planned expansion of the Delta Port container facility, the rail traffic through Langley is expected to more than triple from 9 trains a day to a whopping 34. As it now stands, when a train cuts through the city every major intersection is blocked simultaneously, making responses from emergency vehicles impossible. This is a critical situation which must be resolved as soon as possible.

It is a high priority to secure funding for Langley rail overpasses. I believe that working with the city and township of Langley, CN and CP Rail and all levels of government, we can and will ensure that Langley residents are not just seen as collateral damage by the bureaucracy. I will be talking to the hon. Minister of Transport and the hon. Minister of State for Infrastructure and Communities with regard to this important issue.

In my past position with the Insurance Corporation of B.C., I came to realize that our federal government must lead the way in ensuring that vehicle immobilizers become standard equipment in every new vehicle registered in Canada. An immobilizer is an electronic device that prevents the vehicle from being started without the proper key.

Auto thieves target vehicles that are not protected by an immobilizer. Auto crime has reached epidemic levels and is costing Canadians almost $600 million per year in insurance claims. The majority of vehicles being stolen are used to commit other crimes, usually by an offender with a drug addiction. I will be working on a private member's bill on this important issue.

Langley is not immune to marijuana grow ops, the illegal drug trade and prostitution. It is organized crime and drug addiction that fuels most of the crime. I intend to work with my colleagues to see detox and rehabilitation facilities established. It is time for our justice system to use mandatory sentencing and to send offenders with drug addictions to detox. I look forward to serving as a member on the justice standing committee to deal with issues like these.

Langley is located approximately 40 kilometres southeast of Vancouver. It is one of the most beautiful communities in Canada and I encourage every member to plan a visit to Langley.

I close with the words of another young student, Courtney, who said, “Come on! Come see Langley. It's a great place to live! Langley is quiet and peaceful. All the people are very nice and so are the houses. Langley is a beautiful city. I suggest you come on over and enjoy all the fun things to do”. Thank you, Courtney. I could not have said it better myself.

I am honoured to be chosen to represent Langley. I believe in the potential of inclusion, the power of opportunity, honesty, accountability, and our responsibility to share it and make it available to all Canadians. For every day that the people of Langley send me to the House, that is what I will stand for. I look forward to working with my colleagues in this 38th Parliament.