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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was going.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Hastings—Lennox and Addington (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Environment April 29th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, it has been a year since the leader of the party opposite promised Canadians a climate plan. Now it is 365 days later, and the Conservatives still have no plan. Canadians cannot afford politicians who ignore climate change. They—

Cancer April 10th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mark the Canadian Cancer Society's daffodil campaign. Since the late 1940s, the Canadian Cancer Society has been funding research. Today, the organization has grown to the largest national charitable funder of research and accounts for more than a third of the country's overall charitable investment in cancer research. The charity also offers programs and services that help people with cancer and their families when they are unsure or anxious. I would like to recognize all the wonderful volunteers at the Canadian Cancer Society who raise funds to support research.

My thoughts are with so many Canadians, too many Canadians, who live with this disease every day, as well as their families and loved ones. By supporting the daffodil campaign, we can help people with cancer see life beyond their diagnosis. When we donate, we are helping these people live their lives more fully. Therefore, I encourage everyone to wear their daffodil pins with pride this month.

World Compliment Day March 1st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, today is World Compliment Day, a day to create more positivity in the world.

I would like to compliment you, Mr. Speaker, on the important work you do to keep decorum in the house.

I compliment the Parliamentary Protective Service for its hard work to keep everyone on Parliament Hill safe.

I compliment the pages, who keep their cool in a demanding environment and ensure that parliamentarians have what we need for our work in the House.

I compliment all MPs in the House for the hard work they do to represent the interests of all Canadians.

I compliment my staff, who have an incredible desire to serve our constituents and who bring such enormous empathy to the individuals who come to us, often as a last resort, when they are frustrated, desperate and in need. My staff go the extra mile each and every single day and I so admire them for it.

Most of all, I compliment my wife Irene. I admire the great patience she has to put up with me in this very challenging and time-consuming job.

National Defence Act February 28th, 2019

Madam Speaker, I enjoy working with my colleague on the indigenous committee. We have worked on together on numerous studies over the last three and a half years. She needs to be commended for her service to the indigenous community.

Our government is committed to strengthening the rights of victims in the military justice system. In addition to ensuring respect for victims rights, Bill C-77 includes a provision to incorporate aboriginal sentencing into the military justice system and more severely sanction military misconduct and misconduct related to prejudices against members of the LGBTQ2 community.

National Defence Act February 28th, 2019

Madam Speaker, it is a privilege to rise in the House today. I would like to use my time to share how this government is supporting victims of inappropriate conduct by members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Last year, our government introduced legislation in the House that proposed to add a declaration of victims rights to the military's code of service discipline. This is good news. It shows that military justice in the country continues to evolve in the best interests of Canadians and the Canadian Armed Forces.

When victims display courage by coming forward with a complaint, we must ensure they are supported fully. Anything less would be unacceptable. Every victim, whether a Canadian Armed Forces member or civilian, deserves to be treated with trust, dignity and respect. This legislation shows that the government recognizes the harmful impact of service offences on victims, the military and society. It reconfirms this government's commitment to strengthen victims rights in the military justice system. It is our view that the legislation advances Canada's position as a global leader in support for victims.

The proposed amendments in the bill will strengthen and uphold victims rights within the military justice system, while ensuring these rights mirror those in the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. Simply put, the legislation creates and extends rights for victims in four specific areas: the right to information about how the military justice system works; the right to protection of security and privacy; the right to participation by expanding how victim impact statements can be presented at a court martial; and the right to restitution for damages or losses. These rights would be available to any victim of a service offence when he or she comes into contact with the military justice system.

Let me expand more on each of the four rights.

The first is the right to information. Any victims of a service offence have the right to general information about their own role and how Canada's military justice system works. They will be informed about the services and programs available to them. They will have the right to know how their case is progressing within the military justice system. This includes any information related to the status and outcome of investigations and the prosecution or sentencing of the person who harmed them. It is vital to keep victims informed during what can be a complex and foreign process. However, it is only the first step.

Second, a victim's right to protection must be considered in any matter in which a service offence has been committed. That is why the bill extends victims the right to have their security and privacy considered at all stages in the military justice system. The legislation would give victims the right to have reasonable and necessary measures taken to protect them from intimidation and retaliation. Victims can also request that their identities be protected. This is paramount to ensuring that victims rights are protected when they come into contact with the military justice system through no fault of their own. It will protect vulnerable participants by giving military judges the power to order publication bans, the power to allow testimony outside of the courtroom and the power to prevent an accused person from cross-examining a victim in a court martial.

The third way this government is recognizing victims is by enhancing their right to participate in the military justice system. We are doing this by expanding how victim impact statements can be presented at court martial. We are also enabling victims to share at various stages of the legal process their views about decisions that affect their rights and to have those views considered by appropriate authorities. This will ensure that the views of victims and the harm and loss they have suffered can be fully considered by appropriate authorities in the military justice system. It will also allow for a community impact statement to be submitted, describing the harm, the loss and the overall impact of a service offence on the community.

In addition to victim and community impact statements, the bill would enable the submission of a military impact statement on behalf of the Canadian Armed Forces when one of its members commits a service offence. Such an impact statement could describe the harm done to the discipline, efficiency or morale within the unit or to the Canadian Armed Forces as a whole. The statement would be taken into account alongside victim and community impact statements. The victim's right to participate before courts martial is a crucial part of recognizing the losses, damages or wrongs he or she has suffered.

The fourth and final right for victims in the legislation concerns their right to restitution. This will ensure victims can ask a court martial to consider ordering restitution for damages or losses when that value can be readily determined.

These rights will be guaranteed for any victims of a service offence committed by a service member should they come into contact with the military justice system. We are committed to ensuring victims are treated with dignity and respect and we are taking this responsibility seriously. We owe it to victims and to their families.

I have a number of families in my riding serve. I have the Kingston armed forces base on one side and the Trenton air base on the other side of my riding, so I have a number of serving members and veterans who live within my riding. I have worked closely with the MFRC in Trenton, which provides incredible services to members of the Trenton air base. The Military Family Resource Centre is a valuable resource that provides a number of different types of services to military service personnel. This is another reason why I am so pleased to make this speech today. This is so important to the families, the service personnel and the many thousands of civilians who work in the military at these two bases.

By maintaining discipline, efficiency and morale, the military justice system helps the Canadian Armed Forces achieve its mission here at home and around the world. Adopting the declaration of victims rights in the Code of Service Discipline will strengthen the rights of victims within the military justice system. It will ensure that victims have the right to information, protection, participation and restitution when they have been wronged. It will reinforce Canada's position as a global leader in maintaining a fair and effective military justice system, one that evolves in harmony with our civilian laws.

For all these reasons, members on this side of the House will be supporting the bill. I am so proud to be part of a government that has brought forward a bill that will make such a difference in the lives of military service members and their families.

National Defence Act February 28th, 2019

Madam Speaker, the bill proposes the introduction of a victims liaison officer. I wonder if the member could share with us his thoughts on the importance of this position and the difference it could make for victims.

The Environment February 25th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, climate change is real and the cost of inaction is enormous. It is disappointing that while climate change is having a real impact on the health and well-being of Canadians, Conservative politicians are wasting millions of taxpayer dollars fighting climate action in court. Meanwhile, the party opposite still has no plan to protect the environment.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment please update the House on the actions our government is taking to flight climate change while growing our economy?

Margaret Walsh February 7th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, it was with a heavy heart that I heard of the passing of Margaret Walsh in December, in her 96th year. She was a selfless person with an overwhelming desire to serve, and she played such a big part in so many lives in my community.

After teaching for many years, including in a one-room school house in Lonsdale, where I live, she became the first female reeve of Tyendinaga township and the first female warden of Hastings County, serving 20 years on council.

Margaret Walsh was also a close friend of mine, and she was my personal mentor from my time on council in Tyendinaga township and in our multi-decade fight against the Richmond landfill, alongside other community activists. During those days of activism, Chief Maracle of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte remembers fondly that he referred to her as the “rebel reeve” of Ontario, and she would just laugh. She had such an impish laugh. She was a remarkable, passionate fighter, and she will be missed.

Business of Supply January 29th, 2019

Madam Speaker, in my riding I have knocked on thousands of doors and I have seen the adverse impacts of the cuts that happened under the last government on so many residents and constituents in my riding. After the election, I continued to knock on thousands of doors and to keep in touch with my constituents, and I have seen the incredible differences that the tax-free Canada child benefit has made, as well as the increase to the guaranteed income supplement and the reductions in taxes to the middle class and to small businesses. This money is benefiting not only them: it is money in their pockets that is now being spent locally in our small rural communities, making such a huge impact in our rural communities.

What is the Conservatives' plan, and what would they cut? Would they cut the Canada child benefit, which is making such a big difference?

Business of Supply January 29th, 2019

Madam Speaker, we saw what the previous government did. The Conservatives thought they could cut their way to growth and very quickly realized that this is not how things work. We need to invest, as any person who has been in business knows. I ran a small business for 25 years, and in order to grow that business, I invested in it, and it grew. As my income increased, I was able to increase the level of debt to invest in that business and bring about even further growth in that business.

We cannot cut our way to growth. We have invested in Canadians, and that has seen a record 800,000 jobs created in the country and the lowest unemployment rate in over 40 years.

To the member opposite, what are you going to cut? What is your plan? Are you going to cut the tax-free Canada child benefit?