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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Burlington (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act March 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from the official opposition for his presentation. Part of his presentation, the first three or four minutes, did not deal with the actual issue but dealt with process, so I have a process question based on his speech.

This is the second day. There were speakers on the previous day on this item. There has been a time allocation. There is another day coming on this. This is second reading, meaning once this moves through the House it will go to committee and then will come back to the House for third reading. Before it goes to committee, there will be 20 official opposition time slots. We will hear 20 speeches from the New Democratic Party on this.

I have been in the House all day, from the first part of this. I have heard nothing new from the NDP on it. From any speech it is always the same issue, which is fair. However, is it not time that people would expect, even people from Ottawa, that Parliament would move things forward? We have had lots of discussion. We know what the issues are. We will take it to committee and bring it back to hear what we heard at committee. That is the process. It is an appropriate process. Time allocation is more than appropriate for this size bill.

Gerrie Electric March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this year's theme for International Women's Day was "Make It Happen" One of the tenets of the theme was making it happen in business ownership for women.

I would like to congratulate the co-CEOs of Gerrie Electric, Elaine and Heather Gerrie, for their successes in business. With over $150 million annual sales, Gerrie Electric is one of Canada's largest independent electrical and automation distributers.

Elaine and Heather are true role models for women in business. Not only have they succeeded in business leadership and ownership, they have "Made It Happen" in a male dominated industry.

I want to thank Elaine and Heather Gerrie for breaking down barriers and realizing opportunity. Their vision, drive and determination are making a difference in the lives of their employees, our community of Burlington and our country.

I thank Elaine and Heather Gerrie for "Making It Happen", and congratulate them on being recognized as one of the best managed companies in Canada.

Taxation February 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the tax-free savings account is another example of our Conservative government fulfilling our promises to keep taxes low. We are proud that 11 million Canadians of all ages and income levels have opened an account, allowing them to safe tax-free, including my 24-year-old daughter. The vast majority of accounts belong to low- and middle-income earners. It is a way for Canadians to save for retirement, for their kids' education, or for a down payment on a house.

The TFSA is helping Canadians, but the opposition wants to take it away. The NDP actually voted against the tax-free savings account, and the Liberal leader wants Canadians to pay more taxes, saying he will implement a carbon tax that will kill jobs and raise the price on everything. Perhaps he does not understand that ordinary Canadians cannot rely on a wealthy trust fund.

The facts are clear. Only our Conservative government can be trusted to keep taxes low.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful to the member for highlighting the poll with respect to physician-assisted death. I agree with the poll because there was only one question. However, there are a lot of questions that come out of this, such as whether the individual would have to choose or whether someone else would choose for them.

Based on your knowledge of the subject area, are there certain questions you would like the public to answer before you make a decision on where this Parliament goes?

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. He was making my point, in a sense, by saying that broad consultation includes people from all the opposition parties and members, including our independent members, on what questions should be asked and what information is needed.

My colleague used one example, and everyone is hanging their hat on it. It was one piece. When we do our consultations on any topic, we use focus groups, we go to experts, we ask our constituents. It is a broad mix. It is a bigger basket. We need a really big basket.

My mother-in-law had cancer of the lung. She went through very serious surgery. She went on a program as a test case with a drug company. Fortunately for our family, she survived and has been cancer free for over a decade. Many of her friends who were in the same program did not. We had called the priest to come to give her last rites at the hospital. We could have made some different decisions, but those decisions were not made.

Every family should have an opportunity to comment on this matter. My mother-in-law should have an opportunity to have input on it.

That is why the consultations need to be broad.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, now we know why this motion is here: they think this is an election issue. That is what the member just asked me. He asked if this should be in the debate during an election.

In my view, this is not an election issue and should not be an election issue. This is a very personal family issue that needs proper policy discussion. It is not an election issue.

We have not said today on this side that we are not open to broad public consultations. There are questions. For example, is the individual considering the option of assisted death by a doctor the only one to decide? Does a spouse decide, or a father or mother if it is a child? Who decides? Does one doctor do it? Do doctors have the right to refuse? Is there a panel to determine whether the person is of sound mind to make the decision? All these questions need to be addressed.

My view is that every Canadian should have an opportunity for input on what the answers are and what the questions should be. A parliamentary committee is not broad enough to be able to do that job.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Kootenay—Columbia, with whom I have the honour of working on the justice committee. It is also an honour to know him as a former RCMP officer. I have a tremendous amount of respect for his thoughts on a number of justice issues, and he does a fantastic job on our committee.

It is also my pleasure and honour to speak today to the Liberal supply day motion. To be frank, I appreciate today's motion. We have had a number of supply day motions recently that have been less about what Parliament should be engaged in, in terms of discussion between parliamentarians. However, this one certainly goes to that point, and I do appreciate it. I also believe that this is a non-partisan issue, and the discussion has been very respectful, as it should be, on this particular tough issue.

I am going to spend most of my time talking about the procedural issues. In my view, this is a motion to deal with procedure on a policy issue. The Liberal motion today puts out a direction for, or a way of tackling, the issue. It recommends that this be done through a special committee. The Liberals have highlighted the membership of the committee, which would be roughly 60% Conservative, 30% NDP, and 10% Liberal. I made the point earlier about how the committee structure now is for a standing committee of 10 members. This would be for 12, which is the old way of doing things. It really does not matter. It is still a percentage. The new way would give the Liberal Party a little more presence on committees, with two fewer opposition members there, but that is what the Liberals have chosen to present today.

Here is why I do not think this is the right approach to this very important issue. I have been here nine years and have sat on a number of committees. I have been the chair of the justice committee for the last couple of years. In my view, the best use of time at committee for members of Parliament is to deal with actual legislation. That is when there are words on paper about the direction of the government or a member, depending on the type of bill. The wording is there, the clauses that we are dealing with are there, and the changes are all there.

Dealing with legislation is a better use of members' time. I have been on a number of committees that do studies, and they are interesting. Sometimes they are useful, and sometimes they are not. This particular item needs a very broad consultation before it goes to committee.

The committee that the Liberals are highlighting in today's motion is would be a special committee that would not deal with an actual piece of legislation. The Liberals are saying, let us study it and have it back by July 31. I assume that out of that study, they are thinking that there would be a piece of legislation that would come after the election. The public still would not know what Parliament's direction would be, based on the study that would be done by July. It would be an overview of the issues and a number of questions might be asked. There may be directions and recommendations coming out of it, but there would be no piece of actual legislation. Of course, there are a number of options that will be available to Parliament, including not doing anything. That is one of the options.

The motion would not really advance the issue to a point where people would think that by July, they will have an answer on where the Government of Canada and Parliament of Canada are going on this particular issue. Based on today's motion, that would absolutely not be the case.

It would have recommendations. No committee study can compel the government to do anything. That is standard, whether it is a standing committee or a special committee. A study cannot compel the government of the day to do anything. Even if, God forbid, after October 19, there is a change in government, the study could not compel that next government to do anything at all.

Today's motion does not do what I think the Liberal Party thinks it would do and wants to present it as doing. It is a reasonable approach, and I am not saying that what the Liberals are doing is wrong. I do not think it is what the public is anticipating based on this particular motion.

The other issue is that when I consider broad consultation, I think of a variety of different groups. At present when we call witnesses to committees, as chair of the committee I try to achieve a balance. We get submissions from all parties. Normally we try to accommodate everyone's witnesses, and that has happened 99% of the time. On some occasions, we cannot accommodate everyone. Then the witness list is based on the size of the committee membership. Approximately 50% of the witnesses then would be from the Conservatives; approximately 40% from the NDP, the official opposition; and approximately 10% or so from the Liberal Party.

The record of the justice committee shows that the number of witnesses from the Conservatives is much less, maybe 45%, and that witnesses from other parties fill in that space. We deal very little there with legislation that is a matter of life or death. If we do something right, it is great. If we do something wrong, normally we can change it, or the next government changes the policy or legislation to improve it or to make changes.

The hardest vote for me thus far has been when we commit the men and women of our armed services to foreign conflicts, whether in Afghanistan or to what is going on in the Middle East right now, because we know there is the potential for a Canadian to die. In this case that is what it is all about, someone having the option to proceed in that manner.

The consultation with Canadians needs to be broader than the witnesses we pick to come to committee. There is a whole basket of opportunities. We should all be able to contribute those we consider to be experts. There are experts in this area who have different opinions in their particular fields, but there needs to be a broader way of consulting the public.

To my view, and I might be a bit biased, I think this issue should go to the justice committee and, based on the broad consultation at committee, the government should bring forward a piece of legislation. The justice committee, in its current form, has been working very well on a number of very difficult files, including the prostitution bill. The prostitution bill only really affected a small portion of the population, but this affects everyone, so we need a broader approach.

I am not supporting the motion today, because the process gives a false image that we will have legislation by July. The leader of the third party, the mover of the motion today, indicated that this does not create legislation. He said that directly to the House, that it is a study, a consultation. I do not disagree with him that we need broad consultation. I am not sure that the committee structure in the House of Commons is the appropriate structure to use to get that consultation, to develop legislation that should go to the standing committee process and result in witnesses being called to talk about actual legislation that will be developed.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have been listening all morning to the comments on this topic, and all of us are treating this issue with the dignity it deserves.

My question is a procedural one, and the member is relatively new here, so I will bear that in mind. The leader of the Liberal Party who put the motion forward said today that this is not about legislation, but rather about studying the issues surrounding doctor-assisted death.

The report by the committee is deemed to be reported back to the House by the end of July, but an election is to be held on October 19, so the House will not sit until that is over. The message I am hearing is that we would have this resolved before the election, but in fact we are not debating legislation. This is not about legislation; it is about studying the issue.

How can a decision be made on the motion by the House prior to the election?

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is a valuable member of the justice committee, which I chair, and always has input.

I have just two questions for my colleague.

Today's motion from the Liberal Party is a procedural motion. It is about procedures moving forward. The leader indicated that it is not about reviewing legislation. It is more about setting up a committee to do a procedural thing.

The leader of the Liberal Party talked about expert witnesses. Does the member who just spoke have a definition of what experts are? This deals with all Canadians. How are they expecting to define who is an expert on this and who is not?

The standing committees now have 10 members. On a percentage basis, the Liberals have one seat. Committees have moved from what used to be the standing committee size of 12, which means that there was even less presence for the Liberal Party, in a sense, than they have now. Why did they choose 12 members over 10, which is the normal process for a standing committee of the House of Commons?

Committees of the House February 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 15th report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights in relation to Bill C-26, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act and the Sex Offender Information Registration Act, to enact the High Risk Child Sex Offender Database Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.