House of Commons photo

Elsewhere

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

Sponsorship Program May 12th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, it is apparent that the Liberals have their own special sense of reality.

We are all aware that the Gomery inquiry found that sponsorship money found its way to Liberal coffers. Just two weeks ago, a Liberal leadership contender, the member for Etobicoke—Lakeshore, admitted that there was still money lost. He said, “I am all for a full accounting of the money that was lost in that scandal...”.

However, by yesterday he had changed his mind. He was claiming to be shocked that anyone would suggest that dirty money was ever used by the Liberal Party.

What is shocking is the Liberal Party's flip-flops on this issue. Instead of defending the indefensible, the Liberal Party and its leadership contenders should start defending transparency and come clean with what happened to the missing sponsorship cash.

The Budget May 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the speech by the hon. member. I always look forward to his support in standing up for labour issues. He always talks about labour issues, but I want to question him about other parts of his speech.

I am absolutely in favour of the municipal infrastructure money that we have in this budget, the transit infrastructure money that we have in this budget, the housing money that we have in this budget. There are many, and I am not one of them, who would say that those are strictly provincial responsibilities, particularly the municipal infrastructure and the transit infrastructure.

I have heard from the Bloc members in speeches on other items, including the public health bill, that the federal government cannot get involved because it is provincial jurisdiction, that it is none of our business here at the federal level.

I ask the member, what is the difference? What is the rationale for supporting the municipal infrastructure and transit infrastructure when some people think that they are provincial jurisdictions? How does he define the difference in this case?

The Budget May 8th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, my question will deal with the first part of the member's speech regarding agriculture. As a young man I grew up in eastern Ontario on a dairy farm. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the dairy farmers of Quebec. They were very successful in those days and I am sure they still are.

My confusion lies, and it may be lost in the translation, in the fact that we are putting an additional $1 billion for agriculture in the budget. I did not really understand whether the hon. member agreed with that approach, that we were adding that money, or whether he was opposed to that money being added to the agriculture file.

Public Health Agency of Canada Act May 5th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am proud of this government's ability to move very quickly on the public health issue. I think it is important to Canadians.

Canadians will judge this government on its ability to act quickly and get things in place.

Public Health Agency of Canada Act May 5th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I obviously do not have the answer to that specific question.

I just want to say again that once this legislation is in place, priorities should be addressed in terms of what the issues are. Whether it be clean water, emergency preparedness, or something else, those things should be dealt with and we look forward to the input of all the parties on those issues.

Public Health Agency of Canada Act May 5th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I think that based on our government's response to a number of issues facing Canadians, we are very keen on setting priorities and following through on priorities, as we said we would do in the election. We are delivering on them now. I do not see any difference in the way we operate here. Once this is in place from the legislative perspective, and as members know the agency is already up and running, it is appropriate to determine the public health priorities of Canadians. This can be done through consultations involving the Ministry of Health, the public, members of the House and the health committee. Those public health priorities should be the priorities for that organization. We need to take advice from the experts in the field, including the Chief Public Health Officer and the other public health agencies throughout the country on what the priorities are for individual provinces and territories. Once those are set it would be ideal for us to follow through on them.

Public Health Agency of Canada Act May 5th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to Bill C-5, which provides the statutory framework for the Public Health Agency. As well, Bill C-5 establishes the position, the powers and the duties for the Chief Public Health Officer.

In my discussion today I will talk about why I think this legislation is important. I also want to comment on whether public health needs a national voice and whether we are actually interfering with provincial jurisdiction. I will be dealing with these questions throughout my discussion.

Public health is a field of health care that is often out of the spotlight until there is a crisis. Let us face it, most of us take our public health needs for granted. We all assume that the water coming out of the tap is safe to drink. We all assume that when we go to a restaurant, the facilities are clean and the food is safe. We all assume that our immunization system protects us from communicable diseases, including tuberculosis.

However, when there is a crisis, the interest in public health suddenly comes into focus. In a crisis, our public health care professionals and the public health care system become the centre of attention. In a crisis, Canadians deserve, want and should get solutions and answers, and they should get them immediately.

In my previous job as a regional councillor in the region of Halton I experienced first-hand the vital role public health plays in the lives of my constituents. I appreciate its importance and firmly believe the Government of Canada has a role in gathering information, providing advice and responding to emergencies in public health.

Canadians expect their federal government to care about their public health needs. The past outbreak of SARS and in my area the introduction of the West Nile virus have been two important public health issues in my riding. Public health officials have played a key role in informing the public on the risks and actions that people need to take to protect themselves.

Public health in today's environment is facing a number of challenges, including the potential of a pandemic influenza outbreak. Our Public Health Agency can play a vital role in preparing and preventing such an outbreak in all parts of Canada. A planned and coordinated effort will help prevent a Canadian public health crisis in the future and our Canadian Public Health Agency should be at the forefront of this effort.

Members of the public expect the government to provide them with the necessary information to protect them in a timely and accurate manner. I see this as the key role for the Public Health Agency. The agency is and will continue to be the catalyst for information sharing and will be the central clearing house for public health data as it relates to trends and issues facing public health in this country. I support this important role for this agency, as we can work cooperatively with the provinces and our municipal partners in preparing and responding to public health threats.

Not only will this agency be the connection for public health in Canada but it will also be a key link in the public health issues and best practices that are facing other nations around the world. The agency will work closely with other important international health agencies, such as the World Health Organization.

I also support having a Chief Public Health Officer who will be the lead spokesperson on public health issues at the federal level. We need a credible spokesperson who has the trust and faith of the Canadian public. The bill will make the Chief Public Health Officer the deputy head of the agency and accountable to the Minister of Health. The Chief Public Health Officer will use his or her expertise to assist in policy development in public health.

In addition, the Chief Public Health Officer will also be required to submit to the Minister of Health for tabling in Parliament an annual report of the state of public health in this country. The Chief Public Health Officer will have the authority and expertise that is needed to give Canadians confidence that our public health concerns are being addressed.

Are we interfering in provincial jurisdiction? I say no. I view the Public Health Agency as complementary.

I took it upon myself to contact the public health doctor for the region of Halton, Dr. Nosal. I asked his advice on whether he felt that an additional level of scrutiny of information was important. He told me directly that he and his colleagues throughout Ontario believe it is important to have a national voice in public health.

As a regional councillor, my personal experience in public health issues included SARS. A hospital in the community of Burlington was closed to the public during the SARS outbreak. Constituents called me in tears. They could not get into the hospital to see their loved ones. They wanted to know what was happening. It was something new for us. Information was not as available as we would have liked it to be. We got the answers, but if at that time there had been a national agency that had that type of information on how to respond to emergencies and to a crisis that could have been shared with other communities and provinces, then we would have been able to react in a quicker and more efficient manner.

Another public health issue which I think is more localized for me but could occur in other parts of the province and country is West Nile virus. It is a virus carried by mosquitoes. It tends to grow in stagnant water and can cause a public health issue.

We had a major reaction in Burlington on what to do about West Nile virus. Would it not be great if we had a national agency that could act as a clearinghouse to provide information so that all public health agencies across the country would how we handled the issue, what worked and what did not. Then if it became an issue in another parts of the country they would be able to react quickly to those issues.

That is why I believe we are not interfering with any provincial jurisdiction. What we are doing is standing up for the health of Canadians everywhere.

In addition, there was a study done on whether there was a need for this agency. There was a full consultation with experts in the field and public health stakeholders and they all agreed there was a need and desirability for a national public health agency. In discussions with our provincial and territorial partners, they indicated a need for a federal public health voice. They indicated a particular need for federal involvement in emergency situations.

This legislation does not expand the existing role that the federal government plays in public health. The legislation simply provides the agency with the mandate to assist the Minister of Health in exercising his or her powers, duties and functions in public health.

Of course we want to work cooperatively with our provincial, territorial and municipal partners. In addition, the agency will play an important role with international organizations and other public health experts around the world. Public health threats to Canadians often have no borders.

In conclusion, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Chief Public Health Officer deserve our support. Whether it is preparing for a pandemic influenza outbreak, maintaining the national emergency stockpile system, consulting with other international organizations, or responding to other public health crises, Canadians can be reassured that the federal government takes public health seriously.

I look forward to supporting the bill all the way through the legislative process.

Toronto Port Authority May 2nd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, recently there have been repeated questions about the operation of the Toronto Port Authority. Revitalization of the waterfront is an important issue to all residents of Toronto.

Could the Minister of Transport give us an update on his plans for addressing the concerns surrounding the operation of the port authority?

Federal Accountability Act April 27th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the member began his speech and spent most of his speech talking about floor crossing, which is fair, but near the end of his intervention the member said that the voters voted for the particular party based on its platform during the election.

Our platform during the last election on accountability, the accountability act that we had put forward as an item during the election, was on my website and readily available. Nowhere did it talk about floor crossing in that piece that we had promoted to the Canadian public of what we were going to do to clean up government.

Is it fair to criticize our party for legislation that deals with something that was not what we had promoted during the election? What we actually have on the table is what we did promote during the election?

I fully recognize the right of any person or party to bring forward amendments and additions to the legislation. However what we are presenting here today and have presented over this past week is exactly what we promised to do during the election. We did not promise to bring forward any floor crossing legislation.

Therefore, does the member think it is fair to criticize our legislation based on the fact that he believes that what we put forward in the election is what we should do here in the House?

Jane Jacobs April 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, today we mourn the passing of Jane Jacobs.

Ms. Jacobs, who wrote a number of influential books, including The Death and Life of Great American Cities, spent her life thinking about our cities.

Born in the United States, she chose to spend the last 40 years of her long and productive life in Toronto. In 1996 she received the Order of Canada. Her citation noted, “By stimulating discussion, change and action, she has helped to make Canadian city streets and neighbourhoods vibrant, liveable and workable for all”.

Jane Jacobs challenged us to think about the future of our cities and she is held in high esteem by those throughout the world who care about the people who live there.

Today most Canadians live in cities and communities. On behalf of Canadians, we acknowledge the contribution of this remarkable woman and offer our condolences to her family and her friends.