House of Commons photo


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

Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act October 1st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak to Bill C-13.

I will put my speech aside, because I want to respond to the accusations just made by the member opposite. I am actually the chair of the justice committee, and as chair, part of my responsibility is to make sure that everyone gets a fair opportunity to be heard. I think members of the committee work very well together, to be perfectly honest.

The way it has worked and will continue to work at committee is that each party is able to submit the names of witnesses they would like to hear from. Based on the numbers we get, we ask members to prioritize who they would like to hear from, because time may run out.

If I recall correctly, there was no set time for this particular bill. If the committee did not hear from certain segments, it was because those witnesses were not recommended or brought forward. The committee did not call those witnesses not because the government was trying to do something inappropriate but because the witnesses were not asked for. The government cannot be blamed for not calling witnesses who were not asked for.

Conservatives had an opportunity to ask for witnesses. New Democrats asked for witnesses and the Liberals asked for witnesses. I take some offence that the member said this was not done appropriately. It was absolutely done appropriately. It was done in this committee in dealing with Bill C-13 and is done for all other legislation that comes to the committee.

I think the committee is operating well, and everyone has an opportunity to have their say. If parties, including my own, want to hear from witnesses, they can put them on the list. There will be a discussion as to how many meetings there will be on it, and then we will hear from those witnesses. That is how it has worked and will continue to work as long as I am in the chair. We will see if that continues.

I also want to respond to the issue of splitting this omnibus bill. I have the bill in front of me. It is in French and English, as all bills are. It is 53 pages long, plus 12 pages of explanatory notes. It is not a very big bill. If members can read it in both languages, that is great, but let us assume that most read in one language or the other. That would make it about 25 or 26 pages long. It did not need to be split, in my view. I think there is lots of opportunity to talk about all the issues. It is not a very difficult bill to grasp. I think someone could read it in a few hours.

There are a number of issues in the bill, but the process at committee did not limit members to talking about just certain parts of the bill. Members could have brought forward witnesses and we could have had a discussion, which we did, on all parts of that bill. I have to take some offence on the issue of what happened.

As we know, as the minister and the previous speaker on this side have pointed out, the bill would do a number of things, but in general, it would create a new offence for the distribution of non-consensual pictures on the Internet.

I did not know how big a problem it was, to be perfectly honest. I had not really experienced it in my office or had anyone come to see me. I took the opportunity to ask my daughters, who just graduated and are in university now. They were able to illustrate to me a number of actual cases, in their own high school, of young women who had had photos taken of them that were then posted on different people's sites as revenge or cyberbullying. This was a surprise to me.

That does not make the news. What makes the news is when it goes too far and the bullying is so egregious that someone, unfortunately, takes his or her life. Then it makes big news. This is a problem that is happening every day in every community across this country, so we needed to act.

There was mention of the previous legislation that was brought forward in Bill C-30, and appropriately so. The government recognized that there were some issues that needed to be dealt with, so we brought it back, took it off the table, and redid the bill.

We made changes based on the public and the response in this House in terms of the changes that needed to be made. I believe that those were made. Do we get credit as a government for making those changes? No, and the previous speaker criticized us, saying that we did not do it right in the first place.

I am sure that opposition members believe that they are perfect, and maybe even some of us think we are perfect on this side, but let us be honest. We had a bill in front of us, we recognized that there were some issues, we took it back, and we made changes and improvements. We addressed those problems and brought something back that we could all pass.

I am not sure what the NDP are doing. I heard from the last speaker that the Liberals are supporting the bill going forward, and I appreciate that.

I do not think as a government that we should be criticized for hearing the concerns and then making changes. I will agree that there were a number of amendments put forward, 30-some amendments, and one, on a review period, did pass, which I personally supported. I do not vote on the committee as the chair, but I do support that.

As we all know, it takes some time for legislation, especially with the Criminal Code, to get through the system, get in place, and get tested in practice. I think it will take some time before this piece of legislation is tested, and that length of time for the review is appropriate.

The other issue we heard a lot about was that the bill would give the police a lot more power than they already have. I think the issue on Bill C-30 was that it looked like the police could do things without a warrant. Well, this bill would clearly resolve that issue, in my view.

Bill C-13 clearly indicates that for preservation orders and for the police to be able to do their jobs in terms of attacking the problem of cyberbullying in particular cases, they need judicial support to move forward.

I think it is important to give the police those tools. In this electronic environment of the Internet, things move so fast, on or off, we need to be able to do that.

We experience that around here all the time. If a member of Parliament makes a mistake or does something on the Internet, and somebody catches it, a few hours later, if not less, it is gone. We have all experienced that in this House with members of Parliament doing things on electronic systems.

When it is a criminal activity, we need to have the police able to go after it quickly. We need to give them those tools to make that happen. I am very supportive of the opportunity for the police to be able to do their work.

We have been asked as a government to do something about the cyberbullying problem. This is not an easy area to legislate. We cannot legislate cyberbullying to stop. It is not that easy. I appreciate that we have looked at opportunities and issues in terms of addressing cyberbullying through our legal system, which is what this bill would do.

Bill C-13 would give the police better tools to track and trace telecommunications. It would streamline the process of obtaining multiple warrants so that the police could execute their jobs.

The witnesses we saw whose families were affected by cyberbullying were fully supportive of what we were doing. I want every member of this House to think about that. If it was their son or daughter whose photo was online and who was being bullied, would they want the police to be able to act to resolve the issue and have a penalty for cyberbullying? I believe the answer is yes, and it is yes for the vast majority of Canadians. That is why we need to support Bill C-13.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, absolutely, it does not take an M.B.A. to know that being there first in the marketplace, companies are going to be better off. They can get established with customers, and establish their products. They will be able to develop business relationships. That is what CETA will do for us. In my community, the vast majority of employers are at the 50- to 100-person level. I have done numerous plant tours and discussions. Almost all of them sell to Europe. This will help them to be more competitive and able to grow hopefully bigger than 100 employees.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my colleague's question hits home directly. As I said, our largest employer is a pork production facility in Burlington. It might be a competitor to some of them in Winnipeg. The free trade agreement with the United States has had a detrimental effect on the ability of that company to compete. I had a meeting with the president of that company recently and he was clear that signing an agreement on the first is not going to change things overnight, but it does level the playing field. Without that levelling of the playing field, the company has no chance of getting back that market share. They believe they can be competitive not just on quality, where I think our Canadian pork can beat other nations, but also on price. That is what this trade agreement will help us accomplish.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is clear through this agreement, and others that we will be signing, about our relationship with the provinces. It is a mistake to consider that the federal government has a parental role with the provinces. They are well-established, independent governments and duly elected. This agreement and other agreements we have treat provinces as partners. As the agreement says in the section mentioned, we would work with our partners at the provincial level for them to enact the environmental protections that the member brought forward.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act September 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak this afternoon to the trade agreement that we have been able to establish with our friends from South Korea.

First of all, let me give my congratulations to the Minister of International Trade for making this happen. The minister has been very busy on the international trade files and meeting with a number of countries, including Korea and our recent announcement of CETA. He is working very hard on other issues in the Asian market, such as a bilateral agreement with Japan. There is also the TPP, the trans-Pacific partnership, which is a larger trade pact where countries from Asia and in the Pacific are working very hard to put together an appropriate free trade zone so that countries like Canada can take advantage of those large markets for our goods and services. Right now, due to trade barriers, we have an issue accessing them.

We have to remember that Canada only has about 33 million people. The trade partners that we are after are much larger than Canada. Their markets are much larger than Canada's. It only makes sense that Canada would be a trading country. It started as a trading country, and it should continue that.

I would like to congratulate, under the leadership of our Prime Minister, our foreign affairs advocates, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Industry and the Minister of International Trade, who all work together to try to promote opportunities for Canadian business in other areas of the world. We simply cannot survive on the Canadian market alone.

I have two stories that I would like to share. I am from Burlington, which is an urban riding. There is no one large employer. The largest employer in Burlington is a pork production facility. That is right. It is food processing. There are hogs that come in every day by the truckload and they are processed there. Its number one client in the past was South Korea, until South Korea signed a deal with the United States.

The deal had a significant impact on the ability of our Canadian companies, such as this one. It is owned by Canadians who own a number of food processing facilities across the country. They are the largest employer in Burlington, with about 800 or 600 people who work there now.

As a member of Parliament, the owners called me in. This was a number of years ago. They said that they were losing market share to their competitors because Canada was not at the table with a trade agreement with South Korea. This was not a secondary customer or a tertiary customer. South Korea was one of their primary customers. Some 90% of the product leaving this plant was for export, either to the United States or to Korea. The Korean deal with the United States had a major impact, not only on their bottom line but on our ability to maintain good-quality, high-paying jobs in Burlington.

With that information, I came back here and there was a discussion. I did what all of us on this side of the House would do. We are all free traders here on this side of the House. Being a Conservative means that we support free trade, and we make no apologies for that. We do not make excuses for that. We believe that free trade will create opportunities and employment for Canadians here at home for their products and services abroad, so I was very happy to find out that we were working hard on a South Korean deal and that things were progressing.

The largest employer within the boundaries of Burlington is this food production facility for pork production. However, in the riding next to me in Oakville is the head office for Ford Canada. I had a number of meetings with Ford Canada, which is an automotive producer with an excellent production facility here in Canada. The workers, bar none, are the best automotive workers available to Ford in North America.

Ford had some concerns about the South Korean deal. There was a tariff on the import of Korean vehicles of 6.1% or 6.2%. Ford was concerned that would give Korea somewhat of a market advantage. I was very clear with our friends at Ford, including the president for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect. I told the company that a Conservative government will continue to work on free trade agreements with key partners around the world because it is good for the overall economic business of this country. In my view, it is also good for Ford.

The automotive sector south of the border signed on to the deal. Things are a bit different south of the border. The tariff in the United States on Korean-made cars was slightly over 2%, which on a $30,000 car is not as significant as 6%. Ford felt the protective tariff that was there was not nearly as severe. However, tariffs on automobiles going into South Korea were around 8%. This deal will provide us with the opportunity to reduce tariffs on both sides. I have heard many times from previous questioners that there are non-tariff barriers to getting into those markets.

I have never been to South Korea but I have been to Japan numerous times. Based on the products that I have seen in Japan, we need to make vehicles that are designed for that marketplace to be successful and have access to that marketplace. North American manufacturers are getting there. They might be there already. It would be fair to say that before the recession, trucks and SUVs were not that popular in some Asian markets, including what I know of Japan.

That is why I wanted to talk about this today. We need to understand that our free trade agreement with South Korea is comprehensive. It will affect all marketplaces across this country. It will even affect small Burlington. It will have a huge impact on employment and our ability to trade.

Burlington has a close relationship with South Korea. A number of Canadians who fought for the freedom of South Korea live in Burlington. This past summer we unveiled a new naval monument on the lakefront to commemorate the activity of Canadian soldiers in the Korean War, particularly those in the navy. The HMCS Haida, which participated in that conflict, is in Hamilton. A lot of my constituents in Burlington served bravely for Canada in that conflict.

I am happy that we have been able to develop not only a diplomatic relationship with South Korea but a much closer economic relationship. I look forward to this trade agreement coming into force in the new year. It will benefit all communities across this country.

Business of Supply September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to follow-up.

As chair of a committee, we have orders of the day. We know exactly what is going to be discussed. In the House of Commons, we have orders of the day. It is in writing, what is going to be discussed.

It makes sense that the Speaker, or the chair, is able to rule someone out of order if they are not relevant to what is listed. Is the member advocating, based on that logic, that all questions to the cabinet and the Prime Minister would be in writing, 24 hours in advance, so that answers can be prepared?

People need to know that there is about 30 seconds to ask a question and about 35 seconds to respond. I think this place would operate better if everything was in writing. Speakers could then, in my view, rule whether an answer was relevant or not, if the questions were given in advance.

Is the NDP advocating for questions to be given in advance?

National Health and Fitness Day Act September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to stand here today and talk about why I support Bill S-211.

I want to challenge my colleague across the way. On the same weekend that he will be running the half marathon, I will be running a full marathon in Moncton. It will be my eighth marathon, and I am trying to do one in every province. I will have Newfoundland and Manitoba left to do after this. I have done the Bluenose already, so I know the member can do it, and I want to congratulate him on his effort.

In the few minutes I have here, I would like to talk about the 10 top reasons that I support Bill S-211, an act to establish a national day to promote health and fitness for all Canadians. It is a coincidence that I am borrowing the top 10 list from talk show host David Letterman, who went to Ball State University in Indiana. My daughter went there on an athletic scholarship, so there is a bit of a connection with respect to health and fitness and stealing his top 10 list.

I am excited that this legislation seems to have the full support of all members in the House and that in the near future the first Saturday of every June will be a national day to promote health and fitness for all Canadians.

Let me mention all 10 of the reasons that I support this legislation in case I do not have time to mention them all.

First of all, this bill is universal. It affects everyone.

Second, the bill aligns with a motion I put forward in the House on obesity, a motion that was unanimously passed.

Third, it brings awareness to the problem. Nobody can fix a problem if they do not know that there is one. A day promoting health and fitness would let people know about the problem. It would coordinate efforts to promote health and fitness across municipalities, provinces, and the whole country. It would help to provide opportunities to promote health and fitness.

A national day would provide an opportunity to celebrate the success of those who have made a difference and are making a difference in their own lives and the lives of their families, communities, provinces, and country.

As the mover of the motion has said, this is not all about elite or pro athletes, and I will come back to that.

As a practical point, health and fitness reduce health care costs, and those costs affect every taxpayer across this country.

A national day to promote health and fitness would be a national statement. It would be about our country and where we are going in this particular policy area.

I would like to say a few nice words about the supporters of the motion, both in the other place and in the House, but first I would like to talk about the universality of a national day to promote health and fitness.

Health and fitness affects everyone from eight to 80. In my own family, a number of my immediate relatives have lived past 90. Health and fitness play a significant role in the quality of their life, as well as in the quality of life for young people, middle-aged people, and seniors. significant role in the lives of our youth and seniors.

Quality of life has several aspects. Having the financial support to look after oneself is also important, but one area that is absolutely under the control of individuals is their own physical health. They can take advantage of all opportunities available to them to make sure they do what they can to stay as healthy and fit as possible.

As I mentioned, I had a motion in the House on obesity that passed a number of months ago. I used myself as an example. I was elected to the House of Commons eight and a half years ago, and it did not take long for me to gain 40 pounds. On the Hill there are a lot of receptions and other things that go on, and I became a little heavier than I should have.

As a result, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. There is no diabetes in my family, except for maybe my 95-year-old grandmother, and that onset came with age. There is no history of it in my family. It was obvious that physical fitness was one of the aspects that was missing, and proper and healthy eating was another part.

I have lost that 40 pounds. I have made a commitment to physical fitness, as I mentioned before. For me, it is running. I do not run because I love it, but because it helps me stay physically fit. I have a commitment to my family to stay physically fit, so I can be here when I am 96 to see my great-grandchildren. I have a grandmother who had great-great-grandchildren. I am hoping I am going to be one of those.

This motion brings awareness to the problem. I had not given it any thought prior to my own personal issues. I had very athletic, very active children. They went to volleyball, track and field, gymnastics, swimming. They were high performers. They worked out, sometimes for two different sports for three or four hours a day.

It was not that physical fitness was not around me, but I never considered it for myself. I did not think about it being a problem until it hit me at home.

A national day to promote health and fitness will bring that issue forward, at least on that first Saturday in June. It is an opportunity to make sure that we understand there is a problem, which was very well articulated by the mover of the motion. It would coordinate efforts and allow municipalities, provinces, and the country to have a focus. We can coordinate promotion and have the opportunity to talk about physical fitness and health on a particular day in the calendar year.

It has already happened in a lot of municipalities across this country. I hope it will continue, and that coordinated efforts will help bring that message to a higher level. Hopefully, that message gets through.

It does give opportunities to promote what is available to Canadians. It is not all about elite sports. There are lots of activities: walking, hiking, whatever the activity, as long as it is healthy.

In my area of Burlington, there are a tremendous amount of opportunities for a variety of different ways to get involved, to get active. This day will give organizations and individuals an opportunity to promote those opportunities.

We should be celebrating success. When communities, individuals, or organizations are doing a great thing on the physical fitness file, that day could be a day where we celebrate their success.

I have mentioned that I am one of those who watches pro sports on television. It is not all about being an elite athlete. I cannot outrun my daughter. I cannot outvolleyball them. I cannot outdo a lot of things they do. I may be a little smarter than them, but do not tell them that.

It is not about just sitting on the couch and watching; it is about participation. That is what is important. Being healthy simply reduces health care costs. If people can avoid going to the doctor and to the hospital, it reduces costs. It is not a hard message to understand; it is national in scope.

Finally, I want to thank the two key movers behind this motion: first, the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country—and I hope they change the name of that riding—for that member's efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle here on the Hill and throughout this country, and our national hero, Senator Nancy Greene Raine. She is a role model, and not just for physical fitness, but also for many women across the country. She has brought this bill to the forefront to have this day acclaimed in this country.

National Health and Fitness Day Act September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my question is simple. This bill has had a bit of history. Often bills do not start in the Senate and come here.

Why is the history of this bill and how it got here important to its development and today's events?

Burlington Flood Relief September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on August 4, parts of the city of Burlington received 191 millimetres of rain in just a few hours. This is almost double the amount of rain Hurricane Hazel dumped on the city many decades ago. Over 3,000 homes were flooded with either rainwater or sewage, including my own basement. Many of the victims of the flood had little or no insurance to cover this type of disaster.

The outreach by neighbours to those affected by the flood has been overwhelming. Their generous support has come in all forms, from food and clothing to toys for children; from financial donations at public events to opening homes for the use of laundry facilities.

We do live in a caring community, but there is more to do. The Burlington Community Foundation has set a goal of raising $2 million dollars to help flood victims in the most need. This fund may be matched by the Ontario disaster relief fund. I ask the residents of Burlington to continue to come together to support the BCF flood relief program.

I thank the residents of Burlington for the caring and compassion they have shown for their neighbours.

Business of the House September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I believe if you seek it, you would find unanimous consent for the following motion. I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practices of the House, during the debate tonight pursuant to Standing Order 52, no quorum calls, dilatory motions or requests for unanimous consent shall be received by the Chair.