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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was meeting.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Liberal MP for Miramichi—Grand Lake (New Brunswick)

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

Statements in the House

Extension of Sitting Hours May 30th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, again, this is more than just about the cannabis speech. It is about our budget. It is about passing legislation that needs to be passed to move along our agenda. This is part of it.

Over the coming weeks, Health Canada will introduce changes to its program overseeing the medical cannabis industry to accelerate the licensing of producers and enable the industry to meet an increased demand for cannabis. This is a great economic generator. We have two examples in my home province. A lot of businesses are excited about this. It is about taking money out of the hands of criminals and putting it into the government's coffers. It will help with the budget.

The existing rules surrounding product safety, good production practices, and restrictions on which pesticides may be used will remain in place. Health Canada will continue to inspect producers and enforce the regime. I can talk about that because I am a producer myself, not of cannabis but of other crops. Being a certified grower, we want to ensure that no pesticides or foreign substances enter the product. The example of organic production is certainly applicable with this bill.

As I already mentioned, the proposed cannabis law would establish a rigorous national framework to limit the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis in Canada.

All levels of government in Canada would be able to—

Extension of Sitting Hours May 30th, 2017

Absolutely.

We will be using the authorized production system in place as the plan of action to control cannabis production under the proposed cannabis legislation.

Over the coming weeks, Health Canada will introduce changes to its program overseeing the medical cannabis industry to accelerate the licensing of—

Extension of Sitting Hours May 30th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I can certainly expand my speech. We can talk about the budget implementation bill. We can talk about the tax break that has been announced, and all the infrastructure projects we have. This is along with all the economic opportunities this will create.

I am certainly happy to expand on those fronts. This legislation is not only about the right thing to do, but it is about the business of it and our budget, which will help to deliver the promises we have made to all Canadians.

Extension of Sitting Hours May 30th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, this is exactly why we want to extend the hours, so we can pass the bills that are urgently needed to push our agenda forward.

At the same time, adults must have access to clear and objective information in order to make informed decisions about their consumption.

Therefore, the legislation would permit only information-type promotion. This means it would allow factual, accurate information about cannabis products, such as the ingredients and THC levels. Information allowing consumers to differentiate brands would also be permitted, provided it could not be seen by youth. Penalties for violating these prohibitions would include a fine of up to $5 million, or three years in jail, or both.

When it comes to enforcement, the bill seeks to avoid criminalizing youth and subjecting them to the lifelong consequence of criminal records. To this end, I should note three points.

First, individuals under the age of 18 would not face criminal prosecution for possessing or sharing very small amounts of cannabis, up to five grams.

Second, violation of the proposed legislation by youth would be subject to the Youth Criminal Justice Act and addressed in the youth justice system.

Third, provinces and territories would have the flexibility to prohibit the possession of any amount of cannabis by youth, thereby permitting police to seize any cannabis youth have in their possession.

I will move on to education and public awareness.

I will move on to education and public awareness. We know that Canadians need information about cannabis. We have to talk about it with our children, make informed and responsible decisions, and ensure that our roads are safe. That was the very clear message that our government heard thanks to the working group's consultations. We have a plan to address the situation.

In budget 2017, our government committed $9.6 million to a public education and awareness campaign to inform Canadians, particularly young people, of the risks of cannabis use and for health surveillance activities. This campaign has begun and will continue over the next five years. In collaboration with the provinces and territories, the campaign will raise public awareness about the risks associated with cannabis use and monitor the impacts of providing strictly controlled access.

To do this, we have launched the Canadian cannabis survey. This annual survey includes detailed questions on how often and how much Canadians use cannabis, how they acquire it, and whether they consume it with other substances before driving.

I will now talk about product safety and quality requirements.

Adults would also be able to legally access cannabis through one of three mechanisms. They could purchase it from a provincially licensed retailer, they could share legally grown or purchased cannabis with another adult, or they could grow it themselves at home.

The sharing of cannabis would be limited to no more than 30 grams of dried cannabis, or its equivalent, and personal cultivation—

Extension of Sitting Hours May 30th, 2017

Madam Speaker, when considering whether to allocate additional time in the House for debate, it is important to consider the significance of the legislation being debated.

Bill C-45 is important legislation that proposes to legalize, strictly regulate, and restrict access to cannabis. Despite decades of criminal prohibition, Canadians continue to use cannabis. In fact, Canadians have some of the highest rates in the world.

Currently, cannabis is grown and sold illegally, generating profits for criminals and organized crime with no concern for public health or safety. The current approach to cannabis is not working. Scientific evidence shows greater risks associated with cannabis use for youth than for adults. Moreover, risks are greater the younger a person starts using cannabis and the more often they use it.

The objective of the legislation is intended to delay the first use of cannabis and reduce the frequency of use. A sustained education and information campaign is also part of the approach. The bill would also impose serious criminal penalties for providing cannabis to young people or enlisting them in committing cannabis-related offences.

The bill is also about creating a legal and regulated market for cannabis, taking profits out of the hands of criminals and protecting public health through strict product requirements for safety and quality. The key components of our government's approach are first, protect youth; second, education and public awareness; third, product safety and quality controls; and fourth, goals and responsibility and implementation.

Let us begin with protecting youth.

We know that too many youth have easy access to cannabis. In fact, during the task force on cannabis legalization and regulation consultations nation-wide, a trend became clear: how easy it was for young people to obtain cannabis.

Young people are at the heart of the government's strategy to regulate cannabis and restrict access to it for three reasons.

First, there are risks associated with the use of cannabis. Even though some people use it for medical purposes, it can still be harmful to a person's health.

Second, young people are particularly vulnerable to the effects of cannabis on the development of the brain and brain function because their brains are still developing.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 May 3rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, in response to my NDP colleague's comments, I would simply like to say that everyone knows that we could have spent billions and billions of dollars more in the budget to help Canadians. However, no amount would ever be enough.

Can my colleague tell me how we would pay back the cost of those measures?

I would also like to ask him a question about the measures pertaining to the safety of seniors and the Canada child benefit that have been implemented to date. Those measures are very good for thousands of people in my riding, the people in his riding, and all Canadians.

Does he agree that the Minister of Finance announced good measures for the people in his riding, the people in my riding, and all Canadians?

Committees of the House March 8th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food in relation to its study of the next agricultural policy framework.

Infrastructure March 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the Anderson Bridge, which spans the Southwest Miramichi, constitutes important strategic infrastructure for the security and economy of the communities on both sides of this majestic river.

As the safety and capacity of the bridge has been downgraded due to the failing 60-year-old structure, would the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities give this House an update as to how our infrastructure program will contribute to the upgrade of this bridge?

An Amazing Mi'kmaq Woman February 22nd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely proud to stand today in this House and pay homage to a great woman from my riding of Miramichi—Grand Lake.

Mary Catherine Clement grew up in the Mi'kmaq first nation community of Elsipogtog, where she lived with her mother, as her father was serving overseas during World War II. At the young age of 16, in an environment of racism and poverty, Mary left her home and pursued her education at Mount Saint Joseph Academy, where she graduated in nursing, but this was just the start for Mary. Last summer, at the age of 77, she won her 15th marathon medal in Brisbane, Australia.

Having worked all over the world, she never forgot the Mi'kmaq community she came from. I was proud to attend, last fall, the launch of a book about her life. Mary is a remarkable woman and a great role model for her community.

Public Safety January 30th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, as was said by my colleague across the aisle, last Wednesday, January 25, the east coast, mainly New Brunswick, was hit with its worst ice storm in history. Thousands of homes and businesses, including many from coastal and first nations communities, are still without power today.

Canadians who have gone through similar experiences know how devastating this can be and what an anxious time it is for those going through such a disaster. The situation is critical and the conditions will only deteriorate as the temperatures drop over the next few days.

Can the minister please update this House on this emergency situation?