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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

Points of Order April 2nd, 2019

Madam Speaker, I am rising on a point of order to clarify an administrative issue related to the tabling on Monday, January 28, 2019, of the 15th report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.

In accordance with Standing Order 109, the committee agreed to a motion to request a government response to the report within 120 days. The committee agreed to the motion as it was reported in the minutes of proceedings of meeting 124 on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, which is cited in the report. However, this request does not appear in the text of the report itself. This was an administrative oversight.

I rise today to confirm that the committee does indeed wish to receive a government response within 120 days. I have signed a new copy of the report to that effect.

Infrastructure April 1st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, many rural communities across Canada are experiencing an infrastructure deficit after 10 years of neglect by the Harper Conservatives. For small communities, support from a higher level of government is absolutely essential to getting crucial infrastructure built.

Could the Minister of Rural Economic Development update the House on recent actions our government has taken to help rural communities across the country fill the infrastructure gaps?

Kraft Hockeyville 2019 March 22nd, 2019

Mr. Speaker, 40 kilometres southwest of Miramichi, there is a small community with a big heart called Renous.

This year, Renous and the Tom Donovan Arena have made it to the final four in the campaign to become the next Kraft Hockeyville. Last weekend, I joined the community as we all watched the exciting live results together.

For this community, it is about more than just the title and it is about more than just a rink. The campaign is a tribute to a young hockey player, Thomas Dunn, who was killed last year in a tragic accident. This is just one of the heartbreaking tragedies that the small community has faced over the last few years.

The Tom Donovan Arena in Renous is the heart of the community and could certainly use the $250,000 prize, as it is in great need of repair and modernization.

On March 29, I invite all my colleagues to go online and vote for the community of Renous and the Tom Donovan Arena to be the next Kraft Hockeyville, in memory of Thomas Dunn.

Matilda Murdoch February 19th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, Miramichi lost a great legend this month, when Matilda Murdoch passed away just days after celebrating her 99th birthday.

Matilda was a renowned fiddle player and composer. After teaching herself how to play the fiddle as a child, she composed hundreds of pieces of music and spread her musical influence throughout the world.

Her outstanding playing earned her a number of awards and honours. She was inducted into the New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame, awarded the Order of Canada, the Order of New Brunswick and received the East Coast Music Awards' Stompin' Tom Connors Award for her lifetime achievement in music. She appeared on the popular Don Messer's Jubilee and had several songs recorded by Messer himself.

The sweetheart of Loggieville was a world-renowned fiddler, but Miramichi was her home. Her music was inspired by life on the river and she shared her gift by helping to found the Miramichi Fiddlers Association.

Her music and wonderful spirit will truly be missed, but will live on forever. I am sure she is doing the Loggieville two-step right now in Heaven.

Committees of the House January 28th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 15th report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food in relation to advancements of technology and research in the agriculture industry that can support Canadian exports.

Chipman Youth Centre December 11th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the Chipman Youth Centre is nothing short of amazing. Its small staff, led by Faith Kennedy, is truly changing lives for the better in that community.

The Chipman Youth Centre offers many opportunities to the children of this rural area, such as low-cost after-school care, dance classes, crockpot cooking, a girls self-esteem program, a library program, a babysitting class, and an adopt-a-grandparent program, just to name a few.

Village youth team members volunteer with not-for-profit organizations in the area. The program is designed to keep the young people of Chipman active in their community and to help them develop excellent work ethics and leadership skills while gaining valuable experience. This past summer, this amazing group of just 17 youth volunteered 1,119.5 hours.

I ask my colleagues to join me in applauding the Chipman Youth Centre and all its volunteers.

Committees of the House December 10th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 14th report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food in relation to Supplementary Estimates (A), 2018-19.

Poverty December 4th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, last Friday, we debated Bill C-87, an act respecting the reduction of poverty. The goal is to achieve the lowest poverty rate in Canadian history and establish an official poverty line for Canada. We are also going to create a national advisory council on poverty that will produce annual reports to highlight our progress.

Could the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development tell the House how the poverty reduction act fits in with Canada's first-ever national poverty reduction strategy?

Atlantic Journalism Awards December 4th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Diane Doiron of Pointe-Sapin, New Brunswick for her recent win at the Atlantic Journalism Awards. Diane's photo of a peat bog on fire won gold in photojournalism news in Atlantic Canada.

Diane also helps fight fire as a volunteer firefighter with the Baie-Sainte-Anne Fire Department. One year ago, Diane sat in the gallery of this House to accept the Prime Minister's apology for the past trauma caused by the LGBTQ2 purge in the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP and public service.

She was recently named person of the year by L'Acadie Nouvelle and also served as spokesperson for Acadie Love, an LGBT conference held in Caraquet, New Brunswick.

She is currently being filmed for a documentary entitled Philosophes, which focuses on people who stand out for their trademark qualities and values.

I applaud Diane's continued commitment to her community and congratulate her on her achievement.

National Local Food Day Act November 8th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the House for the opportunity to talk about this important private member's bill.

I want to comment on the last question. I can assure the member that my tomatoes will never collide with anyone else's, because I sell them locally.

On that note, I applaud the member for Kootenay—Columbia for introducing this excellent private member's bill. I was proud as chair of the standing committee on agriculture that all members of our committee gave the bill unanimous support when it was presented last June.

Our government recognizes the contribution of agriculture and food to local and regional economies. We also recognize the importance of strengthening connections between consumers and producers of food, and the capacity of local food systems to offer distinctive, high-quality food choices to consumers.

This debate has prompted some members to share their experiences with local food.

I have been a local farmer all my life, but things have changed a lot since I started out. Back then, there were plenty of small and medium grocery stores, wholesalers and farmers’ markets where I could take my certified organic tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and flowers. However, the concentration of the food chains has changed the landscape for my business and that of my fellow farmers.

It forced me and others to connect more directly with the consumer. Through my direct market called Mr. Tomato in Rogersville, New Brunswick, we were able to connect directly with consumers. They came to our place to buy our product.

I was a founding member of the Really Local Harvest co-op. This co-op has about 30 members within a 100 kilometre area. It permits us to network and to sell our products. With that co-op, we became the manager of the Dieppe Farmers Market, where over 7,000 people go every Saturday to buy their food and talk to farmers. It made a big difference. That market managed to keep some farmers going when a lot of farms were closing down, and it permitted our farms to stay connected with the consumer.

Food is close to our hearts. Home is where the heart is.

From U-pick strawberries in Ontario to fresh beer made with prairie hops to drink on the balcony, our favourite foods are often those produced closest to home. In fact, according to the 2018 Canadian Food Trends published by the Loblaw Food Council, more and more Canadians want locally produced food. Of course, we are all local somewhere.

That means that we need a solid agricultural system across Canada. All Canadians can share their beloved local foods with the entire planet to help feed the growing world population with sustainable foods.

That is why the objective of the new Canadian agricultural partnership is to build a strong agriculture sector. The Canadian agricultural partnership is Canada’s five-year agriculture policy framework. It outlines a bold new vision that will help the agriculture and agrifood sector innovate, grow and prosper.

On April 1, ministers of agriculture from across Canada launched the partnership as a shared vision for the future of Canadian agriculture. Over the next five years, our governments will invest $3 billion in the partnership. Over $1 billion of that investment will support federal programs and activities to revitalize Canadian agriculture. These programs will focus on the following three key areas: growing trade and expanding markets; innovation and sustainable growth of the sector; and supporting diversity and a dynamic, evolving sector.

Canadians want to make informed choices about what they eat. They want to be able to trust the quality of the food that they and their families are eating. The Canadian agricultural partnership is the first policy framework to explicitly recognize public trust as a priority for our agriculture sector.

The new $74-million AgriInsurance program will help the agriculture sector maintain and strengthen public trust in Canada’s food system.

It will help farmers and food producers tell customers about the great things they are doing to grow safe, high-quality food and to care for animals and safeguard our environment, so that customers, whether they be local or international, will know that the red maple leaf is a symbol they can trust. Our new $20-million agri-competitiveness program will also help organizations raise awareness of our world-class agricultural industry among Canadians. This will reinforce the public's confidence in Canada's food production system and promote public trust. Partnership programs are also breaking new ground with a strong focus on diversity.

The more perspectives we have in agriculture, the more dynamic the sector becomes. Through our new $5-million agri-diversity program, we will reach out to women, indigenous communities and young people. It is important that we remove any barriers that are preventing these groups from taking up a leadership role in the sector. This diversity helps give local food systems the capacity to offer distinctive, high-quality food choices to consumers.

Of course, when it comes to agriculture, we are a trading nation, and the partnership is geared to opening markets. We export over half of all of our agricultural output and the government knows that trade also drives jobs and the economy.

That is why our objective is to expand agricultural exports to $75 billion by 2025.

The partnership programs will help the sector promote Canada as a producer of safe, high-quality foods so that our farmers and food processors can sell more products at home and abroad. This will help strengthen the local food movement and could even draw food tourists from around the world.

The future of Canadian agriculture is bright. We are blessed with an abundance of quality farmland and a variety of local climates. Our ice wines are among the best in the world.

That is why we have set a target of $75 billion in agricultural exports by 2025.

For top-quality grains, look no further than the Prairies. In fact, a public-private group in Saskatchewan was selected as one of five new super clusters under our $950-million investment in budget 2018.

I am sure we can all agree that eating locally is an excellent way to stimulate the economy.

Protein Industries Canada will turn even more of our prairie grains into high-quality plant protein to feed the world. With the new programs available under the Canadian agricultural partnership, we are giving farmers and food processors the tools they need to keep agriculture diverse and vibrant right across our country. A yearly national local food day would be an opportunity for Canadians to take a look near them and see what is growing.

Once again, I would like to thank the member for Kootenay—Columbia for all of his hard work on this bill.

I look forward to the passing of this bill before the end of this Parliament. I hope it does. We are proud to support it.