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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was certainly.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Sarnia—Lambton (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 53% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as for a third of a litre of oil remaining, I believe he said, it is not my decision to take that measurement. I do not know what it is. I am responding to and taking the word of the experts who are on site and making those determinations.

As far as the Kitsilano station goes, we have a lot of documentation and information that the Coast Guard experts have given us. They have been crystal clear that there is no change in the Canadian Coast Guard's response with the closure of that Kitsilano station. They have been very clear that the Kitsilano station was not an environmental response station and never provided these types of environmental response or operations. The assistant commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard has stated that the Kitsilano station would not have made “an iota” of difference to the response to the Marathassa leak.

We need to pay attention to the experts. We need to state the facts. We do not want to be playing politics with this operation. It is a very serious situation.

When the assistant commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard says that the station was never manned with environmental response experts and would not have been called upon for environmental response in this scenario, we need to heed that remark. We need to move on from this. If there were issues in the response and notification, those are things that will be reviewed by a panel of experts. The decisions to change them, if there are any decisions, will be made on that basis.

Business of Supply April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for sharing his time with me. I appreciate that.

I am pleased to rise today to take part in today's debate. I fully understand the members' concerns about the marine safety and oil spill response. My riding also is surrounded by water, not the salt water of the east coast or the west coast, but the fresh water of the Great Lakes. Any spills in the marine venue are extremely important to all of us across the country.

Let me reassure all members of this place that Canada has one of the strongest marine safety regimes in the world. Canada exceeds international standards and Canadians can be proud of our strong marine safety track record.

I understand the members' concerns regarding marine safety and I also know how essential safe shipping is to ensuring Canada's economic prosperity. The simple fact is that Canada is a trading nation. We depend on doing business with other nations to ensure that we can maintain our high standard of living and that Canada can continue to grow. Trade accounts for more than 60% of our annual gross domestic product. One in every five Canadian jobs is directly linked to exports. This trade is what drives Canada's economy, keeps Canadians safe and healthy and allows us to enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world. Marine shipping is a critical part of that.

In 2012, total marine freight traffic in Canada reached 475 million tonnes, which is up 1.9% from the previous year. In 2013, marine transportation services carried freight valued at $205 billion in support of international trade. However, let me be clear. Marine shipping must be done safely and in an environmentally responsible manner. I am proud to say that Canada already has a robust marine safety system, a system that meets or exceeds international standards. This is thanks to an extensive range of prevention measures, our strong regulatory and oversight regime, work with our international partners and efforts by the shipping industry.

The cornerstone of Canada's marine safety regulatory regime is our comprehensive safety requirements for all Canadian and foreign-flagged vessels operating in Canadian waters. These requirements cover vessel construction and equipment, such as navigational systems, inspections and enforcement powers, and pilotage to ensure that licensed pilots are on board vessels when in sensitive or busy waterways.

Recognizing that Canada has a strong marine safety record, we need to be prepared to take advantage of new trade opportunities as global markets and trade patterns change. As we pursue our trade agenda, we need to ensure that Canadians and the environment continue to be protected. Our government is committed to the continual improvement of marine safety and Canada's marine oil spill preparedness and response regime. That is why our government is taking action to put in place a world-class tanker safety system.

While a few of my hon. colleagues have spoken to this topic earlier today as it related to the Coast Guard, I would like to take a few moments to review the broader initiative and how it is improving marine safety for shippers.

As one of our first steps, the government appointed the independent tanker safety expert panel to identify how we could build and strengthen Canada's marine oil spill preparedness and response regime so we could be ready for the increased trade and marine shipping. We have listened. We listened to the panel. We listened to Canadians, the provinces, industry, aboriginal communities and environmental organizations.

Based on the advice of the expert panel and Canadians, our government is putting in place a world-class tanker safety system. Once fully implemented, this comprehensive suite of initiatives will address ship-source spills of all petroleum, whether it be cargo or marine fuel, by preventing marine oil spills from happening in the first place, cleaning them up quickly and effectively, and ensuring that polluters pay.

Our government is taking action to increase tanker inspections so that each and every foreign tanker that enters Canadian waters is inspected the first time and annually afterward; expand aerial patrols under the national aerial surveillance program to deter potential polluters; identify any marine incidents early and monitor response operations; conduct leading-edge research to build our knowledge of how petroleum behaves, how petroleum interacts with marine environments and how oil can be cleaned up; and implement the incident command system which is an internationally recognized emergency management system to help coordinate response efforts with multiple partners.

In addition, we are modernizing Canada's marine navigation system by taking a leadership role in implementing e-navigation. This will provide real-time marine safety information to vessel operators to help avoid navigational hazards and marine accidents.

As part of modernizing Canada's marine navigation system, the federal government is investing in state-of-the-art navigational technologies and services so that Canada can remain a world leader in e-navigation.

Our government is also providing up to $20 million to support Ocean Networks Canada's smart oceans initiative. This funding will enable Ocean Networks Canada to transform oceanographic data that it collects into navigational safety information that will help vessel operators and others avoid navigational hazards and prevent marine accidents and predict and warn of natural hazards.

It will also improve overall marine situational awareness near Port Metro Vancouver, Campbell River, Kitimat, the Douglas Channel and Prince Rupert.

Our government is also establishing area response planning in four areas across Canada, including the southern coast of British Columbia, which includes English Bay and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Area response planning will facilitate multi-jurisdictional response planning based on a thorough area risk assessment. Area response planning would emphasize the sharing of information, inclusiveness and collaboration among stakeholders, aboriginal groups and governments. Through area response planning, response plans would be tailored to address the risks and conditions that are specific to a certain area such as the regional geography, vessel traffic and environmental sensitivities, while still maintaining the capacity to respond to a worst-case scenario.

We will also be expanding the response tool kit for oil spill cleanup by lifting legal barriers to using dispersants and other alternative response measures when they will have a net environmental benefit.

We will also be conducting and supporting research and development on new oil products, the pre-treatment of heavy oil products at source and a range of response techniques so that we will be equipped to respond quickly and effectively.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not reiterate this government's commitment to the polluter pay principle. We will continue to take actions to ensure that Canadian taxpayers are not on the hook to pay for costly cleanups in all modes of transportation.

By implementing a world-class tanker safety system, our government will continue to meet its commitment to protect Canadians and the environment, while responsibly transporting our natural resources and supporting our trade agenda for the benefit of all Canadians.

Petitions March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of several of my constituents asking for respect for the right of small-scale family farmers to preserve, exchange, and use seeds.

Intern Protection Act February 17th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to speak to the issue of internships in Canada. As we have heard already this evening, there are many examples of the good work that is being done through internships, and we must protect that the best we can.

The government certainly remains focused on jobs, economic growth and prosperity for all Canadians. As we have heard over and over tonight, internships play an essential role in helping to meet this goal. They help Canadians develop the knowledge and skills they need to participate in the job market and to fill possible labour shortages.

We also believe that providing certain protections for interns is vitally important, especially given that it is estimated that there are several hundred thousand interns in Canadian workplaces. What we need to carefully consider is how we go about it.

Many interns are working toward degrees or diplomas through secondary or post-secondary educational institutions. Other interns include recent immigrants looking for meaningful Canadian job experiences, people re-entering the workforce or looking to make a career transition.

Our government has been saying for some time now that we want to ensure that Canadians continue to have access to the on-the-job training they need. Internships are a very important part of that training. The hands-on experience that interns gain is invaluable. The benefit to them cannot be overstated. This is why we are investing $40 million to support up to 3,000 paid internships in these high demand fields and $15 million annually to support up to 1,000 paid internships in small and medium-sized enterprises.

In addition to that, our government every year invests over $10 billion to support post-secondary education and programs for first nations and Inuit students. This includes financial assistance through Canada's student loans and grants. We have seen great success through these initiatives.

However, this is not all we are doing to support young workers. We are also working to better protect them in the workplace.

The government is working with our partners to promote safe, fair and productive workplaces for youth, including interns. For example, and this has been alluded to in some of the previous speeches, at the end of January my colleague, the member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, the former parliamentary secretary to the minister of labour, met with stakeholders from across Canada and across industries to gain a deeper understanding of how we could better support interns. At the last meeting of the federal, provincial and territorial ministers of labour this past September, our Minister of Labour, the member for Simcoe—Grey, and her colleagues agreed to keep on working closely to better protect youth in the workplace and to use new approaches to connect with them.

One example is by going out to places like colleges, universities and high schools with interactive presentations and one-on-one discussions to ensure students have the knowledge and the resources they need to stay safe on the job. Also, the popular “It's Your Job” video contest challenges high school students across Canada to create videos to educate other young people on the importance of workplace safety and their rights.

However, it is not just physical safety with which our government is concerned. More and more we are also learning that mental injury, while invisible, is just as real and serious as physical injury and effects all aspects of an individual's life, at home and in the workplace. In fact, it is estimated that up to 20,000 of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder.

The mental health and well-being of Canadians is very important to our government. That is why, with support from the federal government, the Mental Health Commission of Canada launched the national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace in 2013. It is also why the minister and parliamentary secretary met and consulted with federally regulated employers, provincial workers, compensation boards and mental health organizations to discuss improving mental health in the workplace.

It is clear that we fully support initiatives that protect our workers, including young people.

Let us take a look at the bill that is being proposed today. It would place restrictions on prospective unpaid interns since employers could no longer be able to offer an unpaid internship to anyone other than secondary, post-secondary, or vocational students who were receiving training as part of their degree or diploma programs.

The bill also does not define what is meant by training or provide a regulatory power to do so. There could be a risk of confusion among employers on what constitutes training and could create unintended consequences. For example, this could make it easier for employers to withhold pay for their existing employees who were involved in workplace training.

What is also unclear is the bill's intention to extend labour standard protections to all interns, except for minimum wage in some cases. That could mean that labour standards like paid overtime and paid holidays could apply to both paid and unpaid interns. It is important to our government that we are clear about how interns are protected in our workplaces.

Our government is committed to ensuring safe, fair and productive workplaces. We have made it a priority to provide Canadians with the workplace experience and skills necessary to find jobs and succeed in the job market. The government is committed to jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, and we will continue to work hard to support all Canadian workers.

As has been stated many times tonight, we know there are good intentions in the bill. We know that there are also questions that need to be answered. We do not want to be creating unintended consequences that will not be beneficial for interns and young people. Therefore, we will continue to follow this closely as it continues on through the process.

Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary February 16th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, recently, I visited DFO's regional headquarters in Sarnia to recognize the men and women who serve in the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary, a nationwide organization that helps to ensure the safety and security of our waterways through its vital work. I was very pleased to announce over $5 million in funding to support this group.

The value of the work done by the CCGA across Canada cannot be overstated. Each year, its more than 5,000 members carry out over 2,000 rescue missions and save more than 200 lives.

It was an honour to acknowledge the tremendous work of Sarnia's 14 active members across the region. Regardless of weather conditions, members of the PointSAR unit brave the elements for the safety and well-being of mariners from Sombra to Kettle Point. That is why our government is proud to support them and provide them the funding they need to conduct their work.

On behalf of all Canadians, I thank the Coast Guard Auxiliary for its tremendous service.

National Defence November 25th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today we recognize the outstanding work accomplished by our Canadian naval personnel by marking Navy Appreciation Day 2014.

Canada borders three separate oceans and has the world's longest coastline, making our navy incredibly important, both to our economy and for our security. Our ports are economic gateways and we rely on our navy to ensure that trade and commerce continues undeterred.

Can the Minister of National Defence please update the House on how our government is supporting our navy on this important day?

Remembrance Day November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak today in order to pay my respects to those who have served our nation with courage and valour.

During World War II, my father served for four years in the European theatre. He was able to return home. It was not so for my uncle, who served courageously as a rear gunner before being lost in battle somewhere over the North Sea.

In recent times I was touched by the loss of two young men from Sarnia—Lambton, Private Will Cushley and Corporal Brent Poland, both of whom lost their lives serving in Afghanistan while fighting for the same freedoms that we enjoy each and every day here in Canada. Their brave service encompasses the incredible character of the men and women of the Canadian Forces, who serve this nation with pride in perilous times.

Many Canadians have similar stories of heroic returns and tragic losses. This November 11, I ask all Canadians to remember the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as all servicemen and women who are on active duty and cannot be here with their families.

Energy Safety and Security November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to the remarks that my colleague made. If I heard her correctly, she stated at the beginning of her speech that this legislation was long overdue and she was wondering why it has taken the government so long to bring it forward. I am a bit curious about that comment. If I recollect correctly, this is about the fifth time that we have introduced legislation on this important issue, and each time it has been opposed by the NDP.

Does the member opposite not agree with stronger accountability, improved response, and greater transparency when it comes to nuclear operations?

Energy Safety and Security November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, this is a point that we need to be clear on. Bill C-22 would raise the liability limits for the operator to $1 billion. We know we needed to do that. We were operating under a nuclear bill that was several years old and needed to be updated. We know when we compare the billion-dollar operator liability to other countries that this will put Canada among the highest limits in the world.

The United Kingdom, France, Spain and other European countries are moving to an operator limit of $1 billion. They are not there yet but they are thinking of going that way. Other non-European nations, including South Korea, South Africa and Argentina, have lower liability limits.

We ask, “Why not move it higher?” We know that in the aftermath of Fukushima the Japanese government had to step in and bail out the operator. In the highly unlikely event of an incident that exceeded the billion dollar limit, the Minister of Natural Resources in Canada would be required to table a report before Parliament containing estimates of the costs of the damages from the nuclear incident. That report would provide government the opportunity to make recommendations on the desirability of additional compensation beyond the liability limit based on relevant consideration at that time.

Energy Safety and Security November 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to that member's question.

We need to remember that Bill C-22 would do four important things. It would raise the absolute liability for companies operating in the Atlantic offshore. We talked about that. It would also raise it in the Arctic. It would amend the agreements that are in place with both the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board and the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board. In the nuclear sector, it would increase the absolute liability amount to $1 billion. It would also take steps to replace the 1976 Nuclear Liability Act.

There are other things that this bill would do. Coming from an area such as Sarnia-Lambton, I am well aware of the importance of the energy sector to our economy and the safety and environmental issues that are inherent in that energy sector. I am also well aware of pipelines. We probably have an inordinate number of pipelines in my area, far more than in any other area in this country.

Bill C-22 also puts in place some other measures that would provide an improved response, a stronger accountability and greater transparency. Therefore, I am looking forward to all members supporting the bill and getting it passed quickly.