House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was sector.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Liberal MP for Sudbury (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2020 February 2nd, 2021

Madam Speaker, unfortunately I did not hear my colleague from Drummond's entire speech.

However, I can say that our strategy is to ensure that all SMEs can play a role and that they have the technology. We are here to support them. There is funding for that. Over the past six years, we have even increased our contribution to several funds to support these businesses and create this innovation, which will allow us to meet not only our Paris targets, but also those related to achieving net-zero by 2050.

I would be pleased to talk with the hon. member for Drummond to see how we might provide our support. We could at least have a discussion about that business in his riding.

We see a lot of innovation in Quebec, but also across Canada. Clearly we need to continue to support these technologies and these innovative entrepreneurs who create these opportunities, not to mention support this green technology that will also create jobs and wealth in Canada.

Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2020 February 2nd, 2021

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to work with my colleague at the natural resources committee.

I would certainly beg to differ with the conclusions of my colleague that planting two billion trees will not help the environment. Our goal is to be at net-zero emissions by 2050, so the fact that the member is stating that we should not even start is absurd, given that we need to start somewhere. This is engaging communities, families and the provinces to get this done.

I must say that in my region of Sudbury, where the landscape was devastated 40 years ago, we have planted 14 million trees over the past 30 years, which has done much for our community. The member says that wanting to plant trees is virtuous and is virtual signalling. Again, I bet to differ.

On another note that my colleague raised, with respect to the PBO, if he reads the report, he will see that the PBO says that basically it is hard to make these estimates and that they might be off, but that this is the basic estimate. That said, a lot of organizations across Canada have reached out to me and said that the PBO report, in its calculations, is quite wrong. The calculations are based on Ontario at the cost of three dollars per tree to be planted, whereas most of the ones I have heard about cost less than a dollar a tree to be planted.

Let us stick with the facts. This program is good for Canada, it is good for families and it is good for everyone.

Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2020 February 2nd, 2021

Madam Speaker, thank you for allowing me to resume debate. I would also like to thank technical services for their support.

We plan to increase our forest cover by 1.2 million hectares, an area twice the size of Prince Edward Island. Doing this will cut overall emissions by up to 12 megatonnes by 2050, all the while we are creating more than 4,000 jobs. There are additional benefits. This commitment will also create more habitat for wildlife, improve biodiversity, and enhance our ability to restore habitat for species at risk, like the boreal caribou and migratory birds.

Still, this is a complex undertaking that takes time. We must work closely with provincial and territorial governments that own and manage 90% of Canada's forests. Of course, we must work with indigenous groups, continuing to build capacity and focusing on partnerships.

We also have to contend with delays caused by the pandemic. That is why, early in the pandemic, our government put up $30 million to help small and medium-sized businesses in the forestry sector, including tree planting companies, to offset the costs of COVID-19 safety measures. This helped keep workers in nearby communities safe, all the while that more than 600 seedlings were successfully put in the ground.

The main reason we are approaching this carefully is that planting trees is a complex and delicate undertaking, as I said. We must plant the right tree in the right place at the right time, and ensure that seedlings in nurseries and young trees survive, providing us with their long-term benefits. For instance, which trees do we choose to ensure that new forests or reforested areas can withstand a warming climate, or which trees and techniques will restore particular habitats, and how do we ensure that newly planted trees near city streets survive their urban environments?

Clearly, the federal government cannot do this alone, which is why we are also talking with municipalities and community groups, non-governmental organizations and green entrepreneurs, philanthropic and conservation organizations, universities and colleges, indigenous communities and organizations. This is indeed an enormous and complex initiative, and one of the most ambitious tree-planting endeavours in the world. We believe it will pay dividends over generations, well beyond 2050. We are going to start by planting trees in urban areas across Canada this spring.

I will wrap up by saying that this pandemic has been tough, and often frightening for our youngest children and vulnerable seniors, but it has also helped us see the forest through the trees, to recognize what we value, including our natural world, its ability to restore our planet's health and its role in helping us rebuild our economy the right way, with sustainable jobs and vibrant communities.

I urge all members to support Bill C-14 so we can make this happen.

Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2020 February 2nd, 2021

Madam Speaker, I will start again and hope there will be no further issues.

I am happy to join the House from my home in Sudbury, Canada's mining capital. I am thrilled to address a bill that lays the foundation for the prosperous, green future that awaits us after this pandemic.

I am proud to be part of a community that for generations has played a key role in Canada's natural resource economy. We helped create the wealth that funds our hospitals, our schools and our roads across the country.

I am also proud of the way we support each other. Although Sudbury has grown and become more diversified, there is still a true sense of belonging to the community. This year, many in my community have made simple yet meaningful gestures, like helping a neighbour, a friend, a family member or even a stranger. Some helped an older neighbour stay safe and healthy by going to the grocery store or pharmacy for them. Others volunteered for organizations like the local women's shelter. A group of classic car owners drove around town honking their horns in support of our health care workers.

One of these kind people is Kass Bazinet. This 22-year-old woman lost her job because of COVID-19, but she did not lose her musical talent. She put her creativity to work when she learned that a friend's little girl was having nightmares about the pandemic. One day, she stood in the parking lot under the balcony of the apartment where the little girl and her family lived. While Tiffany listened wide-eyed, Kass sang songs from her favourite movie, Frozen. The nightmares stopped. Kass then sang other songs for other frightened children and for seniors living alone.

Unfortunately, there are some things that volunteers cannot do. When small businesses close and workers like Kass are laid off, the Government of Canada needs to take action, and that is the purpose of Bill C-14. By adopting this bill, we will be implementing the many measures set out in the fall economic statement. As the Minister of Finance said at the time, this is part of the most important economic assistance program since World War II. The economic statement describes the measures taken by the government in response to COVID-19. At the same time, the bill will lay the foundation for an economic recovery once we have conquered the virus.

Others emphasized the measures set out in Bill C-14 to help individuals, communities and businesses get back on their feet. I would like to mention the measures taken, including one in particular that enhances the excellent work that Natural Resources Canada is already doing for Canadians. With the adoption of this bill, Natural Resources Canada will receive $150 million over three years to improve our zero-emission vehicle infrastructure. The network already includes more than 400 charging stations, and we are working to build twice as many. This will boost the public's confidence in the availability of charging stations when and where they are needed.

The government is proposing $2.6 billion over seven years to help homeowners make energy-efficient improvements to their homes. Grants of up to $5,000 will help up to 700,000 landlords and homeowners save money and make their own contribution to helping Canada meet its Paris targets by achieving net-zero by 2050.

Finally, and this is the point I want to focus on today, if Bill C-14 passes, Natural Resources Canada will receive more than $3 billion over 10 years to plant two billion trees. This investment in particular resonates with Canadians because our forests are very important to us. Urban parks make our cities more livable. They allow us to reconnect with nature and ourselves. They are a place where children play, where couples fall in love and where families, especially those who live in apartments, can spend the day outdoors.

Residents in our city can go to Bell Park in Sudbury to play or simply go for a walk and breathe in nature's beauty. They can also attend a summer concert in the afternoon or evening at the Grace Hartman amphitheatre in the park, overlooking magnificent Lake Ramsey. A few kilometres away, we can visit the Laurentian Lake Conservation Area. It is famous for its spectacular birdwatching activities and panoramic hikes in the summer. We can also go snowshoeing and cross-country skiing after a good snowfall.

These places are a part of the Canadian soul. People travel to Europe to see cathedrals and to Asia for temples. These forests are our cathedrals and temples. However, forests are about more than bringing health, laughter and memories; they will also help us save this planet from the worst impacts of climate change.

Their capacity to absorb carbon makes them a key part of our government's broad-based plan to reach zero emissions by 2050. That is why my colleagues, the Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Environment and Climate Change, will soon appoint an advisory committee of experts.

This committee will be made up of people who can help us maximize emissions reductions through nature-based solutions, such as increasing the capacity of our forests, grasslands, wetlands, marginal—

Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2020 February 2nd, 2021

Indeed, Madam Speaker. It keeps freezing.

I have gone months without any issues, but now when I am starting a speech, I am having problems.

Can you hear me now, Madam Speaker?

Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2020 February 2nd, 2021

Madam Speaker, I would like to begin by acknowledging that I am on Robinson-Huron treaty territory in the traditional lands of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek. I am happy to be joining the House today from my home in Sudbury, Canada's mining capital.

I am pleased to speak to a bill that lays the foundation for a green and prosperous post-pandemic future—

Natural Resources February 1st, 2021

Madam Speaker, as I said, our government's record is clear and self-evident. We are approving major projects and providing support to the oil and gas sector when and where it is needed.

We have been and will continue to be there to support the energy industry during the worst times of this pandemic.

Every step of the way, we will always do the hard work necessary to ensure that good and sustainable projects go forward with the full confidence of Canadians.

Our government remains confident that we can move forward simultaneously on economic prosperity and our climate commitments, as Canada fights for a low-carbon future.

Natural Resources February 1st, 2021

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Calgary Centre for allowing me to speak to this important issue.

I will begin by reminding the House that our government has always supported Canada's energy industry and that it will continue to support the industry, its workers and the communities that benefit from it. We are doing that while making health, safety and environmental protection the top priority in every aspect of the energy industry, and while respecting indigenous rights and promoting reconciliation.

Every Canadian can be proud of that, especially with the current challenges, including a global drop in the price of oil and the economic repercussions of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

In that context, the government has taken measures to support the industry in several ways.

In the spring, as part of a suite of business support measures, the government launched the business credit availability program. This initiative meets the immediate cash flow needs needs of businesses in Alberta and across Canada. We also brought in the Canada emergency wage subsidy to help employers affected by COVID-19 rehire their employees and to prevent further job losses.

The government has also provided nearly $2.8 billion to support Canada's energy industry. This includes $750 million for the new emissions reduction fund, as well as a $1.7-billion investment for the remediation of inactive and abandoned wells.

In addition, our government has announced $320 million in federal support for Newfoundland and Labrador offshore industry and workers.

Taken together, our government has brought forward a comprehensive set of supports. All of this in addition to our government's proven track record of approval of and support for major oil and gas projects, including TMX, LNG Canada, the Nova Gas expansion and Line 3 extension, which we know will create thousands of jobs and drive billions in investments, and complement our initiatives to reach our Paris climate commitments.

We also vigorously supported the KXL project at the highest levels. Like our government of Alberta partners, with whom we worked closely, we were disappointed in the President's decision. We have been clear that we will help the affected Canadian workers. However, we must also focus on our relationship with Canada's number one energy customer in areas of mutual Canada-U.S. interest, such as firm climate action, enhanced North American energy security and co-operation to rebuild our economies.

Canada's energy sector will be a big part of the North American recovery. It is a source of good, well-paying jobs in Canada, and our government will continue to stand with the sector and the thousands of hard-working Canadians it employs.

Natural Resources January 29th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. Our government supports the operation of Enbridge's Line 5. It has been in there since the 1950s and it is vital to the economy of Canada. It supplies Imperial, Shell and Suncor refineries in Sarnia, Ontario, Suncor's refinery in Montreal and Valero's refinery in Lévis, Quebec. It delivers 66% of the crude oil consumed in Quebec.

This is a vital pipeline. We believe in it. We support it. We are continuing to work alongside Ambassador Hillman and Consul General Comartin, and we will continue to advocate for Line 5.

The Environment January 29th, 2021

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, we are committed to planting two billion trees. Let me quote from the PBO report, and I encourage my colleague to actually read it, wherein it says:

Parameters used for this estimate are based off data from Forests Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program and may not accurately reflect program costs under the federal government’s 2 Billion Tree program.

We are partnering with the provinces and territories, indigenous groups and NGOs to make sure we get this right. We are committed to combatting climate change and planting two billion trees is a part of our ambitious plan.