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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Criminal Code May 2nd, 2007

You're blocking us in committee. When are you going to get serious about it?

The Environment April 27th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, when I studied the environmental plan tabled by the Minister of the Environment this week, I saw that it will not only get the job done for the environment but it will do so by involving all sectors of our economy.

We have a concrete and achievable plan that will stop the rise in greenhouse gases and then begin to reduce them. However, the opposition members are saying that they must be reduced immediately.

We have a comprehensive plan, one of the most stringent ever seen, but the Liberals are saying that we are headed for disaster because the objectives are below those set in a protocol that they signed, but that they never even tried to respect.

What we have had from the Liberals are words, arm waving, broken promises and inaction. What we have from our Conservative government is a concrete plan and action. We are getting the job done where the Liberals did nothing.

Business of Supply April 26th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I would like to raise a point. The NDP members continually say that we should withdraw the troops and not worry about security. Let us deliver our foreign aid, they say, and let us deliver our medical services, et cetera.

What I would like to bring to the attention of the NDP is the Taliban brutality.

For example, in March 2007, authorities found the bullet-riddled body of a kidnapped doctor in Helmand province. Taliban members are suspected of having committed the crime.

On aid workers, the Taliban kidnapped two French aid workers along with two Afghan colleagues in Nimros.

On construction, a civilian vehicle carrying four construction workers in western Farah province was hit by a roadside bomb. As well, six employees of a road-building company were abducted. Four of them were executed.

I have nine pages with me that outline all sorts of Taliban atrocities. I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary if he can set our NDP colleagues straight on the need for security in order to effectively deliver aid and services to the Afghan people.

Business of Supply April 26th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the motion from the NDP is reckless because it jeopardizes the safety of our soldiers.

The Taliban watch television. They read newspapers. They know what is going on in the House. They know that if they attack our forces and we take casualties, the NDP will be there telling us to pull the troops out of there.

I want to also follow up on what my colleague said. She said that we need to debate this in the House and committee, somehow implying that we are not debating it or that we have not done so in the past.

I point out for the House that the issue of the Afghanistan mission has come up 27 times in Parliament and in committee. There have been seven appearances in front of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, fifteen appearances by the minister in front of the Standing Committee on National Defence, two appearances before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, three debates in the House on Afghanistan, including two take note debates and one in committee of the whole, not including the motion that we are discussing today, or the motion that we discussed and voted on earlier this week. This is being debated in the House, but this is a reckless motion.

These types of motions undermine our troops and they jeopardize the safety of our troops? When will it end?

Business of Supply April 26th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague pointed out, I did serve in our Canadian Forces for 20 years in the army. In order to respond to his question I would like to say that there is no better way to establish security in Afghanistan than the way in which we are doing it now.

We are working with our Canadian Forces. We are working with the forces of other nations. We are working with the Afghanistan security forces to bring about physical security within Afghanistan.

Within that umbrella of physical security, we are able to deliver important projects. We are able to deliver food aid, launch vaccination programs, rebuild bridges, schools and road networks. It is under this umbrella of security that we are able to accomplish what we are accomplishing today.

Business of Supply April 26th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the point I would like to underline is that the motion we are discussing today is a reckless motion regarding the safety and security of our Canadian Forces and their operations in Afghanistan.

Our government brought before the House a debate and the House voted on extending the mission until 2009. We will respect that vote that was taken right here in the House. In terms of what will happen in 2009, that is two years away. We are focused on the here and now.

I have already listed some of the accomplishment that we have realized in Afghanistan. My colleagues have spoken about the re-establishment of security, the rebuilding of facilities, the rebuilding of villages, and stabilizing the economy. These are all pluses that are occurring thanks to our participation in this mission and the participation of other countries. As we proceed, we will continue to evaluate.

Business of Supply April 26th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleagues, I stand here today to say—without hesitation—that I will not support this motion put forward by the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth. This motion is based on an erroneous assumption. It assumes that development and diplomacy can be undertaken successfully in Kandahar without the crucial support provided by our Canadian Forces.

In the Afghan compact, which we signed along with the government of Afghanistan and members of the international community over a year ago, we recognized that success in this mission would require efforts along three lines: security, governance and development. The document said that progress in each of these three areas was crucial, and must happen concurrently.

In fact, the document called these three areas critical and interdependent. It says that security, governance and development are all pillars of this mission, implying that together they hold up the mission. And if you pull one of the pillars out, the mission will collapse.

Because we are pursuing efforts on all three fronts we are making progress in Afghanistan. Infrastructure is being rebuilt; the economy is growing; the government is establishing its authority and women and children are enjoying freedoms they were not allowed before. These signs of progress are a result of the security that our troops are helping to provide.

So when the member for Toronto—Danforth proposes that we put an end to the Canadian Forces contribution to this mission, he is essentially proposing that we undermine the pursuit of diplomacy and development in Afghanistan as well.

However, let us now listen to what other Canadians have to say on this matter. Appreciation for our Canadian Forces efforts in Afghanistan is being expressed across the country. From Bedford, Nova Scotia, a young boy wrote to our troops in Afghanistan. He said:

I am 10 years old, and in grade 5. What I want to say is, tonight I am at home, enjoying my book, my playstation, and my family. I am very comfortable. I know you are away from home, away from your things, and very uncomfortable. I want to say thank you, from me and from my family, for all that you do. Keep safe.

From Bradford, Ontario, it is just a simple message and straight to the point. It states:

Thank you so much. Afghanistan is now getting the help it needs to become a safer and better country. You guys and girls are amazing.

From Vancouver, B.C., the message states:

I have moments of deep frustration; I see the desolation and poverty on my streets, and I wonder why the government has chosen to put our brave soldiers in a war on foreign soil, when we have so many lost battles here. Then I realize that there are battles that only soldiers can fight and battles that only civilians can fight. Thank you for fighting the war that I cannot fight...My faith in the importance of protecting freedom is firm.

From Winnipeg, Manitoba, it states:

Watching our country's recent rededication of the Vimy Ridge Memorial, what moved me the most was near the end as the camera panned the crowd and there was a soldier--possibly retired--holding a picture of relatives in WWI military attire, possibly survivors of Vimy. Our country has a long history of helping others, even if sometimes it means laying down our lives. All of you in our Armed Services deserve our gratitude, our respect. Thank you.

From Yukon, it states:

You are all the ultimate “Team Canada”! There aren't words enough to describe my deep gratitude for your courage and personal sacrifice in the service of our country. All I can offer is a sincere and heartfelt thank you!

These are messages that have been sent to our troops in Afghanistan. These have all been written in just the last few months.

Canadians recognize that the security being established by the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan is ultimately connected to the security we enjoy here in Canada. They recognize that the diplomatic and development efforts that are improving the lives of Afghans are possible precisely because the Canadian Forces are there. They recognize that some jobs in this world, unfortunately, require military force. They recognize that this mission continues a long Canadian tradition of helping others in need. And at the end of the day, Canadians just want to say thanks.

If members of the House still question the need for the security provided by the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, they do not need to accept the words of those Canadians either. Appreciation for the vital contributions of the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan is also voiced by experts, diplomatic experts, in fact. Nigel Fisher, the head of UNICEF Canada said just last week that “a strong international military presence is needed now” and he said it will be needed for years to come.

Allow me to provide a substantive example of exactly how the work of our men and women in uniform is improving the daily lives of the Afghan people. For the last two weeks Canadian troops have been supporting an operation called “Op Achilles”, ISAF's largest operation with the Afghan national security forces to date. The intent of Op Achilles is to disrupt Taliban plans and establish security in the area of the Sangin Valley, a part of Helmand province that borders Kandahar province.

For the people of Afghanistan, the impact of security and, sadly, the impact of insecurity is very real. For instance, just north of the Sangin Valley is the Kajaki dam and powerhouse. The Kajaki dam is the largest dam in Afghanistan and it is the prime source of hydro electricity for the south. The hundreds of thousands of Afghans who live in Kandahar City, among others, depend on that dam for power and water.

In the fall and early spring, the dam's power output was wavering, but due to ISAF efforts, the supply of electricity to Kandahar City was sustained and now work can proceed on the dam's refurbishment project. This project aims to almost double the dam's electrical power output and triple irrigation capacity in the region. The Kajaki dam project is expected to benefit almost two million Afghans.

The economic and social impact of such a project will be enormous, but this project can proceed only if ISAF follows through on its commitment to provide the necessary security for the engineers and labourers to do their work. So when members talk about pulling the Canadian Forces out of Afghanistan today, they will jeopardize countless projects just like this.

Reconstruction and development cannot happen without security forces in place to help provide that necessary security. We do not want to leave the Afghans without light, heat and water, and we certainly do not want to leave them to live in a region that will be retaken by murderous insurgents. We do not want to leave them to suffer more bombs in the markets, more mines hidden cunningly on the side of the road, more gunmen terrorizing the streets, but that is exactly what we would be doing if we pulled our Canadian Forces out.

If we pull our military out now, the impact of the resulting insecurity would be heart-wrenching. For the sake of the Afghan people and for the sake of the Canadians who want to help them, I cannot support this motion.

National Victims of Crime Awareness Week April 23rd, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the second National Victims of Crime Awareness Week will take place from April 22 to 28. Throughout the week, communities across Canada will distribute information about the impact crime has on its victims.

The Murdered or Missing Persons' Families' Association is launching an orange ribbon campaign. The ribbons are a mark of support for the families of murdered or missing persons.

The theme for this year's event is “It's Time to Listen”. This government believes that it is time not only to listen to victims of crime but also to act in their best interests.

Last month this government committed $52 million to increase services for victims of crime. The money will assist provinces and territories to develop and deliver new services, such as offsetting the costs victims incur to attend sentencing hearings and to present victim impact statements.

I ask the House to join me in recognizing National Victims of Crime Awareness Week and to acknowledge victims and those who help them.

Criminal Code April 19th, 2007

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-430, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (child pornography).

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House today to table a bill to protect our children from the exploitation of child pornography.

Regrettably there has been a proliferation of pornography within our society over the past decades. More regrettable has been the proliferation of child pornography. Child pornography is real, it exists, and its presence in our society has been growing. It is truly a threat to our children and we as a society have tasted its bitter fruit.

Unfortunately, there is a loophole in our Criminal Code that allows child pornography. Paragraph 163.1(6) states:

No person shall be convicted of an offence under this section if the act as alleged to constitute the offence

(a) has a legitimate purpose related to the administration of justice or to science, medicine, education or art;....

Therein lies the loophole: the interpretation of the terms “education” and “art”.

The bill I am tabling today seeks to remove these two terms and, in so doing, better protect our children and our society from the ravages of child pornography. I said that as an MP I would work to defend our families and our children and that is what I am doing by tabling this bill today.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Committees of the House March 30th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Standing Committee on International Trade on the subject of Canada's trade policy. I note that the report only contains recommendations. The background text will be presented at a later time.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109 a government response is requested.