House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was respect.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Liberal MP for Regina—Wascana (Saskatchewan)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Corrections and Conditional Release Act June 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, while I may have spoken vigorously when I was a member of the opposition on issues of this kind, I do not think it is fair to describe it as screaming and hollering. It was passion.

In relation to this legislation and the important question the hon. gentleman makes with respect to the UCCO union, the point that they made was really twofold in the consultation. Number one, there needed to be a system whereby when it was necessary, inmates could be separated from one another in the interests of public safety. They wanted to ensure that that kind of a system would be available to maintain safety within the institution. This legislation does that.

Secondly, they wanted to be sure that the resources would be there for the mental health services and the other correctional services that would be necessary to make this legislation effective. I am pleased to confirm that the Minister of Finance has made that funding available in the last fall update and in the spring budget. A total of $450 million has been made available for the implementation of this legislation to meet what the UCCO union suggested was absolutely essential for success.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act June 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, once the discussion about time allocation has concluded, members will have five additional hours of debate to consider this stage, which is on top of all of the stages in the Senate, which was on top of all of the previous stages in the House of Commons.

There has been extensive opportunity to examine the details of this legislation. In particular, the portions of the legislation that are subject to the advice and recommendations coming from the Senate are the portions of the legislation which this House and the committee examined in detail, and made extensive changes and improvements to during the course of the parliamentary committee's work.

It is not as if this is a new subject that suddenly has been sprung upon the House of Commons or upon the public safety and national security committee of the House. The House examined this in detail, and in fact renovated these provisions in detail. It was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, who was not in that role at that time but who was a member of the public safety committee who moved those extensive amendments, which were then debated in the House and adopted in detail by the House.

There has been very careful, conscientious attention given to this issue by members of the House of Commons.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act June 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the hon. gentleman brought up the issue of consultation because, as always, we try our very best to consult with all of those who have a stake in the decisions that are made with respect to our public safety systems in this country.

A couple of months ago, I had the opportunity to attend the triennial meeting of the major union that represents correctional officers who work at the various institutions across this country, including the one in the hon. gentleman's riding. That national meeting of the union was held in Calgary. It was very well attended by correctional officers all over the country. We had the opportunity to discuss this specific legislation. It was clear from that discussion that the union representatives were anxious to see legislation of this nature proceed because it is needed for the safety of the officers, the inmates and the other members of the public who attend from time to time within the correctional system. Indeed, that consultation has taken place.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act June 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is quite right. There are occasions when such procedures are perfectly appropriate, and that is especially the case when we are into the final days of a Parliament. We all know what the parliamentary calendar is, and it is important for key measures to be approved by Parliament while the time remains for that work to get done.

I would point out that the matters at issue in this legislation are also before a number of courts in this country where the courts have set a deadline. They have indicated that Parliament has an obligation to take certain decisions one way or the other, to make up their minds and vote, so that certain situations pertaining in the correctional system can be corrected. If Parliament is not able to take those decisions in a timely way, that could in fact throw the system into chaos. Therefore, because of the court proceedings, it is also important for Parliament to be timely in bringing this legislation to a conclusion.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act June 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, there have been many hours and days of debate in consideration of the legislation through all the stages in the House of Commons and in the Senate. We are now at the point of responding to the Senate's recommendations. It is not as if the debate was just beginning today or four minutes ago. In fact, the motion that was moved by the House leader provided for five more hours of debate on the specific question of how the House would respond to the recommendations made by the Senate.

This is not a closure motion, it is time allocation and it follows the full length of parliamentary procedure through both the House of Commons and the Senate, where many worthy suggestions have been made, a lot of very well-informed debate has taken place and many amendments have been accepted. We are now into the final stages of that discussion where it is appropriate for the House to take a decision and to vote.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act June 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, with the greatest respect, I have to disagree with the hon. gentleman.

First, he was critical of omnibus legislation. This is not omnibus legislation. It is legislation pertaining specifically to the correctional service and is focused upon one piece of legislation, not a number of different bills.

Second, he was concerned about what he called a “gag” order or the closure procedure. This is not a closure procedure. This is time allocation, which is qualitatively different from what he was criticizing.

Third, I would point out that amendments to the legislation have been welcomed and accepted from all parties in the House and indeed by the Senate as well.

Therefore, this is not a peremptory approach. There has been a huge amount of debate and a lot of input. That input has been weighed very carefully and a great deal of it has been accepted.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act June 17th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, we have arrived at the stage of debate where there is now an opportunity for the House to respond to the work that was done in relation to this legislation by the Senate. In other words, the bill has had a thorough debate in the House. It has passed through all the stages in the House. It has had extensive committee hearings. It has gone to the Senate and has been reviewed there. The Senate has considered the legislation, made a number of amendments and sent the bill back to the House with those amendments.

The point is that this is a very advanced stage of debate. We are not beginning with the bill in its raw form; we are beginning with the bill at a very advanced stage. Therefore, members have had extensive opportunity to debate, consider and in fact make amendments.

The point of contention between the House and the Senate is the independent review process that was crafted by the House. Therefore, we are defending the position that was taken by the House on the very important question of how there could be proper review and oversight of the correctional system.

National Security Act, 2017 June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the conspiracy theories abound with the opposition. I am not quite sure what his source of research is, but this legislation has had the benefit of the largest amount of public consultation, the largest amount of parliamentary scrutiny and the best experts in the field of security law and human rights law. It has been vetted in every way possible. The end result would be three things.

Our agencies will have the powers they need to keep Canadians safe. They will have clarity with respect to their legislative and constitutional authorities. Old areas and weaknesses in previous laws have been remedied. There is unprecedented transparency for Canadians to see and know what goes on in the public interest to keep Canadians safe and to safeguard our rights and freedoms.

In the next three years, the next Parliament of Canada will have the opportunity to revisit all these rules and provisions to ensure they are serving Canadians. This is the right bill for now.

National Security Act, 2017 June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, first, yes, the tools and powers provided for CSIS, for the CSE, for other security agencies of the Government of Canada, certainly for the RCMP, will enhance the work of all our security agencies.

I would point out for the hon. gentleman that in dealing with cross-border migration, over the last three years, we have faithfully applied each and every Canadian law in every case. We have also respected all our international obligations. The allegations of large numbers of criminals flowing into the country is completely wrong. In fact, it is a tiny part of a fraction. In those cases, they have all been identified, they have been detained as necessary and removal proceedings have been undertaken to get them out of the country.

National Security Act, 2017 June 11th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I simply make the point that we began work on the legislation from the very first hours when the government was in office in 2015. We started with the learned judgments of Justices Iacobucci, O'Connor and Major. We started with reports that had been filed previously by Parliament, both the House of Commons and the Senate. We listened very carefully to the review reports of the Security Intelligence Review Committee.

We conducted extensive public consultations, which involved 75,000 submissions online from ordinary Canadians. We had public meetings, town hall meetings and expert panels. Never before has there ever been an opportunity for Canadians to have input and for parliamentarians to debate the subject matter around Bill C-59. There has been the largest opportunity to do that in Canadian history.