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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was fishing.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 54% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions November 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by residents of British Columbia who believe that the current impaired driving laws are too lenient and need to be strengthened by the implementation of new mandatory minimum sentencing for those convicted of impaired driving causing death.

Fisheries and Oceans November 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in recent years, our government has made unprecedented investments in small craft harbours across Canada. In fact, just this week, the Prime Minister announced another $288 million in additional funding for small craft harbours across Canada.

We are very aware of the situation of the Change Islands wharf, its importance to the community, and the need to reconstruct the wharf. An engineering assessment is being undertaken to determine what can be done in preparation for the next fishing season. We have identified this as a future project and look forward to getting the work done.

Petitions November 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by residents of Fraser Valley who believe that current impaired driving laws are too lenient and would like to see them strengthened by the implementation of minimum sentencing for those convicted of impaired driving causing death.

Petitions November 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to present a petition signed by individuals who live in the lower mainland of British Columbia.

The petitioners believe that the current impaired driving laws are too lenient. They want to see tougher laws and the implementation of new mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of impaired driving causing death. They would like to see the Criminal Code definition changed to vehicular manslaughter.

The Environment October 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, with respect to my colleague, and my colleague on the fisheries committee as well, I am inclined to take the advice of experts. Many of them are Ph.D. scientists who are experts on beluga whales. They did the review of the proposal. They concluded that given the strict conditions this work could go ahead.

Our department's mandate is to ensure that activities that proponents propose to undertake do not contravene the Species at Risk Act, and that if permits are needed, specific criteria for the protection and recovery of species at risk are respected. This is the case with this particular review conducted by the department, and as I said, we remain confident in the steps that were taken for the issuance of the letter of advice.

The Environment October 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, while I appreciate the interest of the member opposite on this issue, I think the minister has been quite clear on this. She has said at every opportunity, as have I, that projects will only move forward if they are safe for Canadians and safe for the environment. We are committed to the protection of species at risk, and we take this responsibility very seriously. Science is an integral part of this responsibility and is in fact the backbone of all our decision-making processes.

As the member said, and as we are all aware, on September 23, the Quebec Superior Court granted an interlocutory injunction against TransCanada's exploratory work off the coast of Cacouna. It is important to understand, and I think the minister was clear about this, that the object of the ruling was a review and issuance of a certificate of authorization by the Quebec provincial government under provincial laws in Quebec. The Quebec Superior Court's decision did not deal with the federal government process, federal laws, or federal officials.

As explained before, DFO conducted its own careful review of TransCanada's exploratory work. The departmental experts concluded that the work could proceed, contingent on strict conditions.

TransCanada submitted a proposal to conduct an exploratory program, which in addition to seismic testing included drilling and standard penetration tests, to define the geological structure at the proposed terminal site near Cacouna. The department reviewed the proposal to determine whether it would adversely impact listed aquatic species at risk and whether it was likely to cause serious harm to fish, which is prohibited under the Fisheries Act.

These reviews are undertaken by the department in accordance with well-established processes and rely on scientific information. A review of the information provided is undertaken by experts to determine whether additional information is needed to make a determination as to whether serious harm to fish is likely. As well, it must be determined whether there are potential impacts to species at risk. This involves consultation among expert sectors in the department. This is followed by an analysis of potential impacts, means to mitigate those impacts, and consideration of whether an authorization under the Fisheries Act or a permit under the Species at Risk Act is required, and if so, if it should be issued.

Following the review of the proposed exploratory work, Fisheries and Oceans Canada experts provided a letter to TransCanada indicating that mitigation measures, as included in the amended project proposal, had to be implemented to avoid potential impacts on the St. Lawrence beluga and their habitat. These measures included the presence of a marine mammal observer, ongoing monitoring of beluga presence, and the creation of a protection zone around the work site such that if belugas were observed within the zone, work would stop.

DFO advised TransCanada that provided these mitigation measures were implemented, DFO was of the view that the exploratory work would not result in serious harm to fish, nor would it contravene the Species at Risk Act.

We are committed to working with our provincial partners. In response to a request from the provincial ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, DFO provided copies of a number of existing scientific reports and analyses. These reports included a publicly available Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Science response entitled “The Impacts of Geophysical Surveys at the Cacouna Harbour on the St. Lawrence Beluga”.

We remain confident in the steps taken during the review of this proposal and the subsequent issuance of our letter of advice.

Democratic Reform October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member for Wellington—Halton Hills has demonstrated for all of us an effective approach to doing business in this place. After he produced the bill and it was in the public domain he indicated that he welcomed suggestions to improve the bill to make it more palatable to a broader number of members, and that is what he has done.

As with all private members' business, we said we would take the time to carefully review the amendments that have been proposed by the member. These amendments would keep parties in control of their nominations and allow caucuses to set their own rules.

In light of these proposed changes, the government supported Bill C-586 at second reading and looks forward to seeing it when it comes back from committee.

Democratic Reform October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his intervention. This may be a brief response, not because it is not an important issue but because it is.

Democratic reform is a very serious and difficult task. I begin by commending the member for Wellington—Halton Hills for his important work in strengthening our democratic institutions and for bringing forward the reform act.

The reform act is an effort to strengthen Canada's democratic institutions by restoring the role of elected members of Parliament in the House of Commons. The member opposite said in his original question that the leaders of the three major parties threatened to kill the bill if it was not watered down. I would like to point out that, as with all private members' business, we said we would take time to carefully review the amendments proposed by the member to his own bill.

The reform act, Bill C-586, has now been read a second time and has been referred to committee, where it is right now. Of course, the committee is the master of its own destiny, but the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills proposed two changes in response to consultations held over the summer and to build support for his bill.

First, he concluded that perhaps the way it was written with respect to party nominations was too prescriptive, which would make it difficult for parties to, for example, meet diversity targets. In fact, the member opposite is from a party that is exactly 50% male and 50% female here in the House of Commons, but other parties have not reached that target yet.

The amendment the member for Wellington—Halton Hills has proposed is that instead of insisting that it be only a local decision in terms of who signs nomination papers, the party could determine who would sign these nomination papers. It could be somebody locally. It could even be the leader, but it would not be prescribed to be the leader, as it is currently in the Canada Elections Act.

The second change he is proposing is that each House of Commons caucus, after every general election, as its first item of business, in a recorded manner, could vote on whether members wanted to accept the template laid out in his bill or a different set of rules, and they would have the freedom to do so.

Quite simply, the bill takes the current unwritten convention and makes explicit in statute the rules and process for the caucus to review the party leader. Additionally, the reform act proposes that a party leadership review may be initiated by the submission of a written notice to the caucus chair, signed by at least 20% of the caucus members, and would mandate that the caucus chair make public the names of those caucus members requesting a vote.

When a majority of caucus members voted in favour of a leadership review, a second vote by secret ballot would occur, and they could select a person to serve as the interim party leader until a new party leader was elected.

Our government has continually delivered on its democratic reform commitments. More backbench MPs have passed bills into law through this majority Conservative Parliament than under any government since 1972, and we still have a year to go.

I should add that The Globe and Mail analyzed 162,000 votes over almost two years and found that Conservative MPs are far more likely to vote independently from their party than opposition MPs, as opposed to the NDP, for example, in which not a single MP voted against the party line.

As the member opposite knows, the Prime Minister and our government supported the bill, and as it comes back from committee, this House will have the privilege to examine the bill again at third reading.

The Environment October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as I have said previously, our government is committed to taking real action to ensure the protection of the environment, and we take our responsibility for pollution prevention very seriously.

For any protection regime to be effective, stakeholders need certainty and clarity respecting what activities are within the law. The changes that our government has made to the Fisheries Act allow the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of the Environment to take the steps necessary to reduce red tape and increase compliance certainty amongst stakeholders, while at the same time protecting fish and fish habitat.

As I noted, these changes only allow for ministerial regulations authorizing deposits of deleterious substances under very specific conditions. These conditions will ensure effective protection of Canadian fisheries by only granting the ability to use ministerial regulations to authorize deposits in areas that are already well managed.

Our government will continue to ensure that the pollution prevention provisions of the act are enforced.

The Environment October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to provide a little clarity on the question that was asked.

Our government is committed to taking real action to ensure the protection of the environment and sustainability of our resources. We take our responsibility for pollution prevention very seriously.

The scope of the fisheries protection provisions of the Fisheries Act has not changed. It prohibits the deposit of deleterious substances unless authorized under regulations. These provisions represent a strong and effective legislative regime for environmental protection in Canada.

In 1978 Environment Canada was assigned the responsibility for the administration and enforcement of the pollution protection provisions of the Fisheries Act. A designation order made March 12, 2014, by the Governor in Council has formalized this arrangement and provides clarity for Canadians regarding responsibility for section 36 of the Fisheries Act by designating the Minister of the Environment as responsible. This order also identifies the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans as the minister responsible for those same provisions, but specifically for the purposes of aquaculture, aquatic invasive species, and aquatic pests.

Our government has modernized and clarified the way these regulations are administered. For example, in some circumstances, such as dealing with an aquatic invasive species that could have a significant impact on Canadian fisheries, there is a new ability for ministerial regulations to authorize deposits for the control of these destructive species, such as Asian carp or zebra mussels.

In putting forth these new ministerial regulations, our government has ensured the appropriate safeguards are in place. Conditions set out in GIC regulations ensure that ministerial regulations can only authorize deposits if they are for aquatic research purposes or they deal with aquaculture, aquatic invasive species, or aquatic pests and are for the purpose of proper management and control of the fisheries or the conservation and protection of fish, or they pose a low risk.

For this last condition to be met, there must already be a federal or provincial instrument that requires that the deposit meet science-based water quality guidelines.

Canadians are engaged in this process, as all ministerial regulations authorizing deposits must provide an opportunity for public comment through publication in the Canada Gazette, part I.

Let me be clear. These ministerial regulations provide a new tool to effectively manage deposits, but they do not provide a blanket authorization. They do not offload responsibility for pollution control to the provinces. These regulations simply recognize that when deposits are for research purposes or are necessary for the conservation and protection of fish, or where an effective provincial or federal regulatory scheme already exists, these deposits can be authorized by ministerial regulations under the Fisheries Act.

This is a common sense change and provides stakeholders with certainty that they are in compliance with the act without the need to create an additional or duplicative regime to manage the same activity.

In fact, the Minister of the Environment has already made use of this new tool by developing the Experimental Lakes Area Research Activities Regulations, which allow for the continued use of substances in experiments in the Experimental Lakes Area. This regulation is an important component of the government's commitment to ensuring a new operator is well equipped to take over the Experimental Lakes Area and to facilitate those ongoing experiments.

In closing, I would like to reiterate that the federal government remains responsible for pollution prevention and takes this role very seriously. The new tools our government has created allow us to maintain this current high level of environmental protection in a more efficient and clear manner. They also facilitate greater regulatory certainty for Canadians by allowing the government to use ministerial regulations when they are already well managed by other instruments or jurisdictions.