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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was thanks.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Palliser (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 47% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees of the House February 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, entitled “Bill C-15, An Act to replace the Northwest Territories Act to implement certain provisions of the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement and to repeal or make amendments to the Territorial Lands Act, the Northwest Territories Waters Act, the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, other Acts and certain orders and regulations”. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House of Commons with amendments.

Olympic Winter Games January 31st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, seven days from now, Canadians will be filled with patriotism as they tune in to watch the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Four-time Olympic medallist Hayley Wickenheiser has the honour of leading the team into the stadium as Canada's flag-bearer. I am proud to add that she is from my home province of Saskatchewan and is an excellent role model for young athletes.

Our athletes may be across the world in Sochi, but they can be confident that all Canadians are with them as they strive to own the podium. I know they will do us proud, with the whole country behind them.

I call upon all members of the house to join with me with a “Go, Canada, go”.

Are we ready?

Go Canada, go!

Grey Cup November 21st, 2013

Yes, indeed, Mr. Speaker, and it is very good and gracious of you to have noticed that right away.

Certainly, in response to Hamilton making all that racket, we in the agricultural sector have noticed that empty 45-gallon drums make a lot of noise.

This Sunday, millions of Canadians will tune in to watch a sea of green as the Saskatchewan Roughriders take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, in Regina, for the 101st Grey Cup game.

With the leadership of Coach Corey Chamblin and the grit of CFL stars like Darian Durant, Kory Sheets, Chris Getzlaf, Weston Dressler and Brendon LaBatte, just to name a few, the Riders are ready to compete for the title.

With the power of the offensive and defensive lines and the precision of the special teams, the Riders are ready to hoist the Grey Cup in victory.

I would like to extend a special thanks to the thousands of community-minded volunteers who pitched in to make this celebration safe and fun.

Two things are certain: first, snow or shine, this year's Grey Cup is going to be the best ever and the best for years to come; and second, the Riders are going to win and all those kittens are going to go home feeling green with envy.

Let us hear it. Go, Riders, go.

Afghan Veterans Monument November 19th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, just as the hon. member for Medicine Hat has shared with us, that is the kind of input we want.

We want to hear what people have to say about it. We want to include text in the memorial. We want to make sure that it is reflective of everyone who has something invested in democracy and freedom, and that is every Canadian.

Hopefully we will have lots of input and we will design a memorial that we can all be proud of.

Afghan Veterans Monument November 19th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, the thought is that the input from all parts of Canada will be somehow married into this edifice that will say “good job” to the men and women of the Afghan war.

We have not decided anything in terms of placement. We have not decided anything in terms of design. We wanted to decide that we were going to do this as a Parliament, to recognize soldiers, the men and women who have given their lives in the pursuit of freedom.

Right now, it is open. We encourage input from everyone who has something to say about it. We look forward to putting together something that is reflective of coast-to-coast-to-coast Canadians.

Afghan Veterans Monument November 19th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, the site for the monument and the design of the monument is all to be planned out in the not too distant future and ready for presentation in 2014 later in the fall. We have a window of about a year to seek input from various groups like the Legion, army and navy veterans, Parliament, and other bodies that have an interest in the memorial to come with their thoughts. We look to receive a lot of input and then have a committee to decide on the design and where it should go.

Afghan Veterans Monument November 19th, 2013

moved:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should commit to honouring our Afghan veterans through a permanent memorial either at an existing or a new site in the National Capital Region, once all Canadian Armed Forces personnel return to Canada in 2014, and that the memorial remember (i) those who lost their lives and who were injured in the Afghanistan War, (ii) the contribution of our Canadian Armed Forces, diplomatic and aid personnel who defended Canada and its allies from the threat of terrorism, (iii) the contributions made by Canada to improving the lives of the Afghan people, and (iv) the hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces personnel who remain in a non-combat role in Afghanistan today, helping to train Afghan forces.

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour to rise today to present Motion No. 448. I am mindful of the veterans across our great country who have served our country while defending the principles of freedom, human rights and democracy. They are veterans like Master Corporal Jeff Walsh who was killed while on active duty on August 8, 2006, in Afghanistan, leaving his family to cherish his memory. They are veterans like Major Derek Prohar who was wounded by an improvised explosive device during an enemy ambush but continued returning fire and helped to gain control of key terrain in September 2006, and who continues to wear the uniform through his employment in the Department of National Defence. They are veterans like Officer Bill Green, a reservist and teacher, and the many others who demonstrate a remarkable courage and valour to all of us here at home. They and their families made great sacrifices for the sake of preserving our freedom, our human rights and our democracy.

Although the sacrifice these veterans and their families make cannot be calculated, we can begin to repay that debt through remembering and honouring their service. I also hope that this motion provides some closure for the families of the 158 fallen Canadian soldiers.

Our government has stood, and will always stand, shoulder to shoulder with the men and women who have helped build this great country and defended its values and ideals. I would like to add that Canadian veterans and the men and women currently in uniform, along with their families, have a strong ally in the Minister of Veterans Affairs. In him, they have a proud and hard-working individual who is always there to champion their best interests. I know all members will join me in saluting his service and devotion to the cause of veterans.

Only short steps away from this chamber are powerful reminders of the service and sacrifice that Canadians have made in defence of freedom, human rights and democracy. We have the Peace Tower, the iconic centrepiece of our parliamentary buildings, which serves as a memorial itself. Within the Peace Tower lies the Memorial Chamber, a quiet and sacred space that is dedicated to the memory of Canadians who have died in military service. Within the Memorial Chamber lie seven books of remembrance, where a page in each book is turned every morning in a special ceremony at 11 o'clock. These books offer a special tribute to each and every individual fallen soldier since World War I.

A short walk from here stands the National War Memorial, an awe-inspiring memorial that has become a Canadian icon and the national focus for Canadians every Remembrance Day. The National War Memorial is also the last resting place of Canada's Unknown Soldier. Every Remembrance Day since the Unknown Soldier returned home, thousands of Canadians have adorned his tomb with their poppies in respect and remembrance.

Not far away in Confederation Park are the stirring memorials to our first nation veterans and those of the Korean War. Of equal prominence is the memorial to Canadian peacekeepers, which is located in Major's Hill Park, just off of Sussex Drive.

All of these memorials were designed and erected with the greatest artistic skill and sensitivity, and all are meant to ensure that their message of remembrance is expressed in a manner that will resonate down through the ages. However, we are also aware of the memorials that stand in villages, towns and cities in every area of our great country. I would think that all of us here today have stood before them on occasions that honoured Canadian veterans, and we did that just a few short days ago on November 11, Remembrance Day.

A number of these memorials were established at private expense and to this day are respectfully tended and cared for by those who understand the motto “lest we forget”. They remember, and do so in reverence and quiet dignity. These memorials serve as a reminder and challenge to all Canadians to appreciate the sacrifice that our veterans have made in the defence and promotion of the values that define our country, and by extension, ourselves.

Edmund Burke, the great English philosopher, once stated, “It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do, but what humanity, reason, and justice tell me I ought to do”.

His statement defines the very reasons why we went to the aid and protection of the people of Afghanistan. His statement defines Canada as a nation and speaks to why our nation is admired and trusted throughout the world. We have and always will defend the right to self-determination and of people's right to be free from tyranny and oppression. In defence of these principles and human justice, Canadians have always been in the vanguard.

The mission in Afghanistan has been the most significant Canadian military engagement since the Korean War. It has been the fourth most costly in terms of lives lost in our nation's military history after the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War.

Tragically, 158 Canadian Armed Forces members were killed and more than 2,050 members were injured. It also took the lives of five civilian Canadians, including a senior diplomat, two aid workers, an engineer, and a journalist. We remember their service.

We remember the sacrifice, and it is our fervent hope and prayer that those who continue to serve in Afghanistan until the mission is ended will come home safe and sound to their loved ones.

Mr. Speaker, hon. members, let us do the right thing. Let us act responsibly. I seek support of members to pass this motion and pave the way to ensure that the Canadians we call “soldiers” can reflect with pride and compassion on the effort and sacrifices of the Canadian men and women who served in Afghanistan.

Lest we forget.

Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act November 18th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I am very certain that we, in this House, can agree that it is time the first nations gained their independence from what is largely a paternalistic, almost feudal, system of governance, one predicated on an act that is almost obscene in its condescension and paternalism.

The Indian Act is archaic. Enacted in 1876, the act is more than 125 years old and is one of the oldest pieces of Canadian legislation. It has no place in contemporary Canadian society. The first nations deserve to have their own truly indigenous system of governance and are quite capable of doing so.

I am therefore proud to stand in full support of Bill C-428 and the remarkable efforts of the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River to bring this matter before the House.

I would point out to hon. members that Bill C-428 is not a full-scale repeal of the Indian Act. Instead, it seeks to amend and replace very specific outdated and antiquated clauses that are either not being enforced or are hindering first nations from achieving lasting cultural freedom and true economic and societal success.

Time and time again in this House, we speak about government accountability, accountability to all our citizens, our constituents, this House, and most critically, our great nation.

Our government remains committed to working with first nations to make changes to elements of the Indian Act that are barriers to first nations governance and economic growth.

Today in this House of Commons, which should and must be representative of all the people of Canada, I would like to speak about another type of accountability, the accountability of first nations governments to their own communities. Bill C-428 would propose to enhance the essential links between those who govern and those who are governed, forevermore.

First nations band councils do not currently have the same opportunities that urban and rural municipalities have to independently develop and enforce bylaws, which are essential for the safe and timely running of their communities.

Unfortunately, there is no requirement for first nations to make their bylaws publicly available to their members. As a result, for years, first nations residents and law enforcement officials have found it difficult to ascertain the specific nature and quality of the bylaws that exist in each individual first nation.

Moreover, in a true testament to the paternalism of the Indian Act, first nations band councils have had to seek out the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs to request approval for each and every bylaw they wish to pass into legislation.

This cumbersome process has caused many bands to wait lengthy periods of time for formal approval, or conversely, to discover that their bylaws have been declined. Other band councils have chosen to completely bypass the minister, and as a result do not openly inform their membership of those changes to band bylaws.

Currently, following the submission of new bylaws to the minister, there follows a 40-day period during which the law properly voted on and passed by the respective band council may be disallowed by the minister. No such legislation exists anywhere in any provincial or municipal act within mainstream Canadian society.

In practise, this process often stretches out to well beyond the 40-day limit, a result of the back and forth between the bureaucracy in Aboriginal Affairs and the band council on change requests to the already passed bylaw.

The proposed bill would eliminate the requirement for aboriginal councils to request approval from the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs for bylaws, which are formalized into law as a matter of course in the various other legislative bodies, be it at the borough, village, or municipal level, as they currently exist within greater Canadian society.

Bill C-428 would create a more transparent and accountable process for all first nations band members and would remove the department and the minister from the equation.

First nations councils would be required to publish their bylaws on their websites or via some readily accessible public communication channel, such as a band newsletter, a widely read local newspaper, television, radio, or some or all of the above.

All first nations communities deserve to have the opportunity to hold their councils fully accountable without external, and at times naive and unenlightened, oversight.

I believe that an integrated step in government accountability lies in providing the ability for all first nations to not only make their own bylaws but to publish them.

Bill C-428 would place the responsibility for bylaw-making powers squarely in the hands of the first nations communities, where it belongs. It would provide the grassroots membership of the bands with greater accountability from their band councils. The requirement to make each first nation bylaw publicly accessible would provide clarity for first nations residents, visitors, and law enforcement officials seeking to understand their collective community obligation to either abide by or enforce the laws within the community.

Bill C-428 would repeal sections of the Indian Act, which, though they might remain in law, are no longer enforceable or relevant. This redundancy confuses the real issues facing the Crown and the first nations. However, before we can proceed, we must remove this redundancy so that we, as a House, can begin to see the portions of the Indian Act that substantively affect the daily lives of the first nations people.

Bill C-428 would seek to bring the language and content of the existing statute into the modern era. By taking concrete steps to amend the language and remove outdated and irrelevant sections of the Indian Act, the bill would address some of the challenges facing first nations communities with regard to their political, social, and economic development.

Firm incremental changes such as these would truly pave the way for further legislation to be developed in collaboration with first nations legislation, which, indeed, would benefit all Canadians.

It is only by building on the goodwill of all Canadians, who I believe wish to see us work together on this momentous journey to bring all of our citizens to greater prosperity and a sense of self-worth, that we can begin to share the true potential of this great land we call Canada.

Justice October 31st, 2013

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are concerned about crime. That is why our government is taking action to keep our streets and communities safe. We have already passed over 30 measures to crack down on criminals. However, there is still much work to be done.

The number of sexual assaults in Regina has gone up by 17.3% over the last year and homicides have gone up by a shocking 50%. There is clearly much more work to be done.

We committed, in the Speech from the Throne, to end the misguided practice of automatically releasing serious offenders early and we committed to making life sentences mean life behind bars.

I call on the NDP and the Liberals to support these common sense measures to help us keep Canadians safe.

Agriculture October 23rd, 2013

Mr. Speaker, this past summer, my riding was host to a family farm celebration of the first anniversary of marketing freedom for farmers in western Canada after 70 years of single-desk control. Approximately 200 farmers gathered at the family farm of Jim and Levi Wood in Pense to celebrate being able to sell their grain at the time of their choosing.

The opposition projected doom and gloom upon the demise of the wheat board, but it appears that the vast majority of producers have experienced benefits. I have good reason to say that. According to the survey done by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, 81% of farmers reported a positive impact. One producer summed it up best when he said he “has better cash flow, logistics control, and the sky didn't fall.”

With marketing freedom, bumper crops and good prices over the long term, farmers have many reasons to smile across western Canada.