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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

Petitions October 22nd, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions on behalf of the residents of Regina, who expressed deep concern about the continuing threat posed by nuclear weapons across the globe.

The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to call upon national governments to negotiate a treaty banning nuclear weapons, leading to their complete elimination.

Fighting Foreign Corruption Act June 18th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my colleague's presentation. I have a couple of questions for him to consider.

If the member is aware of all these people who are in the corruption game and doing bad things, why is that not reported to the police so the officials can take the desirable action?

I also wonder, when he says that all this corruption is taking place in foreign countries, who made us the government of foreign countries that is going to clear up all this corruption, when it happens, wherever it happens.

The New Democrats showed us where they stood as far as the growth of Canada was concerned, and there was not any corruption. It was a trip to the U.S. to convince the Americans not become involved in engaging Canada as a working nation, which I found difficult to understand.

When it comes right down to it, I am looking at the word “convictions”, only three convictions since 1999. I wonder if the hon. member thinks we will just gather up some buddies and go and get some guys and get some convictions today because it is conviction day in the old corral. It does not work—

Canadian Museum of History Act June 17th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, to answer my hon. member from across the floor, some dollars would be earmarked for the exchange of artifacts between museums. That amount has not been determined. Restructuring of existing dollars may well handle the whole operation without any further drain on the taxpayer.

The museums themselves often stage various fundraising events that make a lot a money. I am always surprised how small communities of 700 or 800 people are able to raise $10,000. There are avenues to explore other than just government grants. I am sure they would do that.

Canadian Museum of History Act June 17th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, as my colleague said, 150 years are fast approaching. A couple of years from now we will be there.

In the riding of Palliser there are many museums. One of the finest is in Moose Jaw. It is air conditioned and heated to the tune that it will house any kind of painting. It is the only facility like that between Toronto and Vancouver. There are many opportunities for other smaller museums to enjoy borrowing a display from larger museums for a number of days, returning it and taking another display. I am thinking of those in Assiniboia, Rockland and Avonlea, which are small but unique museums.

That 150th anniversary will be an exciting time, and we are looking forward to it.

Canadian Museum of History Act June 17th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the hon. member asked about the chaotic development of a museum. I am not quite sure what the question was. He kind of rambled around from the history of long ago to the history of today and which venue of history we would believe in.

However, there is only one venue to believe in, and that is the historical truth of Canada. We will rely on museums that are in existence and we will rely on expertise that can help us develop those museums further. As I said in my speech, we have dedicated 7,500 extra square feet to do just those kinds of things.

Canadian Museum of History Act June 17th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak in support of Bill C-49, which would create the new Canadian museum of history. The Canadian museum of history would provide the public with the opportunity to appreciate how Canada's identity has been shaped over the course of its history. Canadians deserve a national museum that tells our stories and presents our country's treasures to the world.

The Canadian museum of history would strive to be a national and international destination, but would also focus on its role as a leader, a hub in the network of Canadian history museums and a centre of expertise. The Canadian Museum of Civilization has always had an international role as a knowledge-creating institution. This will not change. Indeed, the museum will continue to conduct scientific research and share its expertise on collections, management, research and conservation with other museums around the world.

It is important that we all understand that the focus of research in the archaeology, history and ethnology sections of the Canadian Museum of Civilization has always been the advancement of Canada's human and military history. The new mandate confirms that focus and nothing in this legislation will diminish that role in any way.

In fact, it is expected that the museum would create its activities working closely with the network of Canadian museums to make its national collection available through loans and travelling exhibitions. It would also provide a permanent venue and an additional 7,500 square feet at the new museum for other Canadian museums to showcase their collections and contribute to the national narrative.

I am pleased that these partnerships would do four things. First, they would further the collective telling of Canadian history. Second, they would leverage strengths of partners, for example, in the area of loans expertise and exhibitions. Third, they would focus on gaps in the collection. Finally, they would achieve financial benefits, such as cost-sharing and joint initiatives. Partnerships would promote collaboration and co-productions, the sharing of artifacts, the development of online projects and the exchange of professional expertise.

I would like to outline how the museum plans to establish three levels of partnership. These plans include a history museum network, a museum affiliate program and formalized partnerships with federal organizations and other key public and private institutions.

First, the history museum network would consist of several of the largest museums in the country, museums that have significant capacity and have the mandate to cover the history of Canada. There will be many advantages to members of this network, including a venue at the new museum where exhibitions and programs produced by members can be showcased, the ability to receive exhibitions and programs developed by the Canadian museum of history, opportunities for co-production of exhibitions and programs, visual brand association and identity and links to the Canadian museum of history and Canadian War Museum websites.

Second, the museum affiliate program would consist of a group of generally smaller institutions across the country that, subject to criteria and standards, would be able to borrow or co-operate on collections, programs and exhibits. These advantages to affiliates would include, but not be limited to, the ability to borrow collections, programs and travelling exhibits from the Canadian museum of history, the ability to partner with the Canadian museum of history as a research affiliate and opportunities to showcase affiliate-produced exhibitions at the Canadian museum of history.

I am particularly excited that the smaller museums will be able to borrow collections at the national level. This means that these exhibits, which display our rich history, will travel across the country. Also, affiliates will be invited to an annual affiliates conference in conjunction with the Canadian Museums Association, which will be an opportunity to share expertise and ideas that will benefit all.

Third, the Canadian museum of history would have formalized partnerships with key public and private organizations. It would play a leadership role as the hub in a network of Canadian history museums.

I am pleased to relay that all of the partner museums will have a role to play in shaping and reshaping the network over time. It will be a collaborative effort with local museums being able to contribute and share knowledge.

The museum network will be able to take coordinated, common approaches to the history and exhibits of key moments in Canadian history. These moments will not be defined at the national level, but rather defined by local museums from one end of the country to the other.

The years leading up to 2017 will provide many great opportunities for our history museums across the country to celebrate Canadian history. The millions of people who visit Canadian museums of history will not only see exhibits created by staff at that museum, but they will see exhibits created by museums of all sizes in all part of Canada. They will, perhaps for the first time, be presented with key historical events, people, experiences and objects that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.

We all have museums in our ridings. In many ridings, museums are housed in an old mill or factory, or maybe an old school or train station. In these museums, there are often not any employees, only volunteers. These are people who may not be recognized around the world for their expertise in museums, but who are certainly recognized in their communities for their dedication to doing their best to conserve and display objects for future generations.

The network of Canadian history museums is just one of the reasons why I urge my colleagues to support Bill C-49. This is one of the most important bills before us.

Our government believes in our national museums and we recognize the tremendous value they hold for all Canadians. As we approach Canada's 150th birthday, it is an unprecedented opportunity to celebrate our history and those achievements that define who we are as Canadians.

First Nations Elections Act June 11th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, that is a very insightful question. It is hard for me to know how to respond. As my colleague said, every act the government brings forward to assist first nations with their issues and concerns as bands and communities is voted down by the opposition. If it were not for strong government support, there would not be any of the improvements we now see in a lot of band councils that are moving forward with their issues, with help from this government. I do not know what the answer is to that.

First Nations Elections Act June 11th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, we first have to understand that this act would give first nations an element of choice. There would be no gun to anyone's head to join. It would be totally up to first nation communities to decide whether they wanted to be part and parcel of the act.

Both the AMC and the APC have recommended the development of new and optional first nations elections. They want to provide a term of office of four years rather than two. They want to allow first nations to line up their terms of office and have a common election day. They want to provide more processes for the nomination of candidates. They want to provide a mail-in ballot system that is less susceptible to fraud and abuse. They want to remove the role of the minister in receiving, investigating and deciding election appeals, and they want to define and set out election offences and penalties that would reflect this interpretation of the act.

It is an act of choice; it is not one of dictatorial direction. Each community would have its own election to decide whether it wanted to belong to this new act.

First Nations Elections Act June 11th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, today I have the privilege of speaking in support of Bill S-6, the first nations elections act. Before I start, I would note that I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member for Winnipeg South.

The bill we have before us today is the result of a comprehensive process of engagement that stretches back more than four years. I think that raises a question as to how fast we are trying to ram something through the House, when its birthdate was four years ago.

First nations community leaders and members across Canada have all had input on the bill. The engagement that took place over these years, led by first nations organizations with the support of the government, has allowed Bill S-6 to be inspired and developed, in large part by the people it would affect most, first nations community members.

It is the participation of first nations individuals and organizations that I would like to highlight today. In particular, I would mention the determination of the two first nations organizations, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, under the leadership of former Grand Chief Ron Evans, and the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs.

Individually at first, and then together with the support of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Atlantic policy congress, this legislation evolved.

These organizations began their work in their home regions. Convinced of the need for electoral reform, they consulted at length with local leaders and communities. The quality and scope of regional consultations, and the similarity of their recommendations, encouraged the government to ask the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Atlantic policy congress to carry on the process and jointly lead a national engagement.

The aim of the Canada-wide effort was to share the recommendations of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Atlantic policy congress and to seek the input and support of other first nation leaders and organizations across the country. With the support of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs focused its efforts in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, while the Atlantic policy congress covered Ontario and Quebec.

If the opposition should question the extent of this engagement, l would suggest that they look no further than British Columbia. Former Grand Chief Ron Evans of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and his team, sat down first with the chief negotiators at the First Nations Summit in North Vancouver. The team then met with the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council on Vancouver Island. They appeared before the British Columbia First Nations Summit assembly, and the Chiefs' Council of the union of British Columbia chiefs.

I would also add that the consultations undertaken by both the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Atlantic policy congress included more than just chiefs and band council leaders. From the very beginning, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Atlantic policy congress reached out to individual band members across Canada. Their concern was not just with the steps in the engagement process that underpin the first nations elections act, but also the tools and mechanisms of engagement.

With dedicated modules on their respective websites, they outlined the recommendations and provided the reasoning behind each of them. With the addition of a simple feedback form, it was possible for individuals to express their ideas and thoughts about the initiative being proposed.

The government placed high value on this feedback during development of Bill S-6. The first nations elections act is not only informed by engagement, it is a stellar example of the benefits of engagement. It is an example of how collaborative efforts among first nations people, their leaders, their representative organizations and the federal government can devise solutions and achieve common objectives. It demonstrates the clarity that emerges from an open and authentic sharing of ideas.

Consider the consensus that flowed from this national effort. First nations people and their communities across Canada identified the same weaknesses in the Indian Act election system. Both groups of individuals found, first of all, that two-year terms of office were not satisfactory. A loose nomination system was not good. A mail-in ballot system was open to abuse and no defined offences and penalties were in place at that time.

The recommendations presented to the department, in 2010, by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Atlantic policy congress are astonishingly similar. As a result, there is widespread agreement on the path to an effective and meaningful electoral reform agreement, which is now before the chamber in the form of Bill S-6. It is reform that would provide first nations with a solid legislative alternative to the Indian Act. It would create a truly democratic, open and transparent electoral system that would benefit first nations communities.

I also want to draw attention to the concurrent and complementary work of the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples. The committee's report, entitled “First Nations Elections: The Choice is Inherently Theirs”, is based on testimony delivered at approximately 20 public hearings in British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario. These hearings ensured even greater opportunities for concerned citizens to weigh in on issues related to first nations electoral reform. In addition, these hearings and the committee's detailed report further legitimized the comprehensive process of enlightenment and engagement at the heart of the legislation.

Bill S-6 responds directly to a recommendation provided by the Senate committee and to several recommendations provided by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Atlantic policy congress. It is informed by the feedback obtained from national engagement efforts. One noteworthy recommendation was for longer terms of office. With this longer term, first nations governments will be much more stable and better positioned, to not only work on their long-term plans, but to solidify other aspects of their governments as well.

Once the whole package is examined, I am sure the House will agree they can effectively hear and decide upon first nations elections as well. Indeed, the first nations elections act would honour the process by which it was created. It is legislation that results from a progressive electoral reform initiated to address weaknesses in the Indian Act and to bring modern governance to first nations.

Our government has brought forward this legislation as a legislative alternative, particularly for those first nations currently operating under the Indian Act It would allow them to hold elections under a legislative system that is strong and modern, and comparable to municipal, provincial and federal election systems in Canada. I commend the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Atlantic policy congress for their efforts on behalf of all first nations communities, and for showing all Canadians how an open, collaborative and participatory process can help propel a matter as complex and fundamental to our democracy as electoral reform.

I am counting on all members of the House to show their support for the hard work of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Atlantic policy congress by the adoption of Bill S-6.

Petitions June 11th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I have three petitions in support of Bill S-10 signed by residents of Regina and the surrounding area.

The petitioners note that cluster munitions cause a great deal of harm to civilians and that Canada is among the 110 nations of the world which have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

The petitioners call for an amendment to Bill S-10 to close the loopholes and make it clear that no Canadian should ever be involved in using cluster munitions, for any reason. They also ask that Bill S-10 mention the positive obligations that Canada has assumed by signing the Convention on Cluster Munitions.