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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

Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act June 6th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, the plan is in place. There have been six or seven years of consultation. Not all reserves will fit into the plan, so the plan will be modified to fit the reserve. That is a very important point.

As my colleague said, training programs have been offered to people to learn how to handle waste water and potable water. Those programs are in place and working as we speak.

I do not know what my colleague was referring to when he said that nothing was in place. Everything is in place, and it is all working.

Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act June 6th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed my colleague's comments. They were rather amusing.

He suggested that nothing has been done. Let me reiterate that there is $330.8 million over two years, a dedicated plan to deal with contaminated water and waste water and another plan to deal with potable water, all in partnership with the first nations.

Speaking of consultation, there have been seven years of consultation with first nations people designed to help facilitate their initial water plan program and then add to it. The basic design gives them a chance to look at it, and it gives them a chance to expand it and make it their own. It is not one-size-fits-all. Each will be developed according to their own requirements.

Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act June 6th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Mississauga.

Before I get into my remarks, I had better take a minute to help my hon. colleague across the floor, because unfortunately, she has the facts all fouled up. There are no facts in what she is talking about.

Let us take a minute to look at the time frame. There was a comment made that nothing has been done on this file for years and years. The truth of the matter is that the file became very active in the summer of 2006. We are now in 2013. I respectfully suggest that there has been a fair time frame between 2006 and 2013.

From February to March 2009, there was a series of engagement sessions with first nations communities to look at their problems and at anticipated solutions. In the fall and winter of 2009-10, government officials met with first nations chiefs to discuss their needs with respect to water and waste water on their reserves. From October 2010 to October 2011, without prejudice, first nations organizations addressed various concerns about water.

I mention water, because the hon. member across the way seemed to think that we did not do anything with this file, and nothing could be further from the truth.

There was also mention of there being no funding. Let us look at that for a minute.The government has committed $330.8 million over two years through economic action plan 2012. That plan runs, as members know, into 2013, as well. Therefore, there is indeed money for this project.

As we go further into 2014, the Government of Canada will have invested $3 billion to support delivery of drinking water and waste water for first nations. I respectfully submit for members that this is a sizable piece of change. Obviously, the government is taking water and waste water very seriously.

I stand today to declare my support for Bill S-8, the safe drinking water for first nations act. The proposed legislation would lead to further progress on the remarkable collaborative effort that has been under way for more than seven years to improve safe drinking water in first nations communities.

As the members of the House recognize, although considerable progress has been made to date, much work remains to be done to ensure that the residents of first nations communities have access to safe, clean and reliable drinking water. I am convinced that the key to safeguarding drinking water is to develop regulations using the same type of collaborative approach that has produced so much progress in recent years.

In 2006, the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations agreed to a joint plan of action for first nations' drinking water. At that time, the parties committed to five specific action plans. They are, in no particular order, but all of them important, the following: implementing a clear protocol on water standards; ensuring that water systems operators are properly trained; making immediate fixes to water systems in 21 priority communities; establishing an expert panel to identify options for an effective regulatory regime for drinking water in first nations communities; and issuing regular updates on progress made through the plan of action. This collaborative plan inspired significant results and led to a further commitment of funds in an increased effort to make tangible, long-term progress.

For example, thanks to the government's ongoing investment in the circuit rider training program, the number of trained and certified operators, between 2010 and 2012, increased from 51% to 60%. First nations' drinking water systems have enjoyed this increased certification. For first nations' waste water systems, the number has risen from 42% to 54%.

The expert panel created under the plan of action staged a series of town hall sessions across Canada and identified three legislative options. We are talking about water and waste water, and as members in the House here this afternoon are aware, the focus is very much on targets.

One of these options, the delivery of regulations on a region-by-region basis, forms the basis of the legislative situation now before us. To improve the original version of that option, the Government of Canada has published a discussion paper and has met with representatives of first nations groups.

The government has been accused of not consulting, but here we are, a year later, after holding a series of 13 engagement sessions and hearing from more than 500 members of first nations. Throughout these sessions, the participants agreed on the urgent need to address health, safety and environmental concerns related to drinking water in first nations communities.

In 2010, the Government of Canada introduced a different version of Bill S-8, which died on the order paper at the dissolution of Parliament in March 2011.

I respectfully submit that the government has indeed paid close attention to waste water and water management on reserves. It has supplied dollars for the development of the programs. It has supplied training for the development of the programs. It has put in action a plan that ensures that the government has made a commitment to first nations for water and waste water, and it will continue that commitment over a period of years until all first nations communities have the same water and waste water as all the rest of Canada.

First Nations Elections Act May 28th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, our government has been working closely with first nation organizations to bring about real improvements to the election process for first nations.

We know that a strong election system will help first nations create the political stability necessary for solid business investment, long-term planning and relationship-building that will lead to increased economic development and job creation for first nations communities.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development please explain how this legislation is different from the archaic election system in the Indian Act?

Canadian Museum of History Act May 28th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, we are going to have an expanding museum. It is important for us to note that the government has increased funding to the museum, up to a 20% increase over what we supplied for the last budget year, so there is a definite amount of money going into it for planning for the 150th anniversary of Canada. We know that the museum will take a lead role in setting up all the activities for the 150th. There is money set aside to support that, without additional money being earmarked. It is going to be handled through the internal economy of the budget as it exists today.

Canadian Museum of History Act May 28th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I am not prepared to quote chapter and verse as to where this issue rises, but I will share this with the member. It is now in place. The new museum will indeed have curatorial opportunities like the old museum did. There is no change. It is a lateral kind of move, so to speak.

Canadian Museum of History Act May 28th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, the word “autonomous” means that they can do it on their own, and if the minister granted autonomy for the staff to do that, then what is the question? They asked for autonomy and they have autonomy. I think that is fair enough.

Canadian Museum of History Act May 28th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Ajax—Pickering.

The establishment of the Canadian museum of history will provide Canadians with an opportunity to learn about and appreciate the richness of Canadian history. I will quote from an editorial in the Winnipeg Free Press on October 22, 2012:

The new vision reflects the country's growing self-awareness and the realization that a knowledge of history is the basis of an informed citizenry.

I would like to continue by addressing some of the statements that have been made by members of the opposition during this debate. This debate is important and if we are to make good use of our time it is important that we clarify some of these key issues.

First and perhaps most important, there is the issue of the need for independence for the new museum. This has been brought up several times during the debate. Let me be clear. The arm's-length nature of the museum is protected both by its status as a federal crown corporation and because section 27(1) of the Museums Act clearly states that no directive can be given to a national museum with respect to cultural activities and programs for the public and research. Despite these facts, it has been suggested in this House that the government is “wading into academia”, proposing a generic narrative of our history and interfering with the work of experts.

This presumes that the accomplished staff, management and board of trustees at the Canadian Museum of Civilization would let this happen.

I will quote Michael Bliss, a prominent Canadian historian, who stated:

Look at the museum’s record. It has been run professionally and governments have not told it what exhibits to have. I expect that the highly professional management at arm's length from the government will carry on.

The governance structure of the museum will remain intact. The Canadian War Museum will continue to be an affiliate. The corporation will continue to exist, but with a new name and a new, clearly focused mandate. There will be no interruption of the corporation's ability to operate and no impact on the status of the employees, officers and trustees. I am confident that the management and staff that made the CMC a great museum will make the Canadian museum of history an even greater museum.

The museum will continue to host major international exhibits. It is not true, as stated by one of my colleagues, that the museum will no longer have a mandate to share its wealth and knowledge with the rest of the world. The mandate of the new museum is explicit. One of the purposes of the new museum is to “enhance their awareness of world history and cultures”. This specifically authorizes the museum to continue to offer other programming with a more international flavour, such as international exhibits.

It is not true, as stated by a member of the opposition, that the museum's mandate no longer includes the obligation to maintain collections and conduct research. The powers of the new museum are unchanged from those of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, including the power to maintain collections and conduct research.

The museum will increase its activities, working closely with a network of Canadian museums not just to make the national collection available through loans and travelling exhibitions but also to provide a permanent venue, 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 must also point out that the changes to the mandate proposed for the Canadian Museum of Civilization are completely consistent with the strategic directions first approved by the museum's board of trustees in 2009, in particular the following direction, which states:

...broaden its national collections and its curatorial research to better reflect and present national narratives, symbols and achievements through the human, social, cultural, military and political history dimensions of Canadian life.

I am excited about the new Canadian museum of history and I encourage all of my colleagues to support the passage of the legislation that will make it a reality.

In closing, I will once again refer to Michael Bliss, who says “it is very exciting that Canada's major museum will now be explicitly focused on Canada's history”.

Jumpstart Day May 24th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to recognize Jumpstart Day, which is held on May 25.

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities is a community-based program that helps financially disadvantaged youth participate in organized sport and recreation by covering costs of registration, equipment and transportation.

Jumpstart reinvests 100% of donations received from customers into the local community.

Under the leadership of the Minister of State for Sport, our government has been a major supporter of Canadian Tire Jumpstart. Since the program's inception in 2005, it has helped more than 582,000 children.

Jumpstart works with its network of local chapters and community partners to identify kids with the greatest need in their community.

I ask members to join me in recognizing the great work that Jumpstart does for families across our great country.

Canadian Museum of History Act May 22nd, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Yukon.

It is nice to see full benches on the other side enjoying a fun-filled evening. Certainly, we are pleased that they are here. It would be rather quiet without them.

I am glad to speak on Bill C-49, the Canadian museum of history act. The establishment of the museum would provide Canadians with an unprecedented opportunity to learn about and appreciate the richness of Canada's history.

Much consultation has happened and information was gathered up before the construction on this building. There was face-to-face consultation, a web page was set up and there were hundreds of hits on the page with ideas on what the museum should house and how it would be arranged. The consultation was extensive.

The legislation would change the name and mandate of the Canadian Museum of Civilization and begin a transformation that would be completed over the next five years in the lead-up to Canada's 150th birthday in 2017. Let me be clear. Our government believes in our national museums and we recognize the tremendous value that 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.

The Canadian Museum of Civilization is an institution to be proud of. It is one of Canada's most popular museums. It is important to understand that this is not the end of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. It is the beginning. It would be given a new name and indeed a new mandate.

Let me read the current mandate of the Canadian Museum of Civilization:

...to increase...appreciation and respect for human cultural achievements and human behaviour by establishing [and] maintaining...a collection of objects of historical or cultural interest, with special but not exclusive reference to Canada—

This is a mandate that states its collections do not have exclusive reference to Canada.

Our government is proposing a new mandate for this museum. Let me read it as it is described in the legislation. It states:

...to enhance Canadians’ knowledge, understanding and appreciation of events, experiences, people and objects that reflect and have shaped Canada’s history and identity, and also to enhance their awareness of world history and cultures.

This new mandate would allow the museum to create a national narrative of the history of Canada for all Canadians.

We should think of this initiative as a rejuvenation of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. This significant investment would allow a major renovation of more than 43,000 square feet of permanent gallery space, some of which has been in place since 1989, in order to present a comprehensive and chronological history of Canada to Canadians and to the world.

It is important to note that this legislation would not affect the internal workings of the museum. The museum's board would remain intact. The Canadian War Museum would continue to be an affiliate.