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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was actually.

Last in Parliament September 2014, as Conservative MP for Yellowhead (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 77% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Modernization Of House Of Commons Procedure March 21st, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question. I would just like to explain that in the time I have been here, in the time that I have witnessed, I do not have to go back very far to see that what the hon. member is saying about free votes has been stifled very significantly. I just have to go back one day, because yesterday we saw many of the backbench Liberals vote against a bill that they honestly believed should have been there. We know that from witnessing it on agriculture, as he may have believed.

What I am suggesting is that the free vote is a place to start. There has been a lot of good discussion here today and I appreciate all of it. I agree with the hon. member that there are some very good ideas about parliamentary reform. I also believe that it has to start with the free vote. If we did that, it would pave the way for everything to flow out of it. That is what I am suggesting.

Modernization Of House Of Commons Procedure March 21st, 2001

Mr. Speaker, we are having an interesting debate today and it is absolutely vital for me, as a new member in the House, to be able to speak to it.

The House of Commons, as far as I am concerned, has to return to the people of Canada. Parliamentary reform has taken far too long and is long over. The rights and responsibilities of members of parliament to represent the views of their constituents has disappeared. The government seems much more concerned about maintaining power than representing the will of the people.

The House of Commons is the people's parliament. It is the voice of the common people of Canada. We must make it responsive to the people of Canada.

I took my seat here only a few short months ago and I have already come to recognize, despite the efforts of hard-working individuals from all sides of the House, that this place is no more than a voting machine. Last night I witnessed 16 motions being voted on in a few minutes, rubber stamp laws that were mainly drawn up by unelected bureaucrats from the Prime Minister's office.

It is up to the members of parliament, the government and the opposition to take parliament back. We must take parliament back.

I came believing that I could offer some constructive input on pressing legislation and engage in serious debate on important issues. Instead, I saw an example yesterday of where we turned our back on a very important issue, an economic fibre of our country, the agriculture crisis. Many members were not even allowed to debate on it. However, we can go all night tonight on this one.

The mechanism of government was inherited by a proven British parliamentary system created by the Fathers of Confederation. They answered the great question: Should the chief power of the country be the king or parliament? They determined that they would be governed by the people and not by the will of one man. It is an illusion if one thinks that Canadians live in a democracy. We are controlled by the Prime Minister.

My grandfather fought in both world wars. He went to war defending the rights of democracy so that we could stand in the House today to debate. He fought for freedom. Young men and women, aged 18, 19 and 20 years old, gave up their lives so that we could be here to debate. It is sad for me to think that the people of Canada have been conquered by a dictator without a shot being fired.

We can change that by free votes. We can work toward reforming parliament. There are a lot of things that have been talked about today, all of them very worthy of note, but for me the greatest change would come with the free vote of every member in the House, because it is up to us to vote the will of the people who sent us here.

Have governments forgotten that only four short months ago the citizens of the country elected each one of us into our seats? In four short months we have forgotten who we represent. We need to shift how government works and to be responsive to those who put us here.

As I see it, we are bribing Canadians with their own tax dollars, and there is wasteful spending on unnecessary programs and unaccountable government. Cabinet is barking to the tune of the bureaucrats and special interest groups. Free votes will set us on a path for parliamentary reform and that is a path that we need to get on really quickly as far as I am concerned.

A real interesting concept is that government members believe that if the government introduces a bill that is defeated or if an opposition bill, motion or amendment is passed it would bring down the government and they would have to resign. It is beyond me where that idea comes from. It is archaic.

The Prime Minister coerces backbenchers into believing that voting the will of the constituents would bring the government down. That would not bring the government down at all. Voting for their constituencies and constituents would make the government stronger and Canada stronger.

Liberal backbenchers have been forced into something that the Prime Minister wants. He has been bullying them around, sort of like a schoolyard bully, but bullies are only powerful as long as no one stands up to them and no one really challenges them or thinks around their bullying.

I know that the hon. members across the way are truly hard working people. I have talked to many of them. Now is their chance to stand up. Not many of them but a few of them are in the House right now. They can talk to their colleagues and do something for Canada that is beyond anything they have done to this point.

There are 301 members elected to the House of Commons. We have the power to implement change. We set the rules. We were entrusted to make the laws of this country. I am not asking members to vote for something they do not believe in, but I will not be holding my breath that the Prime Minister will come through that door any time soon, unmuzzle the backbenchers over there and allow free votes in this place.

As democratically elected members of parliament, we do have the power to make the change. We could make it as early as tomorrow morning, if we had the political will to do so, by passing a motion that we truly have free votes in this place. All it would take is 30 Liberal backbenchers to live up to their potential and to influence government in a way they have never influenced it before. That is all it would take. We could change Canada and never go back. That is how easy it could be.

I do not believe in blaming the bureaucrats. I believe it is our duty. We need to do something about it and we need to do it soon. Backbench MPs have that potential to be more than just voting machines. I would challenge them to do it, to be more, because they owe it to themselves and they owe it to this country.

I am proud that I can represent the people of Yellowhead who have chosen me to be here as their representative in the House of Commons. They trust me to inform them of the problems, seek their opinions and vote their will. After being in parliament for only a few months, I have already realized that my ability to represent my constituents has been hampered by the Prime Minister's obsession for power. If he were really interested in creating the legacy he talks about, he would implement parliamentary reform himself. However, we do not have to wait for the Prime Minister. We can implement it now. We have the power to do it and we should.

Right after the election of November 27, 2000, I came to Ottawa with a few MPs for orientation. They were from all sides of the House. We were excited. We had just been elected. We had just been given the opportunity to change Canada, to lead Canada, to make a difference in this country. I was excited about it and I am still excited about it. As I talked to the other MPs, they said they were excited about the concept of a free vote. They thought it was something they could and should do.

It is interesting now to see how disappointing it is that they have fallen victim to the system and have thrown away their ideals and their principles. If these walls could speak, they would tell us about the great leaders who have sat in these same chairs and who have fought for a better Canada, who have done what was right for their constituencies.

I am calling on every member of the House to live up to the vision of the founding fathers and to vote for a motion to allow free votes, because members owe it to this country. It is the greatest country in the world and we need to protect it. We can do it and we should do it now.

Nursing March 15th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, we must make Canada the first choice of our graduating nurses. Canada has become a subsidized training ground for U.S. hospitals.

Recently the Globe & Mail featured a series of articles on the brain drain of thousands of nurses headed for greener pastures south of the border. An estimated 20,000 Canadian nurses are working in the United States today. At least 10% of our graduating nurses and hundreds of experienced nurses have headed south annually. The crisis will only get worse.

Estimates show that Canada will be facing a shortfall of 113,000 nurses within a decade. Stressful working conditions, rising tuition and the brain drain are all contributing to the growing nursing shortfall.

With this critical shortage, it is small wonder that Canadians lack the confidence in the future of our health care system.

The lack of foresight by the government has caused this crisis. The government must acknowledge the crisis, take some immediate steps to prevent dangerous future shortages and implement a long term plan to keep Canadian health care professionals at home.

Reproductive Technologies March 2nd, 2001

Mr. Speaker, that was really interesting. We have no problem with the funding going there, but this is purely and clearly an example of cart before the horse mentality.

Genomics is a highly complex activity and one that raises pressing ethical issues about animal and human cloning, about reproductive technology, and about using human embryos for research.

Canadians want assurances that genetic research and its applications do not get out of hand. What accountability measures are in place to ensure that federal funding of genetic research respects the concerns of Canadians?

Reproductive Technologies March 2nd, 2001

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday the Minister of Industry threw an additional $140 million into genetic research. Canadians would expect the expenditure of millions of dollars to accompany clear guidelines of accountability measures. We remember HRDC.

Canada currently lacks a regulatory framework in reproductive genetic technologies. Why would the government sink millions of dollars into Genome research in the absence of such a regulatory framework?

The Environment February 20th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, this is an interesting day. We blew it on Cheviot, but it is our lucky day because we have another chance. Just up the road from Cheviot there is the Grande Cache coal mine that is going through exactly the same thing in trying to reopen an existing mine and trying to complete an environmental study at the same time so that miners can go back to work.

The government has a chance to streamline that process and give a good project the Canadian advantage. Will the government show some leadership and get rid of the red tape so that Canada is open for business in the 21st century?

The Environment February 20th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, the Cheviot coal mine in my riding is still waiting for an answer from the government with regard to environmental assessment. It has been waiting for five years.

It was approved in 1997. Appeal after appeal has delayed it, so much so that the buyers now have torn up their contracts and have gone elsewhere looking for coal. Twelve hundred jobs have been lost in my riding. It sets a bad precedence and puts a chill in Canadian development.

Will the minister today commit to the House that he will streamline the government's red tape before any more jobs are lost in Canada?

Health February 8th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I am assured of that. The minister said he would call an audit and get to the bottom of the matter.

Yesterday it was revealed in court that there may be no books to audit. The minister's own auditors knew that there were irregularities in the Fontaine Foundation books back as far as 1995.

It has been six years, $37 million, over 70 vacations, and several audits later. How much longer will it be before the minister takes responsibility for mismanagement within his own department? How much longer will he take?

Health February 8th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, several senior health bureaucrats, including the assistant deputy minister, knew beforehand that last fall 70 staff members from the federally funded Fontaine Foundation were going on an all expense paid Caribbean cruise. It is not the first trip members of this foundation have taken.

The health minister waited for this issue to become public before trying to save his political face by calling for an audit. The foundation was flagged for mismanagement for many years. How high does the mismanagement go within his own department?

Food Freedom Day February 6th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, today is Food Freedom Day, which means that it takes only 37 days for Canadians to earn enough money to pay for their food supply for an entire year. I salute the farmers who provide Canada with the safest, highest quality and most affordable food supply in the world.

However I must raise an important point: the increasing gap between what consumers pay and the money that actually reaches the farmer's pocket. Do we realize that by January 9 we have paid the farmer for a year's worth of food? Nine cents is all that a farmer receives from a $1.50 loaf of bread.

The agriculture industry is the third largest employer in Canada. When it is hurting, all of Canada is hurting. It saddens me to say that the only place there will be starvation this year is down on the family farm.

Farmers have built this country. Canada must not turn her back on them in their time of need. The government needs to recognize these facts and be willing to take some action.