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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was offences.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Fundy Royal (New Brunswick)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Blue Sky Policy October 31st, 2012

moved:

Motion No. 387

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should further the success of its 2006 Blue Sky Policy, which has resulted in great progress in increasing the freedom of movement of people and goods, and should: (a) seek additional opportunities to create jobs in various sectors of the economy and enhance trade and tourism; (b) work with important stakeholders to support the Blue Sky Policy; (c) recognize that increased competition benefits Canadian consumers; and (d) seek more air service agreements to serve Canada's consumer, commerce, trade and investment interests.

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak to my private member's motion, Motion No. 387, blue sky policy. I thank the member of Parliament for Saint John for seconding this motion. It is an important motion for all of Canada.

I am here today to seek all party support and I think this is a measure that all parties can support. The motion calls on our Conservative government to continue with the implementation of our 2006 blue sky policy, Canada's international air policy.

Mr. Speaker, you already read the motion, but I want to repeat, for the benefit of those listening, what the motion specifically calls for. It states:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should further the success of its 2006 Blue Sky Policy, which has resulted in great progress in increasing the freedom of movement of people and goods, and should: (a) seek additional opportunities to create jobs in various sectors of the economy and enhance trade and tourism; (b) work with important stakeholders to support the Blue Sky Policy; (c) recognize that increased competition benefits Canadian consumers; and (d) seek more air service agreements to serve Canada's consumer, commerce, trade and investment interests.

The blue sky policy guides our government's approach to the negotiation of international air transport agreements. Without these agreements, airlines cannot offer scheduled services between countries. Scheduled international air services are an important generator of economic activity not only for the Canadian air industry but also other sectors of our economy, for example, tourism. Since the inception of the blue sky policy, our government has negotiated new or expanded air transport agreements covering close to 70 countries around the world. These agreements create more air service options not only for the travelling public but also the business and tourism sectors.

Before blue sky, Canada had an open agreement with two partners. We now have open agreements covering 43 countries. I will briefly explain the blue sky policy and why scheduled air service agreements are important.

Under the general legal framework of the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation, countries negotiate bilateral air transport agreements to allow their respective airlines to offer scheduled air services between their territories. This is required since, under this convention, every country is sovereign over its airspace. These agreements typically grant operating rights, such as destinations to be served, number of airlines allowed to operate and frequency of flights. They also include safety and security provisions and important doing-business rules. The air industry is a vital part of the fundamental infrastructure of Canada's economy, like the banking or telecommunications sectors, for example. In Canada, the air carrier industry generates 42,000 direct jobs and another 20,000 in the rest of the supply chain.

Studies have shown that one new international flight a week to a Canadian airport can generate up to 100 jobs and several million dollars in employment income on a yearly basis. In 2011, the air transport mode carried 78.4 million passengers and 739,000 tonnes of freight. Air services also support our trade objectives. For instance, in 2011, Canada's total trade with the rest of the world was $342 billion, of which $117 billion were exports and $225 billion were imports. Canadian and foreign airlines carried $110 billion worth of goods, mostly high-value perishable or time-sensitive goods.

As former minister of state responsible for tourism, I am particularly aware of the importance of direct air connectivity to our key markets as an element of success for our tourism industry. These key priority markets include the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, India, China, Japan and South Korea. As we work hard to market Canada in these countries through the Canadian Tourism Commission and provincial tourism departments, it is important to recognize that, without direct flights, tourists are more likely to go elsewhere.

Back in 2006, our government decided to modernize Canada's international air policy in recognition of the important role that our aviation industry plays in our economy. We consulted broadly, not only airlines and airports, but also trade groups, consumer groups, tourism associations, provinces and regional communities. We listened and delivered the right policy for Canada, one that takes into account the particularities of our geography, our population, our air industry and our economic needs.

The blue sky policy was adopted in November 2006. It calls for a more proactive approach to the negotiation of new or expanded air transport agreements and, in particular, the negotiation of reciprocal open skies type agreements when in the overall interests of the country. The policy has several objectives. It aims to: provide a framework that encourages long-term and sustainable competition in international air service; provide opportunities for Canadian airlines to grow internationally; enable Canadian airports to market themselves with more flexibility; support our international trade objectives; and support a safe, secure, efficient, economically healthy and viable Canadian air transportation industry.

While these agreements are primarily driven by aviation considerations, they have economic benefits that go beyond this sector of our economy. Consequently, it is important for the policy to be implemented with the appropriate degree of input from relevant stakeholders.

This is why Canadian airports and airlines, as well as the tourism sector under the federal tourism strategy, are regularly consulted on negotiation priorities. When contemplating a larger negotiation, such as the one that led to our historic comprehensive air transport agreement with the European Union, consultations are even broader.

Federal departments and agencies, such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Canadian Transportation Agency, the Department of Finance, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration and the Canada Border Services Agency, are also consulted on issues related to the implementation of the policy. The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, in particular, provides information related to foreign policy and international trade considerations.

In its May 2012 report on Brazil, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade commended our government on its consultation process and stated that it was the best practice for other federal departments to emulate. That was the transport department.

I am proud to say that since our Conservative launched the blue sky policy, we have signed new or expanded air transport agreements covering close to 70 countries around the world. In 2011 alone, we expanded agreements with Brazil, Mexico, Japan and China. These efforts have resulted in new air services being launched to the benefit of travellers, shippers, as well as the business and tourism sectors.

Blue sky is the right policy for Canada. It supports our air industry as well as our international trade, tourism and economic development objectives. It also promotes competition and helps to produce more choice for Canadian consumers. This is precisely why I tabled Motion No. 387 last June.

The results continue to come in. For example, in the 2006-10 period, the number of international destinations accessible from Canada increased by 9%. The annual number of direct international flights has increased by 43% overall and Canadian airlines have increased the total number of outbound international flights by 56%.

It is for all those reasons that I invite all members of the House to support Motion No. 387, so that this blue sky policy can continue to produce benefits for all Canadians.

Financial Literacy Leader Act October 31st, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for bringing forward this very important measure for all of our constituents.

He mentioned in his speech how Canadians interact with the financial system every day, whether via credit cards or debit cards, or writing cheques or going to the bank. We on this side of the House agree that they should always be treated fairly in their dealings with financial institutions.

Since our government was elected in 2006, we have already taken many steps to ensure the protection of consumers when it comes to financial services products. I am thinking specifically of the banning of negative option billing, for example, for financial products.

I would like you, if you can, to comment on some of the measures we are taking now and have taken in the past to protect Canadian consumers.

Committees of the House October 18th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in relation to Bill S-201, An Act respecting a National Philanthropy Day.

The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendments.

Committees of the House September 24th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in relation to its study on Canada's 150th anniversary.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109 of the House of Commons, the committee requests the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

Criminal Code June 5th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to speak at second reading debate on Bill C-273, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cyberbullying).

I would like to thank the member for Vancouver Centre for introducing Bill C-273 and for giving us the opportunity to discuss this very current issue of cyberbullying.

The issue of bullying and cyberbullying is an important issue for Parliament to discuss. I can say with certainty that those of us on this side of the House stand with those who have been bullied. We are concerned with the issue of bullying and cyberbullying. In fact, as I am sure members are aware, the issue is currently being studied by the Senate committee on human rights.

Despite my concerns relating to the issue of bullying and cyberbullying, I will not be voting in support of Bill C-273 as I think that criminal legislative reform, if indeed any is needed, should await the outcome of the Senate committee review. Further, should the Senate committee recommend criminal law reform, reforms may well be very different from those proposed in Bill C-273. This is, of course, why we are having the Senate review. It is incumbent upon us to get the best advice possible before we proceed with any legislative changes.

I would like to add that my opposition to Bill C-273 should not be interpreted to mean that the government is not interested in the issue of bullying or cyberbullying. It is. The government takes the protection of Canada's youth very seriously, and has been very active over the past few years in areas related to bullying. I am going to speak to a few of those.

Specifically, the National Crime Prevention Centre and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police run a number of programs that target youth who are at risk for bullying-type behaviour. The NCPC has funded approximately 30 projects since 2007, which have addressed primarily youth violence and bullying. Additionally, the NCPC has developed resources for the Canadian public on evidence-based interventions to effectively address bullying.

The RCMP run seven outreach initiatives and program activities which address the issue of cyberbullying. One such example is deal.org, a for youth, by youth web initiative to inform youth about youth crime and victimization. The website also contains a cyberbullying fact sheet, an online interactive cyberbullying game and various blog posts on the topic of cyberbullying.

The RCMP also partners with several national organizations with respect to bullying and cyberbullying. In December 2011, in collaboration with PREVNet and researchers at the University of Victoria, the RCMP began piloting the WITS programs for the prevention of peer victimization and bullying, including cyberbullying. WITS stands for walk away, ignore, talk it out and seek help.

Through this partnership, RCMP members have already engaged in many schools and with children in the program's activities. The provinces and territories are also very active in developing and implementing anti-bullying initiatives. Many have also introduced amendments to their education or schools acts in an attempt to more effectively manage what appears to be a growing challenge. Bullying behaviour, as a social phenomenon, has been around for a very long time. The previous speaker mentioned that any of us who have been in school or who have kids in school are familiar with issues of bullying. We have all witnessed this taking place.

It is the relatively new phenomena, though, of cyberbullying that has grabbed the attention of the public, the media and now, today, our Parliament. Over the past number of years we increasingly heard more about it, and this is primarily because of the social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. According to the Nielsen Company in the United States, 22% of the average Internet user's time on line is spent on social media. In fact, a 2008 Reuters news article reported that social media is the top online activity. It is clear that social media is a popular way of connecting people, but it also has its risks.

To this end, the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights has been conducting a study on the issue of cyberbullying, in part to address Canada's international human rights obligation under article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is to protect children from all forms of neglect, abuse and exploitation.

The committee hearings are ongoing, and it has heard from a number of child advocacy stakeholders, as well as persons who have been affected by cyberbullying. The committee must table this important report no later than October 31, 2012. I believe it would be wise for Parliament to await this report before undertaking any criminal law reform in this area.

With regard to this bill specifically, there are two concerns that relate to the amendments proposed to the criminal harassment and defamatory libel provisions. One, the amendments are not needed, as courts have already interpreted these two provisions as applying to behaviour committed via the Internet. Two, these amendments to only some of the applicable offences may lead to interpretation difficulties with respect to other unnamed Criminal Code offences.

I will delve into this second issue a little further. The Criminal Code already possesses a number of offences that are applicable to bullying behaviour, including those amended by the bill, but others as well, such as intimidation, section 423; uttering threats, section 264.1; and robbery, section 343, among others.

As mentioned, Bill C-273 only proposes to clarify that criminal harassment and defamation can be committed using a computer. Not clarifying that the other offences can also be committed using a computer may lead to those other offences being interpreted to only apply to behaviour that is not committed using a computer. In other words, by mentioning via computer in one section, this could signal to the courts that Parliament's intent is to exclude behaviour committed via computer from other offences.

In closing, I would like to take another opportunity to thank the hon. member for Vancouver Centre for raising this important issue of cyberbullying. It is an issue that I believe deserves Parliament's attention. However, we should also consider the issue when we have the benefit of the report from the Senate committee that is currently vested with this review.

I know that, while all of us in this House oppose bullying and oppose cyberbullying, this is not a motion; this is a bill, and a bill has a consequence in law. It is our responsibility, as legislators, to make sure that, when we pass a bill into law, it has the effect we want it to have. Unfortunately, this bill would not be Parliament's best effort.

We should await the Senate committee review and take the advice that comes from that review. We know it is actively hearing from witnesses. We know some of those witnesses include people who have been cyberbullied. We look forward to the report.

Committees of the House May 30th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in relation to its study on the main estimates, 2012-13.

Copyright Modernization Act May 15th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, this bill would legitimize the activities Canadians are doing everyday. I will give the member some examples. It would recognize that Canadians should not be liable for recording TV programs for later viewing, copying music from CDs to MP3 players or backing up data, if they were doing so for their private use and had not broken a digital lock.

The issue of a digital lock is up to the copyright holder. We heard from the testimony at committee that a digital lock is a way some people would choose to protect their copyrighted material. We also heard in committee that other creators are moving well beyond that. They do not want to use a digital lock. They want their material to be shifted from one format to another, and they are embracing these new technologies and the ways consumers are using them.

However, we have to strike that right balance between the many creators we celebrate in Canada being able to continue to do the great work they do, making us proud and earning a living as a creator, with the issues consumers face with the technology available to us today, being able to use material in the way they see fit. This bill would strike that balance.

Copyright Modernization Act May 15th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, she used a word that we heard over and over, and that was balance, that we had to strike a balance. That was the overarching objective of our government, and we did achieve that balance.

I will illustrate that. By having sat on the committee that studied the bill, we heard from a number of witnesses. It was very common to for witnesses to thank us for bringing in copyright legislation, but then they would say that there was one little thing we could change. We heard that from all sides of the spectrum.

At the end of day, the bill before us is one that is balanced, one that recognizes the needs of creators and also recognizes the needs of consumers. Some of the protections we have in place now for copyright holders, including distribution rights, moral rights, is the use of digital locks for those who choose to use them to better protect their copyrighted material.

It is a balance. We are in a new era. When this study first began, we knew that technologically we had advanced by leaps and bounds. We have to keep up with the times. Bringing in this copyright legislation now is the right thing. It is the right time. It is also the right balance. We heard this over and over at committee.

Copyright Modernization Act May 15th, 2012

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak to this bill. I am pleased that our government is getting closer to delivering on its commitment to modernize the Copyright Act.

I would like to invite all of my colleagues to join me in ensuring the swift passage of Bill C-11, the copyright modernization act. By supporting the legislation, we will be delivering on our government's commitment to modernize the Copyright Act in a way that balances the needs of creators and users.

The road that has led us to where we are today has been a lengthy one. Once we pass the legislation, this will be the first time in more than 15 years that we have completed a comprehensive overhaul of the Copyright Act. During this time, we have heard from thousands of Canadians and have had ample time to debate copyright modernization.

As my colleagues may recall, the copyright modernization act was first introduced following the largest consultations of their kind in Canadian history. In the summer of 2009, we set out to hear the views and opinions of Canadians from across the country. We leveraged new technologies to provide as many people as possible with access to this important process. We hosted interactive and web-based discussions. We held live events from coast to coast in Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Gatineau, Peterborough, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. Finally, we also accepted written submissions.

The response we received was impressive. Around 1,000 Canadians participated in the live events. More than 8,000 submissions were made, the website received 30,000 unique visits. We had more than 2,500 online forum posts and hundreds of followers on Twitter.

Based on this response, it was clear that Canadians from all walks of life understood the importance of modern copyright legislation, and this is still the case. During those consultations, Canadians told us about how copyright impacted their daily lives. Canadians told us about the importance of copyright to the digital economy and its effect on Canada's global competitiveness. Furthermore, Canadian creators and users told us that they needed clear, fair and predictable rules.

Our government listened to all of this and we responded with the introduction of the copyright modernization act in 2010 and its reintroduction last fall. We have responded with legislation that takes a common sense, balanced approach to copyright modernization. This approach considers the needs of both creators and users of copyright material. We have responded with legislation that reflects a uniquely Canadian approach to copyright modernization, an approach that takes into account the perspectives that Canadians have shared with us as creators, consumers and citizens during our consultations.

I would like to highlight four specific things we heard during the consultations and highlight how our government responded.

The first thing we heard was that Canadians thought that technological neutrality was an important guiding principle for copyright modernization. They emphasized that Canada's copyright regime must be able to accommodate technology that did not yet exist. They told us that any copyright reform must reflect the reality of an ever-evolving media and technological landscape. We responded. The copyright modernization act includes a number of exceptions that are technologically neutral. They reflect the reality of an ever-evolving media and technological landscape. They will stand the test of time.

The second thing we heard was that Canadians wanted to make reasonable use of content that they had legally acquired. We responded. The copyright modernization act includes a number of exceptions that facilitate commonplace private uses of copyright materials.

The third thing we heard was that Canadians did not think it was fair that one could risk facing huge penalties for minor copyright infringement. We responded to this, too. The copyright modernization act would create two categories of infringement to which statutory damages could apply. The first category is commercial and the second category is non-commercial. For non-commercial infringement, the existing statutory damages in the Copyright Act will be significantly reduced. The copyright modernization act also introduces proportionality as a factor for the courts to consider when awarding damages.

The fourth thing we heard was that Canadian copyright owners wanted new rights and protections to sustain business models in a digital environment. We responded to this as well. The copyright modernization act would implement the rights and protections of the Internet treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization. These include a making available right, a distribution right, moral rights for performers and protections for digital locks and digital watermarks.

These four things are just examples of what we heard during the 2009 consultations. There are numerous other things we heard and we responded to. Perhaps the easiest way to sum it all up is to say that the 2009 consultation demonstrated to us the importance of a balanced approach to copyright modernization, an approach that balances the interests of all Canadians, creators and users alike. This is the approach we will be delivering to Canadians by passing Bill C-11.

Large scale national consultations have been held, legislation has twice been introduced and debated, witnesses have testified and submissions have been received. Committees have studied the bill at length and a number of technical amendments have been made to improve the clarity of certain provisions.

The bill is back before us. We need to pass the legislation and deliver results to Canadians. The fact is that after 15 years, it is time to turn the page on this chapter of copyright modernization.

Our government recognizes that new challenges may emerge in the future for the Copyright Act. That is why we have included in the bill a mandatory review of the legislation every five years. This five year review will ensure that Canada's copyright regime does not fall back into the outdated state it is today. However, before we can think about all this, we need to first modernize the Copyright Act by passing the bill.

Canadians from all walks of life have an interest in modern copyright laws. The benefits of copyright modernization are many. However, Canadians will not enjoy them until we have passed the bill.

I urge all members to join me in supporting the swift passage of the copyright modernization act.

Victims of Crime May 1st, 2012

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to supporting victims of crime. Last week our government introduced a bill to amend the Criminal Code that would see convicted offenders held more accountable to victims of crime by doubling the victim surcharge that they must pay following their crime. By doing so, our government is helping to provide the support victims of crime need.

We also introduced the federal income support for parents of murdered or missing children to help families cope with the death or disappearance of a child. With the introduction of this support benefit, parents can take off the time they need following such a tragic event. The support is a benefit of up to 35 weeks to help ease the financial difficulty that these parents are coping with.

Our government will stand with victims of crime and all Canadians through our commitment to ensure that our streets and communities are safer. We will continue to take significant steps toward holding criminals accountable and delivering justice for victims. We were elected on that commitment and we will continue to deliver.