House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was code.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe (New Brunswick)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 22% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Taxation June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the hard-working middle-class workers of Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe reject the Liberal leader's plan to impose a $1,000 tax hike. By promising to enforce the Ontario Liberals' dramatic hike in payroll tax across Canada, the Liberal leader would impose a tax hike on every single Canadian family. It would force employers to cut jobs, hours, and wages.

Our Conservative government, this year alone, has cut taxes by $6,600 for every typical family. We have expanded the tax-free savings account so Canadians can save more tax-free money.

The Liberal leader, of course, would take these away and would raise taxes.

Now is not the time for risky Liberal tax schemes and an untested leader.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I cannot speak to the willingness of the Denmark law enforcement officials to enforce their laws in a country over which we have absolutely no jurisdiction. However, we are now in an age today with the Internet. Young people are on the Internet and on Facebook. There was a time when a child would come to us and say “Dad, can you fix my car?” Now I go to my daughters and ask “Can you fix my computer?”

The abundance of information is out there, despite the cultural bounds of from whatever family one comes. This information will be readily available to children. We are a Canadian society and they will be encouraged to come forth. I am confident they will come forth and the authorities will act accordingly.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for her hard work on this bill that is aimed at protecting the most vulnerable, women and young women and also, males, because it is a universal application.

I have three daughters and I can hardly envision a situation where the parents would force them into a relationship that they would not be willing to undertake of their own free volition. As I commented earlier, it is hard enough leading a married life with someone one truly loves, but to be forced into a situation where one has no control because of the wishes of parents is beyond any element of human dignity.

This is an important bill, and I would ask all members to get on board and support it. It is for protecting the most vulnerable.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act June 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill S-7, zero tolerance for barbaric cultural practices act.

I want to comment on two confusions that have arisen in the context of the debate of the bill and were also reflected in some of the testimony before committee.

I want to briefly touch on two topics today: the first concerning the proposed minimum age for marriage; and the second, about the definition of “practising polygamy”.

During the debate and in the testimony before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, there was considerable discussion about whether the bill should have set the minimum age for marriage even higher than 16 years of age, as is proposed, with some suggesting that age 18 would be more appropriate.

In Canada, the age at which individuals can marry without additional consent is either 18 or 19, depending on the province or territory. Under our Constitution, it is within provincial and territorial jurisdiction to make the determination of “independent marriage age”.

Under our Constitution, it is the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada to determine the age below which no minor may legally marry, sometimes called the “absolute minimum age for marriage”. Right now in Canadian law, federal legislation specifies that age 16 is the absolute minimum age for marriage only for the purposes of the law in the province of Quebec. Elsewhere in Canada, because there is no federal legislation, the common law still applies and it is usually interpreted as an absolute minimum age for girls of 12 and for boys of 14.

The other issue I wanted to touch on is concern that the bill has no definition of “practising polygamy”. One witness before the Committee referred to the decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court in the Polygamy Reference case and suggested that it did not determine the meaning. This is incorrect.

There was disagreement before the court on the correct interpretation of the Criminal Code polygamy offence, but Justice Bauman clearly indicated that polygamy was a form of marriage involving more than two people, and included legal marriages, as well as “purported forms of marriage”, meaning religious marriages that were not recognized in law, but where the parties believe they were bound together. He further accepted the Attorney General of Canada's argument that “marriage” was a form of union that is dependent on an event, a ceremony of some kind that sanctions a union of individuals. It is absolutely clear that polygamy does not include common law relationships or other informal relationships, such as polyamory or affairs.

All of the evidence presented demonstrated the harms, both to individuals and to society, of multi-party marriage. These harms of polygamy caused Justice Bauman to find the prohibition against polygamy constitutional .

Clear guidance with respect to the meaning of "practising polygamy" will be provided to front-line immigration officials.

Another witness suggested that only the man was practising polygamy because of his union with more than one spouse, but that the women in a polygamous union should not be included because their union was to only one spouse. This suggestion, while I am sure well-meaning, completely defies logic.

The final point I want to make concerns another confusion. Some have suggested that a person who is married to someone and either does not know that the person is already married to someone else, or who is forced into that marriage, would be considered to be practising polygamy. This is completely untrue. Under the Criminal Code, a person who has no actual knowledge that he or she are in a polygamous union, or a person who was forced into such a union, has not behaved in a morally blameworthy manner, which is the cornerstone of the criminal law. If a person is unaware of relevant facts, or has been compelled to act, he or she is not guilty of a criminal offence.

Bill S-7 would protect young people from early marriages by enacting a new, national, absolute minimum age for marriage that would apply to all marriages performed in Canada, and to all marriages performed outside of Canada that involved young people ordinarily resident here. This is an important protection for all our young people. I have been told of instances where young people are excused from classes to be married by telephone at age 12 and 13. That will no longer be possible once the bill receives royal assent.

The bill would also give young people the ability to tell their parents that they could not be forced to marry someone they did not want to marry because it was against the law. It would give young people the ability to ask for a court order to take their passports from their parents if they were afraid they may be taken out of the country to marry.

These are important changes in the law to protect vulnerable youth until they are old enough to better know their own minds. Marriage is hard enough, and young married couples will face many challenges without adding to them the burden of marrying too young or marrying someone they do not wish to marry.

Our government is taking a strong stance against these practices and is leading international efforts to address them as a violation of basic human rights. I hope all members of the House will join with me in supporting this important bill.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) June 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I believe that the majority of Canadians would be open to possible changes with respect to animal abuse. In this case, however, we wanted to protect animals used in a very specific context. That does not preclude changes in the future. We know that many Canadians love animals. It remains to be seen. That said, we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) June 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I was under the impression that this speech dealt with protecting law enforcement animals. It was not intended to be a dog's breakfast. We are actually doing pretty well in the constitutional realm. We do, of course, defend all our laws vigorously on a constitutional basis.

With regard to the essence of the offence, it was explained by one of the members of the committee who used to be an RCMP dog handler that when a dog is released to apprehend an offender, there is always the warning “I am letting the dog go.” In essence, when the dog is released, the offender knows that he or she is about to be attacked by the dog. The intent is that there not be an additional mental element inflicted upon the crown to try to prove. The RCMP always advises the offender that the dog is going to be released, so it is not necessary to have this wilful and specific intention available as a defence when the offenders are often advised that the dog is coming.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) June 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the bill is definitely a step in the right direction, a direction mentioned in the hon. member's question.

However, with respect to animal protection, we must also consider and respect provincial jurisdictions. Ideally, if we want to work with the provinces, there must be greater consultation and they must agree.

Justice for Animals in Service Act (Quanto's Law) June 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women.

I would like to begin my remarks today by acknowledging the broad support Bill C-35 has had, the justice for animals in service act. It has received support not only in the House, but also from Canadians across the country. Commonly referred to as Quanto's law, this bill is evidence of the government's continuing commitment to bring forward criminal justice legislation that would contribute to making Canadian communities safer.

By way of background, it should be noted that the Criminal Code has contained offences relating to the treatment of animals since 1893, and the current set of offences has existed since 1953. The penalties in the existing law were increased in 2008. Currently, an offence is committed under section 445 of the Criminal Code when someone wilfully and without lawful excuse kills, maims, wounds, poisons or injures an animal other than cattle. The maximum sentence that may be imposed when this hybrid offence is prosecuted as an indictable offence is five years imprisonment.

As well, paragraph 738(1)(a) of the Criminal Code authorizes the court to order the offender to pay the costs associated with training a new animal as restitution for the loss of the animal where the amount is readily ascertainable.

As many members know, Quanto was an Edmonton police dog who was stabbed to death on October 7, 2013, while he was helping to apprehend a suspect. The person who killed Quanto was later convicted under section 445 of the Criminal Code for deliberately killing a dog and for other offences resulting from the incident that occurred on October 7, 2013. This man was sentenced to a total of 26 months in prison, and the judge who sentenced him specifically said that 18 months of that sentence was for killing Quanto. He said that this was not just an attack on a dog. “It's an attack on [our] society and it's an attack on what's meaningful in society.”

The tragic death of this law enforcement animal struck a chord with a lot of Canadians and many in the law enforcement, legal and community groups called for greater recognition and protection of service animals.

Bill C-35 is the government's response to the commitment made in the 2013 Speech from the Throne to pass legislation such as this in order to recognize the risks taken by the animals used by the police to help enforce the law and protect society.

Dogs like Quanto have been employed by Canadian law enforcement agencies for many years. Sadly, from time to time, some of these law enforcement animals have been intentionally injured or killed by criminals in the course of police operations. The loss of such highly trained and motivated members of a law enforcement team not only has a direct operational impact on its ability to protect the community, it has significant financial implications for the affected police service.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has estimated that the cost to train a police dog and its handler as a team is in excess of $60,000. The government believes that the creation of a specific Criminal Code offence that includes a specially tailored sentencing regime would contribute to the denunciation as well as deterrence, both general and specific, of such crimes in the future.

Bill C-35 proposes the creation of a new specific hybrid offence of killing or injuring a law enforcement animal, a service animal or a military animal. These three terms are defined for the purposes of the new offence. The objective of the amendment is to denounce and deter this conduct.

A law enforcement animal would be a dog or horse which has been trained to aid law enforcement officers in carrying out their law enforcement duties. A service animal would include an animal that has been trained to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities. This would include, for example, guide dogs for persons who are blind or have reduced vision and dogs trained to assist persons suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

A military animal would include an animal trained to aid a member of the Canadian Armed Forces in carrying out his or her duties. The proposed sentencing regime for this new offence will be similar to the existing regime of the Criminal Code offence for killing or injuring an animal in section 445, but with the following enhancements.

First, Bill C-35 proposes that the Criminal Code be amended to provide that denunciation and deterrence are the primary sentencing objectives in respect of such offences.

Second, where a law enforcement animal is killed in the line of duty and the offence was prosecuted by indictment, there will be a mandatory minimum penalty of six months imprisonment.

Third and finally, if the offence is committed against a law enforcement animal, the sentence would be served consecutively to any other sentence arising out of the same event.

I would like to say something more with respect to the second and third enhancements, the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, and the consecutive sentencing.

During the second reading debate of Bill C-35, there were questions raised regarding the constitutionality of the mandatory minimum penalty of six months' imprisonment that would apply to the new offence of killing a law enforcement animal that was assisting a law enforcement officer in carrying out his or her duties. The government's position remains that the mandatory minimum penalty imposed by Bill C-35 would not result in the imposition of a grossly disproportionate sentence that could be found to be cruel and unusual punishment punishment under the charter. If this provision is challenged, the government will vigorously defend its constitutionality.

The requirement that the sentence imposed upon an offender convicted of the new offence of killing or injuring a law enforcement animal, a service animal, or a military animal be served consecutively to any other sentence that might be imposed on the offender arising out of the same series of events is also justifiable.

Our law recognizes that in certain circumstances, the nature of an offence committed is so serious and distinct that it requires the imposition of a consecutive sentence in order to properly denounce and deter such conduct, even though the offence might be committed as part of the same events or series of events. Bill C-35 is consistent with this existing approach.

Bill C-35 would enhance the protection of law enforcement officers through the addition of a section 270.03 to the Criminal Code. Henceforth, the law would require that the sentence imposed on a person convicted of committing an assault on a law enforcement officer, an assault causing bodily harm or with a weapon on a law enforcement officer, or an aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer be served consecutively to any other sentence that might be imposed on the offender arising out of the same series of events.

In closing, I call on all members to support this bill.

Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act June 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak in the House today on this private member's bill, Bill C-588.

I would like to begin by recognizing the importance lighthouses not only have to our maritime heritage but also, as we have heard and as many members have shared, as part of the fabric of our history as Canadians.

The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act is an opportunity for Canadians to participate in the conservation and protection of heritage lighthouses. It is intended to promote the conservation of as many lighthouses as possible, so that these sites remain accessible to present and future generations of Canadians.

On May 29, 2015, an important date for the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act, our government announced that 74 heritage lighthouses had been designated under the act. We know that other historic lighthouses will be considered for designation in the future, once Fisheries and Oceans Canada concludes the necessary negotiations with community groups and other levels of government that have developed and submitted sustainable, long-term plans for the acquisition and conservation of their local lighthouses.

These positive steps in the preservation of our maritime heritage speak to the success of the act. The Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act should be allowed the opportunity to operate as intended. Identifying a viable, responsible new owner for the Sambro Island lighthouse is both essential to that operation and good for the long-term preservation of the lighthouse.

Putting this objective foremost in our thought also respects the work that has been done by other levels of government and community groups across Canada to develop viable, sustainable plans for the historic lighthouses that are important to them. Their dedication, commitment and success should inspire all of us who care about the Sambro Island lighthouse to dare to dream a bright and confident future for this influential part of our maritime history

In many cases already, local community groups have been able to breathe new life into these lighthouses, converting them to museums, restaurants, lodging or other kinds of tourist attractions. The enactment of the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act has created a unique opportunity for the government to work in partnership with various community groups, provincial governments and non-profit organizations whose ultimate goal is to maintain and preserve these iconic lighthouses all across this country.

There have been a number of success stories that have come out of the designation of heritage lighthouses that will be managed by new non-federal owners. We anticipate many more success stories in the future, as more community based organizations and other levels of government conclude their negotiations with Fisheries and Oceans Canada to acquire and protect the lighthouses that are important to them

I would like to take a minute to mention some of the lighthouses designated under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act that will be protected and preserved by their new owners from now on. These examples attest to the success of the law to date. The efforts of the people who envisaged a new future for these lighthouses and made it a reality have inspired all of us.

One example is the Brighton Beach lighthouse, which was successfully designated and transferred to the city of Charlottetown in 2013. This lighthouse is one of the icons of the city, and its transfer to the city has ensured that it will continue to grace the shores of Charlottetown Harbour for many years to come.

Another example is the Neil's Harbour lighthouse in Nova Scotia. A local group has been involved with this lighthouse for many years. The transfer of the lighthouse to the group is a natural evolution of their involvement with the site, and the government has every confidence that the community will be a great custodian for the future.

Similarly, the Île du Pot à l'Eau-de-Vie lighthouse has been managed by a local group for more than a generation. It has now completed the final step towards official ownership. It runs a unique and memorable bed and breakfast.

Some of the earliest heritage lighthouse designations are for three towers in the town of Southampton in Ontario. Though these are relatively simple structures, they are packed with meaning for the local community. Their acquisition by the municipality has helped to ensure that the town's maritime heritage will be preserved and showcased for the benefit of everyone who visits the town now and in the future.

More recently, three lighthouses in Nova Scotia were acquired by the municipality of Digby. In each case, the municipality is working in partnership with individual lighthouse societies, each with their own vision and plan for the future of their respective lighthouses. The municipality and the groups involved really should be congratulated for thinking and working together to ensure that critical markers of their history and heritage are preserved for the future.

The work that has gone into the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act by all levels of government, and more importantly, by Canadians, has in each of these examples proven to be meaningful, proven to be necessary, and proven to be successful.

For these reasons, our government supports Bill C-588, subject to amendments, which would rededicate the Government of Canada and all those who care about the Sambro Island lighthouses, to setting the lighthouse on a course that will ensure that it is protected and appreciated for generations to come.

Our government is pleased to be adding the Sambro Island lighthouse to this big family of heritage lighthouses and helping to ensure that future generations will continue to consider Canada as one of the world's great maritime nations.

Our government remains committed to protecting and preserving our heritage lighthouses. The 74 heritage lighthouses already designated under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act bear witness to that commitment.

Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act June 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether that was considered in the development of this bill. However, we are trying to develop standards for expertise.

When we think about different levels of expertise, certainly many parliamentarians from different roles of life bring with them a level of expertise that is not common to all of us. However, in this case, when it comes to dynamic incorporation, we are dealing with issues of specialty, like shipping and marine safety, energy efficiency, hazardous products, motor vehicle safety, and electric cars.

These are all technological developments that the common person, the common parliamentarian, cannot basically be on top of, and specific organizations have this expertise. This is why we would draw from their strength to bring into mainstream Canadian life the technology that is incorporated by reference into the laws that govern us all.