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

Business of Supply May 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the hon. member's speech. I have a few questions for her.

Is the NDP ready to vote in favour of the major investments laid out in budget 2015, or will it put its politics first? I would also like to ask the member why the NDP always votes against every budget that makes major investments in science, technology and the environment. Will it continue to vote against these important investments?

Donald Savoie May 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Donald Savoie, one of the laureates of the 2015 Killam Prize. These honours are awarded every year to Canadian researchers who have made outstanding contributions to research over the years.

I cannot think of a more deserving recipient than Mr. Donald Savoie, a leading expert on public policy and federalism. Professor Savoie holds the Canada Research Chair in Public Administration and Governance and is the founder of the Canadian Institute for Research on Regional Development at I'Université de Moncton.

Mr. Savoie is also an Officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of New Brunswick, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His published research can be widely found in bookshops from coast to coast. He is truly an expert in Canadian governance.

Congratulations, Mr. Savoie.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the hon. member's speech. He spoke much about terrorists and satirists. I wonder, perhaps, if he may be a satirist himself. I noticed that he commented that he was amazed to hear the Prime Minister say that the October 22 incident was a terrorist attack. I guess I have three questions for the member.

Was he in the opposition room on October 22? Has he seen the bullet holes that have been left in the door of that same room? If this was not a terrorist attack on October 22, exactly what was it?

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it was pretty apparent from the hon. member's speech that the basis of our actions is a war that has been declared against Canada and its values, and of course ISIL is the ominous enemy.

It is pretty apparent that the objective of this mission is to protect Canadian citizens. While the war may seem very far away, is it not true that, in essence, the whole issue of this war is to protect Canada's soil, Canada's citizens, and ultimately the public safety of law-abiding Canadian citizens?

I wonder if the minister could comment on that objective.

National Fiddling Day Act March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address Bill S-218, An Act respecting National Fiddling Day.

Our country is culturally diverse. Over the centuries, newcomers have been arriving in Canada and bringing with them the traditions and customs of their cultural communities. Luckily for all Canadians, these traditions and customs often include art, music and dance.

The fiddle has been an important instrument in many of these communities. Across Canada, contributions from first nations people, in addition to Canadians of English, Scottish, Irish, French and Ukrainian heritage have given Canada an incredibly rich and diverse inventory of fiddling styles and music.

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is considered the heart of Scottish fiddling in Canada. Since the 19th century, with the arrival of the 25,000 Gaelic-speaking Scots, Cape Bretoners have come together for house dances. These house dances are an informal gathering with music, dancing and socializing. They have carried on the Scottish fiddling traditions.

The most famous story of Nova Scotia is the one about Buddy MacMaster, who worked as a station agent for the Canadian National Railways during the 1940s. Buddy was stationed at Valley depot, near Truro, where he often worked the late shift.

In the quiet times between trains, Buddy would often practise his fiddling during the night shift. The train dispatcher in New Glasgow knew of this and would communicate with Buddy and other station agents to find out when the tracks were clear. When they were, they would ask Buddy to play a song over the dispatch and railroad agents across the Maritimes would listen in.

Buddy's passion for the fiddle ran in the family, and today, Buddy's niece, Natalie MacMaster carries on that tradition. Ms. MacMaster has won two JUNO awards, and in 2006 she was made a member of the Order of Canada, not only for her enormous talent but for using her fiddling to support charitable causes across Canada and to raise awareness of development issues in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Ms. MacMaster is a fine example of the Cape Breton style of fiddling, which was brought to Canada from the Scottish Highlands. Today, many consider the Scottish tradition to be better preserved in Cape Breton than in Scotland itself thanks, no doubt, to fiddling masters like Ms. MacMaster.

Fiddling in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick is also a mixture of cultures with surviving Acadian influences, as well as those of Scotland and Ireland. New Brunswick's most famous influential fiddle player, of course, is Don Messer, who began his career on the radio in 1929 on a musical program called the New Brunswick Lumberjacks on CFBO in Saint John.

He became a Canadian household name in 1959 with his CBC television show Don Messer's Jubilee. His playing style, known as “down-east” or “Messer” style, was straightforward and easy to listen to. Mr. Messer's musical style established what is known today as the national Canadian old-time style. Don Messer's television show was reportedly the second-highest rated show in Canada, behind Hockey Night in Canada, and was enjoyed by all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

When the CBC made a questionable decision to cancel the show in 1969, it was inundated with protests and complaints from irate Canadians, with 1,500 angry telephone calls and over 20,000 pieces of mail. There were protests on Parliament Hill and angry questions from Conservative leader John Diefenbaker in the House of Commons. Fortunately, a Don Messer television show would be picked up in the fall by CHCH in Hamilton.

Fiddle music has a historic connection to many of our communities. It was a significant and common form of artistic expression for Canadians from all different backgrounds in different parts of the country. I encourage members to vote for this bill to honour this very Canadian tradition. We do not want to make the same mistake that the CBC made when it decided to cancel Don Messer's Jubilee.

Today, fiddlers, as well as festivals and community traditions, are keeping Canada's fiddling traditions alive. The fiddle has been an instrument that has enabled Canada's immigrants to continue their traditional cultures while they settled into their new homes in Canada. Fiddle music has contributed to Canada's rich history of community-building and melding of traditions into a culture which is uniquely Canadian.

I trust that my hon. colleagues will join me and agree to designate the third Saturday in May in each and every year as national fiddling day.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, fighting this kind of offence requires a multi-faceted approach. The RCMP is not alone in fighting this. I would remind the House that we have brought in legislation that involves Internet service providers. In fact, when ISPs identify a problem of cyberbullying, they are obligated to report the source of abuse to the RCMP. We are certainly putting more resources into tackling this problem, but police forces are not the only ones working on it; members of the community and companies are also working on it. There is a wide range of possible solutions. The RCMP is not the only solution to this serious problem.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the question of protecting the Canadian public, every nickel finds a spot, whether it finds its way into the budget of the RCMP or finds it way into a $10-million grant to child protection agencies and centres, such as or

Fighting child offences is not just a matter of handcuffs and pistols. It is a matter of a total panoply of programs to help combat them, whether it be against cyberbullying, whether it be tips to prevent cyberbullying, or whether it be boots on the ground. Our government is committed to giving all the resources necessary to protect our most vulnerable children. It is not necessarily with the RCMP, with pistols and handcuffs, that this is accomplished. It is a full scope. It is all the elements that are needed to protect the Canadian public.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, an increase in offences against children is certainly all the more reason to send serious messages about the heinous nature of these crimes and how they are totally unacceptable to Parliament and the people of Canada.

The measures we have taken are designed to protect the public and certainly to protect our most vulnerable citizens: children. The face of crime is rapidly changing. There are more and more crimes being done on the Internet. We have to double down to make sure that children are protected.

Keeping repeat child offenders in jail, where they cannot reoffend, is a measure the Canadian public accepts as a valid way of protecting people from such heinous crimes.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak in support of Bill C-26, the tougher penalties for child predators act. I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Macleod.

Bill C-26 is a part of the government's continuing effort to ensure that child sexual offences result in sentences of imprisonment that denounce the heinous nature of these crimes. We hear the opposition members question the necessity of this bill in light of amendments that this government made in the past, especially those enacted by Bill C-10, the Safe Streets and Communities Act.

The Safe Streets and Communities Act was a good step in the right direction, and Bill C-26 proposes to build on those reforms to fully recognize the devastating impact that these crimes have on the lives of victimized children.

We have heard criticism particularly directed at the effectiveness of mandatory minimum penalties in achieving this objective. A brief discussion about the current sentencing regime in the Criminal Code is warranted in order to explain the necessity of the proposed reforms.

The Criminal Code states that the fundamental purpose of sentencing is to contribute, along with crime prevention initiatives, to the respect for the law and the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society.

In order to achieve this fundamental purpose, a sentence may have the following objectives: denunciation, deterrence, separation of the offender from society when necessary; rehabilitation of the offender; providing reparation for the harm done to the victim or community; the promotion of a sense of responsibility in offenders; and the acknowledgement of the harm done to victims and the community.

It is important to note that a just sentence does not have to reflect all of these sentencing objectives, but only those that are essential to achieve the fundamental purpose of sentencing.

In sentencing offenders for sexual offences committed against children, section 718.01 of the Criminal Code directs courts to consider denunciation and deterrence as the paramount sentencing objectives. How can we as legislators ensure that primary importance is also given to these objectives for these types of crimes?

Both social denunciation of a crime and the deterrence of criminals are achieved in our laws in two ways. First, maximum terms of imprisonment send a clear signal of what punishment is proportionate for the worst offender who commits a crime in the worst circumstances. Second, mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment represent the lowest punishment that we as a society consider important for certain serious crimes.

By increasing both minimum terms of imprisonment and maximum terms of imprisonment for certain sexual offences committed against children, Bill C-26 focuses on denunciation and deterrence and thereby ensures that sentences imposed contribute to a just, peaceful and safe society.

The fundamental objective of a sentence can only be achieved if the sentence imposed is just. According to the Criminal Code, a just sentence is one that is proportionate to the degree of responsibility of the offender and the gravity of the offence. In determining a just sentence, a court must consider the sentencing principles described in the Criminal Code. For example, a sentence must be increased to account for any aggravating factors relating to the offender or the offence.

Two of the listed aggravating factors in subsection 718(a) of the Criminal Code play an important role in child sexual cases.

First, paragraph 718.2(a)(ii.1) of the Criminal Code directs courts to treat the fact that an offender, in committing the offence, abused the person under the age of 18 years of age as an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes.

Second, paragraph 718.2(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code directs the fact of the offender in committing the offence abused a position of trust or authority in relation to the victim also be considered an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes.

Both these aggravating factors further indicate that the significant punishment as proposed by Bill C-26 is justifiable for child predators.

Another important contribution of Bill C-26 rests with the proposed reforms that relate to the imposition of concurrent and consecutive sentences. These amendments would clarify and codify applicable rules in situations where an offender would be sentenced for multiple offences, whether committed against the same victim or not.

Apart from the explicit reference to mandatory consecutive sentences in the context of terrorism acts, criminal organization offences and the use of a firearm in the commission of the offence, the general sentencing principles found in subsection 718.3(4) of the Criminal Code regarding consecutive and concurrent sentences only offer limited guidance to courts.

Bill C-26 proposes to improve on this by, among other things, directing courts to consider ordering that the terms of imprisonment for offences arising out of separate events, or a separate series of events, be served consecutively to one another.

This represents a codification of the rules developed by courts over the years. Courts will generally order that sentences be served consecutively unless they are committed as part of the same event or series of events, or as some have described it, as part of a criminal transaction. Where several offences are committed as part of the same criminal transaction, the courts will generally determine what is a proportionate sentence for the most serious offence committed and order that the other offences be served concurrently. However, where an offence committed as part of the same criminal transaction is gratuitous or dangerous, courts will generally consider ordering that the sentences be served consecutively to discourage offenders from committing serious offences with impunity.

This approach is codified in Bill C-26 by directing courts to consider ordering consecutive sentences in situations where one of the offences was committed either on judicial interim release or while the accused was fleeing from a peace officer.

The totality principle represents the final step in the determination of whether sentences of imprisonment should be served consecutively. This sentencing principle, described in paragraph 718.2(c) of the Criminal Code, prevents courts from ordering that terms of imprisonment be served one after the other if the combined sentence is unduly long or harsh. Where the combined sentence is, in the court's opinion, unduly long or harsh, it may order that certain terms of imprisonment be served concurrently instead of one after the other.

I understand that in ordering concurrent sentences in such cases, courts intend to craft a combined sentence that is proportionate to the overall responsibility of the offender. However, in the context of sexual offences committed against children, this approach translates into a sentence discount for the offender.

To address this problem, Bill C-26 proposes that sentences of imprisonment for child pornography offences be served consecutively to any sentence imposed at the same time for a contact child sexual offence, and in cases of multiple victims, that sentences imposed at the same time for contact child sexual offences committed against one victim be served consecutively to those imposed for contact child sexual offences committed against any other victim.

Requiring that these terms of imprisonment be served consecutively to one another would send a clear message that every sexual offence committed against children is serious and is clearly unacceptable. These amendments will also send a clear and unequivocal signal that a proportionate sentence is one that acknowledges that every child victim counts.

Justice March 13th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Oxford for previous career and work as a police officer, keeping Canada's streets and communities a safer place for all Canadians.

Canadians do not believe that those convicted of the most heinous murders should have access to parole. This legislation would make that a reality. It would protect Canadians and our streets and communities by keeping the dangerous offenders in custody for most of their natural lives. Importantly, it would do this by eliminating parole eligibility. It would ensure that those who suffered the tragedy of the loss of their loved ones would no longer have to revisit the horror of that tragedy through the ongoing parole.

The Canadian justice system exists for Canadians—