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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 March 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our economy is still on the road to recovery. Bringing in higher taxes and higher debt is not the path we believe ordinary Canadians want to be on. Unfortunately, the Liberal leader and his Liberal counterparts in the province of New Brunswick believe want to bring in a Liberal carbon tax, which would raise the price of everything for families, including groceries, gas, and even pet food.

Yesterday the finance minister of the Province of New Brunswick, where I live, said he would consider bringing in the idea of a carbon tax. New Brunswickers cannot afford another Liberal tax hike. This is not the way to manage the economy, but it is the Liberal way.

On this side of the House, we agree with New Brunswickers that bringing in a job-killing carbon tax would mean an increase in the lives of all citizens. We stand with New Brunswickers. Unlike the Liberal leader, we will never punish Canadians with a job-killing carbon tax.

Andrew Doiron March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise here today to honour the memory of Sergeant Andrew Doiron of Moncton, New Brunswick. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and colleagues.

Known to his friends as “Drew”, he was a force that, by all accounts, loomed larger than life. He led a Special Forces detachment while deployed in Iraq. Other deployments included Niger and Italy. There, he personally escorted veterans of the first Special Service Force up Monte la Difensa, which they had occupied and captured during World War II.

He was an avid competitor in international practical shooting competitions. He competed successfully in numerous three-gun competitions. Sergeant Doiron adored skiing, physical fitness training, motorcycles, and dogs.

Sergeant Doiron's bravery and lifelong dedication to Canada's security is an inspiration to all of us.

Rest in peace, Sergeant Doiron. Lest we forget.

Taxation February 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, New Brunswickers are deeply concerned about an apparent Liberal plan that would permit the New Brunswick provincial Liberals to increase taxes and put tolls on roads without consulting New Brunswickers with a referendum. That is what Liberals consistently do: raise taxes and take monies from hard-working Canadians.

At the federal level, in addition to the Liberal carbon tax that would raise the cost of gas, groceries and literally everything, it has been exposed that the Liberal federal leader is even looking at reversing the doubling of the children's fitness tax credit. Perhaps only someone with a trust fund would think middle-class families can afford these higher taxes and costs on everything.

We reject the high-tax Liberal plan. We have introduced the GST reduction. We have introduced pension splitting. We have tax-free savings accounts. We have implemented the family tax cut, which will provide 100% of Canadian families with more monies in their pockets. That is where the money belongs, in the hands of hard-working Canadians. We stand up for lower tax as do they.

Physician-Assisted Death February 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, dying with dignity is a non-partisan issue. It is also an extremely emotionally charged issue. Canadians have diverse viewpoints on this, and our plan is to engage all Canadians in a consultation process that will take into consideration the diverse viewpoints of all Canadians in order to reach a conclusion that is acceptable to everyone.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

I appreciate the hon. parliamentary secretary's comments.

As to the previous question about a snap solution to something so complicated that affects our lives, this is the life-ending moment of usually a dear person's life. As I mentioned in my speech, in May 2014 there was much support for the study of palliative care. The months or days leading up to the ultimate moment of death are just as important as the decision to end one's life, when it comes to the dignity of the person. Wrapped into the study as to how we are going to deal with the physician-assisted suicide, certainly we have to take into consideration the whole aspect of palliative care, which this House has looked upon very favourably.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the issue is very complex, and the solution is an inclusive consultation with all Canadians in a format that will enable everyone to participate.

Frankly, providing such a quick response to such a complex issue is as difficult as predicting when someone will die. Physicians in Oregon predict that a person's death will take place within six months when, in many cases, it happens two years later.

It is very complex, and the people in Oregon do not always have all the answers.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, undoubtedly committees of members of Parliament will be struck, but the consultation envisioned yet not totally defined would certainly be much vaster than that of just a committee, whether it be health or whether it be justice.

The truly special committee that we envision in this consultation that affects the lives of many Canadians—most people with family members who have gone through this—would be a special committee of all Canadians with a vast and inclusive consultation.

Business of Supply February 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in today's debate on the way forward in responding to the recent decision from the Supreme Court of Canada on the issue of physician-assisted dying.

On February 6, the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that the Criminal Code provisions on physician-assisted dying are contrary to the charter. The court suspended the legal effect of its ruling for 12 months to give Parliament time to develop an appropriate response.

The government opposes our motion because we have committed to hearing from all perspectives on this issue. This consultation process would provide an opportunity for Canadians and stakeholders, such as physicians and nurses, disabled people, and patients' rights groups, to share their views and perspectives.

We cannot underestimate the importance of engaging all Canadians in this dialogue. It is hoped that everyone will work together so that we can create a regime that would meet the needs of those who are grievously ill and who want to die in order to escape intolerable pain, while at the same time protecting vulnerable individuals and affirming our shared value that all human beings, no matter their condition, have inherent dignity and worth.

We are, thankfully, not starting at zero. There is much that we already know about the risks that are inherent in the practice of physician-assisted dying, the types of safeguards that can help mitigate those risks, and how these practices can be monitored. Much of what we know was presented at the courts as evidence in the Carter litigation. I believe it could be helpful if we consider some of the filings of the trial judge. The trial judgment itself is full of relevant information about how these laws work where they exist.

This is definitely an issue upon which people can have differing views about what is appropriate or acceptable for a societal response, but we should all be striving to form a common understanding of the facts.

One important question that was raised many years ago was whether legalization of physician-assisted dying would have the unintended effect of impeding progress in improving the quality and availability of palliative care services.

With regard to palliative care, I would remind all members that in May 2014, this chamber overwhelmingly passed Motion No. 456, calling upon the federal government to establish a pan-Canadian palliative and end-of-life care strategy.

After examining the evidence from the jurisdictions that permit some form of physician-assisted dying, the trial judge in Carter found that palliative care services were not undermined in these places; in fact, in some places, more physicians now seem to have a better understanding of palliative care than they did before the legalization of physician-assisted dying.

While the court did not find that these improvements were the result of legalizing physician-assisted dying, it is nonetheless good news that palliative care can be improved alongside an assisted-dying regime. I think this will be important to bear in mind going forward.

Another concern that is sometimes expressed is that legalizing physician-assisted dying can have a negative impact upon the doctor-patient relationship, as some may come to fear their doctors once they are empowered to help end life.

Moving forward, we as a society must be mindful of this relationship. For example the trial judge found that, if a future law were carefully designed with appropriate safeguards, patients' trust in their physicians and physicians' commitment to their patients' well-being would not necessarily change for the worse. Furthermore, the risk of misconception and distrust may be counterbalanced by the possibility of enhanced trust arising from more open communications.

However, there does appear to be evidence that, in Canada, not all physicians are having honest conversations with patients about their prognosis and options at end of life to the degree we would hope.

Perhaps the prospect of legalizing physician-assisted dying presents us with an opportunity to help physicians improve their skill set in this area, for the good of all patients, not just those who would seek to have assistance to die.

The evidence from the Carter case also revealed interesting facts about the reasons people provide for seeking medically assisted death. I think most Canadians believe that those who seek assistance to die are suffering from intolerable physical pain. The media often describe cases involving horrific diseases that lead to painful and debilitating deaths.

The data that is collected from places where people can access assistance to die tells us a very different story. In fact, inadequate pain control is almost never a reason people seek assistance to die. On the contrary, almost all people who have received assistance wanted it because they were suffering from loss of physical autonomy, reduced ability to engage in activities that made their life enjoyable, feelings of loss of dignity, losing control of bodily functions, and feeling like a burden on family.

People are seeking to die, not because they are in physical pain, but because they are in emotional and psychological pain. It is important to know this if we strive to provide real options to Canadians at the end of life.

The data tells that, in every place where these practices are legal, the clear trend is increasing for numbers of people accessing assistance to die with each passing year. Even in places like Oregon, where the law has been in operation since 1997, the number of people seeking assistance to die continues to grow with each passing year.

The data reveals another interesting fact about the Oregon model. In Oregon only physician-assisted suicide is legal, and only for people who are terminally ill. The law permits a physician to write a prescription for a lethal dose of medication to a person with an illness that is reasonably expected to cause death within six months.

The data tell us that, every year, about one-third of the people who receive this prescription do not use it. Are people obtaining a lethal prescription when their wish to die is temporary or they are not entirely firm in their desire? On the other hand, some say that simply having the prescription and knowing it is available for use if one's situation becomes unbearable is in itself a way to ease their psychological suffering so that they can continue to live.

The data also shows that some people who receive the lethal prescriptions die more than two years later, even though according to the law, the prescription is only available to a person who is reasonably expected to die within six months. This fact suggests there are real challenges associated with physicians' ability to predict how close a person is to death.

Our challenge would be much more difficult without all this information. This information is available to us because every jurisdiction that legally regulates physician-assisted dying has a legal requirement for physicians who provide assistance to report that they have done so on some authority. In some cases, the relevant authority is the health department of the state; in other cases, it is a specially created commission. In all cases, the relevant authorities are required to compile and analyze data and to issue public reports on key facts, such as the kinds of medical conditions of the people who are aided to die.

This data is invaluable to Canada and no doubt to other countries that are grappling with these issues. Their reporting requirements also serve as an accountability measure, which is just as important. These are just some of the important facts we must all come to appreciate as we move forward with this conversation.

Taxation February 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, New Brunswickers are deeply concerned about an apparent new Liberal plan that would allow provincial Liberals to raise taxes and tolls without getting the consent of New Brunswickers with a referendum. This is exactly what Liberals do. They raise taxes and take money from average Canadians.

At the federal level, in addition to the Liberal carbon tax to raise the cost of everything, it has been exposed that the federal Liberal leader will reverse our tax cuts that help Canadians. Perhaps only someone with a trust fund could understand how middle-class Canadians could afford these higher taxes and higher costs on everything.

We reject the high tax and high debt Liberal plan. Our government stands with hard-working New Brunswickers and Canadians who want to keep taxes low. We will continue to work to put money back into the pockets of hard-working Canadians and New Brunswickers, where it belongs.

Reuben Cohen and Gilbert Finn February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to the lives of Reuben Cohen and Gilbert Finn, two prominent New Brunswickers who have recently passed away and who made great contributions to my riding and to the province of New Brunswick.

Reuben Cohen was a lawyer, financier, and philanthropist, born in Moncton from eastern European immigrants. Throughout his life he supported the University of Moncton, my alma mater, among others, by enabling its gallery to acquire an important collection of Acadian art.

Mr. Cohen also contributed to the expansion of the YMCA of Greater Moncton, and as chancellor of Dalhousie University, he was instrumental in securing funding for the first Canadian chair in black studies.

Gilbert Finn was a prominent Acadian. He was a champion of health and education. He was one of the primary advocates for the creation of Moncton's Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre. He also served as Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick from 1987 to 1994 and was the former rector of the University of Moncton.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of these two important gentlemen.