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  • His favourite word is environmental.

Conservative MP for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa (Manitoba)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions March 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition signed by over 60 of my constituents, which emphasizes the importance of regional, local, and community broadcast programming, and asks the government to enable a network of community-operated media centres not served by public or private media. Furthermore, the petitioners request that all Canadian residents have access to multi-platform media skills training and content distribution in the digital economy.

Business of Supply February 23rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, the number of ducks that were killed in that incident was 500. A fall flight to North America is 48 million ducks. Therefore, let us put it in perspective.

It is very important that we address real and measurable environmental issues. I know some members will pooh-pooh the issue of birds. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change should engage the Migratory Birds Convention Act and have a really good look at the effects of alternate energy on some of our most vulnerable and endangered species. She is not doing that.

Business of Supply February 23rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, I happen to have had the honour of working in the oil sands myself, doing environmental monitoring in the winter of 2009-10. Regarding the oil sands, the total aerial extent of the oil sands is 143,000 square kilometres, of which 700 square kilometres have been exploited and 70 square kilometres have been restored.

In terms of her point regarding pollution from various industrial facilities, what happens in modern industrial societies is that industrial processes keep getting better. I will never argue for environmental processes that cause environmental harm or human health damage.

The trend in modern industrial societies is for both the environmental performance of the economy and environmental quality to get better, and Canada is on that path.

Business of Supply February 23rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, what I find interesting about my colleague's comments is he did not mention the environment once. He assumes we tax citizens, which is a tax, and then we give it back to them. Where is the environment in this? Where is the impact on water quality? Where is the impact on air quality? Where is the impact on biodiversity? He never mentioned the environment once. The money is taken from citizens and then is given back to do things that may or may not have anything to do with the environment.

I thought this was an environmental policy. As somebody who spent a lot of time in the environmental policy business, what I care about is delivering real and measurable environmental results on which we can count.

Business of Supply February 23rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to follow my colleague from Calgary Nose Hill.

As someone who has had a career in environmental policy and environmental science for more years than I care to admit, I have come across a philosophy that I follow. Every environmental policy, program, and dollar spent needs to generate real and measurable environmental results. For example, in 1989, the Mulroney government introduced the pulp and paper effluent regulations that required every single paper mill to put a waste-water treatment plant in. That generated a real result. Scrubbers were mandated on smokestacks, which resulted in the Sudbury miracle, a landscape that was restored.

It is very important in environmental policy and environmental science to do the math. The results must be measurable and belief alone has no place in proper environmental policy-making. I noticed that my colleague from Calgary Nose Hill presented verifiable results. She read from scientific and economic documents, whereas the member for Winnipeg North and parliamentary secretary went on and on, with no math or citations whatsoever.

In terms of the Conservative government, I was very proud of its environmental record. Sulphur dioxide went down and nitrous oxide went down. The UN, in 2010, said Canada had the second-best water quality in the industrialized world. Our natural area conservation plan conserved 800,000 hectares of high-quality biodiversity habitat. Our recreational fisheries conservation partnerships program, in one year alone, restored 2,000 linear kilometres of fisheries habitat. That is a real and measurable environmental result.

When we do that math, and I know math is hard for both opposition parties, Canada has 1.6% of global emissions, and this is not my opinion. Quite frankly, not much we do will make any difference to the global climate, and it is simply math. The math also says, if we look at what China is doing right now, it is building two coal-fired projects every single week.

How does the carbon tax, or, more correctly, a carbon dioxide tax measure up? Let us first ask the question: What is CO2? CO2 is an odourless, tasteless gas that makes up 0.04% of our atmosphere. When I brought up the issue of photosynthesis in my question before, I noticed both opposition parties laughed. I find that quite surprising. I guess they do not understand what photosynthesis is. It is only the most important equation on earth. The first molecule in the photosynthetic equation from which most life flows is carbon dioxide.

To school my colleagues opposite in biochemistry, because my colleagues on this side of the House certainly know this, it is carbon dioxide plus water through the miracle of photosynthesis that creates sugar and oxygen. That is a simplified equation, but that is what carbon dioxide does. I still maintain it is absurd to use the phrase “carbon pollution” when referring to CO2. It is a loaded phrase that Liberals use to drive a very wrong agenda, which the minister and the parliamentary secretary do. Volatile organic compounds are carbon pollution, not carbon dioxide, which is literally vital for life itself.

Again, my career in biology spanned some 35 years and I did a lot of fieldwork, so I have a deep affinity for landscapes, forests, waterways, rivers, fish, wildlife, all the things that make up the Canadian environment. I would remind the government that there are more environmental issues than climate change, which are extremely important. They are being ignored by the government and never mentioned by the NDP. For example, the eutrophication of Lake Erie is proceeding apace. I will read a quote, “In the mid-1990s, excessive algal growth began to re-emerge as a problem in the Great Lakes.” The government has not mentioned the Great Lakes once, not that I have heard, and most Canadians live around the Great Lakes.

Wetland loss in Canada is estimated to be about 70% in the settled area of Canada. Again, these are real and pressing environmental issues that should be addressed, but are not being addressed by the Liberal government.

In environmental science, we have something called environmental indicators that are actual measurements of certain environmental factors, things like sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide, biodiversity, fish populations. We measure these over the span of time so we can assess what is going on in the environment.

Again, when it comes to environmental indicators, we have to ask what the environmental return is on a carbon tax. Notice again that there was not a quantative statement between the two Liberal members who spoke before.

Part of the climate change agenda of the government is a push for so-called green energy. Interestingly, the Liberals never talk about the environmental harm caused by some green energy projects. For example, wind turbines are notorious killers of birds. Some have called them bird cuisinarts. I have a paper from Avian Conservation Ecology 2013 regarding Canada. It states:

Installed wind capacity is growing rapidly, and is predicted to increase more than 10-fold over the next 10-15 years, which could lead to direct mortality of approximately 233,000 birds / year, and displacement of 57,000 pairs.

Where are the opposition parties when it comes to this? Nowhere.

In terms of bald eagles and wind turbines, research from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows in the United States alone more than 4,000 bald eagles are killed by wind turbines.

With respect to a species that I am quite familiar with, the Myotis, or the little brown bat, it used to be common in my area. Now it is a COSEWIC listed species. A paper from Popular Science says, “Wind Turbines Kill More Than 600,000 Bats A Year. What Should We Do?” Again, it went on to say how bats were killed by wind turbines. ”Even if the bat isn’t struck, spinning turbines create changes in air pressure as they move, which can essentially cause the animals’ lungs to explode”. Again, none of these negative impacts of green energy projects is ever mentioned by anybody in the opposition parties.

There is a solar plant in California that kills 6,000 birds a year. The report says, “A macabre fireworks show unfolds each day along I-15 west of Las Vegas, as birds fly into concentrated beams of sunlight and are instantly incinerated, leaving wisps of white smoke against the blue desert sky”. Yes, that is green energy all right.

In terms of people, again, I refer to Ontario where the great wind turbine fight is going on. In the bulletin of science and technology journal 2011, researchers studied the health effects of wind turbines. It says:

People who live near wind turbines complain of symptoms that include some combination of the following: difficulty sleeping, fatigue, depression, irritability, aggressiveness, cognitive dysfunction, chest pain/pressure, headaches, joint pain, skin irritations, nausea, dizziness, tinnitus, and stress. These symptoms have been attributed to the pressure...waves that wind turbines generate in the form of noise and infrasound.

Yes, that is green energy all right. Again, the wind turbine fights in Ontario will only get stronger over time.

There is an article from February 23, 2016, entitled “Rules Ignored in Ontario Wind Energy Plan”. A local resident, Jane Wilson, was quoted as saying, “Just in terms of the fabric of the community (it is) ripping people apart”. She chairs Ottawa wind concerns.

People have lost complete faith in their government. People had no say whatever in what happened in their communities. Furthermore, if we look at Ontario, over the years when it has been going down this green energy path, it has only managed to create 13% of their energy mix from wind, biofuel, and solar.

In the case of my constituency, which is a very vast rural constituency, my constituents live on very modest incomes. In fact, it is one of the lower income constituencies in the entire country. What do modest incomes and the need to travel long distance add up to? A devastating effect from the Liberal carbon tax, which will hurt my constituents directly.

Business of Supply February 23rd, 2017

Madam Speaker, I find it completely hilarious when the environment minister and the parliamentary secretary use the phrase “carbon pollution”. We are talking about carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the stuff of life.

I have a question for the parliamentary secretary. Has he ever heard of the process called photosynthesis, does he understand how important photosynthesis is, and can he describe the photosynthetic process? Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Volatile organic compounds that contain carbon are carbon pollution; carbon dioxide is not.

Charlotte Oleson February 22nd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to the life of Charlotte Oleson, of Glenboro, Manitoba, who, sadly, passed away on February 19.

Her first elected office was as councillor for the Village of Glenboro, in 1977, including time as deputy mayor. Charlotte then went on to be elected to the Manitoba legislature in 1981, where she served until 1990. Charlotte served as minister of community services and minister of employment services and economic security, with responsibility for status of women, in the government of premier Gary Filmon. My wife Caroline had the honour of being special assistant to Minister Oleson.

Charlotte was an active member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba for over 40 years. She served as a director of the PC women's caucus and was given an honorary lifetime membership in 2000. Charlotte was also awarded the Canada 125 medal in 1992.

Charlotte leaves to mourn her passing her loving husband of 63 years, Stan, and her three children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. I would like to thank Charlotte for her lifelong commitment to public service. She will be dearly missed by family, friends, and all Manitobans.

Statistics Act February 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I am part of that religion myself. No, that is not quite true. When we make something mandatory, there are people in our society—good, solid, headstrong, independent people who value their privacy, their personal liberties—who will make a mockery of it, the census.

I go back to the point about the long form census. If the sample size is 20 people in the country, so it is mandatory, so what? That is a lousy sample. We could have a voluntary census. If we sampled 10,000 people in the country, we would have a much higher rate of compliance, and at the same time, accuracy would be so much higher.

I want to thank my hon. friend for the question, I want to make the point that never in my parliamentary career or when I was contemplating one did I ever think I would be making a speech on statistical sampling theory.

Statistics Act February 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, again, this is a matter of policy. The minister and the government of the day can make a policy statement that they absolutely will not interfere in the work that the chief statistician does, unless there is gross negligence or enough Canadians find a certain program so deeply offensive that they petition Parliament.

We could set the bar quite high in terms of when a minister would make a comment on a study that the chief statistician was doing. Having said that, if one looks at the history of the Dominion Bureau of Statistics and then StatsCan, one would find that issue rarely came up, unless I am mistaken. That organization, starting with the Dominion Bureau of Statistics, was a group of dedicated, professional statisticians, and I think they have done exemplary work over the years and continue to do so.

It is only us Conservatives who have the principles to actually think citizens are sovereign in their own country, and this is why I am so very pleased to be one of those Conservatives.

Statistics Act February 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague opposite is making the assumption that to be professional it has to be a mandatory long-form census, which is clearly nonsense.

Again, to go back to sampling theory, it is extremely complex. If we consider all the members of Parliament in this House as a population, and we ask every one of them a question about something, that is not a sample. We are talking to the entire population, and what we get out of that is accurate.

However, in most cases, we are not able to ask an entire population a question or look at the population of the crop of wheat, for example, in western Canada, so we have to do a sample.

Of course, the qualifications of the statisticians and the type of sampling program they initiate is absolutely critical, but that has actually nothing to do with the mandatory long-form census.

I go back to the point that there are innumerable statistical studies in Canada, in North America, and around the world, that are not mandatory and that provide equally accurate information, assuming the sampling program is done competently.