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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is environment.

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

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

Statements in the House

The Environment June 15th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, in the name of environmental protection, the Ontario Liberal government has moved to phase out what it calls low efficiency wood burning stoves that provide heat for hundreds of thousands of Ontario residents.

This excruciatingly bad environmental policy will eliminate one of the most cost effective heating options for those who choose to heat with wood, many of whom live on modest incomes. This policy, if fully implemented, will hurt families across Ontario, particularly in rural areas.

Wood consumption in Canada accounts for 30% to 35% of renewable energy use, second only to hydro electricity. Governments across Canada should celebrate wood heat, given it is the most carbon neutral energy source available.

I would urge that governments across Canada support those millions of self-sufficient Canadians who choose to heat with wood. However, should the anti-wood burning policy of the Ontario government catch fire with the Government of Canada, they will have to pry my axe and chainsaw from my cold dead hands.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 14th, 2016

With regard to the use of government-issued credit cards by Ministerial exempt staff, for each Minister since November 4, 2015: (a) how many employees have been provided with a credit card; (b) how many Ministerial exempt staff failed to pay the amount owing within the required time frame; (c) for each case identified in (b), (i) what is the name of the Ministerial exempt staff member, (ii) what was the amount owing; (d) how many Ministerial exempt staff used government-issued credit cards for non-governmental business; (e) for each case identified in (d), (i) what is the name of the Ministerial exempt staff member, (ii) what specific transactions were made and for what amounts; (f) how much has the government had to pay to cover the delinquent accounts of Ministerial exempt staff; and (g) of the amount in (f) how much has the government recovered from the relevant Ministerial exempt staff members?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns June 14th, 2016

With regard to government expenditures on media monitoring: for every contract entered into or in force, on or since November 4, 2015, what search terms were required to be monitored?

Business of Supply June 13th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, after listening to my colleague, it is obvious that the Liberals' view toward evidence-based policy is a complete farce, and here is why.

This is one of the few public policy areas where we have a perfect public policy experiment. We have legalized cigarettes. We have all the restrictions in place. We have the packaging, the warning, and cigarettes are put behind cupboards so nobody can see them. They are highly taxed. They are supposed to be kept out of the hands of kids. Has that stopped the criminal production of illegal cigarettes? Absolutely not. In fact, the criminal production and sale of cigarettes has skyrocketed in the face of these restrictions on legal cigarettes.

The exact same thing will happen in the case of marijuana. Once marijuana is legalized, we bring the price up, and we have these so-called restrictions, marijuana is fairly easy to cultivate, so there will be a major stream of illegal marijuana entering the stream of legal marijuana. Criminal profits will increase dramatically, and marijuana will be made even more available to our kids.

There is no restriction in place that the Liberals have talked about, and they have given us no specifics. This simply will not work. Can the member comment on that?

Questions on the Order Paper June 10th, 2016

With regard to the disposition of government assets, for the period of November 4, 2015, to April 22, 2016: (a) on how many occasions has the government repurchased or reacquired a lot which had been disposed of in accordance with the Treasury Board Directive on the Disposal of Surplus Materiel; and (b) for each occasion identified in (a), what was (i) the description or nature of the item or items which constituted the lot, (ii) the sale account number or other reference number, (iii) the date on which the sale closed, (iv) the price at which the item was disposed of to the buyer, (v) the price at which the item was repurchased from the buyer?

Petitions May 31st, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition on behalf of the Family Action Coalition, signed by citizens from right across Manitoba.

The petitioners request that the government allows sufficient time for broad consultation on Bill C-14, that there are sufficient protections for the vulnerable, and that conscience rights for health care providers are protected.

Fisheries Conservation May 20th, 2016

Madam Speaker, on May 7, I was honoured to attend the Swan Valley Sport Fishing Enhancement's annual banquet to celebrate their fisheries conservation work. I am proud to support the excellent research, education, and conservation work this organization does.

As an angler and fisheries biologist myself, I am very pleased to support those who are dedicated to the conservation of the valuable fish resources in our many beautiful water bodies. Swan Valley Sport Fishing Enhancement works tirelessly to conserve and enhance game fish population through education, research, and conducting on-the-ground fisheries enhancement projects. However, the group truly succeeds by incorporating their own love for fishing and conservation into efforts to encourage experienced anglers, young people, and families to explore and experience what our beautiful region has to offer.

It is organizations like this all across the country that do tireless work to ensure we have sustainable fish populations. These are Canada's real environmentalists. I thank them for their efforts.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1. May 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my colleague's speech, along with the other speeches from the Liberals and the NDP.

One of the things that stands out starkly with all the speeches is the consistency. All that those two parties want to do is to spend money. Everything is about spending money. Take the issue of electric cars. I just looked it up, and the subsidy for electric cars in Ontario is $14,000 per vehicle. For both parties, it is all about spending.

The previous Conservative speaker for Louis-Saint-Laurent spent a great deal of his time talking about small and medium-sized enterprises, which is what Canada needs to create wealth in order to provide the social services that this country needs.

My specific question to my colleague across the way is this. Why does the Liberal Party never talk about creating a business climate for investment that will create the wealth, as a first step to creating a prosperous and healthy society?

Modernizing Animal Protections Act May 9th, 2016

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The member for Red Deer—Lacombe will also be speaking.

My riding is primarily agricultural. In addition to producing grains and oilseeds, the land supports thriving cattle and hog industries. My constituency is also blessed with vast tracks of natural habitats and numerous lakes that support hunting, angling, and trapping activities that are critical to our way of life and our thriving tourism industry.

The wise use of our fish and wildlife resources, and the efficient, humane, and environmental sound raising of livestock are critical to maintaining the economy and the way of life in my riding. It is my duty as the MP to vigorously defend our way of life against the ill-conceived Bill C-246.

Let me be clear. We all support animal welfare, but animal welfare is a far cry from animal rights. Canada has good animal welfare legislation at both the provincial and federal levels. However, Bill C-246 is a Trojan horse that would advance a pure animal rights agenda.

The animal rights movement is very clear that its primary goal is the elimination of all animal use. Animal Justice Canada strongly supports Bill C-246, and it is “working to enshrine meaningful animal rights into Canadian law, including the right of animals to have their interests represented in court, and the guarantee of rights and freedoms that make life worth living”.

The group PETA, on the masthead of its website, proudly states that “Animals are not ours to [kill], eat, wear, experiment on, or [exploit] for entertainment”. Then there is PETA's famous line, “When it comes to pain, love, joy, loneliness...a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy”.

There are many other animal rights groups that are advancing the same agenda and strongly supporting Bill C-246. We are known by the company we keep.

The Criminal Code of Canada, and all provinces, have comprehensive provisions that criminalize various kinds of animal cruelty and neglect. The courts have for decades consistently interpreted these provisions as not intending to forbid conduct that is socially acceptable or otherwise authorized by law, such as hunting, fishing, medical research, and slaughter for food.

What would Bill C-246 change? I am looking at the Criminal Code side. I am not looking at the cat and dog or shark finning matters.

First, offences against animals would no longer be offences against certain property. This significant change would take animal cruelty offences out of the section dealing with offences against certain property and move them to the section of the Criminal Code dealing with offences against persons, giving rise to the suggestion that animals are no longer a special type of property but are potentially entitled to rights that are similar to persons.

Second, there is an inclusion of the new “recklessly” test. The new section 182.1 includes the test of “recklessly” to the existing “wilfully” test for causing “unnecessary pain, suffering, or injury to an animal”. This would expand the kind of conduct that could be criminalized.

Third, with regard to the new “kills” and animal offences, the bill would add two new offences that are not currently in the Criminal Code. Section 182.1(1) says:

Everyone commits an offence who, wilfully or recklessly,

(b) kills an animal or, being the owner, permits an animal to be killed, brutally or viciously, regardless of whether the animal dies immediately;

(c) kills an animal without lawful excuse;

This “brutally or viciously” test is completely novel and does not appear to have been previously used in any Canadian statute or interpreted in any Canadian court. This provision does not appear to exist in any legislation in the United Kingdom, Australia, or the United States. It would create a new and very broad offence. For example, would the current method of cooking lobster by placing them live in a pot of boiling water be criminalized?

Currently, killing an animal is not the focus of the Criminal Code. Cruelty, not killing, was a focus of the offences. This new test would force a court to evaluate the method of killing that is chosen, and if it falls within the test or there is no lawful excuse, it criminalizes the behaviour. Lawful excuse is not defined in Bill C-246.

These two sections, depending on how they would be interpreted by the courts, could have the effect of criminalizing many recreational, agricultural, commercial, and scientific activities, such as medical research, and religious practices such as kosher or halal butchering.

Four, there is the addition of a negligence standard. This widening of the test for criminalizing from “wilfully” under the current section, to the much lower “negligently” test in the new bill, could have the potential of criminalizing far more types of behaviour.

It must be noted that anyone convicted under the expanded provisions would now have a criminal record that would follow them for the rest of their lives, affecting international travel and employment prospects.

A person will no longer have to be willfully cruel to be criminalized, just clumsy, incompetent, or unlucky. For example, this section could create consequences for accidentally striking an animal with a vehicle. This is a vast expansion of criminal liability to areas of activity that should not be affected by the criminal law or are already regulated under other existing federal-provincial legislation.

Fifth, there are no specific exemptions for legal conduct to offences listed.

The bill provides in182.5 that common law defences in subsections 8(3) and 429(2) of the Criminal Code are not effective. However, these are defences to the commission of the offence, not the exclusion of otherwise legal activities from being criminalized under the Criminal Code.

These specific legal activities, ranching, hunting, fishing, trapping, medical research, etc., should be clearly listed in the bill so that otherwise legal activities should be taken out of the Criminal Code completely and not criminalized.

There are also possible constitutional issues. All provinces have animal cruelty laws. I have read every one of them. Where a federal bill criminalizes an activity that is deemed lawful and regulated under provincial law, constitutional issues relating to the validity of the statutes arise. This is another reason to clearly and specifically spell out which otherwise lawful activities are not criminalized.

The Criminal Code is meant to contain laws that criminalize certain actions or behaviours. It is meant to be broad enough to allow enforcement but specific enough to target particular actions. The problem with this legislation is that it is not targeting specific actions. We do not actually know what action may be considered criminal with this vague language. It does not even provide a list of activities that are permitted.

In terms of Bill C-246, many people mistakenly think this is a rural versus urban issue, or it is all about hunting, angling, trapping, and ranching. If enacted, Bill C-246 could affect all Canadians.

Let us look at medical research. Most, if not all, animal rights groups oppose animal-based medical research. Canadians must realize that most significant medical breakthroughs result from animal-based medical research. Approximately 60% of all cardiovascular research is conducted on animals. The Heart and Stroke Foundation, on its website, notes:

Remarkable progress has been made tackling cardiovascular disease in Canada over the past 60 years with death rates declining by more than 75 per cent. This has largely been due to research advances....

It must be noted that all surgical techniques are developed and tested on animals before they are applied to humans. Humanity owes a great deal of gratitude to those animals that are sacrificed so that we might light.

I, and hundreds of thousands of Canadians, are alive today because of cardiovascular advancements, which were developed using animal experimentation. If we were to stop performing medical research on animals, we are basically saying that we should stop making life-saving medical breakthroughs. This is not acceptable to me or anyone else.

Some of these groups want to stop using animals, while others would prefer to push even further and use vexatious litigation to punish those who use animals in any manner. The effect of their campaigns have been devastating for remote, rural communities, such as those represented by the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and others that depend on sealing and trapping. Those communities are represented by MPs from all parties in the House.

I do not approve of wilful cruelty to animals, however, words are very important, and I fear the language in Bill C-246 will not, in fact, crack down on those who wilfully harm animals, but instead will put legitimate and necessary animal use practices in legal jeopardy.

I cannot vote in good conscience for legislation that could potentially cast a chill over medical research on animals, potentially criminalize ranchers, trappers, and jeopardize traditional outdoor activities, such as hunting and angling, along with the many other legitimate animal use practices that are vital for our economy and well-being.

I would ask my colleagues to consider these serious concerns, and vote against Bill C-246.

Modernizing Animal Protections Act May 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Red Deer—Lacombe.

I rise in the House today to speak against Bill C-246, the so-called modernizing animal protections act. I am very proud to represent the vast constituency of Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa in west central Manitoba. My riding is primarily agricultural and—