House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was environmental.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Conservative MP for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa (Manitoba)

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

Statements in the House

Federal Sustainable Development Act May 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, in a previous life, I used to manage a sustainable development fund and process for the Manitoba government. I was very much struck by the concept of sustainable development. However, I am deeply troubled by how the government misunderstands the concept of sustainable development. I will provide a short history lesson.

The term “sustainable development” was popularized by the Brundtland commission, chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland, the then prime minister of Norway. The report came out in 1987, “Our Common Future”. The people who wrote “Our Common Future” stated very clearly that poverty causes environmental degradation. Environmental degradation is caused by a lack of economic development.

However, the current government, through its various processes, such as the proposed impact assessment act and other processes, is processing natural resource projects to death and eliminating any hope for small rural communities to advance our economic future.

Why does the minister have a sustainable development bill that the words “wealth creation” are not even a part of, when a lack of wealth creation in Canada would be a major cause of long-term environmental degradation?

Business of Supply May 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for commenting about seniors. Being one myself, it is very close to my heart. The Liberal federal government wants to take us to where Ontario is: high energy prices, high costs, devastating impacts on low-income people. We read stories in Ontario of seniors who look at their hydro bill and say to themselves, “Do I heat or do I eat?” That is the stark issue they are facing.

I represent a fairly low-income constituency. My constituents are tough as nails. They live on low incomes and are self-sufficient and very proud, but they will suffer under the burden of a carbon tax at a time when costs are high everywhere else. When they get in their pickup trucks and drive, it is going to cost even more. The effects on seniors will be more devastating than on anyone else.

Business of Supply May 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, under our government, the clean-tech sector thrived. If one looked at environmental indicators by number, almost all of them improved under our watch, because we wanted real results. In 2006, GHG emissions were 740 tonnes and in 2015 it was 722. That was a real result.

I noticed that the member opposite said it “could be” a benefit, so obviously for many citizens it will simply not be a benefit, especially those who live in rural areas. I have also been provided with anecdotal evidence—and I do not really like anecdotes, but numbers—that the number of people from B.C. buying gas in the United States is growing by leaps and bounds.

For the member to take credit for Amazon moving to Vancouver because of a carbon tax is absolutely ridiculous.

Business of Supply May 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Mégantic—L'Érable.

It was with great hilarity that I listened to my Manitoba colleague's speech. One thing that I noticed was that not a single number came out of his mouth. It was all straight opinion.

Numbers are important. If there is no talk about numbers, there is no talk about environmental policy. If there are no numbers, there are no facts. Numbers are, in essence, science. The government professes to support science, but let us notice how it obfuscates, skates around issues, and presents no proof of what it says. It simply does not care about science.

I would like to quote a sage from 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates of Kos, who said, “There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance.” All I heard from the member opposite was nothing but opinions.

Let us look at the numbers regarding the carbon tax, which is the signature policy of the government in terms of the cost to the economy. One would think that the government would use metrics, but knowing the government's proclivity for obfuscation, there are two possibilities: either the government knows the real number in terms of the cost to the economy but will not tell, or it is blindly charging ahead with no idea of the effect on the environment or the economy.

Interestingly, my colleague from Manitoba talked about B.C. and all that kind of stuff. I am going to segue into a letter from a citizen from Seattle. He was talking about the activists in B.C. He said, “Thanks to [those activists] who seem to have once again to have blocked an oil pipeline to the coast. Those of us living south of the border will continue to enjoy importing your oil at substantial discounts while exporting our oil from Gulf ports at world market prices. Your gift to us, around $100 million per day Canadian, is greatly appreciated. We marvel at your generosity while doubting your sanity. All of this will have zero impact on the global climate, of course.”

Again, the effects of what the government is doing in terms of blocking Canada's oil exports and in terms of its climate pricing are truly daunting.

A few weeks ago, I challenged the environment minister in committee to provide a number in terms of how much reduction there would be in greenhouse gas emissions as a result of the carbon tax. I demanded answers. She was just going around and around. Throughout her answer, I asked, “What is the number? What is the number?” Naturally, she gave us nothing. In fact, the exchange was so hilarious that it was featured on This Hour has 22 Minutes. The whole segment was on how the government provides no answers to any specific questions.

Let us come up with a few answers for the effect on the economy of a $50-a-tonne carbon tax, which is what the government wants. A $50-a-tonne carbon tax will increase fuel prices by 11.6¢ per litre. Canadians can go to the natural resources website and see that Canada consumes about 105 billion litres per year of domestic fuel, so when we do the math, we see that Canadians will pay about an extra $12 billion per year for domestic fuel. That means the average family, just for that alone, will pay between $1,000 and $2,000 per year extra.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer has a very interesting article, headed “PBO says carbon tax will knock $10 billion off GDP by 2022”.

It said:

The government's carbon pricing plan will cause the GDP to drop, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer's (PBO) latest report, costing Canadians $10 billion they would otherwise have gained by 2022.

The article went on to say:

The report warns that the levy will “generate a headwind” for the economy as the price on carbon is boosted from $10 per tonne of CO2 in 2018 to $50 per tonne in 2022.

It adds, “ economic terms, headwinds aren't a good thing.”

In terms of the effect on rural and northern communities and poor people, the member for Nunavut—and I spent a fair bit of time in Nunavut myself in a previous life—spoke at length. He asked the parliamentary secretary about some kind of price relief for the Nunavummiut. Anyone who has been to any community in Nunavut—indeed, in much of the Northwest Territories as well—will know diesel fuel powers those communities. Also, snowmobiles are very expensive and use a lot of fuel. They are vital for the hunting, trapping, and fishing that people in those regions engage in. The answer the parliamentary secretary gave was basically that they would look at it and think of something.

My own riding of Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa is the size of Nova Scotia. It is a very dispersed riding, with lots of small and remote communities and lots of wide open spaces. There is no public transportation, so people have to drive, regardless of their income. My constituency is one of the lower-income constituencies in Canada. Not only are our people forced to use their vehicles—keep in mind we love our pickup trucks—but so are farmers. The member opposite went on about agriculture. We agree how terrific our farmers are, as the member for Kitchener—Conestoga pointed out so eloquently. Community farmers are price-takers and not price-makers. They will not be able to recover those carbon tax costs. I go back to the point that rural people have no option but to drive.

Going back to the cost of carbon tax, there was a report done by Chris Ragan, the chair of Canada's Ecofiscal Commission. He pointed out that Canada currently emits 700 million tonnes of emissions annually. A price of $50 per tonne placed on these emissions comes to $35 billion, and in an interview he said that this is not the most efficient model for growing the economy. He went on to say, “The best way, if you really care about economic growth, is you use the revenue from a carbon price to reduce the most growth retarding tax we have, which is a corporate income tax.”

Thirty-five billion dollars per year is the upper estimate, so it would be between $10 billion and $30 billion per year.

Again, a report from the Conference Board of Canada states that carbon pricing alone can't meet Canada's GHG reduction targets.

The government's record on the environment is absolutely appalling. It is long on rhetoric but woefully short of results. It is appalling hypocrisy. Montreal and Quebec were allowed to discharge millions of litres of sewage. What did we hear from the other side? We heard crickets. Victoria is currently dumping raw sewage. The wetlands fund and the recreational fisheries conservation partnership program were cancelled.

We ask ourselves what the outcome of the carbon tax will be. It should be a truism in environmental policy that when one does an environmental project, there is an environmental outcome. If a scrubber is put on a smokestack, SO2 is reduced. What is the outcome of the carbon tax?

When Conservatives do environmental policy, we insist on real and measurable results for environmental programs and policies. For example, when Brian Mulroney was prime minister, he negotiated the acid rain treaty. Those were very tough, tense negotiations with the Americans, but there was a clear and definite result for our environment. Our government would put in place new parks, remediate contaminated sites, restore wetland funds, and on and on, producing real results.

Given the flaws in the government's carbon tax plan and the cascading of the GST on top of the carbon tax, which will result in significant cost to Canadian families and the economy, I am very pleased to support the motion by my colleague.

Business of Supply May 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I think it was, the member for Nunavut asked a very pointed question about the extraordinary negative effect of the carbon tax on Nunavut and Arctic communities. I happen to represent a very large rural riding the size of Nova Scotia, where there is no public transit, communities are dispersed, and people are dispersed. My constituency is actually one of the lowest-income constituencies in the country. The effect of the carbon tax, and with the GST tacked on top of the tax, will be abnormally large for northern and rural communities.

I noticed in my colleague's speech that she did not mention those communities once. They are considered an afterthought by the government. Why is the government being so callous toward rural and northern communities, and also to people on low incomes who often, especially as we can see in Ontario with its ridiculous energy policies, have a choice every day to heat or eat?

Winnipeg Jets April 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, spring may have sprung in Manitoba, but the Whiteout is still going strong. After our Winnipeg Jets tamed the Wild in round one of the Stanley Cup playoffs, we are onto round two.

I can guarantee that the Presidents' Trophy-winning Nashville Predators are terrified of the firepower our Winnipeg Jets are about to rain down upon them. In round two, the Predators will become the prey. After the painful departure of the original Jets in 1996, the return of our beloved Jets has energized our province. All of Manitoba is buzzing in support of our team.

After the anticipated early exit of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Jets become the only Canadian team in the hunt. I encourage all Canadians to jump on the bandwagon of Canada's team, and join the Whiteout as our Jets fight to win Lord Stanley's cup.

Go Jets go.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1 April 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of serving on the environment committee, and the testimony we are hearing about Bill C-69, the new impact assessment act, is truly horrifying, and I use the word advisedly. My colleague across the way had a rosy comment about Canada's economy. That view is not shared by the resources sector. One in 10 Canadian jobs is provided by the resources sector, which is rapidly declining. Canada is losing investment. We have lost about $80 billion, and the Royal Bank says that investment is fleeing Canada in real time. Chris Bloomer, the head of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, went so far as to say that Canada has a “toxic regulatory environment”. We can let those words sink in. We see what is happening with Kinder Morgan. Again, the uncertainty is starting to increase.

With the natural resources industry being about one third of our economy, how is my colleague across the way going to deal with the investment that is fleeing the country right now? It is project after project: Petronas, energy east, and on and on. These projects are dropping by the wayside, along with thousands of jobs. Does the member even care about the workers in the energy industry?

Fisheries Act March 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the environment committee right now is looking at the Liberals' proposed environmental assessment bill. We had a number of representatives from various industries. The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association called the regulatory state in Canada right now a toxic regulatory environment. This is why investment in the mining industry, for example, is down 60%.

The Fisheries Act is being layered on top of regulation after regulation, and process after process. Investment is fleeing this country and the changes that the government is making to the Fisheries Act are a big part of that. Could my friend for Red Deer—Lacombe comment on that?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns March 29th, 2018

With regard to the government’s decision to cancel the National Wetland Conservation Fund: (a) what is the official reason for cancelling the program; and (b) did any organizations formally request that the fund be cancelled and, if so, what are the details including (i) name of organization, (ii) date request was made?

The Environment March 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, what a ridiculous answer.

Last week, the environment minister refused to answer a very simple question at committee, so I will give her another chance.

It is a truism that environmental programs should have specific and measurable outcomes. We know how much scrubbers on smokestacks reduce SO2. We know how much a waste-water treatment plant will improve water quality. It is shocking that the Liberals do not know how much a carbon tax will reduce emissions.

By how much will a $50 a tonne carbon tax across Canada reduce our greenhouse gas emissions? I want a number.