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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is jobs.

Liberal MP for Cape Breton—Canso (Nova Scotia)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 74% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply February 9th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I have to admit that I have not read the entire report, but I have read the summary of it, and the debate today has been very helpful and useful.

For the information of the minister, my colleague from Sydney—Victoria and I hosted an event. We did two events back to back. We did one meeting on the environment, took a break and then went into electoral reform meeting. A number of constituents had voiced interest in both. We had around 100 people for the environment and about 25 to 30 people stayed for the other meeting.

The member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, whom I have a world of respect for as a parliamentarian, says that people want a change. This is not what we heard at our meeting. This came out in the debate. Two or three people really wanted a movement to proportional representation, but there were very strong opinions held by others. They believed in the first past the post system.

I want to ask the minister a question about mandatory voting. I have not read the entire report, but we know mandatory voting takes place in several countries. Where did it fit in with the overall scheme? Was that something that came out during the course of the discussions? In her responsibilities as minister, will it be something she will look at going forward?

Job Losses in the Energy Sector February 8th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, if the NDP could take a mulligan, it might want to think back about the last election and how it lost organized labour, and how it lost the building trade. New Democrats cannot see that development brings jobs, and jobs are good for Canada. Jobs are good for Canadians. They like jobs.

The reality is, there has to be a balance between the economy and the environment. There are probably 10% or 15% of Canadians who will never approve a pipeline. There are probably 10% or 15% of Canadians who would not care if we ran the pipeline right down Yonge Street. However, the vast majority of Canadians believe if rules are set down and abided by, and if there is openness and transparency in a process, then they will understand that pipelines can be built safely, they can create jobs in our country, and that is good for all of Canada.

Job Losses in the Energy Sector February 8th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my good friend, my pal across the way. I understand fully. I know when oil was at $140 a barrel, his government got out of the way and it went down to $32 a barrel. I remember coming back after the election and the finance critic got up and asked our finance minister when it went down to $28 a barrel what the Liberals were going to do about the price of oil. It was no problem going from $140 down to $32, but they got really upset about that last $4. It was great that they started watching the market. They really lit it up then. I am being facetious, and the member knows that.

My colleague from the NDP said to cut the carbon tax, but I have not heard a whole lot more beyond that in this debate. I am sort of disappointed with the official opposition that it has not brought a little more to the game than to cut the carbon tax. I think that was a great point that was raised by the NDP.

Our government and our minister will continue to work with the Premier of Alberta and industry in Alberta, and we will continue to try to work with the people of Alberta to make that situation better.

Job Losses in the Energy Sector February 8th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely a pleasure to join in this debate this evening. I will be sharing my time with the member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe.

I appreciate the official opposition bringing this motion forward this evening. I know many people in Alberta are feeling the pain. I worked the best part of 10 years in Alberta, mainly in Fort McMurray. I had the great privilege of getting around to many parts of the province, having had the opportunity to coach in the Alberta junior hockey league. I was in pretty much every rink down in the south. We went to the Foothills looking for a goaltender down there, found none.

From Crowsnest Pass to Taber to Lethbridge and all out through Wetaskiwin, to every little rink, I got to know so many great people, hard-working, honest people raising beautiful kids. I had the great pleasure to coach a number of them during my time in Fort McMurray. My wife taught in Calgary for a couple of years. My focus will be more about Fort McMurray because I continue to stay in touch with my friends in Fort McMurray, having left in 1986. I try to get back every couple of years.

I know, like many other Canadians, we were just blown away with the impact of forest fires in Fort McMurray. Certainly that just sort of added to the dismay and added to the hurt that that community was feeling with the downturn in commodity prices and the drop in the price of oil. When you throw fires on top of that, and having lived in the Fort for 10 years when it comes to forest fire season, everybody sort of has their heart in their mouth. We saw the the devastation and loss in that community

Entire neighbourhoods, like Beacon Hill, Abasands, and Waterways, were just wiped out. People's livelihoods were wiped out. The impact it had on that community was devastating. I know I gave an S.O. 31, a statement at that time. It always riled me when Canadians would speak about Fort McMurray, sort of referring to it as this country's ATM, that it was a place to go and work, make money and then leave. That is not Fort McMurray at all.

Fort McMurray is a fabulous community, and I think it reflects the values of the province of Alberta. I know it is a special place in Alberta. All Albertans and all Canadians, who have been a part of that community, understand just what a special community it is.

That community still has not rebounded from that fire. Community members have tried to get back to a certain degree. The reality is that there is a new normal in Fort McMurray.

Let me boil it down. I know that part of the growth and part of the success of Fort McMurray and in turn Alberta was because Liberal governments had worked with the provincial governments and with industry to grow opportunities. When I started there, it was only the Great Canadian Oil Sands and then Syncrude opened up. There was only Suncor and Syncrude. In 2003, Suncor opened up a third mine. There was a federal government in Ottawa, and three big SAGD projects started up in Alberta at the time.

The Scotford upgrader was built. We know that was much to the benefit of the people in the Edmonton area, and all of Alberta, really. There was Albian Sands. Those were investments that were made that helped grow that economy, the national economy.

We will continue to work with the people in Alberta, the premier and her government, and the industry in Alberta. The drop in commodity prices has been horrific. Above that, there were the fires in Fort McMurray. There has been a great deal of hardship. The government understands that the people of Fort McMurray need and deserve help. We will be there to continue to work with them and help them.

Youth February 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, helping young Canadians gain valuable work and life experience is central to the focus of our government. It is absolutely a priority. Our Prime Minister and the government are proud of reversing 10 years of cuts to youth programming by the past Conservative government.

We continue to engage with Katimavik. If I could take the opportunity, I want to recognize the member for Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs, who has done excellent work on this file. We will continue to engage with Katimavik. Stay tuned. Hopefully, we will have a great resolution forthcoming.

Status of Women February 3rd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, equal pay for equal value work is a human right. We are very proud to bring forward pay equity after a decade of inaction. Pay equity between men and women and fair treatment for all workers in the workplace, regardless of gender, is going to create growth for a thriving middle class. We will make substantive reform and implement proactive pay equity in the federal jurisdiction, which includes 874,000 employees and 10,800 employers.

We are absolutely committed to pay equity, and we will pursue that and bring it to a—

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship February 1st, 2017

Madam Speaker, again, we have made the commitment to bring the Yazidis here within 120 days. I do not think the member for Calgary Nose Hill would want to put our officials in danger or would want to jeopardize the safety of any Canadians who are working hard to try to resolve this issue.

We recognize that operating in the region is complex. It is dangerous, and it poses risks, so it is imperative that we consider the next steps very carefully. That is why the department has made a third visit to the region. Officials have interviewed a large number of Syrian refugees as well as some internally displaced persons. They have met with key partners to gather more information. That is the prudent thing to do.

We will continue to explore our options and to work with our partners in the region to respond to these challenges and determine how best to extend protection to these vulnerable populations, including the Yazidis.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship February 1st, 2017

You would think a fellow would catch that after 17 years, Madam Speaker, but my apologies.

The member for Calgary Nose Hill knows the respect I hold for her and her passion on this issue.

Canadians have joined with people all across the world to deplore the murderous actions of Daesh. Canada has been a key contributor in the international efforts to address the crisis and resettle those who have been displaced from their homes. Since November 4, 2015, we have welcomed almost 40,000 Syrian refugees. Also, the Government of Canada has fulfilled its 2009 commitment to resettle 23,000 Iraqi refugees by 2015.

I am pleased that all parties are co-operating to help the vulnerable Yazidi population, as evidenced by the unanimous support to bring Yazidis to Canada within 120 days.

We are committed to meeting this 120 day time limit, but it is equally important to take the necessary time to do this right and to ensure that we have in place such things as settlement supports, welcoming communities, interpreters, and plans to meet the psychological and social needs of those we are welcoming.

That is why, as the former minister said in his response to this question, we have been working very actively on a two-part strategy.

We will bring individuals who are residing outside of Iraq, in Turkey and Lebanon, and while this work is being done, we will concurrently explore options for those residing in Iraq.

While we recognize the need for protection for victims of Daesh, Canadians realize the region's continued instability presents challenges in identifying and interviewing them, not to mention getting them out of Iraq, while ensuring the safety of our immigration officers and members of vulnerable groups.

The internationally agreed upon approach to resettlement is to focus on refugees, in other words, those persons who have been forced to flee their country.

Canada's resettlement program is designed to provide protection for refugees who are outside their country of origin. Individuals who have had to flee their home but remain within their home country are known as internally displaced people.

The safety of individuals, staff, and partners is a top priority when developing operational plans. It takes considerable resources to process difficult-to-access populations.

That said, the Government of Canada is looking at ways to respond to the challenges in northern Iraq. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada officials recently completed a third visit to the region. They interviewed a large number of Syrian refugees, as well as some internally displaced persons, and met with key partners to gather as much information as possible on the situation on the ground.

Canada has a long, proud, and well-respected tradition of helping to protect persons in need. While we want to continue to be a world leader in this area, there is no quick fix.

We are continuing to explore options and to work with our partners in the region to respond to these challenges to determine how best to extend protection to these vulnerable populations in northern Iraq.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship February 1st, 2017

Madam Speaker, let me first explain that it is me that the member is saddled with this evening as my colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, is in Acadie, Bathurst with his people attending to—

Questions on the Order Paper January 30th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), as announced in Budget 2016, the student work-integrated learning program, or SWILP, is a $73-million program that will support new work-integrated learning, WIL, opportunities, such as co-ops and internships for young Canadians, with a focus on high-demand fields such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or STEM, and business, as well as through sustainable partnerships to align skills training with jobs in demand. Details will be provided once the SWILP is officially launched.

With regard to (b), as announced in Budget 2016, the student work-integrated learning program, SWILP, is a $73-million program that will support new work-integrated learning, or WIL, opportunities, such as co-ops and internships, for young Canadians, with a focus on high-demand fields such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or STEM, and business, as well as through sustainable partnerships to align skills training with jobs in demand.

With regard to (c), the student work-integrated learning program, SWILP, is a four-year program. Yearly budget for the SWILP will be provided once the SWILP is officially launched.

With regard to (d), the student work-integrated learning program, SWILP, is a four-year initiative that will support sustainable and innovative partnerships between employers and willing post-secondary education, or PSE, institutions to create quality work-integrated learning, WIL, opportunities for PSE students in high-demand fields related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, or STEM, and business.

The WIL opportunities created through these partnerships will better align the technical, foundational, and work-ready skills of students. PSE students will be encouraged to approach learning and WIL opportunities with an entrepreneurial mindset, to better position them to secure employment in their chosen fields of study and make immediate and meaningful contributions to Canada’s future growth and innovation.

The student work-integrated learning program, SWILP, will bring stakeholders from post-secondary education institutions and employers in key growth and innovation sectors of the Canadian economy.