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  • His favourite word is workers.

Liberal MP for Cape Breton—Canso (Nova Scotia)

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

Statements in the House

Asbestos June 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, in fact, the member would know that this government has deemed asbestos to be out of the realm of our trade.

We are working with all stakeholders. There was a meeting held recently here in Ottawa that brought all stakeholders together, labour and health leaders, and that strategy is absolutely under construction. We will be looking forward to tabling something very soon.

Extension of Sitting Hours May 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join in this debate.

As much as partisan posturing goes on, every now and then something is said in the chamber that triggers a reaction to some MPs. Certainly the member's comment about how Canadians can see through it is the one that has triggered the comments I want to share with the House now.

Canadians can see through that last 10 minutes of agony, listening to that speech. I was here in the chamber when Stephen Harper and his gang prorogued the House twice, once after six weeks of government.

I was in the House when one of the Conservative members, speaking on electoral reform, said he had witnessed first-hand voter fraud, people picking voter cards out of the garbage and using them. That member had to come back and purposefully apologize to the House, telling the House he had misled it. When we tried to send that issue to the PROC committee, the Conservatives shut down debate. They called closure. They put the run on it.

We will take no lessons from the member on how to operate the House.

Public Service Congratulations May 23rd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, as parliamentarians, we are unanimous in recognizing and respecting the hard work of our committed staff members, regardless of party affiliation. Long hours, tough files, complex issues being dealt with in an intense and public forum is a typical day at the office for a Hill staffer.

I rise today to recognize a friend and colleague, who first arrived on Parliament Hill twenty years ago today. Bright-eyed and bushy-headed, Jamie Innes came from his native New Brunswick heeding the call to public service. From the government side to the opposition side and back to the government side, Jamie has worked for MPs and been a trusted adviser to various ministers, and he played a critical role in the House leader's office back in the opposition days. His hard work, patience, and integrity have earned him the friendship and respect of his peers, and his sharp political instincts have yielded great equity in his advice.

Twenty years later, his hair is a little thinner, his skin is a bit thicker, but he still has that passion for public service, and that remains constant. For two decades of service to this place, join me in congratulating our friend, Jamie Innes.

Questions on the Order Paper May 22nd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), as part of its regular outreach and engagement with stakeholders, Service Canada contacted a range of employers to promote the 2018 Canada summer jobs program.

Examples of strategies that were undertaken by Service Canada to contact these employers include email blasts, including reminders, to members of Parliament, past applicants, and potential new applicants across Canada; teleconferences, webinars and/or in-person information sessions held across Canada; and outreach initiatives held across Canada with various umbrella associations.

Specifically, for Canada Summer Jobs 2018, the following were carried out: emails were sent to approximately 45,000 applicants to the 2016 and 2017 Canada summer jobs program; another 1,300 organizations received emails—for example, umbrella organizations; and over 800 individuals participated in information sessions, both virtual and in person.

Members of Parliament also conducted their own outreach to organizations, which was not tracked by Service Canada.

While employers contacted as part of the outreach and engagement strategy included faith-based organizations, Service Canada did not ?systematically track the type and number of organizations contacted. As a result, information to develop a complete list of employers contacted, including faith-based organizations, as part of this strategy is not currently available.

With regard to (b)(i) and (b)(ii), the details of the contact made with religious groups, including the specific date and method of contact, are not available in light of the response provided in (a). Service Canada contacted a range of employers to promote the 2018 Canada summer jobs program during the period from December 19, 2017, to February 9, 2018. Examples of strategies undertaken to contact these employers, which include but are not limited to religious groups, are listed in the response to (a).

With regard to (c)(i), in light of the response provided in (a), information with respect to religious groups contacted who have signed the attestation is not available. It is also important to note that as in previous years, religious organizations were encouraged, welcome, and eligible to apply to the Canada summer jobs program. However, “faith-based” is not a category used to identify organizations as part of the Canada summer jobs application process.

With regard to (c)(ii), the complete list of employers who have been approved for Canada summer jobs 2018 funding is found on the Canada summer jobs website at https://www.canada.ca/ en/employment-social-development/ services/funding.html.

Health May 11th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Nepean for reminding us that this week is Mental Health Week.

Our government is focused on ensuring federally regulated workers have healthy and safe workplaces. We introduced Bill C-65, a historic piece of legislation, to put an end to harassment and sexual violence in the federal sector and here on Parliament Hill. We have also introduced the right to request flexible work arrangements and new leave provisions for workers so they can better balance work with family responsibilities.

This week and every day, we will support those struggling with mental health issues.

Employment May 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the member from Elgin—Middlesex—London is an outstanding member of this chamber, and she serves the people of her riding well. I know she has done a tremendous job with parliamentary secretary duties as well.

One thing she knows is that the government will stand up for the rights of all Canadians, rights that were hard fought for and won by many sectors in this country.

When the additional information came forward, that took a great deal of anxiety away. There was anxiety initially. I do not disagree with the member opposite. However, there was clarification. I had 20 faith-based groups receive funding, and this year I am up to 22 groups. There are a couple that have changed for various reasons.

Again, the actions taken by the government both provide opportunity for young Canadians and protect the rights of all Canadians.

Employment May 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, it is great to be here with the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London. The member mentioned her former boss, Joe Preston, who was a great friend. I now have his office. He and I solved a lot of the world's problems in that office in the last Parliament.

If the member goes back to check on those grant positions, those summer student positions, she would notice that back in 2015 there were about 97 of them. However, last year, there were 209 of them. That is because our Liberal government doubled the investment in summer students, and I think the member can get the math on that.

Our government knows that a strong middle class and a growing economy depend on young Canadians getting the skills and work experience they need to succeed. We have doubled the Canada summer jobs program compared to previous Conservative governments, creating meaningful, paid work experience for almost 70,000 students per year.

I must say that it is a little disappointing that members opposite are spending so much time maybe not giving out all the information on the program, and I would be happy to set the record straight here today.

First of all, the attestation, as outlined in the application guidelines, concerns both the job and the core mandate of the organization. What do we mean by “core mandate”? We mean the primary activities undertaken by the organization that reflect the organization's ongoing services provided to the community. It is not the beliefs of the organization. It is not the values of the organization. I would like to point out that applicants have always been required to outline their organization's mandate and the roles and responsibilities of the job to be funded. This is not a new requirement.

However, what was new this year was that applicants had to attest that both the job and the organization's core mandate respect individual human rights here in Canada. What do we mean by that? We mean the respect of individual human rights, including the rights of women and LGBTQ2 Canadians. That is to say that these rights are respected when an organization's primary activities and the job responsibilities do not seek to remove or actively undermine these existing rights. By including this requirement, we are preventing federal funding from flowing to organizations whose mandates or projects do not respect individual human rights, the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is as simple as that.

Our government has a responsibility to ensure that its policies, programs, and budgets respect and protect human rights. I want to make it clear that, as in previous years, churches, religious groups, and faith-based organizations were encouraged, welcomed, and eligible to apply to the Canada summer jobs program. They add tremendous value to our communities. On this side, we have helped thousands of faith-based groups, not-for-profits and businesses alike, creating just under 70,000 summer jobs. However, this does not require an individual employee in any organization to change his or her beliefs.

We believe that investment in youth is a wise investment, not just for now but for the future, which is why we doubled this investment. I will stand with the government on its actions on this file.

Workplace Safety May 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Madawaska—Restigouche for his question and his continued commitment to Canadian workers. Our government takes the health and safety of Canadian workers very seriously. We have strengthened the Canada Labour Code to bring worker protection in line with current realities. We introduced Bill C-65, putting an end to harassment and violence in federally regulated workplaces, and we amended asbestos standards so that Canadians are not exposed at work.

This year's theme for North American Occupational Safety and Health Week is “Making Safety a Habit”. As Canadians, let us do our part and—

Canada Labour Code May 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, the member for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, for her work on this particular issue. As parliamentarians, we want to make sure that we get this right. I know she has been charged with the task of pulling together an approach on behalf of our party, and she has invested a great deal of time and energy on making sure that we get that right.

It is essential to the legislation, the bill, and the issue, that people feel confident in coming forward. The one thing we heard consistently throughout the testimony was that there are a great number of incidents that are never reported to supervisors. Sometimes the supervisor is the perpetrator of the harassment. There has to be that vehicle and that opportunity to bring it forward, and that is inherent. The amendments we made in the legislation underline the fact that there is a great deal of confidentiality brought into this.

Canada Labour Code May 7th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Jonquière, not just for the question but also for her hard work. As she indicated in her comments, there were additional hours and meetings held. I also want to thank the NDP for moving the motion that this piece of legislation move along with the support of the opposition parties.

With regard to the workplace committees, as testimony was being presented, we heard pros and cons on both sides of the issue. We believe that the workplace committees can play a very important and productive role when we are looking at developing prevention policy, the mandatory elements of the prevention policy, and identifying the competent persons. There was quite a bit of discussion around competent persons, and we believe that the workplace committees have a very important role within that. As well, with regard to assisting and implementing the competent persons recommendations, again, we certainly felt that was an important role, as well as in the reporting of incidents.

We want to make sure that persons feel comfortable and confident that when their concern is brought forward, it will be dealt with expeditiously, that it is going to be dealt with with a great deal of dignity, but as well confidentially. If there were any concern around that, we wanted to make sure that was put at ease by making sure the competent person would deal with that. Then that report will go back to the workplace committee. We thought that was the best way forward.