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Liberal MP for Cape Breton—Canso (Nova Scotia)
Won his last election, in 2015, with 74% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Income Tax Act September 19th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, it is great to see you back in the chair and to see all the friendly faces back in the confines. I am happy to be back.
I am more than happy to help the member with his history lesson as he takes us down memory lane from deficits past. If we are going to reach back, I think we should reach all the way back.
Let us go back to 1984, when the Conservatives led by the Prime Minister Mulroney took over and inherited a national debt of $120 billion. By the time he left in 1993, the national debt had gone up to $560 billion. Enter Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin in 1993, who were able to take on the tough questions, balance the books, and have successive surplus budgets. They brought the national debt down to $460 billion.
In came another Conservative government, and where did we end up? We ended up with $612 billion of accrued national debt under the Conservatives.
I think we have to be fair with Canadians. Successive Conservative governments have collected this huge amount of national debt and the Liberals have come in try to fix the mess they were left with. I think that is probably where we are now. We are going to give relief to many Canadians and we are going to attack the deficit.
Does he not agree that again it is left to the Liberals to mop up the mess?
Labour June 9th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in Geneva, the minister announced our government's ratification of the International Labour Organization's convention on minimum age. This convention requires ratifying countries to set a minimum age for employment of at least 15 years and to prohibit hazardous work for young workers. This sends a clear message about Canada's values and shows children that children's rights are not only a moral, but a legal obligation as well.
We stand together with countries around the world, denouncing child labour, exploitation, and abuse. We continue working toward the full international respect for fundamental rights for workers.
Abandoned Vessels June 6th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for bringing this motion forward.
Shortly after she was elected, the member was seized by this issue. I represent an area that in its most recent history has seen the MV Miner cast upon the shores of Scaterie Island, which is a provincially protected area. The issue has revolved around the lack of federal responsibility.
Not to speak ill of a defeated member, but Olivia Chow was the transport critic at the time, and she jumped up and down and waved her hands, saying that the federal government had to clean it up. The fact was that there was no legislation. It is good to get emotional about something, but that does not really fix the situation. The rules have to be in place. I spoke to Steven Fletcher, who was the parliamentary secretary at the time. We had several discussions, but the legislation just was not there.
How does the member believe that her bill is going to address those shortcomings in what is not there now and protect those small provinces, like Nova Scotia, from having to deal with a $12-million cleanup, like that for the MV Miner?
Business of Supply June 2nd, 2016
Mr. Speaker, as I was saying before I was so graciously interrupted, the last Parliament certainly did not serve us well. There was no real attempt to make it right. When we make it right at committee and make it right for stakeholders on particular issues, we make it right for Canadians. That is what is ahead of us here. That is the opportunity we have, and we heard that over the course of the election.
I think this is something we can live with. We should all encourage our colleagues from all parties to go out and engage and hopefully come out with good quality recommendations to move forward. I heard over the course of the last election that Canadians wanted that change and wanted an adult conversation about it. That is what today's motion allows us to do, and that is why I look forward to supporting it.
Business of Supply June 2nd, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I was not here for the entire speech, but I did get portions of it. I got the good parts for sure.
If I could share with some of the new members in the House, this is significant. This would not be unique in past Parliaments. This is my sixth Parliament. In earlier Parliaments, committees at least were able to work together to find results to present to a minister and make recommendations.
I remember sitting on fisheries and oceans with the NDP, my colleague and friend Peter Stoffer, and John Cummins, Reform or Canadian Alliance and Conservative. John is a great friend of mine. There would be the right, the far right, and the extreme far right, and John would be just a little bit further than that. He was a great guy with the fishery. He understood the fishery. Out of 18 reports that we had done on that committee over the course of time, 16 of them would have been unanimous. Somewhere in the middle, Peter Stoffer and John Cummins would come together for the benefit of stakeholders in the industry, in the fishery, for the environment, and come forward with recommendations.
It was not until the last Parliament that the well was poisoned, and committees morphed into this thing that was just nothing more than a day care for MPs. The Department of Environment had greenhouse gases and global warming, yet we were studying the impacts of hunting and fishing on the environment. I think their time could probably have been better—
Business of Supply May 30th, 2016
Mr. Chair, during the minister's speech he had made reference several times to the fact that as a new government we did implement the initial budget, but we are really just setting the table. I know he has worked closely with several other ministers, in particular the Minister of Innovation, in coming forward and investing in Canadian innovation. I would like to give the minister the opportunity to elaborate somewhat on the plan going forward, or at least where the discussions are now with the Minister of Innovation as to when we could expect those investments to roll out and what Canadians can expect from them.
Temporary Foreign Workers May 20th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I share the concerns with the questioner, as does the minister. Certainly the temporary foreign worker program has been a concern. We talked about it in our platform, as did the NDP talk about undertaking a review.
We know that committees are masters of their own destiny. That is why I was surprised as a parliamentary secretary to see that the member, when she had an opportunity to convince the committee to undertake a study, led with EI and not with temporary foreign workers. I suggest that the study go back and encourage those—
Labour May 19th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, again, for my colleague and everybody else in the House, the government is pledging to keep Canadian workplaces safe, fair, and productive, certainly in federal jurisdictions. Our intention is to work with all stakeholders, employers, employees, organized labour, the provinces, and the territories to ensure our labour code reflects today's workforce and the necessity to be safe, fair, and productive.
Let me be clear. We believe all Canadians should have, and deserve, the right to work in a safe workplace. Certainly our intention is to work toward that. We believe we are off to a pretty good start and we hope to continue on to ensure we earn the confidence of Canadian workers not only in federal jurisdictions, but all Canadian workers. We are committed to that as a government, and that is what we will do.
Labour May 19th, 2016
Mr. Speaker, I want to commend my colleague from Saskatoon West on her speech and of course her great interest in labour and labour issues. I would like to share with the rest of the House as well that we share a similar view on what transpired over the past 10 years and with the former Conservative government.
Canadians were not fooled. They understood fully that it was organized labour that was under attack under the last government. We saw that through many manifestations, through various pieces of legislation. We saw it in unprecedented use of back-to-work legislation. The legislation for Canada Post and for Air Canada come to mind. Even before those organizations were in a strike position and those unions were in a position that they could go out on strike, there was back-to-work legislation coming off the shelf to be presented in the House.
We saw that, and absolutely Bill C-377 and Bill C-525 were directed at organized labour. With Bill C-377 we saw that constitutional experts said it was unconstitutional. We saw privacy experts say that it compromised the privacy of millions of Canadians. We saw provinces and territories say that it infringed on an area of their purview, that constitutionally it was their area of responsibility.
That was what we saw. That was the table that was set in the last Parliament by the last government.
Certainly what we have tried to do since October 19 and since the new minister came in on November 4 was to set a different atmosphere around work and labour. Certainly the current Bill C-4, not the old Conservative Bill C-4, was the first piece of legislation our minister presented. It was to repeal Bill C-377 and Bill C-525, within Bill C-4. I was very happy that it was the first piece of legislation the minister tabled.
Over the course of my experience over the last four years dealing with both employers and employees, one thing that has been consistent and that has been clear coming from both areas is that any changes to the Labour Code have to be done through a tripartite approach with labour, employers, employees, stakeholders, the provinces and territories—everybody involved.
They said that clearly with Bill C-377 and they said it with Bill C-525. We believe that the 2004 definition that was brought in by past Liberal governments is the right way to go, but that any change in the code has to be undertaken with a tripartite approach. I hope my colleague from Saskatoon West will understand that is the approach this government would take in changing the Labour Code. It would be under a tripartite approach.
Employment Insurance May 18th, 2016
Madam Speaker, in the supplementary question, my colleague jogged my memory with regard to access. One thing we promised in the platform throughout the campaign was to increase access. The minister has already moved to ensure that access is according to the NERE principle, new entrants and re-entrants, and the hours have been dropped from 920 down to regional qualification. We know that young Canadians, especially, who are entering the workforce for the first time, or those who were displaced from the workforce and are re-entering, are going to benefit from these changes.
As well, as the member said, regarding the weeks that people have to wait, the review will certainly address those issues and I am looking forward to getting started on that.