House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was brunswick.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Saint John (New Brunswick)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Corrections and Conditional Release Act June 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to stand in the House today to close the debate on second reading of my private member's bill, Bill C-642.

I feel very confident that my colleagues will see the wisdom of these proposed amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

The private member's bill will amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act so as to require Correctional Service Canada to disclose certain key information regarding the statutory release of a high-profile offender. This would be accomplished by posting the required information as prescribed by the bill on the service's website, and also by providing written notice with the disclosure of the information to the victim or victims. The legislation would also provide for community consultation related to the proposed release.

I introduced the bill in order to fulfill a commitment that I made to the citizens of my community after they were exposed to a situation that many felt was a major injustice in 2013. The injustice I speak of today was the release of three high-profile offenders into a halfway house in Saint John without any prior notice whatsoever to the community. This could happen in any community throughout Canada that is home to a halfway house that houses high-profile offenders prior to their full release.

I want to say at the outset that I believe we in society have an obligation to do our part to reintegrate individuals back into society once they have paid their dues. However, it cannot be without looking after the mental and physical well-being of law-abiding citizens.

I made a commitment at the time to try to ensure this situation was not repeated in Saint John, or in any other community throughout Canada. I felt it was important for communities to have the information they needed in advance to allow the police and the citizens to be prepared, and to ensure that the victims were aware about the people who had violated them as well.

As lawmakers, we have an obligation to listen to our constituents and to act in the interests of the majority. I undertook, in 2013, to address the needs and concerns of the people in my riding. They were concerned and looking to us to provide them with the protection and information they needed to feel good about walking the streets of Saint John.

Bill C-642 would not interfere with the rights of the inmate being released. It would not change the fact that they are being released. It would not deny the protection provided by our Canadian justice and correctional system.

What it would do is to give the citizens of our country, and the victims of crime, more information and a sense that they are being treated fairly. It would make the release of certain dangerous offenders part of the public record.

It would not be the responsibility of the police in local communities to decide if certain information should be made public. This would give the public and the victims the knowledge so that certain individuals would not be able to quietly, and under the veil of secrecy, enter their community and possibly reoffend before the community even knows they are there.

I want to point out that this change would not apply to all offenders being released into our communities. It would only apply to the most dangerous, as defined by schedule I of the act, or if the commissioner determines that the offence dynamics have elicited or have the potential to elicit a community reaction in the form of significant public or media attention.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you very much for having taken the time to listen to the bill and consider it. I want to thank all members for taking the time to consider the bill. It is very important to the citizens of my community, and it certainly would make a difference going forward.

Digital Privacy Act June 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Bill S-4 would better protect the privacy of Canadians by requiring organizations to inform Canadians when their personal information had been lost or stolen. Organizations would also be required to keep all records of data breaches and report significant breaches to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Organizations that deliberately covered up a data breach or intentionally fail to notify individuals and report to the commissioner could face up to $100,000 for every individual they have failed to inform.

The law being put into place would protect Canadians. It would force businesses to be expedient when they were dealing with the personal information of Canadians. I trust that businesses in our country will take this very seriously when they look at the penalties that are in place for any breach of privacy that might occur.

By keeping these records, if a complaint is laid, the Privacy Commissioner can go to the records at any time and if the breach has not been recorded or if there is any further breach, the maximum penalty can be applied.

Digital Privacy Act June 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the member talked about the bill she brought before the House. However, I think we all have to agree that Canada does not need a heavy-handed approach that would add red tape for businesses and increased cost. We are all about increasing business in our country, driving our economy, and trying to create jobs and seeing Canadians work.

The Privacy Commissioner also agrees with us. He said:

—we believe it would be counterproductive to require organizations to notify individuals of all breaches. Similarly, we do not think it would be practical or efficient to require organizations to notify our Office of all breaches.

The Privacy Commissioner understands that the heavy-handed approach that the member opposite talks about in requiring more red tape for our businesses does not drive our economy. It is not beneficial to Canadians as a whole, and that is why we could not support that approach.

Digital Privacy Act June 2nd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak Bill S-4, the digital privacy act, which would significantly strengthen Canada's private sector privacy law.

In today's increasingly digital world, Canadians need to have confidence that their online transactions are secure and their privacy is protected. Unfortunately, data breaches, computer hacks, malware and other online threats are simply a reality of today's modern digital landscape. If Canadians do not trust that their private information is safe when it is in the hands of business, then they will not provide it. Without the free flow of information, our digital economy will stall. This is why strong, effective privacy laws that protect personal information are essential to building consumer trust and confidence. Canadian businesses need clear and balanced rules to follow so that their handling of personal information meets the expectations of Canadians.

The digital privacy act would provide important improvements to Canada's private sector privacy legislation, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, PIPEDA. Canadians want control over their personal information and our privacy laws give them exactly that. PIPEDA requires businesses to obtain a person's consent before collecting his or her personal information and ensures that this information is used only for the stated purposes. PIPEDA also gives Canadians control over which type of information is collected about them, how it is used and with whom it is shared. PIPEDA holds businesses accountable for the private information they hold, requiring them to keep it safe and out of the hands of hackers or thieves.

Further, the law gives Canadians the right to access their information at any time to make sure that it is accurate while also giving the Privacy Commissioner strong tools to enforce compliance. Privacy is a major concern for Canadians and they want to know that their personal information is secure. Businesses that can offer that security have a clear competitive advantage.

If I have a choice between a company that does not make protecting my personal information a priority versus one that tells me exactly what information it is collecting and how it is protecting it, I am going to choose the business that offers me the most protection. Businesses that are clear about what they are doing with personal information and have appropriate safeguards in place to protect that information will have an advantage in the marketplace.

Thankfully, limiting the collection, use and disclosure of personal information, having appropriate safeguards and being open about privacy practices are all part of the founding principles of PIPEDA. PIPEDA applies to all private sector organizations operating in Canada. It came into force on January 1, 2001, and its framework has stood the test of time. It is based on a set of 10 internationally recognized principles called the fair information principles. These principles give individuals control over their personal information and the way it is managed in the private sector. They establish strong privacy rights for Canadians and real obligations for companies.

By requiring businesses to protect personal information, PIPEDA is not only protecting the privacy rights of Canadians but is helping contribute to a vibrant Canadian economy. These founding fair information principles for PIPEDA mean that the act is flexible and scalable and allows data to move seamlessly across borders, all of which are good for Canadian businesses. PIPEDA is a flexible piece of legislation. It is technology neutral, which means that it evolves and will apply to new technologies in businesses as they emerge. It applies to all categories of businesses, not just one sector. It also lets companies find innovative new ways of protecting privacy because it is not overly prescriptive.

As I said, PIPEDA is also scalable. It applies to organizations of all sizes in Canada. Whether a small business or a large multinational corporation is doing business in Canada, it is governed by PIPEDA. Having a foundation based on these internationally recognized principles, being flexible and scalable, all contribute to PIPEDA reducing unnecessary red tape for businesses while also maintaining and protecting the privacy rights of Canadians. This puts Canada at a strategic advantage globally.

PIPEDA's balance between these two approaches allows Canadian businesses to be competitive in different markets around the world. By not being overly burdensome, PIPEDA allows Canadian businesses to adapt to new technologies as they emerge, thus allowing them the opportunity to compete with international markets and increase their revenues. At the same time, because PIPEDA is not overly lenient, Canadians can feel secure that their personal information will be protected in their dealings with businesses in Canada. It is clear that privacy is important for businesses and our economy.

Clearly, PIPEDA supports business activities, while protecting the personal information of consumers. Bill S-4 takes Canada's privacy protection a step further and clarifies rules for businesses.

Our government recognizes that companies need to have access to and use personal information to conduct business activities. That is why Bill S-4 provides a clear set of guidelines for businesses when it comes to the collection, use and disclosure of the personal information of Canadians in the course of commercial activities. These activities can include undertaking a merger or acquisition, processing an insurance claim or simply share an employee's email address and fax number with another company.

Bill S-4 would maintain PIPEDA's balanced approach and would provide important clarifications for businesses to conduct themselves with confidence, while at the same time offering consumers the assurances they need that their information is being protected.

The digital privacy act would also provide for oversight and accountability to ensure that when safeguards failed, individuals would told about it and could take the appropriate measures to protect themselves.

The balanced approach found in PIPEDA and continued in Bill S-4 is an important element in establishing a growing trust and confidence in today's digital economy. Once again, it is that consumer trust and confidence that will help businesses and the economy to flourish. It is that trust and confidence that will help us to continue to build a digital Canada.

Thanks to PIPEDA and the improvements proposed in Bill S-4, Canadians can be confident that their privacy is being protected when they provide their personal information to businesses.

The digital privacy act proposes common sense changes that will reduce red tape for businesses, while also maintaining and protecting the privacy of Canadians. A clear set of rules for privacy protection allows businesses to focus on providing exceptional service to their clients, while simultaneously offering them an advantage in today's increasingly competitive worldwide marketplace.

I want to take this opportunity to urge all hon. members to join me in supporting the bill.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act May 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the member might not have heard, but in my speech I noted that we had large enforcement agency and we would continue to expand it on an annual basis. This month we anticipate another 22 officers graduating, and we look forward to training more in the years to come.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act May 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I recognize that the province of Manitoba has a vibrant fishing community. As the member might or might not be aware, I chair the fisheries committee. My hon. colleague from Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette is always making the other members of that committee and me aware of how vibrant the industry in Manitoba is.

The port state measures agreement that we will sign on to through the passage of this legislation will enhance the protection of all fisheries in the member countries. We are in agreement with the other countries with respect to reducing the amount of unreported and unregulated fishing activities. We want to reduce the amount of illegal activity, which is good for our entire fishing industry. It will show that our country does not fool around when it comes to illegal activity, when it comes to protecting a fishery that so many depend on for their livelihoods. We are not prepared to screw around with that at all.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act May 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, like the hon. member, I too was born in a coastal fishing community and I certainly have a great deal of respect for those who earn their living at sea. We would not want to do anything that would jeopardize that livelihood in any way, shape or form.

As per the port state measures agreement, we will participate with other countries that share the same beliefs and same goals that we have with respect to protecting a livelihood we value and cherish for many years to come. Under the agreement, we will continue to work with these countries to ensure this livelihood continues for many years.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act May 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time today with the hon. member for Yukon.

I am pleased to stand in the House today to support Bill S-3, amendments to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act. As my hon. colleagues have stated, these amendments would give Canada and our global partners the tools to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities more effectively.

When it comes to foreign fishing vessels, Canada already has a robust port patrol system. The vast majority of annually stocked fishing vessels are Canadian. Our comprehensive port licensing and inspection requirements mean that vessels fishing illegally on the high seas already avoid Canadian ports.

Nevertheless, Canada has made a commitment to implement additional measures in order to support global efforts to combat illegal fishing worldwide. Once approved, the proposed amendments to the act will allow us to better protect the economic interests of our hard-working, legitimate Canadian fishermen and their families by strengthening the global effort to combat illegal fishing and further preventing access to the Canadian marketplace.

Of course, Canada is no stranger to strong fisheries enforcement and conservation. It is an area that we already take very seriously. For example, our domestic conservation and protection program applies a rigorous standard of scrutiny to our fisheries to ensure that practices are responsible and consistent with legal or regulatory requirements.

There are approximately 584 fisheries officers in the conservation and protection program, which continues to recruit new, dedicated talent. In fact, a new class of 22 recruits is currently training and is scheduled to graduate this month. We support the crucial work these officers do with the ongoing development of a national fisheries intelligence service, which complements existing enforcement efforts and will address the areas of greatest risk.

Additionally, five new specialized midshore patrol vessels were built and deployed on the east and west coast, specifically to conduct fisheries enforcement patrols. These efforts to protect our domestic fisheries are garnering real results. From 2012 to 2014, fisheries officers detected over 23,000 violations. They issued over 5,500 charges, which resulted in issuing over 2,600 tickets, and they obtained over 2,900 convictions, an overall $6 million in fines.

In the case of the Atlantic halibut, our government recently announced that over the past five years our enforcement efforts had resulted in over $1 million in fines and 164 convictions.

When it comes to ensuring the sustainability of our fisheries, our government is delivering for Canadians.

Turning to the amendments that we are discussing today, it is important that we take the same dedication to enforcing protection in our fisheries as we do to protecting the port activities of our country. As has been stated by my colleagues earlier, the proposed changes would make it an offence to import illegal, unreported and unregulated fish into Canada, cutting off potential trade of illegal and unsustainable catches.

On top of the penalties and charges, these amendments ensure that courts have the power to fine those convicted under the act for importing illegally harvested fish and seafood products, with a penalty equal to the financial benefits of their illegal activity. This is in addition to strict penalties under the act, which include a summary conviction that would land an illegal harvester a fine of up to $100,000, a conviction or indictment costing vessels up to $500,000, and subsequent convictions that would garner up to double these fines.

The purpose of the port state measures agreement is to create an economic disincentive for this illegal activity. That is why the amendments have included the provision for the courts to order the convicted parties to pay an additional fine equal to the estimated financial benefit they expected to gain from committing the offence. Under the proposed amendments, it would definitely not pay to do the crime.

The species of fish that tend to be targeted for illegal fishing are those of the highest of value. Bluefin tuna and albacore tuna are great examples. From an international perspective, the cost of not taking these actions is too grave to risk, both for our economy and the environment. We must continue to support the efforts of the responsible international fishing community.

The amendments also cover several changes in definitions for consistency with the port state measures agreement. These definitions are phrased carefully to avoid catching the wrong vessels in the enforcement net. While we are broadening our international leadership, we will not saddle our legitimate industry with unnecessary bureaucracy.

As an example, the amended definition of “fishing vessel” would include any craft used in the transshipping of fish for marine plants, but it would not include vessels merely equipped to transship at sea that are not involved in fishing activity and are not carrying fish nor previously controlled in another port.

Naturally, it is not our intention to search for illegal fish on vessels that ship wheat or manufactured products. The proposed amendments will also redefine the term “fish”. In keeping with the port state measures agreement and in alignment with the Fisheries Act, “fish” would include shellfish and crustaceans as well. These amendments would also add a definition of “marine plant” to reflect the broad scope of the international agreement.

Bill S-3 would strengthen the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act greatly, aligning it with the new global standard articulated in the port state measures agreement. As part of meeting our international obligations, the bill would allow us to protect the livelihoods of legitimate fish harvesters in Canada more effectively.

Canada is a net exporter of fish and seafood, and our world-class products increasingly find their way onto the dinner plates of customers across the globe. The European Union and the United States are our key export markets, to the tune of $3.5 billion per year. For them, as for us, combatting illegal fishing is a high priority. We want to work together with our global allies to combat this scourge, and these amendments would allow us to be at the forefront with our international partners and our customers.

I want to take this opportunity to urge all hon. members to join me in supporting this bill to protect the livelihoods of legitimate, hard-working fishermen, who play by the rules, and to ensure sustainable management of fisheries for generations to come.

Committees of the House April 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, in relation to Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act.

The committee has studied the bill and decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act April 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, when I developed the bill or talked with people about putting forward the bill, as I said earlier, it was in response to an issue that had occurred in my riding. I did talk with many people within my riding, whether it was the chief and the deputy of the local police department, whether it was the municipal council, or regional MLAs at time. Some were ministers, at that time, in the provincial government. All had the same concerns that were related to me by constituents and they have those same concerns related to them in their respective capacities. It is certainly something that we feel is necessary. It will make a difference in how the community views the justice system. It will make a difference in how people feel about being safe within their own communities.