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 2019, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Free Trade September 23rd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, Canada is in a leading position, according to the Economic Freedom of the World index. Our government is following through on a commitment by introducing legislation to implement a free trade agreement with Panama, one of the world's fastest growing economies.

This Conservative government has launched an ambitious trade agenda, opening doors to Canadian business by concluding new free trade agreements with Colombia, Peru, Jordan, Panama and the European Free Trade Association states. It have also launched discussions on economic partnership with two of the world's largest economies: the EU and India.

As evidenced at our G8 and G20 summits, Canadians can count on their government to oppose protectionism and to defend free trade, an essential driver of jobs and growth, on the world stage. Canadian businesses and workers can compete with the best in the world, confident that our government will continue to pursue an ambitious free trade agenda and entrench economic recovery through freer trade and open markets.

Shipbuilding Industry June 3rd, 2010

Mr. Speaker, Canada's shipbuilding industry plays an important part in several Canadian communities.

Today the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women made a very important announcement about our national shipbuilding procurement strategy.

Would the minister tell the House more about this important announcement?


Mr. Chair, I want to caution members of this House from making the comparison between the collapse of the cod fishery in Newfoundland and what is happening today in the snow crab fishery. It is not the same situation whatsoever.

The point has been made several times this evening that the crab fishery is a cyclical fishery. It will rebound, but measures have to be taken to preserve the stocks, to preserve the biomass, to ensure that the future of the industry is sustainable. The cod was certainly a different situation altogether.

I want to go back to the decision the minister made and the fact that the minister did consult with industry and with the provinces. This was not a surprise to anyone. For members opposite to even suggest this evening that this was a decision that was taken in haste, that this was a decision that was made without any thought or consideration for the fallout, it is not appropriate. It is not acceptable whatsoever.

This decision was made on a sound basis with the same methodology, the same science that has been used for many years. The decision was made based on that. The minister took the decision with the best interests of the industry at heart.


Mr. Chair, I can understand why my hon. colleague's view is jaded in that sense, because it has been the practice in the past to use these things for political gain. It is understandable that people would question that in the past, but today we have a minister who has made a decision with a sound basis to sustain the industry.

It is a very noble and understanding decision that she has made with that basis in mind. She wants to ensure that this industry continues into the future, that the resource is there for many years to come. I commend the minister for that.


Mr. Chair, I thank my colleague for the opportunity to talk a little more about some of the flexibility that our government has built into, whether it be the regulations around the industry or around the program funding that has been provided by the government. There are many different aspects to that flexibility.

I am remiss for not mentioning our economic action plan. This past year we saw record funding and investment throughout Canada. There has been a fund that I know all the members in the House have been very pleased to take advantage of. It is called the community adjustment fund. It is another fund that is in place to stimulate the economy and for communities that are hard hit and hard done by to go forward and prosper. This is a great opportunity to bring that to the attention of the House.


Mr. Chair, I will say that I did enjoy the question from the member opposite. To see the passion in the way he asked the question, I really enjoyed it, I really did.

I was pointing out very sincerely that there is flexibility built into the programs that our government and former governments, as my colleague across the way actually pointed out for me as well, have maintained, because we understand. Governments have understood in the past and continue to understand that this is a unique situation. This is an industry that does require flexibility. This is an industry that is not the same as the traditional forestry industry. It is not the same as the traditional manufacturing industry. There are certain circumstances that need to be taken into consideration.

I merely pointed that out. I pointed out the fact that the province of New Brunswick, the province that I live in and that I am most familiar with, has been taking advantage of this situation and trying to use it for political gain in what seems to be an election year.


They were negotiated by McKenna, no question. The member is right. They were a good idea and I have no difficulty in saying that.

When I was in the provincial government, we maintained those agreements because it was the right thing to do. Every province in this country has a different situation. There are different challenges that each province has to meet. This is one of the challenges the province of New Brunswick has to meet and this is exactly what these agreements are in place for.

There is funding available. We heard the member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte mention tonight that there must be $1.5 billion in the fund for New Brunswick. Quite clearly, there is $245 million over two years included in the labour market development agreement.

Here is a revelation. Last year the province of New Brunswick was not able to use all of that funding. It is unbelievable. Yet, this year, it needs more.

I heard the member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte talk about how the federal government calls on the province to dip into those labour market development agreements to satisfy the concerns and issues facing the forestry sector. No, we have put in place programs specifically for the forestry sector. We have addressed issues with the forestry sector quite clearly.

This is a specific situation that these funds were put in place for. The $245 million over two years is specifically designed to address situations like this, but it goes beyond that. It goes much further than that.

There is funding in place for older workers. Funding has been put in place by our government to address the situation with older workers. There are many people in the industry who would qualify for that funding.

There is funding in place for specific agreements, such as EI benefits, to address this specific situation with the fishery and the province of New Brunswick is able to take advantage of that. There has been flexibility built into the EI programs to enable the province and the industry to take advantage of based on the situation and challenges as they arise.

My main point tonight is that we are in a position to work with the province of New Brunswick. I want people in need to receive that help, if only the province would step up, take advantage of it and use the funds for the intention they were designed for.


Mr. Chair, it is a pleasure to take part in this take note debate this evening on a topic that we spent some time on in the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. I have enjoyed the debate here this evening. We have heard many different opinions and different points of view come across. The minister has received lots of advice and lots of criticisms this evening but he fact remains that the decision the minister took in this situation was a decision taken with one goal in mind, and that was to help sustain the industry for the future. We must keep that in mind.

I have to question the motivation behind the advice the minister has received tonight from the member for Acadie—Bathurst and the member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte. I asked members what they would do if they were the minister. The answer given by the member for Acadie--Bathurst was that he would get the fishermen together with the scientists and put them on the same boat.

The minister consulted with the fishermen and took advice from the DFO scientists and made a decision taking into consideration that advice. The minister has listened to the fishery in the past. Last year she met with those people in fishery and talked about the need for a reduction in the TAC but they did not believe the science last year. They had difficulty with the science. The minister told them very clearly that she was prepared to make an exception but that if the science did not come back with a different position the following year, that she would have no choice but to implement that decision based on the science, and she did that. The industry was fully aware of the direction that the minister was planning to take.

Tonight I want to talk about the province of New Brunswick. It is a terrific place and I did have the pleasure at one time of being the minister responsible for agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture. The member for Acadie—Bathurst raised that point here this evening. When I was a minister at that time there was consultation with the federal level of government. I know there has been consultation this time with the federal and provincial ministers. Some of the indignation we have heard from the provincial government around the minister's decision has given me cause for concern.

The provincial minister even came to Ottawa with a delegation that included the premier to meet with the federal minister after the decision was taken. He sat in the meeting and participated in a discussion. Then he left that meeting and made comments to the media that were contrary to the discussion in which he had just participated. He spoke of the need for a compensation program but never raised the issue of compensation with the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

I would have to question the motivation here and the timing. It could be the fact that there is a provincial election coming this year and that this might be an issue that could be politically sensitive. It has been a politically sensitive issue in the past. The provincial minister came to a meeting and when he left the meeting he had a different message. What a shock. There has been a lot of discussion here tonight around what the federal government should do.

We all clearly understand why the decision was taken. It was to sustain the industry, to protect the biomass, to protect the resource. Nobody in the House is going to argue against those motives. Nobody will argue that.

The minister had to make a decision, and the minister made a decision. Now we have to live with the result. We have heard a lot of discussion tonight that the federal government needs to live up to its responsibilities. I talked a little earlier about my time in the provincial government. I know there are agreements in place between the federal and provincial governments that are designed specifically for situations like this. This is not a new challenge for the province of New Brunswick. This is not a new situation that we find ourselves in today.

We have heard people talk about this resource being very cyclical. We know that. We have found ourselves in this situation before. The provincial government found itself at the mercy, to be very frank, of the federal government. That is why these labour market development agreements were signed. That is why they were negotiated.


Mr. Chair, I really enjoyed the analogy the member used about the pizza. I have heard the situation referred to several times tonight that by adding new fishers, new entrants into the program, does not make the difference with respect to the size of the biomass.

The member for Acadie—Bathurst mentioned that I was the minister responsible for fisheries in New Brunswick a few years back. At that time, there was a decision taken by a former Liberal government that would be contrary to what the member stated here tonight.

I was the minister of fisheries back when there were riots incited in Shippagan, New Brunswick. Fishing vessels and fishing plants were burnt at that time. That whole issue evolved around the very question of adding new people into the fishery. Since that time, the traditional fishery has asked for an investigation into the decision by the former minister of fisheries.

Does the member believe that decision warrants an investigation?


Mr. Chair, I listened with great interest to my colleague from New Brunswick. He speaks with great passion any time he stands to speak in this House, and tonight was no different.

I want to ask a question of my colleague. He stood here this evening and talked a lot about who is at fault in this situation, what we should be doing in this situation as a government, and what the minister should be doing in this situation to resolve the issues the industry faces.

My colleague from Acadie—Bathurst talked about the lobster fishery. When he had the opportunity to support a program in this House, he chose not to. He voted against the budget that actually brought forward a program to help the lobster fishery.

This evening we have heard hypothetical situations and we have heard people talk about what they would do had they been the minister of fisheries. We heard the member for Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte say that he would sit and talk to his deputy minister. Great. I am glad to hear he would sit and talk to his deputy minister. However, that is not going to resolve the issue.

I want to ask the member for Acadie—Bathurst this. If he were the minister of fisheries, would he ignore the science? Would he not take into consideration the conservation of the biomass? What would he do with respect to the science, were he the minister of fisheries?