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

Business of Supply January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to stand in the House today and respond to the motion brought forward by the hon. member for Saint-Laurent—Cartierville. I want to begin by reassuring the hon. member that our government has worked, is working, and will work in close co-operation with the provinces and territories.

In addition, even a rough consideration of our current system makes clear that our government's overall approach to partnership with the provinces and territories is based on the principles of fairness and co-operation. Those principles are also the foundation of our economic action plan.

Our Canadian federation works. It is a federation founded on co-operation, mutual understanding, and compromise and it has served us well for generations. It has offered us a standard of living among the best in the world.

Fortunately, our government not only believes in a principled approach to federalism in Canada's intergovernmental relations but also acts on the basis of these principles. Let us look at how these principles were applied in guiding our government's response to the worst fiscal crisis to sweep the globe in generations, that is to say, our economic action plan.

It is also important to bear in mind that the action plan not only ensured that stimulus resources flowed out on time and on target to help Canadian businesses and families through these challenges at a time when stimulus was needed the most, but that it was also focused on making strategic investments that leveraged the unique advantages of regions and sectors across Canada to support longer-term growth, create and protect jobs, raise living standards, and assist those most in need.

Developing an effective stimulus package meant that governments in Canada had to work together. Approximately 40% of the stimulus set out in the action plan consisted of joint actions of federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments. Together, by providing over $63 billion in timely fiscal stimulus, Canada's action plan made important investments that contributed to Canada's long-term economic prosperity while supporting those most affected by the global recession.

The fact is that since we introduced the economic action plan to respond to the global recession, Canada has recovered both more than all of the output and all of the jobs lost during the recession. Real GDP is significantly above pre-recession levels. That is the best performance in the G7.

Canada's economic resilience and job growth also reflect the actions our government took before the global crisis in lowering taxes, paying down debt, reducing red tape, and promoting free trade and innovation.

However, our government understands that our job is not done yet, and in our efforts to continue Canada's economic success story, infrastructure plays a critical role.

In the short term, investments in infrastructure create jobs for the construction industry; in the long term, they position us to succeed in the competitive global economy. Our government's investments in infrastructure have been historic. Through the $33 billion Building Canada plan, the government has helped to build over 12,000 provincial, territorial, and municipal projects from coast to coast to coast.

Economic action plan 2013 included $70 billion for public infrastructure over the next decade. This includes the $53 billion new Building Canada plan for provincial, territorial, and municipal infrastructure. This plan is unprecedented. It is the largest and longest federal infrastructure commitment in Canadian history.

A key part of that plan is the gas tax fund. This is federal money that goes to municipalities to support their infrastructure priorities. It was originally a temporary program, but when we saw how important it was to Canada's cities, towns, and villages, we took action: we made it permanent, we doubled it, and we indexed it. It grows annually now, representing an additional $1.8 billion in funding over the next decade.

In November 2014, the Prime Minister announced an additional $5.8 billion investment to build and renew on-reserve schools and federal infrastructure assets across the country. This funding will support the modernization and repair of important infrastructure assets to create jobs in communities across Canada and to contribute to Canada's long-term economic prosperity. Many of these projects could not have been accomplished, or will not be accomplished, without the co-operation of every single province with our government.

Let me now address today's recommendation for a first ministers conference.

The member must be unaware, apparently, that the federal, provincial, and territorial finance ministers generally meet semi-annually to discuss priorities in the lead-up to budget preparations, as well as meeting after the tabling of budgets in all jurisdictions.

Further, deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers meet with their provincial and territorial counterparts on a regular basis to discuss issues within their respective areas of responsibilities, including taxation, economic and fiscal matters, and fiscal arrangements. For example, work on retirement income adequacy over the 2009 to 2013 period required the creation of additional ad hoc committees at the ministerial, deputy minister, assistant deputy minister, and working group levels.

Another example is the work with provinces on harmonizing the provincial sales taxes with the federal GST, most recently with Ontario, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island. These discussions demonstrated how the department moves from organized multilateral forums to bilateral discussions in order to achieve a long-standing priority with interested jurisdictions.

While the hon. member's party continues spinning its wheels trying to breed acrimony and sow discord, the Government of Canada has been actively and successfully building on a stronger and more prosperous Canada by working with the provinces day to day and meeting by meeting, in accomplishment after accomplishment.

This practice is something that we employ quite regularly in my riding, in my province, and in my communities. All three levels of government work closely. It is about getting the job done. It is about working together and it is about seeing results.

That unheralded co-operation is enhanced by real support for Canadians in all regions where it counts the most: in dollars. In fact, major federal transfers to provinces and territories will total $68 billion in 2015-16, an increase of $3 billion from the current year and almost 63% more since 2005-06. The government is ensuring that they will continue to grow. Specifically, equalization will grow in line with the growth of the economy: the Canada health transfer will grow at 6% per year until 2016-17 and also in line with the growth in economy starting in 2017-18, with a minimum assured growth rate of 3% per year. The Canada social transfer will continue to grow at 3% annually in 2015-16 and in future years.

As the hon. member can see, comparable treatment for all Canadians is fundamental to the government. That is why, through budget 2007, the government legislated an equal per capita cash allocation for the CST and, beginning in 2014-15, the CHT. To ensure that no province or territory is unduly affected by the CHT change, economic action plan 2012 put in place protection to ensure that no province or territory experiences a decline in its CHT cash entitlements relative to its 2013-14 cash levels.

Programs that help address fiscal disparities among provinces and territories are important components of Canada's system of fiscal federalism. That is why the government continues to provide significant and growing support through both equalization and territorial formula financing programs.

Let me also remind the hon. member that equalization payments are determined based on the province's ability to raise revenues at national average tax rates, also known as its fiscal capacity, compared to an average of all 10 provinces. Therefore, a province's ability to raise revenues varies with its underlying economy conditions, and a subsequent decrease in equalization payments reflects a relative strengthening of a province's economy compared to other equalization-receiving provinces.

Equalization amounts for provinces are based on a legislative formula and change from year to year, based on a province's economic strength relative to other provinces. That is a good-news story, and it is exactly how equalization is supposed to work.

I can reassure the hon. member that provinces can continue to count on long-term, growing support from this government as we work together in this uncertain global economy.

That relationship is what provinces want. Provinces want to know that they can depend on what the federal government is telling them is coming their way. They do not want to be surprised. They want sustainable funding. They want dependable funding. This government has demonstrated over the last nine years that we have been able to provide that support and provide that level of sustainable funding that they require to move forward and to provide for their constituents. This is what the provinces need.

In my past life, as I generally refer to it, I was a provincial politician. I understand how important the relationship with the federal government is. We used to come and meet with federal ministers. I was a provincial minister, and the idea that the opposition members have of ideal federalism certainly did not work out that way in practice. I remember being at those meetings. They make it sound as though they sat around and discussed the issues, brought forward solutions, and acted on them. That is not exactly how it worked. I remember very clearly those days when I sat there, as a provincial minister of agriculture, fisheries, and aquaculture. I remember very clearly the situation. A federal minister would walk in the door and basically say, “This is how it is, and you guys deal with it”. There was no relationship, as they suggest, wherein they walk in the door and sit down, we all work it out together, leave hand in hand, and happily go on our way and everything works out great. That certainly was not the case.

What happened was that the Liberals had a heavy-handed approach that they employed the whole time they were in government. We saw this through the downloading they did on provinces. I remember those days when transfers were cut. I can remember those days when equalization was cut and health care funding and social transfers were cut. It was unbelievable.

They talked about themselves as great fiscal managers. They talked about what they did for the economy here in Canada. Well, they downloaded those issues. They put the problem off onto someone else, yet they like to tell us here today that they worked it all out together. If it had been worked out together, that would not have been the solution. That is not how it would have worked out. If those discussions were as they try to portray them, their portrayal of federalism is something that is almost a fairy tale. It is unbelievable, the way they remember it. It would be nice if that were how it was, but that is not how it was.

The provinces can depend on our government. They can depend on the transfers that come from our government. They can take the word of our government and take it to the bank. That is what the provinces want and appreciate. That is what the relationship should be between the federal, provincial, and municipal governments. It should be a relationship that is built on trust and sustainable funding. We have delivered that over and over again.

To conclude, the facts show that our government is keeping its word. Contrary to what the hon. member may believe, we are co-operating with the provinces and territories. I can assure the member that we demonstrate that every single day. With total transfers at record highs, growing predictably at a sustainable and affordable rate, we are providing unprecedented support to the provinces for the delivery of the health and social services on which all Canadians rely. Even during the global economic crisis, our government increased transfers to the provinces and territories to help Canadians across this great country of ours, and they can continue to count on our government as the days go forward.

I would therefore urge the hon. members to act as Canadians expect all members of the House to behave, to work together in good faith, mutual respect, and understanding to build a better life for all Canadians, as we are doing and have been doing through our economic action plan. I would encourage all members to reject the motion before the House.

Nááts’ihch’oh National Park Reserve Act December 11th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, many of the previous speakers have suggested that the only factor the government should have considered in setting the boundaries was the result of public consultations.

I want to ask the hon. member if he would not agree that the views of the Northwest Territories should be considered as well. Should we not consider the investments and rights of the mining companies who employ the people? There has to be more taken into consideration than just the results of the public consultations.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act December 4th, 2014

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-642, An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (high profile offender).

Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce my very first private member's bill in this House. I feel confident that my colleagues will see the wisdom of these amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. The amendments are meant to address the concerns of any community that is home to a halfway house that houses high profile offenders after their release.

In my riding of Saint John, a situation arose last year when three such offenders were released to a halfway facility without warning to the community. This prompted a wave of fear throughout the community that I am sure is not unique to Saint John, but it was nonetheless unsettling.

This bill asks that an offender's name and photograph be posted on the Correctional Service website, along with any previous convictions, date of release, destination, and any conditions attached to the statutory release.

The bill also requires that Correctional Service Canada provide communities with notice of the proposed release of any high profile offenders, hold public consultations with community representatives, including police, and take into account the views of the host community.

I look forward to hearing the views of my colleagues on these proposed amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. I also hope that it addresses the concerns raised by my constituents in Saint John.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Committees of the House November 26th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans in relation to Bill C-555, An Act respecting the Marine Mammal Regulations (seal fishery observation licence).

The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.

Justice November 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in June, Canadians across the country were shocked and horrified as they learned of the tragic and cowardly acts of violence carried out against RCMP officers in Moncton, New Brunswick.

Constables David Ross, Fabrice Georges Gevaudan and Douglas James Larche dedicated their lives to the protection and safety of their communities and paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

On Friday, the person responsible for these heinous crimes was given a life sentence, with no chance of parole for 75 years. Could the Minister of Justice please inform the House how this sentence was made possible?

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my riding is Saint John. I just want to clarify that, because people in my area are very particular about that. I just want to make sure that members understand very clearly.

We see a lot of potential with this trade agreement, from my area in particular, from Atlantic Canada's perspective, and from New Brunswick's perspective. New Brunswick is the largest, most export-oriented province for percentage of GDP per capita in the entire country. We are very dependent on trade, and we see a huge potential here. We have opportunities that go far beyond what most could imagine. We see a growing marketplace with great demands, and we look forward to meeting those demands.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to say that I enjoyed my time in committee with the hon. member. It is a committee that is very collegial and certainly continues to be to this day.

To the member's question, I spoke today about what I saw as the benefits to Atlantic Canada in this agreement. I saw a lot of opportunities. I spoke about a lot of opportunities that are there for Atlantic Canadians, and in every agreement there have to be some areas where one sector will do better than the other. We see great opportunity in Atlantic Canada, whether it comes from the seafood and fish products that are produced, the agriculture and agri-food products that are produced, or some of the services that we market around the world, such as industrial machinery. There are different opportunities that present themselves in this market. This is a rich and growing market, and we see huge potential for Atlantic Canada; and for my province alone, the potential is so great. We see a growing market.

As I said earlier, I would ask all members to ratify this agreement so we can get on with it and start taking advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead for us.

Canada-Korea Economic Growth and Prosperity Act October 28th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-41.

Our government is committed to protecting and strengthening the long-term financial security of hard-working Canadians. Canada's prosperity requires expansion beyond our borders into new markets for economic opportunities that serve to grow Canada's exports and investments.

That is why our government is currently pursuing the most ambitious trade expansion plan in our country's history. The Canada-Korea free trade agreement is a state-of-the-art agreement which covers virtually all sectors and aspects of Canada-South Korea commercial relations, including trading goods and services, investment, government procurement and intellectual property, as well as labour and environment.

The Canada-Korea free trade agreement would result in job creation and enhanced opportunities for Canadian and Korean businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as investors, workers and consumers.

Today, I would like to speak about how the Canada-Korea free trade agreement would help the Atlantic provinces to expand their businesses and increase their competitiveness in the South Korean market, which presents many opportunities for my fellow Atlantic Canadians.

From 2011 to 2013, Atlantic Canada exported, on average, $64 million worth of goods to South Korea. Through the elimination of tariffs in major sectors of interest to Atlantic Canada, including fish and seafood products, agriculture and agri-food products, rail products, information and communication technologies, industrial machinery and medical devices, Atlantic Canadian goods would become more competitive in South Korea.

The agreement's outcomes in non-goods trade would also help service providers by facilitating business mobility and investors through increased protection and clearer rules. New Brunswick is one of the Atlantic provinces that stands to benefit significantly from the Canada-Korea free trade agreement.

The agreement would bring numerous benefits to New Brunswick, including the province's industrial goods sector. Our industrial goods sector is an important driver of the economy for New Brunswick and it employs about 6,700 hard-working New Brunswickers each year.

From 2011 to 2013, New Brunswick exports of industrial goods to South Korea were worth an average of $7.8 million. The Canada-Korea free trade agreement would eliminate tariffs on all of New Brunswick's exports of industrial goods to South Korea, including tariffs on information technology products which currently face tariffs of up to 13%. It would also eliminate tariff rates on industrial machinery and power-generating machinery, with the current tariff rate of up to 8%.

Tariff elimination would level the playing field for New Brunswickers relative to key competitors from the Untied States and the European Union, and bring substantial export gains to the province.

Nova Scotia is another Atlantic province that would gain considerably from the Canada-Korea free trade agreement. I would like to touch upon the agreement's benefits for the fish and seafood products sector, which provides jobs to more than 9,200 Nova Scotians.

Between 2011 and 2013, Nova Scotia's fish and seafood exports to South Korea were worth an annual average of $23 million. Nova Scotia would benefit from tariff elimination on products such as live and frozen eel from a current rate of up to 27%. Tariffs would also be eliminated on live and frozen lobster, frozen crab and scallops, which have a current rate of up to 20%.

On a point of interest, shipments of lobster from Halifax Stanfield International Airport to Seoul have already begun, with loads this past summer of nearly 40,000 kilograms.

Throughout the negotiations on the Canada-Korea free trade agreement, our government has actively engaged stakeholders to ensure that the agreement best reflects their needs. Stakeholders have provided strong support for the agreement, including the Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association, which is congratulating our government on the agreement with the following statement, “The free trade agreements to eliminate tariffs will seriously open up the markets. I very much applaud the efforts of government to reduce trade barrier”.

I am very excited for the many benefits that the Canada-Korea free trade agreement will bring to the Nova Scotians. That is a pretty strong statement in and of itself.

Prince Edward Island also has a lot to gain from the Canada-Korea free trade agreement, including P.E.I.'s agriculture and agri-food products sector. In 2012, this sector employed about 5,600 people in the province. From 2011 to 2013, P.E.I.'s agricultural exports to South Korea were worth an annual average of $2.6 million. Frozen french fries and pork products were the top export items.

P.E.I. would benefit from the agreement's elimination of tariffs on frozen potato products, which includes frozen french fries, from a current rate of 18%. The agreement would also eliminate tariffs on all pork and pork products of export interest, which range anywhere from 3% to 30%.

I would like to share a quote from the vice-president of Cavendish Farms, a producer of frozen potato products. He said:

...a free trade agreement between Canada and South Korea presents a golden opportunity for us to grow our presence in the South Korean market, and in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole. Free trade helps to support our industry, the workers we employ and the sale of the high-quality products that we’ve been producing for more than 30 years.

The Canada-Korea free trade agreement would bring numerous benefits that would help to boost the economy in Newfoundland and Labrador. The province's services sector, for example, would benefit significantly from the Canada-Korea free trade agreement. This is an important sector for Newfoundland and Labrador, employing some 180,400 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in 2012 alone and accounting for more than half of the Newfoundland and Labrador economy. The province's key export interests in the services sector include retail and wholesale trade, environment, travel and tourism, construction, and real estate services.

The Canada-Korea free trade agreement would provide services suppliers from Newfoundland and Labrador with greater and more predictable access to the diverse South Korean market. The Canada-Korea free trade agreement contains temporary entry commitments that are the most ambitious South Korea has agreed to in any of its free trade agreements and would go a long way to boosting services exports for the province.

We are standing with Canadians on the Canada-Korea free trade agreement by ensuring that investor protection provisions remain as the cornerstones, as has been the case in all modern trade and investment agreements. We take tremendous pride in our record on free trade agreements, which has put Canada back in the game of trade negotiations. Canadian workers and businesses were at risk of falling behind in this era of global markets, but thanks to the aggressive agenda of our government, we are giving our citizens a competitive advantage.

By continuing to actively pursue broader markets and access to new investment opportunities, our government is providing Canadian businesses and exporters with access on preferred terms to the largest, most dynamic, and fastest-growing economies and regions around the world. No government in Canadian history has been more committed to the creation of jobs and prosperity for Canadian businesses, workers, and their families. Deepening Canada's trading relationships in dynamic and high-growth markets around the world is key to these efforts.

Without a doubt, the Canada-Korea free trade agreement promises many benefits for Atlantic Canada. It would level the playing field for Atlantic Canadian businesses relative to their competitors in the U.S. and the EU. It represents a concrete next step in bolstering Atlantic Canada's presence in the fastest-growing and dynamic Asia-Pacific region.

Today I am asking that all members of the House ensure the speedy ratification of the Canada-Korea free trade agreement, so that hard-working Canadians can start reaping the benefits of this agreement and solidify their presence in the Asia-Pacific region as soon as possible.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member is no doubt aware, my area is very excited about the possibility of this energy east pipeline project. We are excited about the construction of a marine terminal in our area because we know the value of this industry. We know the value to the economy in our local area. We have seen it. We have the largest refinery in all of Canada in Saint John, New Brunswick. We have the Canaport marine shipping terminal, which brings oil into and out of the Bay of Fundy. Over 400 tankers a year have been traversing the Bay of Fundy for over 40 years now without incident, so we know how to get the job done. We know that those jobs bring real economic benefit to our region, and we are excited.

Business of Supply October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member's question was very specifically related to the injunction brought forward by the Quebec Superior Court. I want to point out very clearly that this court case was in regard to provincial laws and provincial officials. It has nothing to do with DFO or DFO's process. We are confident that DFO's process is diligent, thorough, and based on the best available science.