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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was trade.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 55% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Citizenship and Immigration December 9th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the immigration minister repeatedly claims she cannot answer our questions while the Ethics Commissioner is reviewing the situation. Yet according to the testimony of the Ethics Commissioner yesterday, there is “nothing preventing the minister from commenting while under investigation”.

Now that the minister's flimsy excuse for avoiding full disclosure has been demolished, will the minister finally inform this House how many ministerial permits she issued in total during the last election, and how many she issued to individuals affecting her own riding?

Justice November 30th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, to paraphrase a Vancouver Liberal MP, joints are being burned on the lawns in front of Parliament as we speak.

The U.S. Ambassador speaking for the President has said, “Why, when we are trying to take pressure off of the border, would Canada pass a law that would put pressure on the border?” Border problems are already costing jobs in my riding and across Canada.

Will the Prime Minister inform the President today that he will put jobs ahead of joints and withdraw this bill?

Justice November 30th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, judges have been handing out slaps on the wrist for some of the most serious criminal offences.

Now we find out that the odds of going to jail for getting caught growing marijuana are less than one in a hundred. The Liberal pot bill, Bill C-17, will change nothing. The courts will continue to function as a revolving door.

Yesterday the justice minister said he would consider mandatory minimum sentences. Will the justice minister impose minimum prison terms on grow operators?

Petitions November 25th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour to rise and present a petition on behalf of numerous families in my riding of South Surrey--White Rock--Cloverdale. The petitioners ask Parliament to amend the Canada Health Act to include, as medically necessary, therapy for children suffering from autism. They also ask Parliament to contribute to the creation of academic chairs at Canadian universities dedicated to the research and treatment of autism.

Canada-U.S. Relations November 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, it is “highly irresponsible” for the member for Mississauga--Erindale “to say things that are so clearly detrimental to our interests. She's done this several times”. Its president says to “put her out of caucus”.

The head of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives says:

The real issue is that she's allowed to get away with it. The Prime Minister is the chief and yes, it's his fault. The buck stops with him....He should dump her.

When will the Prime Minister show some leadership and remove her from caucus?

Contraventions Act November 2nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to address Bill C-17, an act to amend the Contraventions Act and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to decriminalize the possession of small quantities of marijuana. I will begin my comments by discussing some of the health consequences of this drug in particular.

First, let us be very clear that there is demonstrable harm with the use of marijuana. It is far worse than smoking. It is an activity that we are officially, as a House, trying to discourage. For example, emphysema and lung cancer are both consequences of smoking and drug use.

The New England Journal of Medicine says that smoking five joints a week is the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Clearly there is a link to health consequences.

The Neurotoxicity and Teratology journal reports that a baby exposed to marijuana while in the womb has an increased chance of hyperactivity and social problems. The National Academy of Sciences says that marijuana can cause cancer, lung damage and babies with low birth weights. Another journal, Circulation Research of the American Heart Association reported a five-fold increase in heart attacks among people who smoke marijuana. The British Medical Journal revealed an increased incidence in schizophrenia and depression. Lastly, a Dutch study shows that cannabis smokers are seven times more likely than other people to have psychotic symptoms.

Clearly there is a host of health problems associated with this particular activity and we as a House should be doing everything we can to discourage it.

Let us be very clear from the very beginning. We are not talking about the marijuana of the 1960s and the 1970s, which was in a completely different category. In the 1960s the THC levels in marijuana was about .5% to 2%. What we see today coming out of British Columbia, what is known as B.C. bud, has THC levels of 35%. That is an enormous increase in the toxicity and the potency of this particular drug. What is also clear is that this is like the crack cocaine of marijuana. It is a natural step to harder drug usage. I know this from my experience, which I will refer to later, as an attorney having talked to young people who have been addicted to these drugs.

Finally, as the Canadian Medical Association acknowledges that cannabis is an addictive substance, why do we want to make it more accessible to young people instead of less accessible? I personally think it is a huge act of hypocrisy on the part of the government to have this legislation alongside Bill C-16, the drugged driving bill, because under Bill C-16 the government seems to acknowledge that driving while under the influence of marijuana is a serious concern and one we need to discourage, under Bill C-17 it makes it more accessible.

This morning I was talking to Sergeant Paul Mulvihill of the Surrey RCMP detachment in my riding. He was telling me that this approach was very short-sighted.

While I generally support the notion of Bill C-16 and the idea of a drugged driving bill, I want to comment briefly on some of my concerns. It probably needs a lot more funding to ensure that the officers are properly trained to administer that legislation and so the convictions will stick.

Health is not the only concern that I have with this particular legislation. I am also concerned about the economic consequences. We know these people have higher rates of absenteeism from work. There is a greater increase of family breakdown, a greater use of the medical system, such as addiction treatments and rehab centres, and of course there is the cost of incarceration. The more accessible these drugs become to Canadians, the more chances they will have to suffer the consequences of that. We need to consider this from an economic perspective.

I find it striking that just a few weeks ago the first ministers came to an agreement on health where they are handing out stacks of cash to the provinces to deal with health care and here we are encouraging, by reducing the consequences, behaviour that will cost our health care system enormous amounts of money. It will be a huge drain on the system.

From an economic perspective we cannot forget that we live next to our largest trading partner, one of the largest in the world, and that is the U.S. I can tell members that the Americans take a dim view of what the Canadian government is considering with this legislation.

The U.S. drug czar has recently indicated that there will be repercussions if we push ahead with this plan because 95% of the drugs, particularly those grown in British Columbia, do not stay in B.C. They go straight across the border, and they send us cocaine in exchange. It is a horrible problem. In light of the delays we are currently experiencing at the border, do we want to instigate further problems?

As a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, we already face higher scrutiny at the borders. The second busiest border crossing in the country is in my riding. Truckers are waiting six to seven hours to cross the border with their products and we are proposing legislation that would increase the level of scrutiny and make it even harder for people to make a living as they move trade to and fro across the border.

We are not just talking about the economy. Those are general statements. We are talking about truckers with families in my riding who cannot make a living when their trucks are sitting at the border and not moving. This is a serious problem and we are bringing forward legislation that would poke another stick in the eye of the Americans. It is not the right thing to do.

I want to briefly address some of the criminal concerns related to the legislation.

The government claims that this is not about giving kids criminal records for smoking a joint. I beg to differ. The bill suggests that a fine be given for the possession of 30 grams of marijuana, which puts this whole theme that it is pushing to the lie that it is. Thirty grams of pot is enough pot to make 30 to 60 marijuana cigarettes. Let me say that if people are walking around with 30 to 60 joints in their pockets it is not about personal possession, it is about trafficking.

What do we do here? We fine these people a $150 for trafficking. However, to a drug pusher who is making tens of thousands of dollars a month, paying a $150 fine is the cost of doing business and it is not a very big cost at all. In fact it is a small price to pay.

While I appreciate the fact that there are increased sentences for grow ops when 25 plants or more are at stake, what the legislation would actually do is decrease the consequences for grow ops with less than 25 plants. That just does not make any sense. Why would we be more lenient on people than we have been in the past as a result of this?

At the end of the day, without mandatory minimum sentences for these crimes, nothing will change. There will be no practical consequence.

The reality is that the lenient Liberal appointed judges are part of the problem. Because there are no deterrents under the existing system, the problem is getting worse. For example, in 1992, in the Vancouver area, 29% of the charges laid were drug related charges. In 2000 it had dropped to 4%. Clearly being lenient is not solving the problem.

I have spoken to enforcement officers in my riding who are tremendously frustrated with all the time and effort they have put into collecting evidence and having their cases dismissed in court or the sentences being of no real consequence to the criminals.

Let us make no mistake, grow ops are a serious problem. They cost us hundreds of millions of dollars a year. In fact, electricity utilities alone lose about $200 million per year from theft.

Where are the escalating sentences? The legislation equates the possession of pot to a parking fine. It is not even as serious as a speeding ticket where with subsequent speeding tickets the cost of the fine goes up. That is not so here.

As a lawyer who has dealt with criminals, I am all too aware of the dangers of gateway drugs like marijuana. I have spoken with far too many young adults who as teens experimented with marijuana and have now spent a decade hooked on hard drugs like heroin.

Here we are doing everything we can to help people stop smoking but we are about to legalize marijuana, a drug far more dangerous to society and especially vulnerable youth. It does not make sense. I will do everything in my power to ensure that drug dealers will not have legal access to our children, and that includes amending the legislation.

Canada Post October 26th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, Canada Post's job is to deliver the mail, but the Liberals have abused the company for the benefit of their friends and donors.

André Ouellet's $2 million in unreceipted expenses has cost taxpayers big bucks. The special hiring of friends and family, some unqualified or unable to do the job, has cost even more. Liberal friendly firms were awarded over $35 million in sole source contracts.

However, Mr. Ouellet was not the only Liberal crony at Canada Post. We now find out that Liberal donor Gilles Champagne also racked up considerable bills on his world tours. When will we see his receipts?

The Prime Minister told us he was going to end cronyism, yet weeks ago he broke his promise and appointed yet another crony, the revenue minister's former colleague, Gordon Feeney, as chair of Canada Post.

Cronyism costs Canadians. This is an outrage that must stop now.

Criminal Code October 13th, 2004

Madam Speaker, at the beginning of my maiden speech in the House of Commons, I would like to acknowledge those who have made it possible for me to be here.

I would like to thank my constituents, the people of South Surrey--White Rock--Cloverdale, for their trust and confidence in me. I am greatly honoured to be their representative and I plan to do my best and hope that I can, in whatever modest way, meet their aspirations and expectations.

I would also like to recognize the hard work of my campaign team and the hundreds of volunteers who helped get me elected.

Finally, I would like to thank my wife Andrea and my family for being a part of the process that brought me here today.

I am here today to speak to Bill C-2, the protection of children and vulnerable persons act. I believe all right thinking Canadians would agree that children deserve nothing less than total protection from child pornography. The devastating impact it has on its victims, their families and our society as a whole cannot be overstated.

It is with sincere disappointment that we must again address another Liberal bill that fails to provide children with the protection they deserve. While I am pleased that this new version also prohibits the advertising of child porn, something I proposed to the justice committee a year ago, this piece of legislation has serious problems. These problems include: the creation of the new legitimate purpose defence; the creation of the exploitive relationship category of offenders; the failure to raise the age of consent to at least 16 years of age; and the failure to adopt minimum sentences. I will now discuss each of these in more detail.

The first incarnation of the bill provided an artistic merit defence to the possession of child pornography. When the public outcry against such a defence became deafening, the Liberal government backed down and renamed it the public good defence. Let me be very clear. There is no such thing as public good when it comes to child pornography. If anything, the public good defence was a broader defence that incorporated all of the artistic merit defence and provided even more loopholes.

Now that it has become clear to Canadians that the public good defence is meaningless, the Liberals have introduced yet another defence, the legitimate purpose defence. The problem with this approach is the same as the others. It would still permit the courts to excuse child pornography on the basis of artistic merit.

As Conservatives we believe that all defences that justify the criminal possession of child pornography must be eliminated. All this new defence will do is make convictions harder to obtain by opening up a host of legal loopholes that could be used to justify the criminal possession of child pornography. This is because under criminal law, defences must be interpreted as broadly as possible. Under this new provision Eli Langer would still have had a defence for his pedophilic paintings.

Bill C-2 also fails to raise the age of consent for sexual contact between children and adults. Instead it creates the new category of exploitive relationships. This category is a vague provision that fails to create the certainty of protection that children require. It will therefore not serve as a real deterrent and will simply result in longer trials. It would be far more effective to drop the exploitive relationship category and simply raise the age of consent.

According to officers working at the Ontario Provincial Police porn unit, raising the age of consent is a matter of urgency. The current law prevents concerned parents, police and social service agencies from protecting or rescuing boys and girls who are coerced by older teens and adults. For example, whereas international protocol makes it possible to return a runaway 14-year-old Canadian girl from the U.S. or Mexico within 12 to 24 hours, according to Commander Ross MacInnes, who has 28 years with the Calgary vice unit, there is nothing they can do to get her back from another Canadian city because of the current age of consent law.

Eighty per cent of Canadians want it raised to at least 16 years of age. Only three years ago all provincial justice ministers unanimously passed a resolution calling on the federal government to raise the age of consent to at least 16. As has been recognized in the House, most western democratic nations have a 16 years of age minimum and some are even at 18, like the United Kingdom.

The excuse that raising the age of consent may criminalize acts between teenagers is simply false. The Criminal Code already exempts from prosecution those closely related in age. This close in age exemption ensures that teenagers are not prosecuted. This exemption is also similar to what other jurisdictions like the United Kingdom, Australia and most U.S. states use while at the same time having a higher, more reasonable age of consent law. History shows that criminalizing teenagers was not an issue before the age of consent was lowered.

Considering that government legislation already acknowledges the inability of youth to be responsible with alcohol and cigarettes and seeks to protect them from their negative effects, why not raise the age of consent to protect youth from the detrimental physical and emotional consequences of early sexual activity? Raising the age of consent would send a clear message that Canadian society is committed to protecting our children, that we are opposed to the sexualization of children, and would provide parents and police with a valuable tool to rescue and protect children.

Finally, this legislation fails to address serious concerns regarding sentencing for child sexual offences. At present, the sentences given simply do not reflect the seriousness of the crime. According to Frank Goldsmith of the Ontario Provincial Police porn unit, one of their biggest concerns is the lenient sentencing coming from the courts. The harshest sentence he has ever seen for the possession of child pornography is two years less a day, which is house arrest, when the maximum for this offence is five years. He views house arrest for pedophiles as a slap on the wrist while their victims face a life sentence, something they will never forget.

Mr. Goldsmith believes that conditional sentences are a joke, since those under house arrest simply take the liberty to leave their homes as they wish, knowing they can always use the excuse that they are on their way to school or to work. In fact, Detective Constable Bruce Headridge, former head of the Vancouver Police vice unit, suggests that conditional sentences in this area have brought our justice system into disrepute.

Pedophiles know that our justice system does not view the possession and distribution of child pornography as a serious crime or concern. They read news articles like the one distributed by the Canadian Press entitled, “Possession of child porn rarely nets jail time”.

I find it appalling that there are minimum sentences for drunk driving but none for child sex offences. Again, as Conservatives we therefore call upon the Liberal government to introduce mandatory minimum sentences and abolish conditional sentences for sexual offences involving children.

Incarcerating those who possess child pornography not only helps protect other children from harm, it also acts as a deterrent to those considering exploiting children. According to Justice Michael Moldaver of the Ontario Court of Appeal:

Adult sexual predators who would put the lives of innocent children at risk to satisfy their deviant sexual needs must know that they will pay a heavy price.

Some have argued that the minimum sentencing simply helps criminals perfect their skills. I can say that this is certainly not true for convicted pedophiles. They are always held in protective custody and never allowed to mingle while in prison, because otherwise hardened criminals who are disgusted by their crimes against children would harm them.

This is not a petty crime. This is about real children being abused, and we need real minimum mandatory sentences to protect them.

In conclusion, a truly free and democratic society is one that protects its weakest members from the appetites of those who, in the name of freedom, would degrade and harm our children. It is my strongly held belief that eliminating criminal defences instead of allowing loopholes, that providing mandatory minimum sentences instead of conditional ones, that raising the age of consent instead of pandering to sexual libertarians, all of these things will foster and support the dignity of children and send the message that they are to be accorded equal respect within Canadian society.

Resumption of Debate on Address in Reply October 7th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I want to first acknowledge your presence as our Deputy Speaker, and congratulate you and all those who will be sitting in the Chair over the weeks to come.

I also want to take the opportunity to thank the people of South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale who have entrusted me with this great honour to represent them in these hallowed halls and in the House. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the support of my wife, Andrea, who is with me in Ottawa this afternoon.

With respect to the speech given by the hon. member for Edmonton--Strathcona, I can only wholeheartedly agree with the member's analysis of the throne speech as being simply a recycling of previous Liberal promises. Could the hon. member, with more experience in the House, explain to me why it is that the Liberal government continues to resort to this tactic of recycling promises?