House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was territory.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Yukon (Yukon)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 24% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Special Events June 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to congratulate and thank all the volunteers, participants and organizers who supported the CF walks in Watson Lake and in Whitehorse this past weekend and to highlight the great work done by Jen Roberts to support multiple sclerosis and to the participants, organizers and volunteers of that walk.

Also, I congratulate Cole Byers, a fundraising superstar. This young man has raised over $100,000 for juvenile diabetes research. I congratulate the participants and organizers of the Walk for a Cure. That was wonderful. I thank them and Cole as well.

Finally, I would like to wish my sister Beck Ashley and my brother-in-law Andy a happy 10th anniversary. I hope Jared and Logan have made them breakfast in bed.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act June 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would ask my colleague if she heard the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development indicate that he understood a trilateral process, a trilateral relationship between public governments and Yukon first nations, was very much the centrepiece of his understanding and his intentions with this legislation, and indeed all legislation. I wonder if she would set aside all the rhetoric again about who is absent and where. It is pretty clear that I was in Washington, D.C., and would have loved to participate but I had other important business on behalf of my constituents to conduct.

Nonetheless, my question is fairly simple. Would she not at least be encouraged by the minister's comments earlier today where committed to the trilateral relationship, which he knows is so important to honour the spirit and the intention of the modern treaties we have in the Yukon? That was clearly said today. I am encouraged by it and I am supportive of it. I thanked him for that earlier in my address. Would the member acknowledge that and understand that he is committed to do more, not just on this legislation but on all our relationship-building with first nations?

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act June 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, while I would have loved to be there, I am not going to apologize for being in Washington, DC, to represent my constituents when it comes to important issues like the Arctic Council.

The previous member was talking about hearing and listening. Interestingly enough, I acknowledged in my speech the four areas of concern that Yukon first nations have. We heard those loud and clear. I acknowledged that the minister is committed to working in a trilateral relationship with them to ensure that the implementation meets their needs and meets the spirit and intention of their agreements, and this government is very much committed to that. I look forward to that continued dialogue.

However, it is interesting that of the four points of concern, at report stage the Liberal member did not address two of the most significant ones at all. She did not even put those amendments forward. She either did not hear or did not listen. It must be one of the two, but why did she not do that?

Furthermore, it was the Liberal senators who passed this bill out of the Senate and into the House of Commons absolutely unamended and with unanimous consent. She is going to have to square that circle, quit playing politics with this issue, and start listening to northern Canadians.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act June 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, indeed I was, and I was very proud of all of the Yukoners who participated in that hearing, from our first nations right through to our industry. Indeed, it was my intervention that ensured that Yukon first nations were strong participants in that committee.

If the member for Northwest Territories wants to talk about whether I was there to hear them, indeed I was, and I did. I acknowledged that in my speech. I heard their concerns.

However, guess who did not hear them. Guess who was not prepared to hear them. It was the member for Northwest Territories, who by noon that day had said publicly on CBC that his mind was made up. He said that he knew what he was going to do. He knew where his decisions lay, and that was before he had heard from even half of the people invited to testify.

Yes, I was there to hear them, but clearly the member for Northwest Territories was not. That is stamped on the record of that interview on CBC's noon show. He can stand by that deplorable record when it comes to standing up and listening to the Yukon people and the people of the north.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act June 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand in the House today and speak to the motions put forward to the House on Bill S-6. I am going to get to the contents of the bill shortly and in direct respect to the motions that have been tabled here in the House.

Before I do that, I want to quickly express my thanks to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. I was present in the House today listening to many of the speeches and the questions and answers that followed. It was appreciated that he recognized that our government has tremendous commitment to continued trilateral partnerships with both our public governments in the Yukon and with our first nations leadership in our territory.

From that point of view, I am optimistic and confident that the piece of legislation that we have before us, subject of course to continued dialogue and discussion, will be one that will indeed be in the best interests of all Yukoners.

I want to point out a couple of things before I get to the direct pieces of this legislation that are clearly worth highlighting. Some of that came in discussion today, some of it has been in prolonged discussion over the course of the bill, but it is absolutely worthwhile for us drilling right down to these very key pieces so that we can boil away some of the political rhetoric that has been generated by the opposition side.

I do take some offence to the opposition's positions where members have clearly feigned concern for the wants, needs and expectations of the Yukon people broadly and specifically for the Yukon first nations community. I say that, not tongue in cheek, with clear-cut examples that I will give now.

I put forward a study at the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans some time ago where we would travel north and see what was going on with the challenging state of Yukon River salmon in a transboundary relationship with Alaska and those waters. There are some issues that we really needed to seize as parliamentarians in undertaking that study.

However, guess who blocked travel for that study? Guess who voted that it was not important? The NDP. This is a social, ceremonial and traditional way of life for Yukon first nations, with Yukon River salmon of critical importance, and the NDP would not support that travel.

Then I had a study and a bill before the House for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder which is a topic seized by all Yukoners, an important issue to Yukon people and northern Canadians in particular and we wanted to travel for that. Guess who blocked that? The NDP. The members are continuing to block all these things, yet at the same time, they say they have care and concern for Yukon people and northern people. Their record is clear. They really do not.

In this case, I was proud to ensure that as we undertook the study for Bill S-6, I made it clear that we needed to bring the committee to the Yukon to hear directly from Yukon people to allow a balanced story, a balanced perspective and a balanced input, so we could seize ourselves with the concerns of Yukoners, understand them and hear that directly from them in testimony in our territory.

Of course, the NDP members agreed to travel for that, but only for the fact that they thought they might have some political advantage on this. It is a shameful use of Yukon people and northern people for their own political purposes. There is not true care and concern and that point needs to be made crystal clear.

I witnessed that before noon on the first day of committee study on Bill S-6, a member from the Liberal Party and a member from the NDP had clearly chosen a side and it is on record when we were interviewed by the CBC. They said their minds were made up and this was done at noon, before we had even heard from half of the people prepared to testify. Before we had heard a full and balanced perspective from Yukoners on this topic, the NDP members had their minds made up about the direction they were going to go. They said as much on CBC.

The Liberals had their minds made up long before. They say they came to hear from all the Yukoners, but their minds were made up before they arrived in my territory and they tried to drive their political agenda. It is important to me to communicate that very effectively here today; everything to this point from their side of the House has been nothing but politics. There has been no care and concern for the people of the north.

We are trying to bring balance and parity in our territory so that Yukoners have equal opportunities for jobs, growth, and economic prosperity like the rest of Canada, so they have equal opportunities like those shared in the Northwest Territories under its devolution agreements and resource development agreements, which, interestingly enough, the member for Northwest Territories was standing behind. However, when it comes to bringing parity to the Yukon, somehow he is objecting to that.

As we tasked ourselves with the bill and understood the evolution and the process, it has been clear that there are concerns, and our government has seized itself with those concerns. We have heard them clearly, and today we heard the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs say clearly that he fully understands that a trilateral relationship is important with the federal government in the Yukon, the Yukon territorial government, and Yukon first nation peoples. I applaud him and thank him for that, because that will ensure effective implementation of the bill. It will ensure that we honour the spirit and intention of the modern treaties that we have in our territory, those modern treaties that we are very proud of and that will continue to bring prosperity to our territory, prosperity that New Democrats really know nothing about.

People are going to ask if I can prove that statement. Sure I can. On the record, in the Yukon legislature, the leader of the territorial opposition had this to say about mining development in the Yukon:

...once the mine is in operation—has been for some time—but the actual procurement of everything from, I would say, toilet paper to lettuce to whatever comes in on big trucks, on pallets, from Outside, and nothing is sourced locally.

That is what was said by Liz Hanson, the leader of the NDP in the Yukon. She was specifically referencing one mine. That mine spent $78.1 million in the Yukon Territory in 2013 and $58.2 million in 2014 on goods and services, and that was before wages were paid out to Yukon first nation people and non-Yukon first nation people. Then those employees in turn spent that money in their communities, their homes, on goods and services, so the dollars continued to rotate around that community to the benefit and prosperity of all Yukoners.

My point is that if one starts with a fundamental misunderstanding of how mining and resource development actually contribute to our economy, then I guess it makes perfect sense that one would not want development to carry forward. However, the facts are clear. One mine alone contributed $78.1 million in one year to Yukon's GDP, to Yukon's economy, to the socio-economic fabric of our territory.

It was done so, I might add, in an environmentally responsible manner to protect and preserve the environmental heritage of our territory. Why is that? It is because these companies participate in environmental reviews. They have care and concern about reclamation and development. They engage with their first nation communities, and they do not always do that out of a legislative requirement. They do it because they form a social relationship and an important working relationship through IBAs, through direct community engagement and participation in the Yukon with first nation communities, who do indeed invite them in.

The NDP, the no development party, has no fundamental understanding at all of the direct value that resource development brings to our territory, to the north, and to our country, so from that point of view it makes sense that it would want to obstruct these things.

We have heard the concerns of Yukon first nations. Our minister is committed to continuing to work with them in a trilateral relationship to make sure we engage in productive and co-operative implementation to honour the spirit and intention of those modern treaties. The motions I see being put forward would actually do the reverse to many of the things that Yukon first nations, the Yukon government, and Canada have already agreed to in the five-year review of YESSA.

I look forward to any questions and I look forward to the passage of the Bill S-6 and our continued relationship-building with all partners in the Yukon on a very important message and bill.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act June 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, my point is that this is important to move forward for Yukon. It is important to move forward for the people of Yukon. In the sense of having to allocate the time, the examples I gave were really in regard to the fact that those members have had no problem obstructing things in the past. We need to move this forward, and their history has set the course for the actions we need to take in terms of moving all bills, including this one, forward.

I wonder if the minister could comment on the benefits to the north this bill could bring to all Yukoners and indeed to Yukon first nations.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act June 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to clear up just a bit of revisionist history coming from the other side of the House right now. We hear the members feign interest and concern for northern Canadians, but of course, we all know that I had a study before the fisheries committee to go north to study important cultural, social, and ceremonial impacts on northern fisheries. It was obstructed by the NDP.

I had an important bill on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. We wanted to travel to the north to hear directly from Yukoners and northerners on that important piece. It was obstructed by the NDP.

Of course, the Liberals will sit in this House of Commons and talk about whether their amendments were supported in committee. They did not put any forward, so it is interesting how we revisit that piece.

Let me just read something into the record from the NDP in the Yukon:

once a mine is in operation...the actual procurement of everything from, I would say, toilet paper to lettuce to whatever comes in on big trucks, on pallets, from Outside, and nothing is sourced locally.

That was the Leader of the Opposition and of the NDP in the Yukon. Of course, he completely forgot that $78 million was spent—

Firearms Regulations May 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate that while that might not have been a point of order, it was certainly a point worth raising.

I am pleased to stand to speak today about Motion No. 589. I would like to begin by commending the member for Prince George—Peace River for all of his work, particularly in support of the firearms community. I have had a lot of opportunity to work with him. Those of us on this side of the House who support the firearms community through the hunting and angling caucus and other direct initiatives all know that the member has a keen interest in outdoor pursuits, the shooting way of life. He is supportive of the firearms community and has done a lot of great work. It is certainly great to have him as a member of the caucus.

This important motion highlights the Conservative government's common sense firearms regime. The member for Prince George—Peace River is introducing the motion to ensure that no unnecessary steps are implemented. I have heard the Liberals and NDP today engage in a drive-by smear of outdoor enthusiasts by saying that those who want to obey clear rules are part of some sort of American-style gun lobby. In fact, I heard a member from the NDP question the Conservative government's obsession with firearms legislation.

It is interesting that while New Democrats refer to it as an obsession, I would refer to it as representation of the millions of Canadians who are lawful, legal, and ethical firearms owners. New Democrats can call that an obsession. I call it good parliamentary representation of the millions of Canadians across the country who engage in athletic hunting and trapping pursuits and firearms as a day-to-day tool, as a way of protecting and preserving a way of life.

They will not confuse this as any kind of bizarre obsession by the Conservative government. In fact, it is clear, unapologetic, and resounding support for a lawful, ethical, and indeed healthy way of life, exercised for a long period of time in the tradition and history of Canada.

Of course, these kinds of comments by both the NDP and the Liberal Party are ridiculous and offensive to the millions of Canadians who own firearms. This large group of Canadians pays attention to what goes on in this place, and I know they pay far closer attention than the members of the opposition realize or may think. I hope they keep that in mind when this important motion comes forward for a vote.

I would like to talk about something that I spoke a bit on yesterday in my speech on Bill C-42. There are a lot of linkages between our entire firearms policy and agenda to support these millions of Canadians. I will talk about a representative of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, Greg Farrant, who said:

Firearms owners in Canada are judges, lawyers, farmers, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, accountants, even federal politicians...who live in and represent urban ridings. They are not criminals. They are not gang members. Rather, they are lawful firearms owners who obey the law.

Indeed, they are mothers, daughters, aunts, uncles, and children, including my son.

Judging by the comments we have heard today, it seems that the NDP and the Liberals in opposition continue to believe that only backwoods, unrefined, rural folk engage in these activities. Again, that is a complete abandonment of the facts in our country, and an insult to Canadians who pursue a way of life, whether it be in sport shooting, collecting, athletics, or hunting and trapping, which is a long-standing heritage, as I have mentioned.

This motion is as much about our outdoor culture and preservation and protection of a way of life as it is about anything else. We have consistently been clear that we will do everything we can to ensure that red tape and unnecessary measures are not put in place to create a burden for the lawful, ethical, and law-abiding firearms owners, manufacturers, or ammunition producers in this country. I think that the member for Prince George—Peace River outlined clearly the reputation that our country already has and the laws that are already in place.

Opposition members say that they are already doing this, that it is lawful and why would we not just go along to get along again. The fact is, why would we put measures in place that duplicate the things we are already doing so well?

We have a regime that is Canadian made. We have a regime that meets the needs of Canada, a vast nation that spans from Newfoundland and Labrador all the way to the Yukon territory, some 7,000 kilometres from coast to coast to coast. It is the largest archipelago in the world, with remote rural Canadian locations, huge distribution networks, a vast array of needs and purposes for firearms ownership, firearms manufacturing and firearms shipment.

We need a Canadian made solution, and that is what we have in our country. Do we need the imposition of an international body and an international governance structure telling Canada how to go about administering our laws, our rules and our policies, given the very unique nature of the Canadian geography and the Canadian people?

We have heard examples from across the floor that the EU does this so why would we not do it. The EU is not Canada, not in this context. There are times when we look to other nations to model the things they do well and best practices. However, in this case, the submission from the member in his motion is that we cannot model that system now in our country under the conditions I have outlined, under the unique geographic differences, the differences of the Canadian people, the different needs for firearms in the Canadian context, the different utilizations, history and culture. Canada in that respect is different.

Nonetheless, we have a strong regime of which we can be proud. In fact, I would submit that the member in his motion would confer that Canada has a model that other countries could sufficiently replicate to maintain public safety, control, tracking and order.

I have spoken directly with manufacturers and shippers in our country and they tell me that the programs, the regulations and the inventory accountability they need to maintain is second to none. In fact, if members in the House were wanting to endeavour to really get the facts on that, all they would need to do is go to a shipping location in our country and ask how it accounts for the ammunition in its facilities and how it accounts for the shipping and movement of that ammunition in and out of its facility. They would find an incredible, intricate, regulated network of rules that absolutely guarantee preservation and protection of society, accountability, security and all the necessary measures that a reasonable Canadian would expect to be in place. I know that because I have been there. I have seen that. I have worked with and talked about these issues with the manufacturers.

Members in the opposition can pontificate about whether this would cause onerous measurements or standards or whether this would be a big deal or not. The simple fact is that they have not gone out and asked. They have not been there to find out.

I can say with absolute certainty that the kind of measures that are being proposed are not good in the Canadian context. They are not fitting in with that need and we do not need to import an international boondoggle. We need Canadian solutions, developed by and for Canadians. We need to be able to stand proud. We have heard that across both sides of the House. We need to be able to stand proud and defend the system that we have in place. Again, here would be clear and ample submission in the House of Commons that we can defend what we have in Canada in terms of our firearms licensing regime, policies, sale and distribution legislation, criminal sanctions and the measures that complete a well rounded policy.

Every time, whether it is this motion, the common sense firearms licensing act, Bill C-637, introduced by my friend and colleague from Dauphin—Swan River—Marquette, chair of the hunting and angling caucus, or the elimination of the long gun registry, we continue to hear examples like “I register my dog. I register my cat. I register my car. Why is it a big deal?” However, those at the time were the seven myths of the opposition that they continue to talk about. They completely misunderstood the differences between those things.

They continued then and they continue today to use fearmongering tactics in an attempt to fundraise and in an attempt to scare Canadians. The Liberal Party has done it recently, showing pictures of scary guns that will now be available at shopping malls and easily stolen. They hope to scare Canadians into thinking that somehow any of the laws we are putting in place would make that easier. That is clearly not the case.

I will conclude by saying that I invite all members to explore this issue and consider their next steps as they move forward on this motion.

Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we have very clear safe-storage laws in this country. None of that would change under Bill C-42.

What the member is forgetting is that when someone steals a gun, that is criminal intent and criminal purpose with those guns, and we have laws to deal with that. I encourage the member to support all the initiatives we have put in place to deal with that criminal kind of behaviour.

Let me quickly educate that member about this one fact. There are half a million hunters in the province of Ontario, and if he thinks none of them live in Toronto, he is out of his mind. Perhaps he is suggesting that we should have some firearms repository outside of the city of Toronto where people could store their firearms.

The member is clearly ignoring the thousands and thousands of lawful firearms owners who live in the city of Toronto and who engage in hunting activities right across the province of Ontario and right across Canada each and every day. We will stand up for them, while he ignores them.

Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, that clearly illustrates for all Canadians how out of touch the opposition members are when it comes to this.

The reason there are three shells allowed in a shotgun for the purpose of migratory bird hunting, and that alone, is so that when ducks get out of range, people are not firing a fourth and fifth shot at a duck and wounding it. That is a condition put in place because of the ethics and values of the hunting community. It is a responsibility the hunting community wanted put into law.

I have never seen a shotgun in my life that holds 40 rounds. That is just so absurd I do not know whether to laugh or cry at that question.

If they want to talk about extended mags, which I think the member was trying to drive at, clearly he does not know that there is trapshooting in the Olympic Games, which athletes use shotguns with more rounds than that for. There is trapshooting at ranges, where they can use more than three rounds. There are many purposes for shotguns that are not illegal.

There is this conspiracy theory being generated. It is unbelievably bizarre to hear that any member in this House of Commons would think there is a shotgun on the market today that holds 40 rounds. I would love to see it, but it does not exist.

This is clearly what we are up against.