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

Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today in support of Bill C-42. Also, I am very happy to be joined by my colleague and friend from Wetaskiwin.

We have a number of members in the House of Commons on this side of the House who join me on the hunting and angling caucus. They do a lot of great work to promote and preserve Canada's rich and proud heritage of hunting, trapping, and sport shooting, and of course, the farmers who use in firearms in Canada as a day-to-day tool. They support a traditional and positive way of life and, indeed, a healthy way of life.

I will spend a bit of time talking about the value of firearms and what role they play in the country and then specifically about Bill C-42.

I was pleased to substitute on the public safety committee when we were reviewing the bill and the committee was undertaking the study. We heard a lot of things from witnesses, and one of the things that stood out for me was some testimony from Greg Farrant, who represents the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. Mr. Farrant is tuned in, clearly, to a lot of the debate that has gone on with the bill. He understood what was going on and in fact provided testimony as the government was introducing legislation to get rid of the long gun registry.

The one point he made that really stood out was his reflection on the size of the community that engages in hunting and trapping activities in the province of Ontario and right across Canada. He said that we always get branded, and I say “we”, because I come from a long, proud tradition and history of hunting. I grew up in the Yukon territory doing that as a wonderful way of life as well and will well into my future. I say “we” in that sense. We get branded by the opposition as being part of the gun lobby, as though that is said in some sort of pejorative sense. That is what Greg Farrant said. He said that we are always branded as a gun lobby, as though that is a bad thing.

Let us talk about what the gun lobby is. We say it with pride, and we say it with the understanding, on this side of the House, of what exactly the gun lobby represents in Canada. It is not the negative, pejorative term that anyone should hide their head from and be ashamed of. What does that gun lobby do? That gun lobby participates in hunting heritage activities. It contributes millions of dollars to conservation in this country. In fact, a recent study from the United States indicates that the group four times more likely than any other group to put their sweat equity and their cash into conservation is the hunting group. That is right. Hunters are four times more likely than any other group to put their money, their time, and their effort into the valuable principles of conservation. That is something they should be applauded for.

Instead, in return, what the opposition does is call them the gun lobby, as though that is some sort of evil moniker they should hide from and have a shadow over them for.

I say that they need to stand and be proud of that one simple fact. They are the ones out there on the land. They are the ones who first recognized the need for the protection and preservation of our environmental heritage. They are the ones who recognize the depletion or the need for conservation practices and principles in a particular area or a particular region for a particular species. It is not only the species they hunt. It is the species, the streams, the habitats, the lakes, and the forests that contribute to the life processes of the wildlife populations in our country. Those people are the ones who are responsible for the abundance, the protection, and the preservation of the wildlife, lakes, land, and water in our nation.

There is no accidental abundance of wildlife in Canada. There is no accidental protection and preservation of the wilderness. There is no accidental protection and preservation of the lakes, rivers, and streams in this country.

How does that happen? Where does that come from? It is from the gun lobby: the hunters, the anglers, the trappers, the sport shooters, and the athletes, the people who own guns and carry guns and spend time in the wilderness.

Where do we get our safety laws from? We did not create them here in the House of Commons, did we? No. Anyone who owns a gun in this country knows, as ethical, safe, law-abiding people in Canada, that they were the first to promote and teach safe ways of handling firearms. They were the ones who developed the 10 rules of firearms safety that those on the other side of the House could not list three of but that probably 90% of the members on this side of the House know inside and out, as though they are a bible to us. They were created by the hunting community and not by politicians.

We can thank the gun lobby. We can thank the conservationists. We can thank the hunters, the trappers, the sport shooters, and the athletes in the country who use firearms in a safe, responsible, and ethical way every single day in this country for the fundamental rules we now call laws.

Is it not ironic that we are here standing up to defend, change, or alter the very laws that this community itself generated? That is because it understands that firearms come with responsibilities. They are a tool to protect and preserve an important way of life, but they do come with responsibilities. It was those groups, not the House of Commons and not the provincial legislatures, that first created those laws.

I am proud to talk about the measures we are taking in Bill C-42 to ensure that those people who created those laws and do so much for the conservation, preservation, and protection of a great way of life in this country are not burdened by red tape that is unnecessary, are not considered criminals at first blush, and are not considered criminals because of paperwork errors.

Bill C-42 will merge the possession and POL licences to give people more opportunities to own firearms, to simplify things, and to reduce some of the red tape. It will merge some of the ATT conditions in just one licence so that there is a condition for that licence instead of a whole bunch of other papers of authorization, which can inadvertently trip people up and in fact make it more difficult for law enforcement to determine whether a person is in legal possession of a restricted firearm when he or she is going to and from a range. The bill contains sensible measures so that people can transport firearms to shooting ranges, gun shops, a police station, or a point of entry, all things they could do in the past but that can now all be on one licence instead of multiple licences.

Bill C-42 will also take another step to balance responsible firearm ownership and public safety. It will introduce stricter penalties for people convicted of domestic violence and stricter conditions for people involved in violent behaviour and violent activity. Who asked for that? It is the gun lobby, the firearms community, those responsible gun owners. They are every bit as offended, if not more offended, by the illegal and unlawful use of firearms as anyone in this House could possibly be, because it affects that community greatly when someone steps out of line or uses a firearm in an illegal and inappropriate manner. That is not what they taught long before we put laws in place, and it is not what they teach in the present day. Of course they are supportive of the stricter public safety measures we are putting in place. At the same time, they do not want to be treated as criminals for simple paperwork errors.

The bill will reduce red tape and formalize some of the provisions that did not have clear guidelines before, such as the rules and regulations around the determination of what the CFOs can do. Arbitrary decisions were being made from one province to the next that left everyone in a state of confusion, because they were not clear-cut. This legislation will make clear what CFOs can do and what terms and conditions they can and cannot put in place so that firearms owners, the general public, and the law enforcement community have certainty and we do not see decisions like the one made by a CFO in Ontario, who arbitrarily decided that any firearms owner wanting to go to a range with a restricted weapon needed an invitation from another range. That was not spelled out in any piece of legislation at all. It was an invention of a CFO. Clearly, firearms owners need to know what is a reasonable restriction and a reasonable condition on their licence that cannot be made up. This bill will provide that.

I will leave members with this thought. One in every five Canadians participates in hunting, trapping, and sport shooting activities in this country. They contribute $15.5 billion to the Canadian economy. This side of the House, this party, and this government will stand up for law-abiding firearms owners every single day. While I would like to encourage the members of the opposition to get on board and help support these measures in Bill C-42, it was clear from their testimony at committee that they have no intention of doing that, which is all the better for us. We will be the party that stands up for law-abiding firearms owners.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 May 13th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, if my colleague's intervention is not informative it certainly is entertaining. I did like the point he made about imitation being the finest point of flattery. That might explain why he has adopted my hairstyle. He does recall that he did also say in his own words that the imitation is not as good as the original. Therefore, I will claim to be the original bald guy here right now.

The member talked about the budget measures we are putting in place benefiting largely people with Maseratis and Lamborghinis, but nobody in my riding owns a Maserati or a Lamborghini. I have never even seen one.

This budget increases transfer payments to my home territory to record levels, in fact, 63% higher than previous Liberal government investments. It has record health care transfers. It is allowing local governments to determine their own priorities and needs at a local level. There are excellent measures in here to let local jurisdictions decide what their priorities are and then deliver them for the people of the north.

I am just wondering if the member opposite could explain this to us. If all these measures are so bad, why is it that the member for Ottawa Centre has been communicating in his riding about all of the measures that we are putting in place and why would he promote those measures if the New Democrats are so against them?

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act May 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his intervention. He started with this and he ended with it: how disappointed he has been that this process has taken so long.

I ask my hon. colleague now to join me in calling on all members to remain seated. We can let the debate collapse and move to a voice vote, because the only thing that is delaying this from going forward now, it would appear to me—if the member is so concerned about getting the bill passed and done so quickly—is the continued debate on it. If we all agreed to sit down, this would go to a voice vote and we would be done. No more complaints about—

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act May 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, my colleague's question is important and he raises a great point about Canada and the geography. There are 25 member states that are required to sign this FAO agreement and 11 have done so, so we are not quite at the halfway point yet. Canada is such a massive nation and the member pointed out that our coastline is so significant. When we look at what our primary law enforcement agencies and others are doing to deter, detect, prevent and enforce regulations on such a broad coastline, I think they should be commended.

As we look at signing these agreements, we need to make sure that we have the legislation right, and that the tools are appropriate and proper, not just for those agencies, but in the context of the geography in which they have to work. Canada has to do land-based patrols, aerial surveillance patrols, sea patrols, dockside monitoring, electric monitoring, all kinds of things from coast to coast to coast. It is not an easy task, but Canadians are doing a great job. Canada is showing significant leadership on this file simply because of the operating conditions that we work in.

We are in a vastly different pool of regulatory regimes here in Canada and we are doing a wonderful job. Other nations can look to Canada and see how we are able to deter, prevent and detect unregulated, unreported fishing with such big boundaries to protect. The men and women who are doing that job are doing a fantastic job.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act May 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for both his intervention here and his contributions to our fisheries committee. I look forward to his remarks later in the day. As we move this forward, members heard in my intervention how critical unreported, unregulated fisheries are, not just in Canada but globally. We have a number of key partners involved in this, some 25 states signing onto this agreement, 11 of which have completed and are signatories to this now.

It is important that we get this right. It is important that we take the time, which we did at the fisheries committee where we engaged in a pretty detailed review of this. We were able to ask for technical advice and get the proper input to make sure that we had the right piece of legislation going forward.

We can preserve and protect the integrity of Canada's fishing industry, both our imports and our exports. That is not something that should be taken lightly or rushed through. The House, the Senate and our committee have given it due consideration as reflected by the amendments that are now being put forward here today. We have done a good job. I think the committee has done a good job and Canada can be proud of this. Our industry can be confident that this piece of legislation is going to leave Canada at the forefront of tackling this very serious issue.

Port State Measures Agreement Implementation Act May 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am certainly pleased, today, to stand in this House to add my comments about Bill S-3, an act to amend the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act.

We have heard today from many members of this House on the merits of these amendments. I will be using my time to reiterate the need for these amendments and highlight a few of the key points that have been discussed.

As we have heard, the purpose of the bill is to enable Canada to ratify the international agreement on port state measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

As a former conservation officer myself and ex officio fisheries officer, I understand that a strong, sustainable fishing industry supports jobs and economic growth in rural communities and, indeed, in all communities in this country. In Canada, the seafood industry is a major economic driver. Canadian fishermen work hard and play by the rules. Our country has a rigorous fisheries management system and measures in place to ensure that our fisheries are sustainable and will be present for future generations.

Unfortunately, not all of the world's oceans are so well protected. While Canada's current Coastal Fisheries Protection Act and extensive catch monitoring programs already deter illegal fishing vessels from entering our ports, the bill would further expand our powers to prevent illegal fish from entering the Canadian marketplace and support the global effort to stop illegal fishing.

I cannot stress enough that globally illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is an issue of grave concern. The port state measures agreement would deal with the worldwide problem of illegal fishing, which has serious economic and environmental consequences to Canadians. Fish are a highly valued commodity and, as such, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing has rapidly become a new global challenge. Illegal fishing operators gain economic advantage over legitimate fish harvesters through lower costs of operation, by circumventing national laws and regulations.

They also undermine conservation and management measures of regional fishery management organizations and other international standards, often including those for labour and safety conditions for the crew, the men and women who work aboard those vessels.

Illegal fish in the global market can depress prices for fish products from legitimate fish harvesters. Canadian fishermen feel the impacts of illegal fishing, including unfair competition and price fluctuations created by illegal producers flooding the international markets. Canadian seafood exports are worth $4 billion annually and 85% of all of our fish harvested is exported.

Therefore, Canada has a major economic stake in ensuring that illegal fish are kept off the global market.

We need to continue to be leaders in the international fight against threats to our fishing industry, in order to maintain a fair and stable market environment for our high quality fish and seafood exports.

Canada has a well-regulated fisheries. We are not the problem when it comes to illegal fishing. However, we can be part of the global situation and global solution. By strengthening the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, we would protect this vital resource and support the international fight against this global scourge.

On this side of the House, we stand by our commitments. Canada signed the port state measures act agreement in 2010 and, as demonstrated by this bill being brought forward today, we will follow through on this commitment.

The amendments to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act would also expand our capacity to deal with illegally caught fish from other jurisdictions. If a vessel is fishing outside of the controls required by a regional fish management organization or international norms, then fish caught by that vessel would be subject to intervention under this act.

We would now have the ability to deal with illegal fish product imports in an efficient way that would support the intent of the port state measures agreement.

We are proud of the already strong port access regime for foreign fishing vessels. Among other measures, Canada does not allow entry to vessels that are on the illegal, unreported and unregulated lists of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization or the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.

These lists are a key tool for combatting illegal fishing globally. Included on these lists are fishing vessels and any craft that helps fishing vessels engage in illegal acts. For example, crafts providing fuel, transshipping products or packing materials would be covered and included in the list.

With these proposed amendments, we would be building on the already strong legislation to protect fishermen and fisherwomen and our national economy. Arrangements have already been undertaken among several regional fisheries management organizations to share such lists so that members can take the necessary action to deny port entry or services to these listed vessels. This would make illegal fishing more difficult and expensive for criminals.

The proposed changes to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act set out tough prohibitions against the importation of illegally caught fish and other living marine organisms. Contravention of these provisions would be an offence under the amended Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, with strict penalties specified under the act. Together, these measures would help to dry up the profits from illegal fishing activities.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, in close collaboration with the Canada Border Services Agency, would carry out enforcement with a view to protect legitimate cross-border trade of fish and seafood products. Preventing illegally taken fish and seafood products from entering Canadian markets is also a priority for Canada's trading partners, such as the United States and the European Union. Controls at the border for illegal fish harvests would bolster Canada's reputation as a responsible nation and a responsible trading partner.

I am a member of the fisheries committee. During our study of the bill, additional technical amendments were introduced to further strengthen this bill. The first new amendment introduced would enable Canada to make regulations that could specifically document requirements for the imports of fish and seafood products from fisheries management organizations, to which Canada is not party. This is a practical measure, as these amendments would address the situation of illegally harvested seafood from parts of the world where Canada does not fish, but from which it imports. Should a regional fisheries management organization in another region implement certification measures, we would have the authority to also require this documentation. This is a common sense measure and a common sense amendment, which we heard in committee, and we are pleased to put that forward. It would also ensure consistency and improve the sustainability of fisheries throughout the world while we are protecting legitimate trade.

The second amendment is a technical, common sense amendment to ensure that vessels or goods that have been seized are not returned to the offender upon conviction.

The bill, along with the additional amendments presented in the committee report to the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act that are before the House, would strengthen and clarify Canada's domestic rules and reinforce its leadership in the global fight against harmful fishing. This bill demonstrates Canada's commitment to addressing the global challenge of combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by ensuring a modern legislative framework.

I am proud to be part of a government that is taking action against this global problem, which impacts our fishermen and fisherwomen here at home. We cannot tolerate the illegal exploitation of the world's great resources.

Pipeline Safety Act May 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as we maintain public confidence in this through the polluter pay principle, which is clearly important to all Canadian citizens, we are also introducing concrete measures to enhance pipeline safety under the pillars of prevention, preparedness and response, and liability and compensation.

Canadians can be assured that with those pillars in place in this legislation, our government will commit to doing everything we can to achieve those strong pillars in order to ensure we adhere to everything we have set out in responsible resource development.

Pipeline Safety Act May 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I guess I am bit perplexed about why the member opposite would assume that the Navigable Waters Protection Act did anything but deal with navigation on waters, and where anybody assessing that piece of legislation, or who is tasked with the inspection, enforcement and regulation of the Navigable Waters Protection Act, would be in a position to deal with pipelines.

There is no more suitable board in this country than the National Energy Board to deal with national energy issues. It seems to be the case, though, every time, that the opposition, when we make streamlined, efficient and effective decisions around people who are designed and should be governing particular things, looks to other pieces of legislation to find excuses as to where, how and why these changes should not be made.

I imagine the member opposite would probably propose that if we made changes to the stuffed animals and toys protection act that that somehow would jeopardize the environment.

This does not. It only strengthens the environmental regime. We will continue on that track and Canadians know that.

Pipeline Safety Act May 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I do not disagree that social licence is an important part of what we do in our responsible resource development regime.

It is important to understand that part of this legislation imbeds some of those very fundamental pieces. The polluter pays principle is very much based on what the public has told us they want, expect and demand, as I said in my intervention.

We have also imbedded in this legislation the requirements and the commitment to work with aboriginal and first nations communities, not only in proposed projects but also in terms of developing and utilizing best technologies as we move forward to ensure the continued integrity of a world-class safety regime.

That, of course, comes not just from subject-matter experts that deal with this but from community subject-matter experts who live, work and play in regions where pipelines operate safely every single day in this country.

Pipeline Safety Act May 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to join the debate on Bill C-46. I would like to thank my hon. colleague, who spoke just before me, for being so generous in splitting her time with me today.

I am obviously pleased to be here because this speaks directly to our government's priorities: energy, security, economic growth and environmental protection. The pipeline safety act would deliver all three. It recognizes the importance of pipelines to transport the energy we need and use every single day in this vast country. Whether it is to fuel our cars, power our businesses or factories, or heat our homes, like the homes in Yukon, my home riding, pipelines play an essential role in moving our necessary energy around this country. It supports a significant role the oil and gas sectors play in our national economy.

We have heard the numbers many times in the House, but they are worth repeating. The energy sector, led by our abundant oil and gas resources, directly contributed almost 10% of Canada's economy in 2013. It also generated an average of $25 billion a year in federal and provincial revenues between 2008 and 2012. When we think about those numbers and the programs and services that the federal and provincial governments are able to deliver to their respective jurisdictions, be they social support, education, health, environmental initiatives or economic priorities, those numbers contribute greatly to allow each provincial and federal government to deliver for the priorities of Canadians.

Finally, the pipeline safety act reflects the importance we have placed on making pipelines safer. Under our government, energy security and economic growth will never come at the expense of environmental safety. That is why our comprehensive plan for responsible resource development makes clear that no resource development will be permitted unless projects are deemed to be safe, safe for Canadians and safe for the environment. Indeed, our government has proven that time and time again.

The pipeline safety act is a key component of this plan for responsibly developing our natural resources. As we know, Bill C-46 is based on three key pillars: incident prevention, preparedness and response, and liability and compensation.

There is widespread agreement that this legislation hits the mark on all three pieces. Indeed, a cross-section of witnesses offered expert testimony on the bill to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources, of which I am a member. There was general consensus that the legislation is needed and, indeed, a positive step.

After taking a closer look at some of the key provisions in the legislation, I hope Canadians will have a better understanding of how Bill C-46 would contribute to achieving all three priorities. We will continue to create and protect jobs and opportunities for Canadians from coast to coast to coast by encouraging our country's energy independence.

We will do so while maintaining and strengthening one of the most stringent and effective pipeline safety regimes in the world. In fact, each and every day Canadians drive, sleep and work over top of hundreds of thousands of kilometres of pipelines in our country.

As we heard in other debates and interventions from members in the House, Canada's pipeline safety record is tremendous, a 99.99% safety record. That is something we can certainly boast about. It is something that Canadians should have a great deal of pride in and it certainly warrants the measure of Canada having a world-class safety regime. What does that mean in respect of how other countries operate in the world, in terms of their safety and our legislative competence with this? Let me touch on a couple of those pieces.

The spill rate in Canada in comparison to other countries was 57% lower than in Europe and 60% lower than in the United States over an 11-year period. That is a pretty exceptional record. While the United States and the United Kingdom have similar legislation in place, the $1 billion minimum financial capacity, an absolute limited liability, is unique to this Canadian legislation.

Canada will also be unique in having a cost recovered financial backstop model that provides complete coverage for cleanup and damages.

I think everyone in the House would agree that prevention of any kind of accident or any kind of spill is the most important piece of our environmental protection regime. If something were to occur, with the $1 billion limited liability backstop and with penalties under the act, Canadians could be assured that breaches of any provision in this legislation would be taken seriously and that taxpayers would not be on the hook for the cleanup.

Exactly what kind of penalties would pipeline companies be subject to if they were to break the law? If we exceeded our ambition and our goals of prevention being the first and most important step and an accident were to occur, pipeline operators would be subject to the same laws that govern all industry activities in Canada, which means they would be liable without limit for incidents when they are at fault or negligent.

Second, under the National Energy Board, companies are subject to fines and imprisonment depending on the severity of the offence. Third, responsible resource development gave the NEB additional powers to implement administrative monetary penalties which enable the NEB to fine companies for contraventions of any regulations and orders. This is a new tool that would ensure smaller offences are punished.

The measures proposed today would enhance and further clarify all of these provisions. What are companies going to do to update any of the old pipelines? I know this question was posed to the previous speaker, but there are three principles that need to be recalled when this is taken under consideration.

We want to define our world-class safety systems. Prevention, of course, is integral to that piece of the plan. The legislation requires the use of best available technologies as well as the integration of aboriginal communities and businesses in pipeline safety, pipeline monitoring and operations.

All federally regulated pipelines would be impacted by these proposed measures regardless of whether they are operating, planned or under construction. Old, new or proposed plans would be subject to this new pipeline regime.

We have some questions that will mostly come around on what we are wanting to do to ensure why we are not requiring companies to create a pooled fund in advance of a spill. We are concerned about the worst case scenario. There is that old adage, hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

With our safety record in place of 99.99%, we still do have to be realistic in terms of what we can expect to see and reflect back on some past incidents to guide us in that direction. At the same time we must ensure that while we are balancing out the necessary protection for the environment and the communities in which these pipelines operate, we are realistic about allowing these companies to move ahead with moving Canada's much needed energy around this country.

From that point we can assure Canadians that any backstop, if it is assessed, will be fully recovered from industry to ensure that the taxpayers are protected. That is a fundamental piece. While Canadians expect, want and demand the strictest and safest pipeline regime, they also want to know that if there are any accidents, they as taxpayers are not responsible for cleaning it up.

We hold that firm and we have in many other pieces of legislation that we put forward. This is no exception. The polluter pay principle stands. The polluter pay principle is something Canadians want. The polluter pay principle is something Canadians expect and the polluter pay principle is something that this government is going to deliver as we move forward with our responsible resource development regime.