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

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, in layman's terms, it would allow different agencies, such as CSIS, on one hand, to identify propaganda information that tries to recruit or promote terrorism activity that is being disseminated online or being utilized in blogs for a direct or generalized targeting of Canadians for the purpose of terrorism growth, enhancement and recruitment. Where law enforcement agencies did not have the ability in the past to intercept or act on them, whether it is CSIS or the RCMP, this legislation would allow those agencies to identify them. There is a portal now, and a hope and a reason, for Canadians to report the online dissemination, promotion or recruitment of Canadians using these new technologies.

As the bill states, the ever-evolving threat is coming more and more in the form of this broad-based dissemination in the technological world, in any form of social media, whether it is Facebook, the Internet, Twitter, whatever it happens to be. This would give our law enforcement agencies the tools to identify and interrupt that when they arrive.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the need to continually invest in the front-line law enforcement service, but, as the member rightfully pointed out, in every aspect and on every occasion, the RCMP does not have all the tools it needs to combat terrorism. One of the tools we are able to provide it is greater legislation. That is part of it. It is not all about money. It is not all about financial resources. Sometimes it is about policies and legislation, and Bill C-51 reflects that.

Bill C-51 also has an essential element, which is to build critical partnerships between law enforcement and security service agencies. If we were to ask the RCMP to do this on its own, it is already behind the game. However, the bill would allow information sharing between departments so all departments in the Canadian government could ensure they were partnered in this to identify and help protect and prevent these threats.

That is why we have allowed additional authority for CSIS, so one agency is not on its own trying to deal with a threat that is global in nature, sophisticated and rapidly evolving. It is not responsible for us to expect one agency in the Government of Canada to do it on its own and the bill would ensure that all agencies could work together effectively. That is what Canadians expect, and that is what we are delivering.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to engage in this debate. Before I do, I will let the House know that I will be splitting my time with the hard-working member for Edmonton Centre.

I have before me the bill. One of the important pieces of Bill C-51 comes in the preamble of the bill. It says:

Whereas activities that undermine the security of Canada are often carried out in a clandestine, deceptive or hostile manner, are increasingly global, complex and sophisticated, and often emerge and evolve rapidly...

We have an obligation in Parliament to ensure that when we ask our law enforcement agencies and our security intelligence services to deal with these ever-evolving, complex and changing threats, we provide them the mechanisms to do so. To ask them to keep up with the evolution of these threats and the sophistication of them with one hand tied behind their backs is irresponsible as a government, unfair to them and unfair to all Canadians.

To assure everyone, and the Canadians participating by watching this debate, in the preamble itself and embedded throughout the 63 pages of Bill C-51, all of which I have read, studied and gone over multiple times, it states that information that is relevant to “the security of Canada is to be shared in a manner that is consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the protection of privacy”. That is embedded in the very beginning of the legislation and it is consistent throughout the bill in a number of the sections. I am sure I will have time to go over those with some of the questions members may pose for me.

Canadians want strong action to deal with the jihadi terrorists who exist today globally and who are affecting our country. That is exactly what we would do with the anti-terrorism act, 2015 and why I am proud to support it.

The bill would do four concrete things. It would create a mechanism for internal government information sharing for the purpose of protecting national security. It would modernize the passenger protect program that is colloquially known as the “no fly list”. It would criminalize the production and dissemination of jihadist propaganda. It would also give CSIS some new tools to stop terrorist threats before they end in tragedy.

The fact is that the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada and her allies. Canadians are being targeted by terrorists simply because they hate our society and the values it represents. Jihadi terrorism is not a human right; it is an act of war.

It is why our government has put forward measures to protect Canadians against jihadi terrorists who seek to destroy the very principles that make Canada the best country in the world in which to live. That is also why Canada is no longer sitting on the sidelines. Some of us would prefer that we do that instead of joining our allies in supporting the coalition in the fight against ISIL. Our government believes it is not right to sit on the sidelines, that we have an obligation and a duty to act, and we will.

Our government has increased resources available to our police by one-third and we have allocated more resources to CSIS, the RCMP and CBSA by almost $300 million to bolster our front-line services in our efforts to counter terrorism. Our government will continue to ensure that our police forces have the resources they need to keep Canadians safe.

I would like to focus my remarks on the new powers for CSIS to disrupt threats before they happen. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, some of these changes are very much common sense.

Oftentimes CSIS agents are positioned to intervene at an early stage because they primarily operate in the pre-criminal space when the terrorist attack is being planned. However, shockingly, in current day agents are prohibited from taking any action to disrupt those plots. They can only collect information.

I will read a quote from Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, the president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. He said in committee, “It's amazing to me that disrupting is currently prohibited. Remember, disrupting doesn't mean you're arresting these individuals. You're not violating their personal property rights. You're just taking them out of commission. You're actually disrupting a plot”.

I think to all Canadians, it would seem common sense, that when our security intelligence services have information that they have reasonable grounds to believe there is a terrorist plot in the making, they would then have the ability to somehow disrupt that plot.

Sometimes that kind of action boils down to things as simple as approaching parents and speaking with them about a family member or a child who CSIS believes is becoming radicalized. Imagine, present day, when our security intelligence services knows this information, there is no provision in law for them to go into the home, engage in discussion and then engage in a plan to deal with that information and stop the radicalization to prevent it from manifesting itself further. I think Canadians would be alarmed to know that information could not allow our security intelligence services to take a simple step of talking with families or people in our country to prevent a terrorist threat.

We might hear instances where they currently do that, but that is in the context of their present mandate of intelligence gathering rather than actual threat disruption. These are examples of threat disruption that do not require a warrant and are currently legal for anyone to do. It would not make sense for CSIS officers to require warrants in order to ask parents to speak to their children or engage in conversations in online chat rooms, which are becoming more and more the mode of communication in our present day technological world.

As clearly outlined in the bill, CSIS would need a judicially-approved warrant for anything that would infringe on the rights of an individual or any activity that could be contrary to law. Furthermore, the judge would need to be convinced that such powers were reasonable and proportional to the threat. In fact, in those sections there are more than four stages of approach that officers have to go through prior to those warrants being authorized. Those stages are far more onerous and detailed than any other provision in criminal law that a regular law enforcement officer needs to go through. How do I know that? I have done those myself as a law enforcement officer.

The provisions contained in the bill in terms of the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency first even reaching the approval stage to take that matter before a judge is one full stage. The officers then have to demonstrate to a judge that all of the conditions would be met for a warrant to be authorized. There are no less than eight conditions for that step to take place. The judge then has the opportunity to accept or deny that request or ask for greater information and modify it. If a warrant is authorized by the judge, CSIS officers who have sought the warrant then have to ensure, under legislation, that the conditions for which the warrant was granted still exist prior to taking any action. Therefore, there are four different levels with multiple conditions under each level to ensure effective and proper oversight of the granting of any action.

I know the opposition wants to fearmonger and suppose that now CSIS can all of a sudden get warrants to interrupt and access the information of Canadians or stomp all over their rights. This is a four-stage process, including final judicial review, that puts onerous and legislative conditions on CSIS officers.

I know I have limited time left, but I know Bill C-51 would ensure the right balance between the protection and preservation of the freedom of Canadians, while at the same time ensure that our law enforcement and security service agencies have the tools they need in a modern context so they can stop these threats that, as I mentioned in the preamble of this bill, are ever-evolving, global in nature and changing daily. It is our obligation as a responsible government to ensure they have the tools to do their job to keep Canadians safe, while preserving everybody's collective freedom.

Taxation May 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the opposition parties sadly oppose our tax cuts for northern families and, instead, propose tax hikes on the middle class.

They even support a carbon tax, which would make life far more difficult for northern families.

When the Liberals were in government, they failed to meet the obligations to the people in Nunavut and—

Public Safety April 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Omar Ahmed Khadr is a convicted murderer. Under the direction of jihadist terrorists, he killed army medic Sergeant Christopher Speer. He left Tabitha Speer without a husband. He left Taryn and Tanner Speer without a father.

The media is reporting that this terrorist will now receive bail and will be out on our streets. Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness please update the House on our government's position on this outcome?

The Budget April 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, last night, when I was working late, I was interrupted by cheers and honks. I thought it had to do with the Ottawa Senators beating the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 to push themselves into game 5 of that series. Actually, it was just thousands of Canadians still celebrating the balanced budget that we tabled this week.

That balanced budget includes $923 million for the Yukon territory, increased transfer payments, record levels, constant dollar increases year after year under the leadership of this Conservative government. Contrast that with previous Liberal governments that balanced the budgets on the backs of provinces and territories by slashing transfer payments to my home territory.

These important transfers allow local governments to determine local priorities for their health care, their education, their social responsibilities, their environmental concerns and their economic opportunity

I am proud to say that I am part of a government that is ensuring local determination by local governments. We will continue on that track. We will resist any opportunity that the Liberals want to do to raise taxes.

The Budget April 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her intervention today. I do applaud her for her passion and commitment to violence prevention programs against women. Of course, I think that is important to all members in this House. It is certainly important to me as a member of Parliament for the Yukon, with some of the long-term investments and personal contributions I have made to that very topic long before I got into politics.

I wonder if the member would help me understand. We have moved through a whole suite of legislative programs that are designed to prevent violence against women. They are also designed to afford people in our communities a greater opportunity in life, be that through work, shelters, a homeless partnering strategy, or the $252 million for the action plan against violence. All of these things formulate a suite of programs and services that help reduce risky lifestyles and outcomes for Canadians. However, time and time again, the Liberal members vote against that. I understand their position on missing and murdered aboriginal women, but that is not the only source of action. They speak about that as though it is the solution and the only solution.

I am curious why the member would vote against all of those other measures that are indeed improving the lives of Canadians day to day, in which we are investing, and stand up solely for a national inquiry, and not help on all the other fronts. I find it a little disingenuous, but I would like to give her the opportunity to respond to those very pieces against which she has voted.

The Budget April 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is always wonderful to listen to the Liberal members opposite talk about their plans and then say, “We have great plan, we're going to do all this, but you're just going to have to wait and see.” On this side of the House, we are not actually all that worried or waiting with bated breath to see any plan that the Liberals produce because it really does not matter, However, I am curious just for interest's sake because our plan of course includes record levels of transfer payments.

Let us talk a bit about that plan, which would include $923 million to my home territory in the Yukon, which is record level and would be 73% higher than previous Liberal governments. However, the Liberals back then balanced the budgets by cutting and slashing those transfer payments to the provinces and territories, affecting health care, affecting education, affection social outcomes, affecting economic outcomes, affecting the territories' and provinces' local abilities to set local priorities and local initiatives.

I wonder if the hon. member's plan, which nobody has ever seen and probably nobody ever will see, would include slashing those transfer payments to the provinces and territories again? Does it include slashing the important family tax cut that we have put in place in this? Does it include increasing taxes? How on Earth will the Liberals ever reconcile their history with what they anticipate their future to be?

Northern Development April 21st, 2015

Mr. Speaker, unlike the previous Liberal governments that balanced their budgets by slashing transfer payments to our territories and cutting programs and services, our government is making record levels of investments in the north.

We are giving Northerners the opportunities and the tools they need to shape their own future.

Could the Minister of the Environment update the House on what our government is doing and how we are investing in the great people of Canada's north?

Business of Supply April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that I gave the hon. member the due respect of listening to his question, but he is not prepared to get the answer.

I know he does not like it, but since 2005, our government has increased investments in the Canadian Coast Guard by 27% over what the Liberal government left behind. All the improvements in Coast Guard infrastructure, all the improvements in Coast Guard support and capacity are a direct result of the deficit left behind by the Liberal government. That explains that piece of it.

Is there anyone outside of the Conservative caucus who thinks the response was appropriate? Let me say this. This individual is not a member of the Conservative caucus and is a valued public servant. The Liberal opposition third party seems to have no problem chastising and throwing under the bus the great people in the public service who do good work for us. Michael Lowry, of Western Canada Marine Response, says there was no delay in its response. The time between when it was officially activated by the Coast Guard and when the first boat arrived was an hour and 19 minutes, which is an incredible response time. The assistant commissioner made remarks about the response time.

While the third party feels comfortable chastising the great people in the Coast Guard of Canada, we will stand behind them and continue to support them with investments.