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

Business of Supply April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I will quickly touch on the Auditor General's comments from several years ago. How I can explain that is that it was certainly because of the Liberals' legacy we inherited and their deficits, and I can say that since 2005--

Business of Supply April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, as I stressed in my remarks, what is most important to Canadians is that prevention is the first response of the Government of Canada. We are initiating steps to make sure that accidents do not happen in the first place. The polluter pay principle in fact kicks in only once there has been pollution or when there has been an event. Our preference, and the preference of all members in this House, would be that we take measures and we make investments, and the Government of Canada is doing so, to make sure that an event does not occur in the first place. However, when it does, it is important for Canadians to know that they are not on the hook for the cleanup.

The cleanup, at times, can be very costly. The polluter pay principle in this case is one that directs and dictates that the owners and operators of these vessels need to make sure that they have a system in place ahead of time. It is not something they engage in after the fact but ahead of time to make sure that cleanups can be dealt with in an effective, expeditious, and cost-sensible measure that does not impact the Canadian public.

Business of Supply April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today in the House and speak to this important motion.

Of course, our government is committed to protecting both the safety of Canadians and our maritime environment. We have made that abundantly clear through our continued and unprecedented investments in the Canadian Coast Guard fleet.

A key responsibility of the Canadian Coast Guard is to protect our waters through coordinating responses to emergency pollution incidents. To do so, Canadians rely on Canada's marine safety system, a robust, multi-layered regime built on strong partnerships across industry, all levels of government and stakeholders.

The environmental response regime of this system is what I will be using my time to discuss today. While my speech will focus mainly on the Coast Guard response, I would like to take a moment to highlight the other partners that protect the marine environment. For example, this system is founded on a comprehensive framework that is led by Transport Canada. Transport Canada has a key role in inspecting vessels to ensure that they are compliant with Canada's rigorous safety standards. If pollution ends up in the water, it investigates and when necessary, Transport Canada will prosecute the polluters. Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans also play an important role in supporting this system by ensuring that we have the best scientific information available to support our decision-making.

When it comes to the role of the Canadian Coast Guard, its top priorities are to ensure the safety of mariners and the protection of the marine environment. When a response to pollution on the water is required, it is the Coast Guard that ensures the cleanup happens and that it is done right. This is not an uncommon job at all for the Coast Guard. In fact, each year the Coast Guard addresses and investigates approximately 1,300 maritime pollution incidents.

Depending on the situation, the Coast Guard can have a different response and take on different responsibilities during the cleanup effort. In Canada it is the shipowner's responsibility to ensure they clean up any pollution they have caused. If this is the case, the Coast Guard monitors the situation and ensures that the owner follows through appropriately. When the polluter is unknown, unwilling or unable to step up to the task, as we have witnessed in the early hours of the MV Marathassa operation, the Coast Guard then looks after the interests of Canadians and the environment by taking the lead and ensuring pollution is contained and removed.

I want Canadians to understand that they are not on the hook for the costs to clean up marine pollution. In Canada, polluters pay. Let me reiterate that the response is not on the taxpayer's dime but squarely on the polluter's.

A key component of the polluter pay regime is the requirement that vessels of a certain size have an arrangement with a Transport Canada certified response organization to clean up any pollution they may cause. Those organizations charge a fee to ships by the tonne to fund Canada's robust response capacity. Those response organizations in turn are required to maintain response plans and equipment. The legal requirement is that the certified response organizations maintain a capacity to respond to a 10,000 tonne event, which places Canada at the forefront in terms of spill response. In the case of the Marathassa, it was this kind of response organization with extensive capacity and expertise that undertook the cleanup work under the supervision of the Canadian Coast Guard.

I would like to reiterate the statements made by my colleagues earlier today and address the motion before us.

The commissioner of the Coast Guard has been crystal clear. The Kitsilano station was not an environmental response station and has never provided the kind of environmental response that the Marathassa operation required.

As we have seen, the Canadian Coast Guard has the capacity to manage major ship-source pollution. It plans for these events. It trains its employees and practices the operations with partners to ensure everyone is prepared should such an incident occur. The Canadian Coast Guard has the ability to take these measures and the measures it believes are necessary to minimize or prevent pollution damage to the environment.

In addition to the certified environmental response organizations, the Coast Guard has its own environmental response assets and equipment strategically located across the country.

The Canadian Coast Guard follows a solid and effective response protocol in responding to the thousand-plus reports of pollution it receives each year. When one of those reports comes in, the first thing the Coast Guard does is investigate it. Coast Guard officials want to know where it is coming from, what it is, and what measures should be taken to protect our waters. Once the determination of the right course is made, they activate the response. They inform the polluters of their responsibilities or take over the response if the polluters are not known or are not able or willing to respond effectively.

The number one goal in a response is to protect the marine environment. I cannot stress enough how important that is to the Canadian Coast Guard, and any decision made during an operation is made with this goal in mind.

As I have mentioned, Canada has one of the strongest marine safety regimes in the world. That being said, we cannot rest on our past or on our successes, and our government is committed to continuing to make our response system even safer. The increase in trade and shipping in Canadian waters is an important consideration for our evolving system, and we are taking action to enhance an already robust marine safety system through the implementation of world-class measures.

Being fully prepared to respond to pollution is only part of the equation. The key to protecting the environment is preventing pollution from happening in the first place. The Canadian Coast Guard is implementing several new prevention measures that will reduce the risk of pollution in Canadian waters. The measures will increase the safety of marine navigation. These include improving the information available to mariners on waterways on potential hazards in real time, ensuring that the Canadian Coast Guard officers have the leading-edge tools, equipment, and technology to provide safer navigation services. This of course includes the Coast Guard's modernization of its Marine Communications and Traffic Services centres, which will provide state-of-the-art technology to officers to improve services to all mariners.

Our government has taken and will continue to take action to strengthen our already rigorous and robust environmental protection and response system. The Canadian Coast Guard has been a tireless pillar in the safety of our waters and the protection of the marine environment. We thank it for its work and continued support on that front.

Business of Supply April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I have a quote here and would not mind hearing some comments on it. It is from the assistant commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Western Region Canada, who said, “Kitsilano, should it have been in place, would not have been called upon for environmental response in this scenario”.

The members opposite continue to reference Kitsilano as though its closure would have had some impact on the Coast Guard response. We have a direct quote from the assistant commissioner. Is my colleague opposite in effect saying that the assistant commissioner is wrong?

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my hon. colleague to follow up on the tenor of the speeches we heard from the opposition side in respect of the absolute need for prevention first.

Obviously when we present these kinds of bills, they are not done in a vacuum. We have a suite of investments, programs, and services that exist beyond a single piece of legislation on the prevention end. Of course, prevention also includes deterrence, the ability for the Canadian court system to deploy reasonable sentences on people to ensure their ability to reoffend is completely diminished. It also sends a signal to the victims in our country of how seriously this government and our nation takes crimes of this nature.

I am wondering if the hon. member can comment generally on that viewpoint.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary how important it is to have this kind of legislation as a deterrent in Canada. She anecdotally talked about the people closest to the perpetrators not being able to recognize that. From a prevention standpoint, it makes it very difficult if the closest people cannot recognize the illness and criminality of the individuals perpetrating these kinds of offences. This kind of legislation will serve as a deterrent and will ensure that reoffending will be a lot more difficult further down the road.

Petitions March 23rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to table a petition on behalf of members in my community calling upon the Government of Canada to secure a 10-year visa deal with China.

Respect for Communities Act March 13th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, most Canadians understand the challenges of addiction, and most communities and the people who reside within them understand the value that some of these sites and services provide. However, they also understand that there is a need for criminal record checks, community consultation and a treatment service plan so that it is not just a place where people can safely do drugs but a place where they can effectively move toward getting off them. These parameters and the criteria that are outlined not only provide for the safety, health and security of the people who are going there for support and their health, but also provide safety and assurances to the community. That only emboldens and strengthens the integrity of sites like this and community support for sites like this.

It is not members of Parliament who are against these sites. They generate some level of anxiety concerning communities. We are responding to that with solid criteria that will only serve to strengthen the ability of these sites across the country and the confidence of Canadians with respect to their integrity wherever they exist in those communities. In cases where that integrity cannot be met, where that work is not done or where the quality of care is not there, those sites should not be made available because it is not ultimately good for the people who could use them.

Can the member not understand that integrity in these systems is critical for the benefit of the people who will use them?

Veterans Affairs March 13th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the retirement income security benefit announced on Monday will provide financial stability for veterans who are moderately to seriously injured as well as to their families.

However, our Conservative government is not stopping there. Earlier today the Minister of Veterans Affairs announced strengthened benefits for Canada's part-time reserve force veterans to ensure they have the support they deserve. These improvements will ensure the earnings loss benefit is calculated in the same way for reserve force veterans as it is for regular force veterans.

We place the highest priority on making sure veterans and their families have the support and services they need when they need them. Today's action is more evidence of our Conservative government's commitment to ensuring that veterans and their families are treated with care, compassion, and respect.

Respect for Communities Act March 13th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we talked a little bit about barriers in getting programs like this off the ground and having community confidence. Some of that is a lack of legislative direction. What we would provide here is that legislative direction, which has that criteria.

One of the pieces of criteria that I was most interested in hearing about, and I wonder if the hon. member could expand on it a little, is the criteria around ensuring that plans includes treatment plans to go along with the safe injection sites. Communities can understand and invest in that. Could my hon. colleague expand a little bit on that piece in plainer English terms?