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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was commissioner.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Independent MP for Avalon (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 18% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions on the Order Paper April 23rd, 2015

With regard to the processing of Employment Insurance claims and Service Canada agents: (a) has the department hired an additional 400 new agents; (b) if the answer to (a) is negative, how many new agents have been hired; (c) when were these new agents hired; (d) to which location have the new agents been assigned; (e) to which areas of the Employment Insurance claims processing unit have they been assigned; (f) how long did it take to train the new agents; (g) when will new agents be hired, (i) if no new agents have been hired, (ii) if some new agents have been hired; and (h) is the department committed to hiring a total of 400 new agents?

Canadian Coast Guard April 20th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, recent studies have shown that oil spills are going to happen, even under the best conditions, especially in Placentia Bay.

Last week's tardy response to the oil spill in British Columbia illustrates the serious gaps in Canadian Coast Guard oil response protocols. As the minister is aware, increased oil tankers and low visibility in Placentia Bay makes this region particularly sensitive and high risk from an oil spill, with Coast Guard equipment days away.

Could the minister assure residents of Placentia Bay, Newfoundland that the Coast Guard can ensure a timely and effective response time if an oil spill should occur?

Social Development March 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, in 2013, the Conservative government dismantled the office of the commissioner of review tribunals and replaced it with a social security tribunal. A number of files were transferred from the OCRT to the SST. My office has files going back to 2012, which have still not been resolved. Many gravely ill Canadians have been denied speedy hearings and are still waiting to have their appeals heard. This is unacceptable.

The minister promised to wipe out the backlog by the summer. Could he provide an update on his spike unit and what impact it is having on eliminating the backlog?

Sealing Industry March 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, a woman from Newfoundland and Labrador recently had her sealskin purse confiscated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection because seals are on the endangered species list in the United States. She is now forced to pay a $250 fine for trying to take her purse across the border.

Seal products are becoming more and more popular. It has been documented and scientifically proven that the northwest harp seal population is healthy and abundant and is not an endangered species.

Could the minister tell the House the last time the government has had discussions with American officials with regards to having seals removed from the endangered species list in the United States? Will the minister ask the United States to remove this ban immediately?

Committees of the House March 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I agree to apply and will be voting in favour.

Respect for Communities Act March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I agree to apply the vote and will be voting no.

Employment Insurance March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, EI claimants are being told that from the date they apply for EI, the timeframe to process their claim is 28 days. However, this process is taking much longer than 28 days.

Claimants contact my office, and we contact Service Canada. We are told that additional time to process a claim is because of a backlog.

In addition, there is an issue when our office is overloaded with calls from constituents who are unable to reach the toll-free lines of the call centre. Sometimes claimants are put in the queue for up to an hour, and in some cases they hit a problem and they are cut off.

Can the minister confirm that the 400 new agents have been hired as promised? If not, is there a plan to hire, train, and allocate them to areas where they are most needed in the next 28 days?

Transportation February 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Marine Atlantic is without a doubt the most important single lifeline to the island of Newfoundland. However, in recent years it has come under much scrutiny, as travellers are finding it more and more difficult to travel to and from the island using the ferry system. Delays, cancellation, and high cost of travel have begun to deter people from using this service, and the cost of transporting goods has risen substantially in the past number of years.

The people of Newfoundland and Labrador deserve a reliable ferry service, as per our terms of union. Will the government commit to an independent audit of Marine Atlantic to ensure that the ferry service is operating at its full potential and at maximum operational efficiency?

Committees of the House February 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I agree and will be voting yes.

Supplementary Estimates (B), 2014-15 December 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I will be voting no.