House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was jobs.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley (Nova Scotia)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

An Act to amend the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act (Sambro Island Lighthouse) May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her speech today. Her work and the work of my colleague, the member for South Shore—St. Margaret's, on preserving lighthouses, not just in Nova Scotia but across the country, is exemplary.

I wonder if the member can comment on steps that need to be taken moving forward to ensure that this lighthouse is protected.

Employment May 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the focus of our plan is more trade, tax cuts, and better training. In Canada today, we have a mismatch. We have literally thousands and thousands of Canadians who currently cannot find work, but we also have employers from coast to coast to coast that cannot find employees with the skills they need for the jobs they have now. That is why we are making huge changes in the structure of our training to make sure people get trained with the skills they need to take the jobs that exist.

This is why we are investing in things like the Canada job grant and bringing more employers' skin into the game so that there will be a job at the end of someone's training. Those are the practical and pragmatic steps we are taking to make sure that we provide opportunities for young people to get not only the jobs that exist today but the jobs that will exist tomorrow.

We need over a million new workers in this country over the next 10 years. We are putting the processes, the training, the tax cuts, and the trade balance in place to make sure we capture that.

Employment May 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, with that diatribe and socialist nonsense, I do not even know where to begin.

Let me start with child care. Our government has brought forward a plan that will support every single Canadian family with children. We are going to be increasing the universal child care benefit for young people under six years of age by $60 a month, raising it to $1,920 per year. We are going to be raising by $60 a month a new benefit for young people aged six to 17 years old, which would increase it by $720 a year. Families with multiple children are going to enjoy a massive increase in the amount of money they will get from the universal child care benefit.

On top of that, the family tax cut will allow families with different incomes to share the higher wage with the lower wage, which will lower the tax burden on that family overall. Let us think about two teachers making $50,000 a year each. I was a teacher myself. They pay significantly less tax than a tradesperson who is making $100,000 and has a spouse who stays home with the children. That is an unfairness in the system. That is the type of measure we are putting forward. We are bringing tax fairness for families into the system and raising the amount of the universal child care benefit to support child care for young families. We are supporting families.

On health care, in every year that we have been in power we have provided a 6% increase in transfers to the provinces to deliver health care, and we have guaranteed that these increases will continue into the future. Provinces can now expect increase after increase for years into the future, supporting the health care system that they are constitutionally mandated to deliver.

In terms of job creation, since the pit of the economic recession in July of 2009, we have increased jobs in this country to the tune of 1.2 million net new jobs. That is one of the best job records in the G7.

In terms other job creation that we are working on, we have continuously supported manufacturing through the accelerated capital cost allowance and by keeping EI premiums and CPP premiums low, because we know that increasing payroll taxes would kill jobs in this country. The opposition parties would love to do that, but not my party. Conservatives understand that high taxes kill jobs and low taxes help create jobs. Low taxes allow job creators to continue to employ more people.

What we do not need is higher taxes in this country. What we need is more taxpayers, so our focus is on creating jobs and making sure more people are employed. That is our goal and that is our plan, and we know that this fall Canadians will support that.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, before I answer the member's question, I would like to say that in 2005, when his party was in power, the budget of Veterans Affairs was about $2.8 billion. Since our government has taken power, we have continued to increase the budget. Ninety per cent of the benefits go to veterans, and now that budget has reached over $3.6 billion. We are standing up and supporting veterans far better than his party ever did when it was in power.

As far as offices being closed, in my riding of Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, we did not have a Veterans Affairs office. Veterans in my riding had to drive all the way down to Halifax if they were in Colchester County. It was over an hour to get to a Veterans Affairs office. If they were in the northern part of the riding, they actually had to leave the province and drive all the way out to Moncton. That was the closest Veterans Affairs office to them. Now we have put trained staff in the Service Canada offices, so Veterans Affairs can provide services to veterans in my riding in both Amherst and Truro. Veterans can go into their hometown or close to their hometown and get service directly without having to travel hours and hours.

This is the same situation that takes place all across the country. We have 600 new points of service for veterans to go to. Veterans, especially older veterans who may have served in Korea or in the Second World War, have mobility issues. It is harder for them to travel like they used to. Now they can get those services at Service Canada offices close to home.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I absolutely agree that we need to make sure that Veterans Affairs Canada makes the process for gaining benefits for veterans clear, simple, and easy to apply for. The minister has been very clear on the personal steps he has taken to make sure that every veteran in this country has the ability to access the benefits due to them.

We are not only expanding the breadth and seriousness of the benefits we are putting in place to support veterans, we are also making changes to make sure that any forms that have to be filled out, any phone calls veterans have to make, any online applications they endeavour to take part in are easy and that veterans have support in doing that. Not only do we need to make sure that our veterans have the ability to get this large number of benefits our government is providing for them but we are working to make sure that those veterans have the ease of application and that those benefits are readily available to them.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to address the motion put forward by the member of Parliament for New Westminster—Coquitlam.

I will be splitting my time with the member for Mississauga East—Cooksville.

I urge the NDP to work with our government to improve the well-being of Canada's veterans and their families. We understand the need to provide those who have bravely served our nation in uniform with the support they need to transition to civilian life.

Our recently announced increased benefits and services are evidence of our commitment to ensuring that Canadian veterans and their families are treated with care, compassion, and respect. It is through these new measures, which are included in economic action plan 2015, that we are demonstrating the importance we place on being there for our brave men and women when they need us most.

These new benefits and services we are proposing take significant strides in improving the new veterans charter. We are moving to better support families and caregivers, those who play such a vital role in the transition process. We are respecting reservists. The purpose clause in Division 17 of Bill C-59, the economic action plan 2015 act, which my colleagues have discussed, demonstrates our government's duty and commitment to veterans. It is an ongoing commitment.

I encourage all colleagues to listen to the debate today and recognize that the measures our government is introducing would enhance the lives of those who have served our nation. It is not only about supporting those who have served, it is also about supporting their families.

We recognize the vital role the families play in the lives of the men and women in uniform and how veterans' health issues can impact those who stand by them. We understand the important role those who stand beside Canada's veterans play in their recovery and well-being.

I would like to highlight the action we have taken to support families and caregivers.

We recognize that the family caregivers of Canada's veterans play a large supporting role in providing those who have served with the care they need and deserve, which is why I am pleased to tell the House about a new benefit our government has introduced to help relieve some of the burden facing the families of those who are severely injured. A serious physical or mental injury causes not only immense challenges for the serviceman or woman but serious stress and strain on their families. Our government has proposed a new family caregiver relief benefit to provide an annual tax-free grant of $7,238. Family members who help with the care of the most seriously injured veterans can have the added flexibility of getting relief during times of added stress on the family or even help to recharge their batteries, if that is what needs to happen.

Today Veterans Affairs already pays for in-home medical care for the most severely injured veterans. This funding would be in addition to other VAC benefits already in place to support veterans' daily needs. It is a recognition of their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their families. It tops things up just a bit and makes things a little easier.

This benefit is for caregivers in the home—spouses, common-law partners, parents, or adult children—who often try to juggle raising children or family duties alongside assisting their injured loved ones. Their own careers are often sidetracked or reduced, and often their own health and wellness can be impacted when there is an injured veteran at home. This new benefit recognizes their important work and would provide them with a little extra flexibility.

This funding could be used for relief options, such as covering the cost of having a professional caregiver come into the home or covering the cost of another family member or friend travelling to the veteran's home, and it would be provided in addition to other benefits already in place to support veterans' health care needs. It is a supplement. We believe that this would make a tremendous difference for these families.

This recently announced benefit is not the only action we have taken in support of veterans. Last year we announced an increase in the number of psychological counselling sessions for families of veterans from eight to 20 sessions.

We have also invested in research to help us gain a better understanding of the impact operational stress injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, have on the mental health of the spouses and children of Canadian veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental injuries have an effect on the whole family, not just on the injured veteran. Research such as this will help us get a better handle on the complex challenges facing today's veterans, their spouses, and their children when it comes to their mental health and their mental well-being. We want to identify possible next steps in this area.

We announced that we will develop and implement veteran-specific mental-health first aid training across the country for both veterans and their families. This will provide family members and caregivers of veterans with the training they need to support their loved ones in a time of crisis. It will do this by teaching them about mental-health conditions; training them in the signs and symptoms of common mental-health disorders; providing them with the opportunity to practise crisis first aid for those with mental-health conditions; ensuring that they know where, when, and how to get help; and providing education on what type of help has been shown to be effective in their situation and why.

Those are some of the actions our government has taken to honour our commitment not only to members of the Canadian Armed Forces and veterans but to their families as well. I am disappointed to see that once again the New Democrats are playing their political games when our government has been unprecedented in the investments we have made in improving the well-being of Canadian veterans and those family members and caregivers who stand by the side of those injured veterans.

I urge all members of this House to vote in favour of the new measures our government is introducing in support of veterans and their families. It is by taking action and passing these measures that we will demonstrate our commitment and our duty to provide those who have bravely served our nation, and their families, with the help they need.

Volunteer Firefighters May 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, late last night, in the community of Joggins, 10 Cumberland County fire departments responded to a massive fire. Seven buildings were burning, including homes, a church, and the Masonic Hall.

The responding fire departments included Joggins, River Hebert, Advocate, Port Greville, Parrsboro, Southampton, Amherst, Springhill, Leicester, and Truemanville. The Oxford department provided coverage in the Springhill area during the fire.

The vast majority of these firefighters were volunteers who left the comfort of their own homes and their families to protect the lives and property of others. Thanks to their efforts, the fire was contained and no lives were lost. It should never be lost on those of us who live in the rural parts of this country the contribution our first responders, including our firefighters, police, emergency service personal, and others make on our behalf. They spend hundreds of volunteer hours training to fight disasters just like what we saw in Joggins last night.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the community members, particularly those who lost their property.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is one thing to have criticism of legislation based on fact. It is another thing to twist the facts to try to put someone in disrepute. This legislation has been put forward by the government in response to an international threat of terrorism. Jihadi terrorists have declared war on our country. They have declared war on our allies. They are encouraging people to take violent action against our military and our police. In response to that, we need to put the measures in place so our security agencies have the powers to deal with this threat.

This effort by the NDP to try to say that somehow we are trying to beef up CSIS so it can spy on the average everyday citizen in our country is totally false. In fact, I believe it is totally irresponsible. The target of this legislation is terrorists. The target is terrorism and the target is to ensure that we keep Canadians safe.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the government has been clear that there is oversight for the bill; it is judicial oversight. Canadians from coast to coast to coast and in my riding would put their trust in the judiciary to oversee CSIS's activities before they would put it in the hands of a bunch of elected politicians. We believe the judicial oversight is in place. It is robust and it will ensure that CSIS operates well within its mandate to ensure that the rights and freedoms of Canadians are protected.

At the same time, we have to give our security agencies the tools they need to keep us safe. That is what we are doing. We have judicial oversight. We believe the mandate of CSIS will have proper oversight both for CSIS and the minister.

Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 May 4th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, in my discussion I talked about the supervision, the authorization and how we had increased the resources for review agencies like SIRC to ensure CSIS followed its mandate appropriately. With every step of the way, there is ministerial and judicial review, and we have an enhanced SIRC to provide enhanced authorization to enhance CSIS.

The nature of the bill is solely to protect Canadians from an international terrorist threat that we have all seen both in Ottawa and in Quebec, but also in the nightly news around the world. This government must protect the citizens of this nation. It is one of the primary things a government is expected to do. Canadians would expect that different departments in this government would share information with the ability to stop a potential threat.