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

National Day of Mourning April 28th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to mark the National Day of Mourning and pay tribute to those who have been killed, injured, or suffered illness as a result of work-related incidents.

One of the best ways we can recognize those who have been affected by these incidents is to do everything in our power to protect Canadians from workplace hazards and prevent further accidents, illnesses, and deaths. Although there has been a decrease in fatalities from the previous year, one fatality is one too many.

Our government works with our partners and stakeholders to educate employees about their health and safety rights, responsibilities, and preventive measures. We develop and share tools and best practices with employers and workers to help them make informed decisions on how best to ensure workplace safety.

All Canadians deserve to return home safe and sound every day.

Public Safety April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the act gives our national security agencies the powers to investigate and prosecute terrorist travel planning and to stop potential extremist travellers before they leave our country.

I would also encourage the Liberals to reread part 2 of the anti-terrorism act, 2015, which expands the passenger protect program. Currently only an immediate threat to the aircraft itself would be no-boarded. Bill C-51 would expand that to include those using the aircraft to travel abroad to commit terrorist attacks.

Unfortunately, the member could not bring himself to vote in favour of part 2 of Bill C-51 at committee. I would encourage him to reread the section and fully get on board with this important legislation to combat the current threat of jihadi terrorists to Canadians.

Public Safety April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is not the government that arrests people. It is actually our security forces and the RCMP that arrest people and implement the legislation.

Our Conservative government is very concerned about the threats posed by individuals involved in terrorist activities abroad. We are concerned because the international jihadi movement has declared war on Canada and like-minded countries. While recent events have raised the profile of the threat of terrorism and radicalization to violence, our government has been actively engaged with this issue and has been developing measures to combat the threat of jihadi terrorists for some time now.

Unfortunately, the opposition parties have been unable to support anything when it comes to protecting Canadians. There is good reason for concern with the number of suspected travellers and approximately 80 returnees as noted in the 2014 “Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada”.

Let me state that we take all threats to the security of Canada and Canadians very seriously. That is why we are moving forward with Bill C-51 and the crucial provisions contained in it to protect our national security.

While I cannot comment on active investigations, I can assure the member for Malpeque that our national law enforcement and security agencies are working diligently to investigate suspected high-risk travellers and bring the full weight of Canadian law to bear against those people who would violate us. The RCMP is actively engaged in investigations on numerous high-risk travellers, placing a priority on those who pose the most significant threat to Canadians and Canada's interests at home or abroad.

While the member believes that politicians should be meddling with our national security agencies, we believe in the work that our agencies are doing, and we are committed to providing them with the tools they need to accomplish their task. In addition to the efforts to detect and deny terrorist activity, our government is making efforts to work with communities to prevent individuals from being radicalized to violence in the first place.

Early engagement with individuals at risk is the key to the preventative approach. Such efforts are most effective when they are shared with other levels of government in a shared initiative between governments, police, communities, and all of these people involved together, aimed at young people and stopping violent extremist activity. We are taking this approach under the government's counterterrorism strategy by working with and supporting communities, especially young people, to develop critical thinking and effective counter-messaging against the kind of ideological messaging that we have seen in the many disgusting videos that ISIL has released of violent beheadings, among other things.

Success requires support and participation from all levels of government, civil society, and most of all, local communities and individual Canadians, families, and community groups, which are the foundation of a safe and resilient country. Everyone must play their part in keeping our communities safe.

Terrorism is a serious crime with harsh penalties, which warrants a thorough investigative response. However, such investigations are also extremely challenging, time consuming and resource intensive. Despite these challenges, the RCMP has had significant successes. However, we must ensure that as the threat of terrorism evolves, our laws and tools provided to our national security agencies evolve with it. That is just what the anti-terrorism act, 2015 would do.

We are committed to doing everything in our power to prevent Canadians from either becoming victims or perpetrators of terrorism-related activities. The Combating Terrorism Act, which came into force in May 2013, makes leaving or attempting to leave Canada for terrorist purposes a criminal offence. The act gives our national security agencies the powers to investigate and prosecute terrorist travel planning, and to stop potential extremist travellers before they leave our country.

Official Languages April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to reaffirm before this House the government's commitment to protecting and promoting bilingualism in Canada.

Under the Air Canada Public Participation Act, Air Canada has an obligation to serve customers in the official language of their choice. We expect Air Canada to be compliant with this act. This act provides for a mechanism that allows anyone wishing to put forward a complaint regarding official languages to do so to the commissioner. The commissioner will undertake an investigation and take the appropriate measures to follow up on all of these complaints.

Our government has maintained unprecedented and indisputable support for official languages in Canada. We expect Air Canada to continue to take the necessary measures to provide the required bilingual services and to maintain its ability to respond to its obligations under the Official Languages Act to passengers and to employees.

Official Languages April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to protecting and promoting Canada's official languages. French and English are both integral parts of Canada's culture, and the defence of the cultural richness we derive from our bilingual nature is a priority of the first order. Air Canada's passengers and employees are obviously no exception.

Since its privatization in 1989, Air Canada has retained the official languages obligation it had as a crown corporation by way of the Air Canada Public Participation Act. The Air Canada Public Participation Act not only requires the carrier to provide communications and services to the public in both official languages but to also maintain a bilingual working environment. The company is also subject to provisions that guarantee equal opportunities for employment and advancement to ensure a workforce that reflects the linguistic composition of the Canadian population to the greatest extent possible.

Finally, Air Canada must make efforts to support and assist the development of official languages minority communities and to promote bilingualism.

The Commissioner of Official Languages plays an essential role in supporting our bilingualism. This is also the case where Air Canada is concerned. If an Air Canada employee feels that he or she is unable to work in his or her language of choice, there are mechanisms in place that allow for an investigation. In brief, employees or passengers of Air Canada can address their concerns to the official languages commissioner, who is specifically mandated to examine these complaints. Of course, Air Canada employees can also opt to raise such issues with their employer with a view to arriving at a solution.

The commissioner is authorized to investigate complaints made against the carrier. Furthermore, the complainant can take this issue to court, as well.

My colleague has referred to a specific incident involving the use of particular equipment. I cannot comment on this particular case, but I would like to underscore that this is precisely the sort of issue for which the existing mechanism should be engaged to appropriately address the overall issue.

Once again, all complaints related to official languages can be heard by the Commissioner of Official Languages, and there is a mechanism in place for the investigation of these complaints. Our government remains firmly committed to the defence and promotion of bilingualism in Canada.

Housing April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, our government stands by its housing record, and we are proud of our record investment in this area.

We have made smart, targeted investments that have helped hundreds of thousands of Canadian families and individuals get access to the housing they need. We have also moved away from federally designed programs to models that allow for local solutions, knowing that provinces and territories are best placed to understand local needs.

It is about more than just putting a roof over someone's head. When people are in housing, it is much easier for them to obtain an education, upgrade skills, look for a job and contribute productively to society.

This is what our policies aim to do. We want Canadians to achieve for themselves, for their families and for the country as a whole. Having a place to call home is a big part of this. Hon. members can rest assured that our government will continue to make smart investments in housing as we have shown in our economic action plan 2015. We will continue to do our part to ensure Canadians can succeed.

Housing April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Trinity—Spadina does not like to acknowledge it, but economic action plan 2015 provides $150 million to support social housing in Canada by allowing social and co-op housing providers to prepay their long-term non-renewable mortgages without penalty. This initiative will allow eligible, co-operative and non-profit social housing providers to significantly reduce their mortgage expenses. With lower mortgage expenses, housing providers will be allowed to undertake capital repairs to improve the condition and quality of these housing units.

Listen to what the Co-operative Housing Federation's executive director Nicholas Gazzard had to say about this important investment being made by the Government of Canada:

This is very good news. The elimination of prepayment fees will make a real difference to housing co-ops, and the low-income households who make housing co-ops their home in communities across the country.

This is all in addition to ongoing federal investments that support close to 600,000 households living in existing social housing on and off reserve. It is in addition to federal investments that support the construction of about 400 new homes in first nation communities each year, as well as the renovation of 1,000 existing homes on reserve. The investment in affordable housing, which I mentioned previously, is a model of partnership and collaboration.

Federal funding is matched by the provinces and territories, which are responsible for designing and delivering programs to address local housing needs within their own jurisdictions. New housing is one way this money is being invested, but it is not the only answer to reducing the number of Canadians who have housing needs.

The provinces and territories can also invest in renovation projects. For example, they can provide rent supplements, shelter allowances and assistance toward home ownership. There are often other ways our government has invested in new housing. Economic action plan 2013 also extended the homelessness partnering strategy with nearly $600 million in funding over five years.

Our new evidence-based housing first approach aims to stabilize the lives of homeless individuals for the long term by first moving them into permanent housing and then providing additional supports that they may need.

I would also remind hon. members that we have made significant investments in new housing during the stimulus phase of Canada's economic action plan, including $400 million to build new affordable housing for low-income seniors, $75 million for new housing for people with disabilities, and a combined total of $600 million in housing construction and repairs in the north and on reserve across Canada. We also invested $1 billion in renovating and retrofitting existing social housing off reserve.

We will continue to meet our long-term commitments under existing agreements and we will continue to work with the provinces and territories to deliver effective social housing for Canadians across our great country.

Business of Supply April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are attacking the government on ads to promote programs that Canadians need. Canadians need to understand that these programs are available to them. If we do not advertise, many Canadians might miss out. For example, Canadians wanting to register for the universal child care benefit who have young children who have either previously not received that benefit, or have children aged 15 or 16 in their homes who may not have received it before they were six years of age, have to register by this Friday. These ads are needed by Canadians so they can access some of these programs.

Let us compare that type of advertising to the type of advertising that the Liberal Party did. If we look back to 2004, an Auditor General's report clearly said that things were scandalous. Over $100 million was paid for advertising that did not exist. Can the Liberal member across the way talk about how our ads actually promote the programs that Canadians need to access while Liberal ads did not even happen?

Questions on the Order Paper April 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, with regard to the 1.2 million net new jobs created in Canada since 2008, ESDC is not the proper channel for the level of details requested in the question and therefore is unable to provide an answer. This question would be best answered by the Department of Finance.

Questions on the Order Paper April 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), Service Canada does not distinguish between fully and partially automated employment insurance claims.

Service Canada tracks the average number of days from date of application for EI to date of first payment. As of February 2015, the average was 24 days. It does not distinguish the time to first payment based on the level of automation.

With regard to (b), Service Canada does not distinguish between fully and partially automated EI claims.

Service Canada tracks the average number of days from date of application for EI to date of first payment. As of February 2015, the average was 24 days. It does not distinguish the time to first payment based on the level of automation.

With regard to (c), the average processing time for the Social Security Tribunal, general division, employment insurance cases received between January 1, 2014 and February 28, 2015 is at 120 days.

As a result of the highly successful reconsideration phase under the new system, fewer EI claims are ending up before the tribunal and the average processing time for an appeal has been significantly reduced.