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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is conservatives.

Liberal MP for Kings—Hants (Nova Scotia)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 71% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Access to Information September 28th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to recognize Right to Know Day.

Our government is committed to openness and transparency. I have issued a directive that enshrines the principle that government information should be open by default.

We will soon introduce a bill that will enhance the Access to Information Act, as we promised. We will then conduct a comprehensive review of the act in order to update it so it better serves Canadians.

Government Expenditures September 28th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will find that, in fact, Brookfield has clarified its comments and have confirmed that members of the Prime Minister's staff were consistent with the truth.

Beyond that, it is important that the opposition recognize that the moving expense policy, as applied to ministers' offices, is the same policy that applied to the previous Conservative government. Treasury Board is reviewing that policy.

Government Expenditures September 28th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, again, the policy for relocation, as it applies to ministers' offices, is the same policy of the previous Conservative government. Treasury Board is evaluating that policy.

I would remind the hon. member, who was I believe a caucus member previously, that under the Conservatives, there were staff members who were reimbursed for moving expenses in excess of $90,000.

Treasury Board is reviewing this and we will fix it.

Government Expenditures September 28th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the relocation policy for ministers' offices is the same policy as that of the previous Conservative government.

We are also aware that under the previous Conservative government, there were ministerial staffers reimbursed, in some cases, for $90,000 worth of moving expenses.

The Prime Minister and his office have asked me, and Treasury Board, to review the policy. Treasury Board will review the policy, and report back to Canadians.

Justice September 27th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, we will not take any advice from the Conservatives on appointment processes. It was under the Conservatives that their minister of justice, for six of the nine appointments for justices in Nova Scotia, appointed his friends. In fact, he appointed the best man from his wedding to the bench. He appointed his best man's wife to the bench. If the Conservatives had not been turfed out in the last election, they might have appointed his entire wedding party to the bench.

The fact is that Atlantic Canadians deserve better than that, and we are giving—

Justice September 26th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I was referring broadly to the habits of the previous government in their appointments, not just of judges. I am not talking about Supreme Court judges, but some of the judicial appointments that occurred under the previous government, including the previous justice minister Peter MacKay's best man at his wedding and the best man's wife. These are not the kinds of appointments that actually should be occurring within a government.

We respect the Supreme Court, but the previous government's appointments over the years to a number of posts were wrong.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 September 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, I want to begin by commending the parliamentary secretary. I have known the hon. member for quite a long time, since I was a federal minister and she was a provincial minister in B.C. We have worked together over the years. She has a lot of experience on key files of government. In her work, both provincially and federally, she has demonstrated great regard for our public servants.

The hon. member has referred to the importance of attracting millennials to our public service. One of the most important issues to millennials is the environment and Canada's response to climate change. One of the areas in which we can contribute to the efforts against climate change is what we do as a government in greening up government operations.

The hon. member, as parliamentary secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, is helping to lead the charge within our government on the greening of government. I would like her to reflect on some of her ideas and some of what we are looking forward to doing as a government to lead as a national government in the fight against climate change within our country and globally.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 September 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, the hon. member and I may not agree on everything, but based on his comments, I think we have a desire to have a sick leave regime within the public service that will ensure that public servants receive the support they need when they need it.

He has identified an issue that I alluded to as well, that people who have not been in the public service for a particularly long time and have not necessarily accumulated time in the public service, young people in particular, and who may have some form of long-term or chronic illness, are not well served by the current system. We view this as important to address, and we are addressing it now in negotiations with the public service unions. It is one of the things that we need to change if we are going to attract more young people to the public service. It is only one.

As for other things, we are told that the hierarchical nature of decision-making within government is an issue. There are even issues around the hiring processes, and also the ability to develop an idea within a department or agency of government and to share it with somebody else in government and to work together to achieve it.

The hon. member was a minister in the previous government and is just a bit younger than me, so I would appreciate his thoughts on what we need to do as a government to attract more young people to the public service and to give them the opportunity to paint on a larger canvas and make a difference in the lives of Canadians.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 September 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, the previous government brought in legislation that created an unbalanced and anti-union position that damaged labour relations. We have already had bad generals fight yesterday's battles, and that is what the hon. member is doing.

We have reversed some of those regressive changes. We have restored and continue to restore a culture of respect for not just the public sector unions but broadly the labour movement in Canada. We will continue to do so in partnership with labour, business, and Canadians.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 September 21st, 2016

Madam Speaker, we have an exceptionally strong professional public service in Canada. The men and women provide us fearless advice and loyal implementation which is important. For example, I have had two opportunities as a minister to work with public servants, previously in what was the department of public works and is now Public Services and Procurement Canada in Paul Martin's government, and more recently in my current role at Treasury Board.

I have been so impressed by public servants. Ministers will sometimes sit down with public servants and feel that they know exactly what needs to be done and in the course of discussions, they will change their mind. Sometimes in the course of discussions, the ministers will be able to change the public servants' minds. The honest and frank discussions we have with an engaged and motivated professional public service is absolutely essential to our democracy and to good governance.

I could never understand how sometimes in the House the previous government would gratuitously pick fights and attack the public service. I understand there may have been some politics to that in terms of playing to a base, but a government cannot move forward its agenda without the partnership of a motivated public service. A government cannot crap on people in public, and expect them to work with it in private. It is just basic common sense that we have to work with people.

All members of Parliament in the House of Commons, Conservatives, NDP, know on a daily basis the importance of our public service. We know in the House of Commons how we are served by exceptional people committed to helping us do our jobs and to govern the country better.

We all know. Take the politics out of this. We are well-served as Canadians by our professional public service.