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Track Sean

Your Say


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is justice.

Liberal MP for Charlottetown (P.E.I.)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 56% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Health October 20th, 2016

Madam Speaker, I want to reiterate that the Government of Canada is unwavering in its support of the Canada Health Act.

We are committed to defending our publicly funded health care system. In our work, we are striving to eliminate extra billing and user fees, which create barriers for Canadians in accessing health care. We are actively re-engaging with the provinces and territories. Our government knows that this approach is the best way to resolve potential compliance problems.

We strongly believe that all Canadians deserve access to timely, quality, universal health care and to receive health care services based on an individual's need and not the ability or willingness to pay.

Finally, I want to thank my colleague from Abitibi—Témiscamingue for raising this question. There is no doubt that it is an important issue and we are fully committed to upholding the principles of the Canada Health Act.

Health October 20th, 2016

Madam Speaker, this government has been very clear in our support for the principles of the Canada Health Act and the values that they reflect. These values of accessibility, equity, and solidarity form the foundation for both our publicly insured health care system and for the nation as a whole. They are the values that reflect the belief that, regardless of how much money they make or where they live, health care should be available for all Canadians when they need it.

Our commitment to the publicly insured health care system is reflected in our actions. This means restoring leadership at the federal level by revitalizing and setting solidly in place strong collaborative working relationships with our provincial and territorial counterparts to realize the aims of the Canada Health Act.

The Canada Health Act continues to be the cornerstone of the Canadian health care system. The aim of the act is to ensure that all eligible residents of Canada have reasonable access to medically necessary insured services without direct charges. The act is very clear: any charges to patients for publicly insured services are considered extra billing or user charges and are prohibited under the act. Our government wants to see all such charges eliminated.

Canadians depend on and expect all governments to work together to ensure that citizens across this country can readily access and rely on a health care system that ultimately supports them in leading fulfilling and productive lives. When Canadians are in good physical and mental health, they are able to work better, be more productive, and contribute more fully to our economy while living healthier, happier lives.

Our health care system is one that Canadians across the country continue to take pride in and to cherish. Statistics Canada confirms this point in its 2015 report on Canadian identity, which states that close to 80% of Canadians have pride in our health care system.

Respecting the value that Canadians place on our health care system, this government's commitment to Canadians is having a federal government that is fully engaged with provinces and territories on matters related to the Canada Health Act. Our approach to the administration of the act emphasizes transparency, consultation, and dialogue with provincial and territorial health care ministries to resolve potential issues.

As I mentioned earlier, extra billing and user charges are prohibited under the act, as these fees create barriers to accessing health care. Part of the reason Canadians take pride in our health care system is that they know the system will provide them with the care they need regardless of their ability or willingness to pay.

This government is committed to ensuring that Canadians across this country continue to have access to the health care they need, when they need it. That is why the Minister of Health wrote to the Quebec health minister in September, underscoring her commitment to publicly funded health care without charges to patients for insured services.

Proactively holding such discussions with provinces and territories on compliance issues provides real opportunity to resolve potential problems before they become more fully developed. It should also be noted that independent action on the part of provinces and territories can also lead to good outcomes. This government was pleased that the Quebec minister of health recently announced concrete action toward removing barriers to access, by eliminating fees charged to patients for insured services at the point of delivery.

It is important to remember that the ultimate goal of enforcement is not to levy penalties but to ensure compliance with the principles of the Canada Health Act, so that Canadians can have access to the health care they need when they need it. The Minister of Health did not levy penalties in her letter to the Quebec government.

Justice October 4th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, we inherited a process that was badly broken, that was secretive, and that did not involve parliamentarians. We have reformed that process. It is now open, transparent, and accountable.

That process has resulted in a list going forward to the Prime Minister of highly qualified, functionally bilingual jurists, including candidates from Atlantic Canada.

We are perfectly capable of participating in a national competition. We have been doing it for more than 141 years.

Justice October 4th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I think I can do one better. I married a Cape Bretoner.

The process that was in place under the previous government was opaque, outdated, and in need of an overhaul.

The four senators absolutely deserve credit for their advocacy on this issue. Those four senators were advocates for Nova Scotia even before the last election. I am pleased to say that the advisory board tasked with coming up with jurists of the highest calibre has included names from Atlantic Canada on its list.

Justice October 4th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Niagara Falls for his interest in Atlantic Canada.

What we committed to during the election was to fix a broken Supreme Court of Canada nomination process that was in effect under the previous government. That process was opaque, secretive, out of date, and in need of an overhaul.

That is why we have put in place a process that is transparent, accountable, and open. It involves parliamentarians, and it does not involve attacks by the Prime Minister on the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. That is real change.

Justice October 3rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the decisions made by the Supreme Court of Canada affect us all. We know that the process used by the previous government was badly broken. That is why we have reformed it.

The advisory committee has been asked to identify jurists of high calibre, ones who reflect the cultural diversity of our country and are functionally bilingual.

As a Prince Edward Islander, I find that a bit rich coming from the party that appointed a Conservative fundraiser from Kanata to the Prince Edward Island seat on the Senate. It is a bit much.

Justice October 3rd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it confirms no such thing.

Under the previous government, the process for appointment of Supreme Court of Canada judges was opaque, outdated, and in need of an overhaul. In fact, that was the process that resulted in Stephen Harper attacking the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

We have adopted a new process that is open, transparent, and much more accountable. It is a process that includes candidates from Atlantic Canada and respects regional representation. I am pleased to say that the list that has come forward includes candidates from Atlantic Canada, who are more than capable of competing in a national competition.

Justice September 27th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the decisions taken by the Supreme Court affect us all.

The process that was employed by the previous government was opaque, outdated, and in need of an overhaul. That is why our government has announced a new Supreme Court of Canada appointment process that is open and transparent. Under this process, the advisory board will identify suitable candidates who will be jurists of the highest calibre. They will be functionally bilingual, and they will be representative of the diversity of our great country.

I am pleased to report that the list contains candidates from Atlantic Canada, and we can certainly compete—

Justice September 27th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the process used by the previous government to appoint Supreme Court justices was opaque, outdated, and in need of an overhaul. We have announced a new appointment process that is open, transparent, and will set a much higher standard for accountability. As mandated by our Prime Minister, the list of qualified and functionally bilingual candidates, developed by the advisory board, includes candidates from Atlantic Canada.

I am very pleased with the new-found interest in Atlantic Canada expressed by the member for Niagara Falls.

Official Languages September 26th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, access to justice in both official languages is an issue that affects all Canadians. Canadians want to live in a law-abiding society that has a justice system that is fair and accessible for everyone.

In criminal justice, these principles mean that the lower courts have to be able to operate in French or in English, according to the official language chosen by the accused for his or her trial. The government's commitment regarding official languages, and more specifically the administration of justice, is undeniable.

On behalf of the government, I thank my colleague for his question and for his commitment to ensuring that the justice system is accessible to members of official language minority communities and to all Canadians.