House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was correct.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Kitchener Centre (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply March 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to provide the House with some information related to the efforts of Canada and other jurisdictions to deliver real solutions on the issue of microplastics, including microbeads.

As usual, the Conservative government is already out ahead on this issue. What is less usual but very commendable is that the opposition is now also becoming alive to it and joining with the Conservative government in responding to this issue.

Microplastics entering the environment is a matter that crosses many jurisdictional boundaries. I understand that Environment Canada is taking action on this issue with provincial and territorial governments, the United States and with the broader international and research communities, and also with Canadian industry.

Advancing research has increased awareness about the presence of microplastics in the environment. This includes Canadian research on the levels of microplastics in the Great Lakes, in the St. Lawrence Seaway and in British Columbia.

Other Canadian studies are investigating, for example, the release of microfibres from washing clothes. Still other Canadian studies are looking at waste water effluents and sediments. While we have some answers, this research is by no means complete. Many questions remain not just in Canada but globally.

To improve our science-based understanding of the sources and environmental impacts of microplastics, Canada is participating in several international initiatives. These include initiatives under the International Maritime Organization and also the United Nations environment program.

Canadian research organizations are also working with the U.S. based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and American universities to integrate research on plastic marine debris in the Great Lakes.

Other countries are also working with Canada to better understand the sources, the impact and the options to address microplastics. A key interest of several of out allies is the issue of marine litter. To this end, a recent workshop of G7 member countries was held to consider that issue, and four principles were adopted to guide further action. These include: first, improvement to systems to prevent, reduce and to remove marine litter; second, support for international development assistance and investment; third, promotion of individual and corporate behaviour change through public awareness and education; and fourth recognition that prevention is key to long-term success.

While research has not yet reached definitive conclusions regarding the potential negative impacts of microplastics, efforts are under way in Canada and in other jurisdictions to prevent plastic waste from even entering the environment. Therefore, in Canada for many years we have been working hard to keep plastics out of waterways and out of the environment in general.

Canadian blue box programs, for example, promote recycling and successfully divert plastics and other materials away from landfill sites. However, there is always room for improvement. As such, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment recently adopted a strategy to further improve Canada's record on reducing and recycling waste.

Our collective governments are implementing extended producer responsibility programs to support diversion of waste from landfills and to increase recycling. These efforts, including the reduction of single-use bags distributed to customers, have been adopted by several provincial jurisdictions and will further promote the recycling of plastics. This is all very good news.

In the United States, individual states have recently launched efforts to stop the production and sale of microbeads. In June 2014, Illinois passed a law prohibiting the manufacture of personal care products that contained microbeads. By the end of 2017, these types of cosmetic products will no longer be produced in Illinois, and they may no longer be sold by the end of 2018. Similar legislation is under consideration in Ohio, New York, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado and New Jersey—

Business of Supply March 24th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this is an interesting and important topic. Of course, it is necessary to be grounded in science and to speak with scientific accuracy.

I am certain that my colleague from the opposite side understands the difference between microplastics and microbeads that are specifically engineered. It would benefit the House if she were to explain that distinction and the different consequences that might ensue from microplastics generally as distinct from microbeads that are specifically engineered.

Kitchener March 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the good-hearted people of Kitchener Centre. I offer every encouragement I can to their good work.

Kitchener is the birthplace of restorative justice, with great organizations like Community Justice Initiatives, the Mennonite Central Committee, the Crime Prevention Council, and Youth in Conflict, bringing hope to many people.

Kitchener epitomizes the barn-raising mentality with agencies like Communitech, Conestoga College, the Creative Enterprise Initiative, the University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University all leading collaborations for prosperity.

Organizations like Women's Crisis Services, The Working Centre, Ray of Hope, and House of Friendship, among others, are the heart of Kitchener, bringing compassion to those in need. They deserve the support of every Kitchener resident and the support of every level of government.

No community could make an MP more proud than my riding of Kitchener Centre.

Business of Supply March 10th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the member opposite about the fact that over 87% of the jobs created in Canada since the great recession have been full-time jobs, almost 85% of them in the private sector and nearly two-thirds in high-wage industries, and this in spite of the aging of the baby-boomer generation, which really makes people more inclined toward flexible work and part-time hours. We are glad that the economy responds to that.

The CIBC report that has been recently in the news goes all the way back to 1988. Most of the years since 1988 were with a Liberal government, and it seems to me that most of the declines referred to in the report since 1988 were under a Liberal government.

Can the member at least admit, as many Canadians do across this land, that the present Conservative government has done a fantastic job since the recession in creating 87% full-time jobs and 85% private-sector, two-thirds—

Climate Change Accountability Act February 19th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this debate today. I do appreciate the efforts of the hon. member in presenting Bill C-619, but I intend to join with the government in opposing this bill and the unrealistic climate change targets that it would impose upon Canadians.

The targets specified in the bill simply cannot be achieved without significant negative economic effects upon Canadians. Moreover, the government has already delivered a comprehensive suite of climate change initiatives that is generating real results for Canadians a way that does not harm our economy.

Further, unlike previous agreements, the international climate change agreement, which will be concluded in Paris later this year, is expected to require countries to submit specific plans showing how they will achieve the targets that they propose. That is only common sense.

The time is long past when politicians could pull the wool over the eyes of voters by proposing feel-good climate change targets without any specific plan to achieve them.

A specific plan is exactly what is missing from this bill. The hon. member has not included any plan whatsoever in his bill. It does not measure up to current international standards. For that reason alone, the House should not support the bill.

The Conservative government, by contrast, I am proud to say, has a plan. The government is committed to addressing climate change. It is continuing to advance a sector-by-sector regulatory approach to reduce the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions across the country.

Canada is a vast northern country with large distances between urban centres and a rapidly growing population, so we face unique challenges in reducing our greenhouse gas emission. A sector-by-sector approach allows the government to tailor regulations for each economic sector, reducing emissions efficiently, while still safeguarding jobs.

Because of our close economic ties with the United States, we also work to align our greenhouse gas regulations with those in the U.S., as appropriate for the Canadian context.

This sector-by-sector approach allows the Government of Canada to work collaboratively with provincial and territorial governments to avoid duplication of efforts through measures such as equivalency agreements. Officials engage regularly with provincial and territorial colleagues and other stakeholders to develop federal regulations.

The government also works collaboratively with provinces and territories in a leading role through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, which will consider climate change strategies across the country in the coming year.

The government has successfully taken the initiative on two of our largest sources of emissions: transportation and electricity generation. The transportation sector produces nearly a quarter of all GHG emissions in Canada. That is why the government has made regulations for the transportation sector a key priority in its action on climate change.

The government is targeting emissions from transportation by setting stringent greenhouse gas emission standards for both light and heavy duty on-road vehicles. We are also aligning with the U.S on these measures, given the high degree of integration of our automotive markets.

In October 2010, the government put in place greenhouse gas regulations for passenger automobiles and light trucks for model years 2011 to 2016, so new vehicles purchased by Canadians emit fewer greenhouse gases and, by the way, are more fuel efficient. Over the lifetime of all 2011 to 2016 model year vehicles sold in Canada, this will result in an actual cumulative reduction of 92 megatonnes of GHG emissions.

However, continued advances in vehicle technologies have provided an opportunity to introduce a whole new generation of vehicles emitting even fewer greenhouse gases. As a result, in October 2014, the government finalized new regulations to establish progressively more stringent greenhouse gas emission standards for light-duty vehicles of model years 2017 to 2025. As a result of these measures, 2025 model year cars and light trucks will consume up to 50% less fuel than 2008 models, leading to significant savings at the pumps for drivers as well, and they will only emit half as many GHGs as the 2008 models. Over the lifetime of these 2017 to 2025 model year vehicles, these measures will deliver total GHG reductions of 174 megatonnes.

Canada is also reducing emissions from on-road heavy-duty vehicles. In 2013, the government implemented regulations to put stringent standards in place for the 2014 to 2018 model year heavy-duty vehicles such as full-size pickups, garbage trucks, and buses. These regulations reduce actual GHG emissions from 2018 model year heavy-duty vehicles by up to 23%. Building on this real success, the Minister of the Environment recently announced proposed regulations to further reduce GHG emissions from heavy-duty vehicles for post-2018 model years.

The government has also delivered real reductions in the electricity sector. Specifically, we now have regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired electricity generation. Canada is the first major coal user in the world to ban the construction of traditional coal-fired electricity-generating units. The regulations also require the phase-out of existing coal-fired units that do not capture and store the carbon dioxide they emit.

Taking action now to regulate coal-fired electricity generation achieves multiple health and environmental benefits. Our measures will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 214 megatonnes by the year 2036. This is equivalent to removing 2.6 million personal vehicles from the road every year over this period. These regulations will also deliver significant air-quality and health benefits, reducing emissions of harmful pollutants like sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and mercury from coal-fired electricity generation, all associated with a wide range of negative health outcomes.

Canada already has one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world, and these regulations will take us even further, a permanent transition toward lower emitting and non-emitting electricity generation such as high-efficiency natural gas and renewable energy sources.

Building on these very real successes in the transportation and electricity sectors, in December 2014 the government published notice of its intent to regulate hydrofluorocarbons. HFCs are greenhouse gases that are actually thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. They are used as coolants in refrigeration and air conditioning in homes, buildings, industrial facilities, cars, and trucks and in other ways elsewhere. HFCs currently account for less than 2% of global GHG emissions, but if left unchecked, emissions of HFCs are expected to increase substantially in the next 10 to 15 years. These measures are intended to control the manufacture, import, and use of HFCs in Canada.

The Government of Canada will continue to work closely with stakeholders, provinces, territories, and our largest trading partner, the United States, to implement GHG-reduction measures. The government takes climate change seriously and will continue its sector-by-sector regulatory approach to deliver additional reductions while protecting economic growth and job creation.

Bill C-619, on the other hand, is proposing targets that would not fulfill these goals but would do the opposite. That is why I join with the government in opposing this bill.

Red Tape Reduction Act February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I know that the opposition, particularly the Leader of the Opposition, finds that it now wants to be best friends to small business.

I have a note that the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said:

The federal government is showing tremendous leadership in implementing its ambitious red tape reforms.

I would like to hear from the member opposite about whether he agrees with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business on the government's efforts in wrestling red tape to the ground.

Business of Supply January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, although I do not share my esteemed colleague's background in provincial politics, for 40 years I have been watching the development of politics in Canada. What I have observed over those years reflects something that my colleague mentioned, which is that the nature of co-operation has changed. We have program after program, from immigration to homelessness partnering to infrastructure, where there are continuous and ongoing consultations between the provinces and the federal government, not to mention the fact that our current Prime Minister has had more than 300 meetings with his provincial and territorial counterparts in nine years. Therefore, we do not need the photo ops and the opportunity for selfies that I am sure the leader of the third party would miss.

I would like to ask my colleague this. Based on his experience in the provincial sphere and now his hard work in the federal sphere, has he observed the same evolution toward almost continuous co-operation and meetings between federal and provincial officials, from the lower-rank officials right up to the leaders, over the last 20 or 30 years?

Business of Supply January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I think it is on the record and absolutely beyond dispute that, since the current Prime Minister took office, he has met with his provincial and territorial counterparts more than 300 times. That is over the course of nine years. I have done the math on that. That is in fact almost three meetings per month. It is a meeting with a provincial or territorial counterpart approximately every 10 days. In fact, it is a meeting with a provincial or territorial counterpart approximately every 7.8 business days.

The member opposite stood up and said that the NDP policy would be to reduce the number of meetings by the prime minister to twice a year, if they are elected.

I know the member's leader, the Leader of the Opposition, does not like to answer yes and no questions, because I tried that with him and he would not do it. However, I will give this member the opportunity to answer a simple yes or no question, which is this. When the member stood up to propose a reduction in the number of meetings by the prime minister, did he know that our Prime Minister has met more than 300 times with his provincial and territorial counterparts since he was elected?

Petitions January 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of numerous residents of my riding and surrounding areas who are asking the Government of Canada and the House of Commons to commit to adopting international aid policies to support small family farmers, especially women, to recognize their vital role, and to ensure that Canadian policies and programs are developed in consultation with small family farmers and that the rights of small family farmers in the global south are protected.

Petitions December 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition from constituents of my riding and surrounding areas who are concerned about the role of small family farmers and international development, and the difficulty they may have in obtaining seed stock for their farms.

The petitioners are calling on the Government of Canada and the House of Commons to commit to adopting international aid policies that support small family farmers, especially women, and to ensure that programs are developed in consultation with family farmers.