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 October 9th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say that I will be sharing my time today with the hard-working member for Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière.

It is an honour for me to have the opportunity to participate in the debate on this motion about the proposal to block the development of the port of Gros-Cacouna marine terminal which was put forward by my colleague from the riding of Drummond.

I will begin by saying that the real outcome of this motion, if it is adopted, would be to bolster efforts to shut down Canada's oil resource industry by preventing Canadian oil from reaching any global market. Those listening at home need to understand that the port terminal which the NDP proposes to block is a key element of the effort to bring Canadian oil to markets in eastern North America and beyond. It could even help deliver energy to our allies in eastern Europe, who currently have to rely on, and be dependent upon, supplies from an ever more aggressive and expansionist Russia.

The energy east pipeline is a complex project aimed at constructing and operating a 4,600 kilometre pipeline from Alberta to the east coast, and it includes the construction of terminals at Gros-Cacouna, Quebec and Saint John, New Brunswick.

Why would anyone seek to prevent Canadian energy resources from going to willing markets as the NDP is always trying to do? I will give the member for Drummond enough credit to assume that he knows full well that energy markets are at least North America wide, and that there is already a glut of refining capacity. He is intelligent enough to know that spending literally billions of dollars on unneeded refining capacity would be just throwing Canadian and Quebec taxpayer dollars down a very deep hole.

I am aware of the concerns raised by the member for Drummond, especially concerning the impact of this terminal on the Saint Lawrence ecosystem generally and upon the beluga whale population in particular.

Today I want to reassure my hon. colleague that the Government of Canada is very committed to protecting the safety and security of all Canadians and of the environment.

A number of federal and provincial responsibilities have already been called into action as a result of the proposed Gros-Cacouna marine terminal, including those of the National Energy Board, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Transport Canada and Environment Canada, to name only a few.

For example, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is well on top of this issue and has already conducted a detailed scientific study of the impact of the necessary geophysical surveys on the Saint Lawrence beluga. It concluded that the risk of physical harm from these activities is low, and that any habitat deterioration from them will be temporary, if they are subject to strict scientifically determined conditions.

Also, once submitted by the proponent, the proposed energy east pipeline project will be assessed by the National Energy Board, which is the responsible authority. As members may know, that organization is an independent federal agency established as long ago as 1959.

Under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, and the National Energy Board Act, the National Energy Board will ensure that the appropriate environmental assessments are conducted for any project under its jurisdiction, including this one.

When that application has been made, Environment Canada will also participate in the review process. It will carry out a science-based review of the project, including environmental emergency preparedness and response, oil spill prevention. migratory birds, wetlands, and wildlife species at risk, and air quality.

Through this environmental assessment and hearing process, mitigation measures will be identified to reduce any risk whatsoever. For example, an important part of Environment Canada's review will be dedicated to modelling the very remote risk of spills and predicting the potential fate of any oil spill that might remotely originate from this project under a full range of conditions. This will be used to assess any impacts from a spill and to develop contingency and response plans to minimize such impacts. The Canadian Coast Guard will be the lead agency for ship-source spill response.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to respond to my Liberal colleague's comment about provincial leaders by mentioning that Quebec Liberal Premier Philippe Couillard, whose son is in the military, gave his support to this mission before even knowing the specific details, saying that Canada “cannot escape its obligations” and “This is a significant threat to our society and Canada and Quebec are part of that landscape”.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my friend's question, because it clearly discloses what is at the root of her discomfort about this mission.

The member's discomfort is not about women and children being sold into slavery. It is not about women and children being given as rewards to soldiers. It is not about children being required to watch their parents being butchered. The member's discomfort about this mission is that her leader did not get a briefing from the Prime Minister, and I find that, quite frankly, beneath this House.

Let me tell the House also about provincial leaders—

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the member asked about our will, because it is actually the simplest and easiest question to answer. I am going to answer it by reading some extracts from the UN report that I mentioned in my remarks.

It is recounted therein how “...women and children who refused to convert were being allotted to ISIL fighters or were being trafficked as markets in Mosul”.

In another extract, “...150 unmarried girls and women...were reportedly transported to Syria, either to be given to ISIL fighters as a reward or to be sold as sex slaves”.

It is my will, it is the will of the Government of Canada, and I hope it is the will of my colleague across the way that we put a stop to these barbaric practices.

Military Contribution Against ISIL October 7th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my thanks go to the erudite and wise member for Ottawa—Orléans for sharing his time with me.

It is considerable sadness that I rise in the House to do something that I never dreamed I would need to do, which is to convince the members of the Liberal Party to return to the internationalist and multilateralist roots of Liberal foreign policy and to reject the isolationism that its current leader wishes to impose upon it. To be clear, the Liberal leader wants his caucus to turn its back as he has turned his back on the atrocities being committed against innocent women and children in Iraq.

I would like to speak today about the multilateral and internationalist policies, like the responsibility to protect doctrine, which used to be the foundation of the Liberal Party's foreign policy, but which the current Liberal leader recently brushed aside with two short sentences amid a lengthy speech about what Canada's response should be to the atrocities being committed against women and children in Iraq, even as we speak.

Every state has the responsibility to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The international community has an obligation to assist states to fulfill that function. The international community has recognized that its members may have to act quickly to protect innocent citizens against ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. For geopolitical reasons of its own, which I urge members of the Liberal Party to reject, China has expressed reluctance to allow the UN to invoke the R2P doctrine, vetoing R2P in response to the deaths of innocent civilians in Syria to date.

In the case we are debating today, however, where unlike the government of Syria, which resisted any effective international intervention, Iraq has actually invited Canada and others to provide military assistance to protect its citizens against the ethnic cleansing and other atrocities being perpetrated by ISIL. There is no reason to prevent the international community from acting.

I would like to quote from the Liberal Party policy document, “Canada in the World: a Global Network Strategy”, which represented the tradition of the Liberal Party before the current Liberal leader reshaped it to conform to his own unthoughtful and dictatorial whims. The document says:

Another Canadian-inspired idea, Responsibility to Protect, will ensure that military intervention is truly a last resort, but that when sovereign states fail to protect their people and the international community mobilizes to stop large-scale harm to innocent life (for example in genocide and ethnic cleansing), Canada will be there.

The same Liberal Party policy document also endorsed “A muscular approach to renewing Canadian multilateralism”.

This is not simply a Liberal Party sentiment. This is actually the policy of governments of Canada, past and present. This is the tradition that is being pursued by our Prime Minister today in the resolution that we are debating. Unfortunately, it is a tradition which the recent remarks of the Liberal leader show has been abandoned under his leadership in favour of spurning our multilateral ties with close allies and adopting instead an unpredictable and inept isolationist approach.

It is also helpful to quote from last week's report by the United Nations office for human rights, which said:

ISIL and associated armed groups intentionally and systematically targeted these (Turkmen, Shabak, Christians, Yezidi and other) communities for gross human rights abuses, at times aimed at destroying, suppressing or cleansing them from areas under their control...OHCHR notes that many of the violations and abuses perpetrated by ISIL and associated armed groups may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity.

That report recommended that:

Iraqi political leaders should use every opportunity and urgently achieve a substantial and effective resolution of the crisis by restoring control over the areas that have been taken over by ISIL....

It is for that purpose that Iraqi leaders have reached out and requested international and Canadian military assistance.

In the face of this authoritative report of unspeakable atrocities, what did the leader of the Liberal Party propose should be the world's response? He suggested that R2P required the international community to provide no more than development assistance to Iraq and refugee assistance to Turkey, as if somehow that would protect innocent women and children from the slavery, murder, and other atrocities being perpetrated by ISIL. Shame. Tell that to the women and girls in ISIL's slave markets. Tell that to the children who will have to watch their parents butchered before their eyes by ISIL.

The Liberal leader called on the parties in Iraq to come up with: inclusive government that speaks for and represents all Iraqi men and women....a government that is fair-minded and which respects the many ethnic minorities within its borders.

As if somehow a series of Canadian-sponsored seminars would convince ISIL to stop committing atrocities and to become fair-minded and respectful of minorities.

Perhaps that would have been an admirable prescription for the Iraq of 2004, but it has absolutely no air of reality today in 2014. Had I not read the Liberal leader's words myself, I would hardly believe that such an uninformed view could come from any member of the House, much less the leader of the Liberal Party.

I do not pretend that the international responsibility to protect, which has arisen in Iraq, is susceptible to any easy or predictable course. The government of Iraq, which has requested international help to protect innocent civilians within its borders, is not itself an ideal ally. The strength of ISIL has been misjudged up to this point. Military commanders, as in any armed conflict, will need to proceed step by step to contain our adversaries, and the course of that battle plan cannot be predictable.

Nonetheless, the responsibility of the international community, including Canada, to protect those innocent women and children in Iraq from ISIL could not be clearer. The resolution before us today offers a modest, even minimalist, Canadian contribution to the international responsibility to protect. We could not do any less.

I expect I am not alone in this House in wishing that pacifism was a sufficient answer to atrocity and to mortal threats. We would all prefer to avoid causing anyone's death, and no Canadian takes any glory in military action. However, no government can proceed without a firm commitment to protect its citizens. It has been one of the great advances in our international practice to recognize the global implications and application of that principle.

I have no great expectation that the NDP will turn aside from the isolationist approach with which it so often shrouds itself. However, I expect better of our colleagues in the Liberal Party.

I urge them to turn away from isolationism and to embrace Canada's role in multilateral efforts to assist the international community in fulfilling its responsibility to protect innocent women and children from the ongoing genocide and other atrocities in Iraq. I urge them not to surrender the time-tested principles of respected Liberal foreign policy to the dictates of the current leader.

Petitions September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is again from residents of the Kitchener-Cambridge area, pointing out that Canada is the only nation in the western world, in the company of China and North Korea, without any laws restricting abortion. They also point out that Canada's Supreme Court says it is Parliament's responsibility to deal with that and call upon Parliament to do so.

Petitions September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present. The first is from residents of Cambridge, Kitchener, and surrounding area, who point out that Canada is a nation that has long promoted the equal protection and benefit of the law for everyone. Preventing the birth of baby girls through sex selection abortion is an affront to the dignity and equality of women.

Therefore, they call upon the House of Commons to condemn discrimination against girls through sex selective abortion.

Arthritis Research Foundation September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, what disease afflicts 4.6 million Canadians? Arthritis. What disease afflicts proportionately more women than men? Arthritis. What illness will be suffered by one in five Canadians within just seven years? Arthritis and it's related autoimmune conditions.

Already the economic burden of arthritis in Canada is $6.4 billion every year. We must act.

Canada is poised to launch an exciting chapter in the global fight to beat arthritis. With innovative research into women's arthritis, cutting-edge imaging technology, and world-leading rheumatoid arthritis research, Canada's Arthritis Research Foundation is leading the way to a better future.

Kudos to the Arthritis Research Foundation and its supporters, and kudos to the Arthritis Society that works quietly to support Canadian arthritis sufferers.

Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No. 1 June 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his very astute remarks about this budget and also for his hard work around the Hill. I have observed him at committees and I have a high respect for his talents.

At the public accounts committee, where I currently serve, we recently learned that the national debt of Canada has been flatlined as a percentage to GDP, even during the worst economic recession in 60 or 80 years. Also, taxes have remained at an historic low.

At the same time, we are returning to balanced budgets. I know we have heard the leader of the third party say that budgets balance themselves. I wonder if my hon. colleague could comment on how it is that the government has been able to balance the budget at the same time as flatlining debt as a percentage of GDP and keeping taxes down.

Petitions June 12th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the third petition calls for a national dementia strategy. The petitioners are asking the Minister of Health and the House of Commons to support Bill C-356.