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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was officers.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Conservative MP for Okanagan—Coquihalla (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2008, with 58% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Government Spending February 16th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, there was no beer yesterday because we have changed the former government's policy regarding alcohol at meetings.

Yesterday, the Parliamentary Budget Officer also said that our plan to reduce the deficit is ahead—by $5 billion. That is not necessarily our opinion, but he said that he thought we were further ahead. He can say that because he has the plan, absolutely.

Government Spending February 16th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting question.

Just yesterday I met with the Parliamentary Budget Officer and told him that if he was having trouble obtaining any documents, all he had to do was call me and we would verify whether there are any documents.

Regulations have been established here, in the House, that make it possible to provide certain documents. He just needs to call me.

The Economy February 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's diligence on doing his part and listening to his constituents in terms of furthering our action plan.

The documents that I tabled this morning in fact show increased payments and enhancements on things like the agri-stability program for our farmers, enhanced benefits for veterans, and an increase in the educational savings grant program for families saving for college education. We are pleased to do that.

It also shows, in these numbers that were tabled, that we are on track to a balanced budget.

Justice for Victims Terrorism Act February 8th, 2011

moved for leave to introduce Bill S-7, An Act to deter terrorism and to amend the State Immunity Act.

(Motion deemed adopted and bill read the first time)

Situation in Egypt February 2nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the observations of my friend, the foreign affairs critic for the Liberal Party.

We have been in a position in other situations to offer that kind of guidance where asked. I am sure my friend will recall the great participation of Canadians in what we now refer to as the orange revolution and the re-establishment of more proper elections following that.

I meet on regular occasions, as does our Prime Minister who takes the lead on this, with those from other countries who want to have and simply desire, as the Latin expression talks about, a better country. They come to Canada and say they see something in Canada that they do not have. They ask if they can send their officials or have an exchange, whether it is us sending our judicial experts to places like China. The head of state of Mongolia recently asked Canadian officials to help his officials in terms of establishing processes within the public service. Canada gets many of those calls.

Recognizing slight partisan differences here, not to any detriment, I hear what the member is saying. I believe under our Prime Minister we have demonstrated that and we have an opportunity to continue to demonstrate that. A lot of it is if we are asked. These are sovereign issues of other countries. The past and the present clearly shows that Canadians at a variety of levels are ready and willing to do that.

Situation in Egypt February 2nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member from Chatham-Kent—Essex.

I will not spend a lot of my time repeating the well-intended and well-founded heartfelt wishes that we have heard from members in the assembly. I certainly echo those. It is important to send those well wishes.

I will not repeat the many efforts already put forth by the Canadian government to assist Canadians who are in Egypt. I congratulate all consular officials for everything they are doing there. I join all of my colleagues in condemning the violence that has taken place and may take place in future.

I want to weave somewhat of a cautionary tale here. As we watch what is taking place there on television and on the Internet, there is almost a sense of excitement and a muted euphoria that is inevitable following these very large demonstrations. For the majority of those if not young people then people who are motivated by a sense of hope for something better, there is this sense that there will be almost an automatic transition to a democratic form of government.

I want to put out some cautions to that and a couple of tests. As Canadians, we fully understand that we only have a limited ability, as do other countries, to directly intervene and that there are cautions related to that. There is even international law related to that. However, we can send encouragement. We can offer what we know about democracy and how to establish that. However, at this point, a warning should be among the assistance we send.

This moment we are watching is not like East Berlin and people getting on the freedom train riding to freedom, which we all knew was inevitable once the wall finally came down. This is not even similar to the Orange Revolution. At least in those two cases there was some form of movement toward a platform of understanding of democracy. Historically, Egypt has not had nor does it have such a platform.

The historic caution here is, if we think back to Iran in 1979, there was a great sense of euphoria once the Shah was out. I have heard similar comments here, “Get Mubarak out. Just get him out and everything is going to flow in a wonderful way”. That may not be the case. The Shah was out and a moderate came in, Mr. Bakhtiar. He was there for less than six weeks and the entire democratic hopes were taken over by the ayatollahs, and we know the rest of the history that flows from there.

As Iran has shown, it is a country where the polls show that the majority of the people want freedom and democracy. However, if there is an element in control that is vicious enough and willing to do anything to suppress people, then millions of people who want something better can in fact be intimidated and controlled.

I am concerned by comments I have heard, and not necessarily in the House, that the Muslim Brotherhood is renouncing violence and that the Muslim Brotherhood can be trusted. If there is a message that we can send along with our message of encouragement, it would be our observations and an understanding of history. The Muslim Brotherhood cannot be trusted. There are already stories coming out, intelligence reports, where it is somewhat involved in some of this movement. It has not renounced violence. It took that particular course though. It was renouncing violence some decades ago and what resulted after that when Anwar Sadat would not follow its way was his assassination.

We have seen flowing from the Muslim Brotherhood the movement that is known as the Islamic Resistance Movement a.k.a. Hamas. Hamas still has in its charter the destruction of Israel. There are Middle Eastern proverbs that say people can be judged by who their friends are at times. These types of friendships, whether we are talking about the Muslim Brotherhood, or Hamas, or a charter to destroy another country, are things of which I would encourage our friends to take great cautions toward.

The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna talked and wrote in a very intelligent and articulate way about the necessary use of terrorism when the time came. He talked about using politics and he talked about using propaganda.

President Nasser tried to work with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, or Al-Ikhwan as they were called, up until they tried to assassinate him. Then he used very repressive means, driving many of them into Saudi Arabia. When they fled to Saudi Arabia, we saw that joining of the Saudi-Wahhabi and the Muslim Brotherhood Salafi group, leading to the modern terrorist Islamist movement. I am not talking about Islam, I am talking about the modern terrorist Islamist movement today.

That is what is existential in Egypt now as we speak. From time to time the Muslim Brotherhood speaks against violence, as they did in 1998 with the embassy bombings. But in reading further in their denunciation, it was only because Muslims were killed not because others were killed.

As recently as 2008 their supreme guide, Mahdi Akif, praised bin Laden as a Moujahid. He called for jihad in Egypt. That was as recently as 2008. Their motto is still that “Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

This is the Muslim Brotherhood. I would encourage our Egyptian friends not to be fooled, not to be led down the path by some of the academic attainments of some members of that Brotherhood. Their goals have never changed.

It is something in the DNA of those of us in the west that we incline ourselves to appeasement before, at times, the most evil forces. That is regarded as a weakness. That part of our DNA is actually based on hope. We try to appease, hoping that rational minds will prevail. It is actually a virtue, I believe, of western civilization, that particular hope.

Hope without reason can lead to great catastrophe. I am concerned about that. There should be a couple of tests that I hope and encourage our Egyptian friends would put before those who would want to be involved. We have already heard that there has been what looks like progress.

Mr. Mubarak has said that there will be a new constitution, and there will be elections for a prime minister and a president. There is some hope there.

As we have heard other people say, trust but verify. I would encourage that if there is any Muslim Brotherhood involvement in a new government or a new constitution, they absolutely and completely renounce violence in all its forms, including their intended violence towards Israel. Would they be willing to do that?

In the area of freedom of religion and the expression thereof, and I am not just thinking of the Coptic Christians who are feeling greatly threatened at what might be the new governing power in Egypt, but those who are Christians themselves or of other religions. We know often that their fate in Egypt has been martyrdom and death.

The mark of a society that really embraces human freedom, is to embrace freedom of religion. From freedom of religion comes freedom of speech. We have heard about the importance of freedom of association. There will be freedom of association. There will even be freedom of the media.

These are some tests that I would encourage our Egyptian friends to put to those who want to implicate themselves into what we sincerely hope will be a true democratic movement and one that respects all human rights.

This is a momentous time. We do watch, but as we watch and see these things develop, let us not be fooled into thinking there is going to be an immediate transition to the type of democracy that has taken 150 to 200 years to develop in Canada, and which still, which we admit among ourselves, has its weaknesses even in the House.

We are willing to send what we have learned. We are willing to send our diplomats. We are willing to send our academic people. We are willing to send our parliamentarians to help and to assist. We will also send our prayers for those people at this time and we send hope. We encourage them to move carefully, to not rush into a place where they may have some deep regrets and to apply these tests to those who would want to be a part of what we hope will be a great new democratic movement in Egypt.

The Economy February 2nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, first, just for the record, if I may, and to put you at ease relative to a comment that just came from the other side of the House, we do not think, on this side of the House, that you were responsible for any messes. We just wanted to clarify that.

I can tell members that before the economic action plan was launched, we listened carefully to Canadians. We may not have done everything perfectly. We think we got it about right. We are the strongest economy in the G7. Over 400,000 jobs have been created. The average Canadian family pays $3,000 less in tax than before the plan was put in place.

We are continuing to listen. The Prime Minister has led, and so have MPs and ministers, on round tables. Over 150 them have taken place. We are listening to Canadians.

Public Service of Canada February 1st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I see the observation today from the Parliamentary Budget Officer saying that approximately 1,100 employees will be the attrition number for this year. He could not be more wrong. It is more than 11,000. As a matter of fact, last year I think it was 11,463. If he is off by 1,000% on that number which is very easily proven, what is he off on all the other numbers he is talking about?

Questions on the Order Paper January 31st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway and the exempt staff are subject to the proactive disclosure. The details of their travel and hospitality expenses can be seen on the Treasury Board Secretariat website at the following link:

Questions on the Order Paper January 31st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the Heritage Canada Foundation is a national, non-governmental, not-for-profit charity. The Heritage Canada Foundation is an independent body. The government cannot provide a response to this question. The Heritage Canada Foundation should be contacted directly for more information.