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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is liberal.

Conservative MP for Provencher (Manitoba)

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

Statements in the House

Criminal Code December 10th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned section 176, which is the part of the Criminal Code that deals specifically with protection for the clergy. However, it also deals with protection for houses of worship and for worshippers at those places. He said that rather than consider removing it, that the section should have been strengthened. I would like to hear his ideas on that.

Christmas December 10th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, on a recent flight, I noticed a beautiful sunset unfolding right outside my window. It was a stunning display of light, filled with a rainbow of colours. It lasted only a few minutes, and then it was dark again. Later, as we approached our destination, I could see the airport runway lights in the distance, guiding us in for a safe landing.

At this festive time of year, we celebrate with lights all around us. We decorate our trees, our offices and our homes. As Christmas approaches, let us remember that there was and is one light above all others, and that is God's son, Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus called on us to be lights as well. He said, “You are the light of the world...let your light shine before others”.

Let the lights all around us this Christmas remind us to be guided by the one true light and reflect the light of Jesus's love in our lives. May we all be the light that brightens this world.

Merry Christmas.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns December 3rd, 2018

With regard to the government’s decision to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline and its related infrastructure from Kinder Morgan: (a) what is the breakdown of the $4.5 billion spent on the purchase, including (i) the sum spent to purchase the real pipeline assets, (ii) the sum spent to purchase the rights and easements of the pipeline assets, (iii) the sum spent to pay salaries, (iv) the sum spent to pay legal fees, (v) descriptions and sums of any other expenditures contributing to the $4.5 billion total; (b) what was the rationale for the final purchase being completed before the Federal Court of Appeal’s ruling was issued; (c) what is the explanation as to why the purchase was not made conditional subject to regulatory approval; (d) what is the summary of measures considered in anticipation of how the Federal Court of Appeal might rule; (e) what was the estimated worth of the pipeline in market terms at the time of purchase; (f) what is the date of the most recent evaluation of the condition of the existing pipeline; (g) what was the valuation of the expansion project at the time of purchase; and (h) what is the the current estimated cost to complete the Trans Mountain expansion?

Criminal Code November 28th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from St. Albert—Edmonton for the fine work he does on the justice committee and for serving as the deputy shadow minister of justice.

The intent of Bill C-75, as indicated, is to streamline our justice system. I am wondering if the member could comment on the government's inability or unwillingness to fill judicial vacancies and how that impacts the streamlining and efficiency of our justice system.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 November 26th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I am delighted that Hamilton has experienced 32,000 net new jobs. However, the Parliamentary Budget Office paints a different picture. This year, so far the only growth in real jobs has been in government jobs. In the private sector, there actually has been a shrinkage in real job growth. That is not very encouraging news.

I recognize that part of the Liberal ideology is bigger government, more control, more taxes and more spending. However, I am delighted that the member from Hamilton has seen good things happen in his constituency.

[For continuation of proceedings see part B]

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 November 26th, 2018

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-86, the budget implementation act no. 2.

The Liberal government is attempting to ram a budget through the House that paints a rosy picture of our national finances. It insists on spending massive amounts of money and promising to increase taxes through its new tax on everything, the carbon tax. In fact, the leader of the official opposition hit the nail on the head when he said of this Liberal government, “Never has a government spent so much and achieved so little.” It is true.

Despite the promises of the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister, all is not well in Canada, certainly not for the people of Oshawa. For over 100 years, Oshawa and General Motors have had a partnership. Now the Oshawa plant is going to be shut down. This is a tremendous blow to the people of Oshawa and Canadian manufacturing in general.

Before going any further, let me express my concern for the people of Oshawa. I cannot imagine what far too many Canadians in Oshawa are experiencing today. My sincere condolences go out to all of those who are going to be negatively affected and will lose their jobs. This is terrible news, and it comes just before Christmas.

The GM plant is important not only to families in Oshawa but to families across Ontario and Canada. The Oshawa plant is closing, and the Liberals have nothing to show for it. Their high taxes and lack of regulatory clarity are forcing businesses all over the country to stop investing or to just plain leave Canada. They have no way of backstopping anything except through more debt. It is important to run a surplus during good economic times so that when the bad times come, there is money to be spent, and as they say, money to be invested. Running deficits during good times means there will be less when the bad times come.

For the people in Oshawa, times are hard. The only way the Liberal government can help them is through more debt. This is debt that Oshawans and all Canadians will have to pay through increased taxes down the road. All Canadians will have to pay through increased taxes down the road, as will the folks in Oshawa, but if there are no jobs, there will be no extra money to pay extra taxes. This is precisely the situation the Liberal government is creating in Canada.

The U.S. administration has cut taxes for businesses, and this has caused many businesses to choose to relocate to the United States. The finance minister and the Liberal government declined to match any of those tax cuts. Consequently, many businesses are choosing to invest in the United States as opposed to Canada. The tax cuts and the corresponding lack of action by the Liberal government may have played a role in the closing of the Oshawa plant by General Motors.

Manufacturing across Canada is concerned, particularly about the issue of tariffs on aluminum and steel. Despite significant concessions to the U.S. in the recent NAFTA negotiations, now called the USMCA, the Liberal government was not able to get the Trump administration to lift the tariffs on steel and aluminum. This is costing manufacturers and industry dearly.

In my riding, my constituent Marilyn N. is a small business owner. She imports aluminum-based products from the United States, and because of the tariffs and the retaliatory tariffs we have put on, she has indicated to me that if these tariffs are not lifted, she may be forced to lay off workers, as her costs are not sustainable in the long term.

Many business owners across Canada can relate to her story, but Liberal failures are not limited to manufacturing. The Prime Minister and his Liberal government have failed with our natural resources as well. Their failures have resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs and over $100 billion of investment in our energy sector.

Energy east, Pacific Northwest LNG, northern gateway, Aurora LNG, and Grassy Point LNG are all examples of the government's inability to deliver on developing and getting to market our natural resources. The Trans Mountain crisis has made things even worse. The taxpayer is on the hook for $4.5 billion for a pipeline that may never be built. Under the previous Conservative government, four pipelines were built. This included the Enbridge Alberta Clipper, the Trans Canada Keystone, the Kinder Morgan Anchor Loop, and the Enbridge Line 9B reversal.

As soon as the Liberals took office, the Prime Minister and his government started their reckless spending and arbitrary regulatory changes. This caused business investment to plummet and confidence in Canada to decline. Even the Montreal Economic Institute said, “People are giving up on Canada as a safe place to invest in natural resources...It’s seen as a very hostile environment now.”

It is quite clear that the Liberal government has failed in encouraging foreign investment in Canada. Our country has so much to offer and the Liberal government is throwing away potential investment opportunities because of its failures. In fact, though the economy has grown, very little has been the government's doing. Growth was driven by oil and gas markets, a strong housing market and consumer spending. Consumers were able to spend because interest rates were low. The Liberal government has had very little to do with any of that. It has not helped and in many cases it has hindered growth areas in our country.

When it comes to oil, the Liberal government, under the current Prime Minister, has been an absolute failure. When he formed government in 2015, he did so with three large pipelines ready to be delivered. Two of those pipelines abandoned Canada due to the regulatory environment created by the Liberal government. The third was bought by Canadian citizens, through no choice of their own, for $4.5 billion for a pipeline that was worth just over a billion dollars and a potential of building and constructing a new pipeline for another $3.5 billion. That was basically goodwill, and now that goodwill does not look like it is going to be worth very much.

The Prime Minister has failed to realize that oil and gas is not an unfortunate part of Canada; it is a vital component of Canada and our economy. It is important to the people of Alberta and all Canadians who depend upon government services, which are possible because of oil royalties.

When the Prime Minister said that he wanted to phase out the oil sands, I think he meant it. The cost to Canadians has yet to be fully accounted for, but already it is hurting our country. His reckless commitment to dismantling the oil and gas sector, an essential of Canada's economy, will undoubtedly lower our growth potential.

In addition, his inability to build a pipeline to tidewater means that our oil is largely captive to the American market, where it is bought for considerably less than it would be worth on the world market. Less money in the provincial and federal coffers means that without spending cuts, the governments must either raise taxes or borrow more money.

If governments borrow more money, interest rates will go up. Higher interest rates will affect consumer confidence. Less consumer confidence means less willingness to undertake large expenses. Housing will suddenly be less sought after as Canadians are forced to pay more interest. They will borrow less money. Suddenly, the three main drivers of growth in Canada, oil and gas, housing and consumer spending, are no longer the powerful drivers that they once were.

Due to high levels of government debt and historically low interest rates, the federal government will have very few tools left to deal with any upcoming crisis. This is not a healthy place for a government to be in. Nor is it good place for our country. The next crisis to befall Canada is going to be dangerous.

The Liberal government loves to talk about the debt-to-GDP ratio. That sounds good. However, it is only one tool and if we consider the implications, it is not reassuring at all. In fact, it could be bad and very bad for Canada. This way of accounting is only positive if the economy grows. It is based on economic growth. If the government continues to spend money, but the economy starts to slow, then we are in a bad situation and that debt-to GDP ratio quickly gets skewed.

Debt consists of principal, which is the amount borrowed, and interest, which is the amount paid to service the debt. If interest rates go up, we are paying more for the money that we have borrowed. Debt is a reasonable option if it allows for long-term gain. However, the Liberal government has borrowed money with reckless abandon and very little of it has gone to any kinds of projects with long-term sustainable benefit to Canadians.

Spending on infrastructure has not materialized. Of the $180 billion that the government committed to infrastructure spending, only 6% or just under $10 billion of that has actually been spent and invested in Canada. That would be a real investment, spending money on infrastructure, but the government has not allowed it to happen.

Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities November 21st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am really pleased to be here this evening talking to Motion No. 177, which directs the transportation committee to study flight schools and their infrastructure. I want to talk about a few different things and I am going to be brief as I have a lot to talk about.

I want to talk about my personal experience in getting my pilot's licence. I remember as a young child going to air shows and being fascinated with the concept and the whole idea of flight, the freedom of flight, the wonder of flight. Growing into my adult years it continued to fascinate me, but I was scared to fly. I had never been in an airplane until I was a young adult. I was frightened to take that first move and my wife played a bit of a trick on me. She bought me an introductory flight lesson for my birthday and I had to do it. It was something that I needed to overcome and it was a wonderful experience and I let it go at that.

However, some time later I was reading the paper and she pointed out ground school training. She told me that I enjoyed airplanes so much and the whole concept of flying, why not take ground school, as I did not have to fly. It was reasonably inexpensive at $400 or $500 and I understood the whole theory and concept of flight. She tricked me again. I think she knew that once I was at ground school there would be tremendous peer pressure to actually fly the airplane. Of course, I succumbed to that peer pressure and I did go up with an instructor. It did not take long until I got the bug.

I took my training at Harv's Air Service, in my riding. It is based out of Steinbach and operates a flight school just outside of St. Andrews, Manitoba at the St. Andrews Airport. Harv and Betty Penner, together with their sons, Adam, Luke and Greg, operate the flight school. They have operated it for 30 or 40 years. They have trained thousands of pilots, many of whom fly for a lot of our commercial airline companies today. They do a wonderful job and have a fantastic safety record. I look at some of the challenges they faced at the flight school, such as staffing challenges, getting and retaining qualified instructors, but they also faced challenges with sourcing students.

I can attest to that because when I started the ground school training, it was relatively inexpensive. Once I began flying, the costs per hour to get training in an airplane were quite significant and this was some 18 years ago. By the time I completed my training, the cost was probably about $5,500 or $6,000. To become a private pilot today is north of $10,000, so it is not an inexpensive exercise.

This is a challenge for our flight schools. They need to attract students at a reasonable cost. Not everyone can afford to take flying lessons. When I go to air shows today, I see boys and girls lined up at the fence watching the airplanes and wishing they could fly them. There are a few things I need to point out that a study would do. A study would determine what the needs of flight schools are. We know there is a pilot shortage. We know there is going to be an increasing pilot shortage in the years to come and we need to address that shortage somehow. A good way to do that is to encourage folks to get into pilot training and to ensure it is affordable. One way we can do that is to look at ways of decreasing costs.

Flight school operators have all kinds of costs. They have the cost of airplanes, which is based on the American dollar and we know how that fluctuates. Right now it is to our disadvantage in Canada. They also have to buy fuel, which is very expensive. With the proposed Liberal government carbon tax, the cost of fuel is going to go up and that is going to negatively impact flight schools. We need to make sure that does not happen.

We need to make sure that we provide them with the facilities that are required to operate a safe and effective flight school. We need to make sure there is infrastructure money available for municipal airports, but also for flight schools to take full advantage of that to make sure we can get pilots trained.

The other aspect I want to touch on briefly is the whole aspect of training military pilots. A lot of them have come through flight schools, but a lot are also trained directly by our military. We know, based on the Auditor General's report that came out recently, that we have a significant shortfall in technicians and pilots. In fact, we do not even have enough pilots to fly the airplanes we have. That is a big concern to me.

We need to ensure we do not underfund our military, like the government has been doing. We need to ensure we get on with our fighter jet replacement program, that we get that contest happening sooner than later, that we do not buy old, rusty airplanes from Australia but look at current technology so we can attract people into our military who will want to fly the latest and greatest. We need to ensure we also provide our troops adequately with the best equipment available for them to do their job.

I am happy to support the motion.

Canada Border Services Agency November 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago, the Liberal government announced that many border crossings across the country would be reducing their hours of operation, including three ports in my riding of Provencher. The earlier closing times will have a profound, negative economic and social impact on rural communities and the residents who call them home. It will limit their ability to access employment, health care and recreation.

Public meetings were held after the decision was already made, and many of those meetings pointed to the fact that the government is spending hundreds of millions of taxpayers' dollars on providing services for people who have illegally crossed into Canada, have not lived here and have never contributed to Canada. The government has even built them a pathway and welcome centre at our border port to make it easier for them to cross, all of this while it is reducing services for Canadians who simply want to cross their own border.

The Prime Minister needs to explain to Canadians why he is prioritizing illegal crossings while cutting services to Canadians who, all their lives, have worked hard, played by the rules, and paid their taxes.

Business of Supply November 19th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member from the NDP for so wonderfully pointing out our Conservative track record when it came to the use of deficit budgets.

We started our term in government with a small surplus. We used deficit budgeting strategically when the world was experiencing a global recession, which insulated us from feeling the effects that the rest of the world and our G7 partners experienced during that recession. We worked towards a balanced budget and left a small surplus to this Liberal government when it came to power. It has since squandered it, and my NDP colleague has so rightly pointed out that they have been spending money in all the wrong places.

Can the member tell us where the Liberals should be spending the money and when they will balance the budget?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 November 6th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to the member for Winnipeg North. He talked about fooling Canadians.

I remember, back in 2015, Liberals boasted about real change coming to Parliament. I remember, in my first term here in Parliament, when that member was part of the third party at that time, sitting in the wee corners of this wonderful House of Commons, how he railed against omnibus bills and how undemocratic they were.

The 2015 Liberal platform talked about real change. This is what it says:

Stephen Harper has also used omnibus bills to prevent Parliament from properly reviewing and debating his proposals. We will change the House of Commons Standing Orders to bring an end to this undemocratic practice.

An 850-page omnibus budget implementation bill is unheard of. Is that the real change Liberals were talking about?