House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was marijuana.

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

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act September 15th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to support this important initiative of free trade with our South American neighbours, the people of Colombia, in Bill C-23, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Colombia, and the measures and agreements on the environment and labour co-operation that are part of that agreement.

Canada has always been a trading nation, and a great portion of our economy and wealth historically came from selling goods that are mined, sourced and manufactured in Canada. As far back as the Hudson's Bay company, our historical wealth, which began hundreds of years ago with fish and furs, developed into manufactured goods and a high-tech industry. Canada could always produce more than our people need, because we have the resources and because Canadians are an industrious people.

I think of Daniel Massey, who in 1850 founded the Massey farm implement company in Newcastle, Ontario, and his son Hart, my mother's great-grandfather, a brilliant businessman who took over the family business. Having developed the most advanced farm machinery in the world, for example reapers and threshers that were sold all over Canada, Massey Manufacturing took on the world and won. It became one of the world's largest farm implement companies, and it continued to grow.

Hart Massey was one of the original masters of the corporate takeover. He managed to absorb the Ferguson Tractor Company and later Harris manufacturing company to create the world's largest farm implement company, Massey Harris.

This was accomplished despite the tariffs that existed. One can only imagine how much further Massey Harris might have gone had there been true free trade, as will be accomplished in this agreement.

I also think about one of Canada's leading companies today, Research In Motion, which makes the BlackBerrys that are so ubiquitous on Parliament Hill and business worldwide, a current example of how Canadian entrepreneurs, given a level playing field, can take on the world and win. Those entrepreneurs have always provided thousands of jobs in Canada, and increasingly, value-added high-tech jobs, the jobs of the future.

In so many cases, such as our high-tech industry, software industry and even in mining and resources, it is important for governments to sometimes get out of the way of our most industrious and creative citizens by lowering barriers that are not benefiting the economies of nations with which it should be trading more.

This agreement opens the door, without trade barriers, to Canadian wheat, paper products, mining, oil and gas, engineering and information technology. I think of two of the world's largest engineering firms with head offices in my riding of Oakville: Amec and Acres International. They are already world-beaters. They already engineer projects all over the world, but they will have better access to Colombian business as we move forward and deepen our presence in Latin America.

Trade creates new jobs and new wealth. All one has to do is look at Ontario's auto pact, which has existed since the 1960s. It is one of our earliest free trade agreements. In my riding of Oakville, we make four Ford models currently, including the Ford Edge. Eighty per cent of the cars and sixty per cent of the auto parts manufactured in Ontario are sold in the United States. Thousands of jobs in Ontario depend upon car and car parts sold in the U.S. The auto industry knows what we know, that Canadian workers are reliable, hard-working, well-educated, healthy and productive.

This industry is totally integrated. I have a constituent in Oakville who runs a plant in Brantford, Ontario. They make engine manifolds that go to plants in the United States and Mexico. They are installed on the engines and come back to Oshawa and other parts of Canada where they are installed in cars that are then resold in the United States.

This is how far a free trade agreement can integrate an industry and create wealth. That is why one out of four jobs in Canada today comes from free trade. Canada has prospered mightily from free trade.

Our largest trading partner, the U.S., has been hit hard by this recession. Its debt-to-GDP ratio is more than double that of ours. Many of its financial institutions have failed. The sales of our producers who sell to the U.S. are down. The place that was our greatest source of trading wealth and jobs has now become weaker.

However, we have been overdependent on the U.S. market for years. The U.S. economy will recover, as will ours, but I have always wondered why the previous government, in 13 years, did not pursue more free trade agreements to lower that dependency on our American neighbours.

We now have a leader with a long-term vision for Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and a government that is doing that, working with our democratic allies to open doors --

The Economy September 14th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, as the MP for Oakville, I report back to the House of Commons today that in these challenging times the residents of Oakville are very pleased that their government is working to create jobs and build a stronger Oakville in Ontario.

Since the last budget, they are happy to see the federal government invest $15 million to help build a new Oakville transit facility, $15.5 million for 1,000 long overdue parking spots at Oakville's GO station, $8 million for a new water treatment plant, and $15 million for Oakville's Sheridan College. They also know that there is more to come.

These investments demonstrate our government's commitment to stimulating the Ontario economy by getting shovels in the ground to create jobs for Ontarians. These projects will improve transportation efficiency, support a healthier environment, enhance local facilities and stimulate further investment.

Thanks to the hard work of our government, Oakville is on the right track for its economy to grow immediately and thrive into the future.

Electronic Commerce Protection Act May 7th, 2009

Madam Speaker, it is worth going back to the purpose of the act. The intention of the proposed electronic commerce protection act is to reduce the most damaging and deceptive forms of spam and other computer-related threats that discourage the use of electronic commerce and undermine personal privacy. It will address spam that is malicious in content, those emails that attempt to lure Canadians into fraudulent transactions or counterfeit websites.

A recent scheme, of which the member may be aware, was the UPS re-shipping fraud scam. A fraudulent company, posing as UPS, sent out a spam in an attempt to lure individuals into receiving shipments and sending that shipment, which would usually be overseas, to a second party in turn for payment. Of course the payment never came.

The bill would provide tools for businesses and network providers to better protect the networks on which we purchase products and do our banking. It would provide better protection for our personal information online and prohibit the bulk sharing and compilation of electronic addresses.

I hope that helps the member.

Electronic Commerce Protection Act May 7th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I will go over it again for the member. The electronic commerce protection act does not abolish the do-not-call list. Clause 6.7 carves out telemarketing by exempting interactive voice communications, facsimiles and voice recordings to telephone accounts from the application of the act.

The provision at the end of the bill, which is clause 86, allows for the repeal of the do-not-call list at the time of the government's choosing in the future. It does not repeal the list. It leaves the door open for greater certainty. Clause 86 will remain dormant until the government chooses to enact it by order-in-council.

Electronic Commerce Protection Act May 7th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I want to reassure the member opposite that there is no intention to repeal the do-not-call list.

Electronic Commerce Protection Act May 7th, 2009

Madam Speaker, enforcement is a matter of the words of the bill and the regulations in the bill and how the various parties want to enforce it.

It should be noted that the electronic commerce protection act will not abolish the do-not-call list. I think the member might be aware of that. There are published reports to that effect, and it is not true.

For greater certainty, there is a section of the bill that remains dormant until it is made law by an order-in-council and by regulation.

Section 6.7 of the electronic commerce protection act carves out telemarketing and interactive voice communications to be treated differently, but it does not repeal the do-not-call list.

On the matter of enforcement, I understand the bill is going to committee. There will be discussion at committee and we look forward to hearing the comments of the other parties on how that might be achieved.

Electronic Commerce Protection Act May 7th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I want to point out what I mentioned in my remarks earlier, and that is the bill is accompanied by significant penalties.

Offences carry fines of up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses. These are not cost of doing business fines. These are very significant fines. Working in conjunction with authorities in the other parts of the world, where the Internet is getting clogged with spam and people's time is being wasted, we think they will be quite effective.

Electronic Commerce Protection Act May 7th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I presume when the member talks about the phone giants, he means the large telecommunications companies. I think what he is talking about is young people who already are paying, competitively compared to worldwide, too much for their cellphone bills are now paying too much for unsolicited messages.

That is part of the benefit of the bill. As spam reduces, young people will get fewer unsolicited emails and those bills will go down.

Electronic Commerce Protection Act May 7th, 2009

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to speak in support of Bill C-27, the electronic commerce protection act. The key reason is that for eight years I operated my own business out of my home like thousands of other Canadians. I can say from first-hand experience that spam is bad news.

High speed Internet communication by email has become the predominant communication tool worldwide. It is the greatest enabler in the information age for small business and the self-employed. It allows thousands of small-business operators and the self-employed in every province to start their businesses and operate them at a profit. That includes writers, people in public relations, journalists, photographers, engineers, lawyers, event managers, fundraisers and many other occupations.

Email and high speed Internet allow thousands of disabled persons to operate businesses and to work from home. It creates almost a level playing field in that situation for disabled persons. It is an incredibly valuable tool for the disabled to communicate with business people and their family and friends.

Parents benefit hugely from home offices and email. The Internet has been a boon to parents who choose to stay at home with infants and children, which my wife and I have done in the past. They want to work in the evenings or do their email during their children's nap time or playtime if they have infants, as does my friend in Oakville, who operates a home business and is a mother as well. She has a little one-and-a-half-year-old. She can do them simultaneously. She is connected by her notebook computer to her clients, associates and, in fact, the world.

Aside from the travel costs, the most important common denominator and resource for self-employed people in small business is their time. I would suggest that time for the self-employed and small business people is actually priceless. It is almost a currency. When someone or some organization, without any invitation or permission and with no previous business relationship, at a very little incremental cost that is too small to measure, sucks up that time by using trickery and stealth marketing to steal that time with spam, it should be stopped.

Unsolicited, unlimited junk mail trying to sell people watches and many other products of very dubious value should also be stopped. Forwarding fraudulent messages designed to dupe innocent people and cheat them out of their savings should be stopped. For example, I would expect most of the people in the House today have received an email from a prince in Nigeria who only needs a little bit of money to get out of prison and is willing to share his resources for the rest of his life. The sad part is that if enough of those emails are sent out and enough mud is thrown against the wall, somebody will respond and somebody will be duped.

The key problem is that in normal marketing and in normal business, the legitimate kind, those wishing to sell goods and services are restrained to reasonable efforts by cost. It costs money to send letters, to make phone calls, to place ads and to get the attention of consumers and other businesses. In fact, the average cost for a letter is 70 cents to a dollar. However, on the Internet, the cost per contact for spam is actually too small to measure. It is not even pennies. Technology, which is our greatest tool, is also subject to abuse.

The Internet is a precious resource. Effectively it belongs to all of us. As subscribers to telephone and Internet services, we pay a fair amount and we are allowed fair usage. Millions of Canadians rely on the telecommunications network to conduct business. They move goods across continents and the oceans. They keep industry moving to help provide thousands of jobs in thousands of businesses. We share this resource, the Internet, to our mutual benefit.

However, there are limits to this shared network. The network cannot carry an unlimited number of messages. People who have ever tried to call their mother on Mother's Day might have had a busy signal, because that happens to be the busiest day of the year on the telephone network. If they try again and again, they will finally get through. Christmas morning and New Year's Eve are similar. There is a limit to the network.

When a relatively few companies, often not owned or operated by Canadians, send out millions of unwanted and unwelcome messages, they utilize more than their fair share of the network. They use a proportion of resources they have not paid for in fairness and they slow down or stop the email messages everyone else is trying to send or receive. They rob us again of more of our time. These spam senders suffer no significant costs when they send out thousands of emails and demonstrate a wanton disregard for the time of others.

Unfortunately, they are some of the most clever and seedy people on the planet. They devise ways to interrupt our shared network and waste the time of thousands of business people. It is very difficult to put a value on that time, but it is certainly in the millions of dollars. They pitch some products that few people would ever buy. It gets worse.

Recently, my own PC network adviser, Paul Lebl, explained to me that these spammers have developed viruses or worms. The emails have very deceptive subject lines and if the wrong email is opened, the virus or worm will search the hard drive and find every email address on the hard drive and send the spam to every one of those email addresses as well. It is a very insidious practice. I view it as vandalism and it has to be deterred or stopped.

No one is saying that this legislation is going to end all spam in Canada or worldwide, but it will help us work with other countries to reduce spam worldwide. It is about improving Canada's competitiveness in the electronic marketplace as well as protecting Canadian consumers from the most dangerous types of spam. Boosting the competitiveness of our economy and protecting Canadians are two primary priorities of our Conservative government.

Since taking office a little over three years ago, our government has taken action to improve the competitiveness of Canadian companies and of our economy as a whole. Budget 2009 continued to create a competitive advantage which will drive our economy forward for years to come.

We are taking steps to enhance our traditional industries with new knowledge and to create opportunities for the development of new industries.

While our economy obviously faces significant challenges as a result of the dramatically reduced demand in the United States, the proactive initiatives of this government have lessened the blow. The good news is we are positioned to come out of this crisis faster than other countries.

Some members of the House have expressed interest in introducing new taxes and raising existing ones. Our government believes that this would be the wrong approach.

New measures taken by our government have been aimed at improving competition and not just filling government coffers or satisfying special interests.

As mentioned, this bill is about continuing to improve Canada's competitiveness. We are already leading the way in e-commerce, but our online economy is under threat from unsolicited commercial email which undermines consumer confidence and hurts productivity.

The global cost of this unsolicited email, or spam, is estimated at $100 billion a year. Spam costs Canada an estimated $3 billion annually. As has been mentioned, spam represents about 87% of the email traffic around the world at 62 trillion spam emails during that time period.

Spam is a nuisance. It undermines competitiveness and it puts Canadians at risk. Our proposed electronic commerce protection act would deter the most dangerous forms of spam, like identity theft, phishing and spyware. It would help drive spammers out of Canada and allow us to work with our international partners to pursue spammers outside the country.

As usual, our Conservative government is taking action to protect consumers and businesses. We are not just talking. We are acting. This initiative will mean a lot to individuals and to businesses. Individuals will be more confident when they choose to shop online. Businesses will be able to more effectively protect their brand and their online reputation while improving their productivity.

As well as being consistently committed to competitiveness, our Conservative government has always believed in acting when people break the rules. This bill is accompanied by significant and tangible penalties. Offences carry fines of up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses. Spammers beware.

There are a number of other aspects of this issue which I want to quickly highlight before I conclude.

First, the bill covers text messaging or cellphone spam. The provisions in the bill are not limited to certain types of technology. They target all spam and will continue to be relevant as technology evolves.

Second, this will not affect legitimate or responsible businesses that contact customers or potential customers who have signalled their desire to be contacted.

Third, this approach has been implemented in many other countries with substantial success. Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. have passed strong domestic laws combatting spam, similar to this one. In Australia, for example, the spam act significantly reduced the country's proportion of global spam. Some Australian spammers shut down altogether.

Unfortunately, the bill would not eliminate spam altogether, but it would serve to deter the most dangerous, destructive and deceptive forms of spam, especially those that facilitate other criminal activities, like identity theft.

Finally, the bill would deliver on a commitment made in our 2008 election platform, I am proud to say. That platform stated:

A re-elected Conservative Government led by Stephen Harper will introduce legislation to prohibit the use of spam (unsolicited commercial email) to collect personal information under false pretences and to engage in criminal conduct. The new law will reduce dangerous, destructive and deceptive email and web site practices, and will establish new fines for those who break the law.

We made a commitment, and we are getting the job done. We are improving competitiveness and we are protecting Canadians.

Arts and Culture May 4th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize one of the world's leading centres of performing arts and digital media education, the Sheridan College Institute in Oakville Ontario.

On Friday evening, Sheridan's School of Animation Arts & Design celebrated its awards evening for Sheridan's famous musical theatre school, one of the world's best, where some of Canada's most brilliant young performers develop and polish their art.

Sheridan graduates amaze audiences from the Stratford and Shaw Festivals to Broadway, Disney World and Hollywood. Graduates from Sheridan's computer animation department have led the world in artistic digital storytelling, helping create films in Canada and internationally; blockbusters like Star Trek, Star Wars and the Terminator series.

Every performer in Canada helps create jobs and opportunities for others, like stagehands, set designers and carpenters. Our artists also serve us by helping define who we are as Canadians. That is why federal funding for the arts and culture in Canada has never been higher than right now.

We salute the dedicated, talented young people at Sheridan and across Canada, and their teachers who put their futures on the line to tell Canadian stories and touch our hearts.