House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was certainly.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Miramichi (New Brunswick)

Lost her last election, in 2015, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

National Fiddling Day Act March 25th, 2015

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise in the House to once again speak on my proposed Bill S-218 to designate a national fiddling day.

Fiddling has a rich history in our country, and I believe that this history needs to be cherished and celebrated. Fiddling is an expression that has roots throughout our entire nation. Fiddle music connects all regions of Canada and brings a universal smile and a toe tap whenever it is heard. From the down-east style made famous by Don Messer to the Métis style spread by John Arcand to the traditional Cape Breton style played by Natalie MacMaster, fiddling is an integral part of Canadian culture that has long-standing historical roots.

Whatever the style, the common thread is spreading happiness and joy to all those who play and listen. Enacting the third Saturday in May of each year as national fiddling day would encourage all Canadians to embrace and enjoy this day and would bring a spotlight to the many Canadians who have graced the country and the world with this infectious and important music.

I am especially happy to propose this legislation at this time when the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Association has recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. The association does important work promoting and preserving fiddling music in Canada. Also this year, the Canadian Grand Masters fiddling competition is being held in my home province of New Brunswick, in the town of Sackville.

New Brunswick, like all other provinces, has deep roots in the history of fiddling music. My province hosts a unique annual festival in the town of Plaster Rock, New Brunswick. It is the annual Fiddles on the Tobique. The event coincides, of course, with fiddlehead season. The festival started with a lone fiddler years ago and today attracts people from all over the world. Quite possibly it is the only event of its kind anywhere.

This event combines two time-honoured New Brunswick traditions: fiddling and canoeing. Imagine the beautiful sight and sound of a flotilla of canoes carrying almost 200 musicians down the Tobique River while they play old-time fiddle music. Those attending are treated to concerts, jam sessions, dances, and even an instructional fiddle camp.

Our Atlantic Canada region in general has had great fiddlers. Winston "Scotty" Fitzgerald, 1914 to 1987, was a renowned Cape Breton fiddler. He was a pioneer in recorded performances of the music and has heavily influenced the style and repertoire of later generations of players.

Another award-winning Cape Breton musician, Natalie MacMaster, began her fiddling career at 16.

Don Messer was born in Tweedside, New Brunswick and began playing the violin at age five, learning fiddle tunes with Irish and Scottish influences. As a young boy, Messer would play concerts in the local area, and later he played throughout southwestern New Brunswick. During the 1920s, Messer moved to Boston, Massachusetts for three years, where he received his only formal instruction in music.

Messer left Saint John in 1939 and moved to Charlottetown, P.E.l. and worked as music director at CFCY. There he formed the Islanders, and this music group began to make regular television appearances on CBHT-TV in Halifax, Nova Scotia. CBC television began a summer series called The Don Messer Show on August 7, 1959, which continued into the fall as Don Messer's Jubilee, produced in Halifax.

Don Messer's Jubilee was a must for us every Monday night throughout the 1960s. How we loved to hear the sound of the twin fiddles of Don Messer and Earl Mitton. The show won a wide audience and reportedly became the second-most watched television show in Canada during that decade, next to Hockey Night in Canada.

Another down-home style New Brunswick fiddler was Ned Landry, who taught himself to play the fiddle at an early age. Ned Landry was winner in the open class of 1956, 1957 and 1962 Canadian Open Old Time Fiddlers' Contest.

Landry appeared in the 1950s on CFBC Radio, Saint John, and in the 1960s on Don Messer's Jubilee and other TV shows. Landry was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1991. Landry was also later inducted into the North American Fiddlers' Hall of Fame and the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame.

Ivan Hicks, another famous New Brunswick fiddler, has played the fiddle for over 60 years. He and his wife Vivian have shared their talents with many students, young and old alike, and have been an inspiration to countless others.

Ivan is actively involved in promoting, attending and instructing at workshops. He continues to judge fiddling contests throughout Canada.

Many awards and honours have come to them, including the induction into the New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame for both Ivan and Vivian, and the North American Fiddlers' Hall of Fame for Ivan.

Then, of course, there is Miramichi's very own Matilda Murdoch. At the age of eight, her father gave her a fiddle, and later that year, through her own determination, she played her very first tune. Since then, she has become an icon in fiddle circles throughout North America.

Murdoch has been part of a cultural community of Miramichi and New Brunswick for most of her 94 years. Her style of playing has been admired and studied by not only local fiddlers but also fiddlers from throughout North America, and more recently, from Ireland. Entertainer Don Messer was one of those many admirers. He invited Matilda to play on the popular Don Messer show, and he also recorded several of her tunes to show his respect for her music.

Another admirer of Matilda was one of our very own, the late Jim Flaherty, who visited Miramichi and was able to enjoy her music in his ancestral home of Loggieville. Murdoch has garnered regional, national and international recognition for her abilities as a composer, player and teacher. She was elected into the North American Fiddlers' Hall of Fame and the New Brunswick Country Music Hall of Fame.

Matilda Murdoch has reached and surpassed the definition of success. Organizations and musicians have recognized her on a worldwide scale. Matilda was the recipient of the Order of New Brunswick as well as the Order of Canada.

Loggieville also boasts another very accomplished fiddle player, Samantha Robichaud, who represents a new generation of fiddlers. Now in her late twenties, Samantha has released seven critically acclaimed albums and has earned many awards.

Her musical venture now spans over three decades, completing 11 albums, performing thousands of shows and collaborating with a multitude of world renowned artists.

These are just a few of our very known fiddlers. In Miramichi we have our very own group of fiddlers known as the Miramichi fiddlers. These men and women give of their time, volunteering at fundraisers and many events on the river. They certainly bring much enjoyment to our area and are always much appreciated by all.

These are just a few of the fiddlers that I grew up listening to and who are known in my region. I am sure my colleagues would agree that they are just a small portion of the well-known and talented fiddlers throughout our great nation.

I believe that a designated national fiddling day will also be important with the upcoming 150th anniversary of our great nation. In 2017, Canadians will celebrate this great milestone and a national fiddling day will be one way to help them learn about and express pride in the cultural and social impact that fiddling music has had on the shaping of our country.

Furthermore, we not only wish to celebrate the impact this music has had on our nation but also the beauty that is in the instrument itself, and shine a light on Antonio Stradivari, the renowned crafter of the stringed instrument. By spreading the history of the instrument, along with its historical significance, we can hopefully reach a whole new generation of fiddle players who will continue to shape the musical and cultural landscape of our country today and tomorrow.

Infrastructure March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Canadians know that they can count on our government to deliver real results. To support job creation and economic growth, our Conservative government has been making record investments in infrastructure projects across Canada.

Can the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the regional minister for Prince Edward Island update this House on how our government is investing to support energy delivery to P.E.I.?

Veterans Affairs March 12th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, on Monday the Minister of Veterans Affairs announced the retirement income security benefit, which will provide financial stability to veterans who are moderately to seriously injured and their families. This benefit, in addition to existing services and benefits, will establish a continuum of support that spans a disabled veteran's entire life.

The president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 4 in Fredericton said that it is going to help in the future and is needed for the protection of our service people.

The Veterans Ombudsman said:

...this will be a game-changer for Canada's most seriously injured veterans and their families.

I am immensely proud that our government is standing up for veterans and their families and is ensuring that they get the support and services they need, when they need them.

Sealing Industry February 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, today is Seal Day on the Hill, a day to recognize and help raise awareness of Canada's ethical and humane seal hunt.

Can the Minister of Environment update the House on what the government is doing to stand up for sealers and the traditional values of northerners?

Simon Alexander Kingston January 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to commemorate the life of a dear constituent.

Simon Alexander Kingston was born in Bay du Vin on October 2, 1920. He was a retired, self-employed businessman and founded both Kingston Fuels Limited and Kingston Car Wash Limited, which are both still operating in Miramichi and are providing much-needed employment.

In addition to his business, Simon was also a dedicated member of St. Mary's Anglican Church, where he was a former church warden, a member of vestry, and a member of the cemetery committee.

He was also a member of the Miramichi chapter of the Shriners Club. Mr. Kingston was a veteran of the Second World War, serving overseas with the Royal Canadian Electrical Mechanical Engineers, and a member of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 18 in Miramichi.

Most importantly, Simon was a dedicated husband and father. His absence will be felt by many, both by his family and his community.

Fisheries and Oceans December 10th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the lobster fishery is critical to Atlantic Canada's economy and provides important economic opportunities for our rural and coastal communities. Canadian lobster is sought after by consumers around the world, especially during this holiday season.

In order to sustain this industry, it is vital that our fishermen have access to new markets. Could the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans tell the House what our government is doing to ensure that the lobster industry continues to grow?

Taxation November 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, in less than a week, three Liberal candidates have expressed how they want to force middle-class families to pay more taxes. The very same day he announced he was running for the Liberal Party, the Liberal candidate Bill Casey told CTV that the Liberal leader will raise taxes on Canadian families. He confirmed once again what Canadian families know, that the Liberals want Canadians to pay higher taxes.

While the Liberals line the pockets of bureaucrats, our Conservative government will continue to give benefits to all families with children. Parents will now receive nearly $2,000 dollars for every child under six, and $720 dollars for every child aged six to seventeen. Thanks to the family tax cut and the enhanced universal childcare benefit, parents can rest assured that they will be the ones making the decisions for their children, not big government.

Our government sees the importance of parents having the final say. Why cannot the NDP and Liberals see it

Taxation November 3rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, last week the Prime Minister announced a historic plan to help make life more affordable for families, and all families with children would benefit. However, members do not have to take my word for it. Well-known economist Jack Mintz said:

The Conservative family tax package addresses a current inequity in the tax system, helping all Canadian families with kids”.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said a whopping 71% of its members support it, and the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada has praised it, too. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has applauded us and is among the many Canadian organizations that agree with our government's move to put money back into the pockets of hard-working families.

Fisheries and Oceans October 21st, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the lobster fishery is crucial to Atlantic Canada's economy, specifically in rural and coastal areas. In order to grow this industry, it is essential that measures be taken to ensure its sustainability and to provide access to new markets. Can the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans tell this House what she is doing to foster growth in the lobster fishery and to provide access to new markets?

James Michael Flaherty Building October 20th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, last week, in memory of our friend and colleague, the Hon. Jim Flaherty, the Prime Minister announced the name of the newest Government of Canada building.

Jim was truly one of a kind, steadfast and bold. He introduced key tax relief measures, such as the tax-free savings account, the universal child care benefit and the registered disability savings plan. He put us on the path to a balanced budget.

In honour of Jim and as a tribute to his eight years of dedicated service to the people of Canada, the James Michael Flaherty Building will stand as a testament to his legacy and his memory.

For his many years here in Ottawa, Jim livened the House with his charming wit, his good humour and his lively spirit. It is with great pride that we mark this occasion, and I know I have the support of the House in wishing the Flaherty family the strength and the courage that Jim so effortlessly shared with all of us.