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  • His favourite word is border.

Conservative MP for Parry Sound—Muskoka (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1 April 16th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I want the member to drill just a bit deeper on infrastructure. During an election campaign and then in budget after budget the government promised the infrastructure. Where is the infrastructure? The infrastructure will ensure we have more Chinese billionaires in the belt and road initiative, but where is the infrastructure for Canada?

Birthday Wishes March 20th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to send happy 70th birthday wishes to Mr. Bobby Orr. In my riding of Parry Sound—Muskoka, there is no debate that he is the greatest hockey player to ever lace them up.

From an early age, it was evident that Bobby was a phenom. In rinks across Ontario, young Bobby would glide with ease from one end of the rink to the other, scoring goals for the Parry Sound Shamrocks at will, a scene that would be replayed many more times throughout his Hall of Fame career.

While his hockey career is known to many Canadians, they may not know that his hockey prowess is also matched by his great generosity and humanity. He has given so much back to Canada and his hometown of Parry Sound, including his annual youth awards, which I have had the honour of attending many times.

I call on hockey fans in the House today and across Canada to join me in wishing number four, Bobby Orr, a happy 70th birthday.

Business of Supply February 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I find it passing strange that the parliamentary secretary is explaining how much his government respects public servants and allows them to do their jobs. However, in the Atwal case, which involved inviting a terrorist assassin to a dinner, which the Liberal government did, the first thing the government did was throw the public servants under the bus. Where is the respect there?

However, my question for the hon. member is about the issue at hand. The Auditor General's report made it very clear that the Liberal government ignored the warnings. The Liberal government did not respond to the warnings for months. The Liberal government had no governing mechanism to deal with this issue for months and months. How can the hon. member stand in his place and say that it is all somebody else's fault when the Liberals ignored the warnings, did not set up the system to deal with the warnings, and now everybody is further into the mess on this?

Business of Supply February 26th, 2018

Well, you're the government. Take responsibility.

Business of Supply February 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, that was vaguely not Churchillian.

I am proud of my record in government. I am proud that I led the program that put the budget in balance, which the Liberals squandered in five seconds flat as soon as they had the reins of power.

I ask the hon. member to consider his words carefully. The hon. member is on the side of the chamber that means he is in government and responsible for activities. The Liberals are in their third year of being in government and they are still saying that things are other people's fault or happened before their term. When are they going to take responsibility, show leadership, and pay employees on time?

Business of Supply February 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is correct. The current government is the one that hit the start button on the system. The government decided to implement this system, even though it was not ready.

It is very clear that all the warning signs were there, the warning signs that meant the previous government, which did initiate this process and that is something I want to be clear on, declined to start the implementation because it knew better based on the warnings of experts and public servants, yet the current government does not show a scintilla, not a speck, of responsibility taking or apologizing for its mistakes. It apologizes for what it says are other people's mistakes, but not for its own mistakes. This is classic Liberal government subterfuge.

Business of Supply February 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Edmonton West.

I want to thank my NDP colleague from Jonquière for bringing this motion forward. It is important that we recognize that public servants across the country are still suffering as a result of the Liberal government's inability to address the mess it caused by prematurely hitting the start button on the Phoenix pay system. Like many of my colleagues in this House, my office has heard those terrible stories of families and retirees, hard-working citizens of our nation, who have had their lives severely damaged by the government's implementation of the Phoenix system before it was ready for rollout.

This is a basic issue. As the member for Jonquière herself said, surely one of the basic tenets of the administration of government, which the Liberal Party claims to be good at, is that it pays its people on time for the work they do. Surely that is one of the basic things one can expect from a government, yet for year one of the government, for year two of the government, and now for year three of the government, this has been an abject failure of the party and the government. The failures of the government have played havoc with people's lives and their finances. We know now that this problem will be compounded for years to come as employees' retirement situations are left in the lurch, thanks to the mistakes being made and not rectified today.

As my colleague's motion addresses, the government was completely oblivious to the warnings sent out by departmental staff and the unions to not move forward with Phoenix. In fact, the previous Conservative government, as I mentioned in my questions and comments, held off on hitting the start button more than once because of similar warnings. After starting the system prematurely, the Liberal government continued on its clueless path, and that has now created this runaway train.

There is plenty of evidence to bear this out, much of it in the Auditor General's report released before Christmas. The Auditor General reported that it took the Liberals four months to recognize that there were serious pay problems, and it took about a year to have a better understanding of the situation. By the time the Liberals woke up to the mess they had made, the number of public servants in departments and agencies using the Miramichi pay centre who had outstanding pay requests quadrupled to more than 150,000.

Until about a year after Phoenix was launched, the government was still responding to pay problems willy-nilly as they arose. The Auditor General reported that by last summer, which was almost two years into the Liberals' mandate, the Liberals still had no road map to deal with the problems they themselves had created. The problems grew to the point that as of June 2017, unresolved errors in pay amounted to over half a billion dollars. That is half a billion dollars of unresolved pay amounts.

The evidence does not stop there. Let us look at the Liberals' ineptitude in reviewing the system-related issues with Phoenix. The system has about 200 custom programs to handle some of the 80,000 federal government pay rules and to work with departmental human resources systems to process pay. The government determined that it needed to analyze all 200 of these programs to identify the system-related sources of pay errors. However, the government started its analysis only in March 2017, more than a year after the pay problems started to be reported, and by last fall, it had analyzed only six of the 200 custom programs. That is not good enough. It is not good enough at all.

To make the situation abundantly clear, I will cite from the Auditor General's report:

Public Services and Procurement Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat did not recognize early enough that they needed a comprehensive governance structure to resolve pay problems and develop a sustainable solution. Public Services and Procurement Canada initially responded to pay problems on its own and did not fully involve departments and agencies in developing a plan to resolve pay problems.

The Auditor General found that 16 months after the pay problems first arose, there was still no comprehensive governance structure to resolve the underlying causes of the problems. In contrast, as my hon. colleagues in the NDP have indicated, Queensland Health, a government department in the Australian state of Queensland, which had similar problems with a pay system, put in place a comprehensive governance structure within four months of the pay problems arising. There were 16 months of non-response from the current Liberal government versus a four-month response in Queensland, Australia.

The Liberals' lack of awareness and the complete lack of willingness to address this mess is not only astounding but is a complete and utter failure of competency that is hurting many thousands of public servants and their families.

Today's motion is a reminder that the Liberals are still, unfortunately for this country, floundering on this file, while public servants' lives and the lives of their families continue to be irreparably damaged. So many of them have reached out to their members of Parliament for assistance, really as a last resort. However, I must report in this place that our offices have received little by way of support from the government. In November, as my hon. colleague for Edmonton West has already indicated, the minister said that she was willing to help MPs' offices by providing specific resources for the Phoenix cases pouring in every week. However, after months of no response, we learned that the additional resources amount to Liberal staffers taking down details in the minister's office. That is not good enough by a long shot.

We still have these outstanding cases, and I am sure that if we were to add the cases of our NDP and Liberal colleagues on top of what my Conservative colleagues know, that number would rise significantly. There are 300 cases among the Conservative caucus alone. I daresay that it is the tip of the iceberg. It is another example of how the Liberals promised more support but failed to deliver.

Therefore, today, in the spirit of holding the government to account on this file and not letting the voices of Phoenix victims go silent in the House, I and my colleagues will be supporting this motion, and I sincerely hope that members on the government side do the same.

Business of Supply February 26th, 2018

Further to that, Mr. Speaker, and to support the hon. member in his response, if the hon. member opposite on the Liberal benches wants evidence, it is called the Auditor General's report, which those members solemnly said they agreed with and would support and are now denying.

Would the hon. member think it would be germane to the NDP motion if he were to hear that the minister in charge of the file on the Phoenix pay system during the Conservative rule, the hon. member for Haldimand—Norfolk, had a presentation made to her in July 2015, wherein the people in the bureaucracy responsible for the pay system said, “We are ready to go. Please press the start button.” She refused to press the start button because she realized there were still problems with the system and it was not ready to go.

It did not occur during a Conservative government, because the minister responsible did the right thing and did not press the start button. The Liberals did press the start button when they were not ready and when there were still problems in the system. Is that germane to the motion?

Foreign Investment February 8th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, again the Liberals are trying to pull the wool over Canadians' eyes by giving false assurances that all is well with China's takeover of construction giant Aecon. We know this Chinese-run company is rotten with corruption. We also know Aecon is involved with critical Canadian infrastructure projects in the hydro, nuclear, and military sectors.

I have a simple question. Will the minister commit in the House today to formally direct security agencies to undertake a full section 25 national security review and not just a perfunctory screening?

Foreign Investment February 7th, 2018

That was a non-answer, Mr. Speaker. Let us try again.

The Chinese company poised to take over Canadian construction giant Aecon is rampant with corruption and has just been blacklisted by Bangladesh for that very reason. We know Aecon has been awarded numerous sensitive Canadian government contracts, including working with our military and in the nuclear sector.

When Bangladesh is sounding alarm bells, why is Canada staying silent and not calling for a full national security review of the takeover of Aecon?