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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was justice.

Last in Parliament July 2013, as Conservative MP for Provencher (Manitoba)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 71% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Safer Witnesses Act May 30th, 2013

The member across the way is chirping because she does not have anything substantive to say on the record, but the issue is I just do not understand, how do I respond to zero amendments, an admission by the opposition that the bill is a good bill? It needs to be expedited, but members want to stand in the way.

Safer Witnesses Act May 30th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I have a lot of respect for the member. What I fail to understand is that he indicates somehow that expanding debate by 20 hours a week is somehow running away from an issue. Twenty hours a week is a substantive amount of time that I might point out members opposite voted against.

I am not exactly sure what he means by saying we are running away from debate. Debate on what? I appeared in front of the committee. I responded to every objection that was raised. At the end of the day, the NDP raised no amendments. New Democrats were obviously satisfied with the position that our government had taken, that my presence at committee and the comments of my colleagues in the House had satisfied them that the bill was as good as it could possibly get.

Safer Witnesses Act May 30th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about this specific bill, because that is the one I am focused on.

The people of Canada expect that I will justify why this process is being utilized in this particular case. I have commented very clearly about why it is justified in this case, noting that there has been vigorous debate over no amendments for a long period of time. This bill has been brought forward in committee, and it has resulted in absolutely no amendments.

I know the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is concerned that as an independent member she does not get enough time to speak from time to time. I dispute that. I think the government has brought more to the floor for independence than any government has.

Be that as it may, why would that member want to see a debate over nothing prolonged, knowing that it will have an impact on her future ability to speak in this House?

Safer Witnesses Act May 30th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, it is not the government itself that has said this is an urgent matter, but the members across the way.

If the members across the way are saying that this is an urgent matter, then the questions become, “What issues need to be determined in the context of this urgency? What needs to be clarified? What needs to be fixed?”

The response of the opposition is a deafening silence. There is nothing in respect of this bill.

I cannot comment on the other times that closure has been invoked in this House, but from my point of view, when I stand up to respond to arguments being made, there has to be some kind of substantive argument. In this case, zero amendments have been proposed.

I have to take the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca at his word that the opposition members want to expedite this, yet everything that I hear them say says they want to drag their feet. They have to explain to the people of Canada that they want to have a vigorous debate about nothing.

Safer Witnesses Act May 30th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I think that is an important question and one that was very well put.

It is indeed a principle that I have always accepted. We should negotiate when there are differences of opinion in respect to a bill. Mr. Speaker, I think you, as legal counsel, understand the importance of that approach as well.

However, one of the things I found out is that if one side is negotiating and advancing a position and the other side has zero response in terms of objections, it is difficult to negotiate. We can state our position, but when everybody on the other side says that is a great position, then that is the end of the negotiation.

We are not against negotiations, but there has been nothing to negotiate with. There have been no amendments put forward. This is not an issue of the government saying that it does not want to negotiate; this is the other side saying that since 2010 it has wanted this measure to be passed on an expedited basis.

We have waited patiently, but there has been no sound coming from the other side in any substantive amendments. Therefore, we are left with the unsettling feeling that this is not about bona fide negotiations but just an attempt to drag this matter out.

That is my concern here.

Safer Witnesses Act May 30th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, while I appreciate the comments, I am not going to get into the specifics of the bill because that is not really the purpose of this discussion.

However, I would note the comments of the Canadian Police Association, which has been very supportive of the initiatives we brought forward as a government. In fact, many of the initiatives we brought forward have been inspired by consultations with the Canadian Police Association and the chiefs of police. We want to thank them very much for that.

Getting back to the comments of the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, he indicated that he had been interested in this file since June 2010, when the Air India commission of inquiry released its report. For three years the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca and his colleagues have been working on this file. They have committed to expedite it. They have said that it is very important and it should be expedited. The government has said, “Fine”. The police also want to move this bill quickly. However, the question that comes to me is this: what substantive changes need to be made, while still respecting the principle of expediency that the NDP is advancing here?

There have been zero amendments proposed by the NDP.

Safer Witnesses Act May 30th, 2013

He is their lead critic, as the member for Crowfoot points out.

He said:

Also, of course, we have committed to expediting its passage through the House. We believe it's important legislation. It's something we've been interested in since the time of the Air India inquiry...

They have been on this since the time of the Air India inquiry. What has their response been? Zero amendments.

Safer Witnesses Act May 30th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I can see how sensitive the members are on the other side. If they will not listen to me, let us listen to the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca. What did he say about the bill?

Safer Witnesses Act May 30th, 2013

The member across the way is chirping, as she usually does, but what I would like to say with regard to the issue of accountability is that the member who just spoke promised his constituents that he would vote to abolish the long gun registry. He promised every one of them whenever he could, because he realized it was a contentious matter. However, when he came back to Ottawa he changed his mind, so I do not need any lessons from that individual about accountability.

Let us get to the issue of this particular bill itself.

The Liberals and the New Democrats have supported this legislation at every stage. They have not proposed one amendment, not even a technical amendment. What they want to do is drag out the clock. Then when we say we should add 20 hours of debate to the week, what is their response? No.

Safer Witnesses Act May 30th, 2013

Mr. Speaker, I think all of us want to get home at some time or another, but the point is that I was here until one o'clock this morning. I was here prepared to debate the bills and speak to matters. In fact, I asked questions last night.