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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is report.

Liberal MP for Malpeque (P.E.I.)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 62% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions on the Order Paper January 29th, 2018

With regard to the contract that was signed between Transport Canada and the City of Charlottetown and any of its agencies pertaining to the Charlottetown Port Authority: (a) what are the guidelines or conditions of use; and (b) do these include a provision for industrial use?

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation Act December 11th, 2017

Madam Speaker, this is the moment we have been waiting for, and I will conclude with many thanks to all colleagues who have contributed to the debate and discussion of Bill S-236, an act to recognize Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation, including especially those who took the time during third reading to express their vision for Canada's future.

I want to quote a member from each of the parties. The member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, with the official opposition, said:

This bill gives us the wonderful opportunity to remember and honour our national history, to recall the humble beginnings and soaring dreams of the first of our leaders, who dreamed of a united Canada.

I cannot think of a better way or better time for us to celebrate our accomplishments, both at home and around the world, than by passing a bill like this in our sesquicentennial year.

The member for Victoria, with the third party, said:

Being proud of a country's heritage and commemorating important historical events is worthwhile for most countries, but I think it is especially so for Canada. We should feel proud of our accomplishments. We are a country comprising remarkably diverse regions and remarkably diverse people.

As Canada moves forward to the next 150 years of nationhood, I hope we can strive to be more inclusive of other voices and cultural narratives so that they might also be celebrated and acknowledged.

The member for Charlottetown said:

As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we can see the evolution of our country, our democracy, and our values. Our very roots, as evidenced by what took place in Charlottetown, were not about conflict or war: They were about finding mutual ground and working out our differences.

Those three quotes, from different parties in this House, sum up to a great extent what Canada is all about. The passing of this bill means a great deal to Prince Edward Island and to our provincial legislature, which passed an unanimous motion encouraging the support of parliamentarians, and to the Atlantic region as we share and develop the Confederation story. For Canada, this has been a chance to recognize and honour Confederation, and reflect on important ways in which we must work to shape the future of our country.

To close, it is the character of Canada, that vision founded in 1864, some of the things coming out of that meeting, that we are a country that works by negotiation. We are seen on the world stage in that light as well. It is that idea of coming together in common cause that has shaped our history since its founding.

The Charlottetown Conference certainly may be viewed as the watershed moment in the story of Confederation, the point at which Confederation turned from idea into prospect. This is what Bill S-236 is all about, recognition of Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation.

My colleagues and I humbly ask for this House's support in this year of Canada's 150 celebration. It seems quite appropriate to do it at this time. Simply put, I ask the House to get it done and pass Bill S-236.

Committees of the House December 8th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 21st report of the Standing Committee on Finance entitled, “Driving Inclusive Growth: Spurring Productivity And Competitiveness In Canada”.

I want to especially thank committee members of all parties for their long hours and diligent work, and the public for their input, with over 400 submissions made and over 300 witnesses appearing. Finally, I want to thank the clerk of the committee, Suzie Cadieux; the analysts, Brett Capstick and Andrew Barton; and the research assistants, Shaowei Pu and Stephanie Stark.

I am hopeful that the summary of this report, which includes some 92 recommendations, will assist the government in moving forward to assist the business community and persons in this country into becoming more competitive and productive so that we become a more prosperous society for Canadians well into the future.

Partnership for Peace Consortium December 7th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, last May, I was a guest at a partnership for peace conference in Budapest, Hungary, where I presented the Canadian perspective on intelligence reform and best practices. A specific focus was given to areas of improvement and the need to integrate commonly understood ethics with intelligence practices.

The conference was sponsored by the Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes. Canada is an active member of the organization. The consortium promotes multinational collaboration on security and defence reform. Canada's membership in such multinational organizations helps shape future global security decision-making and promotes Canadian interests and values.

May the House recognize the Partnership for Peace Consortium's contribution in promoting stability, security, and democracy.

Employment December 5th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, those of us on the government side ran on a platform of investing in Canadians, creating jobs, and growing the economy. In fact, last week the reports coming out showed that the economy is doing very well, meaning more Canadians are working in productive work and adding to the economy. But there are others who are not participating in the economy and are still looking for work. Can the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour tell me what she is going to do to build on—

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation Act December 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, as often happened in the early years, whether in the United States or here, there were the leaders who came together. They were certainly there. There were no big crowds in the streets, as we would find today at many such gatherings, but it was mainly the representatives of the people who came together, debated, and discussed. They made the decisions that encapsulated the vision that became Canada.

As I mentioned in my speech, those were different times. Indigenous people were not invited to the conference and neither were women. We do live in different times 153 years later, and that reflects the errors of the ways in those times. However, it is part of our history, and because of that we are now able to build on it as we move forward to be a much more inclusive, all encompassing, and open society.

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation Act December 4th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the member's comments and thank him for his compliments for Prince Edward Island. He, of course, can catch a plane out of Winnipeg, maybe stop in Toronto, and get to Prince Edward Island. We would welcome him a couple of times a year if he would like to come.

That said, islanders do see the senate chamber in Province House as an important place of history in Canada's development. It certainly was a spark or moment in time when a maritime conference was planned and Sir John A. Macdonald and others sailed down there in boats. I understand they had champagne in the hull of their ship as they arrived in Charlottetown. They turned what was to be a maritime conference into what would become the birthplace and vision for Confederation.

To Parks Canada' credit, Province House is being renovated now, and when one walks up the worn steps of Province House one sees the decor. It is not a huge place. However, there is a sense of history when one walks through what was then the senate chamber and see the table where our founding fathers came together and decided on their vision for this great country. Their vision was built on in the Quebec Conference and the London Conference that came afterwards. To a great extent this is why we have the country we have today.

When I was the president of the NFU, I often mentioned that Canadians need to see more of Canada and the tremendous potential we have as a country, which, in many respects, is second to none compared to others around the world. That vision happened in Charlottetown and we are proud of it as islanders.

Recognition of Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation Act December 4th, 2017

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

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to rise again to speak to Bill S-236, an act to recognize Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation.

It has been a privilege to be a part of and to witness the debate and discussions surrounding the bill in both the other place and within the House.

At the legal and constitutional affairs committee in the other place, four amendments were made to the bill. One was a correction in translation and the other three improved the context and clarified the content of the bill. That debate brought renewed interest in the story of our great nation's founding and improved the bill.

Let me once again reiterate the bill's fundamental objectives: to affirm Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation; to complement provincial efforts; and, to build on the designation of Charlottetown as the birthplace of our country in order to honour, celebrate, share, and educate.

In the spirit of building on this designation, it is important to acknowledge once again a point that was raised throughout the examination of the bill, that being the lack of inclusive discussions at the Charlottetown Conference in 1864. Those were indeed different times. No indigenous people were involved and no women participated.

Dr. Ed MacDonald of the University of Prince Edward Island made an important point before the Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs, “Confederation is not Canada, and it is not the story of Canada. It is one of the stories of Canada.”

I would like to fully read into the record, as was done in the other place, the statement issued by the Mi'kmaq Confederacy when consulted by my hon. colleague Senator Diane Griffin:

While the chiefs are generally supportive of the concept of Charlottetown being recognized as the birthplace of Confederation, they note that Prince Edward Island has been the home of the Mi'kmaq people for over 12,000 years, yet they were not invited to the Charlottetown Conference. In creating this legislative recognition, the chiefs believe that moving forward, the Government of Canada must include the indigenous peoples of this land on a nation-to-nation basis in all matters. This would also involve honouring the historic peace and friendship treaties with the Mi'kmaq.

Though we cannot rewrite history we can move forward with the lessons that we have learned over time and recognize and value the importance of an inclusive society, one that respects diversity in all of its forms and the value that it brings. In my view, the Charlottetown Conference was a beginning and in each of the 153 years since that time, we have built on that vision and we will build further on that vision going forward.

The Charlottetown Conference may be viewed as the watershed moment in the story of Confederation, the point at which Confederation turned from idea into prospect. However, the importance of the Quebec Conference in 1864 and the London Conference two years later cannot be understated.

During consideration in the other place, the preamble of Bill S-236 was amended in order to acknowledge those important conferences and to recognize Confederation as a process, a result achieved through the participation of many.

Before I became an MP I served for quite a number of years as president of the National Farmers Union. In that capacity I had the opportunity to travel in many of the farming areas of this country and spend the night in people's homes, to live in the communities, and to see the differences in the regions within Canada from coast to coast to coast. That experience showed me the great potential of this country. Canada may be diverse in terms of our regions and our sectors but in that diversity we find strength. I really do believe the founding fathers built better than they knew and we have tremendous potential for progress in the future.

Let me come back to the theme of inclusiveness and relationship building. It is my hope that Bill S-236 will inspire reflection on how we can build on the story of Confederation, and how together we can develop a narrative moving forward. One possibility is to develop the narrative through tourism. As the member for Malpeque, it is my privilege to represent an area that is so rich in culture, history, and beauty. Each year, my province welcomes many Canadians and international visitors from around the world, as do many other areas of Canada. We have some of Canada's most incredible treasures in Prince Edward Island, and we do not take that responsibility for their stewardship lightly. Islanders recognize as well the value of Province House, the last remaining building of the Confederation conferences and the story of Confederation, to boost tourism and serve as an important economic generator for us.

We also recognize the importance of a common vision to promote growth. In the spirit of Sir John A. Macdonald and the Fathers of Confederation, who travelled to New Brunswick and throughout the Maritimes after the conference in Charlottetown, I am confident that together we will find new and innovative ways to attract and educate Canadian and international visitors alike and build on both the rich history of Canada's Atlantic region and the story of Confederation.

It is important to reflect on that foundational time in our history as we near the end of the year-long celebration of our nation's 150th birthday. We look forward to the next 150 years as a progressive, inclusive, and growing country.

I want to thank those who have contributed in important ways to where we find ourselves today with the bill: Senator Diane Griffin, the sponsor in the other place; the member for Charlottetown; former MP George Proud; many other islanders who worked hard toward gaining the bill; Dr. Ed MacDonald; and all my colleagues in this place and the other place whose invaluable contributions to the bill made it better. The debate itself has allowed us to reflect, to honour, and to educate during this important year for Canada.

It is my hope that the next time I walk over the time-worn steps of Province House and stand in the chamber where the Fathers stood that this moment, which is enshrined in history, will also be enshrined in law.

Committees of the House November 22nd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 19th report of the Standing Committee on Finance in relation to Bill C-63, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017, and other measures. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House without amendment.

I want to thank all committee members from all parties, who worked diligently and co-operatively to get this bill back in a timely manner.

Department of Public Works and Government Services Act November 6th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I certainly want to thank my colleagues of all parties who spoke and offered their support for Bill S-236, that Charlottetown is the birthplace of Confederation.

When there are debates in this place, we sometimes do not agree and sometimes we do. Even when we agree, we always learn something new. I thank the members for York—Simcoe and Victoria. I learned something new from their remarks. I really liked the approach of the member for Brandon—Souris who appealed to the compromises we could make within our parties. The member and I did not always compromise on the farm movement, but just like the lessons of Confederation, we always learn some lessons as time passes.

It could be summed up best on why this was the birthplace of Confederation. I will read a note, which I believe comes from the archives. It says:

On the first official day of the conference, Macdonald spoke at length about the benefits of a union of all of British North America. The next day, Galt - a businessman, finance minister, and railway promoter - presented a well-researched description of the financial workings of such a union. On the third day, George Brown discussed the legal structure. And on the fourth day, McGee praised the nationalist identity, one that he saw bolstered by a vivid Canadian literature.

On every day of the conference, people spoke about building a greater nation.

I will sum up by saying thanks to all those in the House who offered their support at this stage of the bill today. We ought to recognize our founding fathers who met in Charlottetown and, yes, who went further in other conferences, such as the Quebec Conference and the London Conference. Over the years, we have learned, as the member for Victoria mentioned, about ensuring we are inclusive, about bringing in all peoples of our country and about what we are doing in this day and age. I can truly say, with the meeting and this bill to endorse Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation, that the founding fathers built, better than they new, a great nation, Canada, from coast to coast to coast.