Hometown: I was born in city just East of Regina in the same province as John Diefenbaker
Little Known Fact: I can sing all 50 states and their capitals to an Animaniacs tune. My first job was making popcorn at football games.
So tell us about yourself: I’m 6’4” and with blue eyes and brown hair with a medium build. I enjoy trying new restaurants, long walks on the beach…oh wait. That’s starting to sound like an e-harmony ad. I am a father of four wonderful kids with number five on the way. I have a B.A. in history and was an insurance broker before entering politics. I am married to my very supportive and understanding wife Jill. We are dedicated Rider and Seahawks fans. We are parishioners at Our Lady of Peace in Regina.
Why should voters hire you? I’m really good at my job. They have hired me four times since 2004. In that time I have been able to deliver on major projects for my riding such as funding for the wastewater plant in Regina, over $200 million to build overpasses in White City, Pilot Butte and Balgonie and the Global Transportation Hub. All these investments help promote economic growth in Saskatchewan. I also have a strong track record of helping individual constituents with their case files.
Who should we call for a reference? Any one of the hundreds of constituents whom I have helped with their case work. Any of the mayors of the towns which have benefited from Building Canada investments. Any of my fellow MP who choose me to be their Speaker in the 41st Parliament. The manager at the Insurance Broker where I got my start in the private sector. Or my kids…they usually have nice things to say about me.
What is your greatest strength? Before I make a decision I seek input from a wide variety of sources. I really like to look at all angles on an issue. I never make a rash decision. Only when I feel like I know the whole story and understand all the ramifications will I proceed with a course of action.
What is your greatest weakness? Spiders…they are my kryptonite. If I had to pick one thing that would be identified as a weakness, it would be my untidiness. My staff are constantly clearing off my desk when visitors come to tour the Speaker’s offices. It’s never dirty or unclean, just cluttered. My home office looks like an explosion went off in a Staples.
Where do you stand on the following?
The economy: I look at people who create wealth through investment, risk and hard work with admiration. They should be celebrated and rewarded, not punished. What the left does not understand is that government has never created wealth. It simply takes from one to give to another. We cannot have a social safety net if there is not a productive sector creating jobs, wealth and opportunity. I reject the politics of envy. Low taxes and more freedom is the best recipe for prosperity that human beings have ever discovered.
Health care: Canadians deserve a world-class health care system where nobody is left without coverage. We can absolutely have a policy where the provinces are free to manage their own systems, while the federal government is there to provide financial support. Despite the NDP’s misinformation, our government has increased Health Transfers to record levels.
Keystone, Northern Gateway and other proposed pipelines: Support, support and support. Thousands in Regina depend on pipeline projects for their jobs. The NDP’s promise to cancel these pipelines will lead to massive layoffs in our area. More pipelines mean more markets, which will lead to better prices for our commodities. It will also take the pressure of our rail system, freeing up capacity for our farmers.
Canadian military involvement in Syria: You cannot help refugees without stopping the terrorists who are creating the problem in the first place. The radical jihadi movement will not stop. They hate Jews, Christians, and anyone else who does not subscribe to their fundamentalist view of Islam. All countries who profess to stand for human rights have an obligation to do what it can to stop them. Canada is rightly joining the fight against these barbaric terrorists. We need a government with the courage to condemn evil, not one that is afraid to make an objective moral judgment or one that is too politically correct to call a terrorist a terrorist.
Climate change: Of course the Earth’s climate is changing. The Conservative government has taken real action on reducing greenhouse gases. Instead of instituting a carbon tax that would literally raise the cost of everything, we are working with each sector to bring our emissions down. And it is working!
Legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana: As a parent of four, soon to be five, I oppose plans to make it easier to sell or produce drugs.
Senate Reform: I support an elected Senate with meaningful term limits.
GMO crops: GMO crops are invaluable to our agricultural sector. So many people oppose them for reasons more likely based on a comment they saw on social media than on any scientific research. Farmers have been genetically modifying crops since they first started breeding different varieties to maximize or minimize certain traits thousands of years ago.
Should personal firearms be registered? Would you support re-opening a discussion on some kind of registry? I voted against the long-gun registry every time I could. It was a waste of money, and did nothing to combat crime. I would not support re-opening a discussion on a new registry, since that would distract Parliament from discussing meaningful ways to combat crime.
It’s a day off and you can have anything you want for dinner. What would it be? My wife bought me a smoker last year. I have a great recipe for a smoked beef sirloin roast that goes great with creamy horseradish and red cabbage. My favourite part of the summer is when we can host some neighbours, fire up the smoker or bbq, and enjoy a few beverages on the deck as we soak in our long Saskatchewan evenings.
Who inspires you? Margaret Thatcher and John Paul II. Thatcher for her unapologetic promotion of economic and individual freedom. She transformed the UK from an economic, socialist basket case into a modern economy that has lifted millions out of poverty. Her reforms worked so well that even 13 years of Labour government did not repeal them. Heck, even Tom Mulcair thought she did a good job. John Paul II for his ability to speak truth to power throughout the world, but especially in Eastern Europe. His message forced a world that was mired in moral relativism to reawaken and accept that there are objective rights and wrongs and those who love peace and freedom and human rights cannot sit on the sidelines.
How do you take your coffee? Black. No unnecessary calories for me. Just a simple caffeine ingestion medium.
Guilty pleasure: Anything Star Trek. And this one I learned from my mom: After a roast beef dinner, I butter up a piece of bread and mop up all the drippings left in the pan. My wife nearly gags when she watches me do it, but it is delicious!
Last book read: Wolf Hall – a historical fiction piece about King Henry VIII’s court as he attempts to divorce his wife.
Favourite TV show: The Simpsons and Jeopardy