Background of a Busy MP
John Weston, M.P
West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country
John Weston is recognized as one of the hardest working MPs serving in the House of Commons today. Highly educated and experienced in business, John speaks English, French, and Mandarin. He is dedicated to serving all constituents in the large and diverse riding he represents which he calls the “Most Beautiful Place on Earth”. In addition to successfully attracting significant amounts of investment to these vibrant communities, John also has several advisory committees composed of volunteers who are experts in a multitude of various fields. John collaborates with them to set priorities and assure a high level of efficiency in the service of diverse people and communities. John sits on the Fisheries and Immigration Committees and is a member of the Aboriginal Affairs Minister’s Caucus Advisory Committee – three committees very relevant to British Columbians. He also chairs the Canada-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group, is a member of the Canada-China Parliamentary Group, chairs the Parliamentary Fitness Initiative; and is the first ever Government Liaison to the Iranian and Persian Community in Canada. Ever energetic, he listens to his constituents’ needs and never turns down a worthwhile challenge! John is married to Donna and is proud Dad to three children – Shane, 16; Jake, 14; and Meimei, 13.
Get to Know John
John studied International Relations at Harvard and Law at Osgoode Hall; he also learned languages in Switzerland, Poland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. He has run successful law firms in Taiwan and Vancouver, and is a member of the bars of B.C. and New York, and of the Law Society of England & Wales.
In addition to his career in international law, John has a solid foundation in constitutional law. During repatriation of Canada’s Constitution, John worked as a summer student in the Constitutional Affairs Departments of the Governments of BC (1979,1980,1981) and Quebec (1982). In 2002, John joined with others concerned about individual rights to found the Canadian Constitution Foundation.
John is a passionate advocate for human rights and has spoken in the House, at home, and abroad to urge action against oppression. With a long background of community service that predates his work as parliamentarian, John chaired Canadian Food for the Hungry International and, in West Vancouver, coached soccer and helped lead Beavers and Cubs.
John and his active family – wife, Donna, and children, Shane, Jake, and Meimei – enjoy a wide range of sports. Among other things, he ran the 2013 Ottawa Half-Marathon and cycled in the inaugural 122-kilometre “Gran Fondo” bike race from Vancouver to Whistler. His advocacy for national health and fitness comes naturally!
Work in the Riding
John represents 130,000 constituents in the “Most Beautiful Place on Earth”, a huge riding with many distinct communities, separated from the national capital by way of a 5-hour plane flight. Faithfully dedicated to the people he serves, John frequently hosts forums, from small meetings in his North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Powell River, and Ottawa offices, to gatherings in coffee shops, classrooms, and larger town hall settings to ensure that people’s concerns are heard. John also works closely with local leaders to promote economic development, environment, and investment in the riding.
A Great Staff to Support John – To help deliver these services to one of the largest ridings in Canada, John has assembled a first-rate team of staff and volunteers who work throughout the riding..
Economic Development & Jobs
- In the early part of the recession, business and labour leaders regularly consulted with John to ensure he received up-to-date, relevant guidance. These discussions continue to this day. They enable John to brief Ministers on key issues for the riding and the country. Ministers typically receive a well-organized welcome on their frequent visits to our riding.
- John has represented the riding in discussions on the mining and forest sectors and continues to work closely with Prime Minister’s Office and Ministers who are key to our riding.
- John triggered the founding of the Sea to Sky Fisheries Round Table, a group of dedicated volunteers with abundant expertise who consistently provide input in fisheries matters.
- John called upon the Prime Minister to act on the concerns raised by John’s Sea to Sky Fisheries Round Table, which helped bring about the launch of the Cohen Inquiry.
- Addressing Budget 2013, John introduced the concept of “The Environment IS the Economy” in a speech to the House in May 2013 (Click Here)
- John advocated for inclusion of at least two things which appeared in the 2013 Budget: investments in habitat partnerships and support for the Pacific Salmon Foundation.
- At John’s invitation, the Fisheries Committee visited our riding for the first time in over a decade.
Investment in the Riding
- John has been involved with more than 100 different projects which have benefited from over $274 million of federal funds invested in the riding since he was elected.
The attraction of business, investment, tourism, and students from abroad have been major themes in John’s work to leverage the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games – 70% of the Games’ sites were in the riding John represents.
Government Liaison for the Persian and Iranian Community in Canada
- Appointed soon after his election in 2008, John is the first-ever person to hold this position.
- He actively attends events in the community.
- In 2010, he organized and sponsored the National Tour for Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate, a dedicated human rights advocate.
- John works with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Citizenship & Immigration on matters relating to Iranian-Canadians.
- He speaks often in the House on matters relating to Iran, nuclear non-proliferation, and human rights.
- He speaks through English- and Farsi-language media about issues relevant to Persian-Canadians.
Work in the House of Commons
Through hard work and dedication, John has gained respect in all corners of the House of Commons. He is a member of multiple standing committees:
Committees are central to the operations of the House of Commons for at least three basic reasons:
- they allow for the detailed examination of complex matters which is more easily done in small groups rather than an entire assembly;
- they offer an opportunity for Members to hear from Canadians and experts on topics of national concern and to have these representations placed on the public record; and
- they provide a means for Members to probe into the details of policies and programs, thereby further developing an expertise in specific areas.
He has also served on the Standing Committees on the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration and on the Official Languages and Public Accounts. John speaks regularly in the House on matters such as the Economy, the Environment, Health, and Fitness. John lends his support to many important issues including, but not limited to:
- John has worked on several projects to promote environmental sustainability, including initiatives to bring job-creating clean technology opportunities to the region.
- John supports establishing a Green Highway corridor of clean alternative transportation, extending from Whistler, through Vancouver to the Canada/US border, where it would continue along the I-5 through Washington State and beyond to California.
- John participated in the Fisheries Committee’s 2013 unanimous report on Closed Containment Aquaculture and would like to see the Centre of Excellence proposed in that report be located in our riding
Family Policy Reform
John encourages legislative changes to help Canadian families keep more of their hard-earned money, retaining the financial security to raise their children and plan for the future. John supports policies to reduce taxes and save money, including:
- Reducing the GST
- Establishing the TFSA, providing $1200 per child (under age 6) annually
- Establishing Children’s Fitness Tax Credit
- Establishing the Disability Tax Credit
- Introducing the Arts Tax Credit
John has also worked to increase support and recognition for the senior citizens that made Canada the country it is today.
John has vocally supported:
- The government’s action against elder abuse
- Raising the age credit amount on two occasions
- Doubling the pension income credit
- Introducing pension income-splitting
- Providing help for low-income seniors
Health and Well Being
By initiating the Parliamentary Fitness Initiative, John has enabled Parliamentarians to act as role models in health and fitness. The Initiative brings together M.P.’s from all parties with volunteer national fitness coaches, in an attempt to promote health and fitness for all Canadians. The Parliamentary Fitness Initiative has been featured in television and print media (Click Here).
Private Member’s Initiatives
John has three Private Members Initiatives in various stages.
Bill C-475 – The Tackling Crystal Meth and Ecstasy Law
- Makes it a crime to acquire the products for producing crystal meth and ecstasy drugs
- Garnered unanimous support from the House and Senate
- Was enacted during John’s first term as an M.P.
- Passed into law on March 25, 2011, the second-last bill to become law in the 40th session of Parliament (2008-2011)
- Out of 780 bills submitted, one of only six Private Member’s Bills to be enacted in the 40th (Minority) Session of Parliament
Bill C-433 – National Health and Fitness Day
- Establishes the first Saturday of June every year as National Health and Fitness Day, when municipal governments are encouraged to reduce or remove fees to their recreational facilities or otherwise to recognize health and fitness for all Canadians
- Introduced in the House of Commons on September 27, 2012
- Encourages Canadians to discover their local facilities
- Raises awareness about the fact that Canadians need to exercise more
- Triggers health and economic benefits
- Has already been proclaimed by over 60 cities and towns, including Pond Inlet, Nunavut; Yellowknife, Whitehorse, all 12 municipal governments in John’s riding, Calgary; Ottawa; and Halifax
National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day
- Established a yearly date to return prescription drugs and raise awareness about the misuse of prescription drugs
- Gained unanimous support from the Association of Canadian Police Chiefs
- In 2012 and 2013, John hosted roundtable and Townhall meetings in the riding to raise awareness and solicit expert advice
- Ministers of Health and Public Safety supported the initiative and May 11th, 2013 became the first National Prescription Drug Drop-Off Day
John is an active member of the B.C. Conservative Caucus, in which he served as Vice-Chair from 2011 to 2013.
John leverages his ability to speak Mandarin and his international relations background to promote our riding’s commercial and cultural interests in the Pacific Rim. John has worked with leaders in various language communities to promote:
- Attracting foreign students
- Pacific Rim
John chairs the Canada-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group, one of the most active bilateral groups in the House of Commons
Along with five other MP’s, he represented Canada at the inauguration of Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou, in June 2012
John also accompanied Prime Minister Harper on the Prime Minister’s first-ever visits to China, Hong Kong, and Korea.
In 2013, he led a delegation of MPs to meet with President Ma, to press for an Anti- Double Taxation Agreement and a resurrection of the Terry Fox Run for cancer research in Taiwan.
The Third Annual North Shore Asian New Year Celebration in 2013, initiated and produced by John’s team, was a large public event held at Park Royal which brought together many aspects of our Pacific Rim Heritage.
John works hard to maintain ties with the representatives of China, Hong Kong, and other Pacific Rim areas.
John helped organize the March for the Victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing, on April 22, 2013, in Ottawa.
As a Harvard Graduate and Member of the New York State Bar, John is a natural spokesman on certain Canada-U.S. issues.
In the Conservative Caucus, he has acted as a hub for information on the IRS’s treatment of Canada-U.S. dual citizens.
Two issues spurred John to seek election as Chair of the Canada-Mexico Parliamentary Friendship group, which he chaired from 2011 to 2013. He made significant progress on both, as described in an article on his website.
He wanted to improve the treatment of Canadians who became caught up in the Mexican legal system.
He worked hard on increasing tourism by Mexican Nationals to Canada.