- On the Parliament site
Last in Parliament November 2005, as Conservative MP for Abbotsford (B.C.)
Won his last election, in 2004, with 61.37% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Gasoline Prices September 26th, 2005
This is interesting, Mr. Speaker, is it not? This is not Alberta's problem. This is government's problem. Let us not get tied up in here with a member standing up and saying it is x per cent or this or that per cent.
I would be willing and more than happy to table in the House an actual gas station invoice, which I have here. In fact, the actual percentage that government gets is around 39%, so let us not argue with the numbers. If the member wants the bills, he can have them, but that is not the issue here.
We cannot look at this from the Liberal government point of view and say that this is Alberta's problem. This is about an economic theory, to my mind, whereby governments should not place themselves in a position to make a profit off industry profit. That is not government's role. We can look at any economic theory and see that this is not the role of government. The motivation here is for the government to turn its back when the consumer's price goes up because that way it makes money. That is wrong.
I hope we do not let the debate deteriorate by saying, “Let me see your numbers. Let me see your small percentage of who gets what”. The fact is that the government has placed itself in a position where it makes a profit off people who are dealing with monopolies. I think the government should get back to being a little more accountable on the issue and should not blame one province or another.
Gasoline Prices September 26th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, it does not surprise me that there is no action plan. There was no action plan on softwood lumber. There is no national drug strategy, which I deal with. There are no plans. This is management by crisis.
We are now in a crisis. I dare say that a lot of us in this House have farmers in our areas. I come from a very intensive farming area. I come from an area in which people must commute from Abbotsford in the Fraser Valley to parts west. They are asking the very same thing that my colleague is asking: what is the plan? That is what is in several of the questions I have been asking: what is the plan? The plan cannot be motivated to have gas price increases because “I get more money”. That is not an economic theory that matches with any form of government. I disagree.
My colleague is right: there is no plan. That is what is concerning the nation. That is why we are here tonight debating.
Gasoline Prices September 26th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with our industry critic from Edmonton—Leduc, and if I should finish earlier, I would hope that you would give him my additional time as well.
One of the problems is that people are listening to what is being discussed but in some cases they do not understand. I am going to point out some of the things that they will likely not understand.
I first want to give people in Canada an idea of what gas prices are like. Gas prices yesterday in Williams Lake were $1.09 per litre; in Edmonton, they were 92.9¢; in Bedford, Nova Scotia, they were $1.11. In fact, the difference between one city to another in one case was 19¢ a litre. We can trace some of this difference right back to speculation, which I want to talk a little about.
In Marystown, Newfoundland for instance, on September 1 at 5:52 p.m. the price per litre was $1.25. At 5:55 a.m. the price was $1.16. That is 0.09¢ in that rapid amount of time. When someone comes up to that pump, they do not understand this price fluctuation and, quite frankly, some of the reasoning given by our Liberal members over there does not make sense at all to many people. In my own town, for instance, we watched how on September 5 at 3:54 p.m. in the afternoon it was 90¢ a litre and at 3:56 p.m. at one pump it was $1.00 a litre. It goes like that.
We can stand here and give all the excuses we want but tell the person who is earning that kind of money, trying to earn a living out there and watching the price go like that at the pump.
Forty per cent of the cost of a litre pays federal, provincial and municipal taxes, including the GST. Thirty-eight per cent of the cost pays for the crude oil, 17% is the refiner's margin and 5% is the retail margin. So clearly, 40% of the cost of a litre is taxes. That is pretty well known. It is on every sticker at every gas station.
In fact, I went to a gas station in my community and I talked to the owner. I asked him how much money he was making. He said it was the same, he got the same amount. In fact, he gave me one of his invoices from the oil company and the price before taxes per litre was 0.67266¢. That is 67¢ a litre. Then it shows provincial fuel tax, 14.5¢; federal excise tax, 10¢; and goods and services, 6.4¢. It raised the price of that fuel per litre from 67.2¢ to 91.7¢. Then of course the owner adds on his margin and it goes to 98¢, and that is what we see at the pumps.
The minister said there is no magic bullet for this, and perhaps to some extent he is right. He talked about supply and demand in economic terms, and I suppose to that extent he is right. But then he said hurricane Rita was at fault. Now, it happens that the dates that I read out were not necessarily dates that hurricane Rita caused the problem. It was panic marketing that caused the problem and whoever is out there, whether it is industry, or media, or politicians, or whoever it is at the pumps, this is really not purely supply and demand. This is called panic marketing, and the people who gain from this, quite frankly gain 40%, are in the House of Commons.
I listened today to some answers in question period. Basically they said, “Well, gee, we are not making that much. After all, the money is going to a good use”. I think hospital equipment was named; it was also said that it is going back to the municipalities for infrastructure. Yes, the municipalities are getting some income for infrastructure. However, the government is recovering a great deal of that just by price fluctuations and increases and a percentage on the increase of the take.
The problem here is that government, on that rare occasion of being in a position of trying to keep the price of goods and services low, is highly motivated, like industry is, to make the best profit. That is not the role of government in pure economic theory. We can read any book there is. I am a cost accountant by profession and I have read many. In pure economic theory the role of government is not to have a bottom line profit margin, but that is what is happening here. It is difficult indeed to convince anybody in this country that this government is not benefiting from a price fluctuation, and in fact an increase in price, because the government is.
What do we do? We have called for some reduction in taxes, but the motivation to do so is not there on the other side. How are we going to get a grasp on a government that has an insatiable appetite for revenue so that it can spend that revenue for whatever purposes it has?
It does not matter which government it is. I am not finding fault just with this government; it just happens to be the Liberal government in power. For any government to be in a position to profit from industry profit is wrong. I think that is an economic theory which we have to deal with in this House.
I asked for this debate some weeks ago because of the growing concern across the country, with the support of my colleagues. I asked for some things to be covered here tonight. I would like to hear from members opposite the answers to the following questions.
Who is really profiting from the increases and by how much? Because, quite frankly, we are dealing with a sad case of denial here.
What forecasts and consumer protection are related to the increases? Can we forecast what is going to happen? Is there anybody brave enough to stand up and say that we will not have these price fluctuations up to $1.30, $1.40 and $1.50 or, if they do, the following will take place and we will kick in the following formula?
What is the proper role of and action for the House of Commons? I think that when the government members speak they have to identify that. People across this country are looking to the government for some direction. It cannot just be saying “it's not our fault” or “they're getting money for infrastructure”. It has to be something more concrete to the consumer.
What are the ramifications of cutting the federal tax on fuels? The government must tell Canadians about it. People want to know.
Last, what is the impact on various businesses and industries?
I think we have to get out of this rut we are in, where we are asking the consumer to pay more and more at the pumps. We have to get into a situation in this country where government is not motivated for high pricing structures in any industry, but more importantly in gas.
Criminal Code September 26th, 2005
Madam Speaker, one of these gangs, another little gang, kidnapped a young man from his car and threw him into a van. They got into a high speed chase with the police, smacked into another van and killed an innocent lady at an intersection. The van contained guns and drugs. They all ran away from the scene of the accident and left her to die.
I was in the courtroom when these guys appeared before a judge and three of the four gang guys got off and the driver got dangerous driving. There was no charge for the gun and no charge for the drugs because they were smart enough to know that if they said it on the floor somewhere the lawyers would say that they did not know it was there.
That is why when there is a crack house the drugs and the guns are usually right across the street so that they keep an eye on them. If there is a drug bust the police do not associate one with the other and the lawyers get them off.
In court a lawyer asked the young man who was kidnapped what he did and he said that he delivered. He was then asked what he delivered and he said that he delivered drugs . He was then asked whether he liked it and he said that he did not and that his supervisor had put him on the evening shift. We could have sworn that he was talking about pizza deliveries. He was then asked how he felt about delivering drugs and he said that they needed it. He completed disassociated himself from this.
That is the attitude going on out there. Our lawyers have to stop defending bottom dwellers like this. They have to sit down with prosecutors and say that they have a common problem and try to resolve it, instead of trying to get anyone off who will pay them. There is a bad attitude in these courtrooms and it has to change.
Criminal Code September 26th, 2005
Madam Speaker, my oh my, when is this going to stop?
We have a government with this mentality that legalizing drugs or legalizing prostitution will take care of the problem. Legalizing prostitution does not take care of the problem.
Prostitution is an offence against women. This is what it is. Ask any mother if she thinks the legalizing of prostitution is a good idea for her daughter. I cannot believe the mentality of somebody saying that legalizing prostitution will fix it. Has the member never been to Holland? Has he never watched that disgraceful sideshow of women standing in storefronts and people outside staring at them?
What is with this mentality that if drugs are legalized they will go away? Does the government think that if it legalizes marijuana the criminals will pack up their bags and go to some other country? These criminals are going to feed our kids meth, ecstasy and everything else.
I am disappointed in that question because I think the member already knew my answer to it. Prostitution is the abuse of women. It is not an issue to be legalized. Let us get it right.
Business of the House September 26th, 2005
If it goes to second reading automatically maybe she does not need the point of order. However unless I hear differently from the other side I am going to oppose it.
Criminal Code September 26th, 2005
Madam Speaker, I want to talk about the things that we support in Bill C-49. I am going to relay to members of the House and people listening across this country some situations that I have been involved with that involve exploitation. They are not situations involving the exploitation of somebody outside the country; it is the exploitation of somebody here in our country.
What I am about to describe happens all the time to young girls and boys in Canada. I am going to tell the House about a young man who was in grade 11 who was approached by a gang of bottom dwelling thugs who sell drugs. These thugs approached him with bats and golf clubs and said that they would not only beat him but they would thoroughly and resoundingly pound his younger brother and sister and grandmother if he did not join them. I am telling this story for the first time and everything is absolutely factual. This young man decided to go with this gang because he did not want his family harmed. He was taken away to a home in the city and tortured. He was deprived of sleep and food and was beaten quite resoundingly.
They said that he was now a member of their gang and that he would be the muscle, meaning he would collect drug bills. It is also the most dangerous job one could get in a gang that sells drugs. Normally the people who owe the gang are delinquent. When someone as the muscle goes to collect from them, that person may be harmed, shot or any other such thing.
This young fellow managed to get away from that group. He went into hiding. He thought he was safe. He went out a little while later and the gang got him again. They beat him resoundingly. I am talking about a 16 year old.
It is said that once people are in a gang in Canada they are in it forever.
The gang assigned to this young fellow a debt owed by another fellow who worked for the gang who had been picked up by the police and lost $3,000 worth of drugs. He was told he must pay this debt. He could not pay it of course. He was not paid for being muscle because he was in fact coerced into going with them.
The young fellow got away from them a second time, but the third time he was not so lucky. They tortured him. They burned his hand thoroughly with a knife blade right through his hand. He is currently in hiding.
Why do I relay this story? This is not about somebody we are shipping out of this country. This is something that is happening to children every day in Canada. This is not an isolated story. This is about what I call bottom dwelling thugs who think they can run our communities by stealing our kids off the street and threatening them and getting them into the drug trade. Once they are into the drug trade, they eventually are wanted by the police or other drug dealers. The police do not know any different. As far as they know the individual is in the drug trade.
This young man was forced into that. He has never done drugs. He has never gotten into trouble at school. He has passed every year. But now he cannot get into school because he poses a risk to the other students should he go back in and the gang tries to get him.
If we talk about exploitation of our children, we had better wake up to the fact that they are being exploited in our communities by people who think they should run our communities their way. This happens a lot in Vancouver. It happens in every city across the country. There are people who do not deserve to be outside; they deserve to be in jail, quite frankly. They are exploiting our children. When children go missing and we cannot understand it, we should not first think that they got into drugs and left home. There could very well be other reasons, such as they have been taken by a gang and coerced into doing what they are doing. In fact, they may even be protecting their families because as far as they know great damage would come to their families and their siblings should they not do what they are told to do. This is serious. This bill on exploitation of people had better cover this.
My question earlier to colleagues on the other side asked whether or not the maximum penalties would be a decent deterrent. My concern is that we will end up like we do on a lot of the drug issues, that these kinds of issues will end up in court and the judge will issue some minor penalty.
One might ask why this young fellow did not go to the police. Well, he did, of course. The comment from the police was that he should leave town and finish grade 12. Why was that comment made? Because if the gang members ended up going to court, they would likely get little or no penalty and would come looking for him. The police suggested that he leave town. That is just unacceptable. What that is saying is that we have lost confidence in the court system to issue adequate penalties to these bottom dwelling thugs who will only go back and make life miserable for this young man and his family. This is unacceptable.
We have lost confidence and the police have lost confidence in our judicial system to administer the justice system, to add deterrents for people like that. That is why I say there is a serious problem. The maximum penalties, if the judges issue minor penalties, we might as well kiss them goodbye when these young people come to us and say they need help. They will not come forward, as this young man does not want to, because they do not believe they can get help.
I am sincere when I say this to members on the other side. This is a good bill, but my concern is that if there are no minimum penalties for such disgusting behaviour by these bottom dwelling thugs, nothing is going to happen. They are going to continue to take kids off the street and abuse them.
This young fellow has been in hiding for five or six weeks now. He cannot stay there forever, but he is afraid to come outside. What do these thugs do? They do not wait for him to come and join them, they go get other children. They get another one, and if that does not work out, they will get another one. When does it become our children that they get? At what point do we say they cannot have any of them, that it is they who have to leave the community? This has got to stop.
I hope this bill is a good bill, I sincerely do, but we must give confidence to these young men and girls who are being exploited in their own communities to be muscle or to drive those drug cars. It happens all the time. What I related to members is not an isolated incident. I can tell members about the young girl who was in a crack house being exploited by 30 and 40 year old men. When her mother went to the police and said she had to get her daughter out of there, they said, “The age of sexual consent is 14. She can stay. She is 15 years old”. The mother could not go get her. They went to welfare, who said to send her over and they would give her a cheque. What kind of answer is that?
The problem lies in the confidence, or the lack thereof, in our justice system. I am not trying to make politics out of this. I have been in and out of these courtrooms for 13 years with victims of crime. I know what I am talking about. We do not have confidence in the judicial decisions any more. I have seen it in hundreds of cases related to the growing of marijuana. I have seen it in dozens of cases related to crystal meth. I have seen it with James Armbruster, who had 63 prior convictions before he raped yet another woman in my riding. One of those convictions was for raping his grandmother. Do we have confidence in those judges who should have put that person behind bars after 10, 15, 30, 40, 50 or 60 convictions?
Maximum penalties are not doing the trick. We in this House have an obligation to put an end to the tyranny of these drug gangs and these frequent and consistent repeat offenders.
I think I got my message across. I hope those who are watching outside of this House send e-mails to acknowledge their frustrations with the court system that is not addressing the problem. This young man needs help. So do the young men and women who are being coerced into these drug gangs every day. We have been looking at this wrong.
I spent a lot of time with people involved in drugs. Often people say, “Well, another kid gone bad. He must be doing drugs, breaking the law”. I did not realize the extent to which they are being forced to be involved in these drug gangs, until now. I have run across it a number of times. I know what we are addressing here but what is bothering me and what we must keep in mind is that trafficking of people is going on in our communities as I speak.
I can talk about high schools and their sex clubs. Does everybody know what a sex club is? A sex club is young girls doing tricks in high school. They do a trick and they get a cap or they get a joint laced with meth or whatever they are looking for. They do not see this as prostitution. It is seen as a one on one trade but it is exploitation as its worse. These young kids may think it is trade but they get the worst deal of all: a life of addiction. This kind of stuff is exploitation. It is not just grabbing a child or somebody off the street and sending them to China or some other country. Exploitation is going on in our schools every day.
We have a minority government situation. It really is incumbent upon all of us to quit with the partisan politics. We need to start listening and if this is the case and it is in our communities, and it is, then we need to do something about it. I sincerely hope this bill addresses it but I fear it will not. I am leaving the House of Commons but I hope those left after me will think of this and keep on top of it because this young man today needs our help. He has no confidence, nor do I or the police, that a judge is going to give it to him.
By the way, after the lawyer, who is paid by the known drug gang, gets through defending these thugs that is when the plea bargaining starts, the deals are made and the judge says that he knows the poor little boy kidnapped somebody and forced the person to deal drugs but he had a bad upbringing. We have to forget that kind of story. These people are hauling our kids out of school. One of the conditions these people have is that they cannot go to school.
Who are these people? Who in the name of blue blazes do these people think they are? Do we not run this country? Are we not in charge? Is someone not capable of hauling these people off the streets and doing something with them?
I support the bill but I sincerely hope the government moves away from this business of maximum penalties. I have seen too much for too long to have confidence that it will be applied appropriately. There are too many people counting on us to do better.
Criminal Code September 26th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, I will be speaking to this in 40 minutes or so, but before I do that, I need to have a couple of questions answered. The penalties we see here in this bill are life, 10 years and 5 years, maximum. Members opposite know that in the courtrooms today these maximum penalties are being minimized, mainly because of the antics of the judges and lawyers in the courtroom.
I am very concerned. Just because government puts on maximum penalties does not mean that we are going to get tougher on these issues. It very likely means that life will go on in the courtroom the way we see it now. I am really reluctant to go with maximum penalties these days. I think we should be dealing with minimums. That goes for a lot of laws, such as drug laws and hit and run offences and so forth. I would like the hon. member to address that.
I also need some clarification about how most of the bill addresses the trafficking of people outside of Canada. I work with a lot of people who are being forced into working for drug gangs. They are being used as muscle, for driving cars, or for whatever the drug gang wants. The threats are that the gang will kill the person's brother, sister, mother, father or grandfather and so on. I just want to make sure for my own edification that this bill will surely cover those kinds of incidents as well as trafficking and prostitution outside the borders. We are into a new day and age when these drug gangs, which I will speak about in a few minutes, are coercing young people right out of school to work for them.
I would like those two questions answered before I get into this subject, because I really do not want to make any mistakes on where I am going with it.
Request for Emergency Debate September 26th, 2005
Mr. Speaker, a matter of significant national interest has arisen that requires immediate debate in the House and, according to Standing Order 52, I so ask. The issue is that of extreme fluctuations and increases in and the unpredictability of gas prices.
The recent gas increases have seen significant profit at the pumps and in federal government coffers through taxation. Canadians are rightly alarmed that this affects the cost of goods purchased and transportation costs of all types and there is substantial worry about rising costs of home heating this winter.
The debate is necessary not just to discuss rising costs but to provide the House and Canadians with basic information on the following issues: who is profiting from such increases and by how much; forecasts and consumer protection related to increases; the proper role and action from the House of Commons; the ramifications of cutting federal tax on fuels; and the impact on various businesses and industries.
This matter is on the agenda of all Canadians, who are for the most part bewildered about the fluctuating gas prices.
I sincerely ask you, Mr. Speaker, to put this on the agenda of the House of Commons so that Canadians will believe that we too have an interest in dealing with this matter, and now.