- On the Parliament site
Last in Parliament May 2004, as Canadian Alliance MP for Skeena (B.C.)
Lost his last election, in 2004, with 33.70% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Budget Implementation Act, 2004 April 1st, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Calgary Southeast.
I rise today to comment on Bill C-30, the budget implementation act. I must say off the top that I am disappointed that this document regurgitates promises already made and makes many for the future. If we look at the track record of the government, promises made are all too often promises broken.
It is time for change, time for a government that will live up to the expectations of Canadians, a government that will be truly accountable and responsible. The past decade has seen unbelievable levels of waste and misspending by the Liberal government.
Where do I start? There was the HRDC billion dollar boondoggle. The cancelled helicopter contract cost the taxpayers of Canada $600 million, and we still need the helicopters. That was just money down the drain.
Terrorism March 30th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is detailed intelligence reports of this Saudi financier have been forwarded to the cabinet by our foreign affairs critic.
If this information is correct, why has the appropriate response clarifying the issue not been received from the minister responsible? Will this scandal preoccupied Prime Minister, who says he is concerned about western Canadian issues, tell us if he is aware of this serious question, and why has his minister not responded?
Terrorism March 30th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, the government has been unable to respond to some serious questions on internal security as well. For example, a large tract of land in B.C., namely the Gang Ranch, was purchased by a wealthy Saudi who appears to have been named in a lawsuit by families of 9/11 victims as a possible financial supporter of that terrorist act.
Why has the government made no response to a request to look into what types of activities have been going on in this remote area of British Columbia?
Government Programs March 26th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, it is now some 470 days since the softwood lumber community adjustment program was announced. Out of the $55 million for B.C. communities, $5 million has already been used to fund an increased level of federal bureaucracy. Very little has actually been paid out to the communities.
I ask again, when will the cheques be written to fund already approved community projects?
The Budget March 23rd, 2004
Mr. Speaker, today a budget will be brought down in this place. No doubt many dollars will be tossed around and promises made in a vain attempt by the floundering Liberal government to buy back Canadian voter support.
How hypocritical and cynical this will be. After all, any moneys committed will come from the pockets of overtaxed Canadians, who I believe are sick and tired of the corrupt, arrogant Liberals currently in power. This will not only be a cynical attempt to buy back support, but at the same time an attempt to divert the attention of Canadians from the scandals plaguing the federal Liberal government: ad scam, the flag flap, and HRDC to name but a few.
Well, budget or not, Canadians cannot be bought off like Liberal-friendly ad firms. Canadians want and need change. The Conservative Party of Canada is ready, willing and able to provide that change. A new party with a new vision, a new agenda, and a clear choice for Canadians is what Canadians want and what the CPC will provide.
Supply March 22nd, 2004
Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for St. John's West as our new fisheries critic. I would like to ask him a question with regard to a fisheries issue.
Some time ago the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, of which the member for St. John's West was also a member, tabled a report in the House to the previous fisheries minister regarding custodial management over the nose and tail of the Grand Banks and the Flemish Cap. That report was rejected out of hand by the minister. In fact he admitted several days later that he had not even read it. With regard to the democratic deficit, that really points to the type of issues we are trying to deal with and the problems we are having in trying to deal with them. It reminds me of the recent response from Mr. Gagliano to the committee, where he has been on the hot seat for the last couple of days.
I would like to ask the member about his--
Supply March 22nd, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out a couple of things on which I have to disagree with the House leader, with all due respect.
Certainly, contrary to what the House leader stated, I do not believe this is a new government. It is a tired old government with a lot of tired old faces in the front row and an unelected Prime Minister. The deck might have been shuffled, but I think it is the same old crew.
With respect to the current scandal, the ad scam and this corruption the government is currently trying to put on the back burner, I think perhaps the government needs to look inward. The Prime Minister was there. He was finance minister throughout the whole process. He was vice-chairman of the Treasury Board. How can he not be responsible?
With regard to our borders, the real solution to the BSE problem is to reopen the borders. That needs to be done. The government has been unable to do that.
Also, it has been unable to resolve the softwood lumber issue, which is devastating communities across Canada, especially in the west.
So I would like to ask the hon. House leader this: What kind of vision is this for Canada and Canadians?
Fisheries March 10th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, I too would like to congratulate the member for St. John's West for bringing forth this motion. I would like to read the motion once again so that it is clear for those who may be listening. The motion reads:
That, in the opinion of this House, the government should take immediate action to extend custodial management over the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks and of the Flemish Cap.
For those who perhaps do not know, those areas are outside of our 200 mile limit that we currently patrol, maintain and look after in terms of our fishery resource. These areas happen to be very rich in fishing capability. The areas are fished by fleets from all over the world.
I will go into a little history. When Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949, it brought with it a remarkable resource. This resource has been badly managed. That resource in the northwest Atlantic was one of the richest natural resources in the world. It once sustained fishing fleets from not only North America, but Europe, Spain, Portugal, Russia and other countries.
From 1989 to present, the spawning biomass of the northern cod stock has declined precipitously to 1% of its former level. A lot of other groundfish stocks are meeting a similar fate. This is of great concern, not only to Newfoundland and Labradorians and others on the east coast, but to all of Canada. This was a very valuable resource.
The collapse of these groundfish stocks has been attributed to a number of issues, including environmental concerns, overfishing by all fleets, poor reporting, poor scientific advice and a number of other things. However, Canada has done its part in trying to control, limit and manage these stocks to the best of its ability.
The problem is that outside of the 200 mile limit the straddling stocks, the stocks that go back and forth across the line because fish know no boundaries, cannot be controlled adequately. The NAFO arrangement that is supposed to manage it has very sadly and badly failed the test.
I will get to the nub of the matter, the demand for custodial management a little later on, but one thing we have to look at is the ecosystem management because it is really the crux of the matter.
There are a number of issues that could help us deal with that, as well as custodial management, but one is ecosystem management. We have to look at the other species that live in our oceans besides fish. There are seals, whales, mammals, et cetera. We have become a predator in terms of utilizing this resource. We have to look at managing the whole ecosystem, rather than just a specific species.
We have tried to manage the fish. We have done a very poor job of it overall. We have to look at some other ways of dealing with things.
I was fortunate enough to be with the fisheries committee group that travelled to the east coast some two years ago. We saw and heard firsthand how difficult things were and how the decline in the fish stocks had affected communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.
We have communities that are on the edge and not surviving as communities. It is very sad to see these situations happening. For hundreds of years these communities survived on this very valuable resource, but today they cannot survive, and something must change.
The North Atlantic Fishing Organization is supposed to control these fisheries. There are a number of inherent problems with that situation. I will explain why it does not work.
The reason it is not working is because enforcement is left to the member nations. In other words, the fox is in charge of the henhouse. Rules can be violated. Without proper supervision and proper enforcement, the rules will not make a difference. It does not control the situation.
This is the whole problem with NAFO. It is an unmanageable and out of control situation where some nations, not all, flagrantly violate the privilege of fishing off our coast, even though it is outside of our 200 mile limit. That is a huge concern, and it is not being dealt with properly.
Some impacts of the overfishing off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador have been stated by Richard Cashin, chairman of a task force on income and adjustment in the Atlantic fishery. He says:
We are dealing here with a famine of biblical scale—a great destruction. The social and economic consequences of this great destruction are a challenge to be met and a burden to be borne by the nation, not just those who are its victims.
Those words are very true. They were written in 1993, and they are even more relevant today.
It is really difficult to comprehend the scale of devastation, not only in Atlantic Canada and Quebec but especially in the rural outposts in areas of Newfoundland and Labrador, from the loss of the northern cod stocks and virtually every other groundfish stock. It is something of which we have to get a grasp.
What we are doing is not working. When things do not work, we have to fix them. It is time for leadership from this government, as the previous speaker, my colleague across the floor, said. I sit on the fisheries committee with him. He is now the chairman and is doing a very good job. He was with us when we travelled to the east coast. He saw for himself the issues and the problems.
If we were to create a custodial management situation, we would not be saying that other countries could not fish there. What we would be saying is that we could control it in a much more responsible and sustainable manner.
What Canada would do is conduct the science, set the total annual catches, and implement and administer a conservation based management system that would include monitoring and enforcement. This would certainly cost us money, but in the overall scheme of things, the recovery of the fishery and resource would more than offset any costs in the short term.
It should be made clear to other NAFO parties that Canada would regard such an action as a last resort in the event of failure of NAFO. This is from the committee report. Frankly, I think NAFO is failing and has failed. It really is time to get this under control, and try to deal with it in a more equitable manner.
When the committee tabled its report back in June 2002, unfortunately the minister chose to disregard it in its entirety. That was very short-sighted. We have a new minister today. With all due respect to the previous minister, I firmly strongly urge the new minister to take this issue into very serious consideration. The committee recommended the custodial management of the nose and tail of the Grand Banks and the Flemish cap. It is absolutely critical that this be dealt with in a firm manner. The patrols that were announced recently expanded the controls, and that is useful.
Given the budgetary constraints, DFO is always under difficulty when it comes to budgetary matters and cutbacks. We cannot adequately deal with this issue by just adding a few more patrols. We patrol now and it is inadequate. Even with the inadequacy of our patrolling, I understand that over the last 10 years some 300 violations were documented and recorded. Out of those 300 violations, we have very little knowledge of any penalties that were enforced.
When I was in Iceland last year with the fisheries committee, a fishing vessel called the Olga was caught fishing moratoria cod and was brought into port, I believe, in St. John's. It was released and disappeared. We do not know what penalties, if any, were ever brought to bear on the vessel, its crew and master. This happens time after time.
The bottom line at the end of the day is that Canada has to take control of these areas. I strongly urge the government to look at this, take a very firm hand in the matter and deal with it. I think the support is there.
It is an important matter for all Canadians, not just those on the east coast. It is a matter with which all Canadians should be concerned. It is a matter of our sovereignty. I will be supporting this.
Softwood Lumber March 10th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, 450 days have passed since the softwood lumber community adjustment fund was announced, almost one and a half years. Local B.C. community leaders almost gave up in disgust as federal bureaucrats wrangled over how to distribute dollars that should have assisted communities many months ago.
Enough is enough. When will the cheques go out to fund approved and deserving community projects? When will they see a cheque?
Softwood Lumber March 10th, 2004
Mr. Speaker, on May 15 last year, when asked why the softwood lumber aid package money had not been distributed to needy B.C. communities, the then minister for western economic diversification answered, and I quote, “To ensure that proposals are realistic and that they are tested for due diligence”.
On March 8 this year, two days ago, the current minister said, and I quote, “We have started due diligence”. Ten months and the same answer: no money. What is going on?