Last in Parliament October 2000, as Liberal MP for Windsor—St. Clair (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2004, with 33.88% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Firefighters' Pensions October 16th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to address private member's Motion No. 418. Yesterday I had the honour of attending a memorial service jointly carried out by padres of both the Detroit and Windsor fire departments wherein honour was brought to those who laid down their lives in the service of our community. It has been said that there is no greater love than the love displayed by laying down one's life in the service of others.

Specific provisions in the Income Tax Act are what we are talking about and the fact that firefighters are in a very different situation than most other people in our society. Most are required to retire early due to contract provisions and the physically strenuous nature of their occupation.

Earlier this year I was able to convene a meeting with senior members of the finance department, those people responsible for the calculations and for putting forth the provisions of the legislation once it is passed by the House, along with the executive of the firefighters association. At that meeting, along with the member for Essex, we were able to discuss for several hours provisions of the pension plan and the firefighters request for the 2.33% integrated plan.

We understand there is scope within the existing pension tax rules for plans covering firefighters to increase pension plan benefits. This was explained to members of the association along with me. We understand that a number of firefighter pension plans provide a 2% pension benefit that is integrated with Canada pension benefits. This means that these plans are not currently providing the maximum pension benefits permissible under the Income Tax Act. However, due to the vagaries of collective bargaining, it would be very difficult for firefighters across the country to be able to negotiate the full benefit they seek.

I understand that firefighters would like to be provided with a 2.33% pension benefit that is integrated with CPP. I understand that by maximizing the benefits under the current rules the plans could possibly provide an even larger pension benefit than could be obtained in the 2.33% integration, but as I said earlier it would be subject to unprecedented success in collective bargaining.

It is clear that firefighters provide a service to our community that is desperately needed and absolutely essential.

It is clear that firefighters provide a service to our communities that is desperately needed and absolutely essential. In my 14 years of experience in municipal council I had the opportunity of seeing firsthand what some firefighters were doing and the dedication they brought to their jobs. We in Windsor are very proud of them.

Firefighters in Windsor were faced with a situation 15 years ago where there were very poor labour-management relations between the fire department and the city. They now enjoy an absolutely positive attitude and marvellous relationship. There can always be improvements, I suppose, but in talking to firefighters across the country it was brought to my attention that Windsor was a model others could only hope to follow.

Firefighters are out in the community doing the job of public relations and of increasing safety awareness in children and families. We are extremely proud that we have the type of relationship where everyone benefits.

It was explained to us yesterday during the memorial service that we do not take enough time to recognize and thank firefighters for the sacrifice they have made over the past century.

The motion speaks to the need for further consultation and consideration of the issue. It is paramount for firefighters and their families. I urge members of the House to support the motion before us.

Prime Minister September 25th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the Prime Minister on his recent visit to Windsor and Essex county on Thursday, September 21, 2000.

The Prime Minister was very well received both at the official announcement of a new $500 million investment in research and development by Daimler Chrysler and later that evening at a Liberal Party fund raising dinner.

A sold out audience of over 1,000 people gave the Prime Minister an enthusiastic reception as they heard him speak passionately about issues that concern all Canadians, including a balanced approach to debt repayment, the continuing need to lower taxes and to make important investments in health care, education and children. Bravo.

Trevor Snyder June 15th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Trevor Snyder, a student athlete at St. Joseph's Secondary School in Windsor.

Trevor recently celebrated his 18th birthday by winning a gold medal at the OFSAA track and field championships. His winning javelin throw of 71.22 metres broke a 34 year old record of 70.12 metres.

I commend Trevor and all of the other local gold medal winners at the track and field championships for their performances as student athletes.

Organization Of American States Ministers' Conference June 9th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all Canadians the Windsor community hosted a very successful Organization of American States Ministers' Conference from June 4 to 6, 2000.

A thousand volunteers under the able direction of an outstanding business and community leader, Mr. Tom Joy, helped to welcome delegates from the entire hemisphere. The conference provided an opportunity for Canada to advance proposals for improving human rights and strengthening democracy in countries that are truly in need of our leadership and support.

I offer special thanks to Tom Joy, chair of the Windsor host committee, and all the volunteers who contributed to this successful event.

The Environment June 7th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, today is the second annual Clean Air Day.

The Minister of the Environment met with his provincial colleagues earlier this week to discuss among other things the air in Canada. In Windsor—St. Clair we are very concerned about the air we breathe. Can the Minister of the Environment tell the House what action we can expect which will improve the air that Canadians breathe?

George Findlay May 12th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize a great Canadian, Mr. George Findlay, a teacher at Princess Elizabeth Public School who received the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence.

Mr. Findlay inspires his students to stretch academically and to gain a sense of pride and achievement in their work. As a teacher he always prepares his students well for the transition to high school and adult life. Part of Mr. Findlay's teaching philosophy is “Once you are in my class, you are mine for life”.

I commend Mr. Findlay and all of the other award recipients this year for their outstanding teaching and dedication to students everywhere.

Nature Conservancy Of Canada May 10th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to advise all hon. members that the Nature Conservancy of Canada invites them to a dedication of its latest conservation project. This project is made possible with the assistance of Shell Canada Limited and local partners in memory of the late Shaughnessy Cohen, my friend and your former colleague. This event takes place this afternoon from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the dining room of the National Press Club.

Riverwalk 1999 May 5th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Windsor Parks and Recreation Department and all Windsorites on winning the first Molson Canadian Achievement Award for Riverwalk 1999 as best community event.

Riverwalk 1999 brought together the entire Windsor community last summer in an effort to recognize the clean-up and revitalization being done to our riverfront.

Riverwalk 1999 is just one more example of what makes Windsor such a spirited Canadian community and one of the best places in the world in which to live.

Congratulations to the event organizers and all the participants for making Riverwalk 1999 an award winning event.

Environment May 4th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, today, May 4, is World Asthma Day. Today also marks the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Lung Association.

We are reminded that each year an estimated 5,000 people die untimely deaths due to poor air quality. Thousands more are being treated for bronchitis, asthma and other breathing problems. This coming summer will be no exception.

Can the Minister of the Environment tell the House what progress is being made to make the air we breathe better for all Canadians?

Al Purdy May 2nd, 2000

Mr. Speaker, one of Canada's most famous poets, Al Purdy of Ameliasburgh, Ontario, died on April 21, 2000 at the age of 81. I rise today on behalf of the Government of Canada to recognize the contributions of this poet and to honour his legacy.

Mr. Purdy's works captured the energy and emotions of Canadians in their daily lives and the landscapes that shape our identity. He published 33 books of poetry, including the The Caribou Horses and Collected Poems 1956-86 . Mr. Purdy was twice the recipient of the Governor General's Literary Award and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1983. This year the League of Canadian Poets presented Al Purdy with a special award declaring him the voice of the land.

Mr. Purdy will be missed and sincere condolences go out to Mr. Purdy's surviving family.