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Last in Parliament May 2004, as Canadian Alliance MP for Dewdney—Alouette (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 58.42% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Criminal Code May 7th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to support the bill introduced by my colleague from Calgary. It is a necessary bill and one whose time has come.

I remember asking my colleague a question about the bill when he first debated it not too many weeks ago. He talked about life meaning life, as my colleague from Prince George just alluded to as well. It is necessary in a criminal justice system to send a message to those who are going to commit a crime such as murder, that if they are convicted to a life sentence, then that sentence should mean life.

Too many times we have run into cases in our ridings where individuals, family members, have been victimized by somebody else's cruel action toward a family member. They have lost not only that loved one but they also have to live with the pain and feelings that go along with that. They are often victimized a second time when the offender who took their loved one's life comes up for parole. They have to relive the whole event over again.

I have been to a number of parole board hearings on behalf of families who have asked me to attend. It is just shocking some of the processes that go on there. I am not sure that many people know exactly what happens in a parole board hearing.

At a parole board hearing the perpetrator of the crime gets to speak to the parole board, to give his or her story about the crime he or she committed. A victim impact statement is allowed to be read by the family but the family has no real ability to have an impact on how the parole board is going to rule on that decision. There is no cross-examination of the offender's comments or testimony at the parole board hearing.

It is often laughable to hear about some of the things that are said. The family members will tell what actually happened in the crime that was committed against their loved one and then to hear the story of the offender, it is often very different, skewed and untrue in many instances. As a result of this kind of process, often individuals who are able to obtain parole are released into the community, often into the same community where they committed the crime and where the family happens to be.

I remember one case where an individual contacted me. His father had been killed by an offender, a family member. The person who committed this terrible, awful and horrible crime had then threatened the other family member that when he got out he was going to come after him and do the same thing to him. The offender was in the same community.

The victim of the crime had lost his father, had been terrified by the other person in the family who had committed the crime. He was being told that this person was very likely to be released into the community under early parole. The family member ended up moving from the community. He was victimized by losing his father and then lived in fear that the individual was going to get out.

The individual was released into the community even though there had been a threat uttered against the victim. The victim ended up having to move from British Columbia to another province to get away from the perpetrator of the crime.

That kind of thing highlights a real problem in our system. My colleague's bill goes a long way to ensuring that victims of crime who have faced this kind of event in their lives will not again be victimized by the early release of someone who was convicted of a life sentence. Life should mean life.

I am sure we could all draw on many examples in our ridings that would highlight the need for this bill to go forward. It is not a difficult bill to understand. It is not long. It is not overly involved. It is very clear.

Other jurisdictions are asking for this kind of bill to be put in place, for these changes to be made to the Criminal Code. My colleague referred to the premier of Manitoba, Gary Doer. He is asking for this kind of change to the Criminal Code, where life means life.

It is for that reason that I would encourage my colleagues from all parties to support this common sense amendment to the Criminal Code. It would, in effect, have the impact of meaning that a life sentence would be a life sentence. The victims of crime would not be further victimized by individuals being released into the community. We would have an enhanced and safer criminal justice system in our country. That would be worthwhile.

We should support our colleague's bill. We should make sure this is something that happens, that the bill is passed into law before we leave this place for the upcoming election.

Health May 7th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, it is that government's neglect of the health care system that has created a multi-tier system in this country. Those people across the way are responsible. The fact is that the Prime Minister has access to special health care that is not available to most Canadians through the medicare system.

How can the Prime Minister pretend to be the defender of public health care when he himself is a user of private health care?

Health May 7th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's real position on health care is finally out and it should come as no surprise to us. Last April he said, “The fact is a substantial portion of our system is already privately delivered”.

However now we know that it is the Prime Minister himself who has access to private health care.

How can the Prime Minister explain his hypocrisy on health care to Canadians?

Budget Implementation Act April 1st, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I will close by perhaps mentioning the budget in one small regard. On behalf of those of us who will be leaving the House, I would ask those who remain and those who will soon come to this place that they manage the funds wisely. They are not government funds. They are hard earned dollars and Canadians will be trusting them. I ask everyone to be wise, to be prudent and to provide peace, order and good governance because Canada is counting on them.

In conclusion, and I have waited a while to say this, I am coming home.

Budget Implementation Act, 2004 April 1st, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to make a few remarks at the opening of my speech, if you would indulge me, in light of the impending election. I will not be seeking re-election, and I want to thank some special people who have been very helpful and encouraging to me during these past several years.

First and foremost, I would like to thank my family: my wife Wendy and my four children, Jordana, Reanna, Kaelin and Graedon. As my colleagues know, our families sacrifice a great deal in order for us to be here in the House of Commons. Our families know the stress and demands this job puts on our personal lives, and I want to thank my family for enduring my frequent absences during these past seven years.

I want to thank the constituents of Dewdney--Alouette living in the communities of Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Mission, Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs for bestowing upon me the great honour as serving as their member of Parliament. It has been a privilege and a great opportunity to bring their issues and concerns to the House of Commons. I will remain forever grateful for the time I have spent here on their behalf and for all the special people that I have met as a result of doing this job.

I want to thank my friends and supporters for their help and encouragement throughout the years as well. I would never have been here without their help, especially my good friend Mark Bogdanovich for his help over the years, and all those who served on the Reform Party board, the Canadian Alliance board, and the new Conservative Party board for their help through both good and bad times.

To those who have worked with me over the years, all my staff, Tara Bingham and Mark Strahl, they are more than employees. They are loyal and hard-working and they have helped me in so many ways. They have become my confidants and my good friends, and I thank them.

I am happy to predict that the man who has been with me from day one, the man who has run my constituency office for seven years and who knows the issues and concerns of Dewdney--Alouette will soon come here to carry the torch on behalf of the new Conservative Party of Canada. My executive assistant Randy Kamp has won the nomination and is ready to go. I thank Randy for all his help, his advice and his friendship. I am quite confident that the people of Dewdney--Alouette will choose him as their next MP and I know he will do an excellent job on their behalf.

To my colleagues in the House of Commons, to Mr. Speaker, and to all my friends, it has been a pleasure and an honour to work with them and to get to know them. I share one regret with my former colleague, Preston Manning, in that I did not get to know more of them better. I often tell people that we have more in common with each other, regardless of our party affiliation, than anyone else in the country. Regardless of which party we belong to, we are all here to do what we believe is in the best interests of our country and our constituents. I have made some special friendships which I am sure will endure long after we have all left this place.

On a personal note, which is usually a note we do not share in this place, I want to thank my colleagues, family, friends and constituents for their words of encouragement and prayers during the past four years as our son has battled cancer. They have been kind and thoughtful, and we really appreciate the support they have offered to us in so many ways. I am afraid my allergies are flaring up a bit, but I am sure I will fight through it. I do want to tell the House that Graedon is now seven, doing really well in remission, and I thank everyone again for all their help.

In regard to the budget--

Petitions March 31st, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I have one petition to present today signed by 53 people in my riding who are opposed to war.

The petitioners would like to see peaceful resolutions through the United Nations whenever possible. They are also against the military action which took place in Iraq.

The Budget March 30th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I think my colleague was getting to the nub of the issue, and that is trust. I wonder if he could comment on the matter of trust. Should Canadians trust the current Liberals to put the financial house in order when they are the ones who basically led us into scandal and mismanagement over these last 10 years?

The Budget March 29th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, my colleague hit the nail on the head when he said that the essence of this budget was the lack of trust that Canadians had in the current government, given what has happened with the sponsorship scandal. It has been renamed the sponsorship issue by many Liberals, but it is a scandal because $100 million was ripped off from Canadians and disappeared into Liberal-friendly advertising firms. I would like him to comment on that part of his speech.

How can Canadians possibly trust a government that has mismanaged and diverted taxpayers' dollars into the pockets of its friends, and Liberals who say that they are now going to fix this mess and that they can be trusted with taxpayers' hard-earned dollars?

The Budget March 29th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I have a few questions for my friend across the way who has some credibility on finance issues. He was on the finance committee for a number of years and I believe he was the chair as well.

The government has done some things in the right direction, although I am sure it has been pushed, pulled and dragged screaming to move toward debt reduction and the kinds of things that my friend mentioned.

He said that we needed the flexibility to manage our programs. He also talked about the debt contingency of $3 billion, which, if it is not needed, will go to debt pay down. He mentioned that $52 billion has been paid down on the national debt. What he did not mention is that we still pay $40 billion a year in interest on the national debt. If debt repayment was a priority during the 10 years when the economy was rolling along quite nicely, we would see that number decreased. In many ways the government has failed on that missed opportunity.

My friend mentioned gas taxes. The former finance minister, current Prime Minister, talked quite a bit about giving gas taxes back to the provinces. The provinces are now paying $7 billion a year and getting back $700 million. Over 10 years that would be the equivalent of taking $49 billion from Canadians and putting only $7 billion back. That is quite a cash windfall for the government, raking in tax dollars and not putting them back into infrastructure. I believe that is also a missed opportunity, in the way that the government is gouging Canadians through gas taxes.

My friend alluded to what he calls the sponsorship issue, which I think is a redefinition of the term sponsorship scandal, but I would like to ask him about the missing $100,000 million. We do not know where it is. Another $160 million missing through--

Supply March 22nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I wish my Liberal friends would shred the spin sheet that they have had on their desks for the last 10 years about what the opposition should be talking about. “If only the opposition would talk about this, that and the other thing; if only they would talk about what we want them to talk about”.

When the governing party crosses over in the next little while and becomes the opposition party, when it has an opposition day I can guarantee we will not have that spin sheet on our desks and its members can talk about whatever they want to talk about.

It comes down to a matter of trust. At the heart of the issue in this debate today is a matter of trust and the government has lost the trust of Canadians. If the government does not have the trust of the people, all the well-intentioned programs and promises that have been in throne speech after throne speech and red book after red book do not mean a thing. If the governing party is squandering taxpayer dollars and, worse than that, funnelling them off to its friends, how can Canadians trust it to do anything? That is what this debate is about today.