Last in Parliament October 2000, as Progressive Conservative MP for West Nova (Nova Scotia)
Lost his last election, in 2000, with 34.11% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Supply October 16th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, it is fine for my hon. colleague to say what he said. However, when I look at the cuts the Canadian people have suffered over the last seven years, a $33 billion surplus in one year, and I see poverty and all the negative impact that it has on the Canadian population, I cannot stand here and accept what my colleague is trying to put across to the Canadian public.
The Canadian people deserve a part of the $33 billion surplus. A good chunk of the surplus comes from the people who could least afford to pay it. They are single parents, those on fixed income, the poor and the elderly. That is not acceptable.
Supply October 16th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I think the member's question comes truly from the heart and I recognize that.
My colleague's question and comments were genuine. I would like him to be able to share some of those same sentiments with his caucus so that the government enacts legislation and policies that will help people in society. Also, his comment that this is family issue and not just a woman's issue touches on an important point.
Today's children who are poor are poor because their parents are poor. When we have a situation in the home where people do not have the resources to adequately clothe, nourish and house not just their children but their whole family, it leads to stresses that cause the types of things that we are discussing today. As my colleague says, what we are looking at is even broader than just the women's issue. It goes back to the fact that the government has reneged and has cut to the point where families are negatively impacted, hence negatively impacting women.
Supply October 16th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my hon. colleague from Beauséjour—Petitcodiac.
It is with genuine sadness that I rise before the House to participate in the Bloc Quebecois opposition day motion calling for an end to poverty and violence against women. It is also demanding equality in the workplace and better health care programs for all women throughout the country. I say genuine sadness because who would have thought that as we entered the 21st century women would still be victims of domestic violence?
Governments are quick to condemn these acts of violence yet they do very little to protect individuals against their abusers. What about discrimination in the workplace and the high prevalence of poverty found within our female population? For years women have been listening to governments promise to address these inequities in society, yet most cuts in government spending disproportionately affect women. Provincial cuts for women's shelters and housing programs force many women to remain with abusive partners.
A lack of subsidized child care spaces and reductions in education and retraining programs effectively prevent women from pursuing a better life for themselves and their children.
I wish I could say that I completely understand and appreciate the frustration women are feeling because of the lack of progress in addressing their serious concerns, but to say that I completely understand would be patronizing and completely false. Only those women who live in poverty or are victims of violence or discrimination in the workplace can truly understand the situation.
In 1995, at the fourth United Nations world conference on women in Beijing, Canada reaffirmed its commitment to a number of international United Nations agreements including the charter of the United Nations, the universal declaration of human rights, the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, the convention on the rights of the child, and the declaration on the elimination of violence against women.
Let us add to this impressive list the designation by the UN that the years 1997 to 2006 are to be known as the international decade for the eradication of poverty.
With the Canadian government being a signatory to all these agreements, why are Canadian women still being marginalized and in many instances treated like second class citizens? I will tell the House why. It is because the Liberal government is more interested in offering lip service than actually addressing the serious concerns facing women.
On Sunday our Prime Minister met with a delegation representing over 5,000 women who gathered on the Hill to protest the lack of government commitment toward addressing serious women's issues. In 1993, prior to being elected Prime Minister, the leader of the Liberal Party wrote a letter promising to abide by any decision rendered by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal with regard to the outstanding issue of pay equity. This issue affected approximately 200,000 predominantly female workers in the public service.
This is the same individual, our Prime Minister, who fought tooth and nail to try to prevent these workers from getting the money they so rightly deserved. The Prime Minister reneged on his promise just as he did on the GST and free trade. Unfortunately for women in Canada and around the world he is likely to renege on our international UN commitments as well.
In 1993 women working outside the home earned 72 cents for every dollar earned by men. This is totally unacceptable and serves only to magnify the disparity which exists in Canadian society. Already 60% of families headed by single women live below the poverty line. If this wage gap continues we can expect that the number of single women living in poverty will certainly increase.
What can we do to address poverty in the country? The PC caucus put together a task force on poverty last year that travelled extensively across the country to meet with Canadians to discuss the issues and try to come up with possible solutions to the problem. As a result of these extensive consultations, our party released a report in January entitled “It's Up To Us” which identifies a number of the problems associated with poverty and makes a number of recommendations on how some of these problems should be addressed.
Because the member for Shefford was instrumental in helping put this report together, I am confident that she will be able to convince her new party to adopt many of our measures.
What is the Liberal government doing to address domestic violence which continues to be perpetrated against women in society? The answer is very little. The tragic 1989 killing of 14 young women at École Polytechnique in Montreal shocked the nation and forced us all to look deeper into the roots of violence within our society.
Unfortunately, as so many people's memories of the event are waning, so is the Liberal government's commitment to finding ways to put an end to violence against women.
Statistics Canada reveals that at least 51% of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incidence of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16 and that sexual assaults account for almost one in ten violent crimes. This suggests to me that government policies are not working. We need more money for women shelters, community counselling, child protection, crisis lines and legal aid. We need better training for our enforcement agencies to handle domestic disputes. We need a justice system that is more in tune with the potential danger facing women by their partners.
As our Canadian women's lobby continues on to the world march in New York City, I can only hope that this Liberal government will take concrete measures in its expected mini-budget to address the immediate concerns of women's rights across the country.
Gun Registry October 5th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice does not get it. Her long gun registry is nothing but a colossal failure. Rather than admit her government's mistake, she is spending millions trying to convince Canadians that this new registry will somehow reduce crime.
Is it not ironic that the Minister of Justice televised ads portraying two hunters sitting at a bar discussing the long gun registry? I am sure her intent was not to encourage drinking and hunting, however, one cannot help but notice the irony.
Once a strong advocate for the new long gun registry, the Canadian Police Association is now withholding its support until it sees indications that the registry will not siphon away the much needed resources from enforcement agencies.
Let us face it. This registry will not have any impact on reducing crime in the country. Those intent on committing crime will not register their firearms. Therefore, what purpose is this long gun registry serving? At present it is only serving to save face for a government that is totally out of touch with millions of law-abiding Canadian gun owners.
Our party is committed to cancelling—
Fisheries September 22nd, 2000
Mr. Speaker, yesterday morning the federal court in Halifax ruled against Indian Brook's request for an injunction to prevent DFO from removing their lobster traps off the coast of New Edinburgh, Nova Scotia.
Federal court Justice Pelletier recognized what has already been stated in the supreme court's decision on Marshall, which is that DFO has the right and the obligation to uphold the laws of this country as they relate to the fishery. Any other ruling would have been disastrous for our fishing communities. We cannot afford to have two sets of laws within Canadian society. To do otherwise would result in chaos.
It is now imperative that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans state that there will be one fishery, one set of regulations and one season for all native and non-native fishermen. We must respect the rights of our native people but at the same time we must not ignore the rights of our non-native fishermen and the tremendous job they have done over the years to develop the fishery into the successful industry that it is.
Financial Consumer Agency Of Canada Act September 20th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have been given the opportunity to rise before the House to offer my support for Bill C-38, an act establishing the financial consumer agency of Canada and to amend certain acts in relation to financial institutions.
I believe the bill has been a long time coming. The PC Party of Canada, like most people associated with the banking industry, have been waiting for years for the government to enact such legislation.
I must say it has been a long wait. We have had task forces explore ways in which Canada could assist our banking industry. There has been much consultation and various reports presented to the government which have finally led to the drafting of this important piece of legislation. Bill C-38 is the culmination of a tremendous amount of effort by many people. These individuals should be congratulated.
The bill provides an overhaul of federal laws governing banks and other financial institutions. Changes being proposed in the legislation are expected to promote more efficiency and growth within the banking industry. The bill will allow increased share ownership for larger banks and provide financial institutions with an opportunity to do more through holding companies while also giving them a broader range of allowed investments. These changes will help our financial institutions compete in an ever changing global environment.
At present no single shareholder can own more than 10% of a large bank. The bill will raise that limit to 20% yet still prevent the control of a large bank by any single shareholder. The legislation will allow financial institutions an opportunity to create regulated, non-operating holding companies. These changes could allow smaller institutions to come together and compete with other larger institutions. Such competition could only be beneficial to the Canadian consumer.
Financial institutions could expand their investments in the fast growing e-commerce sector. Technology is quickly changing the way consumers conduct their financial affairs. Therefore it is imperative that our financial institutions be at the forefront of this new evolution.
It is very important to recognize that about 220,000 Canadians work in the banking industry in Canada. Even more impressive is the fact that more than 500,000 people work in the Canadian financial industry, a crucial industry in the Canadian economy.
Our financial services sector allows exports of nearly $50 billion worth of services each year. That represents 5% of Canada's GDP.
Over the past number of years our financial institutions have been under increasing pressure coming from our southern neighbours. Changes to our federal laws governing banks and other financial institutions are required if they are to compete in the global economy. I know that our banking institutions in West Nova can benefit from the changes being proposed in the legislation.
If I might digress, with the ever rising, ever higher profits that the banks are receiving, it is only appropriate that I mention small banks being closed in rural Canada, more specifically in my riding of West Nova. We have a small bank in Freeport on the islands off Digby Network. That bank has been there for years and years and is very important to the businesses that operate in that area. Yet we are advised that it is being closed.
Another bank in Caledonia in the riding of my colleague from South Shore is being closed as well. That bank affects individuals who do business in my nearby riding. In these times it is very important that even though we have to look at changes to how banks operate we still have to take into account how important these small banks are to our regional economies and to the areas they serve.
Over the past number of years our financial institutions have been under increasing pressure from our southern neighbours. As I said earlier, we have to enact changes that will permit our Canadian banks to work in the global economy.
Another industry that will be affected, and I am sure the banks in West Nova will appreciate this point, is the trucking industry which is faced with high and ever increasing diesel costs. If the price of diesel fuel is not soon reduced we will see our banks experiencing defaults on loan payments and becoming used truck industries. Their parking lots will be full of used trucks that truckers will not be able to afford to put fuel in and to make the payments on.
I am concerned that the cost of fuel will have a negative impact on our local economy by increasing the cost of goods which will in turn be another hard impact on consumers. I digress, but it is important that we touch on these issues because they play a very important role in our economy.
Let me go back to exploring the substance of the legislation. The bill will allow banks to set up a holding structure that could separately regulate subsidiaries such as retail banks, credit card companies and insurance firms.
Coming from the insurance industry prior to my political career, I know how difficult and how bothered insurance companies are by the potential for banks to market insurance. I am glad, and I am hopeful that the committee will study that. The PC Party in no way supports the sale of insurance by banks. For that matter, we also do not support the leasing of cars. That is one of the recommendations we will be continuing to push forward at committee.
The aim of the bill is to allow banks to evolve to meet competition and, at the same time, protect consumers. I would argue, however, that due to the government's slow reaction to the changes in the financial services sector, Canada has already fallen behind our global competition.
One thing is clear. After years of uncertainty from the current government, it has finally added some clarification and stability to the banking industry. The PC Party will be supporting this bill and we feel that this is the first step in the right direction.
Wharves September 18th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, last year when the Liberal government decided to divest itself of the Digby wharf, the PC Party expressed concern that local stakeholders would no longer have any input in the management of their wharves.
Already our fears have come true. Since the federal government transferred responsibility of the wharf to the Maritime Harbours Society, docking fees have increased significantly and services such as garbage removal and water delivery appear to have been eliminated.
The federal government has given Maritime Harbours Society, a supposedly non-profit organization, over $3 million to operate the wharf yet our local fishermen are refused entry into the society.
If the purpose of the divestiture was to give local communities greater input into the future of their wharves, the Digby experience shows it was a complete and utter failure. Wharves are the lifelines of all coastal communities.
By failing to recognize their importance the Liberal government puts at risk the livelihoods of all Atlantic Canadians, a prospect I refuse to accept.
Request For Emergency Debate June 14th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the PC Party I am requesting an emergency debate on the urgent situation facing the CBC throughout the regions of Canada, as the House is scheduled to adjourn in the next couple of days.
The changes that have taken place with local regional news broadcasts being cut by some two-thirds with very little savings give the impression the situation is such that these programs are bound to fail.
The CBC is a vital institution that plays a very important role in enhancing and promoting our Canadian identity. Canadians have been phoning, writing and contacting our offices with their concerns.
It is for these reasons and as a strong supporter of the CBC that I respectfully request that you grant us leave, Mr. Speaker, to adjourn the House so that we may debate the future of the CBC, a very important Canadian institution.
Parliament Of Canada Act June 13th, 2000
Mr. Speaker, I did not say my simple colleague. I said I had a simple question for my hon. colleague. Today my hon. colleague's successor, Walter Robinson, called what the alliance was doing slimy, slimy politics. I would like my hon. colleague to respond to that comment.