House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was energy.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Timiskaming—Cochrane (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 62.40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Petitions November 19th, 2002

Madam Speaker, I have another petition signed by 200 constituents who call upon Parliament to focus its legislative support on adult stem cell research. I would like to add that I concur with both petitions.

Petitions November 19th, 2002

Madam Speaker, I have a petition signed by 2,000 constituents of Timiskaming—Cochrane who call upon Parliament to protect our children by taking all necessary steps to ensure that all materials which promote or glorify pedophilia activities involving children are outlawed.

Lumber November 18th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, this government is fighting hard for the interests of workers in the lumber industry. We have challenged the Americans in the WTO and NAFTA forums. Just recently, we announced a $340 million program to help our workers and communities, and we will continue to help them.

Export and Import of Rough Diamonds Act October 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I would just make a point of clarification on the excise tax issue. Cut and polished diamonds imported into Canada are subjected to the same excise tax as the diamonds cut and polished in Canada and sold here. There is technically no competitive disadvantage for Canadian cutters and polishers.

Export and Import of Rough Diamonds Act October 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I apologize for doing that. At the Okinawa summit, in July 2000, the Prime Minister, along with the leaders of the other G-8 countries, stressed that the trade in conflict diamonds is a priority for G-8 members in the prevention of armed conflicts.

On that occasion, G-8 leaders asked that the possibility of formulating an international agreement on the certification of rough diamonds be considered.

At the June 2002 Kananaskis summit, under the G-8 action plan for Africa, the leaders reiterated their support for the international efforts made to identify the link that exists between the development of natural resources and conflicts in Africa, including the monitoring measures developed under the Kimberley process led by South Africa.

My colleague, the hon. member for Nepean—Carleton recognized early on that the illegal diamond trade meant death and suffering for many people on the African continent.

This is an issue that he not only took to heart but acted upon. As Canada's special envoy for Sierra Leone he informed us of the situation in two reports: “The Forgotten Crisis” and “Sierra Leone, Danger and Opportunity in a Regional Conflict”.

One year ago, on October 17, 2001, this hon. member got the attention of the House by introducing Bill C-402, an Act to prohibit the importation of conflict diamonds into Canada. In doing so, the hon. member recognized that such trade had to stop because it was a threat to human rights, political stability, economic development, peace and security in many regions, and also a threat to the legitimate trade in diamonds in countries such as Botswana, South Africa and, of course, Canada. I congratulate the hon. member for his work in this area.

In Canada the diamond industry is a relatively new industry. Our first commercial deposit was discovered in the Northwest Territories in 1991. The diamond mining industry is growing and by 2011 it is expected that Canada will rank third globally, in terms of the value of annual rough diamond production, after Botswana and Russia.

BHP Billiton has been operating the Ekati mine since 1998. This mine is located 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. Operations at the Diavik mine, which is located near the Ekati mine, should begin in 2003, while two other mines in that region, more specifically in the Northwest Territories and in the western part of Nunavut, could begin operations by 2007. The annual production for these mines could reach $1.6 billion and operations at these sites could create 1,600 direct jobs.

The major exploration activities going on indicate that other mines could begin operating in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Exploration is also going on in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador; these operations could also lead to the opening of diamond mines in these provinces.

In addition to the mining industry, there is a small diamond cutting and polishing industry in Yellowknife and in Quebec's Gaspe region. Other polishing and jewellery making facilities are located in various regions of Canada.

The diamond mining, cutting and polishing industry depends on access to export markets, which in turn depend on Canada's participation in the Kimberly process.

The Kimberley process is the principal international initiative established to develop practical approaches to the conflict diamond problem. Launched in May 2000, the process was initiated by several southern African countries in response to growing international pressure to address peace and security concerns as well as to protect several national economies in the sub-region, including Namibia, Botswana and South Africa, that depend on the diamond industry.

The process, which is chaired by South Africa, now includes 48 countries involved in producing, processing, importing and exporting rough diamonds. These countries account for 98% of the global trade in and production of rough diamonds and they include all of Canada's major diamond trading partners. For example, the United States, the European Union, Japan, Russia, Israel and India are all participating in the Kimberley process.

Canada participated in the Kimberley process from the start. Nine full meetings and two ministerial meetings held as part of this process resulted in detailed proposals concerning an international certification scheme for rough diamonds. In March 2002, Canada hosted the latest meeting of the Kimberley process, at which time a consensus was achieved on the proposals for a scheme.

A technical meeting on the implementation of the process was held in September in Pretoria, South Africa. Participating countries demanded that the certification scheme be simultaneously put in place by the end of 2002. Given the tight timeframe, the government made drafting and passing this bill a priority.

At the next ministerial meeting scheduled for November 5, 2002, in Switzerland, participating countries will be asked to examine progress to date, commit to implementing the scheme in their respective countries and setting a specific effective date. The end of 2002 should be maintained as the deadline.

The international certification scheme includes several key commitments, one of which provides for all rough diamonds imported into Canada or exported to other countries to meet the certification scheme criteria. There are also trade restrictions whereby trading rough diamonds with non-participating countries is prohibited.

Implementing the scheme in Canada required developing rough diamond certification procedures and controls on imports and exports. The legislative authorities provided in Bill C-14 must therefore be put in place.

The proposed bill will provide the authority to verify that natural rough diamonds exported from Canada are non-conflict. It also will give the authority to verify that every shipment of natural rough diamonds entering Canada is accompanied by a Kimberley process certificate from the exporting country, again certifying that the diamonds have a non-conflict source.

Consistent with the scheme and other country's processes, the bill is designed to ensure that natural rough diamonds in transit from one country to another across Canadian territory will be limited to trade between Kimberley process participants. Canada will not be a conduit for conflict diamond trade.

Passage of Bill C-14 will put in place all of the authorities required for Canada to meet its commitment under the international Kimberley process. The early passage of Bill C-14 will ensure that these authorities are in place by year end, when the process is planned for international implementation.

To conclude, I seek the support of all members of this House so that Bill C-14 can move forward quickly, to enable Canada to implement the Kimberley process together with its world partners.

Export and Import of Rough Diamonds Act October 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today to Bill C-14, which will make it possible to control the export, import and transit across Canada of rough diamonds and will establish a certification scheme for the export of rough diamonds in compliance with the Kimberley process internationally.

Before discussing the bill itself, I would like to give a brief overview of the steps that have been taken by Canada and the international community in connection with the rough diamond trade. The international community is still greatly concerned about the lilnk between the illegal rough diamond trade and the financing of armed conflicts, particularly in Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Although blood diamonds constitute only a small part of the international diamond trade, they do have considerable impact on the peace, security and sustainable development of the countries involved.

With leadership from Canada, the United Nations has taken several initiatives to address this problem. In 1998 the Security Council imposed sanctions prohibiting the import of rough diamonds from Angola that were not controlled through an official certificate of origin scheme.

During its term on the UN Security Council in 1999 and 2000, Canada played a key role as chair of the Angola sanctions committee in pressing for measures to strengthen implementation of these sanctions. These measures laid the foundation for the adoption of additional sanctions on Sierra Leone which placed similar restrictions on rough diamond imports from that country.

Sanctions were also imposed on Liberia, given its role as a channel for illicit diamonds from Sierra Leone.

The UN has shown an ongoing interest in the blood diamond issue. In December 2000, and again in March 2002, the United Nations General Assembly passed resolutions, of which Canada was one of the sponsors, calling for the creation of an international rough diamond certification program, in order to tighten up measures to control the diamond trade and prevent blood diamonds from getting into legitimate markets.

The G-8 is also keenly interested in this issue. At the July 2000 Okinawa summit, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, along with the leaders of the other G-8 countries--

Supply March 19th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I note that Canadian Alliance members are saying that, as a government, we are going too fast with the Kyoto protocol. However, the other opposition parties are telling us that we are not acting quickly enough. This makes me say that we may be going at just the right speed.

I want to congratulate the Bloc Quebecois member for his analysis, which is very well balanced between the costs and the benefits that would result from the ratification of the Kyoto protocol. I fully agree with him when he says that, in the long term, the fact that the United States is not signing the agreement will benefit Canadians and Canadian businesses involved in environmental technologies. This will give us an economic advantage over the Americans.

The hon. member spoke at length of the costs and benefits relating to the Kyoto protocol, as well as studies on the subject. I wonder if any data or studies were put together, that he is aware of, regarding the social and economic costs that would result from not doing anything about climate change and not ratifying the Kyoto protocol?

Supply March 19th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I will remind the hon. member that his party was in power for nine years and never put a dime into climate change, but this government has acted. In budget 2000 and the 2000 fall economic statement, the government committed $1.5 billion over five years for climate change initiatives. We have increased that since then. These initiatives include the development and demonstration of innovative technologies for reducing greenhouse gas and other emissions, increasing the uptake of energy efficiency.

Tonight I will be attending the Museum of Nature with my colleague from the Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Minister of the Environment. We will announce a further $6 million BIOCAP project. The government is serious about climate change and we are acting.

Supply March 19th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague seems to forget that we live in a country that requires a great deal of energy. We live in a very cold country.

If our government and previous governments had not invested in the production of new energy resources in this country, we would probably be freezing right now.

Our approach is a dual one. While developing our energy sources and creating jobs for Canadians, we must also continue to develop non-polluting sources such as hydroelectricity, wind energy and others.

Supply March 19th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I would invite the hon. member to look at the record of the government. The key word in reducing greenhouse gas emissions is partnership. The hon. member was asking the federal government to prove its leadership. We have done that. Just last week the hon. Minister of the Environment announced eight new partnerships, eight new programs in Vancouver worth some $400 million. That proves the commitment of the government to partnering.

We will give the private sector the guidance and the leadership it needs and we will provide some funding. That is what we are doing, with $1.5 billion. We did not wait to sign Kyoto to take action. We are already taking it.