Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Annapolis Valley—Hants (Nova Scotia)
Lost his last election, in 1997, with 30.26% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Canadian Armed Forces April 14th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to support our Canadian Armed Forces, particularly the personnel stationed at CFB Greenwood, 14th Wing and Camp Aldershot in my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants.
As Canadians we are privileged to have one of the finest armed forces in the world. I have had the opportunity to meet with many of the personnel stationed in my riding and I am always struck by the high levels of professionalism and dedication they show in their work and in serving Canada. Whether through peacekeeping, search and rescue missions or military exercises, Canadians and citizens from countries around the world know they can count on the Canadian Armed Forces.
Although we have seen some negative attention focused on the armed forces in recent years, let us not forget the excellent work being done every day by our armed forces personnel.
Tobacco Act March 6th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. First, let me applaud the young person who did not start smoking.
If members remember my speech, we are talking about a health issue here, not one of economics and not one of one-letter lines that indicate one individual.
I put this to my hon. colleague. Why would the tobacco companies spend all these millions on fancy logos for tobacco advertising if they were not trying to entice people to smoke? These people are doing a good service in the sense that they will still be promoting, but, believe me, they are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. They are doing it mainly because they want to draw young people into the web because others who are dying are leaving the web due to tobacco related diseases.
His argument is not compelling. As a matter of fact it only applauds that one individual who decided to stop smoking.
Tobacco Act March 6th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Scarborough-Rouge River.
Throughout the debate on Bill C-71 we have heard compelling evidence about the dangers of smoking. Tobacco use puts the lives of millions of Canadians at risk every day. Canadians are increasingly aware of the dangers of tobacco use. Consensus has been building for some time on the need for strong, well co-ordinated action to meet this public health challenge head on.
The announcement by the Minister of Health of a comprehensive federal strategy to help protect Canadians from the harmful effects of tobacco is a step to be applauded and supported by all members of the House.
Bill C-71 is an indispensable tool for regulating tobacco advertising and promotion and ultimately for reducing tobacco consumption.
We must recognize that the legislation has as its ultimate goal public health. It is our responsibility as members of Parliament to ensure that it receives quick passage through the House.
This debate has given us a clear picture of the devastating effects of tobacco use on the current generation of Canadian smokers. Just as alarming, however, is the potential devastation awaiting a whole new generation of young Canadians who are taking up smoking at an alarming rate.
I will read a letter I recently received from a grade 5-6 class at L. E. Shaw School in Avonport in my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants. The teacher wrote:
The grade 5-6 students are very concerned about the effects of smoking on our bodies and the environment. We have also looked at the advertising and the influence it has on people, especially young people.
In their letter they urge me not to support any measures that loosen the restrictions on advertising tobacco products.
As a parliamentarian I have a responsibility to protect their rights and their health. I am pleased to report that the measures included in the bill are an appropriate response to the health threat that smoking poses for the young people of Canada.
Let us begin with what we know about youth and smoking. One in three Canadians smoke. Half of them will ultimately die prematurely of tobacco related diseases. In my own family I have certainly seen this devastation. Youth are the most tragic casualties of tobacco use and addiction. Youth are the most vulnerable to tobacco promotion.
That is why the government's priority in developing the legislation and the overall strategy has been young people. I think we can all agree that young people are certainly the future of the country. We must invest in them by protecting them and by ensuring the safest and healthiest environment for their growth and development.
The statistics, however, show that we have our work cut out for us. Twenty-nine per cent of 15 to 19 year olds and 14 per cent of 10 to 14 year olds are current smokers. Smoking among teens 15 to 19 years of age has increased 25 per cent since 1991. According to the 1994 youth smoking survey, 260,000 kids between the ages of 10 and 19 years were beginner smokers that year.
Figures like these are being replicated in all other countries. These statistics have promoted the World Health Organization to classify youth smoking as a global pediatric epidemic.
What is striking about the evidence on youth smoking is the knowledge among youth about the effects of tobacco use. More than 90 per cent of people between the ages of 10 and 19 believe that tobacco is addictive. A similar percentage believe tobacco smoke in the environment can be harmful to the health of people who do not smoke. I certainly I can attest to that. Despite being clearly aware of the hazards over a quarter of the young people still smoke.
Research indicates a strong association between the smoking habits of youth and the number of friends who smoke. The most common reason cited for starting to smoke is the influence of friends or peer pressure. Eighty-five per cent of all smokers surveyed say they began smoking before they were 16 years of age. A critical time for the smoking decision process appears to be between the ages of 12 and 14. It is no surprise the tobacco companies know this statistic. They need new customers to replace the legions of those who are dying every year from smoking.
Currently the tobacco industry has a voluntary code that prohibits advertising to young people or using advertising with young people pictured in it. However the industry has breached this code time and time again.
The tobacco industry says it does not advertising to encourage youth to take up smoking. It claims it is only to encourage older, established smokers to switch their brands. Young people like those in our gallery are sophisticated enough to understand the point of tobacco company marketing tools.
Some 85 per cent of young smokers and 83 per cent to non-smokers agree that advertising for events sponsored by tobacco companies is a means to directly advertise cigarette brands. I am sure the group of young people in our gallery would agree with those statements.
Despite the claims of the tobacco industry it is clear people in young age smoking groups are more likely to start smoking and to switch brands than older people. Otherwise, why would the tobacco companies support events that are so popular with young people, from sporting events to popular music festivals, to entertainment events? Young people tell us that the use of brand names in tobacco sponsored events acts as an advertisement for tobacco products and smoking as well as for the specific event.
Bill C-71 will respond to the realities and to the tobacco industry's indirect focus on youth. Bill C-71 will restrict the association of tobacco brand names with sponsored events while still allowing tobacco companies to sponsor whatever events they please. The legislation will also control the extent to which young people are exposed to tobacco advertisements and promotions by banning broadcast, billboard, bus panel ads, and counter top displays in stores. In addition, it prohibits the use of tobacco brand names or logos on non-tobacco products that are youth oriented or have lifestyle connotations such as baseball caps and knapsacks.
The legislation will also reduce youth access by banning vending machines and mail out sales and by requiring photo identification to confirm minimum age.
These measures and others in the bill are designed to protect the health of Canadians, particularly young Canadians. Collectively they form a balanced and reasonable piece of legislation that addresses the broad range of factors which contribute to a young person's decision to smoke.
Since the bill was introduced the Minister of Health has consistently reiterated that he would listen to the views expressed in consultation on the bill. The minister has subsequently tabled a series of amendments that demonstrates our government is giving serious consideration to what all parties have to say on this complex issue.
The proposed amendments are straightforward and fall into three categories. Six of the proposals are technical amendments. They simply bring greater precision to some of the terms used in Bill C-71. Four amendments respond to requests by representatives of the tobacco industry that the government clarify its intentions. We have done so in the interests of providing greater certainty to affected parties.
The final amendment responds to the requests made by the arts, cultural and sports community and groups. Some groups expressed concern over what might happen if subclauses 24(2) and (3) took effective immediately upon proclamation. These subclauses restrict the display of tobacco related brand elements and the placement of permanent materials.
The government recognizes that many sponsored events bring important economic benefits to communities. We have therefore agreed to a one-year or two summers implementation period for this portion of the bill only to give affected groups more time to adjust their promotional strategies.
We have introduced these reasonable amendments in a way that will not compromise the integrity of the bill or the government's health objectives. As I said earlier, this bill is about protecting the health of Canadians, particularly young Canadians.
The Budget February 20th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.
He talks about the deficit. We need to get that deficit down. If we did not get that deficit down more we would have had to do more cutting in our transfer payments. That is a given.
We have started to get it down. Because we have it down, we can now use our efforts of deficit cutting as a spring board to begin creating more opportunities for people, applying the budget more to the needs of people. We have done this.
He raises the question of the Farm Credit Corporation and $50 million. It would be nice if we could have done more, but it is a beginning, a reinvestment, a turning around of some of the savings that people have struggled with to help the Canadian government to bring down the deficit.
Our farmers are very innovative. I do not know about the farmers in his area, but the farmers in my area are very innovative and they will be able to use the money to create more opportunities to build their businesses and hire more people. As an end result there will be more growth and more people will pay income tax.
We have a number of examples. In our budget we have tried to put in place spring board opportunities for people to get on with developing the economy.
I would ask the hon. member to take a look at those initiatives in a positive fashion.
The Budget February 20th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Mississauga West.
It is a great pleasure to rise in my place today to speak in support of our government's 1997 budget. This budget reflects the very values and institutions that we cherish as Canadians. It highlights our commitment to health care, to improved access to education and training opportunities, and to working to improve the well-being of children and our young people.
It is a budget that underscores the principles of fairness and putting people first. It contains important measures that will give more Canadians the opportunity to participate fully and actively in the life of our country. This is not just a Liberal budget, it is a budget that we as Canadians can be proud of.
When our government took office in 1993, the nation's finances were in disarray. The deficit stood at $42 billion, unemployment was at 11.4 per cent and the very future of our social programs was under threat. What a difference four years have made. This year our deficit will be no higher than $19 billion and in 1998-99 our government will no longer need to borrow new money from our financial markets. In short, we are regaining our financial sovereignty.
The people of my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants have made sacrifices over the last few years in the name of deficit reduction. All Canadians have been made to do with less in terms of federal programs and services. Many of my constituents have reminded me that deficit reduction does have a human face. They have said: "If you cut programs indiscriminately, real people and families will suffer". That is why I am proud of our government's approach to deficit reduction. By moving at a responsible pace, we have dramatically reduced our deficit while preserving Canada's social safety net.
I have always seen our deficit reduction efforts as a means to a greater end. While we must continue to follow a path of fiscal prudence and responsibility, we can now see a light at the end of the tunnel. We now have a certain amount of flexibility to invest in the future of our people and in the future of Canada.
Let us take a moment to look at the troubling level of child poverty and how this impacts upon Canada. Last December I had the opportunity to participate in a prebudget debate in this House. At that time I joined with colleagues from all sides of the House in stating unequivocally that the rate of child poverty in Canada was unacceptably high.
Too many Canadian children are not getting the start they need to become healthy, happy and productive adults. This is not only a personal tragedy but is a loss for a nation as a whole. Our government is taking important steps to address these problems.
As the Minister of Finance announced in his remarks on Tuesday, our government is committed along with our provincial counterparts to a new cross-Canada child benefit system. We will increase federal spending on children by $850 million by July 1998. This includes $600 million of new money on top of the $250 million announced in last year's budget.
Under the new approach the new Canada child tax benefit will go to all eligible families, those working and those on welfare. That will allow provincial governments to take some of the money they currently spend on welfare and redirect it into the services and programs for working poor families, such as in the area of child
care. As the Minister of Finance also said in his budget speech, there can be no more worthy effort that a new partnership on behalf of Canada's children.
I also want to endorse our government's hundred million dollar commitment to two important programs. I am referring of course to the community action program for children and the prenatal nutritional program. I have seen firsthand the benefits of proactive early childhood health programs. I can say unequivocally that these programs are truly making a difference for children and families across Canada.
In the months leading up to the budget I worked closely with the Nova Scotia Association of Family Resource Projects in its effort to create greater awareness and understanding of the benefits of this type of programming. I brought its concerns to Ottawa and to this House. I am pleased that the government is responding to the needs of Canada's children.
I want to take the opportunity to thank all of those front line workers and volunteers who work so diligently to make these programs successful both in Annapolis Valley-Hants and in the communities across this country.
Our commitment to health care does not stop there. Our government will also provide $150 million over the next three years to help the provinces put in place projects that will enable them to test new ways in which our health system can be improved. Projects could include new approaches to home care, drug coverage and other innovations.
Prior to entering the field of politics my entire working life was spent in the health field. I know that health care ingenuity has excelled in my riding. I also know that when it comes to new ideas and better ways to deliver health care services the professionals and the citizens living and working in Annapolis Valley-Hants will rise to the forefront.
I would like now to turn for a moment to discuss the important topics of jobs and growth and particularly our efforts in rural Canada. Annapolis Valley-Hants, as the House knows, is predominately a rural riding. Those of us who live in rural communities face unique challenges as we work to preserve and enhance economic opportunities.
I was pleased therefore to listen to the Minister of Finance as he committed our government to ensure that rural Canada has every opportunity to fully participate in everything this government has to offer. Let me show some of the facts.
Our government is making a $50 million investment in the Farm Credit Corporation. We are investing $45 million over three years in the Canadian Tourism Commission. We are contributing an additional $30 million to the community access program. Our government is raising the ceiling under the Small Business Loans Act from $12 billion to $14 billion and we are reducing the paper burden for small businesses by allowing many of them to file quarterly reports rather than monthly reports.
This will greatly reduce their costs, their time burden and they will be able to hold their money longer.
All of these measures, combined with the initiatives such as the extension of the infrastructure program, the $350 million youth employment program and the extension of the residential rehabilitation assistance program, will effectively respond to the challenges facing rural Canada and allow for more innovation and growth, both in my riding and in communities and businesses across this country.
Knowledge and education are the key to long term economic success for any nation. This is again part of the infrastructure that we are investing into as government. Our government recognizes that by investing in education and innovation now we will see a tremendous payback over the long term.
Last November I attended a student rally at Acadia university in my riding. At this event many students told me that one of the greatest problems they faced was a growing personal debt burden. I brought these concerns back to Ottawa and joined with many of my colleagues here in addressing the question how to help students and families cope with the costs.
Our government has taken a number of important measures and as a result of this budget federal support for post-secondary education will increase by $137 million in 1997. We are doubling the annual contribution limits for the registered education savings plan. We have introduced provisions to allow students to carry forward unused education credits indefinitely. We are doubling the educational tax credit and we have extended interest relief on student loans for those who are unable to make their payments from 18 to 30 months.
As well, our government is establishing the Canada Foundation for Innovation. I belief this program is tailor made for Nova Scotians and institutions such as Acadia University, pharmaceutical companies and health institutions, all of which are in my riding. This program will help Canada's research infrastructure.
This budget builds on our previous efforts and sets a clear course for a brighter future. A course that will-
Experience Canada Program February 13th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to offer my congratulations to Mr. Brian Loughead from the community of Windsor Junction in my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants. Brian is here in the gallery.
Brian has just recently completed the work experience component of the experience Canada program, a career development program helping young people navigate the transition from school to work. Launched by the Council of Canadian Unity, the 10-month initiative provides young Canadians with real work experience outside of their home province or territory.
As a result of his work through this program, Brian has been awarded an employment contract. His achievement reflects a model of success for young people who are currently unemployed or underemployed.
I ask all members of the House to join me in congratulating Brian on his success. By working together we can all continue to build hope and opportunity for our young people.
Petitions February 10th, 1997
The third petition, which has also been signed by many constituents in Annapolis Valley-Hants, calls on Parliament to support the immediate initiation and conclusion by the year 2000 of an international convention to set a binding timetable for the abolition of all nuclear weapons.
Petitions February 10th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, I rise to present three petitions today. The first two petitions, signed by thousands of my constituents, urge the government to eliminate all sales tax on reading material, including books, magazines and newspapers.
Microcredit February 5th, 1997
Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Washington, D.C. a three-day world microcredit summit came to a close. Three thousand delegates from around the world took part in this historic event. Through promotion of microcredit policies, organizers hope to reach 100 million of the world's poorest families, especially the women of those families, with credit for self-employment.
I had the opportunity to attend this summit as a member of the Council of Parliamentarians. I firmly believe that microcredit can be used as a powerful tool in the struggle to end poverty and economic dependency both in underdeveloped and industrialized countries.
I want to congratulate the efforts of Results Canada and particularly the members of Results Canada in my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants for their work in promoting microcredit lending. I want to call upon our government to promote the microcredit concept as an important means of eliminating poverty and creating opportunities for a sustainable future.
Finance December 11th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his kind remarks.
The infrastructure program in my riding was very successful. The major success was that it built some infrastructure to help draw in new companies and industry to our area. That is very important. The infrastructure program is not meant just to create short term jobs; it is to set a tone, to set an infrastructure foundation for future growth and development. It did that in our area.
We worked very closely together. The communities and the municipalities chose the direction in which they wanted to go and I was there to help them do it. I went to every one of the chambers
and talked about the infrastructure program with them. I heard what their priorities were and acted on them.
For the future, yes, we want to talk about partnering with universities and hospitals, partnering with provincial and municipal governments. But there is another aspect I would like to see us get into, which is the whole area of being in partnership with businesses. We could help businesses build their infrastructure so that they could employ more people with more sustainable jobs. That would be a really helpful endeavour for instance in my riding of Annapolis Valley-Hants.
I look forward to the government coming forward and initiating this project so that we can do what we said we would do and continue to do what we have been doing, which is creating jobs and economic development.