Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Edmonton North (Alberta)
Won his last election, in 1993, with 39.31% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Citizenship And Immigration November 22nd, 1996
Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. This week there have been many comments in the media concerning the community of Vegreville and a report commissioned by the minister's department. What exactly was the purpose of this report and what was it supposed to achieve?
Fighter Pilots November 1st, 1996
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today as the member for Edmonton North to congratulate a team of Canadian pilots from Canadian Air Force Base Cold Lake, Alberta. These Canadian pilots won the prestigious NATO
fighter jet competition in the William Tell Air-to-Air Weapons Meet over six American teams.
This victory by Canada is evidence of the excellence in jet fighter training provided at CFB Cold Lake. A Canadian consortium which includes such major contractors as Bombardier, British Aerospace and CAE is promoting a plan to bring NATO pilots to Canadian bases for training. This could result in a $100 million infusion into local communities if their bid succeeds.
This victory by the Cold Lake team distinguishes our Canadian forces pilots as among the best in the world. We feel that the NATO authorities should give strong consideration to relocating the training facilities to Alberta.
Expo 2005 October 8th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, I rise in this House today as the member for Edmonton North to recognize and provide my support to the city of Calgary in organizing its bid for Expo 2005.
This international event will be an economic and cultural boon to Calgary, Edmonton and Canada, drawing tourists from around the world, and will serve as a showcase of our great country and people.
Traditional western hospitality will certainly transform all visitors into Stetson wearing, roving ambassadors of Canada who will proclaim to all who listen what a special country we are privileged to live in.
So widespread is the support for this bid that even the city of Edmonton, Calgary's traditional rival, is strongly supporting our southern neighbour's bid. Combine this support with that of the province of Alberta, the campaign for Canada sponsored by the Calgary Sun , and the future looks very bright for Calgary.
Once again, I applaud Calgary's bid for Expo 2005 and encourage my fellow members to take up this challenge for our country's benefit.
Petitions May 10th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I present a petition on behalf of 262 residents of Alberta.
The petitioners call on Parliament to establish national policies to control and contain the incidents of myalgic encephalomyelitis, fibromyalgia, and multiple chemical sensitivities in Canada, and to ensure care, treatment, comfort and dignity for persons afflicted with these illnesses.
The Late Justice David McDonald April 17th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the Hon. Justice David McDonald, a great Canadian from Alberta who died on April 8 in Edmonton.
Justice McDonald's life was committed to the highest ideals of public service. He served in the courts as a practising lawyer from 1957 to 1973. He was appointed to the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta in 1974 where he served until his appointment to the Court of Appeal of Alberta in November 1995.
He was chairman of the Commission of Inquiry into Certain Activities of the RCMP from 1977 to 1981. He also served as president of the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice from 1974 to 1977.
A Rhodes scholar and a jurist of uncommon intellect, Justice McDonald was a humanist who influenced all those who had the privilege to work with him.
We extend our sympathies to his wife Dorothy, his children Jacqueline, Jonathan and Catherine.
Please join with me in honouring a great Canadian, the Hon. Justice David McDonald.
World Figure Skating Championships March 27th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, I am rising today to express my sincere appreciation to the city of Edmonton for the marvellous work it did in hosting the World Figure Skating Championships. Thanks to the tremendous spirit of so many hardworking volunteers who organized this event, Edmonton was a showcase to the world.
All programs were sold out and the economic impact to the city of Edmonton was over $40 million. The figure skating championships had a huge television audience with over one billion people from around the world watching the event.
I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz for a fantastic performance which won a bronze medal for Canada.
Once again I would like to thank the city of Edmonton for its outstanding work in hosting the 1996 World Figure Skating Championships.
Waterton Glacier International Peace Park December 12th, 1995
Mr. Speaker, Waterton Lakes National Park in the province of Alberta, together with the American Glacier National Park in Montana, was officially designated as a world heritage site by the United Nations educational, scientific and cultural organization during a meeting held in Berlin last week. The name of this new world heritage site will be the Waterton Glacier International Peace Park.
Waterton Lakes National Park protects 528.8 square kilometres of land. The Canadian government established the park in 1895.
It is a great honour for the country that the outstanding universal value of the site has been recognized by the international community. It shares this designation with six other Canadian national sites and with other protected areas in the world such as Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the Equator's Galapagos Islands and Yellowstone.
Cultural Property Export And Import Act October 24th, 1995
Mr. Speaker, in response to the hon. member's question, Edmonton and northern Alberta in particular are areas where the descendants of many cultural and ethnic groups coming from many different countries settled, particularly as he pointed out the francophone community.
The amendments in the bill will give the descendants of the people who settled the west, particularly after 1905 when it became a province, the opportunity to pass on to the province, which is now their home province, some of things that their parents, grandparents and possibly great grandparents brought not only from eastern Canada and other parts of Canada when they settled that part of the country but also from their countries of origin.
Cultural Property Export And Import Act October 24th, 1995
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity again to speak in support of Bill C-93, an act to amend the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, the Income Tax Act and the Tax Court of Canada Act.
As members will recall, the purpose of the bill is to establish an appeal of decisions of the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board to the Tax Court of Canada. Members will also recall that this is the reinstatement of a right that had previously existed. I repeat that it is the reinstatement of a right that had previously existed but was lost when the responsibility for determining the fair market value of certified cultural property was transferred from Revenue Canada to the review board.
Some people have incorrectly called tax incentives for donations to museums, art galleries, archives and libraries a tax loophole for the rich. While some wealthy people do benefit from these credits, there are also many people who donate important objects of Canadiana that have been in their families for generations.
According to the Canadian Museums Association, over 60 million people visited museums in Canada last year. As part of their experience of visiting a museum, these 60 million people were able to view objects that are now in public collections because of the tax credits available for donations. Without these incentives, many of these donations would not have been made and the objects would have instead been exported and sold to museums in other countries.
If Canadians and visitors to Canada are not able to learn about our past by visiting museums, the damage to our history and to our identity as Canadians will be immeasurable. Museums, art galleries, archives and libraries are not just warehouses full of objects that never see the light of day. On the contrary, they are lively centres of education and learning where one learns about the past through objects that have been preserved for the present and future generations.
The idea was perhaps most eloquently stated by Sir Arthur Doughty, Dominion Archivist of Canada from 1904 to 1935, when he wrote about archival documents: "Of all the nation's assets,
archives are the most precious. They are the gift of one generation to another. The extent of our care of them marks the extent of our civilization". These words apply equally to the holdings of museums, art galleries and libraries.
Tax incentives that offer partial financial compensation to a donor of cultural property are a small price to pay for the preservation of our national heritage. Through these tax credits, the Government of Canada is able to assist institutions to continue to acquire and preserve significant cultural objects when acquisition budgets are shrinking or non-existent.
It is also important to consider these amendments in the tradition of tax incentives as a means to encourage charitable donations. Income tax exemptions for donations to educational institutions, hospitals and churches have been included in the Income Tax Act since its passage in 1916.
In 1930 these exemptions were extended to registered charities. Tax exemptions for donations to educational and charitable institutions including museums, archives and libraries have therefore been a fundamental principle of the tax policy since income tax was first introduced.
In recent years, the Income Tax Act has been amended so that tax credits now extend to gifts to non-profit organizations that provide housing for senior citizens, Canadian amateur athletic associations, Canadian municipalities, the United Nations and its agencies, and registered national art service organizations. As this list indicates, tax credits are part of an overall fiscal strategy to encourage donations to a wide range of organizations.
Institutions designated pursuant to the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, that is institutions that have demonstrated they meet legal and professional requirements for the preservation of our cultural property, are both educational institutions and registered charities. Tax credits for donations to these institutions are therefore not new but instead are consistent with the history of giving in Canada.
It has also been suggested that tax credits for donations of cultural property are a waste of taxpayers' money because donors are able to get rid of works of questionable importance. This suggestion demonstrates a lack of understanding of the collecting practices of Canada's custodial institutions and of the professionalism of Canadian curators. It also implies that every object acquired by a museum, art gallery, archive or library is automatically certified as a cultural property for income tax purposes.
I would like to address each of these points in order, as an understanding of these issues is key to understanding the importance of the tax credits available for gifts of cultural property.
First, with respect to the acquisition mandates and practices of Canadian custodial institutions, it must be understood that these institutions are established with a specific mandate to acquire and preserve defined types of objects. Museum curators must therefore carefully select which objects they are going to acquire and must be able to demonstrate how they fit into this acquisition mandate. They do not accept just anything or everything. In fact, I have been told by senior museum curators that they turn down as many offers of gifts as they accept.
Second, museums, archives and libraries are staffed by professional personnel who are acknowledged experts in their subject areas. They know what is culturally significant and what is not. They know what should be preserved and what sometimes unfortunately, must be allowed to perish or be exported. They are also keenly aware that their institutions cannot preserve every example of even important cultural objects. In short, professional judgment is applied when decisions are being made about what objects are worthy of being added to the permanent collection.
Third, there seems to be an assumption that when an object is chosen for inclusion in a public collection it is somehow automatically certified as cultural property and therefore is eligible for a tax credit. Again, this is a fallacy. Just as professional judgment is applied to what will be required, it is also applied when deciding if an application for certification as cultural property for income tax purposes should be submitted. In short, only a fraction of the objects that are acquired in any given year receive a tax credit.
To be eligible for certification, an object or a collection must satisfy the criteria of outstanding significance and national importance found in section 11(1) of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, which states:
(a) whether that object is of outstanding significance by reason of its close association with Canadian history or national life, its aesthetic qualities, or its value in the study of the arts or sciences; and
(b) whether the object is of such a degree of national importance that its loss to Canada would significantly diminish the national heritage.
It is clear from these criteria that only truly significant objects are eligible for certification for income tax purposes. The decision is not made arbitrarily but rather according to specific legislative requirements that are applied uniformly to all objects that are considered for certification by the review board. It is also worth noting that the decision as to whether an object is of outstanding significance and national importance is made by a board composed of people who are active in the cultural community.
The Cultural Property Export and Import Act requires that review boards be comprised of people who work in custodial institutions, people who buy and sell cultural property, or people
who actively collect objects that are important to Canada's cultural heritage. The review board is therefore a board of experts who are knowledgeable about both the significant and fair market value of cultural property.
When the previous government decided to transfer the responsibility for determining the fair market value of cultural property from Revenue Canada to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board it did so without consultation. Members of the review board were not consulted. Dealers and collectors of art and antiques were not consulted. Custodial institutions were not consulted.
In the course of implementing its new mandate, the review board sometimes lowered the proposed fair market value of cultural property. While this was inevitable and had also been the practice at Revenue Canada, the result was that some donors felt that their donations had been undervalued. When they attempted to appeal the board's determination, it was discovered that the right of appeal that had existed under the Income Tax Act had been lost.
In response to the concerns raised, consultations then took place with members of the review board, dealers, donors and representatives of the institutions that collect cultural property. Their response was unanimous: The right to appeal review board decisions was necessary to ensure that the system continued to work fairly.
Bill C-93 is a manifestation of the will of the people. It is not something that was dreamed up by this government, nor is it an expansion of existing tax incentives for the donation of cultural property. It is instead the reinstatement of a right that was lost in 1991. It is also a tangible demonstration that this government listens to the people of Canada and is prepared to move quickly to correct imbalances and inequities in the tax system.
There has been much talk from members of the third party about fairness in the tax system yet they oppose a bill that is just about that, fairness. The current system with the lack of an appeal of determination of fair market value has been characterized by many people as being unfair. The establishment of not one but two appeal processes will restore fairness to the system. It will ensure that if donors believe they have a legitimate dispute with the review board they will be able to pursue it first with the review board and, if necessary, in the tax courts.
Donations to museums, archives and libraries involve a triangular relationship between the donor, the recipient institution and when certification as cultural property is required, between the donor and the institution on one hand and the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board on the other. This relationship is one of mutual respect and co-operation in the preservation of Canada's heritage in movable cultural property. This relationship must also include a mechanism for dispute resolution if and when the participants cannot agree about the value of the gift.
The appeal process of determinations by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board proposed in Bill C-93 will permit
any donor of cultural property who disagrees with a review board determination the opportunity to pursue this first with the board and if necessary ultimately with the Tax Court of Canada.
The amendments proposed in the bill should be viewed as a guarantee of the donor's right to natural justice through an appeal to the judicial system if that is warranted. These amendments should also be viewed as a reinstatement of a right of appeal that was lost in 1991 when the responsibility for determining fair market value was transferred to the review board.
We believe it is important that the decisions of government boards and agencies be subject to appeal because even in the honest exercise of judgment, differences of opinion can occur. An open and transparent process with respect to determinations by the review board is essential and the right to pursue the matter in the courts, if no other resolution can be found, is consistent with both the Canadian legal system and the concept of natural justice.
As Canadians we have the privilege to live in a country with many cultures. The material history, the cultural property of many diverse groups that make up Canadian society must continue to be preserved for the benefit of all Canadians. I believe the amendments contained in Bill C-93 will help to ensure this happens and will only improve the already unique Canadian approach to protecting cultural property.
In conclusion, I would urge the support of the House for Bill C-93.
British Columbia Treaty Commission October 23rd, 1995
Mr. Speaker, in reply to the hon. member's question, as part of its duties the British Columbia Treaty Commission is responsible for the provision of a public record on negotiations. The commission is required to report annually to the legislature,
Parliament and the First Nations Summit on the progress of the negotiations.
Recently the commission released its second annual report to the principals detailing the progress of the negotiations. I have encouraged the new commissioners to play a larger role in informing the public on treaty negotiation issues.
In addition, a number of other steps have been taken to ensure that the treaty negotiation process is accessible and open to all British Columbians. These steps would include establishment of regionally based advisory committees, public forums, regional information meetings, a toll free phone number and brochures.