Last in Parliament April 1997, as Reform MP for Edmonton—Strathcona (Alberta)
Won his last election, in 1993, with 39.35% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Government Spending September 19th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, this Liberal government's lavish spending sprees are breaking through the superficial fiscal restraints.
The Liberals have committed to pay approximately $3 million or 30 per cent of the total cost of the francophone games to be held in Madagascar. These games include medals for such events as sculpting, video production and even story telling.
We plan on spending over five times more than what we spent on the Commonwealth games which were held in Canada and over ten times more than what we spent on the 1996 Olympics.
Government waste of taxpayer dollars is indefensible. In bad times such as what we are in now when many Canadians are suffering, the government is hard pressed to-
Petitions May 13th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, because of certification, I was unable to present this petition before the passage of Bill C-33. However, it is still my privilege to present the petition on behalf of approximately 240 individuals from Edmonton.
The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House that the human rights act not be amended to include the term sexual orientation, in order that no Canadians receive special rights or privileges based solely on sexual behaviour.
Auto Leasing April 16th, 1996
Mr. Speaker, greed is different from wealth and different from profit. Profit is gained. Greed is a longing for wealth. It is not an acceptable attribute, even in a capitalistic, free enterprise, often profit driven society. Auto leasing has become a core business for a majority of automobile dealers.
Bank entry into this market could therefore jeopardize the viability of the whole industry which could also adversely affect thousands of Canadian jobs. In particular, where banks are the main provider of credit to automobile dealers, the government must avoid creating an unfair marketplace and an environment in which credit deprivation by the banks would be possible.
How convenient to be both the supplier and the competitor to the automobile dealers of Canada.
Renewal Of Canadian Federalism December 6th, 1995
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal so-called unity package is going to have a negative effect on Canada. This package will divide the country more than it will unite it. The distinct society clause will be seen as giving Quebec special status. By lending the federal government's constitutional veto to provincial governments rather than the people, the government will pit one province against the others.
The net effect of the government's package is to increase inequality. Without a doubt, denying all citizens constitutional equality will entrench the notion that all Canadians are unequal.
My constituents in Edmonton-Strathcona and I support the Reform's blue book policy which states clearly our commitment to Canada as one nation and to our vision of Canada as a balanced federation of 10 equal provinces and citizens.
Excise Tax Act October 31st, 1995
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today to discuss report stage of Bill C-103, an act to amend the Excise Act and Income Tax Act.
I will spend the majority of my time today discussing Reform amendments that have been put forward to alleviate some of the serious problems or flaws that have worked their way into the bill.
As I stated during second reading, Bill C-103 will impose an excise tax in respect to split run editions of periodicals. The tax will be implemented at the rate of 80 per cent of the value of all advertisements contained within the split run edition. The split run editions are essentially periodicals distributed in Canada. More than 20 per cent of their editorial material is the same or substantially the same as the editorial material that appears in one or more periodical edition distributed primarily outside Canada and they contain advertisements that differ from country to country. Reform's amendments lie at the heart of this issue.
It is all too clear the issue of a split run edition of foreign magazines is one of predatory pricing or dumping its product on the Canadian market at unreasonably low prices as it means a siphoning off of Canadian advertising. If this is happening then punitive measures should be applied against the violators.
The ultimate question is whether publications such as Sports Illustrated are in fact dumping and in so doing bleeding the Canadian periodical advertising market dry. To effectively determine if split run periodicals dump their product on the Canadian market, we should examine the fees charged for advertising and
compare them to a competitor or another publication with similar numbers or readership.
I will use readership as a quantitative measure in comparing Sports Illustrated with two other magazines simply because the same value was selected by the Canadian Magazine Publishers Association for comparing costs of advertising between publications. Sports Illustrated Canada has a readership of just over 650,000 compared with Equinox which has a readership of 783,000 and Outdoor Canada which has a readership of 621,000. The readership numbers are relatively close for those who read the three magazines and are relatively the same cross section of the populace.
Specifically Sports Illustrated charges $5,800 for a standard, full four-colour page advertisement, while Outdoor Canada and Equinox charge $4,300 and $5,500 respectively for the same standard, full four-page edition. Therefore it would seem logical, if Sports Illustrated is dumping the amount it charges, that advertisers should not only be lower but significantly lower. This, however, is not the case. It appears the opposite is true since Sports Illustrated charged more than the other two magazines for advertising space.
Even if we look at the unit costs per 1,000 copies for the same three publications after taxes, Sports Illustrated has a higher unit cost per thousand than the other two. Again, if Sports Illustrated were dumping, these costs would be significantly lower and not higher. This evidence has been seemingly overlooked or ignored by the Liberal government.
Further evidence is based on a 1983 study that the 10 most popular United States magazines in Canada commanded a collective circulation of approximately 2.8 million. Over the last 10 years the names of the magazines have changed yet the most popular U.S. magazines in Canada today have 25 per cent less circulation than their counterparts a decade ago.
Interesting enough at the same time the top 10 Canadian magazines have increased their collective circulation by almost 15 per cent. It appears that Canadian magazines are winning the battle for readers. This is happening not because of government intervention but because of the quality of articles in the magazines.
If we look at the amount of revenue generated for split run editions through advertisement, the lion's share is remaining in the hands of Canadian based magazines. Last year Sports Illustrated had six split runs that brought in ad revenues of slightly more than $1 million, which is minuscule compared to the $867 million in the Canadian magazine industry as a whole.
A final note on this issue is that Canadian magazine publishers admitted to the Standing Committee on Finance that advertising revenues in the Canadian magazine industry have increased 4 per cent over the last year despite the alleged dumping and predatory pricing of Sports Illustrated Canada that were supposed to have taken place during this time.
Moreover, the Canadian Magazine Publishers Association agreed there was no Canadian magazine in direct competition with Sports Illustrated Canada in its unique market niche for its readers. Even if there were, the Canadian competitor would survive not because of an end to split runs of a competitor but because Canadians wanted to read it and because it was quality material. In other words it would stand on its own merits. Advertisers would be attracted to certain publications for their readership and because they were Canadian or American.
The complaints of Canadian publishers are based on a much simpler concept than predatory pricing called economies of scale. To say therefore that economies of scale inevitably doom Canadian culture is to say that domestic and foreign cultural products compete strictly on price, that is Canadians do not distinguish between them on any other basis.
If there is one truth among nationalists it is that the two are not perfect substitutes. Canadian tastes are distinct and therefore indigenous production fills a need that foreign art cannot meet, in which case Canadians would be willing to pay a premium for the product. If we are not very different from the Americans, the advantage of economies of scale should be just as open to us as to them. A perfect example of this would be Hockey News , a Canadian publication running split run editions in the United States.
Should clauses 1 and 2 not be amended as we have put forward, future Canadian publications will be prevented from expanding into the United States. Not only does the bill impede the flow of imports, it also takes away any incentive for Canadian publications to grow, to expand and to take full advantage of the U.S. market. That is shameful. For this reason Motions Nos. 1 and 2 should be passed.
Bill C-103 implements a retroactive grandfathering clause as well. Clause 1 on page 6 dealing with section 39 clearly illustrates the meanspirited nature of the government in that it sets the exemption date for the legislation approximately one week before Sports Illustrated started running its northern edition. The bill therefore aims directly at disqualifying only them. This is grossly unfair and our amendment will remedy the situation by changing the enforcement date of the legislation to the day after the act is assented to.
We on this side of the House oppose the bill for the following reasons. First, Reformers do not support the notion that state sanctioned cultural protectionism is a good policy to implement. Second, Bill C-103 conjures up the view that Canadian magazines are not of sufficient quality or merit to compete with foreign
counterparts. We on this side of the House know that this is 100 per cent false. Canadians are among the best in the world. We compete through our talent and our products, not through government sanctioned protectionism.
It is clear therefore that the Reform Party cannot support the legislation without our amendments being passed. Bill C-103 represents the worst of giving special interest groups an advantage at the expense of all taxpayers who will now pay a higher price for many magazines they choose to buy.
On behalf of my constituents in Edmonton-Strathcona I thank the Liberal government for taking even more money out of their pockets.
Canada Volunteer Award Certificate Of Merit October 16th, 1995
Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Edmonton-Strathcona, I was very pleased to learn that Mrs. Therese Chicoine, a constituent, has been selected to receive the Canada Volunteer Award Certificate of Merit. This certificate is awarded each year to recognize those who have made valuable voluntary contributions toward improving the health and social well-being of their fellow citizens.
Mrs. Chicoine is a key player in both the administration and the delivery of the emergency services response team of the Canadian Red Cross Society. She was also instrumental in the establishment of the unrelated bone marrow donor clinic. Her list of volunteer achievements seems endless and is a testament to Canada.
I know that my hon. colleagues would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mrs. Therese Chicoine on her award.
Excise Tax Act September 25th, 1995
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today to discuss the second reading of Bill C-103, an act to amend the Excise Tax Act and the Income Tax Act.
Bill C-103 will impose an excise tax with respect to split run editions of periodicals. The tax will be implemented at a rate of 80 per cent of the value of all the advertising contained within a split run.
What type of publication are we talking about? A split run edition of a periodical is one that is distributed in Canada, one in which more than 20 per cent of editorial material is the same or substantially the same as the editorial material that appears in one or more periodical editions distributed primarily outside Canada. It is one that contains an advertisement that does not appear in identical forms in those other periodicals.
Ultimately the issue is split run editions of foreign magazines which are accused of dumping foreign editorial material into Canada to attract local ads through low cost rates. It is important to look specifically at the Canadian magazine market.
Based on a 1993 study the 10 most popular U.S. magazines in Canada commanded the collective circulation of approximately 2.8 million. Over the last 10 years the names of the magazines have changed. Yet the most popular U.S. magazines in Canada today have 25 per cent less circulation than their counterparts a decade ago. Interestingly enough, at the same time the top 10 Canadian magazines have increased their collective circulation by almost 15 per cent. It appears Canadian magazines are winning the battle for readers. This is happening not because of government intervention but because of the quality of the articles.
Even if we look at the amount of revenue generated for these split run editions through advertising, the lion's share is still remaining in the hands of Canadian based magazines. Last year Sports Illustrated had six split runs in Canada which brought in ad revenues of slightly more than $2 million. That is peanuts compared with the $869 million in the Canadian magazine industry as a whole.
Therefore as parliamentarians we need to fight the perception that Canadians read the same magazines as Americans. According to the past president of the Canadian Magazines Publishers Association a multinational ad buyer looking at news stands here would think the way to reach Canadians was through the same magazines as those on the racks in the United States. However high profile does not equal high circulation. Canadian publishers have found ways to reach readers other than through the news stand.
For instance, magazines such as Saturday Night and Modern Woman are distributed through newspapers. Magazines such as Chatelaine and Maclean's have large subscription bases. Because many Canadian magazines are subscription based it would seem logical that they are by far more vulnerable to increased postal rates than to split run editions.
I will take a moment to discuss the Sports Illustrated split run editions since it is this periodical which has caused the most controversy. Let us look at the example of the two issues of Sports Illustrated from October 11, 1993. The contents show pages of Ron Grant watching a home run disappear. In the Canadian edition it is Doug Gilmour stretching after a puck. The college football department was dropped to make way for a story on Calgary Stampeder Doug Flutie. The
Inside the NFL'' feature was replaced by theInside the CFL'' feature. The section ``Faces in the Crowd'' is an all-Canadian selection rather than an all-American selection. The same type of changes were made for all Canadian editions.
Granted this is not everything which nationalists would have wanted. However, instead of forcing an alien sport and culture down our throats, Sports Illustrated would be reflecting Canada to Canadians. Nor is Sports Illustrated displacing a home grown alternative.
There is no Canadian general sports magazine. If there were it would survive not because of an end to split run editions of a competitor but because Canadians would want to read it and because it would be quality material. In other words it would stand on its own merits.
Since it is true that most but not all of the articles in Sports Illustrated Canada appear in Sports Illustrated United States, Canadian publishers argue the costs are already recovered from sales in the U.S. This means it can undercut the Canadian industry
on advertising rates. In other words it would be dumping, selling its product for less than one does at home.
However I feel the publisher's complaints are based on a much simpler concept referred to as economies of scale. To say that therefore economies of scale inevitably doom Canadian culture is to say domestic and foreign cultural products compete strictly on price, that is Canadians do not distinguish between them on any other basis. However, if there is one truth among nationalists, it is that the two are not perfect substitutes, that Canadian tastes are distinct and therefore indigenous production fills a need that foreign art cannot, in which case Canadians should be willing to pay a premium for the product.
On the other hand if we were not all that different from the Americans the advantage of economies of scale should be just as open to us as it is to them. A rash of recent Canadian television shows such as "Due South" or "The Boys of St. Vincent" have been hits south of the border. It is for this reason that we should be encouraging free trade, not a trade war.
A trade war with the Americans is precisely where Bill C-103 is headed. We as a government have the right under the NAFTA to discriminate against American cultural companies. However let us not forget the U.S. is also permitted to retaliate with roughly equivalent measures. According to many news reports the U.S. trade office is said to be drawing up a list of potential Canadian targets for retaliation largely in the cultural or media sector.
For these reasons we on this side of the House oppose the bill. First, Reformers do not support the notion that state sanctioned cultural protectionism is a good policy to implement. Second, Bill C-103 conjures up the view that Canadian magazines are not of sufficient quality or merit to compete with foreign counterparts. We on this side of the House know this is 100 per cent false. Canadians are among the best in the world. We compete through our talent and products and not through government dictated protectionism.
I cannot understand why the government has dragged the issue out, as it has been around for almost two years. Is this the best solution to the problem which could have been developed over the last two years?
A final note which I feel sums up my sentiments toward Bill C-103 can be found in an extract from an editorial written on January 3, 1995 in the Vancouver Sun :
The Americans have good reason to feel outrage at this piece of barefaced protectionism-and Canadians should not find any pleasure in it, because it only encourages continued mediocrity in the Canadian magazine industry. Worse, it now invites U.S. retaliation just when relations across the border had seemed to be moving into a friendlier phase.
The improved relationship is not worth jeopardizing for the dubious value of killing the Canadian edition of Sports Illustrated . Ottawa should reconsider this rash and ill conceived tax.
Petitions June 21st, 1995
Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege to present a petition on behalf of approximately 300 constituents of my riding of Edmonton-Strathcona.
The constituents request that the human rights act not be amended to include the term sexual orientation in order that no Canadian receives special rights or privileges based solely on sexual behaviour.
It is my pleasure to submit the petition and to inform my constituents that I concur.
Electoral Boundaries Readjustmentact, 1995 June 20th, 1995
Madam Speaker, throughout Canada's history the issue of electoral boundary redistribution has been contentious. The hostility is derived from the very premise that those who have power are never willing to relinquish their hold on it.
I want to make it clear from the outset that I am opposed to Bill C-69, as it will attempt to fix a process that is not really broken. The government wants to scrap an electoral boundaries commission that has cost Canadians nearly $5 million and redo that process at a cost of another $5 million to $6 million. My question to the other side of the House is what happened to fiscal responsibility?
I could see the need for Bill C-69 if the original report had in some way been tainted by any type of political influence-in other words, if there had been gerrymandering or if there had been a large outcry from Canadians regarding the current redistribution process. Neither of those events has occurred.
I think the idea of politicians redrawing their own boundaries lies at the very core of a serious problem in Canada. The problem is a lack of trust by the public regarding politicians. It is evident therefore that this government does not see that Canadians are unhappy with the entire process in which politicians have been conducting their business.
Canadians want change. They want a new style of openness. They want a new style of fairness. This type of legislation can only be viewed as regressive. Even though the House was given the absolute right to redraw the electoral boundaries at Confederation, because of the contentious nature of electoral redistribution Parliament agreed to share the responsibility of redistribution with electoral boundaries commissions.
Since the creation of the electoral boundaries commissions in 1964, public perception that there is not a considerable amount of political interference in the readjustment process has diminished. The political interference that took place before the creation of the electoral boundaries commissions was seen as an attempt to ensure as far as possible that the members of the governing party were re-elected. That is absolutely wrong.
I hope this government is not travelling down the same path of earlier governments, where gerrymandering and the abuse of power were seen as commonplace. It is important to note that since 1964, while many politicians have been unhappy with the outcome of redistribution, there has rarely been a complaint of political interference. This is a direct result of one mitigating factor. These commissions are non-partisan. The commissions look primarily at the number of people in the province, not political partisanship. They do not consider how the changes will affect one party over another.
The largest criticism of the commissions is they do not consider enough non-political information. Many times they overlook common community interests or community identities. It is important to ensure redistributed boundaries correspond as closely as possible to the national quotient while also taking into account community interests and the historical patterns of an electoral district.
These factors will enable the commissions to properly manage the geographic sizes of districts with sparsely populated areas. The commissions are allowed to deviate from the provincial average by plus or minus 25 per cent, as the bill was written.
This allows them to accommodate for human and geographic factors. Another issue that causes me a great deal of concern and which was not addressed by Bill C-69 is that because of a 1985 constitutional amendment no province can have fewer seats than the 1985 level of representation regardless of the population of that province.
The exception is P.E.I. which can have no fewer MPs than Senators, not something we disagree with. We therefore have done away with the premise of absolute representation by population. It is clear that within the concept of representation by population emerges the concept of equality of vote. Any
notion of equality which rep by population may permit is countered by the fact the current and historical development of representation in Canada has only partially been based on the notion of this concept.
Since Confederation Canada has developed a system with respect to electoral representation whereby a heavily populated province retains its majority of seats within the House of Commons while the less populated provinces receive an adequate number of seats to ensure appropriate representation.
By no means does the federal government reflect the notion of true representation of population in its purest form. Rep by pop has been altered in order to guarantee a minimum number of seats within the House to the less populated provinces so they do not become under represented if their population base decreases.
Thus while the principle of representation by population may be said to lie at the heart of the electoral apportionment, it has from the beginning been altered by other factors. Due to Canada's vast geographic size and regional differences a modified version of representation by population has emerged.
It is therefore determined the equality of votes guaranteed by Canadians is one of relative equality and not absolute equality. Therefore we do not have equality of voting power but rather relative equality of voting perception.
Canada has many regions and there probably are as many definitions of regionalism as there are people defining it. Regionalism is not some sort of disease to be stamped out. Rather it is a healthy manifestation, lacking at present a healthy constitutional outlet. The only true significant political failure of the Canadian experience is its chronic inability to solve those regional tensions.
The Senate was established to protect the interests of the regions and the provinces, yet for too long western Canada has felt its interests have not been adequately represented in this federal Parliament. The Canadian Senate lacks legitimacy in the eyes of many Canadians because it is an appointed body which runs counter to the fundamental Canadian belief that democratic governments should be conducted by an elected rather than an appointed body.
What Canadians need and what Canadians in more and more numbers want is an effective, elected and equal Senate. A reformed Senate will not just benefit one province or one region, it will help build a better and stronger Canada.
We should have an elected Parliament based solely on representation by population with a constant number of members. This concept will work only if we have an elected Senate in which all of the regions of Canada have an equal number of senators; this would ensure that Parliament reflects a notion of one person, one vote and would allow the Senate to recognize the regional interests of our nation.
Moving on to the specific recommendations from the Senate on Bill C-69, I state for the record we support some of its amendments. Amendment Nos. 1 and 6(a) will reduce the allowable size of deviation from the provincial average to 15 per cent from the current 25 per cent.
This should help to equalize some of the concerns I have raised regarding the inequities of representation by population. This will ensure the ratio between rural and urban dwellers in that it will become smaller. It also allows for deviations of the plus or minus 15 per cent in special circumstances, which is totally acceptable to the Reform Party and is a point we as a party have argued for throughout every stage of this debate.
Amendment No. 4(a) is for the most part a technical amendment which simply states the two non-judicial commission members reside in the province for which the commission is established. The merits of this amendment speak clearly for themselves. However, for those for whom it does not, let me put it this way. Who better to understand the needs and requirements of a particular province than someone from that province?
Amendment No. 6(b)(i) eliminates the provision that a commission will only recommend changing to existing electoral district boundaries where the factors are set out and are to be significant enough to warrant such a recommendation.
Again it is important that an independent body able to make recommendations which could have boundary deviations which may be necessary is also free from the notion of perception of political interference. We must always remember it is simply not enough to be free from gerrymandering; it must be perceived to be free form gerrymandering.
I wish to make it clear that even with the three Senate amendments with which we agree the bill does not improve on the present process to warrant discarding the redistribution that is almost complete.
Bill C-69 failed to address the size of the House by capping or limiting the number of members of Parliament in the future. It plans to increase number of members of the House from 295 to 301. My constituents in Edmonton-Strathcona do not want more politicians; they want less government.
Bill C-69 will ultimately cost the Canadians $5 million to $6 million, as was already mentioned, to redo the distribution process. For these reasons I am against Bill C-69 in principle.