House of Commons photo

Last in Parliament April 1997, as NDP MP for Mackenzie (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 1993, with 31.10% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Passenger Rail Service December 13th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, four million people use passenger rail service each year in Canada. They do so because it is fast, efficient, curtails pollution and saves jobs.

Many of these four million people have sent small cards to the government stating their wish for rail service to continue to be one of their transportation options. Today I carried about 150 pounds of these small cards to the Prime Minister's office to let him know of their interest and intent.

I note that the red book spoke of implementing an infrastructure investment program. Some railway people have produced position papers showing that high speed rail, at speeds in excess of 300 kilometres an hour, is technically feasible since Canadian companies are bidding on French and American contracts. High speed rail could also improve air quality, public safety and is economically and financially feasible.

It is time the government considered investing to bring about improvements to Canada's infrastructure and to our way of life.

Citizenship Act November 21st, 1996

Madam Speaker, two days ago I rose to ask some questions about the Canadian Airlines International situation and asked if the federal government had done any substantial analysis of that situation and what changes, regulatory or financial, the government was prepared to make in face of the potential losses that were described by some analysts on the west coast.

They had looked at the situation and had shown that if there are 16,400 jobs lost, which is the employment at Canadian Airlines, another 54,000 indirect jobs would be lost at airports, ticket outlets, agencies, fuel suppliers, caterers and so on. The total loss in contributions to unemployment and pension funds would be $314 million.

The total loss to the federal government in income taxes would be an additional $1 billion. The loss in GST rebates would be $21 million. The loss in fuel, airport taxes and other minor taxes would be an additional $225 million. The taxes lost to declining disposal income would be an additional $168 million. For those who are able to get jobs their income would decline. Unemployment insurance costs for all workers for one year would be $1.5 billion, making a total of $2.9 billion in losses to the federal treasury.

If 30 per cent of the employees find work immediately within a year, that loss is reduced to $2.5 billion. If two-thirds of them find employment, the loss goes down to about $2 billion, but there is still a new loss to the treasury for the first year after Canadian Airlines hits the wall, which is now expected to be the case about November 30 if nothing else changes.

The federal government will lose between $2 billion and $3 billion. I would have thought the government would have had a contingency plan available. According to the response I got that did not seem to be the case. That was strange because in June 1993, just prior to the last election, the Liberal leader of the day who is now Prime Minister said that the key features of his airline policy would be safety, competition and Canadian control. He went on to promise that he would do something to make the industry more stable.

This you will remember, Madam Speaker, was about a year after a previous restructuring of Canadian Airlines International and at which point the company successfully urged some of the employees to buy stock in the airline at $16 a share. Those shares are now worth about $1.80. We do not hear them offering shares any

more to employees, they are simply offering wage cuts of 10 per cent. Yet even the Prime Minister has said a loan would not make this company any more profitable, it just extends the problem a few more months or years. A 10 per cent cut in wages is equivalent to a loan.

I think the government, given that it has more than $2 billion at stake, should do a better job of handling this situation.

Canadian Airlines November 18th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, Vancouver accountant Mr. Robert Morrow has produced some figures which assume the loss of 16,400 direct jobs and 54,000 indirect jobs if Canadian Airlines International hits the wall. And assuming that one-third of those people are re-employed afterward, it estimates a net loss to the Canadian treasury of $2.5 billion.

Has the federal government done any substantial analysis on the same situation and what changes, regulatory or financial, is the government prepared to make in the face of these potential losses?

Child Poverty November 18th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, in 1989 the House unanimously voted to end child poverty by the year 2000.

Today's report card shows that not only is the government not keeping to its commitment, it is making the situation worse. Since 1989 the child poverty rate has increased by 46 per cent, bringing Canada's total of poverty-stricken children to 1.4 million, the second highest rate in the industrialized world.

Clearly the Liberal government is not providing the solutions that Canadians need and want. Poor Canadians need jobs that pay a fair wage. They need universal child care and other resources to help them break free of the dependence cycle. Canadians need adequate and affordable housing and educational opportunities that are not biased against the poor.

In 1993 the Liberals said they wanted to give children the best possible start in life. Why have they not done so?

Agriculture September 27th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, although the Liberals promised to keep marketing boards, the Crow benefit and branch lines, they have already gotten rid of two of those three pillars of their policy. When confronted with their duplicity they say that the international agreements made them do it. However, during the election they said they would not sign those agreements.

Now the Liberal government has offered up marketing boards on the sacrificial altar of free trade for the 1999 round. Canadian officials did not have to call them state trading entities but they did. The government did not have to sign onto the agenda but it did.

Unfortunately for Canadian farmers who want to keep single desk selling, our officials have willingly taken the poison to kill the boards and now we find there is no antidote. What is worse, no one inside the government seems to be looking for one.

Agriculture September 26th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of agriculture, who said yesterday that he is relying on New Zealand, Argentina and Australia to be his Cairns group allies in defending our wheat board and our dairy commission and some other boards in the 1999 trade talks.

Since Argentina has already abandoned its marketing system and New Zealand and Australia are changing theirs to take the state out of them, is he planning similar changes here or what is it exactly that holds this alliance together?

Agriculture September 25th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, unlike politicians, farmers have to plan well beyond the next election so they want to know the facts about the likely future of single desk agencies in the 1999 trade talks.

My question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food who yesterday told us he had been at a Cairns group meeting where he took no farm representatives. There appears to have been no record of the proceedings of what went on.

Will he in future include wheat board advisory members as farm representatives and will he make available the record of such discussions so that all farmers may assess what is really going on, given that New Zealand and Australia, his two believed allies, tell a different story about 1999.

Canadian Wheat Board September 24th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, prior to the government's election in 1993 the Prime Minister promised to keep the Crow benefit and after the election he killed it. Now before another election he is promising that the wheat board will stay.

Since this government has already placed the wheat board, the dairy commission and others on the table as identified state trading enterprises for the 1999 round of trade talks, and since the avowed purpose of those talks is to eliminate all identified state trading enterprises, why given its record, should any farmer trust the Liberal government to keep the board? How does it propose to do that?

Questions On The Order Paper September 16th, 1996

Which Canadian institutions or agencies does the government consider to be "state trading entities" for purposes of the GATT negotiations which begin in 1999 and have departmental officials received such a list?

Pearson Airport June 20th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the Pearson airport sale was done in the summer of 1993, just three weeks before that Conservative government was reduced to two seats.

The Liberals who opposed airport privatization reversed the deal with Bill C-22, based on their fresh democratic majority and the Nixon report. Reform and much of the business community opposed Bill C-22 because it "broke a contract".

Strangely, the contract argument is ignored when these same people want to reduce pensions, unemployment insurance, workers' compensation or medicare. The Senate is now the focus. Senators are not elected. Neither are the Transport Canada officials who made the deal. The real question is, what happened to Liberal opposition to privatization of Canada's infrastructure like ports, railways, airports, et cetera?

The voters thought they had thrown out privatization along with the Tories. Who won the last election, the Liberals or Transport Canada's freedom to move. It certainly was not the people.