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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was manitoba.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as NDP MP for Elmwood—Transcona (Manitoba)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 45.50% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Criminal Code March 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I recognize that I only have two or three minutes left, so I am going to have to compress my comments.

I first want to congratulate the member for her bill, Bill C-612. I think it is a very important bill. I want to also recognize the member for Kildonan—St. Paul for her work with her bill.

Just so that the members know, human trafficking is the third largest grossing sector of organized crime, after drugs and arms. Therefore, it is very important that the member has dealt with some specific changes to the Criminal Code. However, the one that I would like to point out that impresses me the most is the fact that the bill would allow for the confiscation of any proceeds of crime related to the commission of the offences of procuring and trafficking in persons.

That is important. We see this happening in my home province of Manitoba as well, where we passed legislation that confiscates the proceeds of crime. If we can seize the houses, the bank accounts, and the money from criminals who are dealing in drugs and dealing in this type of activity, or any criminal activity, we can take away their reason for doing the activity in the first place. That is a very important part of the process here.

I believe I will have more time in the second hour, so I will deal with other issues then. However, just in the off chance that I am not returned in the election, I want to say that I have enjoyed working with all 308 members in the House here and I want to wish all 308 the best in all their future endeavours.

The Budget March 24th, 2011

Madam Speaker, the member would know that our total debt at the moment is around $543 billion and that the government is just coming off adding another $56 billion to that. This year it will be another $43 billion, and the next year it should be a $34 billion deficit. This is at a time when interest rates are actually low. What is the government going to do when interest rates start moving up, which must happen over the next couple of years, and interest payments start going up astronomically?

The government is doing all of this at a time when corporations are getting tax reductions and ones like the Royal Bank of Canada are paying their president $44 million a year.

Does any of this make sense to the hon. member?

The Budget March 24th, 2011

Madam Speaker, the member will know that there are many lost opportunities in the budget. He was in Winnipeg recently and he knows we are about to open a new airport facility there. However, unfortunately last year alone over 50,000 Manitobans were fleeing across the U.S. border to fly out of Grand Forks because of high Canadian taxes. The same is true for British Columbia and points in Ontario, where people cross the border to fly out of the United States. The fact is our airport taxes, as at the last budget, are the highest now in the world.

Why has the government missed the opportunity to address what is a growing problem and deal with having Canadians fly out of Canadian airports rather than American airports?

Petitions March 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, my petition is signed by machinists from the Air Canada overhaul base in Winnipeg. Over 500 full-time employees may find their jobs ending up in El Salvador. Air Canada failed in its duty to comply with the Air Canada Public Participation Act by selling its overhaul bases to Aveos in Winnipeg, Mississauga and Montreal.

On December 14, 2010, the Air Canada Council claimed at the transport committee that Aeroman, the Aveos subsidiary in El Salvador, could not do Air Canada maintenance in El Salvador. This is totally untrue, as Aeroman performs maintenance on exactly the same aircraft that is overhauled in Winnipeg, namely the A-320 series and the Embraer.

The El Salvador facility could maintain 87% of Air Canada's fleet. In fact, the El Salvador facility is expanding from four to sixteen lines. Just so that members know, Aveos has only four lines in Vancouver, four in Montreal, one in Toronto and five in Winnipeg, for a total of fourteen. In El Salvador alone it will have sixteen lines, more than all of Canada combined.

The workers who have signed the petition want Air Canada to comply with the Air Canada Public Participation Act by reverting to ownership of its overhaul centres.

Fairness for Victims of Violent Offenders Act March 23rd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member for all the work that he has put into Bill C-620 so far. As he has indicated, it is a bill that would provide more voice and choice to the victims. I think we can all agree that is a worthwhile cause. It would also give the Parole Board more discretion. I would think that we would want to send the bill to committee.

The only problem, as the member knows, is that we may only be here for another couple of days. However, I want to encourage him, when the election is over and he is back in the House maybe on this side of the House, who knows, to take the opportunity to reintroduce the bill as soon as we get back. I think we would be very pleased to support it to get it to the committee stage.

Has the member done any wide-ranging consultations and--

Petitions March 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, my petition has been signed by over 500 machinists from the Air Canada overhaul base in Winnipeg. These employees may be finding their jobs ending up in El Salvador over the next period of time. Air Canada has failed in its duty to comply with the Air Canada Public Participation Act by selling its overhaul bases to Aveos, formerly known as ACTS, in Winnipeg, Mississauga and Montreal.

On December 14, 2010, in the House, the Air Canada Council and Transport Committee claimed that Aeroman, the Aveos subsidiary in El Salvador, could not do Air Canada maintenance in El Salvador. This is totally untrue, as Aeroman performs maintenance on exactly the same aircraft that is overhauled in Winnipeg, namely the A320 series and the Embraer.

The El Salvador facility shops can maintain 87% of Air Canada's fleet. In fact, the El Salvador facility is expanding from four to sixteen lines. Just so members know, Aveos has four lines in Vancouver, four in Montreal, one in Toronto and five in Winnipeg, for a total of fourteen. In El Salvador alone it will have 16 lines, more than all of Canada combined.

Aircraft overhaul schedules are months and years in advance, so it is easy to schedule the work in El Salvador. In fact, we consider that machinists in Canada cost Air Canada $90 an hour and in San Salvador only $40 an hour. We can see where this is going.

Workers want Air Canada to comply with the Air Canada Participation Act by reverting to ownership of its overhaul centres.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, I want to thank the member for Ottawa Centre and the member for St. John's East for their involvement on this issue. I think they have improved the resolution a lot. The fact of the matter is that UN resolution 1973 is actually precisely what we needed in this situation, and I do, by the way, like the parliamentary oversight and the parliamentary approval aspects of our particular resolution here in the House.

However, I am concerned about how long our commitment is for the fighters that we have sent over right now. Do we have an option in our resolution that is before the House right now of getting ourselves out of it in a specified period of time, be it weeks or months?

How long of a notice period would we have to give our coalition partners to withdraw from the agreement?

I have asked the government member that particular question but did not really get a specific answer, and perhaps there is no a specific answer. I just thought I would ask the member if he knows that, and if he does not, whether he could pursue that question to see whether we could get some sort of a review period put into the agreement.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, as a father with a son who has recently gone to Afghanistan, I am taking a heightened interest in the issues in this area.

We are supporting resolution 1973, primarily because it is a UN-supported resolution, unlike in past conflicts we have had. We are still in Afghanistan after almost 10 years. Therefore, there is a concern about the length of involvement because of our previous involvements. That is why we are insisting on parliamentary oversight and approval, which is absolutely a big plus.

Could Canada withdraw at any time or is there a time limit? At a certain point, if we get into this, after a few weeks or a few months, do we have the option of withdrawing our troops?

Petitions March 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, my petition is signed by machinists from the Air Canada overhaul base in Winnipeg. Over 500 full-time employees may be finding their jobs ending up in El Salvador.

Air Canada failed in its duty to comply with the Air Canada Public Participation Act by selling its overhaul bases to Aveos, formerly known as ACTS, in Winnipeg, Mississauga and Montreal.

On December 14, 2010, Air Canada counsel, at the transport committee in this House, claimed that Aeroman, the Aveos' subsidiary in El Salvador, could not do Air Canada maintenance in El Salvador. This is totally untrue as Aeroman performs maintenance on exactly the same aircraft that is overhauled in Winnipeg, namely the A320 series and the Embraer. The El Salvador shops can maintain 87% of Air Canada's fleet.

In a confidential J.P. Morgan information memorandum from February 2007, which attracted equity investors into the company, it detailed the expansion plan in El Salvador going from four to sixteen lines.

Aveos has four lines in Vancouver, four in Montreal, one in Toronto and five in Winnipeg, for a total of 14. In El Salvador alone, it will have 16 lines, more than all of Canada combined. San Salvador overhauls exactly the same narrow-bodied planes, the A320s, as Winnipeg and Montreal does.

In fact, page 28 states that the narrow-bodied aircraft can travel to Central America for service. The report states that the aircraft overhaul schedules are months and years in advance, so it is easy to schedule the work in El Salvador.

When we consider the machinists in Canada cost Air Canada about $90 an hour and in El Salvador--

Canada Business Corporations Act March 21st, 2011

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-640, An Act to amend the Canada Business Corporations Act (remuneration of directors and officers).

Mr. Speaker, I am introducing an amendment to the Canada Business Corporations Act regarding the remuneration of directors and officers. It is called the Canadian shareholders act.

The shareholders act would make corporations more accountable to the shareholders of corporations by giving them a direct say in the salaries, stock options and other compensation to the top executives and officers of their companies. This amendment would provide for a special resolution as defined by the Canada Business Corporations Act, which requires a two-thirds vote of the shareholders for passing approval of top executive pay, which applies to the approximately 196,000 federally-regulated Canadian corporations.

We have seen an outrageous increase in top CEO pay since the 1990s, as well as over 400% increases of $10 million, $20 million, even over $40 million a year in a single decade. For years, investment funds and shareholder associations throughout Canada have been asking for greater accountability in executive remuneration for the sake of greater responsibility toward its shareholders' investments.

It is time that the government stands up for ordinary Canadian shareholders who depend upon their investments for their modest pensions, while top executive pay skyrockets shamelessly into the stratosphere of tens of millions of dollars. It is time for corporate responsibility to shareholders who own the companies and it is time for the Canadian shareholders act.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)