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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was first.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Yukon (Yukon)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 32.90% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Anaphylaxis March 21st, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I highly support the motion and I congratulate the member for bringing it forward. As one of the members who wrote to the government saying that we needed action on this front, I am delighted to see it going forward.

It would be impossible for people to remember all the products. Anaphylaxis affects over one million people. It could cause death to some people if they ate the wrong products. As a result of the complexity of today's foods, the adding of additives and all kinds of things, one can never know for sure if a certain item is in a product unless that item is specifically labelled.

Our leader has talked about increasing labelling and inspection to make foods safer in Canada. He talked a lot about that in rural Canada. In that spirit, I definitely support the idea brought forward by our critic, that no company should be exempt, for any reason, because anaphylaxis is dangerous for some Canadians.

I definitely congratulate the member and I strongly support the motion.

Privilege March 10th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to comment on the particular activities, because I was not there, but I want the House to know that the Indian band in question was taken from its town by the federal government and dropped on the shores of Hudson Bay with no place to live. I think they are pretty upset with the government and would like to meet with the minister.

Natural Resources March 8th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, on January 19, 2009, former minister Jim Prentice said that the Mackenzie Valley pipeline was a key part of the government's northern strategy and that the government was prepared to contribute to infrastructure and pre-construction costs as well as sharing of risks and returns.

The National Energy Board made its decision in support of the pipeline on December 16, 2010 and northerners were anxiously expecting cabinet approval last December.

If this project, which is of national interest, is a priority of that regime, why has there been nothing but delay since the NEB decision?

Citizen's Arrest and Self-defence Act March 7th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, if the “H” government will allow me to speak in this “H” Parliament, in this “H” House of Commons, I would like to make a couple of comments.

The parliamentary secretary made two comments. One was on the witnesses brought to committee by the opposition. The other was about the time we spent deliberating in committee.

Like that member, I sat on justice committee in the past. I thought the opposition witnesses brought the expertise that was needed. Often the bills we saw in justice committee were not well thought out by the government. They were totally off track of what would have been useful.

The member implied that we spent too long discussing a bill without giving it thoughtful consideration. Yet in committee expert witnesses told us time and time again that they had not been consulted. Those witnesses could protect victims and make Canada safer.

Does the member think the witnesses brought to committee by his party and other opposition parties are not useful to the process? Does he think too much time is spent in thoughtful debate in committee, or is just part of the anti-democratic modus operandi of the Conservative government?

Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act March 2nd, 2011

Madam Speaker, I have two quick points to make that I raised on November 23 in the debate on pensions. I have not heard back from the government, so I just want to make these points again.

The first one is that the public service superannuation plan used to be administered by the Yukon government for federal employees in the Yukon. They moved it to New Brunswick with disastrous results, with waits of four or five month sometimes. It is just not working, and I hope the government has moved on that since my request on November 23.

The second thing is that I wonder if the member has heard what I have heard from military members and reservists, that they wait months to have their requests to buy back pension time. They can buy back certain pension time in a particular role or job, but of course they need to know how much it is to be calculated. They are waiting months for that type of service.

Is that the type of administrative service our veterans should be getting? Does that show that the government is making the administration of benefits to veterans a priority?

Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act March 2nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to compliment the member as the champion in Parliament for pension reform in the special debate she had on November 23. I want to use my comment time to emphasize the point that for the reservist veterans there is a technical point where they fall through the crack. Whereas other public servants and Canadian Forces people working full time have to work six months to get the pension, reservists very seldom work longer than six months at a shot. They serve for two or three months, then they go back to their job and so they do not get any pensionable time. Most, if not all, reservists are being robbed of pensions that they rightfully should have for their great defence of our country. I hope the member would support me in trying to get that changed, maybe down to two months' service at least, so that reservists could get the pensions that all other service people get.

Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act March 2nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, when the lump sum payment first came in, some people said that the rationale was that if they had their money in the beginning they could invest in a small business, a house or something else and that would be better. However, I am not sure it worked out that way.

I wonder if statistics have been kept on the people who took the lump sum payments, where they were actually successful and where they were able to move ahead. Or, do the stats show that for most of them it has expired and they really need the ongoing pension, that it did not really work out as was originally envisioned?

Privilege February 28th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I will be brief.

I appreciate the member saying that all of the facts are on the table and that he is ready to vote. I just want to make sure that I have the facts right. My colleague does not have to answer the following, because it is not a question.

I am assuming that the form signed by CIDA went to the minister, who then signed it some time later. Some time later, the “not” was put in. If that is not true, then I hope the member will clarify this, but we are assuming it is true in this situation. The minister signed it, having at one time intended to approve it, and then later a “not” was put in.

Second, the member said he had put all of the facts on the table so that we can make a decision. However, now that it is a major parliamentary issue, could he let the House know who actually put the “not” in? I am sure he knows that.

First Nations Financial Transparency Act February 28th, 2011

Secrets. People from other countries would laugh if they thought the ministers and the Prime Minister of the great democracy of Canada had to have secret meetings so the press could not find them and they would not have to speak to the press afterward.

I put in an access to information request asking where the meetings were being held. It was a very simple question about an accountable and democratic government. I asked if it was having meetings in government-paid Parliament buildings and if not, where. It was a very simple question. It actually refused to answer that question. This is a big issue for the government. It cannot tell anyone where it is having cabinet meetings or cabinet committee meetings.

Is it not absurd that ministers and the Prime Minister are so scared that they are hiding their meetings from Canadians but want other governments to be more accountable? There was a request for a review of that ruling and they are still refusing to say where they meet. How can people who are so secretive and unaccountable actually suggest that other governments should be more accountable?

There is the lack of accountability in the committee system, which I am sure members opposite have experienced themselves. The very good members on the other side are possibly a little uncomfortable themselves with some of the tactics that have been forced upon them. There is the dirty tactics book, including lack of accountability, that they can use in committee meetings. Certain members on the other side have filibustered entire meetings. At the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the chair walked out of three or four meetings in a row just so members could not debate a scandal involving the government.

I will close by saying that it is very ironic that government members ask other governments to be accountable when a vote will be held tonight about the lack of accountability of the Conservative government because it will not produce papers to Parliament. Government members should think twice about asking other governments to be accountable when they are not the least bit accountable themselves.

First Nations Financial Transparency Act February 28th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to carry on this debate, making some of the very good points my colleague just made.

First, the reason the government's aboriginal agenda, and in fact the justice agenda, is in such shambles and disaster is because of a lack of consultation, as my colleague said. This is not coming from us; it is coming from Canadians. We hear from them in committee. Meeting after meeting, when we go to look at a bill in committee, we have the experts come forward. When asked if they have been consulted, the answer has been no. When asked if the stakeholders have been consulted, the answer has been no.

It is no wonder legislation comes forward in a terrible manner, since the consultation has not been done. People are often more aggrieved about the lack of consultation and partnership than they are about what is in the bill. That explains the disaster in the justice file as well.

With respect to the first nations bills, it is another type of environment. In Canada we have a government to government to government relationship with first nations, aboriginal governments, provincial governments and municipal governments. That is obviously not being respected when government members speak to the bill and defend the fact that the consultation is not a government-to-relationship, where it tells another government what to do with something within its jurisdiction, without any discussion. It is not the way to build goodwill.

I would also like to commend the chair of the aboriginal committee who does an excellent job and who understands some of these things about respect for first nations government and for their views on issues that will affect them. First nations governments do not tell us how to run government and we should not tell them what to do without consultation and without a respectful government-to-government relationship.

It is very ironic, as my colleague said, that we have government members defending a bill asking another government for accountability when the government itself is under fire as the least open, least transparent and least accountable government in Canadian history.

My colleague asked why this was a private member's bill. The reason is there is only allowed to be a couple of speakers on a private member's bill. If this were a government bill, dozens of speakers in the House would complaining about the lack of accountability, the lack of transparency and the lack of openness of the government, which this opportunity provides. Then it has the nerve to suggest that another government should be more accountable.

My colleague mentioned a number of examples. Today we have a crisis in Parliament, which will be continuing this week. The government will not even let ministers defend themselves. It is not open enough to allow a minister to answer questions.

We had a constitutional crisis earlier this year, brought forward by the member for Scarborough—Rouge River. Once again, the government has refused to let Canadians and parliamentarians, who are supposed to run the country, see documents in order to be accountable. How can it ask other governments to be accountable when it gets into crises for lacking accountability? The government should take some time to look in the mirror.

What about the simple fact that the Prime Minister will not even table the list of people who funded his leadership campaign today?

I have a great example of a lack of accountability of the government. It is related to the very simple fact of cabinet meetings and cabinet committee meetings. For all previous governments, whichever political party, traditionally cabinet meetings were held every week in the cabinet office right above us. Then there would be cabinet committee meetings. Some of the ministers would talk to the press after meetings. The prime minister would often talk to the press. That is part of an open and fair government, being accountable and transparent to the media.

What did the Conservative government do when it came into power? It suddenly hid its cabinet meetings and cabinet committee meetings.