Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was budget.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Ottawa—Orléans (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2008, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees of the House October 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have the great honour of presenting, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages.

Pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, April 13, 2005, our committee has considered Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Official Languages Act (promotion of English and French), and has agreed, on Thursday, October 20, 2005, to report it with amendment.

Criminal Code October 18th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I appreciated several of the comments made by my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé.

As a former teacher, I also appreciated his mention of prevention. This will, in fact, be an important factor for reducing the incidence of the situations addressed by the legislation.

I would like him to give us a few examples of the preventive measures he might be familiar with. They could then be examined and might perhaps improve the situation the legislation is trying to address.

Breast Cancer October 17th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, it is estimated that over 21,000 women in Canada will be diagnosed with breast cancer and that over 5,000 this year alone will die of it.

Recently I participated in one of the local community's Run for the Cure event. This is an annual event and is in its 14th year. A local resident, Lynn Sewell from Blackburn Hamlet, started a local run for two reasons: to support a friend who at the time was undergoing treatment; and, for members of the community who were unable to go downtown for the larger event.

Each year the number of participants increases and this year the Blackburn Hamlet Run for the Cure raised more than $10,000 with the help of individuals, local businesses and schools.

Therefore I would like to take this opportunity to encourage other communities to get involved and help in the fight to eliminate breast cancer. Together I am optimistic that we can and will find a cure.

I want to thank Lynn Sewell.

Parliament of Canada Act October 7th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I would certainly not want to challenge all the work done by the hon. member for Sackville—Eastern Shore. Nor, however, would I want the public to get the impression that sitting in this House as an independent gives a member all the rights normally vested in those who belong to a party.

Since I was elected to this place, I have had the opportunity to notice that our involvement in committee work is probably one of our most valuable responsibilities. In committee, we really get to examine issues in depth and to improve legislation.

But sitting in this place as an independent member poses a problem, in that the involvement of independent members is almost nil, at best very limited.

How could the hon. member convince the Canadian public that those members will be providing effective representation without sitting on the various committees to speak on behalf of their constituents? This is one aspect of his proposal that I find worrisome.

I have another point to raise very briefly. It might be interesting to see what the practices of other countries are in this regard. Perhaps the hon. member had an opportunity to look into that as well.

Heroes Remember Project October 7th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce today that the Heroes Remember project team was recently awarded a gold medal at the 2005 GTEC distinction awards and gala.

The Heroes Remember project is an online collection of video and audio conversations with Canadian veterans. It offers Canadians the opportunity to experience history through the eyes of those who lived it. With the use of streaming technology, Canadians now have access to interviews recorded with hundreds of Canadian veterans over the past 30 years.

I would like to congratulate all those involved in the Heroes Remember project, especially Veterans Affairs Canada and Canadian Heritage, whose innovation has earned such recognition, appropriately during the Year of the Veteran.

The Department of Veterans Affairs and Heritage Canada have done an excellent job.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act October 3rd, 2005

Madam Speaker, we have essentially the same understanding, because this was the subject of the debates on this issue during the committee work.

I would also like to go back to the definition of wrongdoing. This definition is not necessarily limited by a time factor. In other words, if an employee is a victim of reprisal, I believe that he or she should be protected not as a function of the 60 days, but as a function of the wrongdoing that was done at the time that it was done. This is rather technical, but I was satisfied, and I think that the hon. member was as well, in the sense that this was effectively covered by the act. As the hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques is saying, we will have to see the implementation of the bill. If there are things to improve after the five-year period, we will do so at that time.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act October 3rd, 2005

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question.

This is something that was discussed at length during committee hearings. Clause 20 of the bill establishes that any reprisal against a public servant is in and of itself wrongdoing. The definition of wrongdoing includes reprisal against a public servant. You have to look at the wording of the bill for all the details on this. That is not to say that the bill is perfect, which is why there will be sunset review in five years to look at any problems that may have come up during that time.

We could have spent more time on technical questions that might come up with certain clauses, but the collective will was for Parliament to pass this bill. We had been in legislative limbo for far too long and our public servants did not have enough protection with respect to any wrongdoing they could have disclosed. The committee did as much as it could on that aspect. I hope that any corrections that may be needed can be made during the review process that will be developed.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act October 3rd, 2005

Madam Speaker, it is a great privilege to speak today on behalf of the amended Bill C-11, the proposed Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.

I would like to add my voice to those of my other hon. colleagues, and commend the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates for its excellent work on Bill C-11. We could almost talk about a collective will to achieve something that may not be perfect but that has been greatly improved over the original version, which had been under consideration for a number of years. This collective will was also determined to have this Parliament adopt this legislation as soon as possible.

I do not want to spend a lot of time walking through the history of this bill, but I do want to remind hon. members that indeed it has a long history, one that goes back to the Sub-Committee on Whistleblowing of the government operations and estimates committee in 2003.

Bill C-11 is an evolution of a previous disclosure bill that received much input and debate, but which did not progress through Parliament due to the election call in the spring of 2004. And the bill that is before us today is an amended and, I would add, improved version of the Bill C-11 we saw at first reading. In other words, the disclosure bill has been the subject of intense scrutiny and consideration in the House and in committee. Involving all sides of the House and dozens of witnesses, debate over what Canada's disclosure legislation should look like was long, open and fruitful. The bill we have arrived at is the product of that debate.

I also want to underline to hon. members that if and when the bill is passed, our involvement in this disclosure legislation will not end. Hon. members will hear more over the coming months and years about various elements of the bill and will have a role in how many of them play out. We will still have the opportunity and the responsibility to keep tabs on how the legislation is being implemented. Let me explain.

As other hon. members have noted, the proposed public servant disclosure protection act requires the Treasury Board to establish, in consultation with employee unions and bargaining agents, a code of conduct for the public sector. The importance of this code cannot be underestimated as a serious breach of the code is considered a wrongdoing under the act. Once the code has been developed, it will be tabled in each House at least 30 days before it comes into force. Parliamentarians will have the opportunity to review the code of conduct before it comes into force.

In addition, if the bill passes, a public sector integrity commissioner will need to be selected and appointed. I must say that we had a thorough discussion on that very subject. We had many representations to that effect and all parties agreed to submit the amendment to the House.

The appointment is approved by the House and the Senate and thus parliamentarians would have a participatory role in the process of selecting the right candidate for this very important position.

As an officer of Parliament reporting to Parliament, the proposed new public sector integrity commissioner will report directly to Parliament, that is, to hon. members of the House as well as the other chamber. The commissioner will be accountable not to a minister, but to us in this House.

The commissioner would report annually to the House on the disclosure investigations undertaken during the year and on any related issues of concern. The annual report would be reviewed in committee. In addition, the proposed public sector integrity commissioner would be free to make special reports to this and the other chamber, at any time, on any subject related to his or her mandate.

Unfortunately, I will not have enough time to get into some very important clauses of Bill C-11. Just the same, I would like to call to the attention of members clause 8, which defines wrongdoings. The standing committee took a lot of time and heard many witnesses to develop the most accurate definition possible of what could represent a wrongdoing.

Obviously, it does not cover all government activities. But I think that we kept the definition short to prevent diluting the legislation per se, had we gone into too many details.

Hon. members should take a look at clause 20 as well. I personally met with representatives of the Public Service Alliance of Canada on many occasions on this topic, to ensure that this legislation, Bill C-11, protects whistleblowers. There have been problems in the past. We consulted other jurisdictions and other countries. What we have now may not be perfect, but we can take the next five years to examine, as other members said, how the legislation has worked and make changes as required. What is really important is that those of our civil servants who do disclose wrongdoings have the full protection of the law.

And what about the independence of the commissioner who will be reporting directly to Parliament? Once again, this was a request from our civil servants, which we understood well. I was pleased to see the government amendment in this respect, which will be part of the consideration of the bill by this House.

Finally, the bill also requires a review of the proposed act five years after its implementation. The proposed legislation specifies that an independent review of the act, its administration and its operation must be undertaken and the review presented to Parliament. This will allow Parliament to assess how well the legislation has worked, whether there have been unintended consequences and whether any changes need to be made.

I raise these issues to impress upon hon. members that Bill C-11 has evolved through the hard work, input and expertise of many individuals and organizations over the past few years. The result, in my view, is that the amended bill has met the government's goal of being the best bill it can be.

At the same time, if the bill passes—and I sincerely hope it does—we in this House will still have an important role, to ensure that it is implemented well and that it lives up to its potential.

We will have the responsibility for exercising an ongoing thoughtful and responsive role towards the commissioner.

We will also have the ongoing responsibility to ensure that this legislation supports federal public sector employees, today and into the future, to play their important role in supporting ministers, under law, and to serve the public interest.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act October 3rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I commend the hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques for her excellent presentation and her exemplary work at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.

There was one thing all parties could agree on in improving Bill C-11 and that was the fact that the commissioner needed to be entirely independent.

As for the testimony, I call on the hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques to stress how important it was, especially to the Public Service Alliance, for the commissioner to have complete impartiality and how all the parties agreed on this almost right away during the discussions. I would like her to elaborate on what was said at the parliamentary committee.

Andrew Mackay October 3rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize Captain Andrew Mackay, a resident of Ottawa—Orléans, for the bravery and skill he demonstrated on August 24.

Captain Mackay, a member of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds aerobatic squadron, was on his way to an air show in northern Ontario when he was forced to eject from his jet before it crashed into an open field west of Thunder Bay.

Realizing that he was having difficulty, he had the presence of mind to divert his jet as far away as possible from any residential area. Fortunately, no one was hurt as a result of his expertise and quick thinking.

It was the first time a Snowbird's ejection system was used other than in simulation. Captain Mackay sustained some minor injuries, but all in all, when I talked to him he was in great spirits and physical health, and was back in action only after a few days doing what he loves best, daring the odds.

Ottawa—Orléans salutes Andrew as I am sure do all members of the House. Godspeed Captain Mackay.