House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was province.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for St. John's South—Mount Pearl (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 45% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Main Estimates, 2000-01 June 15th, 2000

—and made it possible for the Liberals to brag about balancing their budget, is the Tory Party?

But that is only step one. What any elected party has to do is this. First, we have tremendous resources which we must develop. We must also do what Ireland and Iceland are doing, which is to educate our young people so that we can develop these resources.

Main Estimates, 2000-01 June 15th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if people heard the comment of my NDP friend about electing a Tory government.

I say to the gentleman that as we watch what is unfolding in this very Chamber, when we see the way the government is going downhill, as even he agrees, when we see the slippage of the NDP, and when we see the fiasco that we call the reformed Reformers or the Canadian Alliance, is it any wonder that people believe there is salvation ahead and that the party which has always stood for this great country—

Main Estimates, 2000-01 June 15th, 2000

Of course the minister went back home, became the premier of the province and, as the story goes, lived happily ever after.

He is not living very happily these days because he knows the word is out that come the next election he will not be the premier. He might be the prime minister. As a Newfoundlander, if he wants to be the prime minister I will be one who will support him. The unfortunate thing is that the party he wishes to lead will not be the party in power. Therefore he cannot be the prime minister. Forgetting all that, he is very upset today with his colleagues.

The minister of fisheries and aquaculture in Newfoundland, John Efford, a well known name across the country, is quoted as saying he is completely and utterly dissociating himself from his federal Liberal brethren. The head of the fishermen's union in Newfoundland-Labrador, Mr. McCurdy, is completely irate with the decision of the minister. Representatives from industry have said that there will not be a Liberal elected in Newfoundland in the next federal election.

When I asked a question of the minister of fisheries yesterday he should have listened. He should have gone back and talked to his colleagues. Despite the fact that five members from Newfoundland were not saying anything, he should have told them that he would not let any more Newfoundland and Labrador shrimp go to any extra entrants in the industry because the industry cannot sustain it. If the quota is increased, which it should not be, it should go to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador who are adjacent to the resource and who so badly need the work.

We can understand why everyone is so upset. We saw our Liberal colleagues huddling behind a curtain today when their own minister made an announcement. I presume it was with their blessing. Surely a minister would not announce it if the five of them were against it. I will get away from that issue as they are a number of other issues. Because it is such a current issue it points out clearly the way in which parts of rural Canada in particular are being treated. My colleagues from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick know only too well how their areas are being treated by the government.

Most of the emphasis tonight has been on health care because it is the most important issue in the country. The state of our health care is definitely the most important issue facing the country. I will not repeat what I have said in the past, but my province has been decimated by the cuts. The change in formula in 1993 devastated Newfoundland despite the fact that our premier was one of those who was here in cabinet and perpetrated the cuts.

Newfoundland, with its declining population, suffers more than any other province in Canada. Despite the fact that every province is suffering because of the CHST per capita arrangement Newfoundland is suffering more than any other.

There is great demand upon the few dollars that each province has for the health care system in order to look after the sick and the aged. As the provinces have to put more and more money into the escalating health care budgets it leaves less money for them to put into anything else. One of the groups suffering tremendously is our youth. CHST funding is supposed to be for health and post-secondary education, but nobody talks about post-secondary education and nobody is interested in investing in our youth.

Just a few days ago in Toronto, Credit Counselling Canada was set up. The president is Mr. Fifield from Newfoundland. One of its main objectives is to help young people who have a great burden of financial debt as a result of borrowing to go to school. Across the country from sea to sea to sea, students are trying to better their lot. They know that we are in a competitive market. They know that competition is not from the person next door any longer. It is not the next community. It is not the next town. It is not the next province. It is all around the world. We participate in a global economy. When we search for jobs we are competing with people from all over the world.

Our young people have to be trained. They have to be confident. They have to come out with an optimistic outlook on life. How can they be trained if they cannot afford to be trained? How can they be optimistic if they do go through the process of borrowing for an education and come out of college or university with a $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 or even $60,000 loan hanging around their necks?

That is not the way to build the country. We have to build the country on our resources, and our main resource is our young people. In order to build on a solid foundation, it must be a well structured and well educated one. It is up to all of us to make sure that each and every child, regardless of where he or she is born in this great country, has the opportunity to receive a full and proper education without any encumbrances from the outside, especially financially. We should be there to assist, to promote and to encourage. It is something we are forgetting to do.

Let us look at HRDC. I wish my friend with the boondoggle echo was here, because there is a lot more to HRDC than the billion dollar mix-up. I will not say it is a loss because HRDC says that it was not a loss, that it was just poor paperwork.

Can we imagine hiring an accountant who at the end of the year said that everything was perfect except there was no paperwork to cover a billion bucks? I am not sure how long that employee would be working, but with the Liberal government it is okay. A $1 billion mistake does not matter because most of the next year can be taken to adjust it. That has happened during the past year.

Members have asked why the JCP applications they submitted, or their constituents submitted, were not being approved? Why are Canada jobs fund applications, which used to be the old transitional jobs fund, not being approved? Why are targeted wage applications not being approved?

These questions go to the people who work in the local offices of HRDC. When we call we may not get an answer. They are so busy going back through the records to try to find where all the money went that they cannot do the job at hand. Staff was caught over and over and over. It is exceptionally hard for a handful of people to try to do a job the minister should have done years ago.

They have been told to go through the files, to crawl through the drawers, to get into the closets and to go under the beds to find the files with the missing information that will justify the expenditures. Some of them off the record will tell us that it was suggested to them that perhaps they could make a few changes while they were doing it.

That is the kind of government we are looking at. These are the kinds of examples we face. I know my time is up. If I had another two hours or so I could touch on a few things that I would like to say, but there will be another day.

Main Estimates, 2000-01 June 15th, 2000

Captain Canada got his picture all over the world because of an international event. He sent out the coast guard to capture the Estai , a Spanish boat, bring it back into port and seize its catch. Drastic action was taken so nobody would ever dare catch a fish in our waters illegally again.

He went down to New York and had his picture taken with little tiny turbot to show how small the fish really were that were being caught. Everybody said he was a wonderful minister, that it was about time somebody stood up and took action.

The press fell asleep on what happened next. We gave the Estai back to the Spaniards along with their catch. We compensated them for their losses and gave them extra quota in our waters. That is not a bad deal.

Main Estimates, 2000-01 June 15th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to say a few words on this motion, a motion which is from a motionless party, a party whose stock is not doing too well right now and its tom is long gone. After a daylong battle on the 24th, it will have to preston with the same group they have right now. As we have always said, I guess if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. It will be the same party it was previous to the reforming of Reformers.

But that is not what we are hear for tonight. We are here to talk about the record of the present government. Today is an extremely interesting and exciting day in Newfoundland. In this honourable House yesterday, I had the privilege of asking the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans a question about the shrimp stocks off the coast of Labrador and whether or not he intended to bring in some new players to catch a stock that is rapidly declining. Through the various departments of the government, including fisheries and oceans and with heavy involvement, just to be relevant, with HRDC, we saw the decimation of the groundfish stocks in 1992.

We thought we would have learned from that. Some of the funding that has been channelled out over the last seven or eight years we would think would have gone into fishery research. We did not see any. We saw cutbacks. Instead of learning from the past, we went ahead and made the same mistakes.

People say if we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. Right now the government opposite is repeating the mistakes of the early 1990s and we are doomed to suffer.

If we talk to any person fishing northern shrimp off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, they will tell us that the shrimp stocks are declining, that the size of the shrimp is smaller than it was and the large shrimp seem to have either been caught up or are moving away.

That is an extremely serious situation. What does the minister do to alleviate this situation? Does he bring in more scientists to study the cause of the problem? Does he reduce the catching effort? No, he increases the catching effort. He does not increase it to benefit the coastal communities, many of which are without product. He does not increase it to benefit the three major communities on the south coast of Newfoundland, Burgeo, Gaultois and Ramea, where there are fish plants in isolated areas that have not operated since the moratorium. These areas are devastated with the inhabitants moving out on a daily basis. Communities last year were promised crab stocks or access to the offshore crab stock, the crab stock outside the 200 mile limit, to keep their plants going.

That was put on hold when studies showed the crab stocks were in hard shape and there is an overall reduction this year. That quota could not be granted to the companies wanting to operate those plants. They put their hopes on the fact that maybe they could get some shrimp. Is there extra shrimp this year? Yes, there is. Does it go to the south coast plants? No, it does not. It goes to Prince Edward Island, which has not had any attachment to the stock before. Why is it going to Prince Edward Island? Simply because there are four Liberal government members from Prince Edward Island who are holding on to their seats with their fingernails, knowing that in the next election they, like every other Liberal in Atlantic Canada, will be gone.

That is why shrimp went to Prince Edward Island. It is not because the government has any great affiliation for Prince Edward Island or its people, or any other part of Atlantic Canada. It is simply because Liberals are trying to buy the seats that they hold. It is to save their necks and their fingernails.

There is another interesting side to the story. In almost every battle and confrontation, five will always beat four if they are any good. There are four Liberal members in Prince Edward Island and five Liberal members in Newfoundland. The question is, how did four beat five? The only answer is that the five must not be as good as the four.

The unfortunate thing about this is that three of the members from Newfoundland and Labrador represent districts that are adjacent to the shrimp stocks. They are seeing somebody else take the fish, bring it past their plants where their plant workers cannot find employment, and outside the island.

One of the other members who is not adjacent to the shrimp stocks represents the three communities I talked about where the people are starving and looking for work. What happened when they saw extra shrimp being allocated? They thought maybe they would get some to re-open their plants as they should. But did the member deliver for them? No he did not.

If members are wondering why the people of Atlantic Canada and the people of Canada generally are so cynical about the government, that is just one example.

How is this going over in Newfoundland? That is an interesting question. The main person in any province is the premier. The Premier of Newfoundland is extremely upset with his colleagues opposite. He is extremely upset with those people who sat with him for years when he was a Liberal member and Liberal cabinet minister.

In fact he was a Liberal cabinet minister in 1993-94 when the vicious cuts were made to health care. I give him credit for championing the health care cause at the present time. Maybe it is because he wants national recognition so that he can take a seat opposite again. However, he cannot forget that he was also sitting there when the vicious cuts were made. He was also minister of fisheries and oceans.

Supply June 15th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, when the hon. member was speaking, he talked about certain targets. When we talk about the infusion of money needed into the health care system, quite often we hear people say that the best bargain we have in health care is in proper home care and in such things as personal care homes, which really cost very little in relation to keeping the same individuals in major nursing homes or hospitals.

However, the government seems to hesitate putting adequate funding into programs where we can keep individuals in their own homes and in their own communities where they will be happy, where they will have their own families and where the cost to government would be minimal in comparison to putting them into different institutions. The people who are charged with caregiving are given a meagre sum to carry out their work. It is almost minimum wage.

I just wonder what plans this government might have or what the member's idea would be in relation to developing a health care system where everybody plays a part and those who are involved in caregiving—

Fisheries And Oceans June 15th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. In spite of the fact that the minister is getting warnings from fisherpersons, the few scientists he has left and people in the industry about the state of the northern shrimp stock, how can he justify a new entrant when it flies in the face of all sensible advice from the industry, in the face of opposition from the premier and the fisheries minister of Newfoundland, and in the face of common sense?

Fisheries June 14th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, that probably means the answer is yes. Why is the minister announcing the shrimp management plan in Ottawa, not in Newfoundland and Labrador adjacent to the resource? Has the government completely given up on the principle of adjacency?

Fisheries June 14th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Is the minister's department poised to issue an offshore shrimp licence to a P.E.I. consortium to catch northern shrimp off the Labrador coast and bring it to P.E.I., bypassing the adjacent communities on the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador?

Parliament Of Canada Act June 13th, 2000

Simple colleague.