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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was liberal.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for Palliser (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Air Transportation Security December 6th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport.

It has recently come to light that there has been a security breach within CATSA, the agency responsible for security screening at our airports. Over 1,100 uniform items have been lost or stolen during the first nine months of this year, including 91 security badges.

How can such a serious breach happen under the watch of CATSA and under the watch of the minister's department? What does the minister have to say to air travellers from Canada and throughout the world who are legitimately concerned about the security of aircraft in our country?

Airports December 3rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the government takes in $250 million annually in rent from local airports across Canada, with no investment in return. Beginning in 2006, Ottawa will start charging the Regina airport over $500,000 in rent and $700,000 the following year. This rent is unnecessary and will increase the cost of flying for passengers.

Will the Minister of Finance do the right thing and eliminate this rent for the Regina airport in his next budget and work to relieve this burden on Canadian travellers nationwide?

John Diefenbaker December 3rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise today to pay tribute to John Diefenbaker, the only prime minister to hail from Saskatchewan.

This past Sunday, Mr. Diefenbaker's childhood home was moved from Regina to the Sukanen Village south of Moose Jaw, in my constituency of Palliser.

Given Mr. Diefenbaker's many accomplishments, this is a great honour for us.

In addition to introducing the country's first bill of rights, Mr. Diefenbaker had two major electoral triumphs in 1957 and 1958 as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. The first victory ended 22 years of Liberal rule. The second resulted in the largest majority government in Canadian history.

In my home province we recently declared that September 18 each year will be John Diefenbaker Day.

While Saskatchewan has produced many politicians, John Diefenbaker stands in a class by himself. I ask today that members join me in paying tribute to this great Canadian.

Food and Drugs Act December 1st, 2004

Madam Speaker, the question remains. What is being done for producers that have not registered for CAIS?

Let the record show that we in the Conservative Party have stood by our producers while the Liberals and the NDP have sat on their hands. It is disappointing to me and to my constituents that this government failed to take the one step that could have made a real difference for thousands of families across the country.

It should be noted for the record that this Liberal government failed these families at a time when it had racked up yet another massive budgetary surplus. Surely this government cannot plead poverty given its $9 billion surplus; at least we would not think so.

If it is not a matter of money, then it must be a matter of priorities or, in the case of this government, misplaced priorities. This government has demonstrated that it has no problem going to bat for friends of the Liberal Party like Serge Savard or dumping a billion dollars into a failed gun registry.

However, farm families seem to fall a lot further down the list for the Liberals.

Again, will this government admit once and for all that the CAIS program is flawed and deliver disaster relief and--

Food and Drugs Act December 1st, 2004

Madam Speaker, in early November I had the pleasure of rising in the House to speak on behalf of the people of Palliser, particularly the many agricultural and beef producers who make a substantial contribution to the economy of my constituency. At that time I asked the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food what he was doing to help farmers who could not afford to enroll in the CAIS program and whether he would commit to getting rid of the cash deposit.

When I asked that question, the minister still had time to do the right thing for producers. He could have looked at the situation in my riding, for example, and made the decision to waive the deposit so producers would have full access to disaster relief without having to spend their own cash or go into debt.

Today is December 1. The deadline for registering in CAIS has passed and the government has failed to act. I understand from the parliamentary secretary there is an extension on paying for CAIS, but the deadline to register has passed.

The Liberal government clearly does not understand the impact that BSE and a poor crop have had upon Saskatchewan, particularly my riding of Palliser. First, excessive rainfall delayed seeding. Then in late August a devastating frost wiped out what looked to be a promising crop. All the while beef producers were being hammered by the BSE crisis. Unfortunately, these families were forced to rely upon the CAIS program for relief, a program which is cumbersome, complicated and not fully funded by the province's NDP government. It is a program that adds insult to injury by demanding that families pay a deposit as a condition of assistance.

The Conservative Party was not alone in demanding that the government address this issue. Individuals, families, farm organizations and the official opposition Saskatchewan Party joined us in calling on the federal government to eliminate the deposit. In fact, hundreds of people in my constituency signed a petition calling for its elimination. It would seem the only ones who failed to support producers on this issue were the Liberals and the NDP, which demonstrates just how out of touch they are with the issues that matter to Saskatchewan people.

A full six months after we in the Conservative Party announced our plan to assist beef producers, the Liberal government finally decided it too had to do something. Therefore this past September the Liberal government announced a plan to help Canada's livestock industry. While the announcement of aid was welcomed by cash strapped producers, the package was flawed because BSE assistance was made dependent upon registration in CAIS. This was clearly absurd. The government would not demand that flood victims pay out of their own pockets to access flood relief and yet that is exactly what it is requiring beef producers to do.

When my colleagues and I in the Conservative Party rose in the House in early November to challenge the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food on this absurdity, we received empty rhetoric from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food who answered in his place. That is somewhat surprising given that the same member opposite acknowledged a short time later that using CAIS to deliver BSE aid was flawed.

According to my colleague from Selkirk—Interlake, the Liberals' Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture and Agri-Food had this to say about the problems of delivering BSE aid through CAIS, “Part of the problem with CAIS is it really was not designed to deal with a disaster and we are trying to have it cover a disaster at the moment”. In other words, the government acknowledged the flaws of the BSE relief program, but failed to take steps to address them.

We have now passed the November 30 registration deadline for CAIS. Let the record show that the government has failed to respond to the needs of Palliser producers.

My question for the member opposite is, will the government do the right thing now and waive the CAIS deposit for all our producers?

Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Act November 17th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member being here to participate in the debate. Unfortunately, that was not the question that was asked of the member. It was a simple, straightforward question about a call to Mr. Gagliano's office. The question was: Did the Prime Minister make any other calls to his office to secure sponsorship money for any other benefactors of the party of the member opposite who did not reside in the Prime Minister's constituency?

Justice Gomery does not preclude the highest minister of the land from standing up and answering this question.

It is unfortunate that the member opposite, the Prime Minister and indeed the entire Liberal government continue to evade responsibility and accountability for the sponsorship scandal. Now the people of Canada are being forced to endure non-answers in addition to the inaction of the government.

As we saw on Monday night, the government has no interest in allowing testimony from the public accounts committee to be utilized by the Gomery commission for the purpose of examining witnesses. Given the opportunity to allow the Gomery commission to have full access to the facts of this scandal, the government, aided by the NDP and the Bloc, chose instead to keep Canadians in the dark. It is a simple question. The Prime Minister's Office--

Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Act November 17th, 2004

Madam Speaker, as much as the Liberal government would like to portray those who knew about, accessed, and benefited from the sponsorship fund as isolated individuals far removed from the corridors of power in Ottawa, it has become increasingly clear that this is not the case.

Liberals in cabinet knew about the sponsorship fund and used it. We now know that when the Prime Minister was finance minister, his office intervened on behalf of a Liberal supporter seeking federal sponsorship money.

The proceedings of the Gomery inquiry cannot and should not prevent the Prime Minister nor members of the Liberal government from standing up and answering to Canadians. That is their job. It is why they receive a paycheque. It is why they should be accountable to the millions of Canadians who want to know why their hard-earned tax dollars have been funnelled away from real priorities and into the back pockets of Liberal cronies.

Unfortunately the people of Canada have become accustomed to the government's lack of accountability. They have watched the government blow over a billion dollars and counting on a gun registry instead of getting tough on crime, or waiving the CAIS deposit for struggling producers.

If the sponsorship scandal was just about the waste of 100 million taxpayer dollars, that would be bad enough, but in fact the scandal is about more than waste. The scandal has revealed cronyism, a blatant misuse of public tax dollars to reward friends of the Liberal Party, and the blind pursuit of narrow, political self-interest. It has implicated senior government officials and elected members of the Liberal Party in what can only be described as an enormous misuse of public funds for personal and political purposes and it has uncovered criminal activity.

The longer this scandal drags on, the more it undercuts the faith and trust that Canadians have invested in their government. That is why the Prime Minister is obligated to answer the questions being posed by the opposition.

Previously the Prime Minister claimed he never made use of the national unity fund. In this very House he said, “Mr. Speaker, first, the answer to the question is: none. I have not used it”. That is in Hansard of March 10, 2004. However, documents reveal that the Department of Finance, headed by the now PM, had accessed the fund for $1 million in 1999-2000.

It has also come to light that in 1999, when the Prime Minister was finance minister, his office called Alfonso Gagliano's office about a sponsorship request that came from Serge Savard, who headed a sports group, seeking $600,000. After the phone call, Serge Savard's group was given $250,000. The Prime Minister defended this by saying his office was helping a constituent. That is simply not true. Mr. Savard is not a constituent. He is, however, a prominent benefactor of the Liberal Party and was a major fundraiser for the Prime Minister's leadership campaign.

The question I posed to the Prime Minister was simple and straightforward and it deserves a straightforward answer. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister's designate, the Minister of Public Works, chose not to answer that question on October 22.

Instead of responding to an inquiry made on behalf of the hard-working residents of Palliser, whose courage in the face of a BSE crisis and a crop disaster deserves better than Liberal game playing, the Prime Minister's designate avoided the question.

Instead of being straight with the people who send their tax dollars to Ottawa to fund noble causes such as the defence of this great country and not Liberal slush funds, the Prime Minister's designate instead chose to delay and deny. I will give the Prime Minister or his designate another opportunity today to answer by repeating my original question.

Did the Prime Minister's office make any other calls to Gagliano's office to secure sponsorship money for any other benefactors of the Liberal Party who did not reside in the Prime Minister's constituency?

Agriculture November 5th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, beef producers devastated by the BSE disaster are being forced to decide whether or not they can afford to sign up for the CAIS program before the November 30 deadline. This government has made participation in CAIS a condition for receiving portions of the BSE aid money announced in September.

This government is forcing beef producers to pony up the dough in order to access disaster relief and it is clearly imposing hardship on producers. My question is for the agriculture minister or his designate. What will he do to help farmers who cannot afford to enroll in the CAIS program? And when will he commit to getting rid of the cash deposit?

Sponsorship Program October 22nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the Gomery commission does not prevent the highest minister in the land, or in this case his designate, from standing in his place and answering a simple, direct question. It has come to light in the past days that the Prime Minister's office made calls to Mr. Gagliano's office on behalf of Serge Savard, who is a prominent benefactor of the Liberal Party but not one of the Prime Minister's constituents.

Did the Prime Minister's office make any other calls to Gagliano's office to secure sponsorship money for any other benefactors of the Liberal Party who did not reside in the Prime Minister's constituency?

Agriculture October 8th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with a tremendous sense of responsibility and hope for the constituents in my riding of Palliser.

First of all, I wish to thank the citizens of Palliser for the great honour they have bestowed upon me in voting for me to represent them in this House.

The BSE crisis impacts my constituency of Palliser as much as it does any area in this great country. The beef industry is a huge economic driver in my riding, and not just in the rural areas. The spinoff is definitely felt in Moose Jaw and Regina.

Producers have faced incredible stress since the border closed in 2003. This government has promised relief to those in the beef industry, but promises alone cannot sustain families in Moose Jaw, Mossbank, Caron, Avonlea, and communities throughout my riding of Palliser.

Today I call on the Liberal government to immediately deliver the cash it has promised to these families. The people of Palliser continue to have hope. They deserve a government that will act quickly to restore their confidence.