House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was kyoto.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for Red Deer (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 76% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Social Security Program November 21st, 1994

Madam Speaker, the point that I would really like to make about offloading from the federal government is getting down to the actual delivery level, particularly in some of the areas like welfare.

Those sorts of areas lend themselves probably the best to getting them down to the very delivery levels themselves. Obviously that means that the federal government has to give up something. It has to give up the collecting of that money to the level that is providing the service. As so often would happen, we would not want to go that step. We would just want to give them things to do to keep the money for ourselves. That will not work, obviously.

They can feel part of it by cutting out those tiers of administrators. So often we have that. In Ottawa they think they know how to do it this way and that message then comes down to the province and the province then translates it to its particular political bent. Then it goes down to the municipality and it delivers the service.

By the time one gets all that bureaucracy, one has lost the efficiency, lost the true delivery to the people. That is what I am getting at. I can understand the member's point. Certainly some provincial governments are less desirable than others and that would be a concern but I guess we have to trust the people to simply replace that government if that were the case.

I would much rather trust the local officials to deliver than I would somebody here in Ottawa.

Social Security Program November 21st, 1994

Certainly we need to have that flat tax system. We do not need to study it any more. We need to change our UI system. We do not have to study that any more. We need to change and reform these systems, but we do not have to study any longer. We need action.

There are 295 MPs who can bring here the words of their constituents through town hall meetings. We do not need to have high priced studies nor listen to a bunch of special interest groups and academics tell us how to do things. The people will tell us how to do things. It is the job of the 295 MPs to get out there and find out about it.

There is a questionnaire from the Minister of Human Resources Development. That is a pretty good item. The only thing is we can predict every single answer we are going to get because we have already done that.

Above all we need to destroy party discipline in this House. We need to go to a free vote system whereby we can really get into voting the way of our constituents. Rather than sending people across this country at a cost of $800,000, $1 million or whatever, we have the information and we know what people want. Now is the time to act on it. In terms of social reform, that is what I encourage the government to do more than anything else.

Social Security Program November 21st, 1994

Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to speak on the social policy review. This is something that touches everyone. I think all of us from talking to our constituents know just how much people are concerned about this entire review that is taking place.

During the break when I was back in my constituency, I had the opportunity to conduct a number of town hall meetings. I started on Monday with a group in an agricultural community. Many people came out and we had a great discussion. From there I went on to service clubs and a couple of other town hall meetings.

In all cases the approach that I found worked was to first talk to people about the real financial problem in which we find ourselves. Most people have just a fleeting concept of what a billion dollars is and exactly how serious the situation is.

To put it all into perspective, if you tell people we are spending in excess of $160 billion and we are only taking in $125 billion, they very quickly get the message. If you go further and say that of the $160 billion, roughly $80 billion goes to social services, $40 billion to other government services and $40 billion in interest payments, you will get their attention. They will have an understanding of just how real the social reform package is and how serious they must take it when they look at plans the government has.

I talked to a group of people who were discouraged because they did not get any real answers from government. Instead they got another discussion paper, one which gave them only a few highlights of what the government might have in mind three, four, five years, or whenever down the road. They want to hear some hard facts. They want to hear the suggestions that the government might have with regard to these changes.

As far as the interest payments are concerned a lot of people ask why we would not just write off the debt and the deficit. Very quickly we ask them if they have any Canada savings bonds, T-bills or pension plans that might be part of this Canadian investment. They answer that they do so the interest payments must remain. Obviously, the single biggest threat to our social programs then are those interest payments themselves which we must get under control.

As far as the social programs are concerned all of us value them as Canadians. We all feel they are an important part of being a Canadian. We would like to maintain as many of the social programs as possible but we recognize it must be done within our budget. I believe all Canadians know the programs must be changed. Ask any group. They will tell you that there are abuses and there are areas which have to be changed.

Looking at the ongoing studies the one thing we have learned more than anything else from Alberta is that you have to take action; you know what you have to do and you do it and then you show people how it will benefit them. It seems the longer we study something the longer it is put off. The longer it goes on and

on the less likelihood there is we can ever change it. There have been enough studies and enough input. Everybody knows about the problems and abuses. It is time to get on with the necessary changes.

I would like to quickly look at some of the areas of our social safety net and examine them briefly as to what some of the problems and possible solutions might be.

Certainly from the standpoint of OAS it is rather dangerous to say that we are going to cut pensions. When we approach it by asking whether those over 65 earning a family income of over $54,000 need to get OAS, most will answer that no, they really do not need it. In other words, while the idea of universality is very nice, it is something we cannot afford any longer. If people understand that, they are prepared to accept that as their portion of the cut.

We must also remember that in the next 15 years the number of people over 65 will increase by 40 per cent and the burden on others will be unbearable. Obviously we have to come back in terms of pensions and seniors and promote everything we can to help people realize they have to take care of themselves.

We have to show them that RRSPs are the way to go. Certainly taxing them will be the most disappointing, negative and reactionary thing that could ever happen from this House. We cannot let that happen because it flies right against people taking care of themselves.

Let us look at the Canada pension plan. When it was started in 1965 we were basically told: "Give your money to government. Government knows how to take care of it for you better and will guarantee the return of this money when you retire". I was one of those people just starting in the workforce. I was told that I should give my money to the government, that it would take care of it and guarantee a pension to me.

It was an insurance plan but now people are saying: "Let us take care of our own pension plans, but obviously we want back what we paid into Canada pension". Remember there is an unfunded liability of close to $500 billion. It is like the airlines with their frequent flyer points. Those are real liabilities. Whether you like it or not those are going to come back to haunt future generations. We must address the problem of Canada pension self-sufficiency.

Of course UIC has major problems. Again, I do not know many who would not tell you they have a problem with UIC or that they know somebody who has had a problem with it. All kinds of things crop up: seasonal workers, false claims, abusers, people who lie and cheat with regard to claiming UI. There are no free lunches. We have to change the attitudes of people toward this whole program. It has to be an insurance program, one that is there for between jobs, not instead of jobs. All of us have said that. We are going to have to act on that and very soon.

What concerns me most in this House is that I hear a minister who sounds almost like a 1970 socialist and believes in a utopia out there where everybody can have everything they want and somebody will pay the bills. That somebody is finally not going to appear. We are going to have to look at this from a real solid standpoint. We have studied it enough. Let us fix the problem. Let us not study it any further.

What kinds of things can we do? The first is to provide more jobs. We need more jobs in our society so that we do not have to depend on things like UI. How are we going to do that?

First we are going to lower taxes. We can lower taxes and reform the whole tax system and look at a flat tax. If the system is considered to be more fair, more people will be providing jobs, there will be more small businesses and the whole system should improve dramatically in the area of jobs.

We must break down the existing interprovincial trade barriers. We lose some $6 billion a year just from interprovincial trade barriers. Those are negative to jobs and negative to getting this whole economy rolling and not so dependent on UI.

We have to destroy the massive bureaucracy. If you visit companies in any area of Canada you will find they have one or two and sometimes three levels of management, but they never have six, seven or eight levels of management as you find in the bureaucracy. We have to get some efficiency into our system. Obviously as a result of seeing that businesses will say that now that we have our act together the jobs will come.

We have to break down the regulations governments seem so set on putting into place. Of course above all we have to destroy the underground economy which saps dollars from our entire system of our social safety net. I come back to tax reform and a flat tax system. If people saw a fair tax system they would not mind paying the tax. It would be lower and they would not need to be part of the underground economy. Things like the GST have driven people to become criminals. That will continue unless there is a massive reform of the tax system.

We need to look at self-funding of the whole UI program. It should never have to depend on government. It should be a temporary program. Above all, we can certainly consider the concept of working for UI. I do not believe UI is something someone should expect. People could easily work for it and it would then start to mean something.

We must lower federal taxes. We must return a lot of the programs to the delivery level which is at the provincial and municipal levels of government.

Let us look at the fourth area, social programs and the welfare area. There will always be people in our society who need help. The problem is that number has grown. It is like the Australians. For so many years they brought their young people up to say: "I do not mind going on pogey. It is expected of me and I can enjoy the beach". We have to change the atmosphere and environment which creates that sort of thinking. Everyone knows about the abuses. It is the government's job to provide an environment in which jobs can be provided for the people.

Through our education system we must provide the pride of a work ethic and certainly in some cases even prime the pump through training. Above all we have to get people off the dole and out working with some pride for their country.

On the health care system Canadians want the very best. If there is one area we really do not want to sacrifice that certainly would have to be it. I do not believe we need to sacrifice it. It seems so often when we downsize in the health care system we go after the beds and the nurses instead of going after the other end. A great deal of savings could be had from looking at the administration end of things rather than the other end.

Post-secondary education is our future and another area we cannot sacrifice. From working in the foreign affairs area many of us realize what we have in terms of our advanced education system. It was probably best brought home to me this summer when I was visiting with Swedish businessmen in Stockholm, Sweden. They said that over the course of the last three years they had hired 700 Canadian graduates to work in Swedish invested companies in Canada. They said that they would always hire Canadians over Americans or anybody else because of the training and reliability of the Canadian graduate. That is something we should be proud of.

For the last seven years the Reform Party has had the voucher system as part of its program. This system should be examined and looked at. It might not be the answer to everything but it should at least be looked at as another way to provide some accountability in our advanced education institutions. There should be some competition for the students. It is a more positive system if students are controlling that through vouchers.

Again we come back to the top heavy nature of administration. I am sure that in examining our educational institutions savings can be made and efficiencies can be found.

In conclusion, instead of carrying on more and more studies, I say for the hon. member across the way that he missed my portion on the flat tax-

Lester B. Pearson Act November 18th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I cannot give you any personal descriptions of Mr. Pearson, but I too welcome the opportunity of speaking to Bill C-276 concerning Mr. Lester B. Pearson day.

Certainly to establish this as a holiday in honour of former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson is something to be considered, but today I want to raise some of the other considerations that we must have when we talk about such a day. As well, I do hope to pay some tribute to the former Prime Minister because it certainly is worthy.

It is clear from the member's speech that he holds the former Prime Minister in very high regard. I would never fault him for this since Lester Pearson did indeed leave the country a considerable legacy. I will talk about this a little later on in my speech and emphasize the things I remember him for.

To my mind politicians such as Mr. Pearson entered the public service for many reasons. At least two of those would be to help Canada grow and mature as a nation and because they were fascinated by the public life and all it had to offer and what they could offer it.

I do not believe when he ran for the job that Mr. Pearson would have expected to have a Canadian holiday named after him. After doing some research on him I think possibly he might have been somewhat embarrassed by such an offer. There are a number of better ways to honour the memory of a former Prime Minister.

For example everyone who tours around the Parliament Buildings will have noticed the dignified statues of our former Prime Ministers prominently displayed on the grounds of the Hill. Mr. Pearson's statue is among them and Canadians visiting the capital will see him in his favourite chair overlooking the front lawn.

As a former Minister of External Affairs and Prime Minister I am sure Mr. Pearson would also be proud that the building which houses the Department of Foreign Affairs bears his name, the Lester B. Pearson building.

These types of displays and other similar ones that may be proposed are quite appropriate and do a very nice job of honouring the achievements and memory of Mr. Pearson. I believe they are also a sufficient tribute.

On the other hand a Canadian holiday in honour of Lester Pearson is excessive no matter how well intentioned and sincere my esteemed colleague from Cambridge may be. As I quickly ran through the holidays in my head I found that only Jesus Christ and Queen Victoria had a statutory holiday and only two saints, St. Patrick and St. Valentine, had named holidays.

Coincidentally the second Monday of February which my colleague would like to be known as Lester B. Pearson day would have fallen on St. Valentine's day this year. Not only would I suggest naming a national holiday after a politician would be excessive but the date suggested will frequently fall on another holiday, albeit not a government holiday.

It is my understanding that the member for Cambridge would like to see a statutory holiday for Mr. Pearson just like the other two we have mentioned. If this happened, then what would be next? Would the third Monday of February be Diefenbaker day and the following Monday be Laurier day or John A. Macdonald day? If we start going down this path then we will have a holiday for every week of the year. We would not have a Mulroney day and we would probably at least all agree on that.

Above and beyond the principle of naming holidays after politicians there is the cost which should be considered. How much does a Canadian holiday really cost? If it is only a government holiday then the cost would be in the millions but if all Canadians were to take a day off work, what would that mean?

Not really knowing how such a calculation might be done, someone suggested to me that maybe I should take Canada's gross domestic product and divide it by 365 days. I admit this is a fairly primitive way of making the calculation but it is certainly more conservative than using the GNP numbers. If we divide the GDP by 365 we come up with a figure of $1.95 billion. I know that number might be exaggerated but I think the point we have to make is that the Canadian economy just cannot afford that sort of expense.

In addition, for businesses such as restaurants, corner stores and others which would stay open, such a holiday would force them to pay additional wages to their staff. For businesses struggling to survive the last thing they need is an unnecessary added expense.

While I do not agree with the idea that there should be a Canadian holiday for Mr. Pearson, this is not to suggest I do not think his achievements are praiseworthy. Any one person who could be ambassador to the United States, deputy minister of External Affairs, Minister of External Affairs, president of the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister and winner of the Nobel peace prize is obviously someone who has made a tremendous contribution to Canada and to the world.

While I have this opportunity to speak I would briefly like to discuss Mr. Pearson's Nobel peace prize. As we all know in order to bring an end to the Suez crisis in 1956 Mr. Pearson developed the idea of the UN peacekeeping force which could intervene and keep combatants separated. Of course it worked in the case of Suez and has been used ever since as a useful tool of international diplomacy and conflict resolution.

As Reform's foreign affairs critic I cannot help but reflect on this transition which peacekeeping has undergone since Mr. Pearson's days. Under the original formulation peacekeepers would only enter a country once there was a ceasefire agreement in place. They would then monitor this agreement and make sure that no flare ups occurred. In principle while the combatants were separated this would provide a window of opportunity for negotiations to bring about a lasting peaceful solution to hostilities.

Since the first peacekeeping missions, Canada has contributed troops all over the world and at every opportunity. However the requests for our help have continued to increase by the year and our resources are now stretched to the limit. I mean this in two senses. The personnel of the Canadian forces are stretched and our financial resources are limited.

Not only has our participation in peacekeeping become more of a burden, but the nature of peacekeeping has changed. Today our peacekeepers are going into more dangerous situations, often without the benefit of ceasefire and much more uncertain mandates.

Therefore, I was pleased to participate in the Canadian foreign policy review during which we discussed the peacekeeping legacy of Mr. Pearson in quite a bit of detail. It was decided during this review and with the input of Canadians from coast to coast that our peacekeeping tradition, begun by Mr. Pearson, was still a very important expression of Canadian foreign policy and that we would like to see the armed forces restructured in such a way that they can optimize their participation in future UN interventions.

Nonetheless, it was also realized that Canada can no longer be the 911 phone number for the world. In the future Canada must be more selective about the peacekeeping missions it goes on. I would like to personally ask this Parliament for the opportunity to debate the question of what specific criteria Canada should use to determine which peacekeeping missions will be the most appropriate for our participation.

I would like to see Mr. Pearson's legacy continue and I would like Parliament to deal with this whole issue in a way that will allow Canada to continue its role as an international peacekeeper into the next century.

In conclusion, there is no doubt the Right Hon. Lester B. Pearson made a very important contribution to the development of this country, and for that he does deserve honour, but this must be done in an appropriate way. While a holiday is too expensive for the Canadian economy and would set a dangerous precedent for opening the floodgates to more holidays for other political leaders from our past, I have no objection to the other tributes which already exist to honour Mr. Lester.

I commend the member for Cambridge for his loyalty and for bringing this bill forward. I was pleased to speak on it today.

Access To Information November 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would simply make them aware that they have talked about these crown corporations and crown agencies. I know they are concerned about the veil of secrecy that seems to enshroud them.

The desire of the people of Quebec for open and accountable institutions is just as great as in Alberta, Ontario, the maritimes, or for that matter anywhere else. I would therefore ask members of the Bloc to join us in supporting Motion No. 304. I am sure it is one example where they will not get in trouble for voting with the Reform Party.

Let me just quote briefly from the 1991-92 annual report of the information commissioner to further illustrate my point. The information commissioner wrote:

The access law has attained a maturity of political whim. It is a law which cuts across and goes beyond party politics. It should appeal as much to the conservative as to the liberal or the social democrat. The Access to Information Act is ideologically neutral, without party coloration.

Conservatives who worry about the state growing too powerful should applaud the empowerment, that indispensable trendy word, of the individual by information rights; liberals and socialists in Parliament and elsewhere will welcome the sharing of the government's information better to challenge those in authority and effect changes in society.

In my speech I have tried to express the universal nature of the motion to expand the Access to Information Act. This is not a partisan bill. I firmly believe we can get all party support for the motion. If we get this support we will send a strong, positive message of change to the people of the country. The people of Canada are waiting. It is time for us to act.

Now that the House has heard my speech on unity and the universality of the motion, I want to talk a bit about the Access to Information Act in case people have some concern that we are trying to open up everything and cause the system not to work any longer.

To quote from the act, its purpose is to extend the "laws of Canada to provide a right of access to information in records under the control of a government institution in accordance with the principles that government information should be available to the public".

For those of my colleagues who may worry about the consequences of extending the act to Parliament, I assure them this would not force members to open up their own private files on constituency business or matters relating to their positions in their respective parties.

The motion would allow the opening of the business of the House to public scrutiny. This would include financial matters which are currently handled by our respected Speaker of the House, the expenditures of the Senate, the Sergeant-at-Arms and the Black Rod.

For example, the House will be undergoing a 12-year renovation projected to cost over $250 million. This kind of expenditure is massive so the details surrounding the contracts and spending should be available to the public. Certainly reading some recently published books about government contracts being handed out will make that more of a consideration for the public.

While I am certain the Speaker of the House will do everything in his power to make sure that the renovation goes properly, all Canadians will feel better about the project and those like it if they have access to documents. If citizens know they are getting the straight goods they may just begin to trust us a little more.

For members concerned that extending the scope of the Access to Information Act will be too much of a good thing, I point out a comment of the information commissioner who wrote:

Of course access to rights are not absolute. They are subject to specific and limited exemptions, balancing freedom of information against individual privacy, commercial confidentiality, national security and the frank communications needed for effective policy making".

This limitation would apply to Motion No. 304. Any members of this House who are concerned that they would somehow be opening up Pandora's box by voting for this motion should rest assured. In fact those who are particularly nervous about exposing themselves to an unreasonable amount of crime need only look through the Access to Information Act itself. They will find there are a full 16 pages of exemptions which will guarantee that their legitimate right will not be breached.

Nonetheless Canadians need to know that they do have the right to ask certain questions. These questions are not only legitimate but they are essential to the proper working of our

democracy. Beyond this, if there is clarification which is required as to the exact implications of M-304, I am certain that the parliamentary justice committee which is responsible for this would do an excellent job.

As members can see, there is no reason to be concerned about this motion and every reason to expect that it will be exactly the kind of initiative that the Canadian people have been waiting for from this Parliament.

I would like to conclude by once again referring to the words of the information commissioner in the 1991-92 annual report who made an interesting point that I think all parliamentarians should listen to. He said: "The Access to Information Act lacks visible champions of openness in Parliament. It matters not whether parliamentary access advocates come from either government or opposition benches. Preferably they should come from both sides of the House and, in particular, from the members of the justice and solicitor general committee. The information commissioner is a voice from the outside. Parliament should have some inside voices preaching for and defending the access to rights. A note to members of the next Parliament", and that is us, "anyone looking to be identified with a good issue should consider freedom of information. Any such champions will quickly receive attention".

I am asking all members here to get behind an act like this and a motion like this. This basically, above all, is going to send that message of openness, accountability, and transparency that all of us have been talking about and working toward.

One other thing the hon. member gives me as an example, if I can just add one more piece to this as I think I do have another minute or so.

Talking about access to information, I have just received information from the hon. member for Calgary Centre. Last night he was told about a meeting in Kingston and the Islands which 65 people attended. Five were media, 30 per cent were anglophones and 70 per cent were francophones. They were curious and interested in Reform. They were fed up with the over-government of the PCs and are now fed up with the under-government currently being offered by the Liberals.

As a point of information, the first Reform meeting held by the member for Edmonton Southwest only had 11 people and today he is a member of Parliament.

Access To Information November 17th, 1994


That, in the opinion of this House, the Parliament and crown agencies should be subject to scrutiny under the Access to Information Act.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today to talk to my Motion No. 304 which argues that Parliament and crown agencies should be subject to scrutiny under the Access to Information Act.

This topic is one which is of vital interest to Canadians and because of its importance Motion No. 304 was made a votable item. This will give members of Parliament a great opportunity

to go on the public record to show that they care about opening up the political system and that they think our citizens should have the right to use the Access to Information Act in a more modern and inclusive way than is currently possible.

The motion is not a partisan political football which Reform is bringing forward to make life tough for the government. In fact we very much hope the government and official opposition will see the motion as one which is constructive and in the greater interest of all Canadians.

As we all know, under the nine-year Tory regime Canadians desperately wanted a more accountable and transparent government. The wishes of the people were dashed by the Mulroney and Campbell governments whose grossly unaccountable behaviour caused public cynicism to grow to an all time high.

Compounding this frustration billions of tax dollars were funnelled through crown agencies such as the CBC, Canada Post and the Canadian Wheat Board which were even less accountable than the government. At least we could vote the Tories out of office but crown agencies are another matter altogether.

As long as crown agencies are going to be run in the way they are, Canadians deserve to know what they are up to. Obviously sensitive information that is vital to their ability to compete in the marketplace would be exempt under the provisions of the Access to Information Act. More general information about their spending and business practices should be fair game. As crown agencies all Canadians have a stake in how they are run. Therefore they must be subject to public scrutiny.

All this I say by way of introduction. I am saying that Canadians are facing a problem. It is summed up by a quote from the public policy forum of 1993 which stated:

Given the sustained and often angry criticism that has been widely expressed by the public in recent years, it is remarkable how little has been done by way of reform.

Of all the grounds on which successive governments, together with MPs, could be charged with being unresponsive, none is more striking than the lack of response to unmistakable expressions of public dislike of the manner in which Parliament goes about its business.

I believe this statement is an accurate reflection of what Canadians are thinking. I also believe this line of logic can be extended to their perceptions about crown corporations. Therefore I have suggested that Motion No. 304 be adopted by the House to send a clear sign from Gander to Victoria that the Parliament of the Tories is gone and a truly new day has broken.

Gone are the days when back room politics were acceptable. Gone are the days when Canadians would remain quiet as politicians and crown agencies acted unilaterally and without accountability. I hope that Motion No. 304 will give members of Parliament a clear opportunity to break with the old way of doing things and show they care about the wishes of the Canadian public.

As we are well aware, Reformers were elected to open up the political process and seek out greater involvement from the Canadian grassroots. We want to bring about constructive change and ensure that our political institutions and crown agencies operate with honesty and integrity.

I do not think we are alone, however, in calling for these changes. I am certainly aware that the Liberals found the same matters to be very important at least while they were in opposition. I would only hope to believe that their desire for openness, accountability and integrity is still intact.

Let me remind our Liberal friends about the values which they claimed to believe in during the election campaign. To do this I think I will quote from the red book since it is often referred to by my friends in government on the other side. The following are a number of statements which make their position crystal clear. The first statement reads:

Canadians have always prided themselves on the quality of their democratic institutions-If government is to play a positive role in society, as it must, honesty and integrity in our political institutions must be restored.

The second statement reads:

The most important asset of government is the confidence it enjoys of the citizens to whom it is accountable. There is evidence today of considerable dissatisfaction with government and a steady erosion of confidence in the people and institutions of the public sector.

These statements are all from the red book. The last statement reads:

A Liberal government will take a series of initiatives to restore confidence in the institutions of government. We will introduce reforms to Parliament-Open government will be the watchword of the Liberal program.

Clearly the Liberal position must approve of the spirit of this motion. Motion No. 304 is precisely the type of initiative that will restore the confidence of Canadians. I implore members of the Liberal caucus to consult with their House leader and whip to confirm that they should all stand behind the motion 100 per cent.

Over the coming months I look forward to speaking personally with my colleagues on the government side and in the Bloc. I encourage any member to call my office to let me know so that we can work together on this proposal.

Reform members of Parliament such as myself do not need to always find a fight. While we will never agree with members of the government on all accounts, on issues such as this one where there is a natural alliance I think we should co-operate. In fact if we take this co-operative approach it will go further still toward restoring the confidence of Canadians that Parliament is truly undergoing constructive change to make it more accountable, transparent and responsive to the wishes of the electorate.

If I can move on to members of the BQ, while you do not have a red book to quote from I know that openness, integrity and accountability are important to you as well. As I have sat in the House for the past year I have witnessed your complaints about the secretive and unresponsive government on many occasions.

Foreign Affairs November 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, that was an interesting answer.

Since the foreign affairs review did not recommend any specific spending cuts, the Reform Party suggested cuts to bilateral aid and international grants among many other areas.

After reflecting for the past few days on our proposal, does the minister agree with these cuts and, if not, what spending cuts would he suggest?

Foreign Affairs November 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian foreign policy review released Wednesday shockingly called for increased spending in a number of areas.

Given Canada's tough fiscal situation, will the Minister of Foreign Affairs assure Canadians he will stick to the deficit reduction program of the finance minister and not ask for increased spending in the budget?

Privilege November 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a question of privilege.

I am rising with regard to the premature release of the report of the Special Joint Committee Reviewing Canada's Foreign Policy. It is my understanding that this report which has just been tabled has been in the hands of the media for almost one week. It has been the subject of extensive coverage and some articles even contain comments from members of the standing committee itself. Since this article was published in the French

language press on November 10 I have been contacted by several members of the media asking for my comments as well.

Citation 877(1) of Beauchesne's sixth edition states:

No act done at any committee should be divulged before it has been reported to the House.

It goes on to say:

"-the evidence taken by any select committee of this House and the documents presented to such committee and which have not been reported to the House, ought not to be published by any member of such committee or by any other person". The publication of proceedings of committees conducted with closed doors or of reports of committees before they are available to members will, however, constitute a breach of privilege.

Mr. Speaker, as a new member of this House I did not feel it would be appropriate for me to respond to the media's request for fear of being found guilty of contempt of this House. Citation 877(2) states:

In Canada, when a question of privilege was raised concerning the publication of a committee report before it was presented to the House, the Speaker ruled that the matter could not be resolved as in the British practice because the motion appeared to attack the press for publishing the confidential document but did not attack members of the House for their attitude in respect of their own confidential documents, and in missing this point, it missed something most important with respect to the privileges of the House.

Where I would like to draw the attention of the House is to the words "did not attack members of the House for their attitude in respect of their own confidential documents".

Leaking of information seems to have become a way of life of this Parliament. This was evident in the case of the finance committee study on the GST tabled last June. At that time the hon. member for Willowdale rose in the House on a question of privilege and I refer to your ruling of June 1, 1994 on page 4702 of Hansard recommending that the finance committee investigate the matter itself.

I have spoken with the chairman of the committee, the hon. member for Ottawa-Vanier and I assure you I will be raising this issue at our next meeting.

The point I want to raise today is one of personal privilege. My privileges as a member of Parliament were breached in the sense that the media and other committee members had in their possession a copy of the report. They were making public statements in the media and referring directly to the content of the report. In fact, I had not even seen the minority report submitted by the official opposition until it was tabled today.

As a member of Parliament I recognize my obligations to keep reports confidential until they are tabled in the House. Unfortunately some MPs chose not to honour this convention and spoke to the press.

Through my silence and respect for the rules I am afraid I may have left a false impression that our party supports the government when we have in fact tabled a dissenting opinion. I believe we have come to a point where this House needs to establish clear and binding guidelines for MPs with respect to the release of confidential information. In the event that the rules are broken members must know that punitive measures will be taken.

I would argue that this is a clear breach of my personal privileges and shows a clear contempt of Parliament. Therefore I ask that this matter be referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Should you rule that there is a prima facie case I would be prepared to move the appropriate motion.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation Act November 1st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, today we all have to take a look at what is going on around us and realize the globalization that is occurring leads us to where we are in terms of the agreements we are talking about.

I have heard today that farmers are asking for a level playing field. I have heard that there is new hope for the industry and for Canadians. I have heard that supply management is on its way out but we do have time for adjustment so that people can get used to it.

I heard from one Bloc members that there is a great fear and a hatred for the U.S., that it is trying to destroy our culture, and that it is going to gobble us up. Separation, it seems to me, is a good way to get gobbled up, certainly with regard to whom they are going to be trading with. When they start having to trade with the Americans they had better believe it will be in English. The young people of Quebec will certainly be speaking English rather than French.

It is incredibly ironic we are making good progress on eliminating trade barriers internationally but have an awful long way to go at home. Under the current system Canada's domestic market is seriously fragmented by provincial trade barriers. This not only affects our competitiveness internationally but reduces our collective prosperity at home. Provincial impediments to free trade in Canada add around $6.5 billion annually to the cost of doing business in the country. It is around $1,000 per family and is absolutely unacceptable.

While the government is pressing hard for freer trade worldwide and is presenting the WTO enabling legislation in the House, it must also spearhead a movement to get rid of provincial trade barriers once and for all. If we could eliminate barriers to trade at home, the efficiency of Canadian businesses would be increased and their ability to trade internationally would be expanded. What better way is there to improve our position in the international marketplace? This is especially true for small and medium sized businesses which are suffering under the current system.

Today we are globalizing. We have talked a lot about that. We are finding that the world is probably breaking up into three major units. We have Europe including the eastern part of Europe. We have the Americas both north and south, and we have the Asia-Pacific. We must get onside. We must realize that the world is much smaller and not stick our head in the sand and hope that it will not catch up to us.

I was fortunate to travel across the country to listen to briefs presented by Canadians. Everywhere we go, including many international areas, we are told that we are not competitive because we are not aggressive enough, because we do not get out there and sell the country and the products we have.

We have trade departments that are doing a good job. They are attempting to market Canada and our products throughout the world. Something like the WTO is a great boon to them because it gives them a common level playing field on which to market the country and its products.

In my role in the foreign affairs area I have heard time and again about the importance of such rules based multilateral systems. While the WTO does not solve all the problems that exist over international trade, it does take a giant step in the right direction. Such a rules based multilateral trading system will protect countries like Canada from the unilateralist tendencies of the largest trading companies and increase our position in bargaining and negotiating with the United States. Hopefully in the years to come Canada will play a leadership role in the strengthening of the rules based multilateral system by promoting the WTO to effectively deal with the questions of trade remedies and anti-dumping actions.

Over one in five Canadians depend on exports for their jobs. That is over two million jobs. In addition over 30 per cent of Canada's gross domestic product comes from exports. Therefore it is vital that Canada aggressively promotes itself throughout the world. If we become naval gazing isolationists and protectionists all Canadians will lose. It is also vital that the House support Bill C-57.

The WTO offers Canadian farmers and businessmen a great opportunity to continue building our sales abroad. While we also have to open our markets to others, I do not see it as a threat. Canadian businesses can compete with anyone in the world. All we want is a fair and open international system with a level playing field. The WTO goes a long way toward accomplishing this.

When this agreement comes into effect next year it will commit some 120 countries to gradually reducing trade barriers. This will have the long term effect of increasing world trade dramatically. As we know, any increase in world trade means more exports for Canadian businesses and more jobs for Canadian workers: over 11,000 for every $1 billion in new exports. This means greater prosperity for Canadian families and this is what government should be all about.

We could talk about things like culture. When the Montreal Symphony and the Winnipeg Ballet go somewhere they are promoting the country. That is good for Canada and good for trade. We have to stop having an inferiority complex about ourselves. We are as good or better. We can compete and the WTO will help us do that.

Tourism, about which I know a fair amount, is a major industry of the world. Canada can do so much. We can be a leader. Everyone agrees that we have the most beautiful country in the world. Yet we have only barely touched the surface possibilities. As we deal with the world and as we communicate with the world we are going to do much more in the area of promoting ourselves.

The threat to Canada does not exist in the world. We must open our eyes and get out there and trade. The new forum does that for us. That is why I strongly support it. We must go further, however. We must liberalize our financial service institutions and our telecommunications; harmonize our professional, technical and licensing standards; and the list goes on. We must co-operate on environment because, as I said in the House yesterday, the environment is a world issue. It is not isolated to one country.

To conclude, Canada must aggressively promote free trade throughout the world. This means eliminating provincial trade barriers at home and becoming a leader in the WTO. I express my support for Bill C-57 which will go a long way toward creating prosperity for our generation and that of our children. Therefore I ask all members of the House to join me in supporting the bill.