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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

Bowden Institute March 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Solicitor General.

As the hon. minister knows the Bowden Institute is located in my constituency. Recently it has come to my attention that the government is expanding the institution by 745 square metres with a new recreation complex which is to include a lavish weight room, new gymnasium, hobby rooms, barber shop, et cetera. The cost to the taxpayer is $675,000.

In light of the recent budget does the government not find this expenditure on lawbreakers somewhat hypocritical?

Canadian Foreign Policy March 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for the confidence he places in the committee and the members on that committee.

I have one question. How are we going to prevent as a committee the dominance by special interest groups, the sort of overwhelming influx of special interest groups in many areas and how are we going to actually get down to the grassroots of this thing?

I wonder if the member could address that question.

Canadian Foreign Policy March 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have a short question. We certainly agree with the mention of the Senate item. I look at the difficulty that Canada has in becoming known in the international community.

The hon. member mentioned something about the efficiency that some smaller countries can have. He made reference to several countries. I would take a look at Norway which has a huge tax burden and a high debt level and point out that maybe it is not being as successful.

My question concerns the economy of size. Some of the hon. member's comments made reference to the fact that smaller units can be successful in the international community. I wonder if he could elaborate on that a bit, please.

Canadian Foreign Policy March 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his comments. They reiterate a very strong point and we appreciate the support.

Canadian Foreign Policy March 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, this points out what we have pointed out a number of times in the past. That is we must have a little bit of a go slow attitude when it comes to reacting to certain individuals and what has happened in those unstable places like the Soviet Union.

I heard an interesting comment from a speaker yesterday. It was that in Russia the Reagan poodle has died and we are now waiting to find out whether a Rottweiler or a Labrador retriever will take over the country. I particularly like that interesting analogy.

I agree that the poodle is dead. I wonder whether Mr. Zhirinovsky is the Rottweiler. His answer was that for a number of reasons he is not. There are other people to fear in that area. In particular to the Soviet Union, there is a rise of nationalism. The change in the economy has not been good when we look back to the good old days. We must be conscious of all that. It is to our folly-and the last government fell into it-to jump in too quickly and so on.

I suppose NATO recognizing places like Poland should be looked at very seriously. We should take our time. We would

agree with the government and certainly those people on the foreign affairs committee in that whole area. I would say go slowly and intelligently, not with knee-jerk reactions.

Canadian Foreign Policy March 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, certainly I appreciate that support. As I mentioned in my speech we feel very strongly about it. I trust many of the members on the other side will agree that the other place does not need to be represented. We certainly look forward to the vote on that item.

Canadian Foreign Policy March 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, initially I would like to say that we are very strongly in favour of this proposed review of foreign affairs and international trade.

Canada needs a new foreign affairs policy that is more flexible and able to meet current issues quickly and effectively. The review must bring us to a foreign affairs position which allows us to leap into the 21st century.

If Canada wants to regain its middle power role in international relations in the post-war period, it must a choose particular global issue and then diligently follow that issue to its end, utilizing our solid skills and resources. This will make Canada's influence felt. There are simply too many current issues for Canada to be involved in each.

Before getting into some of the details of what I feel this review should incorporate, let me outline how I intend to deal with this issue today. First, I would like to evaluate the process itself. I would like to look at the forces that I see operating in the world. Then I would like to look at the specific areas that this review should cover and, finally, what the goals should be of this whole process.

Regarding the process itself, while agreeing with the need for review and modernization I would like to make several comments about the process itself. First of all, there is the involvement of the Senate. I was very pleased to hear the last speaker agree with our position on involvement of the Senate. We feel this will greatly weaken our ability to present a policy that is truly representative of the people and one that will be accepted by the people.

The Senate is not accepted by the grassroots of Canada and I would defy any member here to disagree with that. The public view is one of being a bunch of members overpaid, big spenders, political appointments, no credibility, no accountability and no constituents to represent.

The international view is much the same. It is a position that cannot even be explained. They are not elected. They have no credentials other than political. They are out of touch and they have no constituents. Their only role is as consultants and advisers but not as equal participants. This will immediately affect the credibility of this review. It may be seen as just another unrepresentative political study to be put on the shelf.

The argument given by the minister as to why we should include them was simply that they may duplicate the effort and the cost. My answer to that would be let them do that. Let them carry out their own study. I submit that it would be like the $6,000 Senator raise. The public would hold them accountable.

In the area of travel, I believe it is justified for the subcommittee to travel. I believe it is a very strong point to go out and get the views of the grassroots and let them speak on this very important matter.

Canadian policy should not be defined by diplomatic relations. It should not mirror what the consultants and what the political people want. It should be from the people. Direct democracy methods need to be instituted and this is a good way to do it. Consult Canadians directly. If you do not do that, at least go to the elected members.

On public hearings, while the need for consultation is vital in developing a credible Canadian foreign policy, there must be a constant vigilance by the committee to avoid being over influenced by the many very efficient and sophisticated lobby groups which have been catered to in the past by previous governments. These hearings could easily become a honey pot, attracting a disproportionate number of special interest groups to the exclusion of many grassroots Canadians. A special effort should be made to hear the concerns and desires of the majority of Canadians.

The timeframe I think also has to be dealt with. While all of us would deplore a study which might drag on, it is important to note that this foreign affairs policy document must be open to change. This policy must be designed to take into account the constantly changing world in which we now find ourselves. I ask members to think back just a few years: Who would have forecast such major changes as the end of the cold war, the

collapse of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin wall and so many other economic changes that have occurred all around us?

What are the major factors that are operating in the world that must be considered? The department of foreign affairs and international trade needs to be able to explain its relevance to the Canadian public. The Canadian people must think of foreign affairs and international trade as a way for us to enter the new era and play an important middle power role.

There have been an enormous number of changes on the world scene. Let us examine just a few of them. Let us start off with some of the political ones. Of course the most notable is the end of the cold war. Predictability is gone and now we have a rise of international, religious and ethnic wars which have plagued us in the past but were suppressed by the cold war. Of course we could talk about examples such as Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ireland, the Baltics, the former Soviet Union and many parts of Africa.

We have as well on the scene Zhirinovsky, the wild card, the possible threat to eastern Europe. That must be considered in all of our deliberations, the growing gap between north and south, between rich and poor, and the lack of a real solid superpower or are there other superpowers which are going to rise and become a problem to world peace.

Second, we have to look at globalization. This is possibly one of the most important phenomena occurring in the world today. Globalization is moving Canada toward an alignment with the western hemisphere and away from the alignment with Europe. It is clear that our military presence in Europe is not essential to Canada-Europe economic ties. Canada will succeed in the European market on the strength of its diplomats and entrepreneurs, not its soldiers.

It is likely therefore that Canadian-European defence policy will now be one that integrates its European interest into a more global co-operation and security force, possibly using the United Nations.

Having said this we should re-evaluate our policy commitment to NATO and NORAD to determine if these alignments are in the best interest of Canada in 1994 and beyond. Globalization is also moving Canada away from the European trade links and toward the western hemisphere and the Pacific rim. Furthermore, with the European Economic Community coming into place, Canada needs to secure its trade position within North America. The Canadian-American position is without a doubt the most important bilateral relationship in Canadian foreign policy. This is especially true with regard to the FTA, NAFTA and a possible future strengthening of the OAS to a level comparable to the EEC.

While the western hemisphere is of utmost importance to Canadian trade, we must carefully evaluate our future trade in light of all the alternatives. We must look to the assortment of possible trade alignments, especially in the Pacific where we will have to work hard to overcome our reputation as a small player.

While this is a highly competitive market, it is one in which we can successfully expand and do well. Some of our Canadian entrepreneurs are already leading the way.

Third, we have environmental concerns. The environment must also be addressed at the national and international levels. The continuing dangers of ozone depletion, loss of species, accumulation of hazardous waste, loss of arable land all become serious potential international crises. This will be a particularly difficult issue for Canada.

On issues such as the forests in Brazil, Canada has asked that other countries begin a process of sustainable development in a way that mirrors our national plan. Unfortunately for some countries, this becomes an issue of environment versus development. Likewise, these countries look for financial assistance from the north to offset their development losses. Currently Canada cannot afford to provide this assistance in light of our present domestic economic situation.

Failure to address these environmental concerns will greatly handicap our ability as a country and, more significantly, the world in total to move ahead with normal sustainable development.

Fourth, we have to look at the world population. With shrinking fiscal resources our ability to help in the ongoing problem of overpopulation only worsens. However, it is essential that efforts continue to try and control this overriding world problem.

The International Monetary Fund must also be considered. Putting our domestic affairs in order is of obvious importance to our international affairs. We must remember that our public and private international indebtedness is the highest of any G-7 country. If the IMF is forced to become involved in our domestic policy, we would suffer a major setback in our international reputation. This threat remains as long as we fail to deal with our rising debt and deficit.

Next I would like to talk about the areas that I and we as a party feel should be reviewed and covered in this overall look at foreign affairs policy.

First, what is the role of Canada in the world? In response to the new challenges of global competition, environmental problems, emerging nation states, in a time of shrinking fiscal resources and greater political uncertainty, what role should we

play in the world? We must target effectively those areas in which we can be leaders and target areas in which we can build a domestic pride inside Canada and a reputation as leaders internationally.

Canada can play a leadership role as a major middle power, not by big spending and glitzy, showy consulates, not by being me too U.S. followers but by being ourselves; hard working, reliable, good managers of money and people. This is one area of government where we really can recreate a national pride which has been tarnished by recent governments.

What about our foreign affairs and international trade department? The operation of this department must be part of our evaluation. We must be sure that some basic criteria are followed. The group must be efficiently managed. Emphasis on Canadian strong points are of most importance.

A lean mean group of dedicated, highly motivated individuals is critical. The group must be flexible in this rapidly changing environment. Cost must always be uppermost. Overexpenditures and waste will not be tolerated by the public any longer.

We also have to ask if privatization is feasible. Another speaker will discuss this further. We must get more for less from this department.

Two of my colleagues will be discussing the area of peacekeeping further. Conflict resolution must be seen as an international growth industry with new hotspots continually emerging. We must enhance our reputation as international peacekeepers.

Furthermore I advocate using our conflict management experience to create international peacekeeping centres to train other countries in effective peacekeeping. International training would not only bring in funds but it would also present us as a world power and would allow us to use some of our abandoned military bases.

In the area of trade, Canada is a trading nation. One of my colleagues will be developing this topic further a little later. We must remember however that only by developing our position in international trade will we truly be leading into the 21st century.

The role of the United Nations has been discussed. There is reason to question the current ability of the financial and political capabilities of this whole organization. The UN's administration and guidelines that shaped international reaction must be reviewed. Therefore we support the call for a United Nations charter review conference in 1995.

With respect to the issue of Quebec in the short term we must review the ramifications to Canada internationally should the Bloc Quebecois and Party Quebecois realize their goal of separation.

Specifically we must look at trade and trade agreements as well as the international treaties. Quebec would have to renegotiate some 170 treaties with the U.S. alone, including the FTA. Also to be considered would be Canada's international position with the absence of Quebec.

There are many other areas that should be examined. Some of our future speakers will be discussing such things as CIDA and the whole foreign aid situation and certainly the area of human rights. I will leave those issues to them.

Finally, what should be the goals of our review and of our subsequent foreign policy that we will be developing?

This review should cover all of Canada's affairs outside our borders such that all other related reviews and agencies can focus their policies and concerns solely on Canada's domestic situation. The last speaker mentioned there are many studies going on. We must focus these studies and this one particularly. Conflicting points of view in this area will do nothing but send the wrong signals to our international partners.

The goals can be summarized simply: First, to raise the profile of Canada as a truly influential middle power player on the world scene. Second, a policy which will allow us to move our human and capital resources on to the world scene quickly to take full advantage of opportunities presented by new technologies or new demands. Third, send a message to government, business and labour that we are open for business and that co-operation will be the only way to open and enlarge our status on the international scene. Finally, a policy of aid based on respecting human rights and basic democratic principles and on our ability to help those who want to help themselves.

We in the Reform Party look forward to working with other members to achieve a truly representative foreign affairs policy to serve Canada well into the 21st century.

Given my comments, I move the following amendment to the motion:

That the motion be amended by:

a) Deleting in paragraph one the word "joint" and the words "and the Senate";

b) Deleting in paragraph four the words "and seven members of the Senate";

c) Deleting in paragraph five "on behalf of the House";

d) Deleting in paragraph ten (i) the word "twelve" and substituting the word "eight", (ii) deleting the words "so long as both Houses are represented", (iii) deleting the words "joint Chairpersons" and substituting the word "Chairperson", (iv) deleting the word "six" and substituting the word "three";

(e) Deleting in paragraph eleven the words "Senate and";

(f) Deleting in paragraph fourteen, (i) the words "either the Senate or the House are" and substituting the words "the House is", (ii) deleting the words "Clerks of both Houses" and substituting the words "Clerk of the House", (iii) deleting the words "both Houses" and substituting the words "the House"; and

Deleting paragraph sixteen.

We do this to complete the review and allow it to be more effective, more cost effective and more meaningful as a Canadian foreign affairs policy.

Commonwealth Day March 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on this Commonwealth Day we should take a moment to think of the advantages to Canada of being a member of the modern Commonwealth.

As the minister said, it certainly gives us an opportunity to enhance our position in the world as a potential leader of one-quarter of the world's population. It gives us a chance to demonstrate our expertise, technology and service to a major world trading bloc. It also gives us the opportunity to do something independent of the United States. That has its benefits for our national unity as well.

It is particularly meaningful this year that the Commonwealth Games will be held in Victoria. By allowing us to host this unique event, through the competitiveness of athletics we can understand our strengths and weaknesses. We can take this opportunity to understand the customs, traditions and the ways of thinking of other people in the Commonwealth.

The Olympics has given us a great world hope for the future and has created an environment for potential greater unity. I am sure the Commonwealth Games will be an extension of this goodwill. Our Victoria friends will do the very best job of hosting them. I think back to when Edmonton hosted this event and the great associations and friendships made during that occasion.

I was also interested in the minister's comments on our commitment to South Africa. I am concerned about South Africa as well and the democracy taking place there. Before we commit ourselves to what I understand could be in the neighbourhood of 50 people, we must ask what the cost will be, what will actually be done and what actual value there is to Canadians. I was personally asked to get involved in this process. I must admit I have great difficulty doing so unless I can have those three questions answered during these difficult economic times.

We in the Reform Party recognize the importance of Canada's membership in the modern Commonwealth and we continue to support that membership.

Presence Of Canadian Troops In Former Yugoslavia March 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I extend our appreciation to the minister and to this government for allowing this House to discuss the Bosnian issue in January. We have received many comments from our constituents about the excellent state of those statements. I want to extend our thank you.

This not only allowed the MPs to have input, it also gave the people of Canada the opportunity to have input. It got people listening, reading and discussing the issue. This form of consultation is not only appreciated but helps return some credibility to this parliamentary process which has been tarnished by previous governments' lack of consultation.

The situation in the former Yugoslavia is not one which has an easy solution. As we expressed during the debate, none of the warring factions are totally right or totally wrong and an easy settlement is not possible.

Like the minister we appreciate the level of service our troops have shown and continue to show. Certainly their actions are what build the national pride in this country and make us the proud Canadians we are. The level of humanitarian aid which has been provided is unquestionable and the fact that our presence has made a difference is obvious.

Because a tenuous ceasefire has been in force for some two weeks now it appears that the will of the people to settle their differences may exist and we should help to make it happen.

Because some light appears at the end of the tunnel, we agree with this announcement today. I wish, however, this announcement would have included a cost estimate for this decision. We simply cannot keep making statements in the House and not include what it costs.

As I understand it, we will incur an additional cost for such things as delivering more humanitarian efforts, more military flights, enforcement of the UN sanctions, the RCMP, civilian experts, and so on. The depth of our financial crisis must be recognized and must be foremost in every decision we make.

National Unity March 7th, 1994

I have a supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. I wish the Prime Minister would stop trying to pass the buck and show some leadership.

Could the Prime Minister please tell us what he is going to do to convince the grass roots of Quebec what it really means to separate?