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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

Government Appointments April 7th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said he would not tolerate patronage, promotions and appointments based on who one knows in the PMO. He said to let committees review appointments. The environment committee found Mr. Murray unqualified for that patronage job. Parliament yesterday voted 143 to 108 to remove him.

Will the Prime Minister keep his word and remove Glen Murray from his appointment?

Committees of the House April 5th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, it really comes down to respect. I do not believe the Prime Minister has any respect for committees, for members of Parliament or for democracy. Basically, he will name patronage appointments. He will put in the people he wants probably so he can manipulate them, as the member suggests.

It has been eight years and there is no Kyoto plan. Day after day, we get promised we will have a plan. As long as we have patronage appointments running the show, I guess we will never have a plan, certainly not one that will be clear for Canadians.

Here is another area with which the chair of the environment round table could deal. In January the bureaucrats said that the price of carbon would never get above $5.00. When it opened as a commodity in Europe on January 1, it was $3.00. By the end of January, it was $6.00. That is for a tonne of carbon. By the end of February, it was $11. By the end of March, it was $23. When I checked the figures yesterday, it was $26. We have given a guarantee to the large final heavy emitters of a $15 cap. Where do they think carbon is going? A few days ago it was $50. Now they are talking about $75. An economist reported that it could go to $150.

Think about the government's liability. The chair of the environment round table should deal with that and with the costs to taxpayers. This person is not qualified to do that.

Committees of the House April 5th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, it is amazing how Liberals are able to spin things. They can spin themselves into becoming the victims all of a sudden. They are always the victims. Poor Liberals, I feel so sorry for them.

Let us now get the truth out. The vote in committee was seven to four, as the parliamentary secretary agreed. Then there was a break of a week. In the middle of that break the Prime Minister named the guy who the parliamentary committee had said was not qualified. Now what are we to do?

The first day the committee came back we put forward the motion to bring it to the House. What else could we do? We thought the Prime Minister would listen. He said that he would be accountable. He said that he would not make political appointments and that he would not go along with patronage. He broke his word, and when he did that we had to do what we had to do.

That is the answer to the issue so the member can stop using that feel sorry for me argument.

What about the chair? The chair has to show leadership. The chair has to have the ideas and put them forward. We are not run by a CEO. Maybe that is how government cabinet ministers work, where the bureaucrats tell them everything. I do not think so. We have to show some leadership. I hope that when we are government we will show leadership and that members of Parliament, the cabinet in fact, will stand up and be accountable for what they do. That is the second point.

The third point is about who knows someone best. It is the people from one's own community. I quoted from a newspaper from that community. I will repeat the title which said, “LET'S JUST BE HAPPY GLEN WON' T BE BACK”. He will not be back because he got a patronage appointment from the Liberal government. Who knows him better than the member who lives in the riding and who ran in that campaign? He is from his community, he understands him and there was an opportunity to point that out.

Committees of the House April 5th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I move that the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, presented on Thursday, March 24, be concurred in.

I think that what has just happened in committee is worth bringing to the House. In fact, by a vote of seven to four, the committee recommended to the Prime Minister that his appointment for the environment round table not be agreed to. Most of us went in there with a very open mind. We said we would cross-examine this person and find out if he in fact would be the best person to be the chair of the environment round table.

We did that largely because of things that the Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister said again and again and kept promising that he would end cronyism and he would end patronage. As he campaigned throughout the election, he said that he would in fact reduce the democratic deficit to empower standing committees to be able to exercise their will and review appointments and decide whether those persons were really qualified to do the job.

We did that in good faith. We believed what the Prime Minister said when he said he was concerned about that democratic deficit. He said:

No longer will the key to Ottawa be who do you know. We are going to condemn to history the practice and the politics of cronyism.

That is what the Prime Minister said during the election campaign. Of course, after the election we saw a number of examples of that same cronyism occurring. We saw Jim Walsh, the former Newfoundland Liberal MHA and co-chair of the Prime Minister's leadership campaign, appointed as a corrections investigator of Canada. We saw the revenue minister personally appointing a Royal Bank colleague, Gordon Feeney, to the Canada Post position.

Then there is Mr. Glen Murray, who was the mayor of Winnipeg. We saw Mr. Harvard put into the lieutenant governor's position and then saw this star candidate run as a Liberal candidate in Winnipeg. He was defeated, so then he was owed a job. That job then was as chair of the environment round table.

Obviously when we went into that meeting we wanted to find out what the qualifications of this gentleman were regarding the environment. Let me summarize what we found. We found that he had no academic or professional experience in global environmental or economic issues. We found that his only environmental concern was as consultant and owner of a firm called Envirofit Inc., which ultimately went into bankruptcy.

We found that Dr. Harvey Mead, Mr. Murray's predecessor in this position, brought 35 years of environmental experience to his appointment. Indeed, not only did he have previous experience as a member of the round table, but he had a number of very credible involvements in environmental issues. Anyone who seriously wanted to argue that Mr. Murray was even close to those kinds of qualifications would have had great difficulty.

I want to go to a quote from the group that should know him best: the newspapers in his home city of Winnipeg. Let me quote what they said about this appointment. The headline is pretty telling. It states: “Let's Just Be Happy Glen Won't Be Back”. The newspapers went on to state:

--he wasn't qualified for the job...But on the other [hand], as a selfish Winnipegger, I took some comfort in knowing that the appointment all but ensures Murray won't be returning to Manitoba....

Murray has no experience whatsoever in global environmental and economic issues and knows nothing about the complexities of carbon credits and emission trading markets.

Unlike many of the talented and very experienced people available for a job like this -- educated folks with decades of experience in global economics and specialized environmental issues -- all Murray's ever been is a Canada Post clerk, a community health clinic employee and a city councillor and mayor of a medium-sized Canadian city.

There's not much depth there.

He's never run a business, never been the head of a large private-sector corporation and has no experience in bilateral trade.

Murray's experience in environmental issues is limited to a debate on whether or not we should have a $2-a-bag garbage fee in Winnipeg.

It's hardly the type of experience one needs to engage the United States on climate change issues (one of the mandates of the roundtable) and to integrate climate change objectives into Canadian foreign policy.

Obviously, if that is what the person's home town thinks of the him, we had a number of questions we needed to ask Mr. Murray when he appeared before the committee. I can honestly say that we all had a pretty open mind. By the end of the interview, which was a job interview, all parties, including some Liberals, were so shocked by what we heard we wondered why the appointment occurred.

Will we ever forget the picture of Mr. Murray standing with two pictures of the Prime Minister behind him? I could table that if anyone wants to see it. However we have Mr. Murray standing with pictures of the Prime Minister at the Liberal convention after just receiving the appointment as the chair of the environment round table.

This is a non-partisan appointment, an appointment to look at the environment problems. It is not a Liberal Party job to have. It is not a Liberal thing to hand out to its defeated candidates, its fundraisers or its patronage hacks. This is a job that is important to Canadians. Canadians care about the environment and they certainly do not expect this position to be used in a patronage way such as this one was.

Mr. Murray ultimately found out from Howard Wilson that this was not the place to be and therefore left the convention. If someone has that poor judgment in terms of where he should or should not be, his ability to do the job comes into question. This was just this last month.

We also wondered about what kind of a mayor Mr. Murray was. We found out that on his watch Lake Manitoba had the second largest release of sewage and he went on for five days without reporting to council and without taking action on it. He was not able to stickhandle the concept of a new deal with the provincial government. In fact, he had a failed rapid transit proposal.

In his campaign literature, not a single mention was made about the environment. We would think that if this person were qualified as the chairman of the round table on environment that would at least be one of his key issues when running for election. A lot of people care about the environment and one would think that Mr. Murray would have at least mentioned it.

When the decision was made to bring this to the House in a concurrence motion, it was rather interesting that the former CEO of the environment round table voted to send it to this House, as did the parliamentary secretary for the environment. The vote was nine to two to send it to the House for debate and for a vote, hopefully this evening or tomorrow.

Things do not line up very well for Mr. Murray but this certainly is not a personal attack on him. We are just saying that this guy is not qualified.

The Prime Minister said that he would allow the parliamentary committees to examine the appointments, decide whether they were qualified and, if they were qualified, to recommend them to the Prime Minister. Something is obviously wrong here. Between the time the committee voted on this, in a seven to four vote, the Prime Minister announced the appointment. What is the Prime Minister trying to sidetrack? Why does he want this person there?

Let us look at what kind of a job we are talking about. We are talking about today's issues on the environment. Will this gentleman know what they are? By his own admission he said in committee, “I realize that I have huge inadequacies”. He went so far as to say, “I'm just a manager. I don't understand the environment. I don't know much about the environment but I can do this job I am sure”.

Yes, there are 24 other board members, but my understanding of a chairman is that a chairman shows leadership and takes the issue and says that we will examine the issue in-depth.

Let us look at what some of those issues might be. Let us look at the most current one, which is CEPA Toxic. If Mr. Murray had understood this issue I am sure he would have advised the government immediately that this was not the way to go. The government should not take an environment bill and sneak it in the back door under a budget and ultimately plan it to be a carbon tax. That is just not advisable. If the government had someone who understood the issue it would certainly have given that advice.

I asked Mr. Murray a few questions. I asked him what he thought about mapping our aquifers and how important he thought that was. I do not think he knew what aquifers were and I certainly do not think he had any answers as to what we would map. I also do not think he understood the 300 boil water warnings. I do not think he understood about the toxins that are seeping into our ground water. I do not think he understood any of that.

I thought I would give him an easier question. I asked him what he thought about CO

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sequestering and whether he thought it had a future. If I were going to be the chair of the environment round table I sure as heck would know about the most important new technology coming around, the sequestering of CO

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, which is how we achieve our targets under Kyoto. That is how we deal with the problem of CO

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and he did not know what I was talking about. He said that he did not understand that principle. I was shocked when I heard him say that.

Since the environment round table is supposed to be advising the government on things like that, I would have thought that would have been one of the first things he would have said. The round table would say that we have to develop that technology and use it in Canada. It is being used in the U.S. and all through Europe and this guy did not even know what it was.

By the end of the set of questions, for which he knew no answers, he was literally close to tears because he had to have realized his inadequacies.

What did the Prime Minister not understand about those inadequacies to appoint him chair of the environment round table? This is one of the most abusive things I have ever seen in the House. So much for the democratic deficit.

Let us go on to look at some of the other problems, one being the whole Sumas issue and the air quality across our international boundary. Some of our members living on that border certainly know about that and understand that.

We now have a guy who I am sure does not understand even what pollution or smog is let alone understand the problems of a plant like Sumas and what that will do to the Fraser Valley, your home area, Mr. Speaker.

I want to come back to CEPA and to what we are doing with that, what we are doing with the Kyoto legislation and with the heavy emitter legislation. We have been promised this day after day, week after week. We have been told that it will be tomorrow, that it will be next week and on and on it goes. What we have done is we have given the industry four choices. We have said that we will have heavy emitter legislation to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that companies produce and the four choices we are giving them are they can modernize their plant or reduce production. Obviously the reduced production is not a choice and the modernization in many cases is not a choice.

Yesterday I met with a heavy emitter who said that his company was using 2005 technology. China is using 1940 technology but we cannot modernize that technology any more. The chairman of the environment round table should be pointing that out to the government but this guy does not understand anything about the environment, so how could he do that?

The second choice we give heavy emitters is that they can donate into a technology fund. We can call it whatever we want but all of us believe the answers to environmental problems will come through technology. What we are saying to them is that they pay into this fund but if they are already using modern technology, as most of our companies are, that is just a tax. Who pays for that tax? Obviously it is the consumer, the taxpayer, who pays for it.

The third choice we give them is to buy international credits. They can buy 102 million megatonnes of credits and that will solve their problem. Again, that is a tax on those people who buy electricity, who heat their homes and who drive cars. It is a tax on that head of lettuce because of the extra transportation costs. An environment chairman would tell the government not to go that way. It is a huge tax on the consumer for all of those goods.

The best of all is the fourth choice, which is that we will fine them $200 a tonne of excess carbon. What that will accomplish is it will make all of our companies totally non-competitive and literally put us into a major recession.

We have quotes from various scientists who have told us that if we try to hit our targets it will mean a 100% increase in electricity and an increase in natural gas of 60% to 90%. What will that do to the senior citizen and to the young families? What will that do if in fact we try to achieve those targets? This is where the chairman of the environment round table would call in economists, academics and experts and tell them that we need a full, open inquiry to tell Canadians exactly what living up to a 270-300 megatonne target would mean to them.

Many people do not understand all of the details of Kyoto but what they would understand is paying 12¢ a kilowatt hour instead of 6¢ or paying $3 for a litre of gas instead of 90-whatever cents. They would understand when the cost for heating their homes went up 60% to 90%. The job of the environment chairman of the round table is to tell Canadians those things but this chairman does not even understand what CO

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is all about or what can be done with it. He does not understand that Kyoto is about greenhouse gases and global warming. He thinks it is about pollution. This man is not qualified to be chair of the environment round table and we just cannot feel stronger about that.

If you had just been there, Mr. Speaker, and heard the inadequacies of this individual, you would have been shocked that he would even allow his name to stand. It had to be that if he would give up his job as mayor of Winnipeg, he would get elected, receive all the perks of a member of Parliament and he would live happily ever after. When that did not happen, wow, the Liberals had to find him a job. They asked him what he thought he could do? I do not know what he can do, but he sure cannot be chair of the environment round table.

The Environment April 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, we have been waiting eight years for that plan since we first signed on to Kyoto.

Project Green recommends that 102 million tonnes of foreign credits will have to be purchased every year. At today's price, that would mean $2.7 billion per year in foreign credits, increasing daily. None of this would help to reduce emissions in Canada.

Could the minister tell the House how much money he plans to spend on foreign credits each year to get to our Kyoto target?

The Environment April 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, let me try the question again and maybe we will get an answer. We were promised the Kyoto plan first for February 16, the day that Kyoto came into force, then March 23, budget day, then it would be the next week. Now we understand that cabinet is meeting, approving the plan today and releasing it tomorrow.

Will the government be releasing it tomorrow or will there be more dithering and delay?

Volleyball April 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, as the member for Red Deer, I rise today to congratulate the Red Deer College Kings for winning their sixth consecutive national volleyball championship. They did so by downing the Capilano College Blues from North Vancouver 25-18, 25-21, 25-21 in the final Canadian Colleges Athletic Association men's volleyball championship on Saturday, March 12.

The Red Deer College Kings' win tied Limoilou College of Quebec City for the longest win streak in CCAA history and gave the Kings eight titles in eleven years, leaving them just one back of Limoilou for the overall record. The Kings have now won 38 straight matches in provincial and national competition.

On behalf of my constituents, I wish to congratulate the Kings for their brilliant record and their perseverance for achieving what has now become a volleyball dynasty in Red Deer.

Civil Marriage Act March 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to address the House on a very difficult moral issue. Everyone, including those who are married, those who have chosen not to marry and those who have not taken the opportunity to choose, has an opinion on this issue. Those opinions are based on people's own experiences as well as their values and beliefs. This is a complex public issue that will impact Canadians long into the future.

Let me begin by saying that preserving the traditional definition of marriage does not imply the denial of same sex rights. All the benefits and obligations granted to married couples under provincial and territorial laws and programs are granted equally to common law couples of the same sex and of the opposite sex in the majority of provinces.

We want to affirm equality rights while also upholding marriage as a heterosexual institution. Neither is this debate about jeopardizing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. With the Public Sector Pension Investment Board Act of 1999 and the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act of 2000, Parliament has already extended to same sex couples the constitutional guarantees of equality and dignity. The current Deputy Prime Minister confirmed this when she said:

The definition of marriage in law in Canada is already the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. It is not necessary to pass such legislation as in legal terms it would not add to or clarify the present state of the law in Canada.

The protection of human dignity has been the courts' basic function since the adoption of the charter in 1982. Once the requirements of dignity and equality are satisfied, the courts should not arbitrate between the possible acceptable solutions but leave it to Parliament. The decision of whether or not to use the word “marriage” depends on factors other than the charter.

A brief history shows that the Liberals are really breaking their promises to Canadian people on the issue of maintaining traditional marriage. Let us consider the following examples. In 1999, by a vote of 216 to 55, the House of Commons adopted an opposition motion which stated:

--it is necessary, in light of public debate around recent court decisions, to state that marriage is and should remain the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, and that Parliament will take all necessary steps to preserve this definition of marriage in Canada.

The motion was supported by the Prime Minister, then finance minister, and by the Deputy Prime Minister, then justice minister.

In 2000 an interpretive clause was added to the Modernization of Benefits and Obligations Act stating that nothing in the act altered the existing meaning of marriage as “the lawful union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others”.

Speaking on this act, the Deputy Prime Minister said:

This definition of marriage, which has been consistently applied in Canada and which was reaffirmed last year through a resolution of the House, dates back to 1866. It has served us well and will not change. We recognize that marriage is a fundamental value and important to Canadians.

On September 16, 2003, an opposition motion identical to that of June 1999, expressing Parliament's support for the opposite sex definition of marriage, was defeated in the House of Commons by a narrow vote of 137 to 132, yet key Liberals voted in favour of that motion. Does this mean that these members do not believe in the same human rights that the Prime Minister claims this debate is all about?

These examples show that Liberals constantly change their positions on social issues. It also underscores the fact that this debate is not only about equality.

Of course, the Supreme Court came down with its ruling on November 9. When it issued its ruling, its findings were that the provision in the draft bill authorizing same sex marriage is within Parliament's exclusive legislative authority over legal capacity for civil marriage under subsection 91(26) of the Constitution Act, 1867. The provision is consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, in the circumstances giving rise to the draft bill, flows from it. So we go on with that court decision, which basically puts it back into our purview to make that decision.

I believe, after talking to Canadians across the country, that they would much rather us deal with the issues of the country, and I could list all of those as opposed to this subject. Yet the Liberal government brings forward this legislation and pushes it on the country.

There are legal issues around same sex marriage legislation. The bill extends equal access to civil marriage to same sex couples while respecting religious freedom. That is if we trust the government to do what it says. I have given a number of examples of where it said one thing and then did another. We are very used to that having been in the House this long. I really question whether the government really means it.

The government claims that it is equally committed to upholding religious freedom and that nothing in the bill will affect the existing charter guarantee. The problem is that the Liberals cannot credibly guarantee that Bill C-38 will protect religious freedoms because the right to marry falls under provincial jurisdiction.

Bill C-38 offers no protection for provincial marriage commissioners who refuse to conduct same sex civil ceremonies for personal religious reasons. In fact, marriage commissioners in B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland have already lost their jobs. There is also some concern that organizations may lose charitable status if they do not permit same sex marriage celebrations on their property. This would put those churches that refuse to perform these marriages out of business.

The government is curtailing public debate by not considering the civil union option even though the court has not rule on the specific definition of marriage.

We get into the moral and religious issues that the debate about same sex marriage is not only about rights. Marriage is also a core social institution that predates all modern constitutions.

Many Canadians believe that marriage is fundamental to our society and that its primary function is to create a stable and supportive foundation for procreation. Many studies show that traditional marriage is best for children and recent statistics also show that traditional families are declining.

Many religions have their own requirements for marriage and may impose additional requirements on the perspective marriage partners. For example, Judaism will not marry a previously married woman unless she has received a get. Governments have no rights to force a mosque, temple or church to marry a couple who do not conform to their religious beliefs. The current draft legislation does not protect against such action in the future.

Comments made by the foreign affairs minister that “churches and religious organizations have no place in the public debate on same sex marriage” betrays the commitment of the Liberals on defending religious freedom. Because it cannot guarantee religious freedom, Bill C-38 may have the long term effect of stigmatizing faith in public forums and may reduce the diversity of religious beliefs.

As far as the political issue is concerned, we feel the majority of Canadians are opposed to the bill. In the area that I come from, there is an overwhelming opposition to it.

We have offered a reasonable compromise. We want to ensure that gay couples will have all the dignity and equality that the charter guarantees while also preserving religious freedom and defending the sanctity of marriage. Civil unions fulfill those requirements.

The Liberal caucus is divided on the issue of same sex marriage. This suggests that same sex is not only about equality rights and the charter, as the Prime Minister has framed it. The record of the Liberals on same sex is discomforting. They have been inconsistent.

In 1999 they were for the traditional definition of marriage. Now most are against it. How can we explain this sudden change of heart? Did the debate all of a sudden become an equal rights issue, political pressure, insecure nomination or blackmail by the Prime Minister?

Much more could be said. What we need to do now is simply encourage Canadians to contact the offices of the Prime Minister's office and Minister of Justice to let them know exactly what they feel. Most people would rather be talking about health care, the environment and the critical issues in the country. Look how many days are occupied with this debate.

RCMP Officers Gordon and Myrol March 9th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, two of the victims in the tragic killing of four RCMP officers were from my home city of Red Deer. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the four victims.

Anthony Gordon was born in Edmonton and grew up and was educated in Red Deer. This good-natured man leaves behind his wife who is expecting her second child. He will be buried on Friday.

Brock Myrol and his family are well known in our community. Brock had only been in the force a few weeks and was engaged to be married. He will be buried on Saturday.

The murderer was a troubled and dangerous person. His lawyer knew this. His neighbours knew this. The RCMP knew this. The only ones who seemed not to have paid attention to this work in the justice system. We must protect society from dangerous repeat offenders.

In the words of Colleen Myrol, mother of Brock, “Take a stand on evil. Prime Minister, we depend on you and expect you to change the laws and give the courts real power. Give the RCMP real power”.

The Budget March 7th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, obviously when we start mandatory regulations and when our major market is the U.S., we have to take some reality with this as well. I think that off the shelf we can probably save 20% of our emissions. I think the auto industry should be encouraged to take those off the shelf technologies. I hope the government is putting that kind of pressure on the industry so that it does so. With regard to a mandatory regulation at this point in time, though, the industry has a choice and its choice would be to leave.

As far as the vote goes, obviously I am opposed to this budget. I do not think it does what it should do. When one is opposed to something one votes against it.