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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was mmt.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Conservative MP for New Westminster—Coquitlam (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Citizenship Act February 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I raised my concerns because immigration is important to Canada. I know the member opposite wants the same thing. But change begins with the recognition that a problem exists. I am sincere when I plead for the serious re-evaluation and major overhaul of immigration.

From our side of the House, I think what we would say is that the government's legislative agenda is pretty thin right now. Why does it not dig in and do something meaningful and fix the problem staring us in the face before we have another need for a big judicial inquiry that will look back to see who is to blame for some big disaster?

We understand that the immigration department, with all its responsibilities, including its separate refugee determination process and the various means by which a person can come to Canada, is very complex. There are always many decision points and at those decision points where there is discretion there can be errors.

We really have an issue here that the department is in somewhat of an organizational mess and we really need to fix it. We want government committed to re-evaluate the process.

Citizenship Act February 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, on Monday, December 6, 2004 I posed the following question and the new Minister of Citizenship and Immigration answered. I asked:

Mr. Speaker, about the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, we have heard the minister's excuse about compassion. We have seen her ruse of the Ethics Commissioner. What seems clear is that a specialty loophole was used for exotic clubs because of inside political access. Nearly all of the dancers came from just one country, revealing that there was a special deal.

She has been the minister for a full year and yet it took the human resources minister to shut it down. Why did the minister defend the program for so long when thousands of desperate cases of people in real need have been waiting for years?

The present immigration minister replied:

Mr. Speaker, the member has already heard the answer on many occasions. The minister made her decision and has referred the decision to an independent officer of the House, the Ethics Commissioner. The opposition has also referred the matter to the Ethics Commissioner.

Perhaps opposition members would like to get an answer from the Ethics Commissioner before they jump to a conclusion.

We are still waiting to hear from the Ethics Commissioner and we have a new minister. Some 70% to 80% of my community casework is about this dysfunctional immigration department. My deep concern is that the government is not capable of solving the serious problem of the department. The cover-ups do not change the reality on the ground. The minister is supposed to be accountable.

In view of such poor results, one can understand why I asked my particular questions. We were talking about it yesterday and the parliamentary secretary accused me of just using rhetoric, yet I gave her and the department all of my comments in advance so that I could get a substantive answer and I did not get it.

Immigration is in a crisis and the Liberals are responsible for the mess. Change begins with the admission that a problem exists. I do not think the government gets it. If it does, it is still in public denial. We can only hope that with the new minister there will be a meaningful change process and a huge commitment to clean up the department.

Change was a long standing promise of the Prime Minister and Canadians expect no less. There is talk about a six point plan. It should be explained to Canadians. What are the financial commitments? How many extra people are going to be hired to deal with customer needs? What are the published wait time reductions? When will the wait times come into the 21st century of normal business standards?

It looks like it will never be a reality on this party's watch. How are the rules and regulations going to be streamlined? How is the flawed basic law going to be reviewed and fixed? When will the department communicate comprehensively in a timely manner with its clients? When will the department stop losing files? When will the department treat people in its purview with respect and basic human dignity? This department and its minister must be more accountable as the operational results are not up to standard. The Federal Court of Canada says so on many occasions.

We heard today of another instance where the minister really does not know what is going on. The advertised family reunification program is being administered harshly and unfairly. Then on another issue, people are being deported to Iran regardless of the risk. Canadians want action, not denials. They want results, not more excuses.

Department of Foreign Affairs Act February 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I certainly hope we will get much deeper justification at committee and not just the same political answers, but real good data.

It sets a pattern here. When a department is being restructured, the case has to be made not just with all the nice bromides, but with real hard numbers and outside studies. I stress that the government makes the proposal, but in the end Parliament must approve the move.

Department of Foreign Affairs Act February 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-32 is an act respecting the Department of Foreign Affairs. The bill amends the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act and other acts as a consequence of the establishment of the Department of International Trade.

The bill takes account of changes of responsibilities held by the Minister of Foreign Affairs following the establishment of the now separate Department of International Trade. It also makes brief reference to the relationship of the Minister of International Cooperation to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Most changes appear merely to make adjustments in language as a result of the severance of the responsibilities of the Minister of International Trade from the package of responsibilities formerly conducted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

However, the present text needs clarification or expansion at several points. As it stands, it leaves the impression that the combined Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade remains, when it will not upon the passing of Bill C-31. The devolution of certain responsibilities upon another minister is apparent rather than concrete, these being the responsibilities of the Minister of International Cooperation.

The bill codifies the December 12, 2003, order in council, as has been said, separating the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade into two departments.

By introducing the legislation, the government is formalizing the changes made last December. Since then, Foreign Affairs Canada, FAC, has continued to coordinate and conduct Canada's foreign policy, providing the services to Canadians travelling, working and living abroad. The creation of separate Departments of Foreign Affairs and International Trade will, it is hoped, enable both departments to better focus on their core mandates, with separate budget building capabilities and distinct lines of authority, or so the theory goes.

The act to amend the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act codifies the changes made in the order. Specifically, it is supposed to reaffirm that FAC is under the authority of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is responsible for the management and direction of the department both in Canada and abroad. The bill sets out the powers, duties and functions of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, which largely mirror those set out in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act, minus those responsibilities related to international trade. It also adjusts several federal acts to reflect the appearance that FAC and International Trade Canada, which is now known as ITCan, are two separate departments. They are separate, but maybe they are not.

We need to ask for clarifications of certain ambiguities. The language produced for a revised section 1, subsection 2(1) provides that the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is continued under the name of the Department of Foreign Affairs, over which the Minister of Foreign Affairs, appointed by the Commission under the Great Seal, presides. If the combined department, DFAIT, still lives as one body, how can its minister not be master of the whole body? Thus, it appears that the separation of the Department of International Trade from DFAIT is apparent, not real.

The Minister of International Cooperation likewise appears to have only subordinate authority. That minister is described as carrying out his or her responsibilities with the concurrence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, while using the “services and facilities of the Department of Foreign Affairs”.

A further ambiguity surrounds the description of associate deputy ministers. While the foreign affairs act provides for three associate deputy ministers, the proposed legislation provides for only two. Was the missing third responsible for international cooperation? Were that officer's responsibilities those now performed by the Minister of International Trade?

Exact responsibilities for the associate deputy ministers are not provided, but it is stated that the governor in council may designate one of the associate deputy ministers appointed under subsection (1) to be deputy minister for political affairs. What is the force of this word “may”? Is it intended to create this office or not? What are the contemplated responsibilities of the other associate deputy minister?

The official opposition must just not swallow everything that comes from the government side. We in the past have criticized governments for the practice of multiplying ministers of the Crown. The opposition has regularly maintained that lines of responsibility for governmental policy and action must be rigorously defined for the purpose of ministerial accountability. Multiplication of persons answering for shared government policies complicates the business of securing authoritative answers in the House on behalf of the people of Canada.

There has also been no statement as to the estimated costs. Government suggests that this exercise will be cost neutral, but that is really unrealistic. Talk to any public middle manager going through this exercise and he or she will tell us there are a lot of costs.

Implementing this so-called separation will inevitably entail costs in reassignment of personnel, changes in facilities, titles, names of offices and officers, attendant requirements for communication and budget building. The whole thing will be quite expensive.

Questions about such details should be asked at both committees. Comprehensive estimates are required to justify the main case.

The government is proposing this move, but has it really made its core case to do so? What is accomplished by having ministers without ministries? Is this a pattern: magnifying the titles of deputy ministers; creating ministers of second rank without ministries; complicating chains of responsibility; causing opposition critics to chase down responsible ministers for questioning in the House? The same obstacles are presented to journalists and commentators and the rank and file of citizens who seek information about public programs and decisions of government.

The government must offer in committee answers to remaining questions, particularly the matter of the continuing existence of DFAIT. The minister should explain to us in detail what authority he will have or will continue to have over the Minister of International Cooperation, and why this ministerial position exists without its own full separate department.

Some questions come to mind about the bill. There were good reasons to combine in the past. Were all those reasons in the past wrong?

What were the real problems which preceded this decision to separate? Did the initiative come from within external affairs? If so, what problems were they trying to solve by making this proposal? What is the substantive background justification for the move?

Has any research been done into the reasons that were used at the time of the combination of the two departments?

Certainly the chain of command which is envisaged following the creation of the new ministers and the deputy ministers needs to be clarified. Will the new ministers and deputy ministers continually answer to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, or will they become separate entities?

Who is being served by this move? What are the improved end product results identified that will make a difference to Canadians? How will the voters be better served? How will our Canadian national interest be enhanced? Will it make the government any faster off the mark in dealing with the legal challenge, for instance, on the Byrd amendment regarding softwood lumber? Those are the kinds of issues we should be dealing with, not reorganizing our own offices.

Parliament is not the government. Parliament is where the government comes to get permission to tax and spend the people's money, and to get legislation passed by the people's representatives. The government proposes, but Parliament is a separate entity that must vote and pass the legislation and vote the money. Government must make its case to Parliament. The question remains open if it has made that case with this bill.

The government has danced all around the central question of why and for whom. When all is said and done, maybe it is nothing more than a payoff to a political buddy, so that Liberals can hook their thumbs in their lapels, smile and turn to the world and say, “I am a full minister. I am a somebody”. Sadly, this seems to be the Liberal way.

Department of Foreign Affairs Act February 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the central question still needs to be answered, why and for whom? The parliamentary secretary talked about SARS, the tsunami, the Ukraine election, the defence of Canada and promoting Canadian objectives.

Division reduces speed of response, yet he has argued the opposite. We saw the difficulty in responding to the tsunami disaster. We had an administrative disaster in Canada before we figured out what we would do.

We have all talked about the good things that we are going to do, but not once have we really answered the central question of how this reorganization will help and address those objectives. Why are we doing this? Whom will it benefit?

Patent Act February 9th, 2005

Madam Speaker, in summary, immigration must serve the country, not the Liberal Party. We tried to effect appropriate amendments to the bill when it came through a couple of years ago. Also, it was framework legislation, which had a lot of regulation to attach to it. So far, from what we can see, it is an administrative disaster.

Also, in the last election some Liberal candidates said, “Vote for me and I will deliver the special permits”. The previous immigration minister is reported to have made the very same assertions in the last election. Some Liberal candidates certainly made the point. They tied public service administration decisions to who got elected. I challenge the minister to ensure that this never happens again.

We do not need more study and analysis. We need a minister who has both the personal character and the stature in cabinet to get the job done, a minister who can get the resources needed to clean up this mess, a mess which we can see is a weeping sore from coast to coast in this country.

Patent Act February 9th, 2005

Madam Speaker, on November 24 I asked the following question and supplemental. The Deputy Prime Minister answered and covered for the immigration minister. I said:

Mr. Speaker, 70% of my community casework is about this dysfunctional immigration department. We now learn that this favoured dancer that we have been talking about, and her husband, first went to their own MP and were told, “Follow the rules”. Then the couple went to the immigration minister's campaign office in the election and were able to trade their political work for a government benefit. That is against the law.

There was a non-answer challenge from the Deputy Prime Minister, so I asked another question. I said:

Mr. Speaker, the evasions continue. We have heard about the Ethics Commissioner, but it cannot be used to cover for ministerial accountability.

I put this to the Deputy Prime Minister. Everyone knows that the immigration department is in an absolute mess. The Prime Minister promised during the election to clean things up.

Will the Prime Minister just keep his word, assign some real priority to this national disgrace, replace the minister of immigration, and stop the ongoing damage to Canada's international reputation with this very poorly run department?

The former immigration minister claimed she helped an exotic dancer on compassionate grounds. The minister's chief of staff also held inappropriate meetings with the owners of strip clubs to discuss work permits of dancers. Questions in the House of Commons also highlighted the number of public employees who were attending to the minister during the campaign. Then there was also a mix-up about a campaign contribution receipt. All came together to demonstrate the unethical politicization of immigration.

I want to hear how the new minister has changed things. Ending the practice of importing exotic dancers by temporary permit was a right move, but in the past not once did we hear any Liberal immigration or human resources minister voice a public objection. Only with public embarrassment did the Liberals act.

The real problem is that we have a department that is very poorly run. First, its design is far too complicated. Second, the immigration ministry cannot properly communicate with its clients. The overall operations are inward and self-serving rather than client service oriented. Many employees appear to be operating in mere survival mode, with poor law and regulations to guide them and poor personnel leadership and bad supervision within the workplace. No one seems to be up to date with their work.

The discretionary decision points are being administered in an inconsistent and sometimes cruel manner that reminds one of past Liberal Party racism and the hurtful quotas and blacklists. The horror of the products of the system can be seen in the kinds of cases that get to the federal courts of Canada. Could anyone imagine a bureaucracy producing such bad results as what is regularly listed on the court docket?

This record is all against the backdrop of a political level which is out of touch with its workers, which continues to make unreasonable public pronouncements about targets, and which is without commensurate resources to deliver the mandate in a compassionate and professional manner. The problem has been unethical leadership.

The previous minister made a commitment to me when she was first appointed. She claimed that as a backbencher from the Toronto area she was very aware of how the dysfunctional department had made MPs' offices extensions of the immigration department. She said she was also aware of the fraud going on within some foreign missions. She said she was going to fix it.

It seems we keep changing ministers, but the problems do not change.

To top things off, the system has been unable to protect victims from being deported into danger zones. The pre-removal risk assessment system does not work. Just a few weeks ago, I placed the case of a young lady on the previous minister's desk with a pleading note. In spite of that, the young lady was deported and now, just like I warned, she has been arrested and brutalized. It is another stark reminder that the Liberals cannot manage the public trust. If harm comes to this lady, I will hold the minister directly responsible.

My deep concern is that this government is not capable of solving the serious problems of the department. The cover-ups do not change the reality on the ground. Yet the minister is supposed to be accountable. In view of such poor results, one can understand why I asked my particular questions, and we can only hope that there will be, with the new minister, a meaningful change process and a huge commitment to clean up--

Citizenship and Immigrations December 13th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the immigration system is broken. It seems the minister has compassion for cases that might help her politically, yet the minister or the system cannot help real refugees.

The credibility of the minister is in shreds. The minister apparently had no compassion for the young lady whom I brought to her attention last week. She now has been deported, subsequently jailed and abused in Iran, just I like I warned her.

When will the minister protect real refugees instead of queue jumpers?

Citizenship and Immigration December 6th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, about the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, we have heard the minister's excuse about compassion. We have seen her ruse of the Ethics Commissioner. What seems clear is that a specialty loophole was used for exotic clubs because of inside political access. Nearly all of the dancers came from just one country, revealing that there was a special deal.

She has been the minister for a full year and yet it took the human resources minister to shut it down. Why did the minister defend the program for so long when thousands of desperate cases of people in real need have been waiting for years?

Canadian Forces November 30th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I rise to honour a local hero of New Westminster, British Columbia. Chief Warrant Officer Fredrick Scott Stewart, C.D., served at Camp Drvar, Bosnia, with the 1st Princess Patricia's CanadianLight Infantry Battle Group from September 2002 to the end of March 2003.

Mr. Stewart was the liaison officer for the town of Bos Grahovo, and he said the natural countryside was beautiful. Many residents were very appreciative and would ask him why a Canadian would travel so far and put himself at risk. Mr. Stewart, who is now a New Westminster city police officer, answered with pride, “Because we are Canadians and it is what we do. We help our neighbours”.

Mr. Stewart also commented on how well received Canadians were, but that there remain dangerous and evil elements too willing to kill for selfish purposes. In typical Canadian modesty, Mr. Stewart says that the real heroes were his wife and daughter who let him serve.

I wish to pay tribute to the thousands of Canadian heroes like Scott Stewart who risk it all for others for the benefit of mankind. We honour and remember them.