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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

National Security April 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs I am pleased to respond to the minister's statement on the tabling of the annual report of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

In the public's view of CSIS there exists an inordinate secrecy about its general operations and an apparent lack of accountability to the government and the Canadian community it serves. This report tabled today does not assuage legitimate public concerns about the underlying assumptions of the existence and the operational philosophy of CSIS.

We are in a time for governments when business as usual is not good enough. The government of the day is being forced to recognize that basic reviews of social programs and general priority setting of departments will happen one way or another.

It can be done in a rational way or by disjointed incrementalism. It is like rushing, putting out fires so to speak, when the crisis of finance and popular political support implodes upon the sleepwalking government as it stumbles along toward a new Canada of new international, fiscal and democratic realities.

When we come back to look at CSIS from this side of the House there is an increasing uneasiness about the aspects of a government bureau that spends a fair amount of public resources to in effect maintain an image while at the same time satisfying the self-serving interests of insular survival at a time when all else in government is under fundamental review.

We are in social service review and, more closely to CSIS, the military establishment will be undergoing a white paper review process. Certainly it is also time to ask this government about CSIS, its mission statement, its performance results measured against its own goals and mandate laid out in the previous annual reports and the legislation.

There has been fundamental review before but we need more than the current committee oversight process and annual reports.

I have been 21 years in provincial public service and I have come to appreciate how government bureaucracy can become focused on its self-importance and develop a driving agenda that is so right for those on the inside while it is losing the proper connections with those it was originally created to serve.

From the opposition chairs, from this side of the House, from Her Majesty's loyal constructive alternative, I want to ring the bell of this government again on the community accountability issue for CSIS. Members of the Liberal cabinet may think it is business as usual, they may think they have the traditional Canadian divine right to govern, for after all they are the Liberals. It is a new Canada of more open and accountable government that is the standard required.

The pre-Confederation reformers' agenda of responsible and accountable government beyond mere representative government has finally come of age and is represented by a new wave of Reformers in this House. We question the business as usual attitude, the annual report of CSIS which really tells this House nothing much about what goes on there. The public report is a good press release but justifies nothing.

I am quite aware of the difference between the operational confidentiality required for the organization to be effective and the new higher level of ongoing accountability that citizens are coming to demand of government which in so many areas this government has not comprehended, being stuck as it is in old Canada thinking.

CSIS is said to look after security intelligence, national security enforcement and national protective security. The 1994 report is said to provide a window on security intelligence. I think it is a very small window and not large enough to let the light in of effective accountability.

CSIS is mandated to perform a difficult job, formerly done by the RCMP which led to a national scandal and the resultant creation of CSIS as a solution. One wonders what the 1994 scandal will be-cigarettes? I do not have any alternatives to present today.

We have CSIS. We need such an organization. It has legislation, resources and about 2,500 people involved. That is no small change. Daily in the media Canadians hear from around the world reports of war, political unrest and intrigue and a changing geopolitical landscape. Canadians want to be assured that someone is minding the store and tracking world events specifically in a Canadian security sense in view of vital Canadian interests.

The cold war is over. The western alliance intelligence systems have had to re-examine operations, assumptions and priorities. Despite the reports that are annually tabled and the current review and accountability structure, how is CSIS really? How is it moving to respond to rapidly changing world circumstances and the emerging new risks?

Specifically, despite what we have all heard about CSIS has it been able at this point to become truly proactive and predictive or is it still largely reactive or, in the vernacular, functioning "catch as catch can".

Issues of espionage, foreign influence, illegal activities in Canada and politically motivated violence are of grave concern. The world is a less predictable place. Canada is an international player and cannot isolate itself.

Hostile intelligence services of other governments, transnational corporations, which often are larger than many countries in resources and capabilities and are accountable to no one, these are issues for CSIS. As the number of global power centres grows so does the potential for threat.

As Canada becomes a seller and inventor of high value added technologies, both Canadian law and our international trade agreements may be broken by both the Canadian criminal element and underground operatives in the nations with which we trade.

Economic espionage is not new but it is a major issue for CSIS. This activity disrupts the level playing field which is a principle of international trade agreements. Yet there is a doubtful priority given to it. Accordingly, last year there was a liaison program from CSIS to the private business sector to enhance understanding of vulnerabilities.

Unfortunately the marching orders for CSIS' role in economic security was defensive, only advisory and precautionary. Canadian law could be broken. International conventions could be violated, our trade agreements subverted yet in economic espionage CSIS was again to be passive, reactive rather than proactive.

What about specific training and research done jointly with manufacturing associations or other national trade and financial organizations? It is community policing at a national level, block watch in the industrial, technological and financial sectors. I doubt from what I have heard that CSIS has anywhere near that kind of preventive, predictive level of operation, yet that is the best kind of law enforcement.

To say that private sector industrial espionage is strictly the responsibility of the private sector is like standing guard at the front door while the thieves come and go at will through the back door.

Monitoring and intercepting the deadly traffic of weapons and their associated technologies is a CSIS role. Terrorism is active in the world. Canada has been used for fund raising for foreign weapons buying and sometimes as a safe haven for numbers of extremist groups. CSIS, the RCMP, the military, Immigration and so on have overlapping roles to control criminal acts from these sources.

Global trends of ethnic nationalism, fanatic types of religious fundamentalism and other forms of destabilizing ideological extremism warrant vigilance. The immigrants to this country and the millions who have come since the 1970s must be protected from foreign influenced activities and be dissociated from former homeland quarrels, violence and extortion. These immigrants must not be exploited by homeland interests. Old disputes from offshore must not continue in and through Canada.

The sources of terrorism remain strong. Nationalism, separatism, ideological extremism are I am sure some of the things that CSIS touches as it works to ensure the safety, security and integrity of our society within the context of a national security system.

The task of monitoring our national security agency is not one that parliamentary systems handle very well. With CSIS, we pay the piper but we never hear the tune or have much knowledge about what instrument is being played. We invest large sums of money in gathering security intelligence. I am not too sure we know what to do with a lot of what is gathered.

CSIS is something like a national insurance policy or a security alarm in the night to protect the public and national interest. Value for money then is an issue. How do we know the alarm works or if it is even turned on. We see the CSIS budget stay about the same despite changing realities. They are coming together in one building, organizing and reorganizing. I certainly hope that by now the internal turf wars are over between the grandfathered RCMP types and the other technocrats.

Reputation has it that for the past while much of CSIS' resources have been used up by itself for itself with infighting, reorganization upon reorganization with not much of real product or results for the national interest, the basic reasons why CSIS exists. This gets back to the basic issue of accountability.

Although I am sure we have people there who see themselves as dedicated and hardworking, secret unaccountable organizations, like governments that behave that way, very soon get completely off the rails. There must be an ongoing tension for an

efficacious result as the blank check of power is very corrupting to those within the system.

As a final suggestion, it is often the lowest level operatives in the system who actually deliver the service, the ones who actually do the work that are the best source for renewal, new and better accountability and a help for a mission statement. They usually are never asked or seriously considered.

In summary, CSIS must be accountable, not in just that it spent its money within the allowable vote and its accounts are correct. Canadians have a right to know that the existence of CSIS is worth it. My opening remarks related to a change in community attitude against top-down, we know best government activity.

I thank the minister for his report. I make the point for the need of better, broad based accountability. Increased public confidence in CSIS can only strengthen its role. I close by saying we hope against hope that CSIS can truly deliver a degree of security that places our nation in the ranks of the more fortunate few nations that have peace, order and good and honest government.

Budget Implementation Act, 1994 March 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in one part of the hon. member's speech he specifically mentioned a freeze on the general percentage grid increase.

There is a contract in place and the movement within the grid, the annual increments, should be honoured and the savings made elsewhere. We can support the broad general percentage increase. However we believe the increment freeze itself within that grid will increase disparities rather than relieve them. Will the hon. member comment more specifically on the rationale for the general freeze as well as for the freeze on the increments within a grid?

This is particularly disturbing to the RCMP. I understand there was a meeting in Surrey, British Columbia of over 800 members of the RCMP. They were very upset that promises were being broken. Certainly within its structure the RCMP is given a budget and rules to live by and therefore cannot do much about it.

We are saying that the breaking of a promise or a contract to honour the increments within an overall framework needs to be addressed even though we agree with the broad approach of a spending freeze.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension Act March 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, what I was addressing is the principle of arm's length independent process. Members in this corner of the House are very concerned about suspending that and putting redistribution into the hands of politicians.

The parallel is the tradition of this House essentially writing its own pay cheque. There is a cry in the land that we change that.

We must have redistribution but my opening comment was that we could by this bill represent the slippery slope of partisan interference in riding boundary making. We are warning the House about that and we hope that it will not go that way.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension Act March 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief.

At first blush, looking at the riding boundary map for the lower mainland, one questions the rational sense of how the reconfiguration of some of the boundaries will cross waterways and there is no natural geographical sense. There is an effort to bring better representation on line based on population. There is a creation of two new seats. There is a process there.

I guess my reactions are somewhat the same as we get from constituents, do not throw the baby out with the bath water. We have a process in place and just because we do not like the first blush of the response we do not abandon the whole process and disband the commission.

We certainly are looking for increased representation in British Columbia. I am afraid that Bill C-18 in the long run is not going to bring us that. One of our major fears is that British Columbia will be in the catch up position of trying to get representation that it should have had a long time ago.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension Act March 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to oppose Bill C-18.

I can understand the first blush reaction of my colleagues. The results of $5 million of work do not appear to be very satisfying.

In many instances the suggested changes of the commission just do not make common sense. However, Bill C-18 seems to be a step backward in time and could represent the slippery slope of partisan interference in riding boundary making.

The commission has been doing its work in good faith. However, the boundaries in the lower mainland of British Columbia do not seem to follow natural geographic divisions or reflect the psychological sense of community or sense of place that needs to be imparted to a political representative.

I am often asked what riding I represent. My riding of New Westminster-Burnaby and the riding of Burnaby-Kingsway are sometimes confused. Fortunately there is never any confusion between me and the member for Burnaby-Kingsway.

New Westminster has a distinctiveness, a history of the riding name that goes back to the byelection of 1871, the year British Columbia joined Confederation. In those days I suspect one had to be a British subject, a male, and probably a land owner to be eligible to vote.

At that first election the riding was very large and included all the hinterland of the Fraser Valley, past Abbotsford and Chilliwack, up the Fraser canyon to Yale.

Successively the riding boundary has been cut back as the population grew. Six of my colleagues now represent former parts of my riding.

The riding of New Westminster-Burnaby was most recently rationalized for the 1988 election and like all others was the same for the October 1993 election.

There is some improvement in the proposed distinctions in the name change as Burnaby-Kingsway riding will now become Burnaby North.

The city of Burnaby is currently split between the riding known as Burnaby-Kingsway taking its name from the city and from the main historical street that was the horse trail between New Westminster and access from Fraser Rivers to the Vancouver ice free port.

The proposed boundary shift moves the split of the city of Burnaby somewhat eastward. Although the current division is clear yet artificial in a cohesive community settlement sense the proposed boundary shift looks minor on a map but is very significant.

The new proposal cuts down streets that did not represent main thoroughfares or easily identifiable divisions. It cuts through the middle of a park, across the middle of Deer Lake instead of taking the preferred street around the edge, then proceeds up a hill through residential properties and through bushlands where no streets exist at all. Therefore, examination of street map can be deceiving. I doubt any commissioner ever actually physically examined on site the strange anomaly that the proposal makes.

It leaves small enclaves of residential areas stranded in the new riding of Burnaby North without access, except by travelling a considerable distance through my riding of New Westminister-Burnaby. Clearly the purpose among others is to rationalize but this proposal has left these orphaned areas.

I know my riding reasonably well since as a lad I have travelled the streets on bicycle and have walked untold miles campaigning door to door. There is always a different perspective for a pedestrian compared with a car slipping through the neighbourhood, sliding by.

I have an alternative proposal that represents a minor change keeping in mind the principles I have mentioned and makes geographical and social sense to the feeling of place in reference to the voter. The boundary between Burnaby-Kingsway which is to become known as Burnaby North and my riding of New Westminster-Burnaby is problematic in one significant area only. The other boundaries are most sensible, easily understood by residents and fit postal code walks as they take into account the municipal political boundaries and the physical barriers. The number one freeway, the Fraser River and Boundary Road between Burnaby and Vancouver are clear on every map and are historically known and accepted by every resident.

These are natural boundaries that thankfully remain in the new proposal. Nevertheless, I am suggesting that the boundary dividing Burnaby be moved just a few blocks to represent a more identifiable division. The population difference is minor but the rational sense is rather significant.

The commission is permitting only one hearing in the lower mainland for the boundary changes and that may seem rather limited. At least the community can participate. I do not particularly approve of the results of the commission either, but I would rather give evidence at the hearings of an independent tribunal and work to convince arbitrators of the merits of my case with geographical and social evidence than let the riding realignments fall into the hands of the Liberals.

Bill C-18 of the government flies in the face of everything we have come to trust about our electoral boundaries for non-partisanship and independence. Up until now we as Canadians could be quite smug as compared with the Americans for what we have achieved beyond gerrymandering, the American derogatory term.

This government does not like the results of the commission's proposals and has introduced a bill to cancel everything. Let us not at the stroke of quick vote undo history that makes us distinctly proud to be Canadian. If we are not happy with the proposed results of the commission we should work to change it within the system before wiping out what we have on the books.

Millions have already been spent and therefore the bill that we see before the House implicitly says that the money has been wasted. If the government is so aghast at the results, I say get in the game and make the process work. Give it a chance. If after all is said and done, and usually from this government more is said than done, the boundaries are still troublesome send the commission back to do its homework, refine the evidence and get it to justify its recommendations.

What we have here in this bill is the old adage that if we do not like the message on the front line of the battle, shoot the messenger instead of the enemy.

In my case in New Westminster-Burnaby I believe that I can change the situation by getting folk to walk the ground. I certainly do not trust electoral boundary reform to be put into the hands of the government. It is the cat among the pigeons, the fox in charge of the hen house. How long did it take us to learn in Canada and achieve the statute of the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act?

British Columbia is already short about six seats that should come from other provinces and this bill certainly perpetuates that inequity.

This bill is audacious and the government is not even embarrassed. We need regular, independent non-partisan redistribution in a manner that inspires confidence. The analogy is like a court. When the judgment is a little out of character we outlaw and remove the judges instead of dealing with the case.

We need redistribution. Even more we need a cap on the number of members of Parliament. That is what new Canada thinking says. Modesty and common sense must begin in Parliament.

We have become a country of city dwellers with vast hinterlands. There needs to be equity with an upper limit within which redistribution can take place. That is the vision of new Canada thinking of equality and reason.

Such measures as I am suggesting are tied to the regional representation that a true triple-E upper House can bring. The Prime Minister could just announce what he will honour in appointment, the elected nominee, which follows the precedent of the late Stan Waters. This is a most important subject as representation by population and regional representation of our vast land require a balance that will not be ameliorated by disbanding the commission.

Let not the excuse of dissatisfaction with the commission be the opening door to a hidden agenda. Let the standing committee do its work, but also engage the existing commission and let it do its work.

In summary, let the system do its work, as the alternative proposed by this government is the least desirable of all the options.

Employment March 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development and was inspired by businessman Brian Burge of Ottawa.

Recently Mr. Burge spent more than $1,000 advertising commission sales jobs in Ottawa and Toronto. From this effort Mr. Burge discovered that many respondents were unwilling to give up guaranteed unemployment insurance benefits and risk the uncertainty of a commission sales job. Many jobs in the new economy will be commission or performance based.

In view of what the government said at the G-7 meeting, will the minister respond to the evidence that the UI system discourages recipients from taking commission jobs? Could he tell the House what he intends to do to fix UI in this regard?

Supply March 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the medical model or philosophy in correctional rehabilitation that someone is sick and therefore an institution is somewhat like a hospital has been long abandoned.

The Young Offenders Act in general sends the wrong message to the community. We should check with the young people themselves instead of with professionals in the justice system. We should go to high schools to find out what seems to be the community sentiment. The greatest pressure I receive from my community is often from the high schools indicating that the balance is off and that balance needs to be restored more in favour of the victim and accountability to the community.

That is not to say that the Young Offenders Act is completely unworkable. There are some good measures it, especially the provision of alternative measures and the possibility of giving due process. It was certainly an improvement over the old juvenile delinquents act.

The typical response is to throw more money at the problem. We need more community learning situations, work programs, more social workers or whatever, rather than continue to throw money at dispositional alternatives.

My comment today arises out of the community sentiment that the Young Offenders Act inherently sends the wrong message. We must bring the impact of the consequences more directly to offenders. The community message out there that the Young Offenders Act is a soft touch must be changed.

Supply March 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of our Reform motion. It is to stimulate new Canada thinking about where we have been with the justice system and what are the emerging expectations of the community about where we need to go. As we formulate a vision of hope for a new Canada of equality, the sense of proportion and balance in the justice system needs to be examined.

Many in my community of New Westminster-Burnaby are fearful, frustrated and angry about the operation of the justice system. In fact they make the point that we do not have a justice system at all; we merely have a legal system.

It is seen that this legal system is largely unaccountable to the community and that the community has no sense of ownership of what goes on in this seemingly convoluted system. The legal system operates on doublespeak, legalese and jargon and is characterized by a professional "we know best" attitude toward an interfering community.

There are glimpses of hope, however, such as the community policing efforts of the last few years, the block watch programs, and extensive volunteer programs such as the Burnaby RCMP victims assistance program.

This program began in January 1987 and currently involves 50 volunteers. During the seven years of service the program has been in contact with 9,250 victims or witnesses. In 1993 it handled over 1,650 files and volunteered 6,700 hours.

The primary role of the victim assistance program is to provide emotional support. It provides information and updates on police files, court information, court orientation and accompaniment, referrals to community agencies and information on legal services and criminal injuries compensation.

In Burnaby the police based team of volunteers is on call 24 hours a day to provide assistance in whatever way possible. Also in New Westminster-Burnaby and in New Westminster specifically we have a similar program which is run out of the crown counsel's office.

However, it is time that a more cross-systems approach be applied in bold terms to put the victim's and the community's general concerns before the offender's concerns. There is a relationship between the offender and the offended, whether that be another individual, a family or a community.

In reference to the community as victim, the Young Offenders Act passed by a previous Liberal government has become the single chapter of criminal law that is in most disrepute. Poll after poll reflects it and the news clipping service of the Solicitor General is full of references to community dissatisfaction. Even the Liberal red book reluctantly admits the act needs review.

It is with the Young Offenders Act that the community feels most left out. The operation of the act violates the fundamental sense of equity and balance the community expects.

The wording of the motion today and our proposals for amendments to the Young Offenders Act are directly connected.

For example, section 3(1) of the act states: "Policy application with respect to young offenders". There are nine paragraphs of definition, then a total of 70 sections limiting how the substantive part of the Criminal Code and other criminal statutes will be administered for young offenders.

Allow me to paraphrase parts of section 3(1) of the Young Offenders Act: (b) society must be afforded the necessary protection from illegal behaviour; (c) a young person who commits an offence requires supervision, discipline and control, and because of their level of maturity they also have special needs and require guidance and assistance; (e) a young person has rights and freedoms as is stated in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and should therefore have special guarantees of their rights and freedoms; (g) young persons have the right to be informed as to what their rights and freedoms are.

Not once in the preamble list is there mention of the rights of the victim. The act largely drives how social services are administered. There is little to make a young offender realize there is a victim or someone who has been hurt and that it is the community to which the offender should be held accountable.

We need an additional paragraph in the Young Offenders Act preamble that reads something like this: "The community, or victims in particular, shall be given equal consideration where making dispositions for youth and victims shall be heard upon their request at sentencing and at reviews".

In almost every instance the victim or the community is barred from knowledge of what is happening or is going to happen to the offender. The system is similar to what goes on at most job interviews when the employer tells the hopeful candi-

date: "Don't call us, we will call you". All of us know the employer will only call if the candidate is needed.

In the case of a victim, the victim is forgotten after the offence has occurred. They are made to feel they did their part and should now step aside because the offender is the one who really needs the attention. Is it any wonder then that the public is so frustrated with the justice system.

A victim is usually not asking for a great deal. In most cases it is just for a bit of involvement, some dignity and more than anything else, some empathy. In response to that my riding has two volunteer programs but it is now time for recognition of victims in legislation.

In some jurisdictions an overreaching interpretation of the Young Offenders Act does not permit the young offenders court list to be displayed on the courtroom door.

In British Columbia fortunately the youth court is open to the public and exclusion orders are not very common. However, no local reporter can advise the community as to what goes on there or report when an offender is going to be released. The community as victim has the right to know who the offenders are through the media.

It seems disproportionate to the public for youth court to revolve only around the offender. For example youth workers cannot disclose what they know to a high school counsellor. Social workers in the community cannot always inform the court of everything they know about a situation.

We fall all over ourselves to protect or avoid a potential negative circumstance for the offender with secrecy. The Young Offenders Act also contains provisions to deliberately mislead the court at sentencing concerning a youth criminal record because of the time limits stipulated in the act.

Who focuses on the victim? When one carefully looks at the act it is glaring in its absence of a provision that the plight of the victim be heard at court or become real to the young offender in the process. I recently read an article in the Toronto Star . It concluded that victims of crime can be victimized twice, first by the criminal and then by the system.

Victims and witnesses have special needs and they must be treated with dignity and respect. Offenders must be held accountable for their acts. The law should reflect current values held by the majority of Canadians. The legal system should be accountable to the society it serves for its operations, methods and results.

What should be paramount in the Young Offenders Act is the protection of the community. Let me give an example of a case that took place in Alberta in 1990.

A young offender was so infatuated with his girlfriend that after she broke off the relationship he knifed her but fortunately did not kill her. As a young offender he only received eight months in custody. Apparently he told workers he still wanted to kill his former girlfriend. Exactly one year from the first incident the young offender killed the girl. In this case the victim had no chance because the rights of the young offender had to be protected.

The act has a title: the Young Offenders Act. It should truly deal with young offenders, not youthful adults. The natural sense of balance the victims want restored would envision an age application of 10 years to 15 years inclusive. This is the most significant and fundamental required change to restore credibility to the trust that is now broken within the Canadian community.

Canadian Curling Championship March 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to congratulate Rick Folk and his B.C. rink for capturing Canada's highest prize in men's curling.

After a week of stiff competition from other provincial rinks, Folk duelled Ontario's Russ Howard to an eight to five win in the Briar in Red Deer, Alberta on Sunday. Not since Lyall Dagg 30 years ago in 1964 has British Columbia captured the Canadian Curling Championship.

I am sure that all of my colleagues from British Columbia will join with me in congratulating B.C. skip Rick Folk and his rink of Gerry Richard, Bert Gretzinger and Pat Ryan.

We wish them the best as they will now represent Canada at the World Curling Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany.

The Budget March 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it comes down to a matter of opinion concerning basic government priorities. I talked about how spending behaviour reveals inner character and a person's underlying philosophy.