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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was international.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as NDP MP for Burnaby—Douglas (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2019, with 32% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Health February 3rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

Recently, Dr. Brian Day, who is the head of the biggest private for profit surgery clinic in British Columbia, bragged that the Prime Minister, at a $1,000 a plate dinner, had said that he was wide open to experimentation in Canada's health care system. Now, the Prime Minister has hired his top lobbyist, Bruce Young, as part of his B.C. campaign team.

I want to ask the Prime Minister, will he now tell Canadians clearly that he will put a stop to the growth of private for profit health care in Canada and will he commit to publicly delivered and publicly funded health care in Canada?

Health November 5th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. It has been almost a year since Roy Romanow tabled his bold report with recommendations on the future of our public health care system, and over a year since the report of the Canadian nursing advisory committee.

This minister has ignored all of these key recommendations while our public health care system weakens, privatization increases and nursing shortages grow. When will this minister finally listen to Romanow and Decter, listen to the voices of Canadians, and act on these vitally important recommendations? When at last will she stand up for Canada's public health care system?

Canada Pension Plan November 4th, 2003

Madam Speaker, that was a totally shameful reply.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health has admitted that Health Canada's research shows beyond a doubt that two-thirds of smokers who smoke light and mild cigarettes think that it will be better for their health, that they are less harmful, when that is decidedly not the case. Thus it is misleading.

But what is the government doing to eliminate this labelling? Nothing. The parliamentary secretary explained to the House that it is a complex issue, and that more research is needed.

How many people must die before this government acts? That is my question for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health.

Canada Pension Plan November 4th, 2003

Madam Speaker, on May 28 I asked the Minister of Health a question in the House concerning the tobacco epidemic that costs 45,000 lives every year in Canada. I pointed out that the predecessor to the current Minister of Health had promised on December 1, 2001, a promise that is close to its second anniversary, to ban the labelling of cigarettes described as light or mild.

As well, I noted that a new treaty of the World Health Organization had just come into force in May. The Minister of Health signed that treaty in July, the framework convention on tobacco control, and that treaty requires countries to ban misleading descriptions.

I asked the minister how many more people or kids would start to smoke and how many more smokers would die before the minister finally does what she and the government promised to do almost two years ago, to ban dishonest labelling of cigarettes as light and mild.

Here we are in November 2003, almost two years since the minister's predecessor made that promise, and the government has shamefully taken no action whatsoever to implement the promise.

The European Union has moved ahead. On September 30 the European Union completely banned all labelling of light, low tar and similar descriptions on cigarettes sold in Europe. Cigarettes are now sold basically using colours.

The current minister has said that she will get around to this ban when the ducks are in a row. How many more ducks have to be in a row before this lame duck government finally does the right thing and moves ahead?

I would point out that in the draft regulation that was tabled in December, the government set out the rationale for banning light and mild descriptions. It pointed out that documents from the tobacco industry indicated that it believed that the marketing of brands labelled with these descriptions provided consumer reassurance, may have kept some smokers from quitting, may have delayed cessation in others and may have encouraged more girls and young women to take up smoking because of the implied suggestion of lower risks, milder taste or ease of smoking.

What was said in the proposed regulation was that the Department of Health had determined that removing these descriptions from tobacco product packaging would be a means of health protection and in the best interests of public health.

Shame on the government for not following through on an action that would save lives and that would prevent the dishonesty and deception that suggests that somehow light and mild cigarettes are any less likely to cause the range of serious health problems that tobacco causes.

Why is the government not moving ahead? The parliamentary secretary is here with his text prepared from the Department of Health. I plead with him to throw away that text and stand in the House of Commons and tell Canadians that his government will finally honour the promise that was made to protect the health of Canadians and ban these dishonest labels of light and mild on cigarettes in Canada, as the European Union did, effective in September of this year.

Health November 4th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, it was almost a year ago that Roy Romanow warned the government that trade deals like NAFTA and the proposed FTAA could threaten our public health care system. Their possible expansion to pharmacare and home care could limit access to affordable generic drugs.

My question is for the Minister for International Trade. At the upcoming FTAA meeting in Miami, will he listen to Romanow and the thousands of Canadians in groups like Common Frontiers and others who are telling the government to take health care off the table entirely. Will he put public health ahead of corporate profits?

Petitions November 4th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, today I have the honour of presenting a petition signed by 55 signatories from across Canada. Signatures were collected by Common Frontiers and represent over 61,000 Canadians who have voiced their grave concern about the upcoming FTAA.

They suggest that it could pose a threat to the right of citizens across Canada and the Americas to health, an internationally recognized human right that includes the right to affordable medical care and the right to a healthy environment. They are concerned that the FTAA could jeopardize universal medicare and the laws and regulations that protect public health through environmental integrity. They have called upon Parliament to stop negotiation of the FTAA and all trade agreements that put profits before public well-being, and to remove chapter 11 from NAFTA, which allows investors to sue governments for public policies that curb profits, even those policies that protect public health or the environment. They point out as well that next month Common Frontiers will join all of its signatures with millions collected from across Latin America and present them in Miami at the FTAA ministerial meeting.

The signatories represent people such as executive vice-president Barb Byers and Sheila Katz of the Canadian Labour Congress, Ken Luckhardt of the Canadian Auto Workers, Molly Kane of Inter Pares, and Tony Clarke, director of the Polaris Institute.

Petitions November 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition concerning star wars signed by citizens of Quebec. The petitioners say that Canadians want to build a peaceful world based on human security and that this new weapons system, known as star wars, is destabilizing. The petitioners call upon Parliament to acknowledge that Canada will not participate in a star wars program and strongly condemns George Bush's destabilizing plans, and to say no to star wars.

Petitions November 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, from another perspective I have the honour to present a petition which is signed by hundreds of residents of British Columbia. They point out that same sex couples form loving and committed relationships but are denied the equal ability to celebrate those relationships through marriage. They point out that the protection of true family values requires that all families be respected equally. They point to their concern that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms be upheld. They suggest that denying same sex couples the equal right to marry reinforces attitudes of intolerance and discrimination and is inconsistent with the Canadian values of equality, dignity and respect.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to enact legislation providing same sex couples with the equal right to marry.

Foreign Affairs November 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Last year a young Chinese student living in Burnaby, Amanda Zhao, was brutally murdered. Her boyfriend, Ang Li, fled to China and was charged in May of this year with her murder.

With no extradiction treaty in force with China, what action is the government taking to seek the return of Ang Li to stand trial in Canada for this terrible crime? The RCMP has done its job. When will the minister do his?

Criminal Code October 29th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if my colleague would comment on a concern that has been raised by a number of people with respect to the impact the government's proposed legislation to decriminalize marijuana would have.

It has been suggested, with considerable strength, by a number of observers, including Progressive Conservative Senator Nolin of the other place who chaired a committee that made a number of what I thought were important recommendations with respect to drugs, as well as Eugene Oscapella, that the decriminalization of marijuana would, ironically, strengthen the power of organized crime. They say that it would give organized crime even more of an opportunity to take advantage of the fact that there are, in a sense, no legal sources of marijuana. Even the cultivation of marijuana for personal use would be criminalized even further in the legislation. People would still forced into the underworld and forced to rely on criminal sources for marijuana. Ironically, that could strengthen the power of organized crime.

I wonder if the hon. member could comment on that and on the suggestion that as an alternative to the approach of decriminalization we should be looking at the approach that was suggested by the Senate committee chaired by Progressive Conservative Senator Nolin.