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

Privilege February 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I gave Your Honour a notice of question of privilege with respect to certain statements in the constituency newsletter of the member for Okanagan Centre.

However I note the hon. member in question is not in the House at this time, so I will defer raising the question of privilege on that very serious matter at this point and will pursue it at three o'clock, at which time hopefully the member will be present.

West Coast Ports Operations Act, 1994 February 8th, 1994

Mr. Chairman, I wonder whether the minister would be prepared to consider an amendment that would substitute the word sixteenth for the word twelfth.

This would give just a little more time and flexibility for the union to meet with its membership. I do not think it is an unreasonable request. I would hope that the minister would be prepared to consider that.

West Coast Ports Operations Act, 1994 February 8th, 1994

Mr. Chairman, with respect to the coming into force of the act, I have just spoken with the representatives of the longshoremen's union, including Mr. Westrand, the president, and they have indicated that it certainly would be their desire that the effective coming into force of the act not be before 8.30 tomorrow morning their time in order that they might have an opportunity to meet with their members. Their members start their shift around 5 to 5.30 in the morning.

There has been good co-operation on this legislation. I would ask the minister if he would be prepared to accommodate the union in their return to work and in order to give them an opportunity to meet with their membership and, through you, Mr. Chairman, whether we might agree that the act come into force on the expiration perhaps of the sixteenth hour after the time at which it is assented to.

That would facilitate the back to work arrangements of the members and the executive of the union.

West Coast Ports Operations Act, 1994 February 8th, 1994

Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to have an opportunity to participate in the discussion of this legislation.

I believe as the only member of Parliament from the greater Vancouver area who has spoken in the debate I want to raise a couple of concerns with the minister, particularly with respect to this final offer process.

I want to put it in context because the minister has said that it is important there be no bias. It is also important there be no perception of bias, there be no perception on the part of either party that one party is being given undue advantage in the process that we as elected representatives are putting in place to settle this dispute. If the test is not only actual bias but a perception of bias, not only justice being done but being seen to be done, this legislation fails that test.

I want to make it very clear that I have spoken with representatives of the longshoremen, with Gord Westrand, the president,

and other representatives and they feel a sense of anger and betrayal at where this process has led.

They tried hard to get a collective agreement. They bargained for many months in good faith trying to get a collective agreement. On the other hand I firmly believe the employer was well aware of the fact that if they just sat back and took a hard line, the government would move in and settle.

Representatives that I spoke to asked the question my colleague asked earlier. I recognize the importance of moving grain and I know that my colleagues recognize the importance of moving grain because over half our caucus is from Saskatchewan. We do not need any lessons on the importance of grain movement to prairie farmers.

I see the Minister of Agriculture here in the committee. I see the minister responsible for labour. If it was so important to move grain, why did they not say to the B.C. Maritime Employers Association that it should move that grain? The longshoremen were quite prepared to move the grain. Of course the reality was that the employer was prepared to hold them hostage and to hold the grain farmers of the prairies hostage in order to put pressure on the government to do exactly what it has done, which is to bring in this settlement.

The question I want to ask the minister is this. It comes back to the point that was raised by the hon. member for Mercier. This employer even before mediation started made it very clear that it wanted final offer selection. It made that very clear during the process as well.

We think final offer selection would be a good idea. The union was quite prepared to accept even non-binding arbitration. It moved an awfully long way. However what is happening in this legislation is that the employer is getting exactly what the employer wanted.

If the final offer selection process is in place as is proposed in this legislation, what happens? The employer and the union both have to agree on the appointment of an arbitrator. If they do not, who appoints the arbitrator? The arbitrator is appointed by the minister.

This is the same minister who appointed the mediator. Therefore from the perspective of the union, quite clearly if the mediator has already said that 65 cents is enough the perspective and the perception of the union is that that is exactly what the acceptable final offer is. From the perspective of the union, it is a done deal.

The employer's position will be maintained because after all the minister's appointee has already said that he thinks 65 cents is enough. It is not fair. Not only is it not fair but it is certainly not perceived to be fair by the men and women in the longshoremen's union.

I want to ask the minister whether he would be prepared to reconsider. I believe this has been poorly handled. When one intrudes into the collective bargaining process in this very heavy-handed way one has a particular obligation to be fair. The fines in the bill are harsh and excessive. I know my colleague from Transcona is going to be dealing with that point later.

The union made an effort to arrive at a settlement. It was prepared to move an awfully long way. The employer hung in there and said: "To hell with you. We know the government is going to order us back. We know the government is prepared to impose a settlement which effectively will be in the interests of the employer".

How can the minister responsible for labour stand in his place and suggest that it is a fair process when he knows full well that the outcome of this process is almost certainly going to be in favour of the B.C. Maritime Employers Association?

Canadian Forces Base Cornwallis February 8th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister. It is a question of great concern, not only to the people of Nova Scotia but to all Canadians concerning the establishment of a peacekeeping training centre at Canadian Forces Base Cornwallis.

The Prime Minister will recall the letter he wrote to the people of Cornwallis, and in particular Annapolis and Digby counties in which he strongly supported this peacekeeping training centre for both Canadian and non-Canadian troops.

When will the government act to meet its commitment to the people of Annapolis and Digby counties to establish a Canadian forces peacekeeping training centre in Cornwallis?

Cruise Missile Testing January 26th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is madness to suggest that we respond to Vladimir Zhirinovsky at this point by testing the advanced cruise missile, the stealth missile, which would allow us to respond with a nuclear attack on Russia.

Surely the most effective way to respond to the Zhirinovskys of this world is to do whatever we can to isolate them. We should make it clear that the community of nations has put behind it the days when we responded to aggression with aggression, when we responded to the very dangerous and destructive threats of Zhirinovsky by simply spending more money on developing nuclear weapons that will respond to him.

We have an excellent opportunity to bolster the forces of democracy in the former Soviet Union or Russia by entering into a common security arrangement with them that would entirely demilitarize the Arctic and restore health to a very fragile Arctic environment.

That would be the most effective way of responding to Zhirinovsky and to isolating Zhirinovsky along with the other Zhirinovskys of the world.

Cruise Missile Testing January 26th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Nunatsiaq makes an excellent point and it is a point that was made earlier. Some members have made reference to the tragic war in the gulf that was going to dislodge Saddam Hussein and install democracy in Kuwait.

Surely if that is the argument we should not be testing over northern territory. Perhaps we should be testing the cruise missile over the deserts of Nevada. If the threat as suggested is coming from the more urban areas, the member for Nunatsiaq is probably asking what about testing over Calgary Southwest. What about testing over Lac-Saint-Jean? What about testing over other areas that are slightly more populated.

It is an entirely legitimate question. I welcome the hon. member's intervention.

Cruise Missile Testing January 26th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing the 20-minute time at my disposal with the hon. member for Saint John.

I very much appreciate the opportunity to participate in this debate. I congratulate the members who have spoken immediately preceding me, the member for Sarnia-Lambton and the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, on the courageous position they have taken.

I believe that it was the leader of the Bloc Quebecois who suggested that this debate today was in a sense a charade, that the government's real purpose was not to let the United States test cruise missiles and that this debate would give the government an opportunity to say "no".

I think the agenda is precisely the opposite. I think the leader of the Bloc Quebecois is profoundly mistaken. The agenda here today is in fact that the government is prepared to say yes to cruise missile testing and is laying the groundwork for that by betraying in a very profound way the promises that were made in opposition by the Liberal Party of Canada and by leading members of that party to say no to cruise missile testing for the reasons so eloquently set out by the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

I want to take exception not only to the process here because I think the fix is in. I think in fact that the decision which has been made and communicated to the United States government is that yes it can go ahead but there is this little nuisance that came up last week when one of the members from the opposition stood up and reminded the government of the commitment that it made while in opposition.

What was that statement that was made by the member for Winnipeg South Centre? It was this. He suggested in a question to this House on February 15 that:

Given that many Canadians, particularly citizens of the north as represented by the Northwest Territories government, the Dene Nation and the circumpolar council, have strongly opposed any continuation of these tests, why has the minister wilfully proceeded with this agreement contrary to the wishes of these Canadians without any form of public consultation or public parliamentary hearings?

Public parliamentary hearings. This parliamentary debate is not public parliamentary hearings. The voices of northerners, the voices of aboriginal peoples, the voices of peace groups who want to be heard on this issue are not being heard in public hearings.

I note that the representatives from the Northwest Territories, the member for Nunatsiaq and the member for Western Arctic, are both strongly opposed to the testing of cruise missiles. Yet their constituents are denied an opportunity to be heard in public hearings.

I might ask parenthetically where is the voice of that eloquent defender of progressive thought in the Liberal caucus, that ardent advocate of an end to cruise missile testing, the member for Winnipeg South Centre? I am waiting to hear his contribution to this debate.

This debate is not just about the testing of the cruise missile. I might say that the position we have taken as New Democrats on this has been to oppose the testing of the cruise from the time it was first started in 1983. It is also fundamentally a debate about political integrity, about honesty and about the credibility of the governing parties.

I say that because I think we have to look at the record. Yes, in 1983 it was the Liberal government that approved the first 10-year agreement to allow for cruise missile testing over Canadian soil. But in 1984 the Liberals went into opposition. Of course Liberals in opposition tend to be a little more progressive than when they are in government. What did they say in opposition? Well the Liberal Party of Canada in a convention in November 1986 said that it would ban cruise missile testing.

The hon. member for Papineau, who was then external affairs critic, suggested that cruise missiles would be destabilizing and that cruise missile technology would have a disastrous effect. I quote the Minister of Foreign Affairs: "The government persists in playing hide and seek on the policy it will adopt with respect to testing of the new cruise missile, this dangerous cousin of the present missile that is faster and better able to escape detection.

Letting such a weapon in Northern Canada would raise the stakes even more."

He was right in 1988; he is right today. It is really sad that the member for Papineau was more progressive then than the members of the Bloc Quebecois are today on this issue. It is really sad that the very strong and powerful voices of the peace movement in Quebec are not represented here in the House by the Bloc members, who talk about the importance of supporting our great American allies. It is really sad.

We have heard the glowing statements of the minister of the members in opposition. We have read in the fabled red book that Liberals believe Canadians want their national government to play a more active independent internationalist role in this world of change.

What did the Liberal Party of Canada promise to the people of Canada in writing in September 1993? It said this in response to a questionnaire from End the Arms Race: "Liberals have opposed further testing of the cruise missile since 1987. We will bring this testing program to an end". That was the promise of the Liberals in September 1993. They did not say they would bring it to an end if George Bush was re-elected. There were no parentheses. There were no asterisks. They said they would bring it to an end.

What has happened? A month later they gave approval in principle for the cruise missile testing to continue.

Let us be clear about what the issue is here. The issue is not a question of breaking a contract solemnly entered into. I was astonished to hear the very distinguished member for Vancouver Quadra suggesting we would be in breach of our solemn undertakings if we did not allow cruise missile testing to proceed. I would have hoped that member would have read the agreement, because of course the agreement itself makes it very clear.

I quote from the agreement: "Either the Department of National Defence or the Department of Defense in the United States may refuse any testing project proposed under this agreement".

It is utter nonsense to suggest, as the member for Vancouver Quadra has done, that in some way we would be in breach of our commitments under this agreement. The agreement provides for consent and it provides for withholding that consent.

The issue is about the testing of a dangerous new missile, a destabilizing new missile, the stealth missile, which has first-strike capability. It is nuclear equipped. The reason the Americans want to test it over our soil is that our terrain is similar to that of Russia.

I have the original background document from the first agreement in 1983. In response to the question why test in Canada it said that it was suitable for operational testing of air launched cruise missiles over representative terrain and realistic route lengths. Representative terrain. Representative of what? Representative of Russia. Realistic route lengths. What are they? Some 2,200 kilometres, about the time and about the distance it would take to fire those cruise missiles into the heart of Russia.

We have heard it suggested that because Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a very dangerous man, is now in a position of some influence in Russia we should be testing this nuclear weapon. I say that is another reason for us to say no to the testing of the cruise missile.

In 1992 Boris Yeltsin said they would stop testing the cruise missile. He has appealed to the nations of the world to join in that. If Zhirinovsky is able to use the argument that we are testing the missile and it is aimed fundamentally at them, how on earth does that help in the pursuit of peace?

It is time we recognized the real enemy. The real enemy is surely poverty. The fact is that 40,000 children die every day on this planet. The real enemy is the crushing debt burden and the increasing gap in wealth and power between north and south. The real enemy is environmental degradation.

I would have hoped the Liberals would have shown leadership on those issues. But, no, they are prepared to say yes to the old ways of doing things. Why not allow the defence and foreign policy reviews to take place before we agree to go ahead?

By saying no we will be sending a powerful signal, not only to the people of Canada, not only to the Pentagon, but to the world, to the community of nations, that we are prepared to take a lead in the pursuit of peace.

It was the member for Winnipeg South Centre who asked this question in February 1993: "Whatever happened to the fresh new thinking about defence matters since the cold war?" Indeed, whatever happened to that fresh new thinking? Let us hope that voice and that view will prevail; that we will take bold new steps to create a nuclear weapons-free zone in Canada; that we will say no to low level testing over Innu lands in Labrador; that we will create a common Arctic security zone, as the member for Yukon has suggested; and that we will respect the wishes of aboriginal people such as the Canoe Lake people as suggested by the member for The Battlefords-Meadow Lake.

The time has come for new thinking. The time has come to say no to the testing of the cruise missile in Canada.

Cruise Missile Testing January 26th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I simply want to tell the hon. member that we have been trying to participate in this debate for three hours; consequently, it is not right to suggest that we do not want to participate. We are trying. We want to participate because we are the only ones who oppose the cruise missile tests, since the Bloc supports the government's position.

Cruise Missile Testing January 26th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, today is a very sad day for thousands of Quebecers who support the peace movement.

Personally, I am quite frankly disappointed, and I am even amazed at the position the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, and other members of the Bloc, have taken on this issue. The Bloc had a chance to say yes to a new era and no to the cold war. Unfortunately, the voices of Quebec that are very loud in the peace movement in Quebec are not reflected in the Bloc's comments.

I have a question for the hon. member who just spoke. I heard one of his colleagues who disagreed with the very conservative position taken by the Bloc Quebecois. I have the following question for my Bloc colleague. We are talking about nuclear missiles. Would he agree that this would be very destabilizing, as was even suggested by the hon. member for Papineau-Saint-Michel, now Minister of Foreign Affairs, when in 1988 he mentioned the destabilizing effect of cruise missile technology on the international strategic balance. And he was right.

Today, we have Mr. Zhirinovsky who is a threat in Russia. This would give Mr. Zhirinovsky a very important argument: "Look, they are testing cruise missiles in Canada!"

Why does the Bloc Quebecois not consider the peace movement's position on these changes and recognize the significance of a new strategy that would reject cruise missile testing in Canada?