House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was rail.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Liberal MP for North Vancouver (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2008, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns December 12th, 2007

With respect to the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative: (a) what is the amount the government currently has allocated to spend from 2006 to 2011; (b) since 2006, how many individual spending projects related to this initiative has the government approved for funding and how many have already received their funding; and (c) what are the details of these projects?

Health December 12th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, it has been estimated that one in ten Canadians suffer from a rare disorder, yet Canada is the only country in the developed world without an official definition for rare disorders or an orphan drug policy. This complicates patients accessing necessary medications and hinders needed medical and pharmaceutical research for these disorders.

My private member's motion M-426 addresses this problem. Why will the government not rectify the situation and respond to the needs of Canadians with rare disorders?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns November 28th, 2007

How many applications for temporary resident visas made by citizens of Iran were received in the following periods: (a) October 1, 2004 to January 22, 2006; and (b) January 24, 2006 to April 17, 2007?

Pulmonary Hypertension November 28th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome representatives from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada, PHA, and the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders, CORD, to Ottawa today in recognition of PH Awareness Month.

Pulmonary hypertension is a condition of high blood pressure in the lungs and affects up to 5,000 Canadians, men and women of all ages and ethnicities. There is currently no cure for pulmonary hypertension and untreated, PH will claim the lives of 50% of patients within the first two years after diagnosis. One in ten Canadians will be diagnosed with a rare disorder like pulmonary hypertension and there are approximately 5,000 such disorders in Canada.

CORD is urging Canada to adopt a formal definition of rare disorder or disease and to create a Canadian orphan drug policy to respond to persons with rare disorders.

My grandson, Dylan Hunter Bell, was diagnosed with PH at age two and passed away July 14 this year, the day after his 12th birthday.

As a father and as a grandfather, I invite all Canadians to join in the fight to raise awareness of PH and rare disorders.

Vancouver Airport Taser Death November 22nd, 2007

Mr. Speaker, like many North Vancouver residents who have contacted me, I was shocked and appalled last week by news and television accounts of the treatment and taser death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski.

How could Mr. Dziekanski have been ignored, left alone and confused in a secure area of the airport for over 10 hours?

How could his mother, who had travelled all the way from Kamloops to greet her son, apparently be offered no assistance or compassion when Robert did not emerge as anticipated, even hours after his plane was known to have arrived?

Why was a sincere effort not made to confirm her son's location before she was allowed to return to Kamloops without her son, who in fact had arrived and was only a few hundred feet away, frustrated and confused?

Also, why did the RCMP who responded at the airport make what appears on video to be an almost immediate and unnecessary use of a taser, without visible consideration of any other procedures or methods of responding to Mr. Dziekanski's behaviour?

Airport, immigration and border services staff and the RCMP must provide answers.

Aeronautics Act October 31st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, in response to the comments made by the member for Winnipeg North with respect to Bill C-7 and the fiscal update today, all members in the House were elected to serve Canadians and to make government work, and in the case of Bill C-7, not delay improvements that will, in the opinion of the joint transportation committee, improve air safety. We Liberals clearly understand our role as the official opposition.

With respect to the fiscal update today, many of the financial update items were previously suggested by Liberals, such as corporate and personal income tax reductions. The fiscal update again reversed egregious previous increases to income tax at the lowest levels from 15% to 15.5%. The Conservatives are now taking it back to where it was previously. We are supportive of that.

Liberal members chose not to vote in support the update because of the GST reduction, which virtually all economists in the country says is wrong and is not the way to transfer the benefits that come from the surpluses back to Canadians. We do not want tax cuts and reversals to the original lower income tax rate of 15% to be lost.

I remind the NDP that it voted with the then opposition Conservatives, which ultimately resulted in the present Conservative government and the loss of many innovative and progressive Liberal government initiatives that contained important and positive social, environmental and economic legislation.

Aeronautics Act October 31st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for clarifying that. That is what I was attempting to say and he said it so much better.

The intent was that there would still be the availability of legal procedures for any criminal activity or negligence. What we were talking about was protecting the opportunity for the companies and the employees to make improvements and make the system safer and better.

Aeronautics Act October 31st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I will try to break the question into sections.

First of all, with respect to the number of members who represent the various parties, we are talking about quality and not necessarily quantity, but the two sometime equate and sometimes do not.

I would say that all the members who I served with on that committee produced quality input. They raised different points of view and they represented different political philosophies.

I think the important part for us was maintaining the ministerial oversight and not allowing the potential negatives of a safety management system which stood alone by itself and did not maintain this inspectorate. That was our concern and that has been addressed in the bill.

There was a lot discussion about the question of the legal responsibilities and liabilities of the companies involved and we wanted to ensure the circumstances that those were maintained. There are special circumstances based on legal realities and legal advice in which some of that responsibility to encourage openness from employees, for example, or willingness for a company to in fact make changes of their own volition, is represented in the tone of the bill.

We never have a bill that is perfect by the very nature of the process, but this bill, in our opinion, represented a very major positive step forward and particularly with the amendments that we saw included.

Aeronautics Act October 31st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, in response to that question there are two aspects. First of all, we heard from a wide range of witnesses as I have indicated, and I listed some of them because I wanted the House to know that there was extensive consultation. We received briefs. We received personal presentations and we heard a variety of points of view.

I would not try to lead the House to believe that all the presenters, all the speakers, all the witnesses had the same point of view or concurred in the same way. What we arrived at was dealing with the issues that appeared to focus particularly on safety, on the concerns that were raised, and we felt that these were responsible amendments. Responsible amendments were put forward to the bill to strengthen it.

In terms of the suggestion relating to partisan politics, I must say that generally our committee functions very well with a minimum of partisanship. It exists at times. That is the reality, but the chair has done a good job, as I have indicated, and has done a good job of providing that leadership and balance in the committee. The members of the committee generally respond to the issues without getting into partisanship.

From time to time it is very clear that members representing different parties on that committee do espouse particular philosophies and they are not all aligned. But the majority position from the committee was that the bill, as amended, represented and responded in a responsible way to the information we received from the people who appeared before us.

Aeronautics Act October 31st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in my comments, the intention was to ensure that the safety management systems did not weaken, but rather strengthen as an additional layer on top of the ministerial oversight which we felt had to remain. We concur that safety of the public, safety of air travellers, as in the case of rail, has to be the number one concern of this government.