Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was religious.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2006, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Municipalities June 6th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, over the recent weekend the Federation of Canadian Municipalities met to discuss the challenges of our 1,100 Canadian municipalities. Overwhelmingly the message sent to Ottawa was to put partisan politics aside and get on with passing the budget.

It seems that the Leader of the Opposition was not listening. Last Saturday the leader of the Conservative Party provided remarks full of weak promises and feigned support for the Liberal government's new deal for cities and communities, a speech that failed to commit to the passing of budget 2005.

Representatives who attended the conference were not fooled by the Leader of the Opposition's promises. They know that he has a long history of not supporting, and actively campaigning against the new deal.

When will the Conservative Party come clean and simply admit that it is no friend to Canada's municipalities? More important, when will the Conservative Party stop stalling and get on with passing a budget that FCM staunchly supports? This is a budget that Canada's mayors, municipal leaders and Canadians want and deserve. Let us make it happen now.

Canadian Building Trades Council May 31st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, this week, Ottawa is host to the legislative conference of the Canadian Building Trades Council. Through its efforts, this and virtually all buildings in which we reside, work or play provide the type of lifestyle that we as Canadians have come to expect. We thank the council for its endless contribution to our society.

I wish to give special recognition to the Labourers International Union of North America. From its humble beginnings in 1903 and with a current continental membership in excess of 800,000, this organization has contributed in a meaningful way to our way of life. Not only are its members the fuel for our economy, but they contribute in a very positive manner through their volunteer and philanthropic efforts.

I would be remiss if I did not recognize the officers and staff of the central and eastern Canada regional office headquartered in Hamilton, Ontario. I would like to personally thank their former and current international vice-president and regional managers respectively, Enrico “Henry” Mancinelli and Joseph S. Mancinelli, for their belief in and commitment to Canada in general and Hamilton region in particular.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005 May 30th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague represents his area extremely well from the elements of our maritime climate. Obviously, the Atlantic accord is very important to him.

Earlier he touched on elements of the budget that were in addition to this. Perhaps he would like to build on elements of the budget that would benefit his region. Could he comment on why there cannot be a stand alone and why we need to support the budget as a whole?

2005 World Driving Championships May 30th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, it is with a great deal of pride that I rise in the House today to announce that my next door neighbour, harness racing driver Jody Jamieson of Dundas, Ontario will represent Canada at the 2005 World Driving Championships to be held in Italy next month.

Mr. Jamieson won the World Driving Championship in 2001 and was runner-up in 2003. In 2004 he won over 500 races and was recognized as the leading driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes.

The World Driving Championship, held every two years, is the pinnacle of harness racing. I urge my fellow members to join with me in congratulating Jody Jamieson on being chosen to represent Canada at the 2005 World Driving Championships and to wish him the best of luck in Italy.

Committees of the House May 20th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. I am very pleased, on behalf of the chair and all the members of the committee, to provide a comprehensive report, “Funding through the Women's Program: Women's groups speak out”.

Pursuant to Standing Order 109 the committee has requested a comprehensive government response.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005 May 17th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, in short, the answer is no, I personally cannot guarantee that we will not do that.

The hon. member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River and I were part of the consultation group with regard to asking that this be taken away. As national vice-president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities I chaired its environmental issues committee. We were one of the groups that was consulted widely with regard to the impact of this particular terminology.

We, like all the others alluded to by the hon. member on the other side, indicated that it caused major angst. Whether it was the large producers of oil and gas, natural gas or the municipalities, everyone had major angst with regard to the interpretation of that word.

I do not believe it was a hidden agenda that was laid out by the government of the day that introduced it. I have a feeling that as things evolved it was offered with the best intentions, but as things have turned out, the interpretation is what needs to be clarified. The fact that it is being removed clearly is in response to the concerns raised by the organizations he is concerned about.

My involvement with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities was specifically with regard to the incorporation of road salts. As a municipal organization involved in ensuring the safety components and the ability to move people from place to place, it was a major concern. For that reason it is logical that “toxic” should be removed.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005 May 17th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to address three items that are contained in Bill C-43, as they relate to environmental issues. The bill presents details of two funds announced in budget 2005: the climate fund, which was referenced in the budget as the clean fund and is now known as the climate fund; and the greenhouse gas technology investment fund.

In addition to that, the bill refers to and introduces amendments to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act to remove the word toxic from certain sections and place greater emphasis on the criteria in section 64 of the act. These changes will preserve CEPA's ability to reduce harm to human health and the environment.

Let me speak first of all to the climate fund. Indeed, this whole element of the greening of the Liberal budget was certainly not just an initiative by the Minister of the Environment or by his parliamentary secretary, who did an extraordinary job of bringing initiatives forward for the consideration of not only the Prime Minister and the finance minister, but all of my colleagues in this side of the House did an extraordinary job of looking at all elements of the budget from an environmental prospective through the green lens and as a result contributed to that element of the budget.

The purpose of the new climate fund is to create a permanent market based institution as one of the primary tools for Canada's approach to climate change. By tapping the potential of the market, Canada will stimulate innovation, enable Canadians to take action, encourage energy efficiency, deliver cost effective reductions and sequestration, and drive the adoption of best available technologies.

I had the pleasure, as did my colleague from Thunder Bay--Rainy River, of being involved with the national board of directors of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Through the strategic investment of the federal Government of Canada into green municipal funds or green municipal enabling funds, it put $250 million into creating a reference bank for those municipalities to access. Part of our investment in this budget is a further enhancement of $300 million, of which $150 million will be toward the restoration of brownfield sites. That is a perfect example of strategic investment of our funds.

The climate fund's purpose will be under the authority of the Minister of the Environment. It will be funded at a minimum level of $1 billion over five years. The fund's primary mandate is to promote domestic greenhouse gas emission reductions with a view to positioning Canada to compete in the 21st century.

This economy is very interesting from the standpoint that this new 21st century economy appears to be focused on a carbon restrained global economy, so not just what we do ourselves, but what we do ourselves affects the global economy and our neighbours. We just cannot do one-offs. We must work hand in hand and in concert with our global neighbours.

The fund will also invest in internationally recognized Kyoto emission reductions to the clean development mechanism and joint implementation, as well as thorough procedures for greening other international credits. Only green credits, that is, credits that represent real and verified emission reductions, will be recognized.

The proposed legislation says that the climate fund agency will be an agent of the Government of Canada, meaning that it would carry out all of its activities on behalf of the Government of Canada. The Minister of the Environment is accountable to Parliament for this agency.

A number of aspects of its mandate, such as how to assess the benefits to Canada from investment in international emission reduction, will be the subject of public consultations planned for later this spring. The funding levels reflect the reality of start-up for the climate fund agency receiving and reviewing applications and ensuring that Canadians understand that qualifying projects must demonstrate real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. As understanding of the fund grows and more and more quality applications are received, the funding levels will grow.

The funding levels as set out in budget 2005 are $10 million in this budget year, $50 million in the 2006-07 budget, $300 million in the 2007-08 budget, $300 million in the 2008-09 budget, and $340 million in the 2009-10 budget. That totals $1 billion, and that is a minimum of $1 billion.

The climate fund will be established by legislation. Aspects of the fund's mandate, such as how to ensure benefits to Canada from investment in international emissions reductions, will be put forward for public review and comment very soon.

The second fund I referenced was the greenhouse gas technology investment fund. It is an innovative funding arrangement that will recognize qualifying investment in research and development as a way of meeting mandatory greenhouse gas emissions requirements.

As announced in the 2005 budget, in the coming weeks the Government of Canada will set out the details of a mandatory emissions reduction regime and emissions trading system for Canada's large final emitters, companies in the oil and gas, thermal electricity and heat intensive mining and manufacturing sectors. As part of this system, large final emitters will be able to make contributions to the greenhouse gas technology investment fund in exchange for special emissions credits. Companies can then use these emissions credits toward meeting their emissions targets.

The revenue generated by the fund will be used to make strategic investments in innovative technologies and processes that will reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions.

The greenhouse gas technology investment fund will support the development and application of new emissions reducing technologies by large final emitters in meeting their greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Natural Resources Canada is best placed to manage the greenhouse gas technology investment fund as part of its ongoing operations due to its position as the lead federal department on energy technology development. This will allow it to apply the expertise and experience it has gained over the years in order to ensure that investments under the fund are allocated to projects that will yield optimal emissions reductions for large final emitters on a sector by sector basis. It will also encourage potential synergies between technologies for large final emitters supported by the fund and the department's responsibilities for management of other technology investment programs that support energy efficiency and emissions reductions on a more general basis.

Finally, I reference the changes we are proposing to CEPA, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Amendments are being made to CEPA to remove the word “toxic” from certain sections and to place greater emphasis on the existing criteria for assessing and managing substances under section 64 of the act. Part of that section would read “a substance may be added to the list in schedule 1 if it is entering or may enter the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that have or may have an immediate or long term harmful effect on the environment or its biological diversity”. That is the intention of making those particular changes.

The proposed change is one in pursuit of smart regulation. It brings clarity by eliminating a confusing term without altering the Government of Canada's obligation and authority to protect our environment. It also positions CEPA as a viable regulatory tool for use by the government and Canadians to more effectively and efficiently reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

When the Government of Canada was assessing and then taking action to reduce the risks from road salts and other substances, we heard numerous representations, including from members of Parliament, that the term “toxic” was confusing and misleading. We are responding with this legislative change to reduce that confusion.

The amendments proposed for CEPA are designed to not change the regime that was endorsed by the Supreme Court and therefore do not change the basis for the act's constitutional authority.

Further, budget 2005 set out the key parameters for a system to obtain greenhouse gas emissions reductions from industrial large final emitters. In this system, reduction targets will be based on emissions intensity in order to accommodate economic growth.

As with any other effective regulatory obligation, there will be penalties for non-compliance, but we do not expect non-compliance. We have modified the system to address industry concerns and we expect there will be broad agreement with our approach.

In conclusion, these three initiatives alone contribute in a major way to a very purposeful and contributing budget. The fact that we are able to address the concerns not only here in Canada but globally through the green lens is very important for all of us.

As I and other members have said, certainly what happens on a day to day basis is of concern. More important, it is not what affects me but what affects my children and grandchildren. The initiatives laid out in Bill C-43 are very positive and I encourage all members of the House to support that legislation.

Justice May 13th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, after studying the DNA identification act for more than six months, the House Standing Committee on Justice, Human Rights, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness gave clause by clause approval on Tuesday of this week.

On that same day the Conservative Party and its ally, the Bloc, argued that the House should be dissolved, which would have killed Bill C-13 before the committee even had a chance to issue its report.

The justice committee heard from 48 witnesses on Bill C-13. The input of these groups and of the individual Canadians who appeared before the committee assisted all parties on the committee to bring forward the best possible DNA identification laws in order to protect Canadians from criminals.

Yet, the leader of the official opposition and his partner, the Bloc leader, were willing to kill the DNA bill because they were more interested in their own political fortunes than the safety of Canadians. I simply say, shame.

The Budget May 6th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, in the recent past the Conservative leader claimed his caucus would consult Canadians on whether or not to force an early election. Before they had a chance to report to him, the Globe and Mail reported that the Leader of the Opposition said, “It would be very difficult to get the budget passed before the introduction of the non-confidence motion”. It sounds as though he had already decided what he would do long before the sham consultation began.

Then this week with his own MPs expressing grave concerns about forcing Canadians to the polls before Parliament passes the budget, the Leader of the Opposition brushed away their concerns and declared the caucus unanimous. Their leader is not only ignoring the views of Canadians, he is muzzling those of his caucus as well.

Budget 2005 commits considerable new funding for national defence, the environment and health care, as well as for children and seniors. On this side of the House we are focused on making Parliament work and getting things done for Canadians by passing the budget. This is the right thing to do.

Commercial Bankruptcies May 5th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am going to change the focus on the questioning today.

The current process for workers to recover lost wages from their bankrupt employers is both lengthy and unreliable. Many workers do not get close to what they are owed in the aftermath of employer bankruptcy. This impacts all workers, but especially the most vulnerable, those who live from paycheque to paycheque.

Could the Minister of Labour and Housing please advise the House if the government is proposing to address this issue?