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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was budget.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek (Ontario)

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

Statements in the House

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member across the way should acknowledge that there was extensive debate on Bill C-38 in the House at second reading. Hearings have been conducted on Bill C-38. The justice committee held hearings back in 2002-03, although I understand a lot of members would not agree that had anything to do with Bill C-38.

I think the committee heard some 75 witnesses on Bill C-38. The Order Paper contains a number of report stage amendments that should be debated and decided upon. A number of amendments were proposed and debated in committee and some were accepted and passed.

The hon. member has indicated that a number of people in the country are opposed to Bill C-38, which is true, but it is also true that a number of people are for it. However when we have a debate, part of that debate is deciding on a question and I think people in the House have decided how they will vote. The opportunity is now to decide on the question and that is what is being asked.

If the motion passes we will go to extended sittings in order to deal with the budget bill and Bill C-38.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what calendar the hon. member saw, but it also contained Bill C-48, which is the budget bill.

The second point I would make, as I have told House leaders, is that if there is legislation and if there are initiatives on which this Parliament can decide, I am certainly prepared to bring them forward at all stages and expedite them.

I believe that members of Parliament are working on a number of pieces of legislation on which they have found common cause and consensus, and they want to move them through the House. I am perfectly prepared to do that. I think we are here to reflect the interests of Canadians.

With respect to the issues of the hon. member, which I think are very important, frankly, and I have a lot of respect for him because he speaks very passionately about the issues that are important to him, if the hon. member can find consensus in the House in order to move forward on the initiatives that he has just described, I will certainly not be the obstacle to that.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the only thing I can say is that I would hope the Conservative senators along the way would show the same cooperation with respect to Bill C-48 and Bill C-38 as they seem to be showing with respect to Bill C-43.

I am under no illusions. I would expect that once Bill C-48 and Bill C-38 leave this place, with Bill C-43 already in the Senate, the Senate will do everything possible to pass all of the legislation that has gone to the Senate in order to give Canadians what they are hoping for, what this Parliament deserves, and that is additional funding for transit, additional funding for the Atlantic provinces, more money for the environment and more money for post-secondary education.

I can only say this. I hope that while the hon. member is here with catcalls he would take the time to leave this place, pick up the phone and ask his Conservative senators to cooperate on Bill C-48 and Bill C-38 as he has indicated they are prepared to cooperate on Bill C-43.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

We have seen it on Bill C-38. We can ask the opposition House leader. When we were at second reading debate on Bill C-38, I made it very clear that every member who wanted to speak to Bill C-38 would have an opportunity to do so. I believe they did. It went through committee. We have report stage and third reading. There will be a further opportunity further speak to Bill C-38. What the official opposition looks to do is not to have debate for the sake of debate in terms of an exchange of ideas, but to use debate to ultimately delay a vote in the House.

Parliament has an opportunity today to decide whether we should have extended sittings. If we do have extended sittings it will be because this Parliament voted for it, not because the government has just done it through a majority. It is a minority Parliament and ultimately parliamentarians will decide whether or not we sit next week. That question should be put and ultimately decided on later today.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Again, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member can stand in his place and lay out his position. He has done so numerous times.

We can look at various editorials that are popping up across the country wondering why the Conservatives continue to take this approach to Parliament. In fact, once there has been opportunity--

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, on extending this Parliament, we are in fact asking this House to consider a motion to extend the sitting of this Parliament. Ultimately, as I said, it will be up to this House to do exactly that.

With respect to why we are doing that, it would be clear that Bill C-48 is of importance to many different parts of the country. There are premiers and mayors who are involved in budget making who want to know that this legislation will in fact move forward.

If the hon. members across the way want to voice their concern and their opposition to Bill C-48, they have certainly done so and we can hear from the comments that they will continue to do so. It does authorize $4.5 billion in spending this year and next. It does advocate and provide dollars for the homeless, for students, for cities and for the environment. They are perfectly within their right to stand in their place to debate against it, as they have, and to ultimately decide on the question. What we are doing is providing the House with an opportunity to do exactly that.

With respect to Bill C-38, I could go on in terms of the amount of debate that has taken place, but I will not because I think it is very public and I do know that members have decided how they will vote in any one way.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

It has been putting up the majority of the speakers not because it wants to in fact add to the debate but because it wants to delay the question.

At the end of the day, I think what Parliament needs to do is not only debate issues but also have the opportunity to decide on a question. That in fact is what we have done. We have given the House the opportunity to decide on a question. Parliament will decide.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I hope the hon. member takes on the same attitude when we have the outcome of the vote on whether this motion should pass or fail. If we are going to have a test of democracy then in fact what should happen is that our parliamentarians in this House should be able to deal with the question and should be able to vote, and Parliament should ultimately be able to decide.

With respect to whether there has been debate or not, with respect to Bill C-38 there have been 28 hours and 20 minutes of debate. With respect to Bill C-48, I think we have seen over the last number of days that the only the party that has been putting up speakers has been the official opposition.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to say that what I am doing is ensuring that Parliament has an opportunity to entertain questions and to make a decision on two pieces of legislation.

The second point I would make is that it would be ultimately up to this Parliament to decide whether to accept this motion. We are in a minority Parliament. It is not the government that will alone be able to see the success of this motion, so it will be up to parliamentarians in the House to decide whether the extension of this sitting in order to deal with both the budget bill and Bill C-38 is in fact required and whether parliamentarians are willing to do that.

I would say to the hon. member that he should respect as I do, and I am sure he does, the outcome of any vote in this Parliament and that he will adhere to what Parliament decides, because ultimately we are here for debate. Debate is intended to try to change or assert at the end of the day where people's minds actually are on a particular issue and to decide on a question. That is the point of this: to decide on the question.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, with regard to Government Business No. 17, I move:

That the debate be not further adjourned.