Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was rural.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Parry Sound—Muskoka (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2006, with 40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Contraventions Act May 4th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, as we head toward Victoria Day weekend and the beginning of the traditional tourist season I would like to share with the House public concern over Bill C-46, the Contraventions Act.

The Contraventions Act received royal assent October 15, 1992 but to the disappointment of many Canadians it has not yet been proclaimed.

The act sets out a ticketing procedure for dealing with minor federal offences. The act will allow enforcement officers to properly police Canada's inland waterways and ensure that residents and tourists can enjoy summer water activities in a safe and secure manner.

The reason given for this delay has been the need to co-ordinate the bill's implementation among the provinces. I have been told that this process which has already taken 18 months will take at least another 12. This delay of two and a half years means that more of my constituents will be at risk on the waterways. It is unacceptable and I urge the Minister of Justice to expedite the process.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension Act March 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of Bill C-18 because I believe the present system is detrimental both in general terms to Canadians as a whole and certainly detrimental in specific terms for northern Ontario and for the riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka which I represent.

I do not believe that the present system fulfils the mandate that it was given. I would like to read from the terms of reference. It says that "in fixing the electoral district boundaries, they must take into consideration the community of interest or community of identity in or refer to historical patterns of an electoral district and a manageable geographic size for districts in sparsely populated rural or northern regions".

The present system does none of these things. It was simply a mathematical exercise and then a drawing of lines on a map. This does not serve the interests of Canadian people and it certainly does not serve the interests of people in northern Ontario.

I cannot believe that the Reform Party is not supporting this bill. By not supporting this bill and by encouraging the present system, it is encouraging that we will have more members in this House. That is something that it has railed against time and time again.

It is certainly not something that I have heard from my constituents, that they want to expand government and have more government spending. The opportunity to take a second look at this is probably pretty good idea.

I certainly do not think it makes any sense to change approximately 80 per cent of the electoral boundaries that we have in this redistribution process. It seems like we are throwing the baby out with the bathwater. It is far too extensive. It is costing far too much money and causing far too much disruption.

We need to develop a new system that has public input at a far earlier point. The present system, having redrawn all the boundaries and coming out with a fait accompli and then asking the public to comment on it, is not the appropriate way of doing it. We need to study it. We need a system that is going to allow the public to have input at a much earlier stage.

I certainly think that history speaks to the problem. The hon. member who spoke before seemed to think that we had been doing okay with the present system and asked why we were trying to change it. I would like to read from John Courtney's book Parliamentary Representation wherein he talked about the electoral system in the most recent history:

Since 1964 Parliament has amended the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act seven times; suspended one redistribution in mid-stream; ignored, then replaced, another at the completion of its work; and accepted three different formulae (a different one for each redistribution) for determining the number of seats to be awarded the provinces and the territories. Five starts at electoral redistribution in little more than 20 years suggests that the process has yet to win the measure of support and confidence of parliamentarians needed to ensure its long-term institutional independence.

With all those changes and with all the difficulties that we have had with electoral redistribution in the last 30 years, I do not think support of the present system is appropriate. Indeed we need to go back to the drawing board and look at a better way of doing things.

In addition to the national concerns that I have addressed, I have some very specific concerns as redistribution relates to my area of the country, northern Ontario. It will result in the elimination of two seats in northern Ontario. We have little enough representation as it is now with only 12 seats, but this plan would reduce us to 10 seats. I believe this is unfair. We are a rural area in northern Ontario. We need strong representation. I cannot support a particular system that will see our representation reduced by two.

As the hon. member from the riding of Algoma spoke earlier he described an electoral system that would result in his riding going from Manitoulin Island all the way north to James Bay. It is totally impractical that a member of Parliament could be expected to cover such a large geographic area. The present system that simply divides population on a map and draws lines is totally inappropriate. The plan to reduce northern Ontario down to 10 ridings takes away the collective voice we have in northern Ontario. The system is definitely flawed and needs to be changed.

Then we get to my own particular riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka. It is an area that under this redistribution would be split absolutely in two, with the northern half of my riding going in one direction and the southern half of my riding going in a different direction.

This certainly does not fulfil the mandate of the electoral commission which was to take into account historical, social and economic realities of the situation. The riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka has existed for 60 years, and in one fell swoop of a pen on a map there is a proposal to destroy it and to split it in two. I cannot accept that.

There are the social concerns. We in Parry Sound-Muskoka have developed into a unique community of communities, one that has a cohesiveness of interests, and again a stroke of a pen on a map is going to take that away.

The third area they were supposed to take into account was economics. We have a shared economy in Parry Sound-Muskoka. We have the major industry of tourism which we share. We share the same major transportation links of Highway 11 and Highway 69. We share the same character of rural Ontario. Again these social considerations under the current system will simply be thrown out the window as a result of the stroke of a pen on a map.

I do not believe the system serves the interest of Canadians. I know it does not serve the interest of northern Ontarians. I certainly know it does not serve the interest of my constituents from Parry Sound-Muskoka. I support the bill so that we can go back to take a look at the system and redesign it.

The Late Robert Emerson Everett March 23rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Robert Emerson Everett of Bracebridge who passed away recently. Bob Everett was one of the greatest ambassadors to come out of my riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka.

Mr. Everett began painting at nine years of age. Even though he never had formal art training he became one of Muskoka's finest artists in oil and pastel. A past president of the Ontario Institute of Painters, Mr. Everett was a full member of the Pastel

Society of Canada and an elected associate member of the Pastel Society of America.

Not only did Mr. Everett serve the Muskoka area as a successful pharmacist, he served this country in World War II as a Royal Canadian Air Force flight navigator. He was shot down in a Hampton bomber.

Bob Everett was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. He was respected and loved by his friends and family.

I extend condolences to his wife Nora and four children, Eugene, David, Jason and Peter. Muskoka and the rest of Canada share their loss.

Social Programs March 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, a recent poll shows that Canadians support the government's initiative to reform social programs. Yet some individuals have expressed concern that the government's objective may be solely to cut services and programs.

What assurances can the parliamentary secretary to the human resources minister give the House that indeed the government's prime objective is to provide Canadians with better, more efficient services?

Petitions February 25th, 1994

Point of privilege. The hon. member who made some comments and withdrew certain of them made reference to the contents of a petition and a comment that I made. In neither case was he aware of its contents nor were they accurate. His statements about something that he had not read, nor did he repeat it accurately-

Petitions February 25th, 1994

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

I do not think it is totally fair that the member, although I do appreciate the fact that he withdrew his inappropriate statement, in his additional comments is still leaving an impression in the House that is not accurate for a number of reasons. I want to make this-

Petitions February 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, as is my duty as member of Parliament for Parry Sound-Muskoka, I am tabling a petition in relation to the Official Languages Act signed by several of my constituents. My tabling of this petition in no way is an indication of my position on this issue.

Paralympics February 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today on behalf of the constituents of Parry Sound-Muskoka to offer best wishes to 21-year old Sandra Lynes of Utterson.

Sandra, the daughter of Pat and Kelly Lynes, was one of two Ontario athletes chosen to represent Canada in alpine skiing at the Paralympics in Lillehammer, Norway, March 10 to March 19.

The 18-member Canadian team has been training hard in Alberta and British Columbia while preparing for the Lillehammer event. Sandra will be competing in the downhill, super giant slalom, giant slalom and slalom.

If Sandra's two silver medals at the 1992 Paralympics in Albertville, France are any indication, her international competitors are in serious trouble. Congratulations and best wishes, Sandra. We are proud of you.

Parry Sound-Muskoka Economic Development February 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak about regional economic development.

In Parry Sound-Muskoka I am committed to ensuring the federal government actively help stimulate growth in the 43 local communities in my riding. I believe if we work together with small business owners, community leaders, elected officials, tourism operators and our industrial contacts we can set objectives and establish goals to begin the process of expanding the local economy.

In this respect I am planning two economic development forums in my riding. On Wednesday, March 2 from 9.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. the business community in Muskoka will come together at the Bracebridge Centennial Centre. The second forum will be held for east Parry Sound region on Saturday, March 5 from 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. at the Almaguin Highlands Secondary School gymnasium.

These forums will be a catalyst for economic development in Parry Sound-Muskoka. They represent our government's commitment to the growth of the small business sector and they represent our commitment to new job creation in my riding.

Social Security System February 3rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the member's speech. I congratulate him on it, but I have a couple of questions and a couple of concerns.

I am not absolutely certain but I think I heard him indicate that he was relegating his riding to surviving simply on social assistance, that was to be the mainstay of his riding's economy. I cannot see that as a viable long term solution for his riding.

My riding suffers from high unemployment as well. I come from a rural area with a number of communities. Although we see the importance of social programs to help us through difficult times, we see economic development and the pursuit of rebuilding the economy and creating new jobs as being the long term solution, not simply social programs.

My second observation is that there seemed to be a great amount of concern among the needy of his riding, as he described them, as to from what level of government the assistance comes. It has been my experience when dealing with individuals who are in need of government assistance that their primary concern is that they receive the assistance. They do not much care about a battle between different levels of government getting in the way of the assistance getting to them.

I thought the member might like to comment on those two points.