Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was ensure.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Trinity—Spadina (Ontario)

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

Statements in the House

Guaranteed Income Supplement November 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows full well, as we have said in the last year and a half, that our interest in ensuring that our seniors live with dignity will continue to be enhanced with the many policies we are bringing forward.

The hon. member knows that this is an immediate relief process with over $6,000 per year in the guaranteed income supplement for seniors in need. It is an immediate relief program. That is what we continue to work on to ensure, with the rent supplements, affordable housing and RRAP, that these programs will continue to allow our seniors to live with the dignity they deserve.

Guaranteed Income Supplement November 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, as was discussed earlier in the House, the government has put in $2.7 billion for low income seniors. This is the first time since 1984, other than a cost of living allowance, for this. That is a $433 increase for all low income seniors, 1.6 million of them, and we will continue to do more to ensure that our low income seniors live with the dignity they deserve.

Supply November 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The chair, because of the budgetary perspective, ruled the segment on the retroactivity out of order. Basically, it can only go--

Supply November 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of points on which I would like to obtain clarification. First, on seniors, with the increase of $433 when fully implemented, it will cost the government $700 million a year and will be for perpetuity. That will help 1.6 million seniors across the country who are trying to survive.

Second, we also are dealing with social programs and the guaranteed income supplement, which is non-taxable. This is $6,000 plus that each senior can apply for every year to ensure they have immediate relief for the year. We continue to work on our social importance of seniors in many ways by our New Horizons programs, our seniors secretariat, and I could continue.

The practice in Canada, with all provincial governments and the federal government, is there is a 12 month period and a retroactivity period of 11 months after the date when seniors notify the government that they have not applied for the guaranteed income supplement. That is the same for all provincial social programs, including the PQ in Quebec. What we have is almost a uniform perspective dealing with the provinces on retroactivity with social programs.

In yesterday's vote the Liberal Party voted in favour of the motion of the hon. member for Saint-Maurice—Champlain. He has been active on this file for quite a while. We felt it was important to let the bill go to committee, so we could look at the process and see what could do to make it work.

Unfortunately, the Bloc made a deal with the Conservatives. On social programs, especially in Quebec, the Conservatives are like a zero. The reason why Quebeckers like the Liberal Party is because we care about people and our social programs.

Is there a deal with the Conservative Party, when and if it forms the government, that issues within Quebec will be dealt with in a coalition government by the Bloc Québécois? Then the Conservative government can slash all social programs in the rest of the country and make a deal between the two?

Supply November 24th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I am getting to my question. The only problem is that when look at child care and at not participating in the Iraq war, compared to who he is supporting--who would have probably done that at the time--I wonder about the member's principles. Tommy Douglas is probably turning over in his grave, looking at cheap political points versus caring for the people of Canada and the principles of sharing, understanding and tolerance that have made this country truly great. I wonder what the hon. member is going to say to Canadians at large when they ask him--

Supply November 24th, 2005

Madam Speaker, it is very interesting to listen to the NDP, which purports to be a party that cares about people, and to at the same time take into account, even just in the last year and a half, many of the programs we have brought forward, programs to help Canadians achieve their potential. For the most vulnerable in our society, we continue to work to try to bring forward programs such as affordable housing, rent supplements, and the RRAP program to allow low income seniors and the disabled to stay in their homes and their communities as long as possible.

Let us take into account the aboriginal issues that we in our party are working hard on, to make them work in a way that will give the aboriginal community its rightful place in our society and in the world. Today there is a great conference taking place. It looks great, but in the end, the opposition party is bringing forward the confidence motion which will not allow us to put in place all the agreements that have come forward.

Let us take into account literacy and the programs we have put in place to help all of our citizens achieve their potential, as well as the labour market retraining program for those who are not able to work today, even though, over these last 12 years, over 3 million more Canadians are working today than there were 10 years ago.

Twenty-five per cent more Canadians are working today than in those days when the unemployment rate was 11.4%, with the party on the opposite side that believes in survival of the fittest. Now, suddenly, the NDP has given up its principles for sheer, simple, crass political points.

Yesterday, the NDP members gave us a vote of confidence. Today, suddenly, they do not, and they are pulling out of the air all of these other reasons. When we were trying to pull together more affordable housing, public transit and all of the other issues in our platform, which we moved up to accommodate the NDP members so they could see that we were real about those issues because we had them in our election platform, they supported us, even though they had the opposite side calling them many names. The member for Toronto--Danforth said “making a deal with the devil”. I think he was referring to the separatists. Now, not only is he going in with the people talking about making a deal with the devil, they have all gone together.

Canadians will punish the New Democratic Party, because--

Supply November 24th, 2005

Take 24.

Seniors November 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, it is pretty curious that the party opposite, which has rarely spoken about our seniors, especially our low income seniors, is all of a sudden, as it is getting ready for the election, trying to score cheap political points at the expense of our low income seniors for whom the government has done a tremendous amount in the last year in ensuring that our low income seniors are given the dignity that they deserve.

Government Policies November 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, that party voted against the budget that gave the seniors the increase. That party voted against the budget that voted for a seniors secretariat, for an increase in new horizons, for rent supplements in housing, and for affordable housing for our low income seniors.

This government talks the talk and actually walks the walk to ensure that our low income seniors and the most vulnerable in our society receive all that is due to them after all they have done to build this great country.

Seniors November 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, unlike the opposite party, this party and this government truly believes in seniors and what they have done for us.

With the increase in the guaranteed income supplement, after nine years of Conservative rule, we will see an increase for our low income seniors of $433 when fully implemented. The heating rebate that will not be passed by this Parliament right now if it things go as planned is for the most vulnerable in our society to receiver $125 starting in January or February. So there is a lot more that we are doing for---