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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was fredericton.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Liberal MP for Fredericton (New Brunswick)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 42% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Defence Policy February 17th, 1994

Madam Speaker, this program is a co-operative initiative between national defence and the department of advanced education and labour in Fredericton, essentially using the facilities, the trained personnel, instructors at CFB Gagetown, material, equipment and various people. There was a province-wide advertisement placed and a number of applications sent in. Because it is a pilot project this one is limited to 30 but the intention is to see this program grow.

There is a potential at the end of a 20-week program to become engaged in national defence itself. Also, because of the nature of some of the training available through the Department of National Defence, these individuals are trained in life skills, employment seeking skills, basic self-confidence objectives. Either way it is a win-win situation for both national defence and the provincial government in Fredericton.

Defence Policy February 17th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I think the important feature in terms of this review may very well be the review itself in that in the nature that it is proposed, there was I assume broad consultation. I heard some debate as to the nature of that broad consultation but I really believe, perhaps more than with other programs, that the national defence policy of a nation requires significant public support, public understanding, sympathy and so on.

I believe that support depends on a sense among Canadians that they have the opportunity to have a say as to what the country is doing in those terms.

More than anything else I think what we will have at the end of the day is a concise, thoughtful, national policy that Canadians can understand with clarity, that Canadians can help in fact create through the broad consultation that will take place in the joint committee.

There has been, particularly in the international tasks that have been engaged in, some confusion as to objectives and the nature of missions and so on. I really believe if nothing else at the end of the day we will have a larger understanding of what it is that our troops are sent out to do.

I think that is vitally important.

Defence Policy February 17th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague and appreciate his intervention. The many issues brought forward merely point to the need for a review.

We mentioned our traditional defence role in terms of international conflict. We also mentioned humanitarian aid and the need to broaden training to include other kinds of activities. I concur on all those points and in fact use that as a strong argument for having this review and striking this joint committee.

I also welcome the opportunity to respond by saying we have to be more focused. We have to be more strategic in where we task troops to participate by virtue of the changing nature of our own military force and the department.

I would also like to speak for a second on the broadening of training. I did not mean to suggest it would just be a broadening

of military training that would be available, but rather a general broadening of training including other kinds of training. We all recognize there is a task force on human resources development that is looking for places for training. It strikes me that these facilities are one.

Defence Policy February 17th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this important debate examining the future of Canada's defence policy both in Canada and abroad. The proposed review is most timely because Canada, along with other nations, has come to recognize that the end of the cold war requires us to rethink the nature and purpose of our military forces.

I add that the timeliness of the debate is significant for another more broadly defined reason. The end of the cold war is not only significant for bringing about change in the defence agenda but in our political agenda as well. Not only is the military's role a broad issue, but as I said it has a role at home. We need to protect the perimeters of our country, but we must consider the military in terms of helping those in need at home.

Having said that, the end of the cold war has not brought a sudden end to the need of our military; quite the contrary. However our focus and priorities must shift in a number of policy areas. In other places, in other committees, we are in the process of redefining how government will better assist the citizens it has been elected to serve. In terms of our military we are redefining how we can better serve the people of our own country, as well as the people of other nations who are in need of its services.

Internationally the focus on peacekeeping training befits changes now occurring at the global level. Emphasis has shifted from one of conflict to conflict resolution. Such change is both welcome and necessary in light of changes happening within society at large.

Citizens both within and beyond Canada's borders now call for greater peace and justice. Greater emphasis is placed on democracy and human rights. When the cold war ceased to dominate the focus of international relations that change brought great hope that our nation would achieve a strengthened spirit built on international co-operation and collaboration.

While we have seen a relaxing of political tensions in some parts of the globe, there are still far too many regions where military conflict is intrinsic, a way of life for people in far too many regions. We still see countries attempting to meet political agendas with military force. This government's plan to strengthen our leadership role in peacekeeping and to commit to Canadian efforts to improve the UN's policies on peacekeeping could not come at a more necessary stage in our history.

It is right for Canada to fulfil the roles of peace enforcement, peace establishment, peace restoration and peace building. I would add to this list the more recent dimension of humanitarian aid protection. Such humanitarian intervention enables aid convoys to reach those people in dire need of assistance. Few can argue about the benefit of such intervention given the number of lives saved by this action.

It is time to reach consensus on the debate surrounding our military and restore our focus to the original UN mandate penned in its charter in 1945 to be a major force for international order and stability.

I would add that it is not only important for us to examine the changing role of our military on the national and international levels. We must also determine how such change should be reflected domestically.

We must continue to train troops to be prepared for any kind of military encounter along with training for peacekeeping initiatives. We need to strike a balance between maintaining armed forces to protect ourselves and participating in international peace operations. I believe the time has come for us to put forward an expanded role for our Department of National Defence, one that is not restricted to military operations alone

since this focus fails to reflect the new reality of the interdependence of foreign and domestic affairs.

Canada has one of the best regarded military forces in the world in no small part because of the training we provide our troops. We need to capitalize on this capability more often and deliver this training to the international community. While we do much of this now, we have the capacity to do more.

CFB Gagetown is the largest military base in Canada by land mass and is situated in my riding of Fredericton-York-Sunbury. As a combat training centre, Gagetown is a land force centre for excellence dedicated to the training of world class soldiers and leaders. Training is conducted within the framework of combined arms operations up to the battle group level. The base provides a most sophisticated and realistic simulation training environment and employs some of the most expert instructors in this field.

The base is responsible for conducting the most advanced courses for the infantry, artillery and armour elements of land force command and the training of troops that have served in one or more peacekeeping missions. The Royal Canadian Regiment stationed at CFB Gagetown participated in two missions within a two year period: Cyprus from October 1991 until April 1992; and the former Yugoslavia from November 1992 to May 1993. In addition there are always a number of soldiers from CFB Gagetown serving with the UN in a variety of peacekeeping missions. The experience and leadership gained while training at CFB Gagetown has had a significant impact on the success of Canadian troops during peacekeeping missions over past decades.

Further members of the reserve force totalling some 2,000 for the Atlantic region and trained at Gagetown have served in peacekeeping missions. As well reserve soldiers provide a valuable resource for emergencies because they are able to work along with the regular force personnel in various situations. The nature of reserve training is an area we may wish to explore in order to further evolve the role of our military in training on the international stage.

We also need to explore options for using our military personnel and military facilities for non-military purposes. Too often we hear of the need for better equipment and increased personnel in search and rescue. Were military resources more easily available to assist organizations like the RCMP and EMO the trauma and agony suffered by individuals and in many cases entire families and communities would be greatly reduced.

We also need to explore what roles military personnel and their facilities can play in non-military employment and training programs. As I mentioned in a statement earlier this week during members statements, the Department of National Defence has recently engaged in a co-operative initiative with New Brunswick's Department of Advanced Education and Labour to pilot an occupational and lifeskills training project.

Just Monday of this week 30 unemployed New Brunswickers between the ages of 17 and 24 began a 20 week program of military lifeskills and occupational training and job experience at CFB Gagetown. For the participants selected from youth strategy, aboriginal peoples and social assistance programs, the combination of occupational and lifeskills training will help young unemployed New Brunswickers build new futures.

There is more at stake in such an initiative than just training and employing 30 individuals. Although I do not mean to diminish the significance of that, in this period of fiscal restraint it is important to consider the financial benefits of providing training programs in this manner. Since the Canadian forces provide the training facilities and instructors for the project in New Brunswick, the people, space, materials and facilities are readily available. It strikes me that this amounts to a creative arrangement for both federal and provincial governments.

We must also consider how our military can contribute to environmental protection and clean-up and to border patrol, particularly as it relates to the north and the sea. This places new and increased demands on our military such that it moves the forces' agenda beyond just that of defending the country.

As we consider our nation's place in the global community we must remind ourselves that Canada has had a positive and well established international reputation for decades. We have been admired and emulated by countries around the globe. We want to continue to set examples for other nations. We can do this by redefining our military role to better reflect the social changes occurring at the international level. In many respects we are not only just capable of setting such examples, we are also obliged to do so.

When I first arrived in Ottawa to represent the people of Fredericton-York-Sunbury I was immediately struck by the cultural diversity represented in this House. I have always been proud of Canada's efforts to give equal recognition to all cultures living within our borders. This pride was reinforced when I realized the reality of the vision.

We are citizens of the world living in one country. Within our very own borders we know and represent a multitude of cultures found around the world. Unlike the United States we do not ascribe to a melting pot approach where people must give up their culture; we encourage individuality and uniqueness. Such

a philosophy and approach puts us in the unique position to understand the various interests and cultures of the world.

In our understanding of just how wonderful such diversity truly is, we are in the best of all positions to help others when they are faced with some form or level of forceful conflict. The diversity within our borders has not only taught us to be a compassionate and caring society; it has taught us about the many ways of life embraced by many people. We can use our own enlightenment not only as an advantage to ourselves, but also as an advantage for helping others in need of conflict resolution.

I am fully aware that our desire to accommodate a variety of cultures may be controversial and may need government support from time to time. However that should not mean that we do not want that diversity.

We can use this knowledge and respect. In fact I believe we owe it to the international community to assist the United Nations in its mission for promoting world peace. Our knowledge of ethnic diversity combined with our excellent military training and knowledge places us in an enviable and more than capable position to help achieve global stability.

In closing, I would like to add that the people of Fredericton-York-Sunbury are peaceful people who are proud New Brunswickers and Canadians. This pride is not just defined by the integrity and quality of life at the community level, but is further defined by the international reputation we know ourselves to possess around the world.

People recognize that this positive image carries with it certain obligations and responsibilities we must be willing to extend to those in need. As a country we cannot make excuses for ourselves and stay away from the fray. We are far too socially aware to bury our heads in the sand and hope that volatile situations will somehow resolve themselves, preferably in a quiet fashion.

In light of the need for us to examine and redefine Canada's military, I support the call for the appointment of a special joint committee comprised of members of the Senate and of the House of Commons to review Canada's defence policy.

Employment Skills Training February 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, a new co-operative initiative between the Department of National Defence and New Brunswick's Department of Advanced Education and Labour will provide occupational and life skills training to 30 unemployed New Brunswickers between the ages of 17 and 24. This is just a beginning.

Today, in my riding of Fredericton-York-Sunbury participants from youth strategy, aboriginal peoples and social assistance programs will begin a 20-week training project at CFB Gagetown. This pilot project provides hands on learning to develop practical employment skills. Students can develop their self-discipline, confidence and determination, qualities necessary when looking for work.

I am pleased that such training strategies to restore and ensure dignity for young New Brunswickers has become the hallmark of human resource initiatives. Our province is pleased to be among the first to participate in this enterprise.

Tobacco Products February 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

Last Tuesday the Prime Minister announced a comprehensive four point plan to deal with the illegal smuggling of tobacco into Canada. To date most of the attention around the issue has focused on the tax reduction part of the plan, particularly in New

Brunswick where I come from because that province has joined with the Government of Canada to use that particular measure.

In the face of that attention it is important for Canadians to be reminded of this government's determination to discourage smoking particularly among young Canadians. I ask the Minister of Health to elaborate on what those plans are.

Social Security System February 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to commend the hon. member for Surrey North on her first speech. I will be very brief.

She mentioned consultation in regard to the national health forum. I would like to bring something to her attention and get her reaction. In my constituency of Fredericton-York-Sunbury we are holding a forum of our own on February 27 that will involve probably 100 residents of the riding. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and the minister of health in the province of New Brunswick have agreed to be there. In that way we intend to promote participation in this debate of all the people that can make it. It will be a televised discussion in the riding. My guess is that we will have between 100 and 200 people there. We are going to prepare for it with a lot of background information. Many of the stakeholders are participating, but also health care consumers and many people with alternative ideas on how health should be dealt with. I would welcome the member's comments on that.

Just before I sit down, the member mentioned her support for the five principles of the Canada Health Act. I welcome her support for our position against user fees being used in the provinces. I would also like her to comment on that.

Social Security System February 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in my time I would like to address the remarks made by the member.

I have to say that on a number of issues I would agree in terms of where the speaker would have us go. He mentioned things such as a consultative process that would buy Canadians into the new programs the government will get to. He mentioned the need for a consolidated income program, which I would also support.

The difference, however, is what would motivate the direction that is proposed. I made note of the fact that he mentioned that the UI program is unfair to contributors-or there was a reference to that-or that sometimes UI is too user friendly. As a contributor to unemployment insurance, I would rather be me than most people in Canada who have to draw on that benefit.

If there is an unfairness out there, if there is someone who needs relief and needs the government to take their side, I really believe it is the people on the other side of the spectrum who need my contributions, because I really believe they are a lot worse off than I am.

Having said that, I look forward to the debate. I think it is important that Canadians buy into the programs they are called upon to finance and support. It is important for the people who receive benefits from these programs to know that Canadians support these programs as well. I welcome the opportunity to debate this. I suspect it is going to be an interesting debate.

In large part the kinds of change promoted by the previous speaker and the kinds of change promoted by the government side are similar. Maybe it is just the motivation that is a little different in terms of who it is we are trying to help.

Social Security System January 31st, 1994

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to address the motion calling for the modernization and restructuring of Canada's social security system. I will get right to the point, given we have limited time.

I would like to address the two major elements central to the motion before us: the need for more public input in public policy and the need to change the very nature of our national social security net. On the question of public input I want to commend the minister on his leadership in encouraging Canadians to speak their minds on the issue. It is a very serious debate to all of us.

In my riding we are organizing to debate social programs and human resource development in a comprehensive way. Further, the people of Fredericton-York-Sunbury appreciate the minister's approach since it gives more legitimacy to our efforts.

Since last summer we have organized policy groups around 30 public policy areas, including such areas as health, post-secondary education, senior citizens and so on. Each item will be examined by interested members of the public as well as by stakeholders within each area.

Our first public policy forum is slated for February 27. It is designed for us to consider solutions to the problems now facing our health care system. A session dealing with social security will follow. These and all other public policy forums will be televised. A final document on our deliberations will be sent to appropriate federal and provincial ministers.

I applaud all members of the House for the times I have heard reference to the need for greater consultation. Let us work collectively to see that changes are made here so that sound advice we receive back home will find its way to the floor of the Chamber before major decisions are taken and not after.

The second issue I wish to touch upon is the need for a change in emphasis within our social programs. The Minister of Human Resource Development spoke of the need to change the way programs were designed to meet changing needs and conditions. I could not agree more.

It is no longer good enough simply to provide financial support to unemployed Canadians so that they can subsist with the hope that eventually things will get better. Unemployment is no longer a cyclical phenomenon. In many parts of Canada and among certain Canadians it is systemic, a way of life. I am one of those Canadians not prepared to look the other way in the face of this national tragedy. The country is too prosperous and the gap between Canadians with wealth and those without is too great for us to accept the status quo.

It is not merely a matter of money. Too many Canadians cannot read well enough to advance their own interests or improve their employability. Over the long term we have as much obligation to address the literacy problem as we do that of financial support if we want to offer a better future to the many who are chronically unemployed. I welcome the reference to a national literacy initiative contained in the throne speech and applaud the Prime Minister for his foresight in empowering a minister with special responsibility for literacy.

Finally I wish to speak for a moment on a need for us to realize that we are not all equally equipped to handle change. Nor is everyone is a position to be retrained or re-employed. We must always remember there are some among us who are now and will

remain dependent on the state. In our enthusiasm for reform let us not forget to reassure Canadians that our underlying philosophy remains intact. We are not here simply to find ways to save money. We are here to improve the system.

In some cases that may cost money. Training does not come cheap. Some health care costs are going to increase because of demographics. In some cases entitlements are insufficient to meet the needs of poorer Canadians and their children. Fiscal reality demands we be creative, but it can never become an excuse to become uncaring.

One group of Canadians feeling uncertain is senior citizens. Many have spent a lifetime planning retirement based on a set of rules that now seem less certain. The earth is moving under foot. As we contribute to the efforts of the task force looking at social security reform, we must not lose sight of the significant contribution of Canada's social programs to Canada's standard of living for senior citizens. The introduction of programs such as the Canada pension plan and old age security programs has produced a substantial decline in the incidence of poverty among older Canadians.

The next decade is going to redefine Canada. We will no doubt have to be more creative if we wish to maintain our quality of life, but let us not forget the fundamental values of generosity, diversity, compassion and justice that have served us all so well.

Throughout last fall's campaign candidates who ran under our party's banner spoke of balance between fiscal responsibility and compassion. With this in mind I am pleased to recommend that members of the House support the motion for the modernization and restructuring of Canada's social security system. I offer whatever support I can to the minister and to members of task force.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Foreign Affairs January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to rise in the House to represent the citizens of Fredericton-York-Sunbury. It humbles me when I consider just how many people will be affected by the outcome of the government's decision around this debate.

As this is my first opportunity, Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate you on your appointment. I also wish to pay tribute to the Hon. Milton Gregg, the last member of both my riding and my party to be in this House. He was a representative of the government of the day and won the Victoria Cross in the Second World War.

I would also like to pay tribute to my immediate predecessor, Mr. Bud Bird. Mr. Bird has long served our region with dignity and diligence.

Finally I would like to note the recent passing of my Reform Party opponent. Jack Lamey was a worthy representative of his party. On behalf of all the residents of the riding I express sympathy to his wife Addie and the family.

CFB Gagetown, the largest military training base in Canada and by land mass the largest base in the Commonwealth, lies within my riding. I am sure members of this House can appreciate the significance of this debate for the people of Fredericton-York-Sunbury in general and for the people of CFB Gagetown in particular.

It is one thing to be concerned for family and friends serving in dangerous circumstances halfway round the world. It is appreciably worse when that risk is not accompanied by a clear sense of purpose or measure of effectiveness.

Hopefully this debate will serve to clarify Canada's position on the role of our country and others within the UN peacekeeping forces generally and in Bosnia-Hercegovina in particular.

I should say that we in Fredericton-York-Sunbury are pleased with the government's decision to have this debate. I would also like to commend the other parties and their leaders for both their co-operation and their participation. Their early intervention did much to establish the tone for this debate and I am certain Canadians will find it refreshing to know that we want to get things accomplished.

As I acknowledged earlier, constituents within my riding are particularly interested in this debate because so many of CFB Gagetown have, are, or probably will participate in peacekeeping engagements.

In light of this level of concern I wanted to ensure that I did not deal with the situation superficially. Sunday night I met with a number of interested parties wanting to advise me of their concerns. Participants ranged from former peacekeepers, one of whom was stationed in Sarajevo, students from the region attending the University of New Brunswick, and others of the public who had called or written to express concerns.

Of particular note, we received a detailed presentation on a situation in Bosnia from a member of the military recently stationed in that region. I would like to thank Lieutenant Colonel Yann Hidiroglou, the deputy commander of the United Nations military observers, for his thoughtful and comprehensive briefing.

It was repeated throughout the meeting that the debate surrounding the situation in Bosnia has become too polarized. Arguments are generally aligned at one of two ends. Canada must be in Bosnia under any or all circumstances, or we must remove our troops because the situation is either too dangerous, too costly, or ineffective.

We must work together to find a more moderate middle ground solution. There are no easy answers but in identifying the balance we need to consider what the consequences could be if we decided to remove our troops entirely. We are after all citizens of the world.

We must recognize the possibility that a withdrawal might only be temporary. Troops might have to intervene again under conditions far worse than those that currently exist. As well, it is clear that our troops are able to get humanitarian aid through to those in need. The UN Commission for Refugees and the Red Cross are both on record as having stated that the food is getting through.

What about our international reputation? If the UN withdraws what impact will this have on future peacekeeping operations? Would this make it politically impossible for governments to keep forces in foreign regions? In the same vein how do we want to be remembered by history? We must consider what the scenario might be if we were not involved in Bosnia.

I believe a balance must be struck in order to achieve our desired middle ground. That balance begins with the recommitting of our troops. We must however recommit as a government that is willing to improve conditions for the men and the women on the ground.

I see a number of ways we can accomplish this goal. First, Canada as a country has great credibility as a nation of peace and peacekeeping. I believe we should rely on our knowledge and reputation in these areas and call upon other countries, many of which have closer ties than we with the belligerents to launch an appeal to warring factions and seek diplomatic solutions.

We must also review the criteria under which we have committed our troops and make amendments where possible to improve conditions, again calling upon our historical reputation and record. People are uncertain about our role in Bosnia, our purpose for participating and the value of the exercise. We need

to bring clarity to the situation and let people know everything which can be done is actually being done.

I conclude by stating that we need to recommit our troops to their involvement in Bosnia but not necessarily under present conditions. We must also commit to ensuring members of the military are properly and adequately trained, that UN field operations are politically supported by member nations. We must commit to provide the support needed to reduce risk.

As well both the government and the military need to communicate their purpose and decisions clearly so that everyone is aware of the objectives for both our troops in Bosnia specifically and UN forces generally. We will be holding future debates about Canada's military and peacekeeping roles. It is my hope that the precedent has been established for these debates.

I salute forces both now and in the past which served Canada for what will soon be 50 years in the area of peacekeeping. I also salute the families and friends of those involved in peacekeeping missions. I am sure they join me in acknowledging the excellence of our Canadian troops. Their excellence is why Canada's role in Bosnia is so critical.