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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Liberal MP for Huron—Bruce (Ontario)

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

Statements in the House

Paul Henderson October 3rd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Paul Henderson who grew up in my riding of Huron—Bruce.

Most Canadians born prior to September 28, 1972 recall when Henderson scored what has come to be known as hockey's most famous goal. Team Canada was playing against the sport's top ranked team. Both the series and the game were tied. However, that changed as Henderson snapped in a rebound and scored the winning goal in the final 34 seconds.

For a nation with an identity crisis the goal did more than reaffirm our hockey supremacy. That spine tingling victory somehow became a symbol of Canadianism. Canada rallied behind a team that refused to give up even when defeat seemed inevitable. The resulting emotional rush bolstered our national confidence and the sport's overall image.

The 25th anniversary of the Summit Series sparked a flood of reminiscence. The effects of Henderson's goal are as profound today as they were when the puck first slammed against the meshing of the Soviet net. As a result of that single unifying event we were given a tangible reminder of what it feels like to be Canadian.

Petitions April 16th, 1997

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by about 130 people from the southwestern region, largely from the Woodstock area.

These petitioners believe that Bill C-7, the proposed controlled drugs and substances act, to be unconstitutional. They believe it does not serve the interests of Canadian consumers and that amalgamating the Narcotics Control Act with parts of the existing Food and Drugs Act puts food plants and medicinal herbs in jeopardy.

The petitioners also believe Bill C-7 to be ambiguous and unclear in its wording, leaving room for the health protection branch to use it against free access to classic traditional herbal remedies. They feel that the wishes of consumers are not being considered by either the Minister of Health or the health protection branch, and that this bill is being passed arbitrarily without consulting the electorate.

The petitioners therefore call on Parliament and the parliamentary subcommittee to either drop the bill or to implement wording that would clearly protect the traditional use of classic herbs and the right of Canadians to the herbal remedies of their choice.

Budget Implementation Act, 1997 April 10th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to take part in the debate this afternoon on Bill C-93, a measure regarding the government's fourth budget and one which acknowledges the three main goals of our agenda since it was elected: job creation, economic growth and deficit reduction.

First, I would like to take the opportunity to commend the Minister of Finance for soliciting and considering the views that were expressed by many Canadians during the process leading up to the budget. I believe the budget addresses positively the issues that were brought forward by the people of Canada. The budget also proves that the government is keeping its promise to put Canada's fiscal house in order. The government has remained committed to reducing the deficit.

In 1993-94 the deficit had risen to $42 billion, approximately6 per cent of GDP. The 1996-97 deficit is the lowest in 15 years at under $19 billion. Canada has every reason to be proud of its fiscal recovery. Other countries in the G7 are reportedly impressed by our fiscal turnaround and if the projections for the future are correct, by 1998-99 Canada will have the lowest deficit in the G7 with a record low of $9 billion. That projected record low will also end the need for Canada to borrow money from outside of the country.

The government has met its deficit targets in the past and I firmly believe that the projected targets for the future will also be met.

Since the government took office in 1993 more than 700,000 jobs have been created. In the last four months alone 85,000 Canadians found employment, the vast majority of them in full time jobs.

The government is also working hard to create the opportunities that are so desperately required to keep improving the fiscal health of Canada and to restore confidence. The announcements that I am particularly pleased about are those measures introduced to assist small and medium sized businesses. The survival of many small communities across Canada rely on the building, strengthening and continued success of small and medium sized business.

My riding of Huron-Bruce is a rural riding. The people of Huron-Bruce depend on small business for employment. Without the existence of small business in ridings like mine, people would not be able to put food on their tables or clothes on the backs of their children. Unemployment has a direct effect on the local economy. Without businesses and employment stimulation in small communities, small communities may cease to exist.

The 1997 budget announced very encouraging provisions to provide Canadians with job opportunities. Improving employment prospects is a team effort between different levels of government and the private sector. For example, the new hires program is an initiative to encourage small businesses to create jobs by offering employment insurance premium relief to 900,000 eligible businesses that hire new workers.

Another measure to assist small businesses is the step to reduce the paperwork burden of payroll taxes which the government imposes by allowing businesses with less than $1,000 monthly payroll deductions to file on a quarterly basis. One model partnership is the Canada infrastructure works program. An additional $425 million in federal support for infrastructure will have many positive influences on communities. Not only does the investment in the Canada infrastructure works program produce short term and long term jobs, but by upgrading local infrastructure it allows communities to stay competitive and viable in attracting business and commerce.

Technology is the way of the future. It is a science that changes rapidly from day to day. The technology partnerships Canada investment fund provides up to $250 million annually to work with businesses and to keep the development, marketing and production of new technology in Canada.

The industrial research assistance program offers financial support and/or technical advice to numerous Canadian companies to assist them in taking full advantage of the latest technology to increase their competitiveness internationally, while at the same time creating jobs locally.

On a more personal, riding related level, I am very happy to see that the government continues to recognize and acknowledge the important role that rural Canada plays in our society. Nearly one-quarter of all Canadians live in the rural sector. I feel that the rural development measures outlined in the budget reflect the changing needs of rural Canadians.

The Farm Credit Corporation is an invaluable financial instrument for rural Canada. This budget provides an additional $50 million in capital to the Farm Credit Corporation to expand its ability to support growth and diversification.

The budget also introduces the community access program for rural Canada. It is important that the people of rural Canada experience the same technological opportunities that urban Canada does. The world wide web is an amazing communication and information instrument which links people together around the world. This budget provides an extra $30 million over three years to connect 5,000 small communities, with populations between 400 and 50,000, to the information highway via Internet sites. Young and old alike will greatly benefit from this access.

The challenges that face our youth are clear. Last spring the government created a youth task force to solicit and consider the concerns of young people. Knowledge and training are key factors behind employment. However, rising tuition costs are making it difficult for students and parents to afford post-secondary education. The budget responds to struggling students and families by doubling the already established education credit.

The budget also provides assistance to students who have had to borrow money from the government. The government realizes that it is difficult to find employment on graduation. Due to the hardships that many graduates are facing, students will be allowed to defer their loan payments for up to 30 months during the period between post-secondary graduation and employment.

Also, for high school students seeking employment in order to save for post-secondary education, the budget has consolidated $2 billion in a new youth employment strategy for work experience and employment related programs and services for youth.

As well, the existing youth internship and summer student employment programs will enable 140,000 more young Canadians to gain the experience they require in order to enter the workplace.

Child poverty has been an ongoing concern across the nation. Many families live at a low income level and are often unable to provide their children with basic necessities, such as food and clothing. If children do not receive the start they need at a young age, how can we possibly expect them to become healthy, educated and productive adults, the same adults that will run the country in the future?

The 1997 responds to the hungry cries of low income families by introducing a new cross Canada child benefit system. The measures introduced in this budget complement the child support reform announced in the 1996 budget. The government announced that federal spending on children will increase from $5.1 million to $6 million. The new Canada child tax benefit will go to all eligible families, those who are employed and those who require social assistance.

The changes that the government is imposing will also initiate the process of dismantling the welfare trap, a trap that so many have fallen into.

Canada will certainly be better off if the government can help to prevent and reduce the overwhelming numbers of children living in poverty.

Our national health care system is one of our proudest achievements. It is a system that many other countries envy. However, it has been under much duress and scrutiny. Last year the budget introduced the Canada health and social transfer, a measure that provided the provinces with predictable and assured funding. To demonstrate the federal government's commitment to the health system, a cash floor of $11 billion in cash transfers has been guaranteed over the next five years and then will grow accordingly to ensure that funding will not be jeopardized.

The National Forum on Health which was originally established by the Prime Minister to allow Canadians to express their visions of a more effective and efficient health care future recently brought forward its recommendations. The forum concluded that the health care system is fundamentally sound and adequately funded. However, it did note that its usefulness in various areas could be improved.

In response to the forum and its findings, the 1997 budget allocates an additional $300 million over the next three years for health initiatives. To break down the moneys that have been rationed, $50 million will go toward the creation of a new Canada health information system to provide Canadians with the best medical information and the latest developments regarding medical treatments; $150 million has also been specified for a health transition fund to assist the provinces to launch pilot projects to investigate new and better approaches to health care. These funds will be awarded to the provinces and territories on an equal per capita basis, with expenditure discussions to take place among Canada's ministers of health.

There are already two active programs to help prevent health problems from developing: the community action program for children and the Canada prenatal nutrition program. The community action program for children provides services to address the developmental needs of young children who are at risk.

The Canada prenatal nutrition program addresses the problem of low birth weight babies among high risk groups such as pregnant

adolescents and women who have used alcohol and drugs. This budget increases the funding to these existing programs by $100 million over the next three years.

Canadians with disabilities face many obstacles in everyday life. Last year the budget doubled the assistance provided to persons with disabilities to a tax credit for those who provide in-home care for family members.

The 1996 budget promised to review measures and opportunities for people with disabilities. In response to that promise, the task force on disabilities was created and chaired by the member for Fredericton-York-Sunbury. It is the government's desire to create a better society for all Canadians.

Not only is the list of expenses eligible for the medical expense tax credit been broadened, but a new opportunities fund has been set up to help a significant number of Canadians with disabilities to help prepare, find or keep either part time or full time jobs. Every Canadian has the right to contribute to the economy.

The opportunities fund will help to integrate disabled Canadians into the economic life of their community as well as increase their independence.

In closing, may I say that in a country as vast and diverse as ours, it is a privilege to be able to be part of the team that outlines priorities and goals and achieves them. We have made some significant changes. I am confident that by maintaining our practice we will continue to face and meet the challenges that lie ahead of us.

It is with these sentiments that I fully intend to vote in favour of Bill C-93, an act to implement certain provisions of the 1997 budget.

Petitions March 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I have a petition from a number of petitioners in the Campbell River, B.C., area who are petitioning the Government of Canada.

They believe police and firefighters are often required to place their lives at risk in the execution of their duties on a daily basis. They also believe that employment benefits of police and firefighters often provide insufficient compensation to the families of those killed while on duty.

The petitioners therefore call upon Parliament to establish a fund known as the public safety officers' compensation fund for the benefit of families of public safety officers killed in the line of duty.

Petitions March 12th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my second petition has 550 signatures and is from people not only in my constituency but is from a broader base.

The petitioners believe the current justice system continues to be lenient on criminals, allowing them to re-enter society without receiving sufficient punishment and without facing proper responsibility and accountability for their actions. The current methods of punishment are not acting as proper deterrents and are not producing the desired effects of lower crime rates and safer communities.

Therefore, they call on Parliament to amend the appropriate laws to include corporal punishment as an alternate method of punishment for those adults who are repeat offenders and who choose not to be governed by more conventional methods.

Petitions March 12th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing order 36, it is my pleasure to present two petitions. The first petition has about 250 names.

The petitioners believe there are profound inadequacies in the sentencing practices concerning individuals convicted of impaired driving charges. They request that Parliament proceed immediately with amendments to the Criminal Code that will ensure the sentence given to anyone convicted of driving while impaired or of causing injury or death while impaired reflects both the severity of the crime and zero tolerance toward this crime.

Dna Data Banking March 12th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak on a very important issue, DNA data banking.

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting with members of the Canadian Police Association who expressed the importance of a national DNA data bank. The purpose of a DNA data bank is fundamental to investigations and prosecutions of the most serious crimes in Canada. A DNA data bank would act as a national information system for law enforcement.

I fully support the concept of DNA data banking and ask that my colleagues also defend its significance to society. I feel that bringing this legislation to the forefront is long overdue. Perhaps we should consider the motto that the Canadian Police Association so adamantly believes in: Register criminals before firearms. After all, it is our responsibility to ensure public safety.

Harry Burke February 18th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise in the House today to recognize a constituent of mine, Mr. Harry Burke. He is a local artist who was inspired by the names that he found inscribed in stone at the Exeter cenotaph.

He was so deeply stirred that he began an intricate endeavour to paint portraits of each of the people who had so valiantly served their nation in its time of crisis.

His project originated with the idea that these individuals were more than just names cast in marble. They were people with families and friends and they should be remembered as such.

I have had the opportunity to view Mr. Burke's work. I was struck by the realistic manner in which the faces of our fallen countrymen were captured in each portrait. So accurate were the images that family members and veterans were moved to tears as they viewed the impressions of their departed companions.

I would like to relay my heartfelt appreciation to Mr. Burke for his substantial investment of time, energy and emotion into this venture. His valuable contribution pays a fitting tribute to those Canadians captured forever on his canvas.

Petitions February 5th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition with a great number of names of people from various parts of my riding.

These people are concerned about the injustice in the way those who are convicted of driving while intoxicated are sentenced. They believe there are profound inadequacies in the sentencing practices concerning individuals convicted on impaired driving charges.

Therefore they pray and request that Parliament proceed immediately with amendments to the Criminal Code which will ensure that the sentence given to anyone convicted of driving while impaired or causing injury or death while impaired reflects both the severity of the crime and zero tolerance by Canada toward this crime.

Wilf Carter December 12th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to a special Canadian music legend. Many will recognize the name Wilf Carter, but perhaps he was best known to his fans as Montana Slim.

Wilf Carter was born December 18, 1904 in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia and died one week ago at the age of 91.

Wilf Carter was inspired at an early age by a yodeller who was passing through town. Wilf developed his own unique three in one or echo yodel, which became his trademark in the music industry.

His famous yodel sparked his career, a career that spanned six decades and kept him on the road well into his eighties.

Wilf began his career while working in the grain fields of Alberta, singing at local dances, bunkhouses and parties.

Wilf was such a hit in the prairies that the Canadian Pacific Railway hired him to entertain trail riders on their summer packing trips through the Rockies.

One of his songs that I recall is "It makes no difference now". The truth is his career made a difference, for Wilf Carter was a legend in his own time.

On behalf of all Canadians and all those who knew him, we offer his family our deepest condolences. Gone but never forgotten.