House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was health.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Liberal MP for West Nova (Nova Scotia)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply February 29th, 2008


That, in the opinion of the House, the government should end its delays and immediately commence the public inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak about this very important issue, which has been on the minds of Canadians for a long time—around 20 years—and which has still not been resolved. The issue has to do with the likelihood that a government was influenced to engage in certain public activities, which should have benefited all Canadians. But individuals, groups of individuals or companies benefited unfairly from these activities.

We even know that when Mr. Mulroney's government was defeated, these activities continued and money was still changing hands.

It is a question of looking at what has to come to be known as the airbus affair but is much wider. It includes MBB. It includes Thyssen. It may include other deals. It includes commissions in the area of $25 million that were paid secretly through a company called International Aircraft Leasing, with some money given back, most of or a lot of it in Canada, through a very few individuals closely associated with the prime minister of the day, Brian Mulroney. We have seen that later some money was given directly to Mr. Mulroney himself in cash. It is a matter that remains unresolved.

The motion is quite simple. It is:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government should end its delays and immediately commence the public inquiry into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair.

The Prime Minister has been forced or shamed into saying that there would be such an inquiry but has been making every attempt to limit the scope of the inquiry. He has suggested that the inquiry could not begin until the work of the committee had been done.

The committee has heard its final witnesses and at one point shall put forward a factual report, but we know that the commission cannot have access to any of the work of the committee or the testimony of the committee, nor to the report. It must do its own work. The work of the committee is privileged and cannot be used in any other tribunal or forum.

At its base, this is a story of greed. It is a story of betrayal. It is a story of intrigue, and I believe of bribery, and of double-crossing and influence peddling. When we look at how it worked and the people who were involved in this, we see that it is quite complex and has many facets.

What we have here is a group of individuals who saw a void in the leadership of the country. They saw that the Liberal Party had been in power for a long time and that the public of Canada was ready for a change. They saw that within the Conservative Party there was a void in leadership. Joe Clark had to lead and had a minority government that did not survive.

So they arranged, including some offshore money--they were trying to get Conservative governments elected worldwide--to overturn the leadership of Joe Clark. They found what they believed to be a bright, young, perfectly bilingual gentleman with business experience, with charisma, with a certain panache, and they saw him as the vehicle to getting power in Canada. He was somebody who could align all who were on the right political side of the country and bring some people from the centre.

They were successful. They overturned Joe Clark's leadership. They got Brian Mulroney elected as leader of the Conservative Party. They immediately decided how they were going to set things up. What would be the structure? How would one do business with the Government of Canada in the upcoming Mulroney era?

They saw a gentleman very close to Mulroney, part of that group, Mr. Frank Moores, a former premier of Newfoundland. He had a company called Alta Nova that did lobbying in Ottawa. He would bring in new partners. He created a company called GCI, Government Consultants Incorporated. He brought Mr. Gary Ouellet aboard as a partner, another part of the Mulroney organization.

He also brought in Mr. Gerry Doucet. Mr. Gerry Doucet was a former minister of education from Nova Scotia. He was not always a supporter, I believe, not necessarily part of the inner workings of the Mulroney organization, but his brother Fred Doucet was. His brother was chief of staff for Brian Mulroney in opposition and it is my belief that Gerry Doucet was his proxy at GCI.

Mulroney then formed the government. In business, it was well known at that time that Fred Doucet was working in the Prime Minister's Office. He may say that he was attached to external affairs. Some people might use that argument, but I think if one talks to anybody who was around government in the days from 1984 to 1993, they would say that if one spoke to Fred Doucet one spoke to Brian Mulroney, that he was the Brian Mulroney operative, the person closest to Brian Mulroney. Where he was in the organizational chart would not matter too much. It was well known. It was the PMO and the higher reaches of the PMO.

They had it organized like that. That was how business was going to be done. If people wanted to do business with the government on major contracts in Canada, that was the corporation they had to go with.

One of the guys who was involved from the very beginning, brought in because he could bring German money into the leadership, was Karlheinz Schreiber. Karlheinz had been in the country for quite some time and even had Canadian citizenship. He was well established in the Bavarian region in Germany. He was known to Franz Josef Strauss, minister-president of Bavaria. He was well connected with Thyssen Industries, Airbus and MBB. He was well connected with all the industrial companies of that area.

Airbus was in great difficulty. A lot of money and political capital had been expended by the governments of France, Germany and other European nations in creating this company, so they had to get some major sales, and quickly, and the opening had to be the North American market.

Mr. Wolf was another operative, as well as Mr. Schreiber, and it became their job to get Airbus into Canada. They had built the political contacts. They negotiated a deal, an arrangement, as to how they would be getting paid. From Airbus they would be getting $20 million. They decided how to work it.

I remember a quote by Mr. Schreiber suggesting that Strauss had said that he was either “an idiot or a genius”, because what he devised was that they would go through a smaller company and get Airbus on the ground and flying. It would be so efficient, so much better on fuel and operating costs, that once they got some on the ground in North America, all the other airlines would have to buy it.

So they did that. They went to see Wardair. They went to see Mr. Ward. They did a deal with him according to Schreiber, but only a public inquiry can get us to the bottom of this, as I do not take all of what has been said by any of the witnesses at the committee as necessarily the full and ultimate facts.

But what Mr. Schreiber told us was that the same group I mentioned earlier around GCI and a couple of other operatives, who would later be on the board of Air Canada, went and met with Mr. Ward and said that Airbus was going to give him a great financing deal if he bought Airbus. Plus, he would get domestic landing rights for scheduled service in Canada and create a national airline. Wardair later became quite a valuable commodity and was sold to Canadian Airlines, I believe, at a good profit.

The first aircraft came about, so then there were the seeds to bring Airbus into Canada. They had them flying internationally, so not very long after that they would see other companies starting to buy it. The big one was Air Canada because it could get 30 of them. That was based on the value of the aircraft and the probability that Air Canada would buy it, but they do not take that chance. They changed the board, including putting Mr. Frank Moores on that board.

Mr. Moores will have argued that he had nothing to do with Airbus and Mr. Greg Alford of GCI told us that GCI itself had nothing to do with Airbus, but that is contradicted by evidence. We have a letter dated February 3, 1988, signed by Mr. Frank Moores, under GCI letterhead, and it is signed as the chairman of GCI. He was writing to Mr. Franz Josef Strauss, dealing with Airbus and the impediments for getting Airbus to Air Canada, so we have that contradiction already.

Eventually the Airbuses get sold, $20 million is generated, and it is starting to work. Then there is another deal on the go. It is the same group and the same people. It is called Thyssen. They created a company called Bear Head Industries.

The deal there was that they would go to Cape Breton, an area of high unemployment, and get the alliance of somebody like Elmer MacKay, who was the regional minister for Nova Scotia at the time and a close friend of Brian Mulroney. They would get his support and then mount a drive to get a factory in Nova Scotia building armoured personnel carriers for the Canadian military, the U.S. military and export generally.

The idea was that Germany would then be able to export into countries, which the German constitution and the law did not permit, through Canada or other countries, manufactured in Canada to an open market.

Twenty million dollars were generated by Airbus on sales of $2 billion. We are looking at potential sales of $7 billion. One can just imagine the commissions we are talking about, which would be a great deal.

The project required some assistance and some work. Part of it needed agreement by the Government of Nova Scotia and part of it needed agreement by the Government of Canada. The Government of Nova Scotia signed and $2 billion in commissions were generated.

However, there were some problems with the Government of Canada. The agreement was finally signed in November 1988 or in October when Mr. Perrin Beatty, the then a minister of the Crown, was told by Mr. Fred Doucet that he must sign.

There is no evidence and I do not make the suggestion that Mr. Beatty did anything untoward. He was told that the Prime Minister wanted the deal to go through so the deal was signed and there was a letter of intent with Thyssen Industries with the Government of Canada for the Bear Head project. This was in October 1988.

That generated $2 million in success fees and secret commissions that were paid. The money went to the international aircraft leasing account controlled by Karlheinz Schreiber. He has told us that it was not his company but we know he had control of it. The money then went to another account called Merkur. Some of it went to a Bitucan account in November 1988, a company registered in Calgary and held by Karlheinz Schreiber.

When we looked at how that money was distributed, we quickly found that a cheque for $90,000 was generated to Fred Doucet Consulting International. What is interesting is that Fred Doucet sent an invoice to Bitucan for $90,000 on November 2, 1988, just days after the agreement was signed. Fred Doucet told us that he had left the PMO late in September 1988. In a matter of a few weeks, Fred Doucet Consulting Corporation had generated $90,000 for what he termed as professional services.

Maybe he is incredibly good, but what is interesting is that on November 8 the same invoice in the same amount was sent to Bitucan on behalf of Frank Moores. Frank and Bett Moores' invoice for $90,000 was for the same thing, “Services rendered by Frank Moores on your behalf, $90,000”. This was coming out of the success fee. Frank Moores had been working on this for years, not four or five weeks like Fred Doucet. He received $90,000 on the same day at the same time.

We have Lemoine Consultants and Gary Ouellet, a partner with GCI: professional services rendered, $90,000 at the same time and the cheque went out the same day, November 15. His company had not worked on this for years but all of a sudden there was a success fee for professional services.

Gerald Doucet and Associates was another partner. Fred Doucet was not a partner but he received money under his company. Gerry Doucet, Fred Doucet's brother, received a cheque for $90,000. He had not left the PMO by the end of September but he had been working on that for years. Bitucan Holdings Limited received $250,000.

I know I will have the support of the government to table these documents later.

We also have a handwritten banknote from the banker in Zurich indicating that the Canadian $500,000 was put aside in an account called Frankfurt. The interesting thing to note is that the account in Frankfurt was the account the money came out of for Brian Mulroney in 1993-94. One could argue that was a coincidence but was it a coincidence that the amount was exactly one-quarter of the success fee? Was it a coincidence that earlier, when dealing with another project, Pelossi testified at committee that an account was set up in Germany in the name of Brian Mulroney called Devon to receive money on behalf of Brian Mulroney from their success fee? Was that a coincidence?

I will fast forward to the time when the government was going to change.

If we were to look at the testimony in the Airbus settlement, Brian Mulroney told us that, prior to the Airbus settlement in 1993-94, he had a couple of cups of coffee in passing with Karlheinz Schreiber. He said that he did not really know the guy and that they had no close association.

In 1993, Brian Mulroney was about to leave office. He was at the prime minister's retreat at Harrington Lake when all of a sudden a meeting was arranged. Karlheinz Schreiber was to visit the prime minister. I have had a close association with two prime ministers but I was never invited to a private family retreat a couple of days before they were to leave office, and I do not think very many people have been, and those who have would have been close friends.

Karlheinz Schreiber told us that the meeting had been organized by Fred Doucet. Fred Doucet appeared at committee and said that he had no recollection of setting up such a meeting. Then we received proof from Karlheinz Schreiber that he had set up the Montreal meeting. We then received a letter from Mr. Doucet's lawyers saying that Mr. Doucet had not said that he had not set up the meetings but rather that he had no recollection of doing it. This is a bit like Oliver North when he was before the senate investigating committee and said that he had no recollection but that if documents could be provided to the contrary they might refresh his memory. That was the situation we had with Mr. Doucet.

They did meet and the best we can figure out is that they agreed to do business in the future. No money changed hands and we have no evidence to prove that amounts were discussed. A short time after that, when Brian Mulroney was still a member of Parliament, they met at an airport hotel where Mr. Mulroney received an envelope containing $100,000 in cash. At two subsequent meetings, he received $100,000 in cash.

Livestock Industry February 13th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, consumers must have a real choice. If they want to support the agricultural producers from their area, they must have some way of knowing if a product they see in their local market is truly a Canadian product, a product from Nova Scotia or from Quebec. This is not necessarily the case right now. We do not always know where the products come from.

Pork producers from Nova Scotia made another observation: when we buy cattle, poultry or pork products, we should pay a premium of, let us say, 5¢, 10¢ a kilo or whatever, to establish a fund—

Livestock Industry February 13th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, the member makes a point about going through the BSE crisis. It was a very important crisis. It was a determining point. We saw our agriculture sector, including pork producers but mostly cattle producers, suffering greatly at that time.

Right now if we look at the pork industry, for example, it has gone beyond suffering. It is into dying, where there is no way that the farms can continue. In my area, I am seeing farms going out of business. I am seeing young people, the third generation on those farms, having to go to other parts of the country to find work.

I do not regret those young women and men leaving and going to other parts of the country if they are going for fortune or adventure, but they are not going by choice. There is no chance now. They do not see a chance of their farms succeeding, farms that were built over 40 and 50 years.

I think we have to do the long term thing. Perhaps we cannot keep operating in the future exactly as we have been. To be able to do that, we must have quick measures, working with the provinces, because the solution is not the same everywhere. I think that if we look at the work of the Senate and the work of the House agriculture committee, we can find those elements. I think we can have quick response negotiations and get by those problems that we have on the transfer of money and the rapidity with which the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food can turn the money over to Canadians.

It has to happen now. The banks will not wait forever. I see families who are in debt with the loan boards in their provinces and are at risk of losing their very homes.

Livestock Industry February 13th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I want thank the Chair for having allowed the emergency debate this evening recognizing the importance that it is to the country, in particular the rural areas all across the country that are going through a very difficult turmoil in relation to agriculture, particularly in the hog production and cattle industry.

Before I get too far into my remarks I would like to advise the Chair that I will be sharing my time with the member for Huron—Bruce.

I am from Nova Scotia. Most of my riding is in the Annapolis Valley and Digby county where there are a lot of pork producers and quite a few cattle producers. The time now is an hour later in the Annapolis Valley, so knowing the time that the farmers start their work in the morning I do not believe very many of them would be up to listen to my words this evening.

Unfortunately, a lot of them are just returning from work now. It will be 9:30 in their homes, their apartments or their boarding situations in Alberta having had to leave their farms in Nova Scotia to go out west to find work because their pork operations are closed. Most of them have gone under. A few of them continue to operate, culling their herds or getting rid of their herds because, as was said by the last two members and many members this evening, the cost of production does not meet the sales prices. They cannot continue in that type of atmosphere unaided.

There does not seem to be a light. There is not a light that they can afford to go to. They are heavily indebted. They have been operating for quite some time in a situation where cost does not meet revenue.

The Government of Nova Scotia has come on many occasions with some short term aid, forgivable loans and all sorts of assistance to keep them just afloat but it has not proven fruitful.

These are very entrepreneurial families. They are family operations. They are not the large farms that we would see in other parts of the country but they are very important economic generators in the Nova Scotia context. Some of them have gone into the production of weaner pigs where they raise small pigs because of the high genetic quality that we have in Nova Scotia, as we do across the country. They export to farmers in the United States who raise them and put them to market.

That was quite promising for some time but as more and more farmers in Canada get into difficulty, more and more weaner pigs go into the U.S. and that depresses the price. It is a buyer's market. Then we see protectionist measures happening in the United States. Certificate of origin labelling for some weaner pigs is the threat now. Therefore, I do not think anyone sees that as the long term solution. What the hope is that perhaps this will take them through and some of them will be able to survive.

However, I think we need to be honest with ourselves. If we are going to be a nation that can feed itself, if Atlantic Canada, which has the absolute capacity to feed itself in terms of pork and beef, is going to survive in that industry, then there needs to be some strategic thinking.

I agree with the members who spoke of the long term strategic thinking. There cannot always be ad hoc programs and the farmers should not always be on their knees. We need to have a plan.

However, the best plan will not bring the industry through the crisis at this time because the situation is so dire. Many have spoken of the situations that have led us there. It is true that we have had the rising Canadian dollar, or the depressed American dollar, and an increase in the cost of feed, and we do not begrudge that to the farmers who grow wheat and corn. The increase in the ethanol industry has contributed. However, we must recognize those factors as factors that will remain in the future and we need to find a way to address that and to aid the farmers in being competitive in that situation.

We should consider seriously, if we can use our tax structure and we can use different methods within our country to encourage the production of ethanol, thereby increasing the cost of corn, for example, then could we not also consider some sort of indirect assistance?

I do not like to use the term subsidy because perhaps we are being listened to by our trading partners, but I think that is what we are talking about, a subsidy on feed, on transport and on those things. We have done it in the past for various reasons. Some of those things have been removed but we need to look at the situation that we are in now so we can look at the long term sustainability.

We have to recognize, as the House has done tonight, that it is an emergency in our country. The federal government has to work quickly with the provincial governments to bring us through this time. Excellent recommendations have been made by both the Senate agricultural committee and the House agricultural committee that the government can work with. These are multi-partisan recommendations.

In the Annapolis Valley there are family operations in the slaughter and meat processing business that are at huge risk right now. Larsen's has operated for a long time and hundreds of families depend on that company in the processing end and also the farmers, but now the slaughter side of the business is at a trickle.

It was always operated by the Larsen family which worked very well with the production side, with the agriculture side. When there was trouble the Larsen family itself would subsidize the farmers. It would assist them with so much money per pork to make sure the producers could be there for the long term. It was good for that business because it would have supply and it was good for the producers.

That type of arrangement is very difficult now. For one thing the Larsen family's operations have been purchased by Maple Leaf and we all know what is happening to Maple Leaf in Canada. Most of its operations are being closed down or discontinued and it is operating out of one area. That is its long term strategic plan. We are hoping that the Larsen operation will be operated independently because it is a well-recognized brand, well liked by the market and it will be able to continue.

I could say the same of Armstrong, which is operated by the Armstrong family and continues to work very well with cattle producers. It is facing the challenges everyone else is. Bowlby Quality Meats is another family operation. These pressures are on everyone.

The promise the Conservatives made to the agricultural sector has not been kept. Many producers listened to the current Prime Minister and felt there was a saviour, a saving grace, that there would be some huge changes, but they have not seen them. All they have seen is an ideological approach. They see it on the Wheat Board and they are very much afraid that on supply management the same kind of logic, the same ideology will be used at one point.

We know the Prime Minister once referred to supply management as a “socialist scheme for price fixing”, exactly the same ideology that he sees in the Wheat Board. It is not for me from Atlantic Canada from Digby County to say whether or not there should be a Wheat Board. The point is that because of ideology everything is put in place to kill the Wheat Board rather than letting farmers decide. Farmers know at some point that same pressure can come on supply management in poultry and in dairy, but that would be a matter for debate on another day.

Today we are talking specifically of the pork and cattle industries. When we look at the cattle industry in Atlantic Canada, it is nowhere near what we see in western Canada. It is a very domestic industry, family operated, small farms, but hugely important. It is hugely important on the side of the dairy producers because the cull cows are part of the production they depend on; that generally is the profit out of their industry. When we see the collapse in the prices it has a huge impact on them. We see it again on the feed side.

The other thing we have done very well in our pork industry is we have great genetic breeds. When the market was going to lean pork, Canada produced the best pigs. We still do, but the market changes. The market evolves. I am not sure that right now we are ready for what is in demand in the international market, as we should be. Perhaps that would be a great area to consider in our transition.

The member opposite talked a lot about assistance or working on trade deals. We must recognize that with our principal trading partner, there are huge protectionist measures that are happening there that are not going to be alleviated tomorrow, that will continue. That is going to be very difficult.

In closing, I thank the Speaker for having recognized this as an emergency. I thank all who participated this evening. I particularly want to thank the last two speakers from the governing side who I think were quite honest and participated quite honestly in the debate. I look forward to questions.

Senate Appointment Consultations Act February 12th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's presentation today. I was not sure where he was going when he talked about Senate reform and dangerous offenders. Then I remembered that the current Prime Minister had appointed Michael Fortier to the Senate and put him in charge of all the contracting of the Government of Canada, and there have been some very dangerous offences in that line, so I think the link is made.

I believe, like every member here and like the vast majority of Canadians, that we need some restructuring of our democratic institutions, but a system whereby we have a right to vote on who we think the Prime Minister might appoint is not an elected Senate. I think there is a process in place. We have to respect that we do work within the Constitution and have true reform of our Senate.

I am a big supporter of a triple E Senate, whereby we would have a realignment of the Senate by region, elected and effective, but not voted for at the same time as the parliamentary elections so that it just reflects Parliament. There would be a staggering. Also, if we are going to go with restricting term limits, sure, but not in the sense that the prime minister of the day could appoint the whole Senate.

I am listening to what the Conservatives are saying about an elected Senate and what the New Democrats are saying about proportional representation. If we followed through on those things, we would have some sort of elected Senate and an appointed House of Commons, so I do not think that would advance the situation of democracy very much in this country.

Airbus February 11th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Mulroney has stated that he tried to sell armoured vehicles to China, but Canada's ambassador to China at the time does not believe that these activities ever took place. No one ever discussed this with the ambassador.

Such sales would have violated the international rules prohibiting arms sales to China, rules that Mr. Mulroney himself proposed.

How long is the government going to postpone holding a public inquiry into this scandal?

Airbus February 11th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, the story by the former Conservative prime minister, Brian Mulroney, is becoming less believable by the day.

Executives from Thyssen are now denying that Mulroney got the bags of cash to represent them. They say:

He never worked for Thyssen.

I cannot imagine how he could expect to sell something like this to Russia or even to China. It's absolute nonsense.

Does the government still believe this nonsense? Will it start a full public inquiry into the scandal today, or is it waiting for the election to sweep all of this under the rug?

Half-Masting of Peace Tower Flag January 29th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure and privilege to speak to this motion stating that the Peace Tower flag be lowered to half-staff when a soldier, a diplomat or a relief worker dies in a peacekeeping or peacemaking mission overseas.

Over the years, the Conservative Party has given several reasons not to do that. I would like to refute some of these reasons. I would like the government to reflect on this matter and to question its position. In my view, this is the least the Parliament and the members can do to honour the memory of these people and to honour their families as well as possible.

I am pleased to support the motion presented by the member for Kitchener—Waterloo. The member for Huron—Bruce has also championed this cause. I had brought forward a motion at the veterans affairs committee a couple of years ago which unfortunately was not successful to do the same thing. This is an opportunity for us to debate it in the House of Commons and I look forward to a successful resolution to this matter.

One of the arguments that is somewhat compelling is that we have November 11 where we honour all veterans as we should. What we are asking in a sense is that the flag be lowered for veterans of our day, when it was not possible to have done it during the first world war or the second war where tens of thousands of Canadians were lost and not one community, not one neighbourhood, and not one street was left unaffected. I would suggest that in doing this we will honour them.

My father went to the second world war as did four of my uncles. Every community had to participate and every family had to send somebody to those massive wars. I have had the good fortune, as have many generations, of not having to participate, but we have not been involved to that extent in the world.

It is because of the sacrifice of Canadians and our allies during the second world war, the first world war, the Korean conflict, and many peacemaking missions that we have been able to have better stability on this planet and a better world where there are fewer conflicts. There are still too many, but there are less.

It is by honouring those who serve now that we remember those who gave us what we have. It is the least we can do.

Why this chamber and why over the Peace Tower? It is because it is a symbol to Canadians. It is a symbol of the nation. When we walk here in the morning to our offices and see the flag at half-mast, we would be reminded of the sacrifices made by those communities, those families and those individuals.

We would be reminded that when we as politicians fail, when diplomacy fails anywhere around the world, that our military is called to act. It has no choice. It has to follow orders.

Where we have not been able to establish through democratic methods, through bilateral negotiations, then we call upon the military in areas of great danger. Then it would be as it should be, our role, our duty to make sure that the flag flies high, that there are no Canadian losses.

We can do that by working harder on humanitarian missions, on assistance to countries, when we see the problems starting, when we see the seeds being sewn of conflict in the future.

We see some of that around the world now and I do not know that the western world is always reacting. I do not know that we are always assisting in time. Then we are called into conflicts such as Afghanistan where the Taliban government was harbouring the al-Qaeda movement, sponsoring terrorism internationally. We saw what the effect was on September 11.

Now we and our allies send soldiers, young women and men who are doing their absolute best to stabilize that country, to put it in a position where it cannot harbour that type activity in the future.

The word “hero” is one that is misused, abused and overused. There is bravery and there is heroism. Bravery can sometimes be equated to stupidity where people will put themselves in danger. Heroism is much different. It is doing actions which will benefit not oneself, but will benefit others when there is a real risk of harm and loss of life.

That is what these heroes are doing for us. Too many of them fall. Nearly 80 have fallen. We have had four already this year and it is a brand new year with many more at risk.

Now we have to debate in this House in the coming weeks how much longer and in what form we continue the mission in Afghanistan. Even once that mission is finished there will be another mission: peacekeeping, peacemaking. Canadians will be called upon to act and more Canadians will fall.

It would be absolutely responsible for the Parliament of Canada to recognize that. It is good for Canadians because Canadians expect that. Canadians can share in the grief of the families of the lost soldiers, in the grief of the communities where those soldiers come from.

We used to see repatriation ceremonies on TV, brought to the homes of all Canadians. Now that has been hidden from view, thinking it will make it easier. Ramp ceremonies are only held in the country where the conflict is and in Canada we no longer share the grief and be with the families in whatever way possible. I find that regrettable.

I am a member of the Privy Council. I was elected by my community and I have been paid very well to represent them in this august chamber. I have enjoyed every minute that I have been here. When my day comes, I can die very comfortably anywhere in this country or abroad of old age or any natural illness, and the flag will be flown at half-mast because I am a member of the Privy Council. Because I have been honoured in such a way in this chamber, I will be given that marking upon my death.

Corporal Paul Davis of Bridgewater, a soldier, and his counterparts will not see that. A parent wrote to the Prime Minister some time ago, a Mr. Dinning. I believe it was around April 7, 2006. His son was serving in Afghanistan and he suggested that the flag should be flown at half-mast when anybody falls. Unfortunately, a few days later Corporal Dinning fell, the son of the man who had written to Parliament.

I had an opportunity to briefly meet both parents in a TV studio in Ottawa and saw the grief they were going through, and the selfless sacrifice they were making by trying to make sure that we remediated this in the future. It will not bring these people back, but it will show that this country's national government recognizes their loss and the support they have provided.

I speak of soldiers, but I can also speak about diplomats. I can also speak about care workers, policemen, and all the people who are working with the provincial reconstruction teams in Afghanistan. This year the minister was at an advance base and we all saw on the news a rocket landing near that camp. Fortunately, he was unharmed and was returned to safety. Those who were around him, the soldiers who are there every night and every day, will not return to safety. They brought him to safety and returned to their posts.

They go to bed every night knowing that rockets can fall on them at any time. They get into their vehicles and do the work that we ask them to do in that country knowing that they could encounter a terrorist's improvised exploding device at any time and that they could be maimed, crippled or killed. That is the way they live and they do it for us. They do that because of our failings and aspirations. The absolute least we could do is honour their passing by lowering the flag to half-mast.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns January 28th, 2008

With regard to the Small Craft Harbours Program of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, what are the total reported landings for 2006-2007 in the federal electoral districts of West Nova, Central Nova, Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley and South Shore—St. Margaret's?

Petitions December 10th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I have the pleasure of presenting to the House a petition with over 1,100 signatures gathered by Mr. Cecil Roy objecting to the federal government's backing out of the Atlantic Accord.

Mr. Cecil Roy has collected over 2,000 signatures, mostly in western Nova Scotia. He points out that there can be no greater lie than a broken promise. Mr. Roy has been politically active all his life within the ranks of the Conservative Party. I am pleased to present this document to the House.