House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was respect.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as NDP MP for Elmwood—Transcona (Manitoba)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 51% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Sponsorship Program November 2nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the right hon. Prime Minister.

I seem to remember a time when the Prime Minister and his colleagues were in opposition and they were quite willing to hold the Conservative Party of Canada responsible as an institution for the scandals that happened while the Conservatives were in government.

I want to ask the Prime Minister, if he is not willing to apply that same standard to his own party and own up to the responsibility of the Liberal Party as an institution for the whole mess, not just for individuals, how are we not to come to the conclusion that he is faking it when he says he accepts the Gomery report?

Lockhart Fulton October 26th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, in this Year of the Veteran, I rise to pay tribute to fellow Manitoban, Lieutenant-Colonel Lockhart Fulton who died last Friday at the age of 88. Believed to have been Canada's senior surviving combat officer from World War II, Lockie Fulton was legendary for leading the men of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles from the front, in hundreds of battles and skirmishes from D-Day to VE-Day, without ever being wounded.

His bravery was recognized during the war when he received the Distinguished Service Order from Field Marshal Montgomery, and later in life when he was made a member of the Order of Canada and the French Legion of Honour.

A distinguished Canadian regiment, the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, has lost one of its most distinguished members and Canada has lost a true citizen, soldier and hero.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember him.

Major-General Maurice Gaston Cloutier October 18th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I begin by saying how much I wish we could have done this while Major-General Cloutier was still with us, but as we all know, he requested that we not do so and we respected his humility in this regard.

Now we are free to say in public what I presume many of us said to him in private and certainly what I had an opportunity to say to him when I wrote him a letter during his illness.

As one who was elected to this place barely a year after Major-General Cloutier was appointed Sergeant-at-Arms, I count myself fortunate to have had the honour of knowing him and working with him for well over 25 years, and for seven of those years as a colleague on the Board of Internal Economy.

The chamber does not seem the same place without the elegant, discerning and humble presence of this special person who served the House with dignity, with distinction and with discretion.

He had a rare understanding of the unique institution that Parliament is and the unique vocation that members of Parliament embrace when they come to this place.

Major-General Cloutier, or Gus, could be counted on to put the legitimate interests of MPs and the well-being of Parliament ahead of any pressure originating in uninformed criticism or bureaucratic fad.

He knew how this place worked, and when we needed something attended to, we knew that if we spoke to Gus there would be something done about it.

Without being an MP himself, he was nevertheless what the tradition has in mind when someone is paid the high compliment of being referred to as “a House of Commons man”.

On behalf of the NDP, we give thanks for his life and for his service to this place, and we extend sincere condolences to his family.

Housing September 30th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, we know that the Americans sometimes take a rather creative approach to international law, so I would urge the Minister of National Defence to keep his eye on the situation.

While Canadian troops are putting themselves in danger in Afghanistan, we find out that many of their families back here at home are also in danger because they are being compelled to live in Zonolite infested homes on base. Last night there was a program about a woman whose husband is in Afghanistan.

Could the minister assure us that he will look into this particular case and others, and get these families into decent housing?

National Defence September 30th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence and it concerns Canadian policy in Afghanistan with respect to the handing over of captives, whether that be to the Americans or to the Afghan government.

I wonder if the Minister of National Defence could tell us how the Canadian government intends to ensure that Canadian troops are not in violation of Geneva conventions. Does he intend to work with NGOs, such as the Red Cross and Amnesty International, to make sure that Canada is not in violation of these conventions?

Gasoline Prices September 29th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, a study just released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives makes it clear that oil companies have raised gasoline prices away above what can be justified by the current price of crude oil. The study shows that Canadians should be paying several cents a litre less in the current circumstances, instead of being gouged at the pumps as is now the case.

The willingness of oil companies to profiteer from any and all situations would probably also apply to any tax relief on gas. They would just take up the slack and put it into their own pockets. That is why we would be better to have, as the NDP recommends, an energy pricing commission that would regulate the decisions of those who actually raise the prices in the first place.

Focusing on gas taxes is the approach of those who do not want to challenge the power of the multinational oil companies or those who do not want Canadians to be reminded of the fact that NAFTA curtails our ability to sell Canadians their own energy at a lower domestic price.

At the moment Canadians are paying the price of having a Liberal government and a Tory opposition that are both unwilling to tackle the real culprits.

Hon. James Jerome September 26th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the NDP caucus, I am pleased to join with my colleagues from other parties in giving thanks for the life and work of the former Speaker of the House, James Jerome.

We pay particular tribute to his contribution to this House and to his distinguished ability as Speaker.

As one of the few left who sat in the House while Speaker Jerome was in the chair, I can certainly attest to his capacities in that role and to the respect which he enjoyed on both sides of the chamber from those who had longer experiences of his leadership in the House. Thanks to the peculiar dynamics of the minority Parliament of 1979, I had a short-lived experience of Speaker Jerome. I certainly remember my first question. I asked it of a future Speaker of the House, John Fraser. When I got what actually passed for an answer from the minister, I was denied a supplementary.

I say this by way of harkening back to a parliamentary culture, symbolized by Speaker Jerome who was the last Speaker to enjoy the benefits of such a culture, in which the Speaker felt free to exercise more discretion and individual judgment over who was to be recognized and who was not and in what context. Speaker Jerome certainly exercised that judgment with much wisdom, humour and discernment. In doing so, he served Canadian democracy and the institution of Parliament with great distinction.

We hope that the memory of the esteem in which he was held will be comfort to his family and we express our sincere condolences to them.

Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope September 26th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, amid all the end of summer controversy about hurricane Katrina, gas prices, the CBC lockout and various other important issues, many Canadians quite properly focused for a time on a very important anniversary, the 25th anniversary of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope.

The courage and determination Terry displayed in his fight against cancer and for a cure continues to be a remarkable source of inspiration to millions.

On September 16, I was pleased to walk with students from Wayoata Elementary School in Transcona at an event to honour Terry Fox. Terry is very special to the students of Wayoata Elementary School because he attended there for two years before his family moved to B.C. in 1966.

Transcona is proud to be associated with Terry Fox. He has become a national and international symbol of both the tragedy of cancer and the inextinguishable hope that some day, through working together to fund research and prevention, cancer will be beaten.

Religious Freedom June 28th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, in a time when religion is predominantly characterized in the media as a conservative force, there is a need to diversify the face of religion in the political realm and to emphasize that there are faith informed progressive perspectives on issues which too often are dealt with as if there is only a debate between faith and non-faith.

In fact, what is often happening is a debate between Canadians of the same faith and/or a debate between conservative faith communities and a secular liberalism that owes its values in large part to our common religious heritage.

People of the same faith arrive at different conclusions about difficult issues and consequently join or support different political parties. This is as it should be.

Religious speech should not be restricted to a few issues, or even worse, seen as inadmissible in debate. Questions of peace and war, the economy and the environment are also moral issues that can be informed by faith.

The task is to discern the appropriate ways of such speaking in a pluralistic world. Dismissing views purely because they are religious throws out the wheat with the chaff. Secular fundamentalism is not the answer either. Thanks be to God, Mr. Speaker.

Devils Lake Diversion Project June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Discussions have taken place between all parties. I believe that you would find consent for me to move, with three seconders, the following motion concerning the Devils Lake diversion. I move:

That this House unanimously request the United States to immediately agree to undertake an independent, time-limited, binational scientific assessment of North Dakota's proposed Devils Lake diversion in a manner that is consistent with the Boundary Waters Treaty and the role of the International Joint Commission and that, pending completion of this assessment and implementation of measures to mitigate risks of invasive species and to water quality, the outlet would not operate.