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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was industry.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Conservative MP for Peace River (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2004, with 65% of the vote.

Statements in the House

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments May 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting philosophy, particularly coming from a government that had the opportunity to introduce all these measures, to which he has spoken, on February 23 in the finance minister's budget. Just the fact that there is basically nothing left of the finance minister's budget, I cannot see how the finance minister can continue on. It seems to me that he has to resign.

If all these measures were so important, retrofits and the environment and Sudan, why were they not in the budget introduced just two and a half months ago?

I have already told the member but I will remind him again. Even though the Liberals thought they would not have that much money in a surplus, they were suggesting $4 billion, the fiscal forecasters, Global Insight and so on that we hired, six weeks later already put the lie to that. They said that the government would have at least $8 billion in a surplus for this year.

The Liberals have been running this scam. It is a game where they are lowballing the surpluses. They have become the laughing stock of the world. Even the IMF identified it. The Liberals are chastising the corporate sector for corporate malfeasance and telling the corporate sector to clean up its act and what are we getting out of this government, including the Prime Minister when he was finance minister? They are lowballing surpluses year after year to the point where it is a national embarrassment. They even had to hire Mr. Tim O'Neill to bring in a report on how that might be changed. Where is Mr. O'Neill's report? It is being buried until after the next election even though they promised it would be out before the budget.

The member asked questions about Kyoto. Kyoto was not included in the February 23 budget.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments May 10th, 2005

What kind of extortion is the government attempting? That is the worst example of governance that I have ever seen.

All this says to me is that we have a Liberal government and a Prime Minister, in particular, who are so desperate to hang on to power they will do anything. I think Canadians will see through this and they will throw those guys out at the earliest opportunity.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments May 10th, 2005

I know the parliamentary secretary does not like this because it is hitting a nerve and he is heckling but his time would be better spent, it seems to me, trying to prepare the pathetic campaign that he is going to have to run in the next few weeks.

I do not know how the Liberals will defend this. The government is so desperate that it has been announcing all over the country that it has spent $1.24 billion, and that is new spending. It gets worse.

The National Post has decided to monitor this spending. In the last month and a half, since the government has taken this new tactic, it is up to spending announcement number 122. The last announcement was in St. John's, Newfoundland, quite a few were in Regina and several were in Toronto and Montreal. It seems like the spending is concentrated in areas where the Liberals will need support in the next election.

What bothers me is that Canadians have said things quite differently. Their priorities are quite different than these. I know the Liberals are trying to buy themselves an election but that is not what Canadians want.

I have been a member of the finance committee at different times over the years. During the prebudget consultations, Canadians told us that they wanted the government to cut its spending in areas to allow them some tax cuts so they could make decisions themselves. We heard from a number of organizations that talked about Canada's falling standard of living. In fact, it has been static for the last 15 years, which essentially means that we have gone backwards. Canada's productivity is only about 75% of that of the United States. The government does not seem to care.

Some corporate tax cuts were announced in the budget. They were going to be well back in the budget but now they are gone. It seems that the government has given in. It seems to be scared. It seems to be desperate and pathetic and its leadership is lacking. It is allowing any agenda it possibly had on February 23 to be hijacked in a desperate attempt to get votes.

I do not think that will work. People see through this. Canadians are not amused with what is happening. The Liberals are up every day in the House moving concurrence motions to delay their inevitable defeat in the House of Commons. We saw it again this morning. I came over to debate in the House this morning and the Liberals were at it again. They were discussing the Inuit sled dogs that were killed in 1955. The issue was so important they wanted to raise it in the House and yet two minutes later they adjourned the debate. These are the type of tactics they are using.

Let me talk about the Prime Minister for a moment. He had a big myth that he was the deficit slayer. He did a lot of that on the backs of the provinces by passing his problem on to the provinces. What we have seen is a guy so desperate to be in power that he unseated a sitting prime minister. He had a 15 year campaign to do that but now that he is in power he does not seem to know what to do with it.

About a year and a half ago a group of people in my riding said that they wanted me to switch over and sit with the Liberals so they could get cheques in the riding. They said that the member for LaSalle--Émard would sweep the country and win 250 seats. What happened to that?

The Prime Minister, who was finance minister at the time, had a myth going that he had done a great job of cleaning up the finances of the country. We now know that the provinces had to absorb a lot of that cost. We know that the current Prime Minister, who was going to campaign and win 250 seats, barely squeaked through with a thin minority.

What do we see now? We see the pathetic sight of a Prime Minister who cannot accept the will of Canadians, who cannot accept the fact that he does not have a majority in the House, making deals with everybody and his dog. He is spending money to try to buy the election, seat after seat. It is pathetic. It is illegitimate.

The government does not deserve to be in power any longer. The sooner it can be put out of its misery the better off we will all be.

The Liberals have this great thing going that if we do not pass the budget, everybody who has been promised money will not get it. What kind of blackmail--

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments May 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Cariboo—Prince George.

This is a very dismal performance by the government. We are debating Bill C-48 but one has to wonder why. This seems to be the third Liberal budget since the February 2005 budget was introduced. Many people call it the NDP budget because, quite frankly, the two parties together do not have a majority in the House. I say that it is an illegitimate budget.

I do not think most Canadians will be amused with what the Liberals have been doing. They have been boycotting and filibustering their own legislation to not allow these bills to be debated and voted on in the House of Commons because they have become so desperate to hang on to power. They are hanging by their fingernails. This is a pathetic performance by a dying regime. We saw it in eastern Europe.

I have been in the House almost 12 years, like some of my colleagues, and this is the worst performance I have ever seen. I see desperate people making illegitimate agreements just to hang on to power. They are not respecting the parliamentary democracy we have in this country that at some time, and the Liberals do not seem to get this, maybe they will not be in power. They cannot conceive of that idea somehow so they will cut any deal and sign anything to hang on to power.

The budget was delivered on February 23 in which the Liberals announced $42 billion in new spending. They went back and brought the numbers up for the 2004-05 fiscal year. They said that the surplus would be $3 billion. Of course we snookered them by hiring our own fiscal forecasters at the finance committee who, just six weeks later, said that the Liberals were off and that the surplus was double that. It was $6 billion. For this fiscal year 2005-06 the Liberals have estimated a $4 billion surplus. The fiscal forecasters say that it will be $8 billion, only six weeks later.

The unplanned surplus that the parliamentary secretary talked about, I do not think so. We have seen this crass practice in the last seven years of lowballing surpluses to build up huge funds that they can use in election campaigns. That is really what this is.

Next came Bill C-43, the budget implementation bill. What did the Liberals do? They snuck in a couple of amendments. One was the Kyoto amendment, which all of a sudden was tagged on to the budget. Just a few weeks earlier it was not there but they snuck it in to put greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide in particular, in the noxious gas category to allow them to tax it heavily. Of course we cannot support that. We want to see it hived off and we will try to do that in committee, if we ever get there.

Then of course today there is the NDP budget, which is Bill C-48. What has happened since budget day itself? There has been an almost $8 billion turnaround. New spending plus the cuts in the taxes that were proposed under personal tax cuts and the corporate tax side has meant that essentially there is an $8 billion difference.

What do we have here? We have a desperate government trying to buy itself another election. It is in a massive spending spree. It is trying to bury Gomery by taking away people's attention from Gomery with this budget.

Let us look at what today's newspapers are saying. The headline in the Globe and Mail on page A4 states, “Liberal spending blitz hits $19.5-billion” . Steven Chase says:

--Ottawa's minority Liberal government has grown so big it now amounts to nearly half the spending unveiled in the February budget.

It goes on to say, “the 2005 budget was only two months old when the government began piling on extra spending”.

A headline in the National Post today reads,“Spending spree continues”.

Another article reads:

Federal government spending announcements have hit $22.3 [billion] since [the Prime Minister] went on television on April 21 to apologize for the Liberal sponsorship scandal.

Committees of the House May 10th, 2005

Then sit down.

Committees of the House May 10th, 2005

Yes, the Inuit sled dogs. I think, Mr. Speaker, you should shut down the current speaker because this is not relevant at all. If she wants to debate the motion, and a question was asked about it--

Committees of the House May 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. How is this relevant to the question that is being debated?

The Budget May 9th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, what Canadians disagree with is seeing their hard-earned tax dollars wasted by the Liberal government.

It is only a matter of time before the money finds its way into ridiculous projects like the ones we are hearing about at the Gomery inquiry, such as plaques in Europe and television programs in China.

With no plan, no program and no leadership for the $4.5 billion slush fund, how can Canadians have any confidence in the finance minister or in the Liberal government in fact?

The Budget May 9th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, in their desperation to get this $4.5 billion deal on paper, the Liberals and their NDP sidekicks have put the cart before the horse.

Here's what Don Drummond, who works for the TD Bank, said: “For years the government has wanted an instrument that would allow it to allocate spending without having to say what it is for”. He said that is what the act will do. Drummond, who worked for the Department of Finance for over two decades, said that he has never seen anything like this before.

After all the recent spending scandals, when will the government learn to be responsible with Canadian taxpayers' money?

Civil Marriage Act May 2nd, 2005

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-38 and to be part of this historical debate.

This bill, which threatens to change the traditional definition of marriage, has sparked an overwhelming response in my riding. Without a doubt it has been the single most important issue that has come up in my riding during the 12 years that I have represented the Peace River constituency.

Peace River constituents feel passionately about this issue. Of the hundreds of letters and calls that I have received from constituents on this bill, over 96% have been against changing the definition of marriage. As well, over 450 constituents have signed petitions calling on the government to preserve the traditional definition of marriage. Every day more people come forward to express their outrage that changes to the definition of marriage are even being contemplated.

Peace River constituents are not opposed to equal rights. In fact, the majority support the legal extension of rights and benefits to same sex couples. However, most are opposed to changing the historical term “marriage” to include these unions. Many have strongly held religious views and are extremely worried that their long-held beliefs are being threatened by Bill C-38. I do not think these views are limited to my riding; I believe they are shared by a majority of Canadians.

The debate is about basic social values in our country. I, along with many Canadians, support the traditional definition of marriage as being a union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others as expressed in our traditional common law. This common law has been developing for centuries in our country and before that, in the modern western world for several thousands of years. This definition has served society very well and has stood the test of time. It has been the fundamental cornerstone of our society, the bedrock of our society. My question is, why do we need to change it?

In my view, MPs opposing this bill should not have to defend what has been historically accepted. It should be the responsibility of those who want to overturn such a fundamental social institution to prove that it is absolutely necessary, that no other compromise could be expected to respect the rights of same sex couples while still preserving one of the cornerstones of our society and its many cultures. So far, in my view, the government has failed to do that.

One serious concern I have with the bill is that it does not provide protection for religious freedom in this country. There has been no specific statutory protection for religious freedom in areas falling under federal jurisdiction. This needs to be addressed and included in the legislation.

The preamble to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and we often hear it referred to from the other side of the House, states that “Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” Many believe that the acknowledgement of God and the values that flow from a spiritual conception of law and morality is also a founding principle of Canada. Therefore it should be recognized and applied to the realities of modern life, including marriage.

The Supreme Court of Canada has never indicated in any ruling that the traditional definition of marriage was unconstitutional. To the contrary, in many cases the court has supported the definition. For example, in the Egan decision on marriage, former Supreme Court Justice La Forest addressed the definition directly when he stated:

Marriage has from time immemorial been firmly grounded in our legal tradition, one that is itself a reflection of long-standing philosophical and religious traditions. But its ultimate raison d'être transcends all of these and is firmly anchored in the biological and social realities that heterosexual couples have the unique ability to procreate, that most children are the product of these relationships, and that they are generally cared for and nurtured by those who live in that relationship. In this sense, marriage is by nature heterosexual.

Another example can be cited in the Halpern decision. In that case the Attorney General of Canada submitted evidence to support the traditional definition of marriage. His factum read:

Marriage has always been understood as a special kind of monogamous opposite-sex union, with spiritual, social, economic and contractual dimensions, for the purposes of uniting the opposite sexes, encouraging the birth and raising of children of the marriage, and companionship.

The decision we make on this legislation as a Parliament will have a profound impact on the country and the rights and freedoms that we so cherish. In 1999, which is not that long ago, only six years, I was in the chamber when the Liberal government pledged to use all necessary means to defend marriage. How quickly things change. Now it has made a complete U-turn and argues that the definition is unconstitutional. What will be next?

About one year ago Australia was facing the same crossroads with regard to marriage laws. The government there took a completely different approach than this Liberal government is taking. Despite pressure from those in favour of legalizing same sex marriage, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said he was going to push to define traditional marriage in law and prohibit same sex marriage in order to protect, as he put it, “a fundamental bedrock institution of our society which has contributed massively to our stability and to our success”.

In Australia the legislation passed, with the support of the official opposition, defining marriage as only the union of a man and a woman. In contrast, this Liberal government has decided to go down a different road which I cannot support. I will be voting against Bill C-38 in its current form. I hope all members of Parliament will think very carefully about what is at stake before they vote. Our collective decision may have very serious implications for future generations.

Should this legislation pass without amendments, we will redefine marriage in a way that most Canadians do not want in order to address equality rights. There is a much more reasonable approach that we should choose in order to address this issue. I will not be supporting Bill C-38 in its current form unless it is severely amended.