House of Commons photo

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

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation Act November 24th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak at report stage of Bill C-57, specifically to Motion No. 1.

It is important to me and my party that the World Trade Organization be allowed to get up and running very quickly. Canada has a number of disputes we would like to see moved to the international stage such as the wheat dispute and the constant steel disputes between Canada and the United States. It very important to move these on very quickly.

Motion No. 1 never really tries to accomplish this. It goes against the spirit of the trade agreement, especially the fourth part of that section which proposes the imposition of new tariffs at a time when we are seeking to reduce all tariffs worldwide.

In addition, constant provincial consultation will tie the hands of the federal government in trade disputes and international economic matters. Canada should speak with one voice in international forums.

The second part would tie the federal government's hands in allocating tariff quota for supply managed sectors. I am sure that is not what is intended in Motion No. 1, but that could be a result.

I would like to deal with Motion No. 2 which is in the group we are debating this morning. This motion asks for a yearly report to the House of Commons outlining trade implementation and the major trade obligations undertaken by Canada and the impact on Canadian workers and companies.

Those kind of assessments are being done on an ongoing basis. The government should not commit itself to studying the impact of trade agreements on workers and companies on a yearly basis. These studies are carried out all the time by the industries and workers groups and the parties involved should be the ones that assess the impact. They would also be a little bit more effective in studying the impact on their groups rather than having the government do it for them.

I oppose Motion No. 6. It would create unnecessary delays. International relations are the responsibility of the federal government. A House committee can ask the government to justify its actions, including calling ministers and departmental officials before a standing committee at any time. This is an ambiguous motion, one that would be really designed to make more work. That option is already there, let us use it.

Regarding Motion No. 7, the House already has the power to ask the minister for reports when it deems necessary. Regarding the social clause that is being proposed by the NDP, this has already been rejected by the parties that negotiated the GATT agreement for the last seven years and to try and move it back in now would be a mistake.

In addition to that, labour and environmental standards that the members down the line here have suggested would actually have a detrimental effect on the very people they are suggesting to help. If people in underdeveloped countries have to conform to a minimum wage standard and strict environmental standards like Canada has, how can they compete in the world marketplace? It is not necessary. It was recognized that it is not necessary in the discussions that led up to the signing of the GATT. In addition it is a matter that is going to be discussed on an ongoing basis in the second round of the GATT negotiations to see if there is any necessity for it.

I oppose the motions being proposed and urge the House to move quickly to implement the GATT agreement through the World Trade Organization and try to resolve a lot of outstanding issues very quickly with the weight of all 120 member countries behind us.

Government Expenditures November 16th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry will be aware that the government's competition bureau has finished its investigation of the defence department and the way it contracts household moves. The competition bureau has now directed the defence department to open up the bidding process beyond the four big van lines.

Will the minister make public a summary of the report so that parties who want to bid on future projects will know what the new rules are for bidding on household moves?

1995 Canada Winter Games November 16th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, today is an important day in the Peace River country of Alberta. In 95 days, beginning February 19, 1995, the Canada winter games will be held in Grand Prairie.

I along with the people of the Grand Prairie area would like to take this opportunity to welcome everybody across Canada to the 1995 winter games. I would also like to congratulate all the volunteers for all their hard work and dedication to this national celebration of amateur sport.

Grand Prairie is ready to host the best ever Canada Games and is looking forward to welcoming all Canadians from February 19 to March 4, 1995.

World Trade Organization Agreement Implementation Act November 1st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the parliamentary secretary for his speech on the World Trade Organization this morning. He shares a view that a lot of us share, that it is vitally important to Canada to implement the World Trade Organization.

I was interested in his comments regarding agriculture and the fact that agriculture probably is one of the biggest winners in the GATT negotiations. For the first time we have trade rules established that are going to govern agriculture. I would like to ask if the parliamentary secretary shares my view that one important sector in agriculture still needs quite a bit of work, and that is the whole area of supply management. For the first time border restrictions have been converted to reducing tariffs. Very high levels of tariffs are set. It is my understanding that we have a second round of negotiations in agriculture down the

road, either in five or six years, under the World Trade Organization, once it is set up.

I wonder if he shares the view that it is imperative that we continue to move this process along toward reducing tariffs with the ultimate goal in Canada and the United States of having free trade in the supply managed sector as well. Would it not be important to ask the supply managed industries to move toward a certain period of time? Everybody realizes that they need some time to adjust. I certainly do because these people have financial obligations which they had made under the rules of the day.

However the new World Trade Organization is going to shed a lot of light on the fact that Canada has some weaknesses at home, as does the United States, in the area of supply managed tariffs that are extremely high. I wonder if the parliamentary secretary could share his views on how that can be achieved.

Supply October 25th, 1994

That is what Canadians choose.

Supply October 25th, 1994

He does not know how.

Petitions October 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have before me four petitions that have been signed by 1,101 people in my riding of Peace River. These petitions deal with the subject of extending privileges to same sex couples.

The petitioners request that Parliament not amend the human rights code, the Canadian Human Rights Act or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in any way which would tend to indicate societal approval for same sex relationships or homosexuality.

They also ask that the human rights code not be amended to include in the prohibited grounds of discrimination the undefined phrase sexual orientation.

I share the views of these petitioners.

Department Of Canadian Heritage Act October 18th, 1994

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to speak to Bill C-53 today. This bill establishes the Department of Canadian Heritage and amends and repeals certain other acts. This bill also makes multiculturalism and the official languages the responsibility of the new department. That is the topic of my address today.

Let me start by repeating what we have already heard from this side of the House. The Reform Party supports the rights of citizens and private groups to preserve their cultural heritage but the Reform Party wants them to do so using their own funds. The Reform Party is opposed to using taxpayers' money to fund multiculturalism.

I am opposed to Bill C-53 because it entrenches multiculturalism, bilingualism and the financing of special interest groups. I have no problem with different ethnic or linguistic groups keeping their culture; I am all for it. As the trade critic for the Reform Party I believe this kind of diversity is one of Canada's strengths in this great country.

New immigrants and second and third generation Canadians help Canada display an outward looking approach to business and trade practices. They do so by maintaining linguistic, cultural and family ties with other countries. Besides speaking English and French, Canadians speak many aboriginal languages, German, Ukrainian, Mandarin, Arabic, and Norwegian, the language of my wife's ancestors.

That is great. I have no problems with this and I have no problem with different groups maintaining organizations to preserve their language and culture. I do not think that government should get involved in the process.

In my riding of Peace River there is a strong Sons of Norway organization which has been in place for 75 years and I have some colleagues who know quite a bit about that. How did it survive before multiculturalism? It did not need federal government grants to survive. It did it on its own initiative.

My riding has a strong French population in the Falher area which has been there since about 1912. These people kept their language alive on their own before there were any federal moneys available to them and they did so by their own hard work.

My riding has a German society and a Ukrainian group. All of these organizations were doing fine before the federal government started emptying its piggy bank.

My riding also has a Filipino association, an East Indian cultural society and a Scottish society. I suspect that all of these groups will survive very well on their own initiative and according to their own needs when we abandon this very divisive policy we have in place.

This whole multiculturalism process, and some would say not a process but rather a mess, started just over 20 years ago with the royal commission on bilingualism and biculturalism. Many witnesses appearing before the commission appeared because they wanted to protest the notion of two founding peoples and two nations. They were right.

We in the Reform Party also reject this notion. Canada is a very different country today than it was in 1867. Our new Canada would be a country of 10 equal provinces all with the same opportunities and rights, not one built on two founding peoples.

After all, a country built on two founding peoples in 1867 did not even recognize that the very first people here, the aboriginal people, certainly should have fit into that category. It was misguided from the very beginning. Before the English and French came to this country Indians and Eskimos were the first people here. We have seen several waves of immigration since.

We were all immigrants to this country at one time or another, but we do not need the federal government to promote our culture and languages. We can do it very well on our own.

At the time of the royal commission on bilingualism and biculturalism, roughly 44 per cent of the population could claim to be of British descent; 29 per cent could claim to be of French descent; another 27 came from other ethnic backgrounds, German, Italian, Ukrainian, Dutch, Polish, native Indian, Chinese, Jewish or East Indian.

People who sprang from stock other than English and French objected to the notion that these two were the most important groups in Canada. They made the point that Canada is a mosaic of people from many different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds.

Prime Minister Trudeau announced the official multiculturalism policy in 1971. Many people felt it was meant to diffuse the concerns about official bilingualism in areas where there was absolutely no need for a second language.

Multiculturalism started with a budget of $3.5 million. The budget has since grown to $39 million. Of this almost $15 million is spent on community support; $5.5 million goes to heritage cultures; and $6.5 million goes to race relations. Many proponents of multiculturalism today point to race relations, the last item, as being a worthy area of funding. I would agree.

Racism is a problem in Canada today and there is a role for the federal government to play here. Racism is not a multicultural issue. Race relations is the domain of the human rights commissioner. It is so stated in the mandate of the Human Rights Commission.

The Canadian government should not pay people to be different. This leads to balkanization and divisiveness. Instead of dissolving racism, multicultural funding emphasizes and hardens it. Instead of diminishing separatist strategies, multicultural funding further creates and encourages people to be different.

I know it is not politically correct to state that I am against public funding for multiculturalism but a lot of people in Canada feel this way and they expect their representatives to express their views publicly. These people are not racists or bigots. They think that government has no role to play in funding special interest groups and I totally agree with them. Culture cannot be dictated or controlled by the state. Therefore, I am opposing Bill C-53 proposed here today.

Department Of Industry Act October 17th, 1994

Yes, that is what it is.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-46. The bill clearly demonstrates the government's vision of how business should be carried out in Canada, with a ball and chain tied to one leg.

As far as business is concerned the bill is taking industry in exactly the wrong direction. Business is not crying out for regional development grants. In most cases, when such money is withdrawn the enterprise that was initially helped by government money fails.

Business is not crying out for more programs and more bureaucrats to administer them. In fact the opposite is the case. It should be government's role to provide an environment where business can operate freely and do what it does best: creating competitive goods, creating services on one hand and sustainable employment on the other.

Instead Bill C-46 gives the minister wide-ranging powers to create an environment in which government is the central tool of economic development and where government establishes policies and programs for specific groups and industries. Surely we must learn from the lesson of the former east bloc countries: government intervention does not work.

If taxpayers had all the details of how their hard earned money was spent in the past in the so-called national interest, they would be outside picketing right now. The cabinet should have no right to alter significantly any industry or company in favour of another. Companies and industries must be able to enter and exit the market on the basis of their financial viability. All industries and organizations must face a level playing field and evenhanded policies that facilitate and improve on trade and commerce within Canada.

Governments must learn to let industry stand on its own and die on its own. In the west we have seen the national energy policy and we have seen Petro-Canada. We know the results of government interference and excess of ministerial direction.

It is time to rein in an overbearing government and let Canadian businesses push the country forward. Instead the government insists on having its nose in the workings of the Canadian economy through micromanagement of industry. It is an unacceptable intrusion in all sectors of the economy. The government must devise national policies and stay out of influencing Canadian industry, organizations, regions and provinces in a piecemeal manner.

The Hibernias, Novotels and Lloydminster upgraders of the country should be things of the past. Unfortunately they continue to place a heavy burden on Canadian taxpayers and distort allocation of Canadian human and physical resources. Successive governments, including this one, have still not learned that these projects do not work.

The bill gives a blank cheque to the Minister of Industry to fund projects at will. Canadians remember the individual projects awarded to Shawinigan and Baie Comeau. That was done by the past government, but we seem to be following the same road here. They remember the millions of dollars funnelled into projects of no economic benefit, starting with changes to the mandate of the Department of Industry and responsible to the minister. Reform believes these kinds of projects should be eliminated.

No less out of date is part II of this bill which relates to regional economic development. At one time regional economic development was perceived as a means of reducing regional disparities. Regional economic policy has been in existence for a long time and is widely condemned by economists as a means of creating economic dependence, not economic development. Since its inception regional development policy has been about pork barrelling and perpetuating dying industries. In their heart of hearts I am sure everyone in this Chamber knows or at least suspects this.

The government should admit that regional development starts and ends in the regions themselves. The purpose of the government in the Department of Industry should be to develop national policies and facilitate trade and commerce within Canada, not to provide goods or services that the private sector should and could provide for itself and not to try to manage Canadian industry.

Let me mention some of the things businesses are asking of the government. I take these items directly from the task force

paper released in September 1994 and prepared for the Business Council on National Issues.

Industry wants balanced government budgets with low levels of public indebtedness. Industry wants competitive levels of taxation that encourage savings and investment, things that other countries such as China has. Industry wants international economic policies that promote aggressive trade development and diversification. Industry wants a federation characterized by free trade internally and smaller and more efficient governments working more closely together.

The Department of Industry cannot give businesses balanced budgets, competitive taxation levels and internal free trade by distributing grants or delivering programs. I cannot help but wonder if the government is at odds with itself in the design of this bill.

Today, in this very Chamber we heard the member for Kootenay East refer to the Minister of Finance and his press release, explicitly stating and I quote: "That the private sector is the core of the economy and that government's role requires a fundamental redesign". I quote the Minister of Finance as well: "If Canada is to become more productive, government must become more productive too. We must shift from trying to fix every problem ourselves. And if government activities still do not serve a significant public purpose they should not be continued. I say let us go to it and eliminate grant giving and regional development programs altogether". The Minister of Finance has more to say on the subject: "Restoring the fiscal health is essential. If we do not do that job we will fail at everything else". He is absolutely right.

Here is an opportunity to create enormous savings. One department is being created out of four: the department of industry, science and technology; the broadcasting side of the department of communications; Investment Canada; and the department of consumer and corporate affairs. These changes were put in place under the previous short-lived government before it became apparent how Canada's fiscal situation really was.

Could not more have been done to bring fiscal sanity to bear here? Out of 6,000 positions within these four departments only 230 are being eliminated. That is less than 4 per cent. Out of a budget of $3 billion only $26 million is being eliminated. That is less than 1 per cent. I suggest that the proponents of this bill get hold of the press release of the Minister of Finance and study it.

The government does require a fundamental redesign, as the finance minister puts it. In the area of industry a whole new model is required. The federal government's goal in the industry department should be to establish and maintain a culture that rewards entrepreneurship, innovation and research, and which ensures a level, competitive and honest marketplace.

Hand in hand with this approach should be government policies that encourage free markets, enhance competition and treat all individuals and groups equally. Such policies will see too that business can trade fairly within Canada and that tax rates allow business to be competitive.

These are the kinds of changes industry requires for the 21st century. I hope the government is listening and will make the required changes so Canadian industry can compete and be healthy in the future.

Department Of Industry Act October 17th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I am not sure if I am hearing a drum roll over there or something more serious is happening; it is a bit disconcerting.