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

Yukon First Nations Land Claimssettlement Act June 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, about a month ago I rose to speak on Bill C-16, the Sahtu land claim.

At that time I told the House we were setting a very dangerous precedent and we are following along the same footsteps today. Bill C-33 gives two square miles of deeded land per person in this land claim. Just to put this into perspective, my family has a farm in northwestern Alberta. We have two square miles of land that we farm and it has supported a family of six people. If we were to work this out, two square miles per person comes to twelve sections of land per person.

Let us put this into perspective for a moment. When my family came to Canada in 1869 from England they got 205 acres. We are talking about 12,000 acres here. This is a lot of land. I think it sets a very dangerous precedent.

In the Peace River riding I have six land claims that have not been settled that we want to move forward. It seems to me that every land claim that is settled we start to build and build on it at a time when Canada has a major debt and deficit.

I wonder if the government has given some thought to the implications of how this is going to play out in all the land claims settlements throughout the country. Thirty-five thousand dollars roughly per person in this particular land claim settlement using the model again of a family of six represents $200,000 plus twelve square miles of land.

I have to ask the question, where do we go from here? We have a lot of land claims in the province of British Columbia that are coming up. Are we going to be borrowing more money from places like Japan and the United States to pay out on land claims? We have to think very carefully of the cost of what we are doing here and the precedent we are setting.

Yukon First Nations Self-Government Act June 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that when this government wants to implement something it agrees with like native self-government, it seems it can be done very quickly, but when it comes to cancelling the Pearson airport deal that is another matter. The former government was wrong and lot of blame was put on it. Now this government seems to be hiding behind the skirts of the former government in that the deal was negotiated so now it has to be finalized. I do not think that is a good enough argument.

Yukon First Nations Self-Government Act June 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have that question asked. We have been trying to find out from this government, the minister of Indian affairs and the Prime Minister himself. On many occasions we have asked them to define what native self-government means and we have been unable to get any kind of a direct answer. They have been very evasive.

The most important question that needs to be asked is: What does native self-government really mean? Is it municipal government, provincial government or federal government? Those kinds of parameters have to be spelled out before we can embark along what we know is going to be a very long trail because a lot of other land claims are going to be coming before us.

I still think we need to defeat this bill. I hope the Senate will have enough common sense to send it back to the House and make this government define more clearly what self-government means.

Yukon First Nations Self-Government Act June 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak on this very important topic this afternoon.

I spoke a month ago on Bill C-16 which laid out a settlement for land claims with the Sahtu Indian bands. I stated at that time that I was opposed to the bill on the grounds that it was overly generous. I also stated my concerns that the bill was setting a dangerous precedent. My thinking on these two bills before us today is much the same.

I support the concept of self-sufficiency and self-reliance inherent in the successful land claim settlement process. In no way do I argue with these in principle. I also encourage this government to dismantle the department of Indian affairs and let the people involved conduct their own affairs.

This approach develops responsibility and places decision making in the hands of those most directly involved.

Bill C-33 will validate land claims entered into between Her Majesty, the Government of the Yukon Territory and certain First Nations of the Yukon Territory. Bill C-34 is an act respecting self-government for the First Nations of Yukon territory. These two bills represent only four land claim agreements and four self-government agreements. There are 10 more of each to come in the Yukon. I might add there are about six pending in my riding of Peace River.

The 14 land claim agreements would convey fee simple 16,000 square miles of land for these 14 bands. As my colleagues have said, that is equivalent to roughly three-quarters the size of Nova Scotia. The Government of Canada also agrees to pay $243 million in 1989 dollars over a period of 15 years. That is very substantial.

Clause 5 of Bill C-33 would allow the other 10 land claim agreements to be ratified by the approval of cabinet rather than by Parliament as a whole. In much the same way, clause 5 of Bill C-34 allows the self-government agreement to be ratified by cabinet as well.

At the present time, law making in Yukon is entrusted to two legislative bodies in Canada: the Parliament of Canada and the Yukon legislature. When this bill is passed, the number of governments having the right to pass laws in Yukon or parts of Yukon will go from two to sixteen. This means there will be more bureaucracy, more taxes, more laws and more rules and regulations. How can this possibly be in the best interests of Canada? We have just heard from my colleague from Okanagan that some of these are very small in terms of the amount of people involved and the efficiency of skills certainly cannot be achieved.

A number of questions need to be addressed. Will the new self-government have to function within the provincial, territorial or federal framework? That is a very important question that needs to be answered for Canadians. Why is it not spelled out explicitly that the self-governments must respect the authority of the Parliament of Canada?

Does the Canadian charter apply? Obviously it does not. Why is it not specifically spelled out in this legislation that the Canadian charter should apply?

The population of Yukon is about 32,000. To accommodate 20 per cent of that population, some 7,300 people, we are going to have 14 new governments. That does not make any sense to me. Who is going to pay for these governments? The country is already borrowing heavily abroad to finance the excessive spending of our federal government. Do we really want to ask the Japanese or the Americans to finance 14 more governments?

Let me read to members clause 24 of Bill C-34 which deals with funding: "The minister may, with the approval of the governor in council and subject to appropriations by Parliament, enter into an agreement with a First Nation, for the provision of funding by the Government of Canada to the First Nation over the period of time and subject to the terms and conditions specified in the agreement". To me, that sounds like a blank cheque and I do not think Canadian taxpayers will buy it.

Frankly, I am not prepared to commit my children and my grandchildren to who knows how many millions of dollars in future payments. I am not prepared to set this kind of precedent for future aboriginal self-government agreements.

As a member of the Reform Party I support the expeditious settlement of land claims leading to self-sufficiency. That is a very important distinction, self-sufficiency. I also support a modest form of municipal style self-government. That is a very important first step before we embark on any other notions that it may be federal or provincial. Bill C-34 goes much beyond that. I simply cannot support the direction in which these two bills are taking us.

I further object to the underhanded way in which these two bills are being pushed through. The Liberal red book promised integrity in Parliament, yet these bills were introduced only last week. Surely there is more time. This House has to work effectively. One week is certainly not enough time for MPs. These bills were introduced only last week with second reading occurring today. How can MPs properly prepare a response and debate a very complex package that took some 21 years to prepare in such a very short time?

The agreements made so far which Parliament is now asked to ratify are nine inches thick. That gives some perspective of what is involved here and how complex they are. They represent only four of fourteen land claim agreements and only four of the fourteen self-government agreements.

If Bills C-33 and C-34 are passed, only cabinet will have to approve the other 10 yet to come. There is something seriously wrong here. I will vote against these bills and I urge my colleagues in this House to do the same.

1995 Canada Games June 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the 1995 Canada Games are being held in Grande Prairie in my riding of Peace River. The Canada Games are the country's top amateur athlete competition.

Yesterday evening the identities of the first ever Canada Games honorary chairpersons were announced. They are Alexandre Daigle and Kerrin Lee-Gartner. These two outstanding Canadian athletes need little introduction.

Alexandre Daigle, now a star with the Ottawa Senators, participated in the last Canada Winter Games in 1991 playing hockey for Team Quebec.

Kerrin Lee-Gartner, a resident of Alberta, thrilled Canadians with her Olympic gold medal finish in the downhill event in Albertville in 1992.

In their role as honorary chairpersons, these two accomplished athletes will appear on printed material and in radio, television and newspaper advertising promoting the games.

I hope my colleagues in the House will join them in capturing the vision, the slogan for the games.

Budget Implementation Act May 26th, 1994

It might be a better investment.

National Defence May 5th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, that seems to be a little bit more smoke and mirrors. The Prime Minister has stood in this House and repeatedly asked for ways to save money. It has been suggested that in this department there could be a $25 million saving.

The Ottawa Citizen and the member for Waterloo have both called for an inquiry into the wasteful way in which household moves are conducted. Will the minister come clean with taxpayers and order such an inquiry?

National Defence May 5th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of National Defence.

On two previous occasions, January 26 and February 15, I have asked the minister about the excessively high rates his department pays for the household moves of military personnel. I have never received a satisfactory answer.

I am well aware that the minister has managed to get a 10 per cent reduction in the last tender due to adverse publicity, but this has only scratched the surface of waste and mismanagement.

I ask the minister again today, what is he doing to bring more open and fair competition to defence department household moves?

Sahtu Dene And Metis Land Claimsettlement Act May 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I live in one of those large northern ridings where there are many reserves and Metis settlements.

I am very concerned about the precedent the government is setting with this overly generous settlement. I support the concept of self-sufficiency and self-reliance inherent in the successful land claim settlement process. In no way do I argue with the principle.

However I encourage the government to dismantle the department of Indian affairs and let the people involved conduct their own affairs. This approach develops responsibility and places decision-making in the hands of those most directly involved.

Let us deal with the magnitude of the settlement. Seventeen hundred and fifty-five people will be receiving a financial package of $130 million, including interest. The land being handed over is equivalent to eight square miles per person.

I will put this into perspective. When my forefathers came to Canada in 1869, over 100 years ago, they received 210 acres of farmland in the Muskoka Lakes area for a family of nine people. By comparison each person, not each family, receives a settlement of 5,120 acres. With this kind of generosity I do not think there is any doubt how these 1,755 people will be voting in the future.

My own farm operation in northwestern Alberta, one that my wife and I have built up over 30 years, involves 1,280 acres, two sections of farmland. Compare this to eight sections per person in the settlement. I know a lot of farmers who would not mind finding out that their land was being claimed as a settlement and getting a payout under this generous rate.

Let us not forget that the original treaty agreement called for each person to receive just 120 acres, about 5,000 acres less than is now being proposed.

In addition to the more than generous settlement of land and money, the people involved will still enjoy their aboriginal status and still have access to all present and future aboriginal programs, as well as access to resource development.

My colleagues have spoken about the very great potential for resource development in the area. The agreement allows the Sahtu to have shared resource revenue resulting from development, something which most Canadians do not enjoy.

In conclusion, it is clear that the government is setting a very bad precedent, one it will be pressured into meeting in future claims. We all know a lot of land claim settlements need to be resolved in the future. I think this one is a very bad precedent indeed. It comes at a time when our country is staggering under a burdensome debt. We cannot afford this kind of settlement.

I suggest we send the bill back to the drawing board. The government can do better. It must do better.

General Agreement On Tariffs And Trade May 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplemental.

Can the Prime Minister outline for the House what steps he is going to personally take to assure that this trade war does not spread and threaten to become a full fledged trade war world-wide?