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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was victims.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Conservative MP for Abbotsford (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2004, with 61% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Budget March 30th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to have the opportunity to address the House on the budget. I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Lanark—Carleton.

I suppose I could talk a lot about what is missing in the budget and the problems that the government has with credibility and integrity on the sponsorship program and moneys that were inappropriately spent, but I have a much higher priority right now, and that is the issue of the avian flu in my riding.

The avian flu will cost individuals thousands and thousands of dollars and thousands of jobs will be lost. I just came from the agricultural committee where I had initiated a meeting on the avian flu. We have talked to a number of officials from the Canadian Farm Inspection Agency but I am still not satisfied that we have addressed the problem. Therefore, if I were to say that anything is missing out of the budget it would be attention to that particular issue and, since it is not there, we must find other ways to address the issue.

I want to give Canadians some facts on the impact of the avian flu. The poultry industry is in excess of a $1.5 billion industry in British Columbia. The current trade restrictions are costing the industry in excess of $15 million per week in lost revenue. Retailers, who have been traditional customers for the B.C. industry, are looking for alternate sources of supply which may require a long term commitment.

In addition, the B.C. poultry industry has now created the potential liability, in excess of $30 million by the end of March, as it has placed product in freezers on the lower mainland that cannot be shipped outside of the control area. In addition to the lost revenue, the B.C. industry is now facing incremental costs of over $10 million for the month of April. That is $2.6 million per week in costs associated with the culling of 600,000 to 800,000 healthy birds and hatching eggs per week. It is $400,000 per week in carrying costs associated with product now in freezers. With the pending reduction in production, in excess of 1,000 jobs will be lost in the processing industry commencing next week as production levels are scaled back to 50% of traditional levels.

Many farmers will face significant financial hardship as owners will be unable to service the debt on their farms and equipment. This, to say the least, is an extremely serious issue in my riding which depends a great deal on farm income, and it will be hit hard by this. The people involved certainly deserve some concrete answers and some hope that this issue will be dealt with rapidly.

I am very concerned about the amount of compensation that producers and processors will get. I know that CFIA talks about $33 a bird but that is really not the case. In most cases it is much less than that, likely $3 or so.

I therefore am asking the House of Commons to look at disaster relief for economic disasters and employment insurance relief for farmers, special measures. It would be ordinary to provide tax relief on the compensation dollars that farmers get. We could defer the tax on those dollars for some time, for years in fact. We can talk about the many ways for providing relief to these farmers. I am asking the House to do that.

I have spent a considerable amount of time talking to officials in British Columbia, the minister of agriculture, the provincial veterinarian, Ron Lewis, and the CFIA control centre. I have listened to producers and processors. I have had conference calls and we have initiated a parliamentary committee. However having the knowledge is one thing, but having the gift of Parliament to respond to these farmers well in advance of the situation hitting the hardest is paramount.

Rather than talk about the budget, I would like to place a request before the House of Commons for a concrete proposal to compensate those farmers, who have worked hard all their lives to make Canada a better place, for having to remove infected birds and for the downtime as a result of avian flu.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency March 25th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the avian flu is in my riding of Abbotsford. I have met with our provincial minister of agriculture and our province's chief veterinarian to further understand the problem.

I have also met with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to assess the damages. For three hours last night I listened while producers asked many questions of the CFIA. It is important for everybody to know that this flu affects birds and not people. I want to applaud the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for such a thorough investigation of the issue.

I also want to say that the government will be reimbursing farmers for destroyed birds, but we want the government to understand that there are other costs, such as cleanup, lost production time and lost birds due to the flu, that have to be looked at. We will be back to the government on that issue.

Petitions March 25th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, once again I am pleased to submit the signatures of thousands of people in support of Carley's law.

Whereas hit and run legislation in its current state does not provide an adequate sentence to offenders who leave the scene of an accident; and whereas an accused who has control of a vehicle who fails to stop at the scene of an accident should receive a minimum sentence of seven years for an accident causing death and a minimum of four years for an accident resulting in bodily harm; and whereas prosecutors should not be able to offer those accused of fleeing the scene of an accident the opportunity to plead guilty for an offence with a lesser punishment; the petitioners ask the government assembled in Parliament to vote in favour of Bill C-453, Carley's law, an act to amend the Criminal Code, failure to stop at the scene of an accident.

Petitions March 9th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I have thousands of signatures to submit to the House in support of Carley's law.

The petitioners say that whereas hit and run legislation in its current state does not provide an adequate sentence to offenders who leave the scene of an accident; and whereas an accused, who has control over the vehicle, who fails to stop at the scene of an accident should receive a minimum sentence of seven years for an accident causing death and a minimum of four years for an accident resulting in bodily harm; and whereas prosecutors should not be able to offer those accused of fleeing the scene of an accident the opportunity to plead guilty to an offence with a lesser punishment, they ask that the government vote in favour of Bill C-453, an act to amend the Criminal Code, failure to stop at the scene of an accident. This is in support of Carley's law.

Contraventions Act March 8th, 2004

Madam Speaker, although I am allocated three minutes, I believe I have a further 17 when we again resume debate.

In the next three minutes I will again try to summarize what the problem is. My colleague from Crowfoot and I spent about 18 months on a committee that we initiated in the House of Commons. The government had no impetus whatsoever to initiate a drug strategy or an investigation into the drug situation in Canada. We had to do that from opposition.

At the end of the committee, we had 41 recommendations, many of which I and my colleague subscribed to and some of which we did not. By the way, the overriding recommendation was that abstinence would be the overriding policy throughout the drug strategy. We found out subsequent to that, that the government was into safe injection houses and that it was supporting all kinds of harm reduction techniques. What the government did was take these recommendations, set them aside and brought in this little bill on the decriminalization of marijuana. For goodness sake, I do not know what motivates those people on the other side.

We are talking of hundreds, if not close to one or two thousand people dying every year from the overdose of drugs. If it were from being shot, there would have been a bill effectively dealing with that. If it were for other reasons and if that many people were dying every year, there would have bills all over the place. Instead the government lets this stuff die on the side.

I do not understand for a minute why the government will not deal with crystal meth addiction, with cocaine addiction and with heroin addiction by advertising to our young people, and not through bureaucrats but through the Canadian Medical Association, the people to whom young people will listen. I do not understand why those issues are not dealt with by the government.

During our discussions in the drug committee, time and time again my colleague and I tried to point the committee in the right direction. We found two departments getting the bulk of the money. We also found that, without exception, everybody on the committee freely admitted that those two departments were the worst offending departments. They had no idea where they were going. They had no objectives. They did not know what they were accomplishing or where they were spending the money. What happened? The government came out later on and said that it would give $248 million to these two departments.

The failure is in government. Again it is the government's spending habits about which my colleague just spoke.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Contraventions Act March 8th, 2004

Madam Speaker, they are getting a little excited. The problem is there are all kinds of flaws with the bill. There are issues that are not dealt with in the bill.

The government has not even looked at crystal meth. It has not looked at grow ops or roadside assessment. It has not looked at the damage done in the country by way of heroin and cocaine. It has not looked at advertising to young people and to those who are doing it. It has not looked at the mess that Correctional Service Canada and Health Canada have created.

I would ask my colleague this. We come to the House of Commons in a partisanship way. Why can we not as adult politicians in this place come together and try to get a national drug strategy that is meaningful to all Canadians, young people and their parents? Why can we not do that together instead of a government--

Contraventions Act March 8th, 2004

Madam Speaker, it is interesting that once in a while we get an intervention from the other side. However, there have been basically no speeches from over there. I guess it shows the lack of understanding, although the hon. member across the way tried to explain what the government was doing. The lack of understanding of what we are saying shows that this is not going to register well with most Canadians.

The government has brought in a bill to decriminalize marijuana. It has not got straight the amounts that it is decriminalizing. It has options. The fines differ for young people and older people for some reason. They have put maximum penalties instead of minimums because the judiciary is not giving anywhere close to the maximums.

The government has not addressed the roadside assessment capability of drugged driving and drunk driving and a combination thereof. It has not dealt with the severe damage, and there goes the member. The member does not even stay in the House.

Contraventions Act March 8th, 2004

Madam Speaker, the sad part about all of this is that the House of Commons studied drugs for the first time in 1972 for 18 months and made 41 recommendations, many of which could have been implemented. The government looked at the recommendations and said that they were more conservative than they should be so it got rid of this issue and threw out the decriminalization of marijuana idea.

Meanwhile, as my colleague has just said, we in Canada suffer from the lack of a drug strategy. We suffer from many young people dying from and getting addicted to other serious drugs. The government is basically doing nothing about it. Canadians should know that the government's philosophy on drugs is probably one of the poorest in the world and that would include Holland.

One of the things that is a real problem with the bill is that the government will tell all Canadians that this marijuana bill will get tough on marijuana grow ops. It has put maximum penalties in place. There has not been a maximum penalty issued in British Columbia, as near as I can find, for about 10 years. That is under the old regime, so what the government is saying is that we will have penalties for $25,000 for grow ops.

People will virtually walk away with a $200 fine or a $500 fine. In my area in particular, we have over 400 grow ops ruining houses for young people who are buying them. Crystal meth labs that the government is not even dealing with are ruining houses, and killing people and addicting kids at a faster rate than heroin.

I would like to ask my colleague, who is a former attorney general of Manitoba, a question. What purpose would a law serve if there is a maximum penalty or a ceiling on a penalty that says if there is a grow op of a certain number of stalks, the offender could be fined up to $50,000 or X number of years in prison, when in the courtrooms many lawyers and judges are saying we should legalize it. The maximum penalty issue is not there because they are getting minimum penalties.

What is the purpose of establishing a law that in effect will not be applied?

Contraventions Act February 25th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, on these grow ops and crystal meth labs, we must have minimum penalties and minimum fines. It cannot be at the discretion of the judges because they are not using it.

Facilities owned by dealers must be seized. Vehicles must be seized as proceeds of crime. This is not something where there is discretion.

I recently saw a judge use discretion and this happened in my riding in Langley. There was a drug bust. The drugs were in the same room with $400,000 wrapped up in vacuum plastic about 10 feet away from the drugs. The police seized the drugs and took the dealers to court. The judge said that there was no proof that the money which was wrapped up 10 feet away was gained by way of drugs. He said that it could have been gained legitimately as the dealers claimed who, by the way, were previously busted. Therefore, he gave the money back to the dealers. He gave 400,000 tax free dollars back to the dealers on something he felt could not be proven. Who keeps $400,000 cash stashed in a room? No business person does that.

That money should have been seized. It should have been given to the Crown or at least to the police agency that seized it and used for better purposes.

Contraventions Act February 25th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I not only reported it to the police but I wrote a letter to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, as a matter of fact. All I was told was that they could not tell me because of privacy.

I can say this. Again, I think it is reprehensible that a financial institution in this country would knowingly be funding mortgages for grow ops. That is a fact. It has been on television; I have the documents here. It is either a fact or a coincidence that over 400 mortgages have come out of that one institution. The one individual I referred to who has been on welfare for six years or so and never had any money when he came into the country has three houses and all three are mortgaged by the one institution. I would say that is not really a coincidence.

Yes, I did report it.