House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was money.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for Edmonton—St. Albert (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Hidden agenda? There are hidden agendas here and there. The Liberals are going to keep us here to get Bill C-48 through, which is the NDP budget, the tail wagging the dog.

I see nothing about Bill C-48 in budget plan 2005. I can go through all the documents. I can go through the budget speech by the Minister of Finance. I can do a full review of the budget and move toward a green economy in the budget. I can move on to securing our social foundations in the budget. I can see achieving a productive and sustainable economy in the budget. I see a new deal for Canadian communities in the budget. I can see meeting our global responsibilities, the budget in brief, in the budget. However I do not see a word about Bill C-48.

How did this conversion on the road to socialism become all of a sudden such a big deal, this two page budget spending $4.5 billion with no programming whatsoever? The Liberals are just saying that we should spend the cash, blow it out the door without having a program by which to deliver it.

They talk about more money for housing. We do not disagree with more money for housing but all it says is:

for affordable housing, including housing for aboriginal Canadians, an amount not exceeding $1.6 billion;

In the province of Alberta and right across this country we are going to build more than 200,000 housing units this year. For the fourth year in a row we are now going to exceed 200,000. The building industry is going flat out. Construction workers are working at the maximum. I am thinking about putting an addition on my house and I cannot even get people to do it because they are all working so hard. How are we going to be able to put another $1.6 billion into housing, apart from just creating an inflationary environment in the housing market? The Liberals do not think about that. They just say that if this is what it takes to get the NDP, that is what it takes.

It also talks about the energy efficient retrofit program for low income housing. We have a program for retrofit of energy inefficient houses. We are building the industry. We cannot just expand it in an explosive way overnight because that does not work. I am surprised the members of the NDP agreed to this but I am not surprise that the Liberals promised them anything.

However this budget will not work. A year from now the Auditor General will be saying that things are falling off the rails.

I am opposed to Motion No. 17 that would allow us to continue to debate Bill C-48 and Bill C-38 because both of those bills should have been in the trash can. If that were to happen then we could get on with doing the real business of Canada.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Madam Speaker, in any event, budget plan 2005 does not even mention anything that is in Bill C-48. This just appeared magically, all of a sudden.

Bill C-48 does talk about putting $900 million into the environment. The government says this is important, but let us take a look back to the springtime when the government tabled the budget. It was going to put $5 billion into the environment over the next five years, $1 billion for the innovative clean air fund, $225 million to expand the successful EnerGuide for houses retrofit incentive program, $200 million for this and $200 million for that. That was a budget that the Conservative Party supported.

All of a sudden the government said, “We want to bring in the NDP as our friends and we are going to spend another $900 million on the environment just to buy their love”. Bill C-48 is not urgent. it is not dollars that are needed. Bill C-48 is for the Liberal Party. This is not for the people of Canada.

Then we go on to things like education and support for training. What does the big document say? Education, investment in Canadian capabilities, investing in people, $5 billion over five years to start building a framework for learning, and $120 million over five years for first nations children, $398 million for integration, supported by the Conservative Party no less. That is not enough for the NDP members. They need more.

What about housing? The Minister of Finance is going to deal with first nations housing. He is going to deal with development assistance abroad. On page 206 there is an increase of $3.4 billion over the next five years so we can meet our international obligations for the poor in Africa and the poor elsewhere around the world. That is important. The NDP wants to squeeze another $500 million out of the Canadian taxpayer, even though we as the Conservative Party supported this budget of $3.4 billion in extra foreign aid. This is generous. Now there is another $500 million to buy the support of the NDP. This is not about public policy. This is not about helping Canadians. This is about helping the Liberals stay in power with the support of the NDP.

There are only 308 members in the House, half on that side and half on this side. The House is evenly divided as everyone knows. We have had too many tied votes around here recently.

That is the price of buying the NDP, $4.5 billion, out of the pockets of Canadian taxpayers. It is rather unfortunate.

Then we have Bill C-38, the same sex marriage bill. The Supreme Court brought down its reference response last December, as I recall. That is more than six months ago. All of a sudden there is a great urgency to get this bill out of the way. Two weeks ago the Prime Minister gave the indication that we could deal with this in the fall, but he has had a change of heart. He wants it done now. We wonder why he wants it done now and he wants to keep us around here to get it done, even though many Canadians, perhaps even a majority of Canadians have said, “We don't want this legislation”.

Everyone acknowledges and has agreed and given to same sex couples the same benefits that any other couple enjoys. But the word “marriage” is a hallowed name, a word that has come to us down through the centuries. The government is going to change the definition of every dictionary in the land and even around the world because it wants to capitulate and give the definition of marriage to same sex couples.

We disagree with that and half of people in the country, or more, disagree with that.

I think the Liberals have found out that the polls are moving against them on this issue. On that basis, they wanted to get this issue out of the way so that in the summertime it would not fester. They wanted to have smooth sailing, hopefully, into the next election. Well, it will not be smooth sailing into the next election because we will ensure that the people who are opposed to this will show up at on polling day and register their concern and their absolute disgust at what the government has done.

I was talking to a friend of mine who is in the polling business and he told me that this was intergenerational, that the younger people tend to support same sex marriage and the older generation say “no way”. It is interesting that the people who say “yes, there is nothing wrong with same sex marriage” when they are young, tend to change their mind when their children arrive. Their children, of course, come from a heterosexual relationship and no other kind of relationship that I am aware of. When their children arrive they are the ones changing diapers, raising them and doing everything that parents do. I know this as I am also a proud parent. However we realize that perhaps the heterosexual relationship is not only the normal way but the right way and the way that has to be endorsed by society and that is what marriage is all about.

The question we have to ask is why the big rush.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

No, I am just getting warmed up.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, in response to the member from the Bloc, let me point out that it was not the Conservative Party that proposed this motion. Motion No. 17 came from the government side. The government is asking that we sit until midnight every night, including tonight. I agree with the member that the celebrations of St. Jean Baptiste should have a lot more importance than sitting here talking about a motion to sit until midnight every night next week.

One of the things in Motion No. 17 being proposed by the government side, which makes one wonder exactly where the Liberals are coming from, is that Parliament would not come back potentially for 95 days after we recessed. If we are here all next week until June 30, July has 31 days, August has 31 days and September has 30 days. That would still leave another three days in October. The Standing Orders say we are supposed to be back here on September 19.

Does the government have something up its sleeve for not wanting us back here until October? If we sit another couple of weeks, it means we will not be back until after Thanksgiving. I think the government owes us an explanation about the 95 days. It is amazing how the Liberals have put these little quirks in the motion and we do not know what they mean.

The motion is also an amendment to the Standing Orders. I would have thought that when the Standing Orders are amended, we would have a right to send them to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs for debate so it could be examined from every aspect. Every party could put their points forward. The committee could then bring a report to the House saying whether it agrees or does not agree. But no, the government just rides roughshod over Parliament and democracy. It brings in a motion with its new-found friends in the NDP and thinks it is going to ram it through. That is not democracy.

It is interesting that today we received the first annual report on democratic reform. The very day the government is running roughshod over democracy is the day that it brought out the very first report. The report does not say very much. It is only 16 pages long, including a foreword and a few blank pages. The first paragraph of the introduction states:

When the government was sworn into office on December 12, 2003, the Prime Minister made democratic reform a priority, saying, “We are going to change the way things work in Ottawa in order to re-engage Canadians in the political process and achieve demonstrable progress in our priorities”.

The report closes by stating:

Finally, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons will continue to oversee the parliamentary component of the Action Plan for Democratic Reform and work with all parliamentarians to ensure that Members of the House of Commons can effectively represent their constituents and continue to play their role in holding the Government accountable.

That report came out the very day that closure was introduced in the House of Commons. Can anyone square that circle? I cannot. The very day that this report has come out, we have had closure foisted upon us, and the report says, “to ensure that members of the House of Commons can effectively represent their constituents”. I am sorry but I find it rather disappointing that the government would present this report and closure on the same day.

We have talked about the introduction in the report. One of the headings is “Ethics and Integrity”. There is one page on ethics and integrity. Of course, this is on the day after the Ethics Commissioner released a damning report on the former minister of immigration. The Ethics Commissioner refused to look into the Prime Minister and his chief of staff and so on, but we have a page here on ethics and integrity saying that the government is going to do a great job on ethics and integrity. Well, I do not believe that.

There is another page or two on the restoration of the representative and deliberative roles of MPs. Now there is a big handle, but it means nothing on the day the government introduced closure. It is the hypocrisy that gets to us when we read these things. There is one on the expanded role of committees to shape and influence legislation, and here we have the procedure and House affairs committee being bypassed, ignored by the fact that this motion should have gone there and it has not. I could go on, but is there really any point?

Another one concerns the role of ministers and parliamentary secretaries. Last year, it was rather an unusual situation. As members know, I chair the public accounts committee and a year ago the public accounts committee was investigating the sponsorship scandal. It was rather interesting that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works during question period stand on that side of the House answering questions and defending the government. After that, we went down the hall, the committee resumed after question period and he was supposed to be investigating on behalf of Parliament. Within the space of a few minutes he would be there defending the government, answering questions from the opposition and then he would go to the committee to do the “investigation”. That is the role of parliamentary secretaries.

Anyway, I think we will just leave that report alone. It really does not say an awful lot because the democratic deficit, I think, is getting bigger and bigger. It is getting a lot bigger, not smaller. Therein is the problem. I would hope that we can deal with that soon so that we can have an election and move those guys from over there to over here, and we can really get some democratic reform in the House.

The reason we are having all of this foisted upon us is of course Bill C-48, all two pages of it. It is going to spend up to $4.5 billion with no plan. Not only is it going to spend $4.5 billion but it is going to be spent fast. It is going to be spent this year and next year. We have 18 months because we are well through the first part of fiscal year 2005-06. From April 1, 2005, we are already three months into the quarter. By the time the bill passes, gets through the Senate, we bring the Governor General back--I am sure she is going somewhere--and get her to sign this into legislation, then we start spending this $4.5 billion. We only have 18 months to do it. That is a pile of cash going out the door, but where is the money going to go?

Earlier today there was a member from Assiniboine who was talking about how Bill C-48 was essential, how it was urgent and how the dollars were required. I took a look at this document which is called “Budget Plan 2005”. It has several hundred pages, 420 pages. It is the budget plan presented in the House by the Minister of Finance on behalf of the Liberal Party.

How long did you say I had to speak, Madam Speaker, only one minute? There must be more than one minute. It was a 20 minute speech. I am just getting warmed up. I thought it was 20 minutes, Madam Speaker.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to congratulate the member on his engagement to Melissa Craig of Yukon. I noted that while he was supporting Bill C-38, which is the same sex marriage bill, he is opting for the more traditional form of marriage, so we would like to congratulate him on that as well.

New love is always something to behold. I say new, not young, because the member for Yukon is past the teenybopper stage, but I would just like to ask him this question since he is supporting the motion to stay here in Ottawa for a few more weeks, perhaps, rather than returning to Yukon. He is obviously more committed to the Liberal Party than to his new-found love. How is he going to be able to explain all this when he goes back home?

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I reiterate my earlier points of order. That was a wonderful speech on Bill C-38 and Bill C-48, but it had absolutely no relevance to Motion No. 17 that we are currently debating.

That being said, the member talked about how people have stated their positions, their minds are pretty well made up and will not change. Yet the Liberals did a complete and absolute U-turn a month or so ago, kind of a conversion on the road to embracing socialism I think, when the NDP went to them and said it had a deal which could keep them in government if they would keep the NDP in money. All of a sudden the U-turn occurred and the Liberals were embracing Bill C-48 that had nothing whatsoever to do with the budget of the Minister of Finance.

The member for Saint Boniface talked about Bill C-48 being essential, that it was urgent, and the dollars were needed. I go back to the budget of the Minister of Finance which did not have a word about all this money for the environment, education or housing. There was not a word.

All of a sudden this conversion on the road to embracing socialism seems to be the new thing for the Liberal Party because it wants to stay in power. This is not about public policy. This is about the personal desire to stay in power. The NDP thinks it is now the tail that can wag the dog and, therefore, it is basking in the new found power. All members on that side of the House are having a wonderful time at the taxpayers' expense.

Bill C-48 will spend up to $4.5 billion of taxpayers' money and is all of two pages in length. There is absolutely no substance to it. It talks about $1.5 billion for education.

I have a question for the member for Saint Boniface, who I know is a new guy and is just coming up to his first anniversary. If the $1.5 billion gets added to the millennium scholarship fund and will be spent over the next 20 odd years, is that going to be sufficient? Does he believe that will be an adequate way to spend this $1.5 billion in the scholarship fund when no one has any idea on what basis it is going to be spent at this point in time? Perhaps he could enlighten us.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I rise again on a point of order. We all have had a chance to listen to the member's speech. As I said, we are debating Motion No. 17 about whether we are going to extend the hours beyond the normal adjournment of tonight. It seems that the member is trying to get his speech in on the issues to be debated next week, if we are still here, in case the motion is defeated.

The member has yet to mention Motion No. 17 about whether we should extend the hours. That is the debate that we are having. If the member is going to get there, I would hope he gets there quickly so I can listen to his arguments.

Extension of Sitting Period June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I thought we were dealing with Motion No. 17.

The member is on about affordable housing and the bills that will that will come forward if the motion passes. I would have thought he would have been dealing with the issue of should we or should we not support the motion. If that carries, then he will have all the time in the world to talk about the other bills. Relevance surely is an issue. The issue is Motion No. 17, not affordable housing.

Committees of the House June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 18th report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts concerning Chapter 2, National Security in Canada, The 2001 Anti-terrorism Initiative: Air Transportation Security, Marine Security, and Emergency Preparedness, of the April 2005 report of the Auditor General of Canada. In accordance with Standing Order 109, your committee requests a government response within 120 days.

Questions on the Order Paper June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think you will find there is unanimous consent to return to presenting reports from committees.