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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was particular.

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

Won his last election, in 2004, with 48% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Civil Marriage Act June 28th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member opposite is trying really hard to represent her constituents. She made that very clear. She at first was a little apologetic about perhaps not being as eloquent as some of her colleagues, but her heart came through. Sometimes communication is not so much contained in the eloquence but rather in the heart. I want to commend her for that.

The member is really proud of the fact that she can have a free vote. I fully concur with that. That is certainly what the Conservative Party believes in very much. I am wondering whether she would accord the same kind of privilege to the members of the cabinet. Should they too have a free vote, or are they somehow circumscribed that they may not have the freedom that she is accorded to vote the way their constituents would want them to vote, or their conscience would like them to vote? Would she accord the same kind of freedom to the cabinet as she would to herself?

Civil Marriage Act June 28th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I would like to make certain comments on some of the points the member has raised. The issues I want to address concern the ethics, the legality and equality.

I think the hon. member suggested that civil unions somehow would not be a legal situation under the charter. I would like to suggest that in the proposed legislation, we are dealing with committed adult relationships and these relationships are different. A man married to a woman is one relationship and two people of the same sex together is a different relationship.

I do not think anyone in this place would argue the fact that men and women are different and yet before the law they are treated equally. It is the treatment that is the important thing and this is where the equality rests, not in the fact that they are the same.

When it comes to human relationships I think the mistake is often made that somehow equality means the same. Well I know and I am sure everyone in the House knows that men and women are clearly different, and that the relationship between a man and a woman who are married and two men or two women together in a relationship is different. What is significant is that it is the treatment they receive that makes them equal.

The obligations, the privileges and the benefits given each couple are the things that ought to be equal between the two particular arrangements. However there is nothing wrong with identifying these relationships as being different and they can be separate.

I know some would argue that if the situations are separate then they are not equal but that simply defies the reality of life. Men and women are different. Men and women can be treated equally before and under the law and there is nothing wrong with that difference between men and women. In fact, that is a good difference.

I would like to suggest that in recognizing same sex unions and according them the same rights, privileges, protections and obligations as heterosexual couples, the equality argument falls away. It is perfectly consistent with the provisions of Canada's Constitution because it shows respect and tolerance and is therefore clearly non-discriminatory. The recognition clearly accepts that while different, same sex couples are and should be treated the same as heterosexual couples.

The issue is one of a clear differentiation on the basis on which sound policy and laws can be formulated. Hence, the issue is to recognize that in adult relationships and relationship laws, the equality is not found in sameness of relationships but rather in the equality of the treatment of those relationships.

Technology Partnerships Canada June 27th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, that is typical Liberal rhetoric. Despite admitting that $2 million in TPC funds has already been misappropriated in the form of kickbacks to Liberal lobbyists, the minister refuses to put a stop to it.

Now he is asking the public to trust an audit conducted by his own office. When will the minister take responsibility for his department's failure, ask the Auditor General of Canada to conduct a full audit and stop the misappropriation of these TPC funds?

Technology Partnerships Canada June 27th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry has acknowledged in this House that $2 million of TPC money has been paid to the wrong people and not to legitimate companies seeking funding.

Has the minister issued an order that no officer of TPC is to meet in the future with lobbyists on behalf of companies seeking TPC grants? Has he put a stop to it?

Technology Partnerships Canada June 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his optimism, but Canadians do not share it. I am quite certain he can understand why. They do not trust the government or its ability to manage funds properly.

Will the Prime Minister give his word that no moneys from the technology partnerships program found their way to the Liberal Party of Canada?

Technology Partnerships Canada June 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry has publicly admitted that money from the Technology Partnerships Canada program ended up in the wrong hands. Yet despite assurances that he will get to the bottom of it, the minister is delaying the release of his findings until September.

Canadians cannot handle another cover-up. If the Minister of Industry is really serious about getting to the bottom of this, will he ask the Auditor General to conduct a full audit so that Canadians can be assured of the truth?

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain Payments June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, that is true, they did indeed spend it as they wanted to, but the other interesting thing is that they did not even spend it in terms of the intent of the program itself.

The intent of the program was to promote federalism in Canada but what they really did was take about half of it for that program and it actually was spent in advancing the cause of federalism and the other roughly half of it went to their friends. That was not just having the freedom to do something but that was actually fraudulently using money in a way that it was never intended.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain Payments June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, that question gives me the opportunity to use another word. It seems to me that not only is this a question of integrity, it is a question of gullibility.

Is it really possible that the NDP members, after the history they have seen of the Liberal Party, would believe that this kind of thing could actually happen? I think that is really what is happening here.

In a sense I would wish that their gullibility is not necessarily rewarded, but maybe it will be and they will get nothing.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain Payments June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I love that question. That is absolutely fantastic. This word “may” is great. Coming from the hon. parliamentary secretary that is doubly great.

I thank the hon. member very much for his very kind and complimentary remarks. However, I really cannot help but build on the word “may”.

The finance minister may spend money either under Bill C-43 or Bill C-48 or both. Does this then mean that this budget may happen or it may not? Is this another one of those promises that will never be realized? Is that really what this is all about. We have a Liberal government that may do what it says it will do? That is an insult of extreme proportions. Talk about a vacuous statement, “May do something, but we probably won't”.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain Payments June 16th, 2005

We have a $4 billion budget on one page. Let us compare that with Bill C-43, which is 110 pages. There obviously has to be some major difference between the legislations.

I agree that Bill C-43 probably represents something just under $200 billion. Bill C-48 represents $4.5 billion. Bill C-43 goes into all kinds of details, saying what will happen, where it will happen, how it will happen, who will be responsible for the spending, what the objectives are and how it will be accounted for. We can measure the purposes that have been set, how that money will be spent and then determine whether the results have been achieved. If we compare that with Bill C-48, there is absolutely nothing even close to that in the bill.

Let me read a couple of the sections. It is amazing. The Minister of Finance has the authority, according to Bill C-48, in conjunction with the governor in council, to “develop and implement programs and projects”. It does not say what programs, it does not say what plans and it does not say anything about the projects.

Second, he can “enter into an agreement with the government of a province, a municipality or any other organization or any person”. He does not have to; he may.

Third, he may “make a grant or contribution or any other payment”. Subsection (e) says he can “incorporate a corporation any shares or memberships of which, on incorporation, would be held by, on behalf of or in trust for the Crown”. That means that the Minister of Finance can set up corporations, the Government of Canada will own them and there is absolutely no recourse. He just buys a company.

However, it goes beyond that. The Minister of Finance can “acquire shares or memberships of a corporation that, on acquisition, would be held by, on behalf of or in trust for the Crown”. That means under this bill the minister can now buy a corporation which at the moment is privately owned or owned by an organization and transfer that ownership from an individual to the Government of Canada. He is authorized to do that. He is also authorized to make expenditures for affordable housing, foreign aid and training programs.

I do not think there is anyone in the House who is not aware that education and training programs, education in particular, is the jurisdiction of the provinces. Yet we have the Minister of Finance authorized to get into what is a jurisdiction of the provinces. He may make arrangements with the provinces covered under another section, but he is not obligated to do so. He can unilaterally move into the situation.

My colleagues have indicated so clearly where this agreement took place and how it was actually formulated. I do not know. I was not there. However, I will say one thing for sure, I do not know how they can make Canadians think they are being responsible by writing on a single piece of paper the expenditure of $4.6 billion of our hard earned money without any particular plan or direction and with only vague generalities, except let us spend the money here and there.

Let us go into some of these areas.

The Liberals will do training programs. What kind of training programs? Will they be university training programs? Will they be training programs of a technical nature in a technical institute? Will they be partnership type programs where industry is part of it, or where a university may be a part of it or a technical institute may be a part of it? Will they be apprenticeship programs? Will they be new kinds of programs where innovations, technology and new development take place? None of that is described in any way, shape or form.

Let us go into the housing area. What kind of housing will the government be building? It does not give us any indication. Will it be aboriginal housing? It is supposed to be affordable housing. Will it be affordable housing in Swift Current? What is the criteria of affordable housing? There is no indication as to who will do it, whether it will be done through one of the agencies that exist in Canada now or whether it will be done through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation or any other organization. There is no indication as to how this will be done.

Therefore, how could we hold the government to account? There is no way. It cannot be done, not according to this bill. It is simply a blank cheque deferred into the future some time and it can spend the money.

Guess what. This money is supposed to come out of the surplus. First, we take $2 billion off the top and devote that to debt repayment. Then if there is anything left, we can spend another $4.5 billion. We know the budget that currently exists will have at least that kind of money, so I think the money will be there to do that. However, if it is not there, then the minister is unable to spend this money.

Therefore, it creates a real problem. It creates a problem for us as taxpayers. We are being asked to fork over $4.6 billion and we have no assurances as to how this money will be spent. It hurts us because we are being asked to put that money forward. Then we have a group of people who are expecting something for this money. People who do not have affordable housing now think that it will be provided. People who do not have adequate training now think that will be provided but it may not happen. There are no assurances.

I want to compare this with what happened under Bill C-43. I am only going to deal with two parts and how different Bill C-43 is from Bill C-48.

I will read only one part of it. It has to do with the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. This is one particular provision. It is only one part of 24.

For Canadians who are listening, there are 10 pages essentially of detailed information as to how the Asia Pacific Foundation will help the development of economic development through our relationships with Asia-Pacific countries. That is one area which really becomes very specific.

Then we can go on to another section, which is every bit as significant to us. That is the section that deals with Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador additional fiscal equalization offset payments. We also have 10 pages of detail as to how the money will be spent, what it will be spent on, how the organization will be set up and its responsibilities and how it can be held to account if it does not spend the money it was asked to spend.

Those are only two sections of the 24 in Bill C-43 that are specific. There are some things in it that obviously we would have some questions about, but at least we have a direction and at least we have a clear indication of what is going to happen. That is not the case with Bill C-48.

In Bill C-48 there is no accountability. There is no responsibility. It is simply a blank cheque deferred into the future. The Liberals are going to spend $4.5 billion of Canadian money and they are going to spend it the way they want to on any particular day.

That is not the way to run the country. That is not the way to spend $4.5 billion. Canadians should feel insulted by this kind of behaviour.