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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

Supply April 18th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Whip of the Reform Party I wish to advise the House that pursuant to Standing Order 43(2), our speakers on this motion will be dividing their time.

As a preamble to my formal remarks I wish to recognize that whenever we want to introduce change, whether it is legislative, whether it is organizational change, whatever it might be, there needs to be first of all the acceptance of the recognition that something needs to be changed. There needs to be some ownership and some admission that everything is not as perhaps it ought to be.

My purpose this afternoon is to show that the federal language policy has failed in its primary objective which was and is to unify Canada. I submit it is doing the very opposite.

How does it do this? I will approach the answer from two perspectives. First, the federal language policy is unjust. Second, it is impossible or almost impossible to implement the provisions of the language policy.

On what grounds to I believe that the federal language policy is unjust? Justice is a word we use to describe doing what is right and fair. It describes the interaction of rights and obligations. A right is the legitimate expectation that one will be treated in a certain manner by other persons and institutions. An obligation is the duty of an individual or institution to treat another individual or institution in the expected manner.

Canada's language policy has not been guided by such a concept of justice. Instead it is the result of the strong dominating the weak, depending on where one lives in Canada. The concept that justice is nothing more than the personal interest of the powerful was successfully refuted many years ago by Plato.

It was Prime Ministers Pearson and Trudeau who had the great idea of bringing Canada long needed justice. Trudeau spoke often and eloquently about the just society. Simultaneously, with bringing about a just society these two Prime Ministers wanted to bring about national unity. They chose language policy as the vehicle to achieve it.

From the beginning, however, whenever the principle of justice clashed with the principle of unity justice was sacrificed. Thus the federal government took a contradictory stand. It subsidized French-speaking minorities outside Quebec and English-speaking minorities in Quebec. At the same time it was trapped into silently aiding an enforced French only unilingualism in Quebec.

Such a self-contradictory stand is unjust and in the long run destructive to national unity. Thus the federal government's policy has become inconsistent, confused and generally counterproductive.

Add to the injustice of this policy the perpetuation of ignorance among Canadians about the federal policy and we have the consequences of ignorance. When people are kept in ignorance about government policies that affect them there is great potential for breeding suspicion, resentment, prejudice and ultimately hatred.

Some of these attitudes are beginning to surface. If we want to unite Canada, we must have a language policy that is just and we must tell Canadians what it is.

Even the bilingual and bicultural commission understood justice in terms of the rights for the language minorities. It wanted a policy that was essentially utilitarian, the greatest good for the greatest number of people. It rejected the notion that every Canadian had the duty to become bilingual. The B and B commission report states a bilingual country is not one where all inhabitants necessarily have to speak two languages. Rather,

it is a country where the principal public and private institutions must provide services in two languages to citizens, the vast majority of whom may very well be unilingual.

In contrast to that fair and just position, federal language policy is now more in line with asymmetrical bilingualism. In practical terms, every day operational terms, that means protect French everywhere in Canada, especially in communities where there are few francophones, but do not extend the same rights to the English in Quebec.

This policy results in contradictory explanations of the federal language policy. In Quebec the policy is explained asymmetrically. In the rest of Canada it is explained from a utilitarian perspective.

The most disturbing aspect of all of this is that there is no single comprehensive vision of Canada and its linguistic identity. To achieve that requires a just language policy. Let us remember that only with a government that is just will we have a stable country.

I move to my second aspect of the federal language policy. I submit that the present language policy is difficult if not impossible to implement.

I wish to direct my attention particularly and the attention of this House to the third goal found in the 1988 Official Languages Act. The goals are that the proportion of French speakers and English speakers in the public service reflects Canada's linguistic make-up. This proportionate level of representation is to be achieved in the overall composition of the public service and at all levels of seniority and all fields of operation without infringing on the merit principle, hiring and promotion.

The hon. Minister of Justice talked a few minutes ago about the pragmatic application of that particular act. I suggest that in order for us to meet that goal it is impossible to hire on the basis of merit alone and that in some cases people will be hired on the basis of language alone.

Most recently the hon. Minister of National Defence on February 25, 1994 gave an even better illustration of how difficult it is to administer this act: "I want to tell the member that by 1997 anybody aspiring to the lieutenant-colonel rank of the military will have to be bilingual. That means we are putting on notice anglophones who want to be generals or chiefs of staff that they have to be totally and absolutely bilingual".

There are two problems. First, are anglophones the only ones who are being put on notice or are francophones being put on notice as well, or is this another example of asymmetrical bilingualism?

Second, can anyone ever claim to be perfectly bilingual?

After all is said and done regarding these things, the real issue for me is that I want Canada to be united, a country in which we can work together and respect one another in either of the two official languages without forcing each other to become individually bilingual.

Our country is bigger than any one of us individually. It is bigger than any one province or territory. It is only as we preserve justice for all that we will have a stable country. If we become greedy for power, for the power of self-serving, for special treatment, in this case because of language, we will tear this country apart.

Let us create a just language policy. Such a policy will combine common sense with reality. It will be affordable and make Canada an example of what a country can and should be.

That is the purpose of this motion. That is what we are debating. We hope the House will see it that way as well.

Young Offenders Act April 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, Jennifer Schuller and Tammy Carvallo are two grade 10 students from Mount Boucherie Secondary School in Kelowna, B.C., who have organized a petition on their own initiative to demand changes to the Young Offenders Act.

Jennifer and Tammy began the petition out of frustration at the inaction of police in responding to threats from another student. They were told that nothing could be done because the person issuing the threats was a juvenile. To date the students have collected over 950 signatures.

Our children are sending a loud and clear message to the government. It is time to take action and provide a Young Offenders Act that reflects the concerns of every member of our Canadian society.

Despite what the Minister of Justice has said in the House about attaching too much panic to this issue when the very people the act applies to do not think it is working, we have a very grave problem on our hands.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension Act March 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, are the same kinds of things that happened in the boundary changes of the member for Edmonton-Strathcona happening in Okanagan Centre? If I heard correctly the southwest portion of the constituency will be lost or will be added. There may be some confusion as to the economic and social benefits if this were to happen.

The southern part of Okanagan Centre is being taken out of the constituency and put into the Penticton riding or the Similkameen riding. That will not benefit that particular community because people naturally go to Cologne to do their shopping and so on.

Could the hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona detail exactly what is happening in his constituency with regard to the new boundaries?

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension Act March 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member for Calgary Southeast a question. I found her address extremely interesting and very

refreshing, particularly her reference that Parliament ought to become more effective and more efficient and her reference to how the other place might be changed.

Would it be possible for her to outline for us, in perhaps greater detail, how one could actually bring about a change of that sort and how it could relate to the House of Commons and make Parliament a more effective place?

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95 March 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise to debate on Bill C-14. I wish to speak to this bill in the context of the overall budget presentation by the Minister of Finance.

On the eve of the presentation of that budget the Prime Minister gave to the Minister of Finance a new pair of boots. Work boots, they were. By that act the Prime Minister said: "I am with you, Mr. Minister, and we want to get the people back to work".

The boots have no direction in and by themselves. The minister provides the direction and that is where things went awry. He created great expectations. A new process was presented to this House of Commons. We had a prebudget debate as never before. We had cross-country consultations from one end of this country to the other. It all turned out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. The individual Canadian felt uninvolved and unconnected.

Only an elite group of people was involved in the prebudget consultations. The Minister of Finance came back and told this House that the people were not opposed to broadening the tax base. It really meant increasing taxes. The people said: "You did not hear us. We do not want our taxes to increase".

He raised another expectation that this was going to be a tough budget. The people paid attention when the minister said that. They expected that the budget cuts would be tough and deep and that the budget cuts would be cutting particularly to the big spenders. They were willing to accept a tough budget not because they wanted less but because they knew it was the right thing to do.

It was right for them. It meant hope for jobs. It meant less government and interference in their business. It meant hope for a decent return on their investment and it contained prospects for continued prosperity. They also thought it was good for their children. In addition to those things they would get, their children would benefit through lower taxes, through a stronger dollar and a stronger economy.

What did we get? We got a blurred vision. We expected fairness and equity in cuts. While there were some cuts they were neither fair nor equitable. We got cuts in research which cut the KAON project in western Canada without a corresponding cut in central Canada. Research funds were increased for central Canada.

When one of the politicians in Ontario was told about the benefits and the characteristics of the KAON project, he was overheard to say that if it is that good it should be in Ontario-some foundation for equitable distribution of funds across Canada.

Second, we expected the budget to have an overall decrease in government spending. Instead, we got an increase of $3 billion. That increase adds to the national debt and smashes the hopes for lower taxes in the future.

Third, we were told that jobs would be plentiful. We discovered that the infrastructure program was to be the flagship that would start the economic engine and provide jobs. We looked for evidence as to where this would happen. There was none. The projected unemployment rate remains virtually constant throughout the projected budget years. Six billion dollars of infrastructure but no change in unemployment-what gain in jobs?

Fourth, we were promised that interest rates would remain stable, a little hope at last. We were suspicious. With increased spending and a larger debt could it be that interest rates would not rise? Last week the financial markets began to scold us and other borrowers globally. Especially in the United States interest rates began to rise.

The world around us is changing and Canada will be affected, whether the minister admits it or not. Rising interest rates spell bad news for a country that depends increasingly on foreign creditors to finance its government habit, annual deficits of $40 billion to $50 billion.

Our little calculators and computers showed us very clearly that as interest rates rise, interest payable rises, the deficit goes up, the proportion of the GDP required for interest payments goes up and our taxes go up, the very opposite of what we wanted.

The Prime Minister at various times in this House used words to tell us in effect that it is not good, indeed it is not moral, it is not carrying out our responsibility as guardians of the public purse if we do not pay increased spending with an increase in taxes.

It is immoral and irresponsible, he said, to place the burden for paying for our uncontrolled spending on the shoulders of our children and our grandchildren. He is the same Prime Minister who said to the finance minister: "Here is a new pair of boots". What for? To kick us and our children into an increasingly dismal future? We got a budget that destroyed both the vision and the promise of the Liberal red book as well as the promise for a tough and fiscally responsible finance minister.

Some say that is just a bunch of partisan rhetoric. Let us look at the international markets. Both stock and bond markets have taken a fright to the present prospect of higher U.S. and global interest rates. In this frightened market the finance minister added $40 billion of debt. That brings it now to a total of $550 billion by 1995. That is $20,000 for every man, woman and child in this country. As the interest rate rises the Canadian taxpayer must pay more. The discretionary spending decreases, the number of jobs is reduced and our consumer confidence goes down. Add that together and it is no surprise that people talk about a tax revolt.

However, it is not only interest rates. It is also confidence in the Canadian dollar. On March 2 and 3 the Canadian dollar dropped to below 74 cents. It is still there today. That increases the difficulty to borrow money from foreign creditors. All this adds up to an abrupt re-evaluation of Canada because the rest of the world is changing. Canada is not.

For example, the U.S. economy is growing at more than twice the rate of the Canadian economy. Its debt ratio to GDP is about half that of Canada. Hence, a rise in interest rates affects the market economy much less than it does Canada.

Within this context, the Minister of Industry said: "Many of our fellow citizens approach the future with more anxiety than hope. Our mission as a government is to offer hope but if hope is to be meaningful, it must be realistic. And so we have put forth in this budget a plan for the revitalization of the Canadian economy, a plan which I believe addresses the challenge and recognizes the opportunities that await Canada".

He then details a number of significant proposed plans and initiatives, many of which I agree with and commend him for. Of particular merit is the Canadian scholarship program of $24.7 million and the action agenda to help small business growth and to continue to generate jobs for Canadians.

I applaud him as he emphasizes "the need to change the culture and attitudes of employers and employees alike to the adoption of new technology. Advances in science and technology are driving productivity improvement everywhere in the world. In the 1990s no country can insulate itself from these new developments. We must organize ourselves to keep up with cutting edge technology and where possible move ahead. This is the essence of creating well paying jobs and growth in this decade."

He promises $100 million for the Canadian investment fund over four years and adds: "We will continue to seek additional funds in the private sector". The government will seek additional funds in the private sector. Where does he think the $100 million contribution came from? Did he create it? Did it fall from heaven? Did it come from the Prime Minister? No, it came from Canadian taxpayers, the most private sector there is.

The greatest catalyst for business is a reduction in taxes, a reduction in regulations, an elimination of interprovincial trade barriers, common standards of excellence in education and well trained personnel.

I challenge the minister. Will the Minister of Finance admit that this budget will not decrease government spending, will not decrease the tax burden of Canadians, will not lead to deficit elimination and will not meet the Liberal red book deficit reduction entirely? Will he instead challenge every parliamentarian and every committee to examine the estimates and then ask them to provide amendments that will decrease total government spending, that will at least not increase taxes to Canadians and lead to deficit elimination. Then the Minister of Finance will give Canadians a clear mission to provide hope and build confidence. He will be able to walk with pride in the new boots the Prime Minister gave him and we will have a 35th Parliament that will be democratic.

Immigration February 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, when will justice be served? When will we stop defending the rights of the criminal and defend the rights of the victim and potential victims?

I am referring to Michael Drake, a convicted child molester who was released on bail while he awaited his deportation hearing. That deportation hearing was held yesterday. Today, Michael Drake is again free on bail as his lawyer prepares to appeal the immigration board's decision to deport Michael Drake to the United States.

How many times will this happen before something is done? How many innocent people will have to become victims before the minister of immigration will ensure that offenders like Drake are not released on bail during the appeals process?

Okanagan Centre Constituency Association February 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, a great deal of attention is being given to a quotation by Adolf Hitler that was included in a newsletter produced by the Reform Party Okanagan Centre Constituency Association.

I was not aware of, nor do I condone the inclusion of the quotation in the newsletter. The president of the constituency association has already publicly apologized.

Insofar as I am able, this will not happen again.

Michael Drake February 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the minister of immigration.

On December 15, 1993, I sent a letter to the minister urging him to remember and to recognize that convicted child molester Michael Drake posed a serious enough threat to warrant detention but was released on bail and is still out on bail today.

To date I have heard nothing from the minister. What action is the minister of immigration prepared to take to ensure the safety of the children of British Columbia?

House Of Commons Standing Orders February 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member had listened carefully to my speech, he would have heard that I did applalud the government's actions in my speech.

House Of Commons Standing Orders February 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in the first instance there are other examples in which this technology has been and is being applied. A variety of examples can be made. For example, I referred to Vice-President Al Gore who conducted a town hall meeting electronically and people virtually from right across the United States, from one end to the other, were able to talk to one another in this particular instance via a computer network.

Of particular interest to me in that instance was the involvement of people unable to come to a meeting, who were physically disabled and had to sit at home in their wheelchairs. They were able to involve themselves as readily and as completely as someone not physically disabled. There was a great and wonderful opportunity for these people to be actively involved in the decision making and communication interaction process.

With regard to the second question of the hon. member as to the cost, the details of this have not been worked out. I do not

have the details of the costs, but there are two dimensions here. One is the dollar cost and the other is that if we really believe in democracy we should pay the price to have democracy that actually reflects our people's needs. We will do so successfully and it will not be an inordinate amount. To suggest that the present system does not cost money is false as well.