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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was liberals.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Conservative MP for Newton—North Delta (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2004, with 33% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Energy Costs Assistance Measures Act November 1st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the member is right on. The government has left out a lot of people who were supposed to be entitled to these cheques, but this is not the first time. I remember before the 2000 election, the government sent cheques to dead people and to people in jail, but it left out the people who really deserved to be given the money. In this situation it is again leaving out truckers, people in the transportation industry, farmers, students, people with low incomes and people without children.

The government is completely mismanaging this issue. It does not know where the consumption of gasoline or oil is and who really needs the help to pay their bills. To heat a home, $1,500 is a significant amount. Some people who are living from paycheque to paycheque are experiencing hardship. Seniors who are living on fixed incomes have to choose whether to eat, to heat their homes, or to buy medicine.

This is a very serious issue. It is a classic example of the government mismanaging the program while focusing on how to corrupt the government and how to steal money and throw it into the Liberal Party while forgetting about all those other people.

Energy Costs Assistance Measures Act November 1st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the GST is one of the things the government can control. As I mentioned, in March 2001 I introduced Motion No. 289 which asked the government to stop charging GST on the energy costs for residential properties so that there would be a fair system of helping those who are paying much more with the rising costs.

It is not a matter of what our party's position is on royalties, but what matters is that the government has been unfairly, and I would use the word “illegally”, charging GST on other taxes, such as the federal excise tax and other taxes. Those taxes are neither goods nor services. When the government charges GST on other taxes, it should be illegal. That should never have happened.

When calculating the price of gasoline, there is the crude oil price, then the distribution, profit margin, royalties and everything. Then add to that the excise tax, the federal and provincial taxes and then GST is charged on top of that. That is illegal and should not happen.

Energy Costs Assistance Measures Act November 1st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I care about the students, the farmers, the people on low incomes and the people on a fixed income who did not get enough money to pay for the rising heating fuel and gasoline prices.

That is why I was referring to the government wasting money. Today's example, which is listed in the Gomery report, is about the sponsorship program. There have been many boondoggles, mismanagement and wrongdoing on the Liberal side and it continues again and again.

I am quite sure that those farmers, those people on a fixed income and low incomes and people without children will hold the government critically and democratically accountable when the time comes for them to vote, despite the fact that the government is thinking that some sort of smaller cheque will go to them before the election.

According to the finance department, the government is limiting the rebate program to the people I mentioned. Instead of providing assistance to Canadians who need help, that heartless government continues to mismanage this file as well. The rebate program is more about politics than about helping people who are struggling to heat their homes.

The government knows that the heating prices are skyrocketing. With an election on the horizon, it wants to give the appearance of helping people out, but Canadians cannot be fooled. Having cheques arrive in the mail just prior to an election is a side benefit the government is anticipating, but it will not come true.

Even if a person pays nothing for heat, that person still might get a cheque. That mismanaged boondoggle by the government happened during the 2003 election.

An option to the Liberal plan would be to remove the GST from home heating fuel. This is a more fair and straightforward way of dealing with the spiralling home heating costs. I made this proposal four years ago in March 2001 when I introduced Motion No. 289 which read:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should stop charging the GST on energy costs for residential properties.

This would be an effective way to provide sensible price relief to all families, not to a selected group. It would also deliver real help at the point of purchase and would do so without red tape, confusion or discrimination.

To conclude, most people in B.C. agree that something needs to be done to address the rising costs of home heating this winter. However, everyone I talk to has the same opinion of the federal plan, that it is inadequate.

The Liberal scheme leaves out many needy people who will be struggling most of the time to cope with high heating costs. The Conservative Party will still be grudgingly supporting the bill. Low income Canadians need immediate assistance and they cannot afford to wait until the government comes up with a fair solution.

Energy Costs Assistance Measures Act November 1st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on behalf of the constituents of Newton--North Delta to participate in the second reading debate on Bill C-66, an act to authorize payments to provide assistance in relation to energy costs, housing energy consumption and public transit infrastructure, and to make consequential amendments to certain acts.

I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Nanaimo—Alberni.

I would like to highlight that the bill would allow the government to make a one-time energy cost benefit payment of $250 to families receiving the national child benefit supplement and $125 to recipients of the guaranteed income supplement. It also would allow the government to spend $838 million on measures to reduce housing energy consumption and it would remove the requirement that $800 million for public transit infrastructure, set out in the NDP budget bill, be contingent on the size of the surplus. The bill calls for the payments to be made in January 2006.

To assist with the background, this summer crude oil prices soared to record highs. For consumers, the effects were primarily felt at the pumps. Gasoline broke the dollar barrier earlier in the summer and kept on going up, reaching a new peak on Labour Day weekend of up to $1.40 per litre.

While both crude oil and gasoline prices have come down in recent weeks, they remain at near historic highs and this winter promises to be the most expensive ever for heating one's home.

Since June, natural gas prices across North America rose more than 30%. In British Columbia, natural gas is the dominant energy used for home heating, being used by over 800,000 households in the province. Twice in the last four months the B.C. Utilities Commission has approved a request by Terasen Gas for a natural gas commodity rate increase. In June, the commission approved a 5.6% increase. This was followed last month by a 13.3% increase.

As a result of those increases, my constituents can expect to see their annual heating bills jump by nearly $300 to over $1,500. In the last two years, the price to heat a lower mainland home with natural gas has increased by over $500 annually. If that was not bad enough, it is almost guaranteed that prices will go up again before spring.

An American government report issued earlier this month estimates that heating bills for all fuel types will cost Americans about one-third more this winter. The same is true in Canada.

The Energy Information Administration sees the cost of heat by natural gas rising 47% and heating oil 32%. The Canadian Gas Association is predicting the price of natural gas will increase from 20% to 50% this winter. This is bad news for British Columbians and for the 50% of Canadian homeowners who heat with homes with gas.

Energy prices have never been so high or increased so quickly. For some low income families, the sharp jumps could mean choosing whether to eat or keep warm.

Even more affluent Canadians will be hard hit by soaring heating costs. With today's high cost of living, particularly in urban areas like British Columbia's lower mainland, many families earning good salaries still live from paycheque to paycheque. An extra $100 a month for home heating, combined with higher gas prices and rising interest rates, could be enough to cause financial hardship or even possibly bankruptcy in some cases.

The government's rebate plan would leave thousands of low income British Columbians out in the cold. According to its own numbers, the government scheme will aid less than 10% of Canadians. Even the poor will only receive assistance if they already collect child or elderly benefits. Bill C-66 does nothing for the majority of students, many of whom live in dirty, old apartments. Students are one of the main low income groups in this country but the Liberals have forgotten about them.

As well, Canadians with disabilities who claim disability benefits will receive no help with their heating bills. Similarly, farmers and over 200,000 low income seniors who do not file for the GIS will not receive help. Bill C-66 offers no assistance to poor Canadians who are childless. Statistics Canada indicates there are nearly two million individuals under 65 who fall below the low income threshold and who have no children. These individuals will receive nothing from the government.

Now, talking about current affairs, we know that almost $45 million is missing or is unaccounted for from the sponsorship program. The people I mentioned, the seniors, farmers, people on fixed incomes or low income and students would have been better off if the government had some accountability in place. It has been confirmed that on the Liberal side there is a culture of entitlement, corruption, greed, carelessness and mismanagement. We have been saying that all along for so many years and today it has been confirmed by Justice Gomery. These are the facts. These are not only accusations.

The sponsorship program was directed politically and there have been no political consequences. Only the bureaucrats have been made the scapegoats. That program was set up by the Liberals. They ran the program. They used the program and abused the program. The kickbacks have been going to the Liberal Party for the benefit of the Liberal Party. It is important--

Pacific Gateway Act October 31st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, one of the characteristics of effective leadership is to demonstrate a high degree of quality vision for the country. In 1997 and 1998 my party talked about British Columbia being the gateway to the Asia-Pacific market. That was at a time when the Liberals continued to ignore the important issues on the west coast, and when the seven tigers in the Asia-Pacific market had an extremely high rate of economic growth. British Columbia being strategically placed in the North American market, particularly the port of Vancouver, had a big potential to enhance trade with those seven tigers. As a result, British Columbia could have been the engine for prosperity and economic development, and development of trade, for Canada. The Liberals ignored that plea and they missed the boat.

Now, as a result of misplaced priorities by the Liberal government in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, we have bottleneck traffic jams. The South Fraser perimeter road would have been completed by now if the Liberals had demonstrated a vision. That would have solved the problems and enhanced trade and mobility of people in that area.

The government has made announcement after announcement about the South Fraser perimeter road, which is supposed to be there sometime, but it has not done anything. The Delta Chamber of Commerce, Surrey Chamber of Commerce, people in my riding and neighbouring ridings have been demanding that road for a very long time, but we have not seen any effective action from the government, except for announcement after announcement.

Similarly, Fraser docks, which is also next to my constituency, needs to be expanded. The government has not done anything with respect to that. The government has cut the funding for dredging the South Fraser River which jeopardizes mobility in the Fraser River. It is seriously affecting Fraser River docks.

The member said that he was the B.C. caucus chair. What pleas has he made to the government and what concrete action has the government taken? I know it is too little and too late, but would he be expressing the concerns which I explained to him to his government? Will we see any action or will we simply hear more talk and announcement after announcement? As has been demonstrated in the last 12 years, the government has ignored the infrastructure needs of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.

Pacific Gateway Act October 31st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, my constituents of Newton--North Delta have been asking for a very long time for the expansion of South Fraser Perimeter Road, a tunnel to be built in North Delta. We have Fraser docks in my riding. We have a huge movement of people and goods. I had a lengthy question I wanted to--

Year of the Veteran October 25th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, recently I met with Liliana Jones and Margaret Nielsen of Kennedy House Seniors' Society in North Delta. The society is spearheading a drive to construct a memorial wall honouring the residents of Delta who died for our country.

North Delta does not have a memorial for its war dead and veterans have never had a place of their own to observe Remembrance Day. The provincial government provided a grant of $95,000 for the project. The residents have contributed $32,000. The city has chipped in with the land and landscaping.

However, in this Year of the Veteran, the federal Liberal government has refused to assist. A letter received from Veterans Affairs only offers advice.

This work in progress must not be left incomplete. It deserves to be finished.

The people of Kennedy House have a good idea. The North Delta memorial wall merits support, including support from this Liberal government.

U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative October 24th, 2005

Mr. Chair, it came up that the U.S. legislation had been in the making for a very long time, over two years.

I was a member of the foreign affairs committee when it went to Washington, D.C. in 1999. I came across a brochure that the American government or the Senate was proposing that section 110 of the INS be changed so that at the border, American citizens and Canadian citizens be exempt. Permanent residents of the U.S. would be exempt, but landed immigrants in Canada were not exempt from showing their documents when they crossed the border, particularly their passports.

I brought that issue to the attention of the Ambassador, Mr. Chrétien, at his residence in the evening. Mr. Chrétien said that he could not believe that it was written in the brochure. He said it was a mistake, because permanent residents should be equal in status to landed immigrants in Canada. He said he would verify it in the morning. The next day when we were at his office, he asked his secretary to make some phone calls. She verified that it was true. Then I asked Mr. Chrétien, the Canadian ambassador to the U.S. in Washington, D.C. why he did not know about it. He was surprised.

I would say that the Canadian government was asleep at the wheel at that time. It did not know that such a significant change had taken place while it was sitting at the table. Now we are bearing the consequences because the Liberals did not take the appropriate action at that time.

The Canadian government did not take appropriate action and its ambassador was not aware of the situation. On that issue I would like to hear the comments of the hon. member for Okanagan—Coquihalla.

The other point is that it will hurt our economy if this remains in place. It will affect our economy, jobs and other things.

One particular industry that will be hit hard is the transportation industry. The drivers, who are usually immigrants, have had difficulty in the past. However, does the member believe that if this continues it will hurt the trucking industry in a major way, particularly with the long lines and long waiting times at the border?

Criminal Code October 24th, 2005

Madam Speaker, it is hard to imagine. Mr. Cadman was a crusader of criminal justice system reforms under the Young Offenders Act, street car racing, vehicle identification numbers and many other issues which he brought to the floor of the House. He came up with two bills, which we are now debating as government bills, Bill C-64 and Bill C-65.

On the vehicle identification numbers he came up with Bill C-413 and then reintroduced it a couple of times in the form of Bill C-287. Why did the Liberals oppose those bills? The subject matter was there. They were effective bills. A person who had experience in and passion for the criminal justice system reforms drafted those bills. However, the government opposed those bills, but after the confidence vote on May 19 suddenly it became evident to the Liberals that they should come on board and support the bills.

I sincerely doubt the intention of the government. It has no integrity when it comes to its track record on these issues. When my late colleague came up with the bill, the government opposed it. Now it suddenly wants to support it. There is some sort of a catch. I cannot understand what that catch is, but my senses tell me that the Liberals are after political opportunism. There may be a byelection in that riding very soon.

If the Liberals were really sincere about honouring the legacy that Mr. Cadman left behind, they would adopt the bill as it was written by Mr. Cadman. Rather, they are only using the name and the shell, but they have changed the content and have completely watered it down.

I can only imagine from talking to Dane Minor who was a close friend of Chuck Cadman. I worked with Chuck Cadman for almost eight years in the House. We shared so many things together during our campaigns. In our ridings we had joint town hall meetings on crime and other issues.

I could say that he would be disappointed. I am very sure he would have voted against Bills C-64 and C-65 as written by the Liberals.

Criminal Code October 24th, 2005

Madam Speaker, the situation in British Columbia's Lower Mainland is very serious, whether it is with respect to marijuana grow ops or needle exchange programs.

At one time the Lower Mainland of British Columbia used to have the highest consumption on a per capita basis of needle exchanges in North America. The recent problem of crystal meth is now an epidemic. Liberal hack Senator Larry Campbell may deny it, but the problem is serious. In a secondary school 10% of the students are using crystal meth. This is an absolutely dangerous situation.

When it comes to auto theft, 13-year-old kids are stealing cars and going on joyrides. They are speeding at over 100 kilometres an hour on the residential streets of Surrey. These are serious matters.

I would say to the hon. member that one strong reason that comes to my mind is that our judicial system is not working in favour of controlling crime. It is not handing out appropriate punishments. The judicial system does not put a deterrent in place so that criminals do not commit crimes.

In fact, there is a motivation to commit crime when the punishment is only a slap on the wrist. The revolving door system with repeat offenders continues. They are taking advantage of the system. It must stop.

We are the lawmakers in this country. The official opposition has made many amendments to different pieces of legislation in order to have minimum mandatory prison sentences in place. The government is only fooling itself and Canadians by increasing the maximum penalties from five years to 10 years, but that five years or 10 years is never actually handed down to any criminal.

We must make a law that has some teeth in it. Then we have to address the other elements involved, such as increasing the resources available to the law enforcement agencies. The police forces are frustrated.

Early one winter morning a police officer who was on night duty came to my office to drop off a letter. He saw me inside the office so he came in and said to me, “I am so upset. I was on a night shift and we arrested a 16-year-old drug dealer who had been selling drugs on the street. He went before the court. The next day he was back on the street selling drugs again. I arrested him again. After the court hearing he was back on the street selling drugs again. I had to turn the other way because I could not face that 16 year old selling drugs on the street the third day”. That is the situation. That is why our law enforcement personnel are frustrated.

In a nutshell, the bottom line is we have to have tougher penalties. Police forces must have sufficient resources. There should be a deterrent in place rather than a motivation to commit crime.