House of Commons photo

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

An Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make Certain Payments May 19th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Newton--North Delta to participate in the debate on Bill C-48, an act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make certain payments.

The proposed legislation would enact the $4.6 billion deal struck by the Liberal government with the NDP to make payments in 2005-06 and 2006-07 from surplus moneys exceeding $2 billion to fund environmental initiatives, including public transit and an energy efficient retrofit program for low income housing; training programs and enhanced access to post-secondary education to benefit, among others, aboriginal Canadians; affordable housing, including housing for aboriginal Canadians; and foreign aid.

I am opposed to Bill C-48 for a couple of reasons. First, I oppose the bill for the politics behind it. This is a $4.6 billion deal using taxpayers money to keep a corrupt party afloat in government.

The Liberals and the NDP have joined together and written a fiscal plan on the back of an envelope. The only motivation behind the deal is an attempt for political survival by the desperate and corrupt Liberal government. This is a recipe for economic disaster.

Second, it takes government spending to a new dangerous level. There are any number of worthy ways in which to spend taxpayers' hard-earned money, some under federal jurisdiction, some under provincial jurisdiction and some under municipal jurisdiction.

The government cannot seem to decide what its priorities should be and as a result is throwing money around regardless of jurisdiction. This is not in the best interest of Canadians and must be strongly opposed by all those who wish to preserve the fiscal integrity of the federal government.

Even before this budget side deal, the government was ramping up spending. I have said it before and I will say it again. This year's budget demonstrates that tax and spend Liberals are back with a vengeance. If there was any doubt about the truth of this statement, it has been washed away by the Liberal-NDP budget and the tidal wave of new spending announcements that cabinet ministers have been making on a daily basis for the last month.

A Prime Minister who made his reputation by taking tough fiscal decisions, whether by choice or, more likely, as a result of pressure from the reform party and later the Canadian Alliance, has now revealed his true colours.

He is a tax and spend Liberal, the likes of whom this country has not seen since the darkest days of Liberal excesses in the 1970s and early 1980s. It was runaway spending under Prime Minister Trudeau that took this country to the brink of bankruptcy. At the rate the government is spending taxpayer money, Canadians will again find themselves in the poor house.

Last year the finance minister promised to demonstrate unequivocally the principles of financial responsibility and integrity. He promised Canadians to better control spending, which is another broken promise by the government, another promise made but again not kept, even before the budget side deal and the billions in additional spending promises of the last month the government was proposing.

Last year the finance minister projected program spending at $148 billion for 2004-05 but he ended up going $10 billion over the budget. As a result, in the last fiscal year we witnessed a spending increase of $17 billion over the previous year. So much for controlling spending. At 12%, this is the largest single spending increase in over 20 years and the fourth largest in the last four decades.

Since 2000, program spending soared by 44% and judging from what we have witnessed in recent weeks, Canadians should hang onto their seats because they have not seen anything yet. I could almost forgive this runaway spending if there was some demonstrable evidence that Canadians' lives were improving as a result, but that is not the case.

My constituents in Newton--North Delta are at pains to see how all this spending has made any difference. Despite billions of dollars being spent, child poverty continues to grow, health care further deteriorates, roads and bridges remain congested, public transit cries for funding, and there continues to be a strong demand for good, well paying jobs. After all of the government's spending, hospital waiting lines will continue to get worse, students will continue to plunge deeper into debt, and our soldiers will be stretched as thinly as ever.

People in my riding depend upon Surrey Memorial Hospital for their health care. Our community is fast outgrowing its hospital in the community. The hospital, built in the 1970s to accommodate 50,000 patients a year, now handles between 70,000 and 72,000 patients annually and has the busiest emergency ward in western Canada. Surrey Memorial Hospital's facilities now cope with the demands placed upon it by our community's soaring population. There have been recurring complaints about waiting times, a lack of beds, insufficient staff, sanitary conditions, and questionable procedures at the hospital's crowded emergency room.

The root cause of the problems we now face goes back to the Prime Minister and the cuts he made to the CHST in the mid-1990s when he was finance minister. These cuts left successive B.C. governments to find extra billions of dollars for health care. The new money for health care in this year's budget will not provide Surrey Memorial Hospital with the money it needs and of course there is nothing in Bill C-48 to help that.

The health care agreement, which the Prime Minister hyped as a fix for a generation, will only allow B.C. to increase health expenditures by 3% annually over the next six years. Not only will this amount not fix health care, it will not even cover the rising costs resulting from inflation and population growth, while the dollar figure spread out over such an extended period amounts to little more than a band-aid solution to our critically ill health care system.

Bill C-48 is heavy on the public purse but light on details. It commits to hundreds of millions of dollars under broad areas without any concrete plans as to how that money would be spent. The Liberal-NDP deal, which is reflected in this bill, has been denounced by business groups, particularly the small businesses that favour allocating this federal surplus to debt reduction and tax relief over additional spending.

This bill is a reflection of the new federal budget, an NDP budget, one that the Liberals had amended after they said it could not be done. The Liberals are willing to spend billions of taxpayers' dollars to fund their addiction to power. This is a direct result of the loss of their moral authority to govern. Not only should this bill not be passed, but the finance minister should resign for tabling it. Clearly, the NDP leader has more influence on the budgetary framework than the Prime Minister's own finance minister.

A Conservative government believes that responsible exploration, development, conservation and renewal of our environment is vital to our continued growth. The Conservative Party also believes that all Canadians should have a reasonable opportunity to own their own homes and have access to safe and affordable housing. The Conservative Party believes in greater accessibility to education by eliminating as many barriers to post-secondary education as possible.

The Conservative Party is committed to strengthening Canada's record in foreign aid. A Conservative government would reduce business taxes. Reducing taxes would encourage foreign and domestic businesses to invest in Canada. I believe that a Conservative government could manage the finances better than this budget. Therefore, I will oppose it because I cannot support it.

Petitions May 19th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am also very pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Newton--North Delta to present a petition signed by a large number of petitioners calling upon Parliament to amend the Canada Health Act and regulations to include intensive behavioural intervention therapy for children with autism as a medically necessary treatment and require all provinces to fund this treatment.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to contribute to the creation of academic chairs at a university in each province to teach this particular treatment.

Petitions May 18th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the residents of Newton—North Delta to present several petitions calling upon Parliament to use all possible legislative and administrative measures to preserve and protect the current definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Committees of the House May 12th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I highly appreciate the initiative by the member on the issues of immigration that he has led in the immigration committee. From time to time I appreciate the initiatives he has taken in the House with respect to immigration.

However, on this side of the House, we have been saying all along that all Canadian citizens should be treated equally, whereas in the past the Liberal government has been creating different tiers of citizenship in Canada. In fact, it has promoted segregation rather than integration of newer immigrants or newer Canadians into mainstream Canadian society. There is a little conflict in the ideas that we have promoted.

In the meantime, would the revocation of citizenship initiatives, which he has explained, be retroactive? Would it be retroactive for those who have been affected by the legislation in that past or would it start from the time of proposal?

Committees of the House May 9th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 123(1) and 19.1(1) of the Statutory Instruments Act I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Joint Committee on the Scrutiny of Regulations concerning the revocation of subsection 36(2) of the Ontario fishery regulations, 1989, included in this report and from which the notice was given to the regulatory authority.

Petitions May 3rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to present several petitions signed by thousands of people. The petitioners are asking Parliament to take every administrative and legislative measure necessary to protect the freedom to wear turbans and the five kakkars or five Ks, the symbols of the Sikh religion.

The petitioners state that turbans are not like hats or helmets but are part and parcel of the Sikh religious faith and should be recognized as such. It is contrary to the tenets of the Sikh faith to conceal or cover the turban with any kind of object such as a hard hat. The petitioners call upon Parliament to protect the religious practices and religious freedom of Sikhs in all areas of the Canadian labour force, that Sikh truck operators be exempt from wearing a hard hat, and that Canada Labour Code R.S.C. 1970, c. L-1, adversely affects members of the Canadian Sikh community. They ask the Canadian Parliament to respect religious freedom.

Sikh Community May 2nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the mudslinging has begun as the Liberals try to change the channel on stories of their own corruption emerging from the Gomery commission.

The Liberal member for Brampton—Springdale joined the fray last week, falsely claiming that the leader of the Conservative Party had never attended Khalsa Day celebrations before and that it was the Liberal Party that had ensured that Sikhs in the RCMP were allowed to wear turbans.

The member should know that the leader of the official opposition attended the Khalsa Day celebrations in the rain last year, while the Prime Minister was nowhere to be seen.

This year the Ontario Sikh societies refused to invite the Prime Minister and his MPs who are against the traditional definition of marriage.

As for turbans in the RCMP, it was the previous Conservative government in 1990 that removed the ban. My party supported the recognition of the five Ks, the removal of the head tax and the recognition of international credentials. The Liberals defeated all of those motions and now are in damage control.

Canadians will not be fooled by the Liberal campaigns of misinformation.

The next time before speaking, the member for Brampton—Springdale should get her facts straight.

Alzheimer's Disease April 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on behalf of the constituents of Newton--North Delta to participate in the debate on Motion No. 170, which reads:

That, in the opinion of the House, the government, in consultation with the provinces and territories, include Alzheimer's disease and related dementias as a significant and integral component of the Chronic Disease Strategy.

I wish to congratulate the hon. member for Thornhill for bringing forward the motion and giving Alzheimer's disease the attention it warrants. I am pleased to say that my colleagues and I in the Conservative Party will be supporting Motion No. 170.

Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder that affects thinking, memory and understanding. It creates changes in personality, mood and behaviour.

Alzheimer's is the most common form of a group of degenerative brain diseases known as dementia. Other forms include Pick's disease, Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia and primary progressive aphasia, among others. Although these illnesses affect other parts of the brain, most of the symptoms resemble those of Alzheimer's disease.

Several changes occur in the brain of a person with Alzheimer's disease. The brain cells shrink or disappear and are replaced by dense, irregularly shaped spots or plaques. Another indicator of the disease is thread-like tangles within existing brain cells. These tangles eventually choke healthy brain cells. A person with Alzheimer's disease has less brain tissue than a person who does not have the disease. This shrinkage will continue over time, affecting how the brain functions.

As Alzheimer's disease affects each area of the brain, certain functions or abilities are lost. This results in specific symptoms or changes in behaviour. People who have the disease gradually lose their independence, becoming incapable by degrees of performing simple tasks, remembering recent events, controlling thoughts or moods or relating to others.

Eventually people with Alzheimer's disease can no longer remember the names of family and friends or find their way around in places that are not completely familiar. They may avoid social contacts because they cannot follow the drift of a conversation. At this stage, many people can still live well using simple routines in a familiar environment but they may experience a sense of powerlessness and frustration that can lead to emotional turmoil.

Three hundred and sixty-four thousand Canadians aged 65 and older have dementia, with Alzheimer's disease representing about two-thirds of all dementia cases. It is estimated that by 2031 this number will increase to 778,000 cases. In B.C., over 50,000 people have dementia with that number expected to nearly double by 2031.

At least 1 in 12 people aged 65 or older have Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia. The rates of Alzheimer's increases with age: 1% of people aged 65 to 74; 7% of people aged 75 to 85; and 26% of people aged 85 and older.

Alzheimer's disease and related dementia cannot be cured, reversed or stopped in their progression. Today's treatments, which may include medications, are designed to reduce the symptoms and help both the patient and the family live through the course of the illness with greater dignity and less discomfort.

Canadians spend about $3.9 billion each year for the treatment of persons with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

The advantages of a coordinated, national approach to addressing Alzheimer's disease, in fact any disease for that matter that afflicts a large number of Canadians across the country, are huge.

A broad based national approach to disease achieves economies of scale not possible with several different plans running in parallel or at cross-purposes. With national coordination, redundancies and duplication can be eliminated, freeing resources to be shifted elsewhere.

As well, with national coordination, best practice guidelines for consistency and equity of care across Canada can be developed. This is a system that has worked well in Europe for cancer care. Various autonomous jurisdictions, through a system that transparently reveals what practices they follow and to compare with others, are inclined to adopt best practices. Working together and sharing information has led to improved care.

A national strategy would also allow stakeholder engagement and coordination among stakeholders to be maximized. Major diseases require a sustained platform that will provide focused and ongoing attention. It is not enough to commit to an ambitious program and then lose enthusiasm in a couple of years.

Creating a national strategy will help establish a platform. Why now? There are several reasons why the time is right for national disease strategies now.

First, our population is aging. As I stated earlier, unless something is done, we are looking at the number of cases of Alzheimer's going up threefold in the next 25 years.

Second, due to recent scientific breakthroughs, many new efficiencies and effective treatments have become closer to reality. A national strategy would increase the likelihood of a breakthrough.

Third, there is a growing momentum to develop national strategies for a variety of diseases. We need to take advantage now of this growing momentum.

Of course, any strategy must respect provincial jurisdiction.

The Canadian strategy for cancer control provides a perfect example of how a national coordinating effort can focus resources and efforts while allowing the provinces, the regions and the communities the freedom to apply shared knowledge in a way best suited to their individual needs.

Canada urgently needs a national strategy on Alzheimer's and related dementias. This is our best hope for developing new medicines to help those with the disease and to ultimately find a cure. Unless we invest in Alzheimer's research now, the disease will become a bigger and bigger drain on a health care system that is already at the breaking point.

We know that the population of seniors is increasing in Canada and so are their health care needs because of the diseases that are directly related to old age. Now is the time for us to do something about it.

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the naming of the disease by Dr. Alois Alzheimer. This is the right time to focus our resources on the diseases that are particularly related to old age and our growing population of seniors. I hope we will be able to mark the occasion of the 100th anniversary with a national strategy on Alzheimer's and related dementias, as proposed by Motion No. 170.

I support the motion strongly and I urge all members to support the motion.

Civil Marriage Act April 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise again on behalf of the constituents of Newton--North Delta to participate in the debate on Bill C-38.

The so-called same sex marriage bill has generated considerable interest in my riding, with record numbers of people contacting my office to voice their concerns about the Liberal ploy to redefine marriage. To date, over 15,000 people have either written or called asking me to oppose Bill C-38. They want me to vote against this proposed legislation and do everything possible to maintain the traditional definition of marriage.

I happily tell each and every one of them that I listen to my constituents and that they can count on me to say no to same sex marriage.

The Liberals have attempted to frame the same sex marriage debate as a human rights issue. According to the Prime Minister, opposition to same sex unions is now, ipso facto, an example of hatred and intolerance. Public opinion surveys, however, show that a majority of Canadians are opposed to same sex marriage.

An Environics Research Group poll conducted for the CBC surveyed 1,203 Canadians between March 26 and March 30 and found that 52% of Canadians disagreed with the plan to change the definition of marriage to include couples of the same sex and that only 44% agreed with the Liberal plan. Interestingly, the disapproval jumped to 65% among Canadians born outside our borders.

Does the Prime Minister really want to suggest that the majority of Canadians are bigots?

One dictionary defines a “bigot” as a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own. I know who I think better exemplifies bigotry.

What about the rest of the world? In 2001, the Netherlands opened civil marriage to gay couples and, in 2003, Belgium followed suit. In both countries there are some areas related to adoption or marriage of non-nationals of those countries that still make them slightly different from opposite sex marriages.

By far, the vast majority of European jurisdictions have gone the route of recognizing civil unions, domestic partnerships or reciprocal beneficiaries rather than abolishing the opposite sex nature of marriage. In doing so, they are following the lead of Denmark, where such partnerships were introduced in 1989. Through 1995, less than 5% of Danish homosexuals got married.

As of February 2005, Massachusetts is the only U.S. state to recognize same sex marriages. The states of Vermont, California, Maine, Hawaii, New Jersey and even the District of Columbia, however all offer benefits to same sex couples that are similar to benefits received through marriage, such as civil union, reciprocal benefits or domestic partnership laws.

During the 2004 elections, all 11 states where the issue of same sex marriage was on the ballot, regardless of whether they were Democratic or Republican, voted overwhelmingly for constitutional amendments restricting marriage to a man and a woman.

If same sex marriage is a fundamental right, why have only two countries on Earth recognized it? Are the Liberals seriously suggesting that countries like Denmark and Sweden, which recognize civil unions for homosexuals but refuse to change the traditional definition of marriage, are bastions of bigotry and repressed sexual attitudes?

This House, including the current Prime Minister, voted to uphold that definition of marriage in 1999 and in the amendments to Bill C-23 in 2000, with the Deputy Prime Minister, who was then the justice minister, leading the defence of marriage from the government side.

This was what the Deputy Prime Minister said in 1999 in her eloquent defence of the traditional definition of marriage:

We on this side [of the House] agree that the institution of marriage is a central and important institution in the lives of many Canadians. It plays an important part in all societies worldwide, second only to the fundamental importance of family to all of us.

The definition of marriage, which has been consistently applied in Canada, comes from an 1866 British case which holds that marriage is “the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others”. That case and that definition are considered clear law by ordinary Canadians, academics and the courts. The courts have upheld the constitutionality of that definition. The Ontario court, general division, in Layland and Beaulne, recently upheld the definition of marriage. In that decision, a majority of the court stated the following:

--unions of persons of the same sex are not “marriages”, because of the definition of marriage. The applicants are, in effect, seeking to use s. 15 of the Charter to bring about a change in the definition of marriage.

The then justice minister said:

I do not think the Charter has that effect...Let me state again for the record that the government has no intention of changing the definition of marriage or of legislating same sex marriages. Marriage has fundamental value and importance to Canadians and we do not believe on this side of the House that importance and value is in any way threatened or undermined by others seeking to have their long term relationships recognized....

I support the motion for maintaining the clear legal definition of marriage in Canada as the union of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others.

That was the Deputy Prime Minister speaking as justice minister less than six years ago. Nothing she said then is out of date. All that has happened is that several provincial courts have overruled the longstanding common law definition of marriage, but the Supreme Court itself has still not addressed this issue despite a clear request to do so from the Liberal government.

We do not believe that on the basis of provincial court decisions, which the government refused to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, a fundamental, centuries old institution should be abolished or radically changed.

We believe that marriage should continue to be what it has always been, what the courts and the government accepted it to be until a very few years ago: an institution which is by nature heterosexual and has as one of its main purposes the procreation and nurturing of children in the care of a mother and a father.

In conclusion, marriage has been one of the fundamental organizing principles of human society since history began. It is important to the future of our society because it provides the best social structure within which to bear and raise children. There has never been a time in history when major civilizations or religions granted same sex relationships the same rights and status as they did heterosexual marriage.

We should not change these kinds of fundamental institutions lightly or easily, and I do not believe that the government has demonstrated that there are compelling reasons to alter this central social institution. I will therefore be following the wishes of my constituents and will vote against Bill C-38. I believe in the traditional, common law definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others.

Points of Order April 12th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the minister has restated false information and has misled the House with respect to the citizenship and immigration committee meeting.

I clearly stated in the committee that I had not taken money from anyone. Why--