Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was industry.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Canadian Alliance MP for Skeena (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2004, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Contraventions Act March 8th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, when we look at the one billion dollar-plus gun registry; the softwood lumber committee adjustment fund of some $55 million for British Columbia where very little of it has gone to the people in the communities that need it at this stage of the game, some 450 days later; the ad scams, some $450 million program; shoot-up sites in big cities like Vancouver; and then we get legislation, such as Bill C-10, which will likely exacerbate the problem; it appears to me that the government needs to change its priorities.

How does the member for Crowfoot feel about a suggestion that the firearms registration be cancelled and that the government cut its losses and put future funds that would have gone into that ridiculous program into crime prevention, including developing an adequate roadside test for marijuana use and firm enforcement of existing marijuana laws? Would that not make a whole lot more sense to Canadians?

Contraventions Act March 8th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I come from British Columbia and marijuana growth is a big business in B.C. It is really unfortunate, when we look at the economy in parts of British Columbia, how significant that is compared to other legal lines of business.

I want to ask the member a question, but I will make a comment first. I live in a small community in northern British Columbia. The other day I looked across the street and saw a house being boarded up with plywood. I thought it was another family leaving town because of the tough times in the north. This is right across the street from where I live and I live in a pretty decent part of town. I was shocked to find out on Saturday that it was a meth lab and that was why it was being boarded up. The police had raided it. I had no idea that this sort of thing was even going on in my community. It really brings to a head the comments that my colleague made earlier.

Quite frankly, there is concern for the future of our kids--I have children and grandchildren--and I cannot see how anybody would advocate their kids smoking. They sure as heck do not advocate cigarettes. Why would they be even considering supporting legislation like this that tends to encourage young people to possibly pursue these kinds of things when we look at the effects of meth and so on?

Could the member expand a little more on the future potential societal effects of these kinds of problems?

The Environment February 27th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-10, pertaining to marine conservation areas, calls for a mineral exploration review assessment prior to establishment of any new areas This process must be adhered to, otherwise west coast oil and gas development potential will be seriously jeopardized.

Will the environment minister meet this legal obligation as it pertains to his hurry up, Scott Island marine wildlife area proposal?

Oil and Gas Industry February 20th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the offshore oil and gas industry is alive and well around the world, from the North Sea off Europe to the coast of Africa, from Cook Inlet in Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico, and even on the east coast of Canada, but not in British Columbia.

The recently tabled Royal Society of Canada report to the Minister of Natural Resources concludes there are no scientific gaps to be filled before lifting the moratoria on oil and gas development in British Columbia.

However the senior minister for B.C., Canada's environment minister, is currently forging ahead with a plan to create Scott Island marine wildlife area, an area of up to 2.7 million hectares, which would effectively prohibit oil and gas exploration in much of the Queen Charlotte basin, an area of great exploration potential.

The natural resources minister is supportive of the west coast oil and gas possibilities. Clearly the environment minister is not. It is unacceptable for a divided federal cabinet to waffle on an issue as important as offshore oil and gas development is to the future of British Columbia.

Income Tax Act February 19th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, just very quickly because the member for Prince George--Peace River almost answered my question. As somebody who was adopted as a very young child, I can really empathize with this type of legislation. It was a long time ago, obviously, and in a different world really. It was during World War II in England. Times change, but times also tend to remain the same, as we have problems around the world.

I currently have a couple in my riding who are looking at adopting from Russia. It will cost them probably in excess of $40,000. It is a lot of money. They obviously really want to have a family, and that is why I was adopted. My parents really wanted to have a family. In fact they adopted a sister for me as well.

People who adopt really want to have these families and are willing to go to any lengths. Therefore, any legislation that would assist them financially, because of that financial burden, would be very useful.

The only question for the member is this. What reasonable rationale could be put forward, any kind of reasonable rationale, not to support this legislation?

Oil and Gas Industry February 16th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, that is as clear as mud. The bottom line is when do they get their money? That is what they are waiting for.

On another issue, the throne speech highlighted new energy opportunities, including oil and gas development off the coast of B.C. The environment minister, the Prime Minister's senior B.C. minister, is currently pushing a plan for a marine wildlife area that would effectively prohibit commercial activity in the ocean from northern Vancouver Island to the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Why is this anti-development environment minister shutting down B.C.'s ability to decide its own future when it comes to offshore oil and gas developments?

Softwood Lumber February 16th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the current Prime Minister is too busy putting out his own fires to deal with economic issues important to Canadians. For example, the softwood lumber community adjustment fund announced in October 2002, 18 months ago, was supposed to assist B.C. communities hard hit by United States lumber tariffs. Approved projects that should have been underway months ago have yet to be funded.

Liberal friends of the government seem to have no trouble getting cheques. Do B.C. communities have to wait for handouts during an election to get theirs?

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy February 13th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, frankly, it is a huge problem. There is a certain amount of local market for cull cows, and so on, that they have to get rid of. One can buy a whole beef pretty darn cheap right now anywhere in northern British Columbia, if not all across Canada.

However that is not the solution. There are no slaughterhouses in my area so they cannot ship to a slaughterhouse to get rid of at least some of it.

The bottom line is that there is no easy solution for our producers. Again, it just points out the need for the government to deal with this issue immediately.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy February 13th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure that I am really pleased about having to speak to this issue. This issue is something that should have been resolved a long time ago as my colleague from Prince George--Peace River said earlier. The industry is in a crisis and there does not appear to be a quick resolution coming from the government.

My riding of Skeena is a fairly northern riding which runs from the Yukon border down the central coast and about 200 miles inland from Prince Rupert. The Smithers-Hazelton area is an agricultural economy as well as forestry and mining. There is dairy farming and a fair bit of beef cattle ranching so BSE is an issue. The new riding boundaries that presumably will be in place fairly shortly will take my riding inland another 150 miles which gets into some fairly major cattle country in the Vanderhoof area.

The BSE issue is a big concern to me and it is a big concern to people in my area. There is no question that action is needed but it has not been forthcoming from the government. The people in my riding are urging the government to deal with this serious issue.

Last Monday I was in Houston, B.C. for the opening of Canford's new sawmill addition. It will be the biggest sawmill in the world. I realize I am a little off the topic but I will get to the point. This sawmill will produce some 600 million board feet of lumber a year, enough to build some 30,000 homes. As members can see, the forest industry is very important in northwestern B.C.

At that session I spoke with the mayor of Smithers, Mr. Jim Davidson, who is a cattle rancher. I had met with him previously and also with the Bulkley Valley cattle ranchers association. He impressed on me once again how serious this problem is. As my colleague said earlier, family businesses that have been built up over several generations are on the verge of bankruptcy. There does not appear to be any hope for them unless something changes very quickly.

The value of cattle is basically at zero. The equity that the banks were lending money on was basically on the value of cattle which were saleable at one point in time. However there is no value there anymore. The banks are walking away from these people. It is creating huge problems in terms of people meeting their loan payments and so on. There are huge costs in terms of feeding the cattle over the winter. The cattle should have gone to the feedlots last fall. People are facing an accumulation of problems and it is almost impossible for them to deal with them. Without some hope, some help and some direction from the government, they will give up. We cannot allow that.

The cattle industry is important to my riding. It is important to British Columbia. It is important to Canada. The cattle industry is worth some $35 billion. It does not make any sense to let it collapse.

The government to date has done very little. People out there are angry and desperate. There is no doubt this will be reflected at some point in the near future. There has been no change since the debate last Wednesday. All parties have agreed that this is a serious problem. The minister needs to take action, not today, not tomorrow, but yesterday. Action is not happening and we have to ask why on behalf of the cattle producers of Canada. Why is there no positive action and positive results? What do we do about this? Obviously there are solutions and we have to start addressing the problem sooner rather than later.

We have to rebuild our relationships with the U.S. There are some problems in dealing with trade issues right now. The softwood lumber issue has been going on for a number of years and no end appears to be in sight. Now there is the BSE situation. There was one animal in Alberta and one in the U.S. which unfortunately came from Alberta. It is a huge problem.

The two governments need to arrive at a method that will deal with these trade issues expeditiously. They cannot continue dragging them out week after week, month after month, year after year. The softwood lumber industry paid the price and now our beef cattle producers are paying the price and they will not be able to pay it for too much longer. We need action on this right away.

This should be seen as a scientific issue. We should be putting money into research and resources in the longer term to come up with a solution so this does not happen again, but we also need a short term solution so the industry can continue and survive.

Canadian consumers have supported this industry. I think we are consuming as much beef as we possibly can as a nation. However given the number of cattle in Canada we obviously cannot consume them all. We need to have access to the U.S. market.

An interesting point was raised just a little while ago. Our Canadian army in Afghanistan is destroying thousands of kilograms of U.S. beef. The Canadian army actually eats U.S. beef. With our beef industry in the situation it is, regardless of how the army contracts or how it does its supply to the troops, it seems very strange to me that our troops overseas would actually be eating U.S. beef. I just wanted to point out how ridiculous the government's position is and how it has not been useful in resolving this problem.

The Canadian people are proud of the beef industry and they support it to the best of their ability. Our government must recognize that support and pride and it must recognize that our beef farmers need direct support. The support does not need to go to some middle man where the farmers do not see it on their bottom line. The bottom line is that this industry must survive in Canada and it is up to this government today to find a solution.

Petitions February 13th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, this petition also has several hundred names. The petitioners request that the Canadian government ensure that the Ministry of Canadian Heritage and Canada Post renegotiate the library book rate with no increase and that it be expanded to include all materials loaned by public libraries.