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

Softwood Lumber September 26th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, that is a lousy 3% of the total that the government announced in the past. Announcements do not cut it. They do not put bread and butter on the table of displaced workers.

Yesterday, yes, my colleague from Nanaimo asked a similar question, but basically received more waffling. The fact of the matter is very little assistance has gone to softwood lumber dependent communities.

So I ask again, why has the government failed to assist workers who have been drastically affected by the softwood lumber dispute? Why is it that the Liberals make an awful lot of announcements but do not keep very many promises?

Softwood Lumber September 26th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, on May 15 I asked the Minister of Natural Resources how much longer communities must wait to receive assistance through the softwood lumber aid package and the minister waffled. Here we are, five months later, and communities and workers in my riding are still waiting.

Why is the government so insensitive to the needs of small communities affected by this dispute? Where is the money?

Petitions September 19th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting two petitions today signed by numerous citizens of my riding of Skeena. Both petitions insist that Parliament maintain the traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Union of British Columbia Municipalities September 19th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, next week the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention will take place in Vancouver. This annual gathering of municipal and regional district leaders from around the province of B.C. provides them with an opportunity to network with their peers and elected representatives, both provincial and federal. Municipal government provides the closest and most direct relationship to government for Canadian citizens.

Clearly, municipalities are shortchanged by the federal government. Fuel taxes disappear into Ottawa, never to be seen again by those who pay. Infrastructure dollars are scarce and the sharing formula needs revision to ensure that smaller municipalities are more capable of carrying their share of the cost.

As a former mayor, I look forward to renewing old acquaintances and discussing with them these and other issues at the UBCM convention in Vancouver next week.

Question No. 237 September 15th, 2003

What is the total number of employees in the entire Department of Fisheries and Oceans, what is the breakdown of this number per region in Canada and, specifically, what is the total for the following areas: Ottawa (National Capital Region), East Coast (Atlantic Region) and West Coast (Pacific Region)?

First Nations Governance Act June 3rd, 2003

Madam Speaker, today we are dealing with Bill C-7 at report stage and second reading in a combined format, as the House gave its consent last year to send the bill directly to committee after first reading. I know from the Canadian Alliance perspective this was agreed to in order to ensure a detailed review of the bill in committee to hopefully result in many needed changes to the original format.

I understand from our party representatives on the aboriginal affairs and northern development committee that the extensive travel, the many witnesses and their detailed testimony have proven to be a strong representation of how the legislative process should work, particularly when dealing with such sweeping changes as are proposed in the bill.

I would also like the House to know that I am particularly pleased that the committee agreed to travel to my riding of Skeena. I would like to thank Mary Dalen, Roberta Van Doorn and Theresa Wesley for appearing as individuals. I would like to thank Mr. Gerald Wesley of the Northwest Tribal Treaty Nations, Mr. Robert H. Hill of the Tsimshian Tribal Council, as well as Mr. Clarence Nyce and his team from the Skeena Native Development Society for taking the time to appear as witnesses representing groups.

I truly believe that it is only through open and honest discussion on ways to improve legislation that we will ever effect positive change for Canadians and, in this case in particular, for aboriginal Canadians.

For the benefit of those Canadians watching the debate, I would like to take a moment to summarize the intent of Bill C-7 before I speak to the specifics of the grouping before the House today.

The first nations governance act attempts to address three areas: leadership selection, financial and governance administration. As opposed to popular perception, the bill will not improve much needed governance problems on Canadian reserves.

Bill C-7 would, however, increase the powers of chiefs and councils to appoint their own police force and redress officers, create a two tier human rights regime in Canada, cost taxpayers millions of dollars and do very little to address the inequities that exist between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians.

I believe the first nations governance act is another example of a Liberal top down, expensive failure. The federal government ignores the fact that good governance can only begin with empowered and equal individuals who will hold their elected officials to account. Bill C-7 instead concentrates power in the hands of a few and further pushes first nations members to the margins of Canadian society.

There are a number of problems with the bill and some are as follows.

The first nations governance act would further exacerbate the power imbalance between governing band elites and marginalized band members.

Good governance can only be achieved by empowering the individual rights, freedoms and responsibilities of members so they will hold their leaders accountable.

Enforcement officers would be appointed by chiefs and would have broad search and seizure powers and powers to levy fines. These officers would be answerable only to chief and council.

Chiefs would be able to appoint their own mini-me ombudsman, similar to the Prime Minister's totally ineffective ethics counsellor.

Aboriginal Canadians would continue to be denied human rights protection under the Canadian Human Rights Act. The government has provided a collective defence for band councils to trump individual rights and protections. Bill C-7 would create a two tier human rights system in Canada.

The bill threatens the security of an already precarious group in Canadian society. Change for the sake of change will only lead to future problems.

This is the most expensive and least effective model of governance ever proposed. There would be 600 different financial codes, possibly 600 mini-me ombudsman and possibly 600 band enforcement officers created as a result of the bill.

The Auditor General has said that the government should provide a complete cost analysis for the bill but it has not.

The Canadian Alliance believes that the Indian Act is archaic and should be left in our past. Sustainable aboriginal governance solutions are attainable and are in every Canadian's best interest.

The Canadian Alliance believes in equality driven governance and that empowered individuals are the best means to ensure accountability.

Future legislative initiatives must focus on removing barriers, restoring equality and empowering individual aboriginal Canadians to determine the direction of their government.

All Canadians should enjoy the equal protections of the Canadian Human Rights Act, but section 67 of the act exempts first nations governments. Therefore first nations members cannot seek redress or file complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. The Canadian Alliance supports the full and equal protection and benefits of the Canadian Human Rights Act for aboriginal Canadians.

Aboriginal Canadians should have the same economic choices and opportunities as non-aboriginal Canadians. Barriers in the Indian Act prevent the equal economic participation among aboriginal Canadians. The Canadian Alliance supports the removal of the personal property protections for mortgage, seizure and levy that are in the Indian Act. Removing these protections would enable aboriginal Canadians to obtain long term financing.

Neither the Indian Act, the first nations governance act nor the First Nations Land Management Act adequately address the issue of matrimonial property. If there is a breakdown of a marriage on the reserve, provincial and territorial laws regarding the use, occupancy and possession of land, as well as a division of interests in that land, are not applicable. Due to this legislation gap, interests in matrimonial real property are not always divided fairly, equitably or in a timely fashion. The Canadian Alliance submitted amendments at both committee stage and report stage to address this issue but unfortunately unsuccessfully.

To promote economic opportunity and individual freedom, the Canadian Alliance supports initiatives that extend and enhance property ownership in aboriginal communities. Some reserve communities have innovatively used the certificate of possession program to enhance individual property ownership. These communities have witnessed a reduction in property crime and vandalism, resulting in better property maintenance and longer housing life. The Canadian Alliance will work with first nations communities to create an environment that gives individuals the opportunity and responsibility for home ownership.

The first step to achieving good governance is equal and empowered individuals. The FNGA fails to recognize the importance of individuals in creating accountable governance. It does not address the rights, freedoms, protections or responsibilities of community members and instead focuses upon the powers of the chief and council.

The Canadian Alliance agrees that change must happen in first nations communities but it must be the right kind of change if it is to be sustainable and successful.

As far as an ombudsman goes, many individuals feel there is no check on the power of chiefs and council and would like to see an independent, impartial body available for complaints of a local nature. An ombudsman's office would deter many abuses of power, since leaders would know that members could appeal to the ombudsman for ruling.

The Liberal approach to redress forces individuals to endure a marathon of hearings and appeal processes. There would be three stages in seeking redress for a complaint. First, band councils may write into their codes an appeal process that individuals can use. What that looks like will depend on the band council code.

Second, if someone's complaint is not dealt with to their satisfaction using the first avenue, the person can go to the person or body appointed by each band to hear complaints. Section 11 of the bill provides for this. That means there could potentially be over 600 complaint bodies among first nations in Canada.

The third and last stage of the redress process involves a national ombudsman. This third stage has been added by the Liberals only now at report stage.

The process is too cumbersome. It will take a long time for any redress to be won. People will give up because of the lengthy process.

The first of the two stages in the Liberal approach will not be truly independent. Redress mechanisms within the band will be open to bias. The committee heard from many witnesses that the ability of a local ombudsman to remain independent and impartial is severely restricted and almost impossible in smaller communities.

The Canadian Alliance has led the way in consistently calling for a single national ombudsman for aboriginal people.

The Liberals at report stage are adding a national ombudsman to the bill but they are robbing the office of effectiveness by not guaranteeing confidentiality to complainants. Their version of the ombudsman would allow the report to Parliament to contain information that might disclose details of a complaint. Newspapers that picked up on this report would be shielded from libel and slander laws. In essence, an aboriginal person cannot be sure that his or her concern would be kept confidential by the ombudsman. This would open the complainant to retribution and persecution. As a result, people will not want to use the ombudsman for redress, which means that the one potentially independent form of redress available to aboriginal persons will be off limits to many.

I will conclude by saying that Canada is at a crossroads. Our path leads us to equality and inclusiveness. The Liberal's path entrenches difference, subordinates individuals to collectivities and forever disengages aboriginals from the rest of Canada. The first nations governance act is one step closer to a third order of government, which our policies do not support, therefore we must reject the act.

I would like to finish by quoting from the testimony of one of my first nations constituents, Mrs. Mary Dalen, at the Prince Rupert committee meeting on February 20 of this year, when speaking about the overall problem with the current system, all the while explaining that the new FNGA is not fixing the fundamental problem. She said:

--the money or funding for programs does not get down to the grassroots Indian people.

I wholeheartedly agree and would suggest that she hit the nail on the head.

We in the Canadian Alliance have suggested many amendments to the bill, both in committee and at report stage, and unless those amendments are incorporated in this bill, we will be opposing the passage of this legislation.

Petitions May 28th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, last, but certainly not least, is a petition with over 1,200 signatures expressing concern about Canada's aquaculture industry.

Petitions May 28th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the next two petitions call upon Parliament to focus legislative support on adult stem cell research to find the cures necessary to treat the illnesses and diseases of suffering Canadians.

Petitions May 28th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls upon Parliament to protect the rights of Canadians to be free to share their religious beliefs without fear of prosecution.

Petitions May 28th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a number of petitions on behalf of the residents of Skeena riding.

The first petition calls upon Parliament to protect our children by outlawing materials promoting pedophilia.