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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was money.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Conservative MP for Southern Interior (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2004, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Aboriginal People October 27th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the latest announcement of a $692.5 million handout for VIA Rail is a lot of taxpayers' money. It is a major commitment that will fall on future administrations and the incoming leader is opposed to this funding. Given this, is VIA authorized to make financial commitments from this announcement?

Aboriginal People October 27th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the incoming leader says that VIA should not spend its new funding windfall. The transport minister's people say he should butt out. Meanwhile the people who are really suffering are the taxpayers whose priorities are health care, justice issues and many other areas other than VIA Rail.

Last Friday the minister claimed that the transport committee unanimously called for revitalization of passenger rail, but that is not true. There were three separate reports challenging this.

Given the opposition to this spending spree, why is the minister rushing ahead with funding announcements when his authority to do so is measured in days?

Point of Order October 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, it is related to that.

Transport October 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian taxpayers have shelled out $3 billion for VIA Rail since the Liberals took office, exclusive of this new funding announcement. That works out to $10 million per riding. That is money that those ridings should have had go to things like hospitals, highways and their civic infrastructure instead of taking that money out of those ridings.

How much longer can the Canadian taxpayers be expected to subsidize the transport minister's personal rail fetish?

Transport October 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the $692.5 million announced by the Minister of Transport is nothing more than a thinly disguised down payment on a multi-billion dollar high-speed rail boondoggle. We know the minister went through cabinet, but that cabinet will not be in place in 2004.

Has the minister consulted with the incoming Liberal leader about the future spending commitment?

Ethics October 22nd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Labour has admitted that she did wrong and at least took steps to correct it. The Minister of Industry has done nothing of the kind. He spent years excluding himself from the business he should have been doing, and still accepted the gift.

Will he now either refund the money he was paid as the minister while he was unable to do the job because he excused himself or pay the full cost of the trip?

Ethics October 22nd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, now that the industry minister has been caught with his hands in the Irving cookie jar, others are starting to admit their breach of the rules.

The latest was the Minister of Labour. She accepted a free trip on Irving's executive jet which was worth far more than the $200 gift limit. The minister now admits that what she did was wrong. If she knows it is wrong now, she must have known it was wrong then.

Why did the minister not disclose at the time? Did she simply think she would get away with it?

Forest Industry September 26th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, two years ago the forest industry in Canada was hit with a severe blow, softwood lumber tariffs. To date the government has bungled the handling of this problem and it remains unresolved.

My riding is very forestry dependent, especially in the West Kootenay and Boundary regions. Employers like Slocan Forest Products, Kalesnikoff Lumber, Atco Lumber, Pope and Talbot and Hilmoe Forest Products have been hard hit, not only with this latest problem, but also from the government's previous fiasco, the softwood quota system.

In an apparent effort to help the forest industry communities cope with the impact, the government came up with a funding plan that was to see the province of B.C. get $50 million in aid to impacted communities.

Long after this was set up, how is the government doing? Funding to West Kootenay communities is zero and funding to Boundary communities is zero. The only money that came into our entire riding was $14,387. Although the community that received this money is extremely grateful and used the money wisely, it does not have a sawmill.

To the Liberal government, all I have to say is thanks very little.

Supply September 16th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity to express my sentiments on this to the hon. member who just spoke and get his comments.

My position echoes the sentiments of Norman Spector, who is a B.C. political commentator and in fact was previously a Canadian ambassador. For a variety of reasons, Canadians have an interest in finding ways to strengthen marriage, especially given the relationship between poverty and family breakdown. I really congratulate the hon. member for pointing out, I believe, that it is inappropriate to have the flavour of the month override the fabric of our society throughout the ages.

I acknowledge that gays and lesbians raise kids, that not all heterosexual couples have children, and that society allows infertile men and women to marry. However, these exceptions do not prove the rule and the rule is that gay and lesbian unions, while professing to share much in common with traditional marriage, can never be about procreation and therefore are different in one very fundamental respect. Neither the courts, political parties nor societies at large should seek to change or erode this distinction.

I look at this the way my parents would look at it. I know how they would feel. In fact, ironically, the hon. member knew my father very well, and I am sure he knows how he would feel on this as well. I appreciate the hon. member's words. I invite his comments on what I have said.

Criminal Code September 15th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to advise that I will be splitting my time today with my colleague from the neighbouring riding of Kootenay--Columbia.

I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-45 dealing with criminal liability for companies and organizations.

Over the years I have had several occasions to attend the annual day of mourning for workers who are injured or killed on the job. One of the sentiments that rings out at those meetings on those special days is that although numbers tend to be coming down for many companies, and many companies are very conscious of safety, even one death or injury is one too many. That is the premise which I believe the bill is approaching in terms of liability.

Many years ago, probably in the 19th century, companies were pretty horrendous places for anyone to have to work. The conditions were deplorable. The tactics they used were absolutely disgusting, and that was a large part of what caused workers' organizations and unions to form, because there was an incredible need for someone to stand up for workers against the very oppressive type of corporations that sometimes pervaded throughout our society.

Since that time, we have now what we refer to as the pendulum effect. Sometimes when the economy is going really strong, the unions have tremendous power to force things, maybe even beyond reason at times, on companies because there is such a need for the company to keep working, and so much profitability. At other times the pendulum swings the other way. Even now we can see the same thing returning back, where some corporations take advantage of that and use it as an opportunity to try to squeeze unions into conceding benefits for which they have fought.

One of the problems with the pendulum is we get no stability out of that. In my position as labour critic I saw a case where we have had strikes at the port of Vancouver. The government may have decided that it was appropriate to legislate people back to work because it could not take the disruption and because of what it would do to our economy. However a year ago one of the companies dealing with the grain workers had very little grain flowing into it so it was in labour negotiations with the union. The company actually locked the union out because it saved money by not bringing them in and having to cover benefits. It had alternatives. It was able to divert it to the different facilities that it had. The company did not have enough volume to keep its operation as well. Ironically, those same workers who would have complained with a different swing of the pendulum on being ordered back to work asked why the government was not doing it now. These are the kinds of shifts that we need to try to avoid.

We have the same thing in Bill C-45 in terms of liability on the part of companies. We need to address the problem of criminal liability on the part of persons within the corporation. By the same token, the bill needs to be written in such a way to ensure that we do not go to a point where there is no proper consideration for the criminal liability of people within a company, like the Westray example that has been quoted so much here today in this debate. We also need to ensure that the bill does not swing the pendulum too far and go from a point where people were not being held properly to account to a point where it is done in an oppressive manner.

There has to be an example of balance to put it in a common sort of term for the average person who is watching these proceedings today. The previous Liberal speaker quoted sections and subsections of the bill and some of the more arcane provisions in it, which is necessary. I am sure lawyers, judges and others who are watching need to know those types of details, although they have undoubtedly read the bill. However it is the general public whom we are largely here to represent, including the workers on whom this bill will have such a profound effect. We need to show them exactly what this means and why we feel we need to make these changes.

For example, I lend a car to someone. After the person borrows it, he or she goes out, gets impaired, gets into an accident that perhaps kills someone and very serious charges are pending against that person. It would be inappropriate if I were charged with the criminal responsibility for that accident as well if I had no knowledge whatsoever of what this person was going to do.

On the other hand, if the person were impaired when he borrowed my car and I knew that, then I should be held accountable for allowing him to take my car when he was in that condition.

That is the basic premise of how the bill needs to work. By all means we need to put in some kind of legislation that allows the courts to take criminal action against people who knowingly allow workers to work in conditions that are unsafe and that result in injuries or in the case of the Westray Mine many deaths. These are the types of things that need to be put in the legislation.

We believe the bill has conceptually a lot of merit. We agreed certainly in principle with the private member's bill that actually caused this bill to be written by the government. However the bill needs changes and improvements to make it truly a bill that works for all people. A bill that is imbalanced is not a good bill at all.

When it went from a private member's bill to government legislation, I think it might have lost something in the translation. That is not uncommon. That is why we have debate in the House to disclose what the issues are and to bring them forward. More important, that is why we send a bill to committee. A committee is supposedly master of its own destiny. It can examine the bill based on the debates held in the House by the various parties and from witness, many of whom have brought their opinions forward already. The committee can then decide to make changes that will make the bill, which has a lot of merit, into a bill that has more than just conceptual merit but indeed answers the concerns of workers throughout the country while at the same time ensures that it does not become oppressive against the other side.

We have to keep that pendulum in the middle. In fact we have to eliminate the pendulum and do something that is balanced and right, taking into consideration the needs and rights of both side, instead of something that takes a liability that was never addressed and takes it to a greater degree.

I am sure that members who spoke before me outlined the intricacies of the proposed legislation. I am sure my hon. colleague, who will be speaking next and who has put a great deal of time and background work into the bill, will bring forward the specifics on the kinds of things we need to fix to ensure this is a balanced bill.