House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was police.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Independent MP for Surrey North (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2004, with 44% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Age of Consent November 25th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, the government refuses to raise the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16 years. The Minister of Justice says that he cannot reach an agreement with the provinces but we know that Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia support the change.

Last week the minister refused to say which groups in the community would not support this change. Will he at least tell us which provinces do not support it?

Corrections and Conditional Release Act November 22nd, 2002

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-315, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (parole hearings).

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to reintroduce my private member's bill that would amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act with respect to parole hearings.This amendment would permit a victim of an offence to read a victim impact statement at a parole hearing, a statement describing the harm done or the loss suffered arising from the commission of an offence.

Bill C-79, the victims rights act adopted by the House in the 36th Parliament contained a provision that granted victims the right to provide an oral statement in court at the time of sentencing. Corrections department policy currently allows victims of crime to present oral statements at parole hearings. However, there is nothing expressly provided in the statute governing the practice and policy can be changed at any time.

My private member's bill would guarantee victims the right to make an oral statement if they so choose.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Public Safety November 22nd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately my home city now leads North America in auto theft. Auto theft results in tragic deaths or injuries to innocent people and major property damage, not to mention the tying up of fire, police and ambulance resources.

Cars are stolen to commit crimes. Home invasions are perpetrated to get the keys. The government could mandate federal driving prohibitions, minimal sentencing for repeat offenders, consecutive sentencing and the use of auto theft devices. However it does nothing to address this crime that affects virtually every community in Canada. Why?

Parliamentary Reform November 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I would not condemn out of hand absolutely everything that goes on in this place. What I would condemn is the fact that the government does not seem to care what goes on in this place because it never seems to take any of the views of the opposition seriously.

There may be some arguments and political differences, absolutely. Some people may consider that some things are frivolous. That is fair enough. The problem is we never see any reaction by the government to actually take what people have to say seriously and incorporate it into its legislation.

Certainly, I take this place seriously. I would not come here if I did not take it seriously, but what I do take seriously is my committee work because I feel that is where a lot of the work is done. Unfortunately, the public is not that terribly aware of it. What the public sees is what goes on here. People are getting a little incensed at what has been going on here for the last couple of weeks because they see nothing productive coming out of this place.

Parliamentary Reform November 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I know it is not appropriate to comment on the presence of members in the House so I will not do that.

I accept the concerns of my colleague on this because, for myself, participating in these take note debates completely intrudes on my time. I know I could be doing something more constructive. With the way things have been going in the last little while my constituents are asking what members are doing because they do not see any legislation. When I tell them we are doing these take note debates, they ask me: What are those? If nobody is taking notes, what comes from them?

There are times when I honestly have not been in the House myself to take notes. I am sitting back at my apartment while the debate is going on so I am trying to take notes by watching it on TV. However, from the perspective of what these take note debates are supposed to be about, we would hope that when we are dealing with some of the issues that have come up on these take note debates that the senior government members are taking notes and paying some attention to what members are saying.

That goes to the thrust of what I was trying to say. How much of this is valued comment and does the government sit and listen occasionally when we are talking about what we consider to be substantive issues? I do not believe the government cares. The government is just filling time, as we can see by the House adjourning early on numerous occasions lately, and the total lack of substantive legislation before us at this time.

Parliamentary Reform November 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on the issue of modernization in this place.

I honestly believe that we need to have a long hard look at the excessive use of time allocation and closure and bring back meaningful debate. Quite likely very soon, the House will be asked to debate the Kyoto protocol, arguably the most important issue to hit this session. While I would never anticipate a decision of the House, I will anticipate the Prime Minister and his House leader. Even though the government has absolutely no agenda it will resort to closing off debate on Kyoto because it is concerned that if enough Canadians become aware of the impact, the government will be in hot water.

If one is on the right side of an issue and debates it sufficiently enough, one will win, and the Liberals know that they are on the wrong side of the Kyoto issue so they will respond by stifling debate. They used the same tactic when they raised the CPP premiums by 70%. The figured that if Canadians were upset about a 7% GST, they would not have much appreciation for a 70% CPP hike, so they rammed the bill through using closure at every turn.

The naval aid bill of 1913 marked the first time in Canadian parliamentary history that closure was used. When it was used to shut down the pipeline debate in 1956, a respected academic, C.E.S. Franks, dubbed the incident the most important in Parliament's history. He argued that the pipeline debate had “inaugurated the modern parliamentary age of both obstruction and reform”.

If 1956 marks the inauguration of the modern parliamentary age of obstruction, then I submit that 2002 marks the age when the right of the opposition to filibuster died. The opposition no longer has the tools to obstruct. Normally, as soon as the government gets a whiff of a filibuster or anticipates controversy, it closes off debate and advances the bill through the system before the public gets wise to its contents. On the second day of debate on the CPP bill, the government invoked time allocation. The remaining stages of that bill met the same fate. The public felt the impact of Bill C-2 long before it ever heard there was a bill before Parliament.

It is important to note that the finance minister at the time was the member for LaSalle—Émard, the member who now cries crocodile tears about democratic deficit.

Time allocation and closure are supposed to be about managing time. The government uses time allocation to manage controversy. When it introduces a controversial bill, it invokes time allocation almost immediately, slipping the bill through Parliament before the opposition has time to solicit public support for its point of view.

Filibusters are a part of our history and play an important role, since they raise the profile of an issue so that the public can learn and respond. Sadly, that tradition has been lost because this government and its predecessor have taken just about every filibuster tool away from the opposition.

The last time the opposition waged a successful filibuster was with the Nisga'a bill. Unlike debate, the government could not curtail voting, so the Reform Party introduced hundreds of motions, causing the House to vote around the clock for 42 hours. It was that unusual event that made news as far away as the United Kingdom. It was a successful filibuster tactic in that it raised the profile of an issue.

How did the government respond? The first order of business in this Parliament was to remove that tactic. The current government House leader shuts down debate at every turn, often leaving the House with nothing to debate. Since this session began we have had an unprecedented number of take note debates. We have taken note more often than we have taken action. There is no legislation, so we take note and navel gaze for days at a time when Canadians are faced with serious issues that demand action.

The reason we are taking note today is not that we do not know what to do or that we need to convince ourselves that reform is needed. It is that the government has nothing else to do and would rather take note than take action.

It has become so bad that sometimes government members have had to filibuster their own bills in order to give the appearance that the House has something to do. Under the current House leader's reign, the House has had to be adjourned early every Friday and sometimes on Thursdays. Just last Monday, we shut down more than one hour early.

It might come as a surprise to some, but the Canadian Alliance is not entirely opposed to the use of time allocation and closure. With a few changes, these procedures can be used legitimately and effectively. I would like to read into the record the Alliance's policy on closure and time allocation from Building Trust II, our document on the issue:

First, we recommend amending the rules to provide the Speaker with greater discretionary authority. The Speaker should only allow a time allocation motion to be put forward if he is satisfied that the motion does not infringe on the rights of the minority.

Second, we believe that a change in attitude is required. An Alliance government would respect the parliamentary tradition of the balance between the right of an opposition to solicit public support through debate and reasonable delaying tactics and the right of a government to eventually have its legislation come to a vote.

The final point would be to provide more legitimacy to the legislative process, including the process for allotting time, by allowing free votes.

The excessive use of time allocation is symptomatic of a larger problem. The government has little time for parliamentary process because it arrogantly believes that its own internal process is sufficient.

While we can appreciate that much work goes into the creation of legislation, Parliament is where the views of the public are brought to bear on the process. The current process is unacceptable. Once a bill is introduced in Parliament, or leaked to the media in advance, another extremely thorny subject but best left for another day, once introduced, the public and the media accept that it will become law. The parliamentary process is often seen as little more than a delay. What takes place on the floor of the House is nothing more than a time game. Debate is not intended to convince anyone of anything but is used to fill time. That is the perception of the public.

The government is interested in only one thing. The question it asks of the opposition is not how it feels about a particular bill, or how it feels it might be improved, or why the opposition's constituents have a problem with it. No, the only question on the mind of the government is how much time the opposition is going to spend on it.

The government House leader takes all this information from the opposition parties regarding time and decides if it fits into his timetable. What is said or done on the floor of the House and in committee is rarely considered. The concern is not what is being said, but how long it takes to say it. This is the only leverage the opposition parties have, so they use it. An opposition that messes up the government's agenda occasionally succeeds in getting change. The result is that speaking and listening become irrelevant, while disruption and delay occasionally achieve change.

We should consider giving more value to debate, rather than time, by allowing free votes. Free votes would go a long way toward altering this dysfunctional relationship between the legislative and executive branches of government. With free votes, the government would have to listen to debate. It would have to negotiate and be willing to compromise. With this process, legislation could be improved.

Because of the use of closure, members have resorted to other means to legitimately raise the profile of an issue. These other means are no substitute for legitimate debate, but in the absence of such, members are left with little choice. The most obvious recent example is the Nisga'a voting marathon in the last parliament. I am sure that Canadians would much rather listen to reasoned debate than to the ringing of bells or to members' names being called for 42 hours straight.

Immigration November 20th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, in 2000 Adorjan secretly married a woman after paying her $500 to sponsor him. In doing so, he abandoned his refugee claim and was ordered deported. An arrest warrant was issued.

Last week his so-called spouse said she did not know when they met. In her words she just bumped into him one day. Her sister-in-law, living two doors away, knew nothing of the marriage, yet it took until earlier this year for officials to determine that the marriage was bogus.

Could the minister explain just how it possibly can take the best part of two years to come to such an obvious conclusion that the marriage was a marriage of convenience?

Immigration November 20th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, two years after being ordered deported as a failed refugee claimant, Laszlo Adorjan has been arrested for allegedly running the biggest auto theft ring in B.C. history. Interpol wants him for armed robbery and suspicion of murder. Police watched him for months, but did not even know about the deportation order.

The government is so inept at removing internationally wanted criminals from Canada that it does not even know it has them when it finds them. Why did the RCMP and the auto theft task force not know about the deportation order against this guy?

Criminal Code November 8th, 2002

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-464, an act to amend the Criminal Code (blood alcohol content).

Mr. Speaker, this bill is an act to amend the Criminal Code and was numbered Bill C-464 in the previous session.

This amendment would create a new .05 blood alcohol content offence. It has been said many times before but I think it bears repeating that drinking and driving is the leading cause of criminal death in Canada. It is also 100% totally preventable.

I believe that this amendment, if passed, will be a valuable tool for police to use in their efforts to, at best, eliminate but at the very least reduce the tragedies associated with alcohol related crashes.

Mr. Speaker I have spoken with the other parties and with your permission, I would seek unanimous consent to have this bill numbered Bill C-464 as it was in the previous session.

Canada Elections Act November 8th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court decision stunned Canadians by giving federal prisoners the right to vote last week. Defenders of the decision say that the relatively small number of inmates will make no electoral difference. This is not about numbers. It is about principle.

Killers take away the voting rights of their victims forever. Why is it such a stretch to suspend their right to vote while they are incarcerated? Will the Minister of Justice immediately introduce a constitutional amendment to rectify this affront to victims of crime and to all law-abiding citizens?