Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was veterans.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Winnipeg North—St. Paul (Manitoba)

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

Statements in the House

Veterans October 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, in May we announced that we would have a program for the VIP from then on henceforth. Our remaining challenge is to see how we can address the needs of those whose benefits lapsed before that and to see what we can do. At that time, we will have the reality of fiscal resources.

We are continuing to be engaged on the issue. I assure the member that the sensitivity of the government to veterans issues remains very high.

Research and Development October 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, to address this issue the Government of Canada has taken a number of initiatives. It has increased funding to the research granting councils. There is $225 million for the indirect costs of research at universities. There is $1.8 billion for the Canada Foundation for Innovation. There are 2,000 masters graduate scholarships and 2,000 more for Ph.D. students. There are 2,000 research chairs at universities, 1,000 created today.

It is the nature of the scholarship that Canadian scholars do pursue further post-doctoral studies abroad, just as foreign students do further post-doctoral studies here in Canada.

Veterans Affairs October 27th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated several times in the House, we have been in frequent consultations with the three major veterans organizations, even up until shortly before I made the announcement last May.

They realized the situation. They advised me, and I concurred, that we could proceed with what we had and that we would continue to work for others.

Veterans Affairs October 27th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, we too continue to be touched because these are very human issues. The government will continue to be sensitive to the needs of veterans.

Veterans Affairs October 27th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the government has not forgotten the needs of any veteran in this country. The government has been seized with this issue.

I can assure the member that the department continues to be engaged in this issue and has been engaged in this issue for over a year now. When we made the announcement last May we were not able to proceed for all because of the fiscal reality. However I assure the member that we have not forgotten any veteran for any need he or she may have.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act October 24th, 2003

You wait. I waited for my time. Mr. Speaker, I would like respect in this House.

The member in her debate was trying to create an illusion while alluding to the Prime Minister. It is sad when we have a pressing issue on which we cannot all work together. It is not one group trying to find credit. That is not the way I work. I work in a quiet way and when I get results it does not matter if my name is attached to it or not.

Let us remind ourselves that the nobility of politics is best measured when we continue to do our best, to achieve results, and when we go to the great beyond it does not matter that our name is remembered. It only matters what we have achieved for the people of Canada.

The member alluded to the fact that there is nothing for the widows. There are pensions for the widows. These are additional benefits and we are working for them.

There has been no betrayal, and I can lay my record before the member. Who, with all due respect and in all modesty, has spoken harder and stronger for veterans and their families than I?.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act October 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the member quoted one leader of a veterans organization who, regrettably, and which caused me pain, asked for my resignation, as did the member when she echoed the same sentiment.

I want to quote from the press release put out by the Royal Canadian Legion and the Army Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada Association with respect to this particular issue and took issue with a statement made in the media. I want to put on the record the statement made by the two oldest and largest organizations for veterans and their families. During the May 7, 2003 meeting, they stated:

At that meeting it was made clear by [the] Veterans Affairs Minister..., and fully understood by all in attendance, that the extension of the VIP for widows beyond the one year period would not be retroactive.

I read that statement because the particular leader, who the member quoted, was at that meeting and, in all modesty, I was the one who raised this particular issue. However, everyone, with great dilemma, decided to proceed and immediately effect a change in the lives of surviving spouses.

However we could not do everything at that time. As I have said in the House repeatedly, because I am a very forthright person, we did not have the fiscal resources.

However, unlike the member, who, until toward the end of her debate, spoke only about her party as though the other opposition members did not matter, I am trying to come up with the word. Is that selfishness on my part?

As I indicated, this is not a partisan issue. I want to read again from the press release of those two major organizations. They state:

We respect the current Minister of Veterans Affairs for his honesty and forthright approach in dealing with veterans issues.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act October 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I will not comment on the figures.

When we have found the solution, which it is my hope and prayer, we will declare the figures, we will declare everything. When a solution is found, all members will know.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act October 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I share the sentiments expressed by the members. What I ask of them is, let us continue to work together. Let us remain optimistic. Let us not speak of gloom and doom. I am an optimistic person and I will remain optimistic.

Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act October 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I do not know how else to describe it. I do not know how else to share the depth of my sentiment toward this issue, but we have to be realistic. We cannot pre-empt the decision of Parliament, the decision making process. Let me assure the members of the House, let me assure the Canadian public, and let me assure veterans and their families that this minister will continue to work hard so that we achieve the proper goal, so that we achieve the objective.

I can see nodding heads. They like to play the heroes. I will continue to work hard so that we can achieve the proper solution for this particular issue. This is not a partisan issue.