House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was province.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Avalon (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Won his last election, in 2004, with 58% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Persons with Disabilities December 3rd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, promoting independent living and sustainable livelihoods, the Canadian inspired theme for this 10th International Day of Disabled Persons, is made possible by the collaborative work of many people, their families, organizations and governments.

Indeed, Canadians have witnessed great change since a special parliamentary committee on the disabled and handicapped released a now landmark “Obstacles Report”.

I am pleased that the government continues to work with people with disabilities and all Canadians to ensure that obstacles continue to be broken down, particularly in the workplace.

We hope the momentum has been created that will see increased awareness and understanding of the challenges facing people with disabilities, as well as their enormous potential.

Fisheries November 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to announce that a major change is about to take place in the fishing industry in Newfoundland, a good news item.

I want to congratulate the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for putting together a consultation process that will allow the industry in Newfoundland and Labrador to hold formal discussions with the Government of Canada and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to allow the vessel replacement program to take place. This has been an issue for some 20 years that has been ongoing in Newfoundland and Labrador. Because the fisheries have changed so much, the lives of people have been at risk.

I am pleased to announce today that this process will take place in a timely fashion and decisions, hopefully, will be forthcoming in the year 2003.

Diabetes October 29th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today and ask the House to join me in recognizing the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Kids for a Cure Lobby Day on Parliament Hill and the need for government policies that will cure juvenile diabetes. Forty children with juvenile Type 1 diabetes, from all regions of Canada, will meet with members of Parliament to share their experiences.

This morning I met with three of these young people, Zachary McCaskill, Mark Hosak and Logan Wright, who explained to me how their reliance upon insulin affects their lives. They stressed the need for decision-makers to support innovative research advances.

Juvenile diabetes is a serious disease affecting more than 200,000 Canadians who require daily insulin injections to live. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic amputations, adult blindness, stroke, heart attacks and a leading cause of death in Canada. Over 2 million Canadians suffer from diabetes.

I ask the House to join me in sharing our hope and excitement that ongoing support for research will discover a cure for diabetes.

Health Care System October 28th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I would support and recognize the major role that the Minister of Health is playing in the health care system of the country. I have no doubt that she is working very diligently on the things that need to be done and meeting not only with her own department but with Canadians right throughout the country, when the appropriate time is allowed, to make improvements to the health care system.

A person's absence from this hon. House does not necessarily take away from her ability to do what is necessary to improve the health care system in the country.

Health Care System October 28th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear that the hon. member is trying to defend his leader, but what is also quite clear are the facts in his leader's statements made over the last number of days, in particular early today.

Let us get right back to the proposed legislation that we are discussing here before the House. When decisions are to be made in the House of Commons to put extra funding toward improving the health care system, I suspect that not only will the Minister of Health and the Minister of Finance have to make decisions, in the upcoming budget they are going to have to make major decisions which are going to, I suspect, call upon changes in legislation that will have to make things happen in future. We sure hope that those decisions will be made for the best interests of the health care system for all Canadians.

Health Care System October 28th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I have listened intently to members on both sides of the House debating this issue today. I have been around provincial politics for about 17 years and for just a short time here in the House of Commons. I want to say at the outset I do not think there is any piece of legislation or any issue that could come before any house that is of greater importance than this issue and where we are going in the future.

I have listened to some rhetoric from the Canadian Alliance. I was a bit disappointed this morning when the Leader of the Opposition made some very derogatory comments about the Canadian health care system. I know the health care system needs a lot of improvements but I do not believe that anybody in Canada believes it ranks where the Canadian Alliance leader said it did this morning.

We live in the greatest country in the whole world. I believe that the health care system in Canada is very, very good. Does it need improvements? Absolutely. Do we have major problems in the health care system? Absolutely. However, to say that it ranks where the leader of the Canadian Alliance said it did this morning is very unfair to the people who live from one end of the country to the other and benefit from the health care system.

In talking about the national health care system, I will focus more on a regional level and my own province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Newfoundland and Labrador has a population of approximately 510,000 scattered over a vast geography. The province is actually four times larger than the country of Japan which has 125 million people. Therein lies a major problem in delivering the health care system in my province. Because the population is scattered over such a massive geography, the cost of delivering health care is much greater than in many other parts of Canada. Even though rural Canada, the northern parts and many other parts of the country have similar problems, because of our small population, the problems are escalated in Newfoundland and Labrador.

What I find a problem with and which I hope will be addressed in the decisions that will be made in the federal health care system is the delivery of funding when it is increased. If it will be delivered according to the formula used in the past, on a per capita basis, then there will be a problem for Newfoundland and Labrador. With such a small population the province will not get sufficient moneys from the federal system that it would need to deliver the health care system in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Money is not the only issue nor the only problem in the health care system. I heard comments made earlier today on accountability. Accountability is a major issue. When I ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party in Newfoundland and Labrador, I said that before I would put any more money into the health care system, I would have to know exactly where the problems were and the accountability in all of the hospitals and delivery systems throughout the province. Once it is known where the problems are, the money can be spent more wisely to address the problems rather than doing it in an ad hoc manner which has been done far too much in the past.

Money is one issue. Accountability is another issue. As was stated earlier today, prevention is a major issue. How do people living from coast to coast in Canada look at their own personal health? Should solving the problem of health care begin with money, begin in the hospitals, begin in the delivery systems, or should it begin right at home? I believe very strongly it should begin right at home. How we manage our personal day to day lives is a major problem for our health care system.

I visit hospitals in my riding occasionally. The first thing I see on the hospital steps are people smoking. Around any public building or institution anywhere we see people smoking. Areas in restaurants and public places are set aside for people to smoke.

Those people who add what is close to the greatest costs in the health care system are the people who abuse their own health in relation to smoking. If we could convince people that smoking is a major problem and get people to stop what I would call a crazy way of trying to get some satisfaction then we would save millions and billions of dollars in this country.

The other thing that we should be doing is promoting healthier eating habits. I have had occasion to visit Japan a couple of times. There are 125 million people there. When we look at the general population of Japan we seldom see an obese person, because of their eating habits. The Japanese are concerned about their own personal health, and the type of food that they consume gives them a better, healthier environment.

In fact, as far as I understand, about 85% of the food consumed in Japan comes from the ocean. There is not a healthier food we can eat. Regardless of the type of food, eating wisely and keeping good, healthy eating habits is certainly a major step in beginning not only to improve our own personal health but certainly to lessen the costs and burdens on ourselves as taxpayers and governments, whether federal or provincial.

The other thing I think we should be looking at is our drinking habits. Again, as has already been said today, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I think if we lessened the ounces of alcohol consumed throughout this country it would be many pounds of cure that would be seen throughout our health care system.

The problems in solving health care, as I said earlier, are not just money, accountability and how the delivery system actually works. This begins right with Canadian citizens. This is what I would like to hear throughout the country: a greater role for people accepting responsibility for the problems we have in our health care system. If only we can convince, through public relations, through the appropriate programs throughout the country, the Canadian people to start thinking “This is my problem”. If only we can convince them that this is a problem that they personally can play a role in solving, without any cost to them whatsoever, probably less than the cost of the day to day and week to week spending on themselves personally, whether it be eating, drinking or smoking. We could then begin to improve the health care system in our country in which we all are now experiencing major problems.

I want to conclude by saying these words. In the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador we accept a responsibility for solving the health care system's problems. We do not say to the federal government that it is the government's problem alone. We, the people, accept responsibility and the government accepts responsibility, but we also are looking to the federal government and the federal treasury to help solve the major problems we have.

We ask, in the recognition of and in the upcoming decisions that the government will be making with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Health, the government to look at the geography of Canada, to look at the diverse population of the regional and rural parts of Canada, particularly the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. We ask it to take into consideration that one size does not fit all. We have to make decisions based on the great country of Canada that we live in for the benefit of all the citizens and regions of Canada, and in particular the rural regions, our Atlantic region and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Canadian Accredited Insurance Brokers October 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to ask the House to join me in recognizing the accomplishments of four of my constituents, Kelly Smith, Renée Batten, Dianne Parsons and Daphne Dawson, who have recently earned the Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker professional designation through the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada. These individuals are recognized by their peers and colleagues throughout the insurance industry as having achieved a very high standard of professional competence and integrity.

The CAIB is a national education program involving four challenging courses of study covering both technical and applied knowledge, each of which concludes with a comprehensive final exam. IBAC is the national trade association that brings together and represents Canada's 11 provincial and regional associations of property and casualty insurance brokers.

I ask the House to join me in congratulating these individuals and wishing them further success and achievements.

Petitions October 2nd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition on behalf of Wanda Goodyear of Lumsden, Newfoundland, signed by 480 constituents of mine in the riding of Bonavista--Trinity--Conception.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to ensure all necessary steps are taken to protect our children from any material promoting child pornography and to make it clear that any such exploitation of children will be met with swift punishment.

Tourism June 7th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand here today to represent the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and share with the House some of the successes of our province.

Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in Atlantic Canada, with its annual rate of growth outpacing all traditional sectors. It is estimated that tourism salaries and spending inject some $3.8 billion into the economy of our region each year. That is why the ACOA agency has made tourism a strategic priority and supports local initiatives such as the root cellar project in the town of Elliston in my riding of Bonavista--Trinity--Conception.

Elliston is a small community of approximately 400 people located on the northeastern tip of the Bonavista Peninsula. Once a busy fishing settlement, it is now a popular tourist destination known as the root cellar capital of the world. With 135 documented root cellars, some of which have survived nearly two centuries, Elliston is a cultural centre for those who want to understand early Newfoundland subsistence.

Promotion of the cellars has resulted in national and international recognition. Each summer Tourism Elliston Inc. hosts a four day festival which attracts up to 14,000 visitors--

Public Safety Act, 2002 May 30th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, coming from the honourable house of assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador gave me experience but I admit, not the experience that I will gain over the coming years in this honourable House.

Yes, like all human beings we will make mistakes but, not to be critical of the hon. member who spoke, I do take exception to what she said and I will leave it at that. The bill is too important to get sidetracked into a debate between two members on either side of the House of Commons.

The reference I wanted to make is that I am trying to understand why members are being critical of the bill. We need to listen to all speakers. This is not a bill that we should take lightly. I believe the bill will impact very positively on the safety of all Canadians.

We never know when an act of terrorism will happen. It could happen next week, next month or next year but we hope and pray it will never happen again. It could be spontaneous and it could happen anywhere in Canada, in North America or anywhere in the world for that matter. However we are talking here about Canada.

If we do not give the people in power, whoever they are, the authority to implement measures for the safety of Canadians, then who do we give it to? Who should have the authority to put measures in place to protect Canadians?

I have some difficulty understanding the criticisms being made by the opposition members about the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Health and the Minister of National Defence being given certain powers. In all the speeches I heard this morning, I only heard one member make some positive and constructive comments.

The member from the NDP went on for 10 minutes being negative on every aspect of the bill. That is fine. She has a right to her opinion. However I did not hear her say one constructive thing in those 10 minutes about the bill. That is why I have difficulty understanding exactly where the members of the NDP are coming from with their position. Are they saying that we should have no legislation whatsoever? Are they saying that we should leave Canada at the will of terrorism at any time terrorists so choose? Are they saying that we should not have any change in our ability to protect Canadians? If that is what they are saying I take great exception to their points.

As the debate goes on I am sure I will hear more and maybe I will get the opportunity to hear some constructive statements being made by members of the opposition. Probably that is more wishful thinking than reality but we will wait and see.

Whether it be any minister of any department of the government or the leaders of our armed forces, they need to have the authority to implement measures that will ensure the safety of all Canadians.

I am glad my hon. colleague clarified the military zones when he spoke. I was surprised to hear an opposition member say that he doubted that any Liberal member had read the bill. Let me assure the House that we are reading the bill continuously. If the opposition members had read the bill they would have known clearly what the military zones really meant and would not have made statements to the contrary of what is actually in the bill. It shows that they are reading briefing notes and not studying the bill.

While the bill is being debated in the House today I think it is very important for every member to clearly understand the significance of this proposed legislation and how crucial it is to the future of all Canadians.