Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was horse.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2004, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Tony Bethell February 23rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Tony Bethell, a second world war fighter pilot who was among the survivors of a German prisoner of war camp. Mr. Bethell died this week at his home in my riding at the age of 81.

Mr. Bethell spent three years in the POW camp Stalag Luft. Bethell was among 23 participants involved in a mass breakout from the camp known as “The Great Escape”. Stalag Luft was supposed to be more secure than any other prison camp, but a daring tunnel escape was planned by prisoners so that the Germans could not go and fight at the front lines.

Bethell is remembered by his family as a man of great strength and character. We here in the House would agree with that. He is survived by his wife Lorna, several grown children and 14 grandchildren.

On behalf of all members of the House, I wish to extend our sincere sympathy and condolences to his family and friends.

Supply February 19th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, first I want to make my position clear. I believe that we should be at the table. I believe that we have been a good participant in Norad before.

The issue keeps coming back, then, to the weaponization of space. I would like the hon. member to comment. It took us centuries to establish the international law on the high seas. Today I see space as being very similar to the high seas. I know for a fact that the other countries of the world will not allow the United States to weaponize space without their acceptance. Would the member comment on what process he thinks we would go through to establish international law for outer space similar to what we have for the high seas?

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act February 12th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak to Bill C-436.

The bill seeks to amend Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act by granting every citizen or permanent resident the opportunity to sponsor, once in the sponsor's lifetime, one foreign national who is a relative but not a member of the family class.

The concept of once in a lifetime sponsorship is not new. Governments and stakeholders have debated and analyzed whether such a provision would be workable for several years.

All of us believe in the principle of expanding the family class and making it easier for people to sponsor their loved ones abroad. However, the one time sponsorship option such as that proposed in Bill C-436 is fundamentally flawed for a number of reasons.

Past experience indicates that even with more resources, the increase in the backlogs and processing times for this and other categories of immigrants that could be generated by such an open ended system would seriously undermine the integrity and credibility of the whole immigration program.

Bill C-436 will have the effect of adding a new class to the immigration program and introducing new opportunities for fraud. Since relationships outside the nuclear family are often not well documented and usually are very difficult to verify, the government would need to significantly increase resources to investigate and confirm each claim for sponsorship made under this new section.

In 1988 family intake nearly doubled over two years, thanks to a similar arrangement to include all unmarried sons and daughters in the family class. The escalated number of backlogs arising out of this program, despite its termination in 1993, affected the Department of Citizenship and Immigration for many years.

Even putting aside the potential for huge backlogs, Bill C-436 would undoubtedly undermine our efforts to prevent marriages or common law relationships of convenience and adoptions of convenience since these persons could be sponsored without regard to the merits of their relationship with the sponsor.

It could also undermine the economic component of the immigration program, as many failed economic immigrants have distant relatives in Canada who could easily sponsor them.

We have already made provision for sponsoring individuals outside the family class under certain circumstances. There is little reason to duplicate this in a separate piece of legislation with such serious problems.

Canadians and permanent residents today can sponsor a foreign national who is not a member of the family class, provided that they have no family residing in Canada or abroad. Section 117(1)(h) of the new immigration refugee protection regulations defines a foreign national as a member of the family class with respect to a sponsor regardless of age if the sponsor does not have a spouse, common law partner, conjugal partner or any other immediate family member in Canada or abroad. Individuals can also apply to sponsor a non-family class relative under section 25 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act itself which allows a minister to grant a foreign national permanent residence status or an exemption from any applicable criteria of the act on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

As well, the government passed a series of new regulations just last year to make it much easier for Canadians and permanent residents to sponsor their loved ones from abroad and significantly expand the family class in a well managed and sustainable way. These changes provide for equal treatment under the law for common law couples of the opposite and the same sex by expanding the family class to include the terms “common law partners” and “conjugal partners”.

They also expand the definition of “dependant child” to better reflect the longer child dependencies in certain instances. They also reduce the age at which Canadian citizens or permanent residents are eligible to sponsor from 19 years to 18 years old.

These enhancements to the family class reflect the government's policy intention of easing family reunification while ensuring that the immigration program itself maintains an appropriate balance between the intake of refugees as well as economic and family class immigrants.

We have expanded the family class in a well planned and responsible way. The government has made provision for individuals who wish to sponsor an individual not included in the family class without jeopardizing the integrity of the immigration program itself.

I therefore find it difficult to support the concept of a once in a lifetime sponsorship and will not vote in favour of the fundamentally flawed scheme set out in Bill C-436.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy February 4th, 2004

Madam Chair, this summer I had a chance to talk with cattle producers all the way through my riding. One of the things that has become very apparent to me is the profiteering by the packing houses, one in particular in Ontario. It is at the point where producers have complained to me privately in my office that they cannot really come out publicly and complain about the profiteering because if they do they will be blackballed when they go to the stockyards. They will get a lower price than they would normally get. They are hooked into a situation where they cannot speak out.

Once the standing committee on agriculture gets up and running, how can we look into this issue? How can we get the Competition Bureau involved in this, because there is profiteering and it has even become worse than that; there is suppressive action within the farming community?

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy February 4th, 2004

Mr. Chair, I think part of the key to this situation is the OIE. In 1997 we came in with legislation that basically a cow cannot eat a cow. In 1998 we came in with the tagging system, which is the tracing and tracking system that we have across the country. In 2003 we came in with legislation saying that there could not be any more neural matter put into rendering.

We have changed a lot of the process of how we do things within the beef industry here. What is the chance of us going to the OIE to change the rules there? I believe that is the issue of getting the border opened quickly.

National 4-H Week November 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, November 3 to 9 is National 4-H Week. This year the club is celebrating its 90th anniversary.

The Canadian 4-H program had its beginning in Roland, Manitoba in 1913. It now has over 33,000 members across the country between the ages of 8 and 21 and more than seven million members in over 80 countries worldwide. In my riding of Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey there are four 4-H Clubs.

The 4-H Club was originally founded to improve farming methods and increase production. It was one way to enrich the lives of young people in rural communities. Today, while the club is still at work in the countryside, there is no need to live on a farm to be a member. In fact, nothing more than a concern for the environment is needed. Members also take an interest in computers, crafts, theatre, carpentry, among other things.

The club's motto is to “Learn by doing”. I ask everyone to please join me in congratulating the Canadian 4-H Club on 90 years of loyalty and service to their club, their community and their country.

Petitions November 4th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I would like to present a petition on behalf of the constituents of Elgin—Middlesex—London, whereby they want to see the definition of marriage remaining as that between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others.

SHARE Agricultural Foundation October 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge 25 successful years of operation of the SHARE Agricultural Foundation.

SHARE stands for Sending Help and Assistance Everywhere. The motivation to form SHARE was the result of a trip to Kenya by David Armstrong of Caledon, Peel County, where he witnessed extreme hunger and poverty.

When David returned home, he and his late brother, Neil, solicited the involvement of a number of dairy farmers in Peel and Halton counties to donate high quality cattle to send to poor countries where infant mortality was particularly high due to the lack of milk for infants and pregnant women.

Since that time, the foundation has grown steadily, and the efforts and donations of the many people who support SHARE have helped to alleviate poverty, hunger and death for thousands of people in a number of developing countries.

SHARE is more than a vision. It is a program that proves that individual Canadians can make a difference where the need is greatest. I ask all members to join me in congratulating the SHARE members on 25 years of caring and dedication.

Marriage Act October 29th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the member across the way is right in his statement. Obviously the litigation aspect of it will take time and that is something that we will pursue. If we can shorten the time period with negotiations with the United States based on an agreement here at home as to how it would work domestically, that is the route I believe we should take.

Marriage Act October 29th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, at the onset of my speech, I want to state that my colleague from the Bloc has worked very tirelessly on this issue, and his constituents back home should be very proud of the work that he has done.

As the hon. member may know, the federal and provincial governments, together with the industry, have worked closely throughout this dispute. Excellent cooperation stems from our mutual commitment to defend the interests of affected Canadian lumber companies and the people they employ and the communities they are located in.

When the U.S. department of commerce imposed 27% countervailing and anti-dumping duties on imports of Canadian softwood lumber in May 2002, following the expiry of the softwood lumber agreement, all levels of government, together with the industry, joined to challenge the U.S. findings as unfounded and protectionist. Together, we have pursued a two-pronged strategy initiating NAFTA and WTO challenges of the U.S. duty actions and engaging in discussions to find a durable resolution to this dispute.

The federal and provincial governments and industry have worked together to challenge the preliminary determination of the subsidy in the WTO, and I am pleased to note that we prevailed in that challenge. We are cooperating in our challenges of the final determinations of the subsidy and the threat of injury before both the WTO and NAFTA, and are confident that we will prevail in these challenges too. Canada is also challenging the final determination of dumping before the WTO, while the Canadian industry has taken the lead in challenging the dumping actions before NAFTA.

In the NAFTA challenges, separate panels have ruled that the dumping, subsidy and threat of injury determinations are inconsistent with U.S. law. The panels have ordered the United States to issue new determinations.

The other half of our strategy has been one of trying to find a way to resolve this dispute once and for all, and again, the level of cooperation between industry and governments has been remarkable.

The government has worked closely with the provinces during discussions with the U.S. government on a department of commerce policy bulletin that would guide changed circumstance reviews of the countervailing duty on Canadian softwood lumber. Throughout these discussions, which focussed on provincial policy, we were able to maintain a united Canadian front, and we are continuing to work together to press the U.S. to include a Quebec example in the policy bulletin.

Forestry largely falls under provincial jurisdiction in this country, and it will be up to the provinces to decide whether reforms in their forest management and timber pricing programs are required and to seek a changed circumstance review.

The government has been working hard to find a resolution to the dispute in the form of an interim measure that would replace U.S. duties pending provincial policy changes and changed circumstance reviews. Throughout these efforts, we have worked closely with provincial governments and the Canadian industry, and we will continue to do so.