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

Petitions March 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, it is my duty and honour to rise in the House to present this petition of 501 names, duly certified by the clerk of petitions, on behalf of the undersigned residents of Wellington-Grey-Dufferin-Simcoe and the surrounding area, in particular Collingwood and area.

The petitioners humbly pray and call upon Parliament to amend the laws of Canada to prohibit the importation, distribution, sale and manufacture of killers cards in law and to advise the producers of killer cards that their product, if destined for Canada, will be seized and destroyed.

Employment March 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is addressed to the Minister of Finance.

The constituents in my riding of Wellington-Grey-Dufferin-Simcoe are particularly concerned about Canada's unemployment picture. Both before and after the budget they told me that their principal concern is seeing their family members, friends and neighbours find jobs in this tough economy.

I understand that there may be some improvement in this area. Can the minister comment on this important issue of job creation and how we are progressing since this government came to power?

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95 March 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak today on Bill C-14, an act to provide borrowing authority for the government for the upcoming fiscal year.

The borrowing authority is based on the financial requirements set out in the budget delivered by the Minister of Finance last Tuesday. The critics have been unfair and often contradictory in their assessment of the bill. Criticism is easy. Hard work and tough choices are not.

The budget presented Canadians both with a vision and a balanced approach to deal with our financial problems. This balanced approach of deficit reduction, economic renewal and social reforms contains all elements of the government's top priorities: jobs and growth.

I would like to discuss deficit reduction. During prebudget consultations Canadians told the government that the deficit should be reduced by cuts to spending, not by increasing or introducing new taxes. There are no new taxes in the budget. Clearly the budget signals the end to tax and spend government.

Over the next three years more than $3 billion will be cut in government operational spendings over and above the cuts of the 1993 budget. The salary freeze for public servants will be extended for two years and applies to all politicians. Budgets for ministers' offices have been reduced by $13 million annually. There will also be a review of every government appointed agency, board and commission.

There have been cuts to all areas but defence has received some of the most intense scrutiny and criticism. There are those who have tried to turn these closures into a regional or a language issue or use them to support their own agenda. This is truly unfortunate. We all have to share the pain. In my riding the closing of the Angus depot will have implications for future rail service to the area and for the local economy. Everyone is calling for spending cuts as long as they do not affect them. We must all share in the difficult decisions.

The budget has employed other measures to reduce the deficit. Subsidies to businesses have been cut in excess of $225 million as set out in the red book. Also numerous tax loopholes have been closed which will target incentives better and bring greater fairness to the tax system.

As part of the government's balanced approach focus has been given to economic renewal. The Canada infrastructure works program has received considerable attention. In my riding of Wellington-Grey-Dufferin-Simcoe there are over 30 municipalities including county governments. Critics of the infrastructure program say that the municipal governments cannot afford the program. I find it strange, with all the municipalities in my riding, that none have indicated a plan to take less than full advantage of the opportunity provided to them.

Why should they not? Thirty-three cent dollars are better than any other arrangement they have been able to work out with a senior level government. The infrastructure program is one of the first concrete examples we have seen in many years of a recognition of federal government responsibility to lower tier governments. In many municipalities economic recovery cannot begin without upgrades to the infrastructure. In my riding, for instance, the town of Mount Forest where I live cannot issue any further building permits; no new houses or industries can be constructed without upgrades to the municipality's sanitary

sewer system. The spinoff effects of this program are twofold: first, the construction jobs created by the building of the improved sewer facility and, second, the jobs that will be generated by the subsequent growth that can now take place.

A number of other initiatives will lead the economic growth: a rollback of the unemployment insurance premium rate to the 1993 level for 1995 and 1996, saving businesses $300 million a year that can be reinvested in new jobs; a Canadian technology network to help small businesses gain access to new technologies; making the homeowner's plan permanent; and allowing first time home buyers to use RRSPs to buy homes.

One of the most important initiatives is the improvements being made for access to capital, specifically a Canadian investment fund to provide venture capital for innovative companies, and specific plans to work with banks to establish a code of conduct for small business lending, allowing entrepreneurs a recourse for unfair rejections of their applications.

I wish to turn to the third component of the budget, reforming Canada's social programs. Many of Canada's social programs such as unemployment insurance and welfare were created decades ago and no longer meet today's needs. The primary objective is to ensure the programs are reoriented toward helping Canadians enter the workforce and away from dependency. We have already seen some experiments aimed at revitalizing our social programs taking place in the provinces.

The government will provide $800 million to test innovative reform proposals to help give unemployed Canadians the practical skills they need for real long term jobs. The method the government plans to use to revitalize these programs will be the same as for prebudget consultations: open. The government is making the review process a co-operative one, ensuring input from all provinces and from all stakeholders.

The three components of deficit reduction, economic growth and social reform are the components of the balanced approach taken by the government. The steps introduced are the foundation upon which we can build to ensure jobs and growth in the Canadian economy.

I am under no illusion that despite the initiatives taken by the government we are still faced with certain realities. The bill before the House is indicative of the problems we are facing. The bill contains the basic principles of a borrowing bill: authority to cover financial requirements for the 1994-95 fiscal year and a contingency reserve. In total the government is requesting the authority to borrow a sum of $34.3 billion. This figure is part of the government's realistic approach to deficit reduction. The deficit will be reduced from the current $45.7 billion to $39.7 billion in the 1994-95 year and $32.7 billion the year after that.

The measures in the budget set us on a clear path to achieve our interim deficit target of 3 per cent of the GDP within three years. The budget delivers on many of the promises set out in the red book. It has laid the foundation to deliver on more. I ask members of the House to support the bill.

Rail Line Abandonment February 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian National Railway has applied for abandonment of a rail line in my riding known as the Meaford subdivision, 33 miles of track between Collingwood and Barrie.

There are two private companies willing to purchase the line but will not because of an Ontario NDP labour law known as bill 40. The future of this rail line and the jobs that depend on it are being jeopardized by this regressive Ontario labour law.

When the tracks are torn up they are rarely put back down, and some more of Canada's heritage dies.

Excise Act February 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the hon. member's speech and one thing I picked out of it was the fact that she was pointing out everything we have done wrong. I have yet to hear an alternative from the hon. member as to how she would solve the problem.

We have watched contraband cigarettes grow from the late 1980s into the early to mid-1990s, a 60 per cent growth in less than one year; 75 per cent contraband in Quebec, 35 per cent to 40 per cent in Ontario, 15 per cent in the western provinces and growing. I stress the word growing. In on one box of cartons there is a $500 profit. In a truckload there is a $500,000 profit. We are creating a millionaire a day. All this money is seed money for what the hon. member is talking about which is the smuggling of alcohol, arms and drugs.

What we have done is stop that seed money. I would ask the member regarding everything we have done wrong, how she would do it right.

Excise Act February 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, there has been a lot of conversation since the lowering of the taxes on cigarettes that the government is losing money. Taking into consideration the fact that 75 per cent of the cigarettes smoked in Quebec were contraband and 35 to 40 per cent in Ontario were contraband, could the hon. member explain something concerning the money we are supposed to lose out of taxes? Does that take into consideration the contraband cigarettes or just the cigarettes that are being sold? Obviously there is an increase in sales to the retail outlets in Quebec and Ontario. There might not be any tax loss at all.

Defence Policy February 17th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member on his speech.

In 1988 I ran against the nuclear powered submarine issue because it was an issue that Canada was looking at Cadillacs when we did not need them. The helicopter deal that we had during this election campaign was again Canada looking at Cadillacs.

The member stated that the Department of National Defence is going to undergo review. I applaud that because basically we have to look at what the role of the Department of National Defence is going to be in the 21st century.

Canada has been called a boy scout in the international arena in which we have been solving problems and helping countries that need help. I am watching right now Russia, which went broke in the arms race, selling off at bargain basement prices all its arsenal to different countries that are willing to buy it. This obviously is going to be a problem in the future.

If the hon. member could polish off his crystal ball a bit, after the review in this country where does he see our position on the UN and NATO in the international arena?

Defence Policy February 17th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I would like to compliment the hon. member on his speech.

I listened with a lot of interest because obviously something we are going to have to do is revise the role of the military for the 21st century. Things have changed. The cold war is over.

What I am interested in here and now is process of review. I would like to know what the hon. member's vision is of how this process of review is going to work, how this committee is going to be put together. Obviously one of the things we will be looking at is the cost part of it and the Reform is definitely looking at the cost of operating government.

I would like to know how the member is going to put together this committee.

Petitions February 16th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 it is my duty and honour to rise in the House to present this petition duly certified by the clerk of petitions on behalf of the undersigned residents of Wellington-Grey Dufferin-Simcoe and the surrounding area.

The petitioners humbly pray and call upon Parliament to ban the sale of serial killer board games and prevent any other such game or material to be made available in Canada in order to protect the innocent children of this country.

House Of Commons Standing Orders February 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, with the discussion we are having here on free vote, there has to be a common ground between free vote and responsible government.

There is a beautiful example south of the border which is predominantly free vote. On different issues I have watched and read in the newspaper, we have seen shameless vote buying.

What I would like to know right now is where the leader of the Reform Party thinks the common ground is between free vote and responsible government.