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 September 18th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I have several petitions I would like to present. The first one is from the constituents of Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey opposing Bill C-250.

Trade September 16th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to announce today that the Minister for International Trade, along with his colleague, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, in Niagara-on-the-Lake signed the Canada-EU wines and spirits agreement.

The federal government has worked in close consultation with the industry and the provinces. This agreement will benefit both Canadian and EU wine and spirits industries. It will enhance trade opportunities for both regions while providing a larger variety for consumers.

Supply September 16th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to compliment the member for Provencher on his amendment. It is a very good one.

I have a question and I know he has good legal knowledge. What caused this whole issue with an appointed justice, which causes me a lot of problems, is the fact that they used section 15.1 out of the charter and within that the justice said that equal meant identical. Thereby they struck down the law.

I believe the answer then to that is to take marriage out of civil law and replace it with civil union and leave the sacrament of marriage where it should be which is within the church.

I am not saying that there cannot be a same sex marriage because there are churches that will perform that ceremony, but it satisfies section 15.1 within the charter and it would not discriminate against the church because the church can perform the ceremonies based on whatever its religious beliefs is. I would like the member's comment on that.

Agriculture September 15th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, everybody knows that there was nothing in the draft agreement that was agreed to in Cancun, but additional insights have been gained and that will lead to further discussions which will be taking place on December 15 in Geneva when the WTO group meets again.

International Trade September 15th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, first of all, NAFTA and WTO rulings ruled that U.S. duties are unjustifiable and Canadian industry should not be subject to these measures. U.S. and Canadian negotiators worked out a draft agreement that provided free access for most exports, including the independent remanufacturers. The U.S. industry's response is unreasonable demands. We have won an important WTO ruling that the U.S. did not treat remanufacturers appropriately in its investigations, and we are also pursuing remanufacturers' interests in the U.S. administrative review of the duties.

Softwood Lumber Industry June 13th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I have to repeat what I have already said to the hon. member. We have a number of government departments involved in this. We are putting forward assistance and we will continue to monitor the situation very closely.

Softwood Lumber Industry June 13th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, as we have said before to my colleague across the way, we are extremely sensitive to the situation right now within the softwood lumber industry. We have come forward with a $350 million assistance to help them out, $110 million for communities.

The Minister of Industry, the Minister of Natural Resources, the Minister of Human Resources and the Minister for International Trade are monitoring this situation very closely.

Canada Elections Act June 10th, 2003

Some have spent $35 million.

International Trade June 9th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, we will do as we have been doing all the way along: getting the best deal for the softwood lumber industry for all Canadians, including the Maritimes.

The remanufacturers situation is something that we are negotiating right now with the U.S. We plan to find out what it wants and will bring that to the industry.

Criminal Code June 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, in my 10 years as a member of Parliament, I have never seen an issue that has led to so many letters, e-mails and phone calls from across Canada. I have heard from hundreds of constituents and close to 10,000 Canadians from across the country, almost all opposed. Letters supporting this bill can be counted on one hand.

Public opinion should not be our only guide in making Canadian laws. As parliamentarians, we must skilfully balance the demands of our constituents and our own careful assessment of the issues. However when a bill provokes this much concern in a constituency and across Canada, I would be failing to represent the people if I did not reflect that here in the House. Therefore I will be voting against this bill.

My opposition is not just a response to public opinion. It is based upon a deep respect for the basic freedoms we value as a nation, those contained in section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: freedom of conscience and religion; and freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression.

Such freedoms are not, of course, absolute. The charter makes them subject “to such reasonable limits prescribed by the law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”.

Is Bill C-250 so necessary that it can justify an infringement on our most cherished democratic freedoms? That is the crux of this debate.

This bill would add “sexual orientation“ to the list of “identifiable groups” against which it is illegal to advocate genocide or to incite hatred.

If Bill C-250 only banned advocating genocide against homosexuals, I would have no hesitation in supporting it. Genocide is probably the worst and most serious crime against humanity, and no group should ever be subjected to genocide. To prohibit the advocacy of genocide against any group is a reasonable limit in a free society.

Likewise, I would support a bill that banned advocating violence against homosexuals or any other group.

My problem with this bill relate to the definitions of “sexual orientation“ as well as “inciting hatred”.

Is sexual orientation limited to homosexuals or does it include those who practise other forms of sexual deviance, such as pedophilia? Are those not also sexual orientations? Am I a criminal if I express hate for those adults who prey upon children?

Granted, section 319 requires the incitement of hatred to be “likely to lead to a breach of the peace”. The problem, of course, is how do we prove cause and effect. Is the mere expression of an opinion, even an extreme one, sufficient to cause a violent act?

Recently the member for Saint John expressed opinions in the House that were critical of the homosexual lifestyle. Many disagreed strongly with her opinions, while others agreed equally strongly. The right to agree or disagree is fundamental in a free society. We debate these issues and, over time, society reaches some kind of consensus or compromise and we move forward.

As my time is running out I want to say that free speech is not unlimited. Clearly there are good reasons for laws against death threats, fraud, libel and pornography, but this is different from banning honestly held opinions. Violence against homosexuals or anyone is already a crime, as it should be. Counselling someone to commit violence is also a crime, as it should be.

I would like to say again that because of what Bill C-250 would do, the infringements that I see with it right now, it is definitely a flawed piece of legislation and I cannot support it.