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

Softwood Lumber May 27th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, as the member has said, it appears that the WTO has ruled that the imposition by the U.S. of the 18.79% countervailing duty violates its WTO obligations. Once finalized, we fully expect the United States to implement the panel report.

The decision strengthens our hand as we try to achieve a durable resolution to this dispute. Until we receive that durable resolution, Canada will continue to pursue its challenges of the U.S. duty action.

Softwood Lumber May 27th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, as the member across the way has just said, of course the minister has been defending very vigorously the industry and look at what has happened. We are winning. For the rest of his question, we will negotiate as to how the rest of it comes out.

Softwood Lumber May 27th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, our approach as a government has always been a two track system. It appears today that we have won on the first track. On the answer to the second track which the member brings forward right now, we will do in consultation with the industry, the provinces and the producers.

Softwood Lumber May 27th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, as I just said to the hon. member across the way, and as I have repeatedly said to him, our strategy has been a two-track strategy. It looks like we have won on the first track, and we will consult with the industry, the producers and the provinces to cut the deal we want.

Softwood Lumber May 27th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, we have long stated that any interim measure would have to recognize the special circumstances of the maritime provinces. They are, however, subject to anti-dumping duties. We have heard from the industry across the country, including the maritime producers, that they want an end to the anti-dumping measures.

We will only agree to a resolution of the lumber dispute that is in Canada's best interest. There is to be an agreement on inter-measures. It will require further consultations with the provinces and the industry.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy May 26th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the good member for Haldimand—Norfolk—Brant.

I am pleased to rise tonight to explain what the Canadian government is doing to protect Canadian export interests.

At the outset I first want to put to the House that as a rural member and a farmer, I know how worried my many constituents are about the discovery of a BSE infected cow in Alberta. Last week in my constituency I heard from farmers and food processors alike who are worried about the disruption of their livelihood.

We must keep things in perspective. That is what the government is going to do. This disruption is a very serious matter and it has an impact far beyond the beef industry. So far, only one cow has been infected and Canada's food industry is among the safest in the world. We hope that this disruption will be short and temporary.

As everyone knows, Canada is a very important exporter of beef and cattle. Canada has established itself as one of the most important beef and cattle exporters in the world. In 2002 beef and cattle exports were worth approximately $4 billion; beef valued at $2 billion and cattle valued at the other $2 billion.

This has made us the fourth largest exporter of beef behind only Australia, the United States and Brazil. We are a substantial player in the business of cattle exports. We are also a leading exporter of bovine genetics, valued at over $37 million in 2002. There is therefore no question about our important role in the world market and the need to take every step necessary to protect it.

Canada's major export market for beef and cattle is the United States at approximately $1.8 billion for cattle and $1.7 billion for beef; Mexico at $187 million for beef; Japan at $720,000 for cattle and $52 million for beef; South Korea at $200,000 for cattle and $43 million for beef; and Taiwan at $19 million for beef. Our other important markets include China, Saudi Arabia, France, Russia and the United Kingdom.

While the U.S. is by far our major market, our beef and cattle export markets are clearly diversified. As a result of one BSE case, nearly all our trading partners have suspended imports of beef and cattle from Canada: the United States, Mexico, Japan, South Korea and most others.

I can assure the House that the government is doing everything it can to ensure that our export markets are reopened as early as possible once the BSE situation is fully researched. It goes without saying that the steps we are taking to take control of the BSE situation in Canada are critical to restoring our market access. We need to be able to satisfy our trading partners and consumers that we have the BSE situation under control.

In this regard we immediately launched a comprehensive strategy to protect our trade interests. Our two pronged strategy includes: one, ensuring that our trading partners are kept fully informed of the efforts that we are making to take control of the situation in Canada with a view to ensuring early removal of trade measures once we have the BSE situation under control; and two, monitoring closely the measures being imposed by our trading partners to ensure that they are based on science and that they are not more trade restrictive than necessary to address the legitimate BSE concerns.

With respect to the first part of our strategy, right from the beginning we have been open and transparent with all our trading partners. On May 20, the day of the announcement of the BSE finding, the federal Minister of Agriculture spoke to U.S. secretary of agriculture Veneman and the Minister for International Trade spoke with U.S. trade representative Zoellick. By May 21 our embassies and consulates around the world were informing governments.

On May 21 our chief veterinary officer, Brian Evans, informed the Office International des Epizooties international committee, the international standards setting body for animal health issues, at their meeting in Paris. This is an ongoing process.

We are sending daily updates to all our embassies and consulates. Based on this information, they are providing constant updates to foreign governments.

In the United States, our largest market, our embassy is providing up to date information to the U.S. administration. They are in touch with congressional contacts and our consulates are informing authorities at the state level of the latest developments. Further, U.S. media are receiving technical briefings.

In all our other markets our embassies are contacting foreign government authorities and advising them of the most recent information.

As I said, this is an ongoing exercise. Our embassies and our consulates will continue to keep foreign governments well informed. We will continue to keep the OIE informed.

I would add that our efforts are being made at the highest levels. All of our ambassadors are giving this issue the highest priority. Almost without exception, foreign governments have responded positively to our timeliness and openness in providing complete information.

We are hopeful that these efforts will put us in a good position to have the import measures lifted as early as possible once we confirm that the immediate problem is under control.

As I said, the second part of our strategy is to ensure that measures being imposed by our trading partners are science based and not more trade restrictive than necessary.

I need to emphasize up front that both the WTO and NAFTA give members the right to impose sanitary and phytosanitary measures necessary for the protection of human, animal or plant life or health. This is a fundamental right of all WTO and NAFTA members. Canada itself takes very seriously the right to impose SPS measures necessary for the protection of our human, animal or plant life or health. We therefore do not in any way question the right of our trading partners to impose measures on Canadian products based on legitimate health and safety concerns.

Both the WTO and NAFTA recognize the OIE as the international standard setting organization for animal health. Under the WTO and NAFTA, sanitary measures which conform to international standards, in this case the OIE, are deemed to be consistent with the WTO and NAFTA. Members therefore have the right to maintain measures necessary to prevent the introduction of BSE in accordance with OIE standards. However, we are being very vigilant in monitoring the measures imposed by our trading partners to ensure that their measures are in accordance with the OIE.

The OIE is very clear on products that are not to be included in BSE related measures, for instance, milk and milk products, semen and embryos, protein-free tallow and derivatives made from this tallow, and hides and skins.

We have asked our embassies and consulates to provide full details of the measures being imposed by our trading partners.

There are other issues that need to be sorted out with some of our trading partners, such as how they will be dealing with in-transit shipments. In some cases it is simply unclear. We need more information to inform our exporters. We are trying to get that information.

I see my time has run out. There is much more I would like to say on this issue, but the bottom line is that the government is taking this issue very seriously. We will try to get this problem resolved as quickly as possible.

Chief Actuary Act May 15th, 2003

Madam Speaker, I rise to oppose this bill. It is very clear to me that the office of the chief actuary provides information and advice to the executive arm of government, which allows that executive to take the decisions for which they are accountable to the House. The chief actuary operates in an impartial, professional manner. As a public servant, the chief actuary serves the executive arm of government with objectivity and impartiality.

Responsible government in Canada is based on the individual and collective responsibilities of the ministers and their answerability to Parliament for their own actions and for the actions of the public servants who report to them. In my view, their responsibility and accountability are clear under the present structure and reporting relationships. The existing role and the functioning of the office of the chief actuary is consistent with the concept of ministerial responsibility. I must add that at the present time the federal-provincial process that is essential to the Canada pension plan is also well served by the existing role and mandate of the chief actuary and his office.

What would be the effect of this proposed legislation on such important issues as the status and operations of the office of the chief actuary, its neutrality and impartiality, ministerial responsibility, implications for federal-provincial relations, and on cost?

As I understand it, the proposed legislation would require the chief actuary to provide advice, opinion, analysis or recommendations on any prescribed social insurance program or public pension plan established by an act of Parliament free of charge to any member of the Senate or the House of Commons, the government of a province that participates in the program or plan, as well as any responsible minister of the crown.

Such an approach would see the chief actuary drawn into matters of policy and potentially political controversy which would undermine the confidence of the impartiality and the professionalism of the office. As a public servant, it is important and imperative that the chief actuary serve and be seen to serve the executive arm of the government with objectivity and impartiality.

This does not, however, prevent those of us elected in the House from seeking actuarial information from the chief actuary on a fee for service basis. Nor do the current arrangements impede us from seeking information through the minister on policy, or inviting the chief actuary to appear before the appropriate standing committee to explain his actuarial projections. Indeed, the chief actuary has appeared before numerous committees of the House a number of times over the course of the last year.

I must also wonder how having the chief actuary directly serve the legislative branch of the federal government would affect federal-provincial relationships. As my hon. colleague mentioned earlier, the Canada pension plan is unique in that any material changes require the approval of at least two-thirds of the provinces representing at least two-thirds of Canada's population. A formal and elaborate federal-provincial review of the CPP takes place every three years. It is in this context that changes are considered, consensus reached and legislation then introduced in the House of Commons by the minister responsible.

The current structure ensures that the executive arms of the federal and provincial governments are able to move forward quickly with the work required and seek the consensus necessary within the timeframes set out by the legislation. The changes proposed could hamper this process. In doing so, the effective functioning of a federal-provincial arrangement that is essential to the Canada pension plan could be damaged. That is why I oppose it.

Softwood Lumber May 15th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, on the softwood lumber issue, we have always maintained a two track approach to it: our challenge at the WTO, which is going very well, and back at home where we are in consultation with the industry and the provinces to get the best deal on this.

Industry May 15th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I understand that Algoma has made this difficult decision and Canadian producers who believe that they are being injured by dumped or subsidized imports have access to Canada's anti-dumping and countervail rules. With respect to the CITT safeguard recommendations, the government continues to carefully survey all its options and the Government of Canada remains an active participant at the OECD high level meetings on overcapacity and subsidies, which is the root of the problem.

Budget Implementation Act, 2003 May 13th, 2003

The Beachcombers.