Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was services.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2004, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Young Offenders Act June 6th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I apologize to the member for not speaking in his first language.

In my previous job as a mayor one of the things police asked is that the names be made public. I believe there is a mechanism for that. In some cases when young offenders only had a five-year sentence they knew that the five years went very quickly and that did not give them a chance to be introspective and to take courses to get rid of their inhibitions and some of the problems that they had in working in society. The latitude that the minister put in there will help.

I say to the member opposite that basically what we have is a tightening up, to some degree. He is right, we are moving toward a more strict society. In order for a society to work and to have the judges, police and teachers on side we have to take some of these measures.

Young Offenders Act June 6th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I want to digress for a moment. Fifty years ago today something significant happened. I want to make reference to it.

There were three Victoria Cross medalists in my riding of Bruce-Grey, Messrs. Bishop, Holmes and Currie. Billy Bishop was a World War I flying ace. He worked as a consultant and helped to train people for the second world war. David Currie was married to an Owen Sound girl by the name of Isabelle Silue and I understand she is still alive and lives in Ottawa. Thomas Holmes was 18-years old-these people were only between 18 and 25 years with an average of maybe 22 years old-when he stormed a bunker two or three times, giving his life to throw a grenade into a pillbox. Eleven Germans had surrendered to him. I would like to pay tribute to them as well as one more person,

Lloyd Clark who was at Passchendaele and was also on the beaches of Normandy.

Ever since I rose in the House to respond to the throne speech, one of the things I hoped we could do was work collaboratively together. The Young Offenders Act is one of those topics. All members owe it to their communities to make them safer.

We owe it to Canadians to be as factual and as analytical as possible in dealing with the issue that most critically involves striking a balance between the rights of the victim, the offender and society in general.

No matter what our political stripe or gender or cultural perception, we must get this one right. In our daily work we deal with tax issues, procedural issues, political issues to mention a few. I would argue with my colleagues on all sides of the House that this is one on the human side like no other.

Simply put, all members in the House and Canadians in general want to be in a community that is safe and secure. This is a public policy issue and a priority for us as a government.

In this democratic forum I call on all sides to make sure that we benefit from the discussions here. The hon. member for Saint-Hubert made a good presentation and a passionate one. I know that she does a good job for the province of Quebec, notwithstanding the fact that she disagrees with us completely and would like to make an amendment to the act.

In the era of Aristotle and Plato the justice issue was discussed. I am intrigued by the fact that in this debate in the year 1994 we are attempting to debate that very notion. This is an intergenerational problem and it requires from time to time that in places like the House of Commons we debate this kind of policy.

Margaret Mead, the sociologist that studied society, said that a family that did not care for all of the children within that family was a family that would fail. In every society she studied there were problems in terms of the way the family is.

The way we deal with our young people is very important. Recently, during the election, I had a whole lot of street kids right in front of my campaign office. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, by the end of the election they were all working with me. One guy even got five bucks. He got his picture in the papers. They changed completely. They tell me that a lot of adults walk right by them, not admitting they exist. Sometimes we have to look at ourselves when dealing with young people.

Recent events within various communities have increased public fears, fueled the debate and intensified the attacks on the Young Offenders Act. Canadians empathize and are saddened by the tragedies. However I strongly feel that we must analyse and make sure that we do not get into misinformation and prompt an emotional response to this question. The minister is trying to find a good balance to make sure that some of those needs are met by allowing youths to say why they should not go to adult court, of sharing information with the police, the teachers and the people in the community that require it and using all those agencies within the communities to make sure that when the person is convicted that they are going to be able to work with them in order to get them rehabilitated.

It is all well and good to put a person in jail, but sooner or later he has to come out. If the apprenticeship they get in prison is one that teaches them to be criminals, that is what you are going to get. If the response is one we can deal with in our communities, which is one of caring and and trying to find out what makes a person tick, there are certainly going to be some individuals who will respond. When I took psychology we studied people with the xyy chromosome and some postulated that there was not much that could be done with people who had that tendency.

If members watched the movie One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest they will remember McMurphy. At that time frontal lobotomies were given which removed parts of the brain. Members will remember that when they did that to McMurphy he was no longer the person we knew. That was something that happened in mental hospitals and was a response to a problem of humanity.

Human beings are very complex organisms. I listened to members from both sides of the House saying: "We are legislators, we pass legislation". One thing I want to say in passing is that in this legislation we are trying to strike a balance. There can be no perfect solution because God created each one of us differently but equally. It is that diversity which has made us the kinds of people we are. We allow that.

There are societies where they use very harsh methods. I just came back from South Africa. In South Africa if a person committed a crime and was caught they were brutalized, beaten, their families were intimidated, incarcerated and virtually disappeared. Some were even killed.

Do you know what is the response to that kind of harsh system? If criminals saw your face they would kill you. It got very bad in that community.

Statistics from the United States tell us that more people are incarcerated there than in any other country in the world. They have extremely violent crime activity and it seems to be increasing so I do not know if that system would help us.

Incarceration costs us a lot of money. Why not provide some means of restitution, some means of rehabilitation. Let us make sure we have the infrastructure to ensure that the needs of people are met in our communities.

I fully support the example in the recent study by the John Howard Society. It estimates the cost of keeping a young person incarcerated as $191 per day. The minister mentioned earlier that it costs some $70,000 to $100,000 to keep a person in jail.

If those resources were reallocated and we do not put young people in jail for activities that are not severe and could be solved, we could reallocate those funds to those people, making them into productive people in our communities and getting them back into society.

A lot of human tragedy is involved in this debate, both on the victim's side and the offender's side. I do not want to make light of what has happened in some peoples' lives in terms of the just desserts situation or any other situation that has occurred within the last little while.

The amount of crime in our society, as based on studies, is really going down. According to StatsCan, the number of youths arrested for all crimes fell by 4.7 per cent in 1991. Less than 3 per cent of young offenders charged with a violent crime committed a serious personal injury crime.

The murder and manslaughter rate is less than 1 per cent. As bold and horrible as violent crime is we in government have a duty to act responsibly. It is correct for us not to panic and that we make the changes being considered by the minister.

No one can critically analyse youth crime without considering societal conditions and the root causes. There are simple solutions to this. I would ask members to give this the weight it deserves in this discussion.

The proposed amendments to the Young Offenders Act reflect a reality. We know that youth crime is related to societal conditions, poverty, school failure, substance abuse, child abuse and neglect, spouse abuse, unemployment and dysfunctional families. However this does not make excuses for violent offenders.

Therefore, a balanced approach by the minister is what we would require. I urge all members on this side to take a balanced approach. We do live in a society in which we have to allow people to reach their potential. We do not incarcerate people. That is not our technique. I think the minister has found the best balance in his solution.

Petitions June 6th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the right to petition is one of the oldest rights of Canadians. On behalf of my constituents I table a petition asking the Minister of Justice not to go ahead with the same sex rights with regard to the human rights bill.

Canadian Film Development Corporation Act May 30th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank both the hon. member for North Island-Powell River and the member for Halton-Peel. This has actually been a very good discussion.

In my previous job as mayor of the city of Owen Sound we tried to get a centre for the performing arts. It was very difficult. On the one hand we had to have a balanced business approach and on the other hand we were looking at visionaries, idealists and artists, and artists are not necessarily business people.

Let us try to imagine a world without artists. Somebody had to dream or imagine many of the things we do in life whether it is the CN Tower or the Corvette car we drive. Sometimes dreamers or imaginers do not know anything about money and sometimes they do make mistakes. The government is trying to find a medium through Bill C-31 to encourage the arts in Canada.

We are rather unique in Canada in our proximity to the United States and with the competitiveness from there. All of us are aware of what happens in Universal City. We know the Japanese are taking large chunks of it. It is a very clean industry. It is a great industry. It is a growing industry. It is an industry that Canadians could be proud of, with the quite recent ACTRA awards. As the hon. member for Halton-Peel has said, we have good film makers and a lot of producers coming to Canada. We have an environment in major cities, as mentioned before, for this kind of climate.

Notwithstanding it is not going to be perfect, knowing the groups at work here. The hon. member from the Reform Party talked about the business part of it and the hon. member for Halton-Peel talked about the artistic part of it. Somehow we have to merge those two parts. People have to take risks. Sometimes they bomb. Sometimes it takes years for things to happen, but we need these people and we need to encourage them. I am certainly glad we on this side are trying to promote that kind of climate.

I know there have been boondoggles in the past. There will probably always be, but hopefully we can cut out the loopholes and have a climate to create work for our people, expression for our people and growth for our country as the great country we know it to be.

Mathematics Olympiad May 26th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, as a former teacher of West Hill Secondary School in Owen Sound, it is my experience that the majority of students are good citizens.

I cannot tell members how proud I am when I look to the new generation of Canadians in our ranks who will be carrying the torch for Canada into the 21st century.

Today I rise to congratulate Chris Hendrie from West Hill Secondary School in Owen Sound. Chris has just been selected as one of six students from across Canada to be a member of the Canadian Mathematics Olympiad team.

This summer Chris will travel to Vancouver to prepare for the international Olympiad and from there he will travel to Hong Kong to represent Canada as a member of Team Canada in this world competition. The team is selected by members of the Canadian Mathematical Society under George Gwyenther from St. John's, Newfoundland.

The Canadian team is composed of four students from metro Toronto, one student from St. John's, Newfoundland and one student from Owen Sound.

Canada Student Financial Assistance Act May 24th, 1994

Madam Speaker, education is a universal norm. I used to be a teacher. One thing about education is that it is dynamic.

In a lot of cases although people develop ideas in different municipalities those ideas might be the same. There has to be some central body to make sure there is some kind of uniformity. That is the role of the federal government.

We are not trying to stifle creativity in whatever this government is drafting. We are trying to make sure that we enhance and use all the knowledge and talents from all the provinces. I do not think any one province has talents exceeding those of another province.

For instance, in my municipality a youngster at one of the high schools I taught at qualified recently for a global scholarship. He will be leaving for Japan. I will be making a statement in this House about that. I know that all provinces, all peoples and all races produce people with these talents.

It is the role of the federal government to make sure that the educational facilities throughout this great country of ours have some semblance of order. Notwithstanding the fact that provinces are innovative and the province of Quebec has done extremely well with its economic base and some restructuring of its industries. In fact, it is a leader. Certainly the rest of Canada from time to time could copy some things from Quebec, but I am sure there are also things in Ontario which could be cross-pollinated.

There is always this movement of the provinces wanting more responsibility. They ask the feds to collect the money and then pass it on. However the feds do have a responsibility to maintain that uniformity.

Petitions May 11th, 1994

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today under Standing Order 36 to present a petition very similar to that of the hon. member who preceded me.

The members of my constituency would like to support the efforts of Mrs. Debbie Mahaffy in her quest to have the importation of killer cards seized at the Canada-United States border and to stop the importation of these damaging cards into our country.

The Late Dave McComb March 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a very sad note on the passing of one of my councillors, Dave McComb.

I still call him my councillor even after being away from the mayor's chair for four months in this House.

Perhaps I can best sum up Dave's accomplishments and his contributions to my community by saying that he gave to politics, as he gave to play and to any other purpose he pursued, a warm integrity, a graciousness of spirit, a kindling touch which enriched all things he did for the lives of the people in our community.

He proved, and that proof is much needed, that all communities need vital individuals and all individuals are most vital when they serve their communities.

I am sure that members will join with me in offering his wife, Nancy, and his family our heartfelt condolences as they are bereaved by his death.

Supply March 8th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I would like to respond to the member from Richmond and say to him that as the member for Bruce-Grey I came from the place of the historic women mentioned previously, Agnes Macphail and Nellie McClung.

In 1994 women are still suffering from the trauma of abuse in the home, not being able to walk the streets and of stalking. They are still not receiving their child support payments.

I welcome this motion from the members of the opposition. I think it is fitting that today, International Women's Day, we discuss this.

However, I am not here to talk about the history of what happened. I think today we should act.

I was mayor of the city of Owen Sound. I made proposals then and we should make similar proposals now. There are costs. Part of the problem that we get as we try to move women into positions they should be in where they are not disadvantaged is that every time we want to make a move with this pay equity there is a lot of pressure. In my force, for instance, there were 35 males and we had to try to make it equitable. The last five people we hired on that force were women.

However, I received a lot of pressure within my community about that. At that time I advocated that perhaps what we should do right there and then was split the thing in half so that we would retire those people who were older and probably looking at retirement anyway and make it right, rather than every year when a vacancy came up going through this whole process again.

I would like to ask the hon. member from Richmond what he thinks of that proposal. It is great to talk about that kind of stuff in this House but nothing will occur because of the pressure of the wage situation we have.

There is also pressure within society with males. Men are still quite macho and all that. A lot of us in this House get up and talk about this but in the end nothing happens. Therefore, I would like to ask the member if when we try to look for this equity whether we do not split the thing right down the middle and get on with it rather than every time we come to this pressure point we talk about it and then it goes away.

Defence Policy February 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to participate in this debate and to say to members opposite that I appreciate their input.

The last intervention by the member from the Reform Party was quite good. It was balanced. It said that there were imperatives that we have as a nation whether it is an insurrection, smuggling or looking after our territories or whether or not search and rescue is something that the military should have or whether it should be privatized. Canada has a unique tradition with respect to its role as played in World War I, World War II and in conflicts. I think our size, our economic base and our geography along with those traditions have placed Canada in a particular position that cannot be ignored, and that is that we are well-known for our peacekeeping roles. Some people would ask if it is peacekeeping or peacemaking. Whether or not we want to get into that argument is really not a problem since our major role is probably to help stop conflicts.

The member opposite made a very good point when he spoke about submarines. Submarine warfare as well as cruise missiles and F-18s have changed the way that wars are traditionally fought. The Suez Canal was something very strategic until there were submarines. Submarines could be in any place in this world. There is something called MIRV which comes out of the water with a propeller and rocket fire. It can break into seven warheads and each one can be independently guided. That changed the whole perception as to whether or not a base was needed in any particular locale.

I for one would like an answer to the question of the hon. member, what exactly is our role, and then try to deploy our people based on that role. Of course that role would involve not only the defence standing committee but also military experts.

The minister of defence said that we do not operate our system like a business. He was right. I listened to the member opposite who said that we should not be engaged in deadly war equipment. It is a fact of life that for our own protection we may have to do it and since we have a surplus, we sell to people globally. Then there is a fight within the country about whether it goes to Montreal, Quebec City, British Columbia or Ontario. That is probably something that should not be in this debate since we are talking about what our position is, what kind of equipment we require and how are we going to carry it out in the realities of the amount of money we have.

I would like to make one point and I hope that it is considered. The member for York South-Weston and others have looked at defence spending and have said that it is top heavy with generals and people in the upper echelons.

We hear the argument that these people are required since our standing army is not very large and if we have to get up and go, these people can train troops, that they are in positions strategically in order to make that happen.

One suggestion that is probably appropriate involves the great tradition of taking people from the private sector who were in the military, taking their years of experience, counting them in the pension funds and so on. That is one area where the private sector could probably help. Strategically we need those people. However, in reality I do not think we can pay for generals and so on. To keep these people motivated, they take exams and keep moving up, so there is a top heavy army. One innovative technique might be to let them be in the private sector and do their managerial work which involves some of the skills we need, whether it is logistics or whatever special expertise they

have, and allow them to interact with the military from time to time to keep them combat ready.

I applaud members opposite for their interventions. I know there is another subcommittee. I am not sure why that is happening. As far as I am concerned I do not care which committee studies it. I just hope the focus is on the reality.

Bismarck said once that countries should only make alliances with countries of their own size. Once you start with one bigger, you are going to get into trouble. You cannot go around saying that you are neutral. You can be neutralized but you are never neutral. It is the brutal reality about power and power relations in this world. Canada is unique. We do not want to fight with anybody. We happen to be next to the United States which is a global force and deploys itself. Because we are in the global spaceship called earth, everything is interconnected with everything else. There might be a hot spot and it may be that the conflict could spread, which we have seen happen time and time again, and then it affects us.

We have to look at it strategically and come to grips with that within our own reality. I think that is the way we should go.