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

Committees of the House November 8th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Transport and Government Operations with order of reference of today's date, Thursday, November 8, on C-38, an act to amend the Air Canada Public Participation Act.

The committee studied the bill and reports the bill back to the House without amendment.

Committees of the House October 24th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, as chair of the Standing Committee on Transport and Government Operations, I have the honour to report, in both official languages, with respect to an order of reference made on Thursday, October 4; Bill C-34, an act to establish the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

The committee has considered the bill and I report the bill back without amendments.

Business of Supply October 1st, 2001

No, I will not support the initiative because it would take us backward in time. There are recommendations in it that are quite well documented. As the member for St. Albert said, many members have contributed to it. In one way or another we have tried to adapt and modernize it. Things done at the Treasury Board in the spring are tabled here in the fall so that parliament can be shown a results based analysis of what is happening on the files.

There are opportunities in the House for members to ask questions. However in a lot of ways these things are complex and require the auditor general to probe into them. I wonder if hon. members recall when the auditor general talked about military overspending. It was a boondoggle, according to my friend opposite.

A missile that cost quite a lot of money may be fired and not quite deploy itself. Should the military keep such a piece of equipment in its arsenal, attribute a number to it and never fire it, then get into a confrontation where it is fired and does not work? Is that a better scenario, where a lot of military people would probably be killed because a weapon does not fire?

Sometimes the opposition calls things boondoggles which are not boondoggles. Certain issues catch the eye of the electorate and the opposition talks a lot about them. However people make mistakes. We are not perfect. We always need oversight in what we do. We need to make sure we are accountable.

As far as I am concerned accountability rests with all of us. We must make sure we work with our colleagues on committees, that bureaucrats and ministers of the crown come to committees to talk about their plans, and that these things are posted on the Internet.

We need total transparency. Our methods of obtaining contracts, who we hire and all these things should be totally transparent. We should use all our scrutiny, oversight, accountability and efficiency to make the country better. We must stop getting into political games over how the government operates and spends money.

I cannot support the motion. As I have said before, it is not in keeping with the current situation. Current events have overcome the initial intent of the motion and it has lost its way somewhere in the system.

Business of Supply October 1st, 2001

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to the private member's business put forth by my colleague from St. Albert with regard to adopting the report on the business of supply.

I am reminded of people who get up nowadays to watch the 10 o'clock news. If we watch the news at fixed times, events unfold. We have a thing called real time and everyone knows that if we want real time news we go to CNN.

In the world today events unfold and there is technology and knowledge, yet the House and a lot of politicians fudge things. They make the way we address spending and the way we do business very political.

I will make a small point with regard to the ability of all citizens to monitor the government quickly and reliably. The government should have a transparent way of talking to people. To get the people's approval it should show them charts and explain the realities of what it is trying to do. That is done, as the member for St. Albert should know, by putting everything on the Internet where everyone can see it.

The previous speaker had some good ideas. He said the minister should appear before committee. There is nothing wrong with doing that at any time.

The member for St. Albert and his committee did some great work. The government was not sitting on its hands. It responded a number of times. In 1994 it tabled plans and priorities in the House. In 1996 the treasury board came up with performance objectives, which helped a bit. In 1997 House leaders got together and formed the modernization committee. Its work is ongoing and its recommendations are being worked on.

The member for St. Albert mentioned that the president of the treasury board in the year 2000 had a policies and evaluation report and a better method of accounting to parliament. Part of the recommendation is that we have some fundamental principles in the House. Through the act of 1867 the member is asking that the confidence convention on supply be reduced.

What are the implications of this request? It is probably a matter of debate. I do not have a lot of time today to discuss the pros and cons. However the current system functions well once we apply the initial reason the gentlemen quite rightfully put that in the act of 1867. It probably would have required a constitutional amendment and constitutional amendments are problematic, to say the least.

They are asking that they be empowered to increase or reallocate funds. We were elected as a government to do exactly that. We were elected to make sure we table the estimates, and we have done so.

The people elected our government based on a platform. In the platform are clearly stated priorities and objectives we want to accomplish. We were elected on that and we are accountable to that. We are not only accountable to the electorate but at the grassroots we have fireside chats with Canadians on a regular basis. The policies are fed back to the ministers who must account to the grassroots for how the policies are followed.

The events of the modernization committee have overtaken the recommendation. The member for Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough alluded to it. He said this was in the parliament of 1993, and we are now into 2001. We have a whole lot of new players in the House and we understand how these things are done.

I was parliamentary secretary to the president of the treasury board. I was there when the program was reviewed. I know all those lines and am one of the few who knows exactly where the money should be spent. I have gone to the Senate for the estimates so I understand something about the dynamics of spending.

Committees Of The House June 6th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Transport and Government Operations regarding an order of reference of Tuesday, May 15, 2001, in relation to Bill S-3 respecting the Motor Vehicle Transport Act, 1987, and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

I am reporting the bill without amendment from the committee.

Transportation May 14th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are becoming increasingly concerned over incidents of air rage. As a matter of fact new international incidents have heightened this concern.

My question today is for the Minister of Transport. Could the Minister of Transport explain to the House how he intends to deal with this threat and what exact steps has he taken to make sure Canadians are protected when they travel by aircraft?

Teaching Awards May 11th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the right hon. Prime Minister participated in an awards ceremony recognizing the teaching profession.

The Prime Minister's awards for teaching excellence recognizes teachers across the country. Some 65 teachers, men and women who teach subjects as varied as Spanish, music and mathematics and using innovative methods to inspire youngsters to learn, received this award yesterday.

An innovative society needs the next generation of youngsters to be educated. I congratulate these teachers. We give them full recognition and appreciation for their work as they go back into the classroom to inspire future generations.

Committees Of The House May 3rd, 2001

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present the second report of the Standing Committee on Transport and Government Operations on Bill C-14, which deals with the Shipping Act. The bill is presented to the House with amendments and in both official languages.

Committees Of The House April 2nd, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of tabling, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee of Transport and Government Operations regarding the order of reference of February 21, 2001, in relation to Bill S-2, an act respecting marine liability, and to validate certain bylaws and regulations. The committee has considered Bill S-2 and reports the bill without amendment.

Income Tax Amendments Act, 2000 March 27th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, there are two methods by which the dollar could go up immediately. We could raise interest rates or we could cash in the 63 cent dollar right now, join the United States and allow Washington to make decisions for us. I wonder if that is a method the member thinks we should use to get our dollar up.