Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was ontario.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Haliburton—Victoria—Brock (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2004, with 35% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service June 20th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the Minister of National Defence to acknowledge the 60th anniversary of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, more commonly known as Wrens.

The Wrens were established on July 31, 1942, to release Canadian sailors from shore duty. From across Canada, women volunteered to serve their country by performing non-traditional jobs ranging from maintaining anti-submarine equipment and aircraft to cryptology communications and signalling. These women performed crucial roles in support of Canada's war efforts as full and equal partners. The Wrens were trailblazers for women in Canada and the Canadian forces. By 1955 women were fully integrated into the regular force component of the Royal Canadian Navy and they continue to serve in the defence of Canada to this day.

I would ask all members to join the Minister of National Defence and myself in offering our thanks and congratulations on this the 60th anniversary of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service.

National Defence June 18th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, two copies of the annual report of the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman for 2000-2002.

The Media June 17th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, a longstanding rule in the newspaper business and in politics is that you never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel and paper by the role. That was a comment by Winston Churchill.

I would like to assure the House that no one here is responsible for the firing of any newspaper editor.

Stratford Festival June 14th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario.

As this renowned festival enters its 50th season, it is difficult to imagine that what we now recognize as one of Canada's premier cultural attractions began in a tent. Things have changed significantly in a half decade.

This season the Stratford Festival boasts four beautiful theatres carrying 15 plays. This morning it will officially celebrate the reopening of the historic Avon Theatre, the result of two years of extensive renovations. The Prime Minister is there to mark the occasion with the people of Stratford.

The success of the Stratford Festival is a testament to the vitality of the performing arts in Canada. Richard Monette, the festival's artistic director, said it best and I will leave the House with his words:

In our 50th season we celebrate not just a milestone of our history, but the enduring human impulse to create art and what that impulse represents: the continuing triumph of life and civilization.

National Defence June 6th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, we thank the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs for the report it submitted to the government. The government intends to take the report very seriously, to reply to it and to do what is best for Canada and what is best for our Canadian forces.

We will give them all consideration and we will try to keep those submarines going down.

National Defence June 6th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, we are trying to get the submarines to go down, not up, but I appreciate the member's interest. The fact is, the report--

National Defence May 31st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, first, the government thanks the committee for its hard work and for the many meetings that it had. As with every report the government receives, the new Minister of National Defence will review it, will study it and will act on it. We will act on what is best for Canada and what is best for the Canadian forces.

Assisted Human Reproduction Act May 24th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I always like to follow my hon. friend across the way because he speaks from the heart. He does not use notes. He has not read the Bible aloud to us or tried to put something into the bill that is not there. It is always a delight to hear his down home type of spin on everything and his personalization of the various people who affect his life. I always appreciate that and I like to follow him because I do not have notes either.

I am reminded of the Irish people during the war. They were told that they were neutral. They wanted to know who they were neutral against. Bill C-56 reminds me of that type of a scenario. It has all the elements of research and development. Some of the items of abortion have been brought in as well as some items on how to treat disease and the hope that genetic research will provide for an eradication of disease. It has elements of everything.

As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence I do not get an opportunity very often to express my views from both my own religion, which is Roman Catholic, and that of my family. We have two adopted children. My wife has taught in the separate school system. We believe that life begins at conception so I do not have any problem with that. It is not something I have to debate with anyone. Those are my beliefs and people should take them for what they are. I do not think anyone will ask me to vote against my conscience. If they do, then those are the breaks of the game. My conscience is my conscience and I will have to live with it.

A lot of people would like to say that if a member is a Liberal, he or she is this, or if a member is a Liberal he or she is something else. We get pushed into some kind of a slot. Sometimes if we vote against the government we are perceived as voting with the opposition. The Prime Minister has said to me on many occasions that I can vote with my conscience. That is what I am here for. However, when we are voting on something like this, Bill C-56, we must take a look at what group of people sent us here. Do they agree or disagree?

On gun control it was easy for me. I did a survey. I am a gun owner. I have hunted and had the odd deer die in front of me from various causes. I had trouble with the gun control bill because I thought that I would have to vote against it. However, when I did the survey in my riding 51% of the people were in favour of gun control and 49% were against it. I received letters with bullet holes from people who were so passionate that they wanted to let me know how they felt about it. Therefore if I voted yes or I voted no who was I serving? That is what I am dealing with here.

My constituency is evenly split. I have received many e-mails and my website has had lots of hits on it. People have sent me letters, e-mails and snail mail. All kinds of different things have come through. For every letter that I get that is in favour of the bill I get one that is against it. We have people who are sometimes motivated out of fear thinking that somehow if we vote in favour of this particular piece of legislation we are against motherhood.

There are other people who are desperate for the research because we have excellent researchers in Canada. Sometimes we tend to think that our researchers are not that prominent in the world. However, if we look at the Salk vaccine and the many things that Canadians have accomplished over the years we can see that we have excellent researchers. We must not bridle them. We must ensure that our researchers are allowed to carry on.

I have been a board of director of a hospital. I have sat on health committees. I have chaired the committee on HIV-AIDS which studied poverty and discrimination. Whether it is Lou Gehrig's disease, cancer, or whatever it is that can benefit from the research that would be involved in Canada by top-notch researchers, I would think we would all be in favour of ensuring that our research continue to be among the best in the world.

Yesterday was a full day of debate on the bill. I read the speeches given by the former leader of the opposition who quoted the Bible and members of NDP who are interested in an opposite view. Some have the same view as the former leader of the opposition. Some of our own members are divided on this issue. There is no clear path here.

Moratorium in French means to kill it. We may run into some wording problems with the Bloc because its idea of moratorium is different than the English version of moratorium. In English moratorium means to delay but in French it is a full-fledged killing. We cannot allow that word to creep in here.

A moratorium is not the answer. Somewhere along the line we will have to decide if the bill is votable according to our conscience or according to the will of our constituents. None of us are going to find a strong view from the scientific world if we are based in rural Canada. Let us face it, rural Canadians that I live with go to the big teaching hospitals in the cities. That is where most of the research is done, whether it is the London, Toronto or Hamilton hospitals that are doing great work in research.

Those hospitals are not looking at the ethics of it but certainly what the medical results could be. Sometimes that scares me because we then tend to take human life at less value than it is made for us. We must take human life at its highest amount of dollar value, but particularly emotional value. To me human life is precious from conception to natural death. If anti-abortionists or abortionists want to argue with my two adopted children, they can give a pretty good argument in favour of life from conception to natural death. That is not a problem with me in my Christian views.

I want to ensure that somewhere within the confines of the bill we are able to deal with the ethical and moral problems that we all face but with the value of the research, and the value of the strength and talent of the medical community throughout Canada. I also want to ensure that we do not put handcuffs on researchers. We must ensure research and development and embryonic research goes ahead and that it is brought to its fullest to assist life as it now exists.

Canadian Forces May 10th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the standing orders, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, copies of the 2000-01 annual report of the Canadian Forces Housing Agency.

The Netherlands May 3rd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, this Sunday is a special day for both Dutch and Canadian citizens. It is the anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands.

Occupied in May 1940, the Netherlands was liberated in stages, beginning in October 1944, primarily by Canadian troops. This Sunday we commemorate the more than 7,600 Canadians who sacrificed their lives to liberate the Netherlands. At the same time we take comfort in the knowledge that out of the horrors of the second world war there developed sincere and profound ties of friendship and respect between our two countries which exist to this day.

The evidence of this friendship may be seen in the tulips which bloom in Ottawa each spring, in the friendships made and in the care and attention bestowed by the Dutch people on the burial places of our war dead.

This Sunday, May 5, gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect both on the sacrifice of our Canadian veterans in the liberation of the Netherlands and on the strong ties of friendship which have endured between our two countries to this day.