House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Simcoe North (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2004, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

First Nations Governance Act June 17th, 2002

Madam Speaker, there have been discussions between all parties and there is agreement pursuant to Standing Order 45(7) for the following motion. I move:

That if a recorded division is requested on the motion to refer Bill C-61 to committee before second reading, it be deemed deferred to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 18, 2002.

Competition Act May 31st, 2002

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I believe you would find unanimous consent to see the clock as 1.30 p.m.

Public Safety Act, 2002 May 3rd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member's speech is very interesting. However, I believe that there is a rule of relevance in this House and I am asking the Chair to enforce it.

Payment Clearing and Settlement Act April 19th, 2002

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think if you seek it you will find unanimous consent to see the clock at 1.30 p.m.

Payment Clearing and Settlement Act April 19th, 2002

moved that Bill S-40, an act to amend the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Royal Assent Act April 19th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill S-34, an act respecting royal assent to bills passed by the Houses of Parliament.

The royal assent ceremony is based on the customs and conventions developed over previous centuries in the U.K. We rely on this ancient U.K. ceremony of royal assent for our own royal assent ceremony, which takes place in the Senate chamber.

I am sure that all members will agree that our royal assent ceremony is an important tradition of parliament. The ceremony lasts about 30 minutes and has taken place on 34 occasions in the course of the 36th and 37th parliaments. Each time a ceremony occurs, all MPs and senators must suspend their work on parliamentary business.

The royal assent ceremony requires the attendance of the Governor General or her deputy, a judge of the supreme court, who also have to suspend their work in order to attend the ceremony.

In recent decades, a number of issues related to royal assent have been identified by members of this House and the other place.

In 1983, the Senate launched discussions over alternatives to the procedure whereby the Governor General, in the Queen's name, signifies assent to bills passed by the Houses of Parliament.

In 1985, the standing rules and orders committee of the Senate issued its fourth report, recommending a change in the royal assent procedure. Also in 1985, in the House of Commons, the McGrath Committee Report on the Standing Orders recommended the simplification of royal assent.

In 1988, a bill on modernizing royal assent was introduced by the then leader of the government in the Senate. In 1988, the current leader of the opposition in the Senate introduced a similar bill.

The McGrath Committee and others have pointed to a number of issues regarding the royal assent ceremony. The ceremony interrupts the business of the House and the other place for approximately 30 minutes. This may have been appropriate in an earlier age, but in today's parliament, the need to stop all of the business of the House whenever royal assent is required no longer seems appropriate.

So, it is not surprising that other countries and provinces have acted to modernize the royal assent process by authorizing a written procedure for royal assent.

The traditional royal assent ceremony will also present members of this House with practical difficulties when renovations to the Centre Block begin, and continue over about eight years, with the House and Senate meeting in different buildings.

Particularly in the winter months, the maintenance of the traditional royal assent ceremony as the only way of signifying royal assent would be a burden on members of the House.

Members may be surprised to learn that Canada is the only Commonwealth country that still uses a traditional, but time consuming, royal assent ceremony on a regular basis as a sole procedure. Bill S-34 would aim to modernize the royal assent ceremony in keeping with what has been learned in other jurisdictions which share our parliamentary heritage.

In this regard members may be interested to know that the United Kingdom passed legislation in 1967 to allow royal assent by written declaration. In Australia the governor general's consent to bills is usually made known by a message to the president of the house of representatives and the speaker of the senate.

Other provinces also use the written process. In Ontario, in 1973, an all party agreement lead to the legislature waiving the formality of summoning the lieutenant governor to the chamber for royal assent. Except on special occasions the Ontario lieutenant governor now gives royal assent in her suite at Queen's Park. Quebec uses a written procedure which occurs in the offices of the lieutenant governor.

These practices by other Commonwealth countries and a number of provinces demonstrate that the written procedure of royal assent is purely a procedural matter. It does not alter the constitutional requirement for royal assent or affect the office and prerogatives of the governor general.

Section 55 of the Constitutional Act of 1867 requires that where a bill passed by the houses of parliament is presented to the Governor General for the Queen's assent, the Governor General shall declare, according to his or her discretion, whether he or she assents to the bill. This remains unaffected.

The leader of the government in the Senate has declared the Governor General's consent to the consideration of Bill S-34. It is a long-standing parliamentary practice and a matter of politeness and civility to seek royal consent before introducing any bill which might affect royal prerogatives. In keeping with this practice the government sought and obtained, and has been declared in the chambers, royal consent to proceed with Bill S-34 even if technically the bill does not affect royal prerogative since it is procedural in nature.

Bill S-34 would provide a way of maintaining an important parliamentary tradition in authorizing a simpler way of handling royal assent. First, it would preserve the royal assent ceremony as an important tradition by requiring its use twice in each calendar year including for the first appropriation bill of each session. Second, it would permit royal assent by written declaration.

The bill's provisions are procedural and relate to the form of signifying royal assent. The Governor General, or his or her deputy, would continue to exercise the royal prerogative of assent either in the Senate chamber when royal assent is done by way of ceremony or by a written declaration reported to the Speakers of the two houses of parliament. Both procedures would respect the convention that all three constituent elements of parliament, the Crown, the Senate and the House of Commons would be involved in royal assent.

By allowing royal assent by written procedure we would be able to address the concerns of a modern parliament and at the same time make the traditional ceremony a special and more visible part of our parliamentary process.

I am proud that Bill S-34 is a non-partisan bill which draws on the work of many members on both sides of this House and the other place. It follows on the McGrath Committee's recommendations. And it enjoyed the support of the leadership of both sides of the other place.

Royal assent by written declaration will remove a significant interruption in the business of this House, while preserving the royal assent ceremony as an ongoing tradition of parliament.

Bill S-34 is consistent with the practice of Commonwealth countries and provinces who use this process. For these reasons I would invite all hon. members to support the passage of this bill.

Privilege April 18th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, the minister unfortunately could not remain but she did speak to me on the subject. Obviously, from the description of the documentation that the hon. member just gave, there is a clear distinction between a notice that is subject to a 15 day review and the actual awarding of the contract.

So that factually the minister's answer was correct. No tender has been awarded at this point.

Physical Activity and Sport Act April 15th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, just to reply to the hon. member's concern, that is precisely what the Canadian sports policy, endorsed by all 14 jurisdictions a week ago in Iqaluit, is calling for. It is that balance in the participation side.

However, it is a little concerning when we seem to want to put one against the other, participation and elite. They are very compatible. The more we encourage participation the more we would broaden the feeder systems up into the elites. The more our high performance athletes excel then the more we would have that inspiration to get people more active. I understand the member's concern, but it is one that has been fully addressed in the policy and in the legislation.

Physical Activity and Sport Act April 15th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Government of Canada it is an honour for me to present to the House the result of the efforts, commitment and co-operation of the sport community throughout our country of various federal departments and agencies, of provincial-territorial governments and of private and public sector organizations that influence the world of sport in Canada.

The proposed bill, an act to promote physical activity and sport that would replace the Fitness and Amateur Sport Act, deals with sport that does much to unite our society.

Physical activity and sport are a tradition in Canada. All of us have, at one time, enjoyed playing hockey with the neighbours, challenging colleagues on a tennis court or cycling through some lesser known parts of the country.

In Canada, physical activity and sport are a family affair. Every parent remembers the first time a daughter skated or a son rode his bicycle. Sport is a passion which is transmitted from one generation to the next and which we can enjoy throughout our lives.

In Canada, we are passionate about physical activity and sport. From coast to coast to coast Canadians celebrated the success of our athletes at the winter Olympics and Paralympics in Salt Lake City. They celebrated again today as parliament officially honoured our medalists.

Our national memory is full of sports heroes whose achievements and victories have inspired our dreams. Maurice Richard, Mark Tewkesbury, Myriam Bédard, Elvis Stojko and Sylvie Fréchette are only some of our country's idols who have made their mark in sport in Canada and have gone down in history. Within my riding of Simcoe North, we are especially proud of the accomplishments of Brian Orser.

In Canada, physical activity and sport also prepare for life. Each morning, thousands of young girls and boys get up with one purpose in mind: to give the best of themselves in the pool, on the soccer field or on the ski slopes.

In practicing their sports, they learn about discipline, team spirit and the quest for excellence. They learn about the importance of health and balance. Sport and physical activity prevent delinquency and crime, form thousands of volunteers from coast to coast to coast, and bring together Canadians from all walks of life by eliminating barriers and differences.

Far more than a past time, sport and physical activity are tools for living a full life in Canada. Close to 10 million Canadians regularly take part in sport activities. However is that enough? We believe we can do more. We believe we can do much better.

The existing Fitness and Amateur Sport Act dates from 1961. It has become necessary to rethink the role of Canada's sports system in line with the new issues and circumstances. Like many other countries, Canada must amend its legislation to adapt to a new reality and to effectively reflect and strengthen the important role that the Government of Canada plays in fostering, promoting and developing physical activity and sport in Canada.

Starting with the title, very few countries refer to amateur sport in their modernized legislation. This concept is increasingly ambiguous since professional athletes compete in the Olympics and amateur athletes collect fees at some competitions.

Times have changed. Our habits have changed as well and not necessarily for the better. According to a study recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal , obesity among boys increased by 92% between 1981 and 1996. Among girls it increased by 57%.

The Canadian health system estimates that 25% of Canadian children are overweight. It is estimated that young children between 2 and 11 years of age spend on average 19 hours a week in front of the TV set. From 1992 to 1998, the sports participation rate of young people aged 15 and over has decreased, falling from 45% to 34%.

Socio-economic or cultural barriers still prevent some groups in our society from fully developing by participating in sports. I refer to aboriginals, handicapped people, women and visible minorities.

As we can see, physical inactivity is dangerously gaining ground. For public health the impact is disastrous, incurring $2.1 billion per year on direct health care costs. Still worse, physical inactivity is estimated to be a contributing factor to the death of more than 21,000 Canadians every year. We must act now before it is too late. We must act now for tomorrow.

The sports community had expectations and we had to meet them. Two years ago, my predecessor, now the citizenship and immigration minister, launched an extensive consultation process in order to improve the sports experience of all Canadians in partnership with the whole sports community.

Sports associations, athletes, coaches, volunteers and administrators, federal, provincial and territorial governments as well as municipalities, all have taken part in discussions across the country. The consultations led to a national summit held a year ago and finally to a new Canadian sports policy.

The new Canadian sport policy gives expression to the vision shared by all sports stakeholders who participated in the consultations. It defines what we want to accomplish over the next 10 years in the world of sport with clear objectives.

At the same time last year, the Government of Canada recognized the needs of the sport community by providing an additional $10 million over three years to the Sport Canada budget.

Today, proud of all the work we have accomplished thus far, the Government of Canada is proposing another component in our strategy to promote sport activity in our country.

Following the Canadian sports policy that inspired us, on last April 10, I introduced the physical activity and sport legislation. This bill, which rreplaces the Fitness and Amateur Sport Act, enshrines our new sports policy. It provides us with new legislation focused on the participation of every Canadian in sports.

With the new bill we are acting on the initiatives and consultations of the past several years. With the new bill we are moving from words to deeds. The bill officially recognizes that sport is an investment for our society.

To invest in sport is to invest in the health and welfare of Canadians. To invest in sport is to invest in the development of our communities.

This is why a preamble was added to the bill showing that the commitment of the Government of Canada ito physical activity and sport was to be seen as an investment in the betterment of all Canadians and not as an expenditure. Any investment in physical activity and sport contributes to the quality of life and translates into long term health care savings.

Let us not forget that in our country over 378,000 jobs are directly linked to sport. Thousands of men and women work in ski centres, arenas, fitness centres, golf clubs and many more sport establishments. They are our neighbours, our friends, community leaders. Altogether, the sports industry contributes overs $8.9 billion to our country's gross domestic product.

The bill seeks to increase participation in sport by all Canadians whatever their sex, physical or mental capabilities, their age or the colour of their skin. Regularly, week after week throughout the year, we want all our fellow citizens to engage in physical activity.

In pursuit of this objective, governments, associations and sport organizations must talk together. They must better co-ordinate their efforts so that all Canadians have the easiest possible access to the sport facilities in all our communities. This is one of the priorities of the bill. By making our sport infrastructure and resources accessible, we enable our people to practice sport.

The bill also reaffirms another priority of the Government of Canada to continue to support the pursuit of excellence in sport. Our athletes have the talent and capacity to succeed nationally and internationally. The result of the most recent Olympic and Paralympic Games are ample proof of this, but we can better guide their development. We can better co-ordinate our resources. We can improve our programs. We can strengthen the training provided to coaches. We want to encourage others to become partners in our efforts: various levels of governments, sport organizations and especially the private sector.

The bill gives us the means to encourage our business people to help fund development in sport because we must open up to new forms of co-operation. We must devise new ways of working together if we want to achieve our objectives.

More than ever before in Canada sport is everybody's business. We recognize that the task is daunting, but this bill will allow us to meet the challenge. Its modern and up-to-date measures put us at long last on an equal footing with other industrialized countries. Finally, this bill establishes a new organization responding to the sport community's requests.

Over the past decade, Canada's sport system has frequently faced litigation and court cases. Unfortunately the arbitration procedures already in place were limited. A fair effective solution was needed. The bill therefore calls for the creation of the sport dispute resolution centre of Canada.

The centre is an independent organization that will deal in a non-partisan way with any contentious issue related to sport. It will provide fairer access to dispute resolution and might be used as an alternative to litigation.

For the first time ever, the sport community will be able to rely on a national arbitration and mediation service. This centre is a tangible measure, a response tailored to meet the needs of the sport community and the challenges the sporting world is facing today.

This innovative bill is the vision of all who help make Canada a great country for sport. It opens up the future and brings hope. For our children there is the hope of growing up while exploring various sports, the hope of having fun while learning. For young athletes there is the hope of being able to develop their potential to the fullest, of being more successful in their studies, the hope of achieving their dreams.

For our volunteers, there is the hope of broadening their life experience, of learning and growing while contributing their time. For our coaches, there is the hope of getting better, of having a stimulating career and of seeing our athletes succeed.

For all Canadians there is the hope of living an active, healthy life, the hope of enhancing our quality of life and our society's well-being.

This bill is the commitment of the Government of Canada to the future of sport in our country.

It provides a renewed legal framework in keeping with the new reality. It updates our goals and priorities. It reaffirms our values and principles. It reflects the cultural richness and diversity of our country.

I am very proud to submit this bill to the approval of the House for a healthy and sport-loving Canada.

Sports April 15th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, it is not just a matter of funding or resources. The government is working with the provinces and territories, as it did two weeks ago in Iqaluit regarding the Canadian sport policy, to make sure that they accept our policy.

It is really disappointing that the hon. member would engage in petty politics today, when we have a delegation of athletes with us.