Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was business.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Toronto—Danforth (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2004, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Gerald Emmett Carter April 7th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am saddened to inform the House of the passing of a great Canadian. Retired Archbishop of Toronto, Gerald Emmett Carter died at the age of 91.

Cardinal Carter rose from a working class Montreal background to become Canada's highest Catholic representative. He worked tirelessly for the poor. The Cardinal was instrumental in establishing Toronto's Covenant House to help street youth. He also helped broker many agreements with governments to provide affordable housing for the elderly and the disabled. He also had a unique ability to motivate and mobilize political and business leaders.

Just three weeks ago he was joined by our former Prime Minister Turner for a St. Patrick's Day toast. In the early eighties, Prime Minister Trudeau consulted him regularly on the Constitution, and they became close friends.

Our nation was blessed to have Cardinal Carter. He has forever influenced our great nation, and he will be sorely missed.

Employment Insurance Act March 20th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I wish to compliment the member for Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore. This bill represents a piece of public policy whose time has come.

I must go back to an experience that I had in my own riding approximately one year ago where I put out a request to my constituents asking them what they believed some of the priority issues would be, should be, that I would take to our Liberal policy convention which was to happen in June of last year. One of the top three messages that came to our policy team was the whole issue of compassionate leave of absence for respite caregivers. We developed a resolution in the community and I would like to read it into the record:

Whereas the Government of Canada provides for parental leave of absence of up to one year, which allows a parent to nurture and care for a new member of the family and our Canadian society without jeopardizing employment status or career opportunities as an employee;

Whereas the Government of Canada does not formally recognize the importance or impact of family members or guardians providing respite care without jeopardizing employment status or career opportunities;

Whereas current and future generations of Canadians will require the Government of Canada to hold dear an individual's quality of life until the point of death and for caregivers to provide comfort and support to that point;

Be it resolved that the Government of Canada review compassionate leave of absence to employees or guardians providing respite care to family members as a mandate for review. The review period should not exceed two years for the purpose of establishing criteria, standards and timeframes for leave of absence.

The people of my community are 100% behind the member from Sackville on Bill C-206. In June 2001, of the 400 policy resolutions that were tabled for the Liberal Party of Ontario policy convention this resolution was accepted as one of the top 10 as a priority resolution. There is a will emerging within the Ontario wing of the Liberal Party that this issue be dealt with.

We must also acknowledge that in the last budget the Minister of Finance did put this issue on the radar screen. He made a great first step with six weeks. It is a start.

The House of Commons must really press the finance officials and the will of all members in the House, especially the ones who are obsessed with the fiscal framework. What they do not understand is that when we have to work to make a living and our parents or a family member is dying, if we cannot look after them what happens is that most often we put them into the hospital system. That is a heck of a lot more expensive.

First of all, we cannot even compare the quality of care to a loved one looking after us. But the cost to the health care system, when people are just put into a hospital because they have no alternative, is really a heck of a lot more expensive than what the member is proposing in Bill C-206.

I wish to congratulate the member for Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore. Let us continue to press the will of the House to ensure that in this term, before we go back to the people, within the next two years that this becomes one of those pieces of legislation that is a fond memory of all of us collectively doing something special in this Parliament.

The Budget February 25th, 2003

No, it is not for the gun registry, it is for youth at risk. It is defined as youth at risk in the budget.

The Budget February 25th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, first of all the metropolitan Toronto police force is one of the finest in the country. None of us in the Toronto caucus would ever debate trying to get them resources. We have done it indirectly with the repeat offender program enforcement unit. We have obtained the money through the Solicitor General. We are with the member on that.

I must point out to the member for Wild Rose that in this budget, there is under “justice” an additional $75 million for youth--

The Budget February 25th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to deal with the issue of our national transportation system.

I am a passionate believer in our national carrier, Air Canada. One of the reasons our national carrier faces such fiscal stress is that our regulations force our national carrier to go into all kinds of remote regions with a certain number of flights a day. That is part of its responsibility. It is a quasi-crown company. It could not dare run on its own. It could not run without the support of the treasury of Canada. I am sure we all realize that.

I want to go back to the point about rail. I believe that the rail system in all major urban areas is a challenge for the House in the future. We are going to have to dig deep. Even though we have a finite amount of resources, I think in our major urban areas we are going to have to really dig deep and support these rail systems even more than we are currently supporting them.

The Budget February 25th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, it was important to mention their names in my remarks. I have sat in the House since 1988 as a Toronto member of Parliament. Specifically since we took power in 1993, I have worked consistently with members of Parliament from the greater Toronto area. We came through a period in 1993 where we had a very tough economic climate. We had a deep recession and it was a tough period to be here. In spite of all the difficulties our executive and our minister of finance had to face in trying to get the fiscal framework of the country back on track, the members of Parliament from Toronto always ensured the government provided the economic support needed by Toronto, and we continue to do so. This is a critical factor in the economic engine in this country. As members know, a healthy economic Toronto is critical for the rest of the country.

We fast forward to this budget where we are finally back on track. In the last year alone we have sent over $24 billion from the treasury of Canada to the greater Toronto area. That is a lot of money, yet two days after the budget, I opened my Toronto Star and I saw a headline “Arrogant Liberals need to learn the hard way”. This journalist, Royson James, said:

As much as I respect the party of the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau, this bunch, under this anti-city leadership, will not get my vote as long as there is a living, breathing Alliance, Tory, NDP, Green Party candidate.

And given the choice between a Liberal and a White Supremacist in the next election, I would be forced to--forgive me please--forced to spoil my ballot.

Then today in the Toronto Star , the editorial page editor Robert Hepburn said:

This region sent 41 Liberals to Ottawa in the last election. Clearly, some of them have been there too long. They are arrogant, ineffective and seemingly couldn't care less about the needs of the GTA. They must believe that because they won in the year 2000 with huge majorities, they don't have to worry about re-election in 2004.

The reason why the people of the greater Toronto area voted for the Liberal team in the last election was because they recognized, unlike the Toronto Star editorial board writer and unlike Royson James, that the Toronto team has represented our city well. What has to be put on the table here is that we in the greater Toronto area not only have a responsibility for our own community, we have a responsibility to share the rich economic resources that we have with the rest of the country.

That is what national politics is all about. It is not just thinking about one's own community. If we do well, we want to ensure we share some of those resources with those parts of the country that do not do well. The reality is that the people in the greater Toronto area send close to $32 billion a year to the treasury of Canada and we receive back, in economic activity, $24 billion. The difference goes to remote regions. It goes to equalization payments. It goes to our share of deficit and debt. That is the responsibility of a national government. It is not just thinking about our own backyard.

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why this current executive of the largest, most successful newspaper in our country believes that the Toronto MPs should only be thinking about Toronto. They sent us to Ottawa not just to think about our region but to also represent them on the national stage.

We have a responsibility to make sure that the wealth that is generated in our city is shared with the rest of the country. I know there are other people in the House who do not share that view. They think a dollar to Ottawa, a dollar back. I have never taken that view. It is interesting enough whenever I have talked about the principle of sharing with the rest of the country through equalization payments for other regions that are not doing too well and where we have to share, I have never ever had a single voter say to me that is the wrong attitude.

The only people who say it is wrong are at the Toronto Star . What drives me crazy about the Toronto Star is it is this thick paper. There are members here who are not from Toronto. If they ever came to Toronto and saw the Toronto Star on a Saturday they could hardly pick it up. Sometimes it is close to 200 pages. That paper is so thick because of the advertisements in it from small businesses that benefited from the budget, from medium size businesses that benefited from the budget, from large corporations that buy full page coloured ads.

The most successful and biggest beneficiary in the media from the budget has been the Toronto Star and here it is saying it is not enough. I say shame on the Toronto Star . It should go back to where Mr. Honderich used to put the Star . It was supposed to be an organ that made sure that we shared the richness of Toronto with the rest of the country. I think what is going on at this rich paper from Toronto right now is really unfair.

It is unfair to project an attitude that the members of Parliament from the greater Toronto area should only think about themselves, their own communities, their own city. The people of Toronto who are way ahead of the Toronto Star send us here to represent them, not just in our own backyard but on the national stage.

Regardless of the pipsqueak Royson James who said that he would rather vote for a white supremacist or whatever than vote for a Liberal, I say shame on him. The Liberal Party will continue to make sure that we care and share not just in our own backyard but in the rest of the country. That is the way it will continue.

The Budget February 25th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin my remarks today by acknowledging three constituents from my community who are in the gallery today. They have assisted our team on designing and creating an idea that is emanating from the budget related to the green city for sport and culture, Mr. Michael Wong, Mr. Paul Figueiredo and Mr. Stephen Carter. This is important because--

Supply February 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I totally agree with the second point. In fact, the Auditor General should get into the business of doing a full analysis on tax expenditures by every sector.

The Auditor General has never done an analysis on tax expenditures. Why not? That is billions of dollars of forgone revenue to the treasury. Why do we not know? We do not need to know the specific organization, but we should know the sector and we should know the amount. I do not care whether it is aerospace, motion picture, auto or whatever.

On the first point, I have absolutely no problem with money coming in, who gives it to us and where it goes. I totally support that. I believe though that in between elections when we do public policy advocacy we should be allowed to go out and generate relationships and funds to ensure that work is done properly.

Supply February 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the member has really not read the last budget. The Minister of Finance, Tuesday of last week, had an entire section in the budget dedicated to government accountability and renewing the systems of government accountability.

I am sure all the Canadian Alliance members would feel comfortable with the Minister of Finance and his history of being a fiscal conservative and ensuring that the system is brought up to speed. Therefore, I think there is great hope.

Supply February 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the member for Crowfoot obviously missed my point, because I did include in my remarks all my colleagues in the greater Toronto area. I have been in the House now for 15 years and I can say that the member of Parliament for Pickering--Ajax--Uxbridge is one of the finest members of Parliament. Our member of Parliament has collaborated with the opposition many times, and as for the notion that in his incredibly experienced and positive parliamentary career he would suggest that he was not in favour of accountability, no one would take the member for Crowfoot seriously. He is taking things out of context.

If we are really going to make this work, as members of Parliament we are going to have to collaborate. I am a government member. Does the member honestly believe that I would stand here and say, “Yes, let us give $20 million to chartered banks in downtown Toronto”, when we have kids who go to school hungry? No. I am trying to convey to the opposition that the system needs repair. I am trying to be very specific and constructive on how it needs repair, and I do not think we are going to get anywhere if we just get up here and take cheap shots at one another. I honestly do not.

I think that right now we have a unique moment in the House to really make the place better. I really believe that, because I do not think there is a member of Parliament in the House, it does not matter what party they are from, who enjoys taking the hit that we do not do good work here. Most of it is because the machinery around us needs to be rebuilt. It is not the individual members of Parliament. I know that the man who I will be facing in the next election basically wants to come here to try to do good things, just like the member for Crowfoot, but the machinery around us is broken. Unless we collaborate to fix that machinery, we are just going to continue to take cheap shots at one another and I do not think that is going to make it better for Canadians.