House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was certainly.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Conservative MP for Westlock—St. Paul (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2004, with 67% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees of the House May 11th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics. Given the uncertainty of this Parliament and the extraordinary need for the stability with all parliamentary officers and agents, the committee recommends that the appointment of John Reid, the Information Commissioner of Canada, be extended by an additional term of one year.

House of Commons May 11th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Monday afternoon, out of respect for the traditions of the House, I made special arrangements with the Cross Cancer Institute, against the advice of my oncologist, to travel to Ottawa to participate in a confidence vote in the House against the government.

Why does the Prime Minister not live up to his responsibility and show the same respect for that democratic process by admitting that he has lost the confidence of the House and resign or call an election today?

Canadian Forces April 12th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence promised the members of the Canadian Forces that they would be getting a 6% pay raise on March 1. They did not get the pay raise on March 1. They did not get the pay raise on April 1. They still have not got the pay raise, despite an $11 billion surplus.

When is the government going to live up to its promises, obligations and commitments and provide the raises to our members of the Canadian armed forces?

Question No. 15 March 8th, 2005

Since January 1, 1997, have any past Members of Parliament been hired or appointed in any capacity by the government and, if so: ( a ) who was the member; ( b ) what was their salary at the time of hiring and any subsequent increases; ( c ) what have the job descriptions been; ( d ) what advertisements were used to solicit applications for these positions; ( e ) how was the interview process conducted for all positions; ( f ) who approved the hiring; ( g ) how many applicants were interviewed; ( h ) when was each position created; and ( i ) what were the annual expenses of each indivudual?

Budget Implementation Act, 2004, No. 2 February 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, while my time is short I did want to participate in this debate on Bill C-33 because it demonstrates in a vivid way the irrelevancy of this Parliament and what is wrong with the system.

In spite of my lifelong respect for the institution of Parliament and the honour bestowed upon me by the people who have elected me in two different ridings and four general elections, this Liberal government and previous Liberal governments going back as far as Pierre Trudeau have done more to make Parliament and this process irrelevant to Canadians than ever should be tolerated.

The example that we are here standing in the House five minutes before we listen to budget 2005 debating at third reading the enabling legislation for budget 2004 is just insane. It makes no sense at all.

If in fact it was required to have enabling legislation for the 2004 budget, then it should have been put into place, passed through Parliament and had parliamentary approval before the 2004 measures were implemented. Of course that is not the case and it is not the only example.

In question period we heard some back and forth debate on missile defence. This chamber spoke loud and clear during the throne speech and the government agreed that before it would negotiate an agreement on missile defence, the Prime Minister would bring the issue to the House for a full debate and a vote so that Parliament could have input into whatever the U.S. government was asking us to participate in. Clearly he went ahead and did that without living up to that commitment.

If we look at the situation just the other day in the House, we defeated two government bills that were brought to Parliament. Within minutes of us doing that in this place, the government notified the public that it did not matter because it was going to carry on with the initiative and go ahead with splitting the Department of Foreign Affairs regardless of what this Parliament thought. That is just reprehensible.

If Parliament is going to mean anything to Canadians, and if Canadians in any significant numbers are going to go out, vote at election time, and elect members of Parliament to come and represent them, they should at least have to believe that members of Parliament and the job they are doing in Ottawa should be respected and should mean something.

We are passing out budget 2005 documents while here I am standing and speaking, when nobody is listening of course, on budget 2004. I quite frankly give up and I am going to let it go at that. We will listen to the 2005 budget and we will all forget what the 2004 budget was meant to do.

Nuclear Energy Act February 23rd, 2005

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-338, an act to amend the Nuclear Energy Act (change of responsible minister).

Mr. Speaker, this bill is a modification of a bill that I have had in the House for a good length of time in a number of Parliaments. Its intent is to split the responsibilities for Atomic Energy Canada Limited and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to report to two different ministries.

The bill proposes to split the reporting to a different ministry than the previous bill, Bill C-212. As there have been consultations with all parties in the House, I would ask if I could receive unanimous consent to withdraw Bill C-212, which this bill will replace.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Elections Act February 23rd, 2005

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-337, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act (telephone, fax and Internet service to campaign offices).

Mr. Speaker, this private member's bill is designed to address a problem that I have faced personally. Many other members I have talked to say they have faced the same problem, that is, the inability to receive telephone and fax service in their campaign offices, sometimes for a number of weeks, after the writ is dropped. I am proposing in the bill that campaigns of individual members should, under statute, receive the same level of service as Elections Canada does in the Elections Canada offices during the writ period.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Supply February 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have been around here for over 11 years and every year I look at the government's own performance reports. Whoever writes those performance reports, has rose-coloured glasses.

I can think of examples. Some 600 first nations are required to produce private sector audits of their books every year. Those audits are done and are reported to the minister. Yet we constantly hear of corruption and mismanagement of money within those communities.

If the board of directors hires the auditor and sets the parameters of the audit for the private sector audit, I suggest it would likely get the results for which it is looking. That is the weakness of the private sector audit.

Supply February 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I do not argue a lot with what the member is suggesting. I just do not see why the Liberals have to take $9 billion out of the direct control of government to achieve those things.

Those foundations can do that kind of work, and we very much need them to do that. We need to enlist the expertise of the private sector to do that, but we do not need to take $9 billion and put it in bank accounts that stretch out for Lord knows how long and away from the scrutiny of Parliament to achieve those things.

We should get together and achieve the things about which the member has spoken. At the same time, bring that money back within reach of the scrutiny of the government and of the Auditor General, and we can achieve both our objectives.

Supply February 22nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join the discussion this afternoon. It has been interesting to listen as the debate goes back and forth on this issue. I want to approach the subject a little differently in my presentation, but I would like to make a few comments on the discussion that has taken place.

No one is disputing the good work that some of these foundations do. The question is, why could they not do just as good work under the full scrutiny and the full transparency of Parliament? I do not know why they have to be hidden, at least in the respect that they are not as transparent as the Auditor General says they should be.

I think this whole debate really started, not only because of the Auditor General's report, but because the budget is coming up tomorrow. A rumour is floating around that the government plans to set up yet another foundation to hide the $5 billion proposed to set up a national day care program because the minister has been unable to get anywhere near any consensus from the provinces on the issue, and rightly so.

Look at the record of the government on the last national day care program it set up. Canadians today are still paying a tremendous price for it . I speak of the residential school program, a national day care program set up by a Liberal government to do the right thing, to take children away from their parents at an early age to give them education. That was a truly a disaster. I suspect the current government's proposal for a national day care program will be just as big a disaster as the one of many years ago. Any time the government thinks it can do a better of job of raising children than parents can, then it is becoming too arrogant.

However, the whole issue of the foundations and the accountability of them is a huge issue. Over the last number of months I do not know how many times I heard members on the government side get up and tell us of the wonderful work of the sponsorship program, not unlike what we hear about the work of the foundations. We know what happened there. I do not think we could even begin to imagine the depth of corruption that the Gomery inquiry is uncovering.

I am not suggesting that this is going on in the foundations. However, in my view at least, it is a reason we should not take the government's word for its integrity and for its transparency because the evidence is different.

However, the issue that I want to touch on in the few minutes I have is another issue that the Auditor General raised in her report, which also is related to accountability. That is the issue of information technology security as it relates to privacy. There has not been a lot of discussion on that, yet it is a huge issue. It has the potential to cause major problems for the government and future governments if we do not pay attention to what the Auditor General has said and take action now.

As chair of the committee on ethics and privacy, I have heard a number of witnesses come forward, specifically the privacy commissioner, to express some real concerns about information technology security.

The media reported that in preparation of her report the Auditor General's staff actually was able to hack into government computer programs and extract information from them. That should scare everybody, particularly when in the House a few years ago the issue of the million dollar boondoggle in Human Resources Development Canada revealed the extent to which the government was collecting information on Canadians and storing it in government databases. To find out in the Auditor General's report how vulnerable that information is to those who would steal it and use it for other purposes should be frightening to all Canadians.

The new Privacy Commissioner has some good ideas on how we should deal with that. However, she is still in the process of straightening out an awful mess in the Privacy Commissioner's office, left over from the previous privacy commissioner who seemed to focus more on his lavish lifestyle than he did on his responsibilities of protecting Canadian security. I do not think that is not the case now.

The reality is we are slow getting off the mark in addressing some of these issues. It is hard and very expensive for the government and agencies of government to find the expertise to deal with this issue and to provide protection.

I did not want us to miss that part of the Auditor General's report where she raised a red flag. It is not the first time the Auditor General has raised it. When we look in the private sector, we see what is happening with information technology. Of course everybody has been listening to the terrible situation the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has with its IT information and lack of security.

In this age of high tech spying, Canadians should be concerned with the miniaturization of the technology such as cell phone cameras and all kinds of tracking devices. The protection of our privacy, particularly our privacy as it relates to the information that government collects and holds on us, is a huge issue and one to which we want to pay attention.

I know it is a little off the topic of the foundations and the right of the Auditor General to investigate those. However, it was part of the Auditor General's report and it is relevant in a sense, certainly to the transparency and security of government.

I would urge the government to consider supporting the motion before us. I think Canadians everywhere have lost confidence in the government's honesty and integrity in reporting what is going on and how it is spending our money. We are talking about huge sums of money in these foundations. There are rumours about increasing the amount of money out of the purview of government. The motion is a valid motion and one that all members of the House should be willing to support, and I hope they will.