Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was friend.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as NDP MP for Kamloops (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2000, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committees Of The House September 27th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I want to make it clear that there have not been previous consultations. However, I wonder if I could add another item to the list. It is simply this. Tomorrow night's private members' hour is a motion in my name. Could we agree that the vote be held over until next week at the choice of the House leaders or the whips and that the motion be deemed put as a part of the package before us on private members' business?

Petitions September 27th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, my last petition is very lengthy and was signed by petitioners from Kamloops and a number of communities nearby. They point out their concerns regarding section 608(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada.

The petitioners are calling upon the Government of Canada to amend the criminal code in order to prevent persons convicted of serious crimes from being released from custody pending the hearing of their appeal except in very exceptional circumstances.

Petitions September 27th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by petitioners from a number of communities in central British Columbia pointing out the benefits of a national highway system.

The petitioners are calling upon the government to use some of the money collected from gasoline taxes to build, maintain and improve Canada's highway network.

Petitions September 27th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise pursuant to Standing Order 36 and present a petition on behalf of a number of residents of the Kamloops region of British Columbia.

The petitioners have a long preamble to their petition. They are calling upon parliament to stop for profit hospitals and restore federal funding for health care, to increase the federal government's share of health care funding to 25% immediately and to implement a national home care program and a national program for prescription drugs.

Criminal Code September 22nd, 2000

Madam Speaker, I want to congratulate my colleague from Lethbridge for bringing forward the legislation. Bill C-321 is important to complete a process that has been under way in terms of dealing with child pornography. As he has indicated in his presentation, it fills a void which the last piece of legislation overlooked, I suspect inadvertently.

I also want to recognize that the initiative brought forward by the hon. member for Lethbridge was previously brought forward by the hon. member for Saskatoon—Clark's Crossing and also the hon. member for Sydney—Victoria. I am sure the hon. member is aware of their initiatives along a similar line. Today we have an opportunity to round out the legislation.

I want to address the concerns raised about the legislation by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice. I think his concerns are inappropriate. I do not think he actually read the bill, because had he read it he would not have said what he did in the House of Commons. My friend from Lethbridge said he was open to suggestions and that we could amend the legislation if that is what is required if we need to improve it, but just to toss it out because somebody has some concern about some wording is inappropriate.

The parliamentary secretary said that this bill could penalize the employers of those weird people who use the Internet to download child pornography while they are at work. The legislation says:

Where a person is convicted of an offence under subsection 163.1(2), (3) or (4), the court that convicts the person may, in addition to any other punishment imposed on the person, order that anything by means of which or in relation to which the offence was committed be forfeited to Her Majesty in right of the province—

I emphasize that it uses the word may. In other words, the court may do this. No court in its right mind would say that if an employee of the House of Commons downloads child pornography the computers of the House of Commons will be forfeited. It is insanity. Give the judge some credit for making a reasonable decision.

The parliamentary secretary went on to say that perhaps the server could be forfeited. Imagine any judge saying that because a person was using a particular server on their computer while they were downloading pornographic pictures of children, the server on their computer system would be forfeited. It is just insanity.

I would ask the parliamentary secretary to at least read the legislation before he suggests that changes are required and notice that the word may is used and not the word shall. I see my friend the parliamentary secretary is back in the House of Commons. Perhaps he will have a chance to clarify his error on a point of order.

Colleagues in the New Democratic Party have been calling for this for a number of years. We will inevitably and undoubtedly endorse the bill when it comes up for a vote after another two hours of debate.

From a personal perspective I have received many representations, not only about this legislation but about the whole issue before us. I have had representations from the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies, from a variety of churches in my constituency, from the legal aid office and women's groups. I have heard from lawyers who see this abuse on a regular basis in their courtroom work. I have heard from a variety of unions, from the Kamloops and District Labour Council, from the chamber of commerce, from the regional district, from our mayor and council in Kamloops, and from a variety of non-profit agencies and associations. Of course many citizens have written to members. I suspect all of us have received a lot of mail on this issue.

We should endorse this bill enthusiastically. It should not be some serious debate, because who is in favour of child pornography? Obviously no one in the House is. We are dealing with some pretty unusual people to start with.

As the member for Lethbridge pointed out, this has come to us from the Internet. Internet abuse as he terms it is almost like a red light use of the Internet and the world wide web whereby a variety of pornography can be seen.

I suspect there is hardly anybody in here who has actually used a computer who has not come across a pornographic site. Often they show up when we do not expect them. A person may be interested in deer, for example, and may decide to look up Bambi. If the person looks up Bambi, a pornographic site comes up.

I suspect that kids all over the place are now being confronted with pornography by accident, let alone all the people we are talking about here, the child predators and people who prey on children. Everyone now has easy access to this.

I encourage the parliamentary secretary to talk to his colleagues. I suspect, from what I have heard on this side of the House, that we are supporting this private member's initiative. I would like to think that he and his colleagues in the Liberal Party would also support it. My goodness, what better way for the House to do something meaningful than to have every political party and the independents getting onside to discourage, in every way possible, people from using child pornography via the Internet.

If the parliamentary secretary has a concern about wording he should bring forward an amendment. That is what these debates are all about. I know he is a thoughtful individual and I would encourage him to do just that.

I think the case has been made. My hon. friend from Lethbridge, who pointed out from his research that 53% of all traffic on Internet deals with sex in some way or another, opens up some pretty interesting questions. Today we are focusing on the abuse of the Internet when it comes to child pornography. I think we need to do everything possible to deal with this, and this legislation takes us in that right direction.

My friend from Lethbridge also reminded us that this does not deal with the root cause, the individuals themselves who, because of their physiological and psychological makeup, are people who prey on children, who are pedophiles, people who are using the national and international sexual chat line to consciously victimize young people. We have to do whatever we possibly can to stop this.

Today my friend from Lethbridge brings forward a private member's bill that will close the gap somewhat. I hear from parliamentary secretary that the Liberals have some concerns, but I hope we can rectify those concerns by a simple amendment to the legislation or perhaps through regulation. After all, the legislation simply provides the overall umbrella. It is the regulations that flow from that which would be helpful. It is fair to say that no judge will suggest that we confiscate someone's computer because some individual in his or her employ decided to download some child pornography.

We in the New Democratic Party are pleased with anything we can do to stop the victimization of children in our society, whether it is the issue of child poverty and the suffering that causes children or the issue we are talking about today, the misuse of the Internet for child exploitation. We are very strongly behind any initiative to that extent.

Petitions September 22nd, 2000

Mr. Speaker, in the second petition, the petitioners are concerned about the U.S. national missile defence program. It is a $60 billion plus program that Canada has been asked to participate in.

The petitioners are calling upon parliament to declare that Canada objects to the defence program of the United States of America and ask the government to play a leadership role in banning nuclear weapons and missile flight tests.

Petitions September 22nd, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present this afternoon.

The first petition is from a number of constituents from Kamloops who point out a number of concerns they have with the Criminal Code of Canada. Their fundamental concern is to ask the Government of Canada to amend the criminal code to prevent persons convicted of serious crimes from being released from custody pending the hearing of their appeal, except in very exceptional circumstances.

Points Of Order September 22nd, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I will forgo the colourful introduction and go right to the question for the Minister of the Environment.

The minister will be aware that on VIA trains from coast to coast, from Halifax to Vancouver and elsewhere, when one flushes the toilet on a VIA train it flushes directly onto the tracks. The millions of people who ride these trains literally flush their toilets on the tracks. This is a serious question and I have been asked about this by various railway unions who work on the tracks. The Minister of the Environment of course will be aware of the environmental implications.

Could he see fit, at least, to get in touch with VIA officials and ask them for their timetable for putting proper containers on-board their trains so that they are like some of the private trains which already have containers on their passenger cars?

Points Of Order September 22nd, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I know that this is kind of unconventional and I realize that today has been rather unconventional.

I have been waiting a number of days to ask a question during question period and it stopped just before my turn. I appreciate that I am out of order probably with this request, but I would like to seek unanimous consent to ask the Minister of the Environment a single question. It is an important question. It is a serious question. Could I seek unanimous consent to see if I could have that opportunity?

Supply September 21st, 2000

Madam Speaker, I listened to my hon. friend and as always, I found his comments to be interesting. I actually do not have a question for him. It is more of statement.

Earlier today I inadvertently made the comment that in spite of the hundreds of questions the Canadian Alliance and previously the Reform Party had asked over the last year, I was not aware that there was a single question asked in question period about gas prices. I have to say I was incorrect. The research I have gone through would indicate that there were two questions asked over the last year out of almost 1,000. Just to make it perfectly clear, there were two questions on gas prices out of 1,000.