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

Financial Consumer Agency Of Canada Act September 18th, 2000

Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to my hon. colleague who as usual gave a very profound address in terms of the nature of this omnibus legislation. He pointed out the reasons why we are concerned about a number of features, one which makes the Minister of Finance virtually a banking and financial czar of the country. As capable as he may be, this obviously causes Canadians some concern.

I have a question for the member. A number of American states have legislation that would require a bank that takes in deposits from a particular region to reinvest in that particular zone. In other words, if we take money from a particular region or community, we are obligated to write loans to benefit the businesses or people of the particular area. It is called the community reinvestment act.

I know my friend across the way is aware of the act. It is something we have been pushing for. The member mentioned in his presentation that it is absent from this legislation. Can he see any reason why it is absent? If not, is it something that the government ought to consider amending or perhaps we can assist by presenting an amendment later in the process ourselves?

Petitions June 14th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I have another shorter petition to present from people in Kamloops and the lower Thompson Valley who are concerned about excessively high gasoline prices.

They are asking the government to consider some form of regulation or to do what is done in the United States, that is to separate the vertical integration parts of oil companies from their retail outlets so that retail outlets are all independently owned, which would therefore bring some competition back into the system.

Petitions June 14th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I notice that at the same time I am presenting this petition there is a rally in Kamloops on the same topic. It is quite a coincidence.

The petition is on behalf of residents of the Kamloops area and the North Thompson Valley. It brings the total now to 6,722 petitioners who point out their concern about the state of Canada's health care system.

They say that the last budget gave only two cents to health care for every one dollar spent on tax cuts. They also point out that the government seems to be spending only 13% on health care as opposed to 50% on health care, which has led to extreme shortages of nurses, hospital beds and emergency room spaces across Canada. They point out a whole number of other reasons for their concern about the state of health care in Canada.

They ask parliament to take whatever steps are necessary 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. That is one petition.

Sales Tax And Excise Tax Amendments Act, 1999 June 12th, 2000

We have nothing against millionaires. I was just saying that millionaires like the flat tax because it means they pay a lot less income tax.

The reality is that the NDP supports the idea of improving the GST. However, the ultimate solution is not to tinker with it, with a little switch here and a little shift there, but to abolish the GST as we were originally promised.

If there was a signal it would be that any political party that said it was going to abolish the GST would be very successful in the next general election. I have been listening carefully and I hear only one party saying that, the New Democratic Party of Canada. It says that this is a regressive tax. The GST is an unfair and biased tax and it should be phased out. That is our fundamental point.

We have some clear differences here. The Liberals like the GST. The Canadian Alliance wants to bring in a flat tax. The New Democratic Party wants to phase out the GST, do away with the GST and have less tax.

I think I have said enough. My friends are nodding in agreement so I think I will sit down.

Sales Tax And Excise Tax Amendments Act, 1999 June 12th, 2000

My friend says to read the proposal from the Canadian Alliance party. Its proposal is a flat tax. I know that my friends are going to campaign on the flat tax. The Republican Party in the United States rejected it. The Republicans said there was no way they could go ahead with the flat tax idea because it is a tax that is going to benefit the wealthy people. The Republicans said to forget it, they were going to drop it. George Bush has never used the term flat tax.

Then Mr. Harris and Ernie Eves in Ontario said there was no way they wanted to touch this flat tax business because again, it favours the rich and the wealthy of the country. We can probably guess who the multimillionaires would vote for, because if they were making millions of dollars and only had to pay a 17% flat tax, my goodness, that would be a real windfall.

The NDP does not support a flat tax.

Sales Tax And Excise Tax Amendments Act, 1999 June 12th, 2000

Madam Speaker, I am getting to the point. My hon. friend is calling for relevance. Let us go to the Liberals.

Bill C-24 is a little bit of fiddling around with the GST. We are anxious and glad that the fiddling took place. We support this fiddling, but let us face it. What the government should have done was phase out the GST, and make a little change here and a little finicky switch there and so on. And we applaud that, but for goodness sake, what did the Liberal members do when they campaigned across the country?

I heard from countless candidates in the election campaign that the minute they were elected they were going to do away with the GST. I do not know if they actually said that, but they said they were going to deal with the GST. The Liberals said the GST was unfair. They said the GST was biased. They said the GST was unjust and if people elected the Liberals, they were going to change all of that. Where people made the mistake was they thought the Liberals meant they were going to abolish it. The Liberals did not. When they got elected they said they would keep this tax.

Once again a certain cynicism builds. Quite frankly I wonder why it is not even greater because again, going back to my friends in the Liberal Party, they even campaigned against the NAFTA. The Liberals said that if they were elected, they were are going to do away with NAFTA. Of course, not only did they not do away with NAFTA, they have become the free trade cheerleaders of the world. They are trying to get us into NAFTA now with almost every country going. We could debate the merits of NAFTA, but the point is they said they were going to abolish NAFTA. The Liberals said they were going to get out of NAFTA but they did exactly the opposite.

No wonder people are cynical. No wonder people ask if anyone can actually believe what the Liberals say.

That same group said if they were elected they would introduce a national child care program. Have we seen a national child care program? Whoops. They forgot about that. The Liberals promised that if they were elected they would introduce a national child care program. They did not say, “If you elect us, we are going to have negotiations with the provinces”. They said, “A child care program is a national priority for us”. We are still waiting.

There is a long list and I could go on but I think I have made my point. No wonder people are a little cynical about this business. If we are going to deal with the GST, as my friend from Regina said, the only way to deal with it is to reform the tax system from top to bottom. A complete overhaul of the tax system is needed. The tax system right now is out of control. It is meaningless. I do not think a single member or Canadians anywhere in the country could say, “I understand our tax system”.

Sales Tax And Excise Tax Amendments Act, 1999 June 12th, 2000

Madam Speaker, the member from Kamloops was always in the plan. I was honest about it. I was in the plan and I paid for it. I did not say I would not take it and then slip in.

The point of these comments is to simply say it is no wonder people are cynical about us. When one thing is said and another thing is done—

Sales Tax And Excise Tax Amendments Act, 1999 June 12th, 2000

Madam Speaker, a number of my friends in what was then the Reform Party said that one thing they would never ever do was opt into the MP pension plan. Some people here did. I am not going to name the members but a number of MPs said, “We changed our mind. I guess some of us are going to opt in now”.

Sales Tax And Excise Tax Amendments Act, 1999 June 12th, 2000

Madam Speaker, you are absolutely right. My friend is also right.

Perhaps I was trying to make my point in a roundabout way. The leader of the Reform Party said that he would not live in Stornoway. Then he changed his mind and said, “Excuse me. I made a mistake. I actually will move into Stornoway”. That was the point. To be fair, it actually does not have much to do with this legislation.

Then I noticed a number of my friends in the Reform Party—

Sales Tax And Excise Tax Amendments Act, 1999 June 12th, 2000

Madam Speaker, let me start off with an observation about the Canadian Alliance.

Members of that party said when they came to Ottawa their leader was not going to be driven around in a big fancy limousine because it would send the wrong message. It was to be a grassroots party and being escorted about in a nice big black limousine with a personal driver was not the imagery the then Reform Party wanted. Today is the leader being chauffeured around in a black limousine? The answer is yes.

Then the leader said he would not want to move into Stornoway because that big mansion would send the wrong impression. He said that it should be turned into a bingo hall but lo and behold, the leader of the Reform Party moved in and occupied Stornoway.