House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Vancouver South—Burnaby (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Kemano Project March 23rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans indicated earlier in response to a similar question that there was funding available for intervener groups. We will look at any group that wants to make application and make sure that we stay within the budget.

There are also funds available through the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. They can make application there as well.

What I am saying today is that we will review groups that want to come forward and make application for the existing budget for intervener funding.

Kemano Project March 23rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for asking my first question in the House.

As the hon. member knows, in the Kemano completion project the government is committed to making sure that we have an open process, a transparent process. As he also knows, thousands of pages of documents have been given out to make sure that all information is available in the BCUC hearings.

In terms of intervener funding, as was indicated by the minister earlier we will look at groups that can apply to the department. We will be open and ensure that we will consider intervener groups. Some budget is available but they would have to make an application. We would look at it and we would consider intervener funding for some groups.

Supply March 22nd, 1994

The hon. member says that I should have stayed there, but I think I can contribute to this House just like he feels and that is why I am here. I want to comment and talk about some of the points made.

The budget the Liberal Party put forward talks about small business. It takes action on where the jobs are created. Eighty-five per cent of all jobs created are in small business.

I want to tell members about the infrastructure program. The hon. member said that was not creating jobs. In December I was in Singapore. There one learns how important infrastructure is. Its economy is booming. It has a very low unemployment rate because of a strong infrastructure.

Infrastructure is very good for the long term because it creates efficiencies. It lets business become more efficient and if one looks at what has happened in Singapore, it has an incredible ports system and an incredible airport system. All that has created a tremendous economic boom there where it has become the hub of that area.

The Liberal program is all about creating jobs. It is about economic growth. If one looks at the Reform Party's position, what it wants to do is bulldoze everything and cut the deficit in three years. It thinks that will build confidence in the economy. It thinks that will create jobs, that getting rid of thousands of jobs is going to create confidence in the economy.

This is a dream for the Reform Party. It is not true that one can create jobs by cutting $40 billion in a matter of three years out of the economy. What we need is economic growth. What we need is small business, incentive to create jobs and that is what we are doing.

We are reducing the paper burden for small business. We are looking at ways that small business can take advantage of research and development. We are looking at ways in which small business can export to other markets and that is where the jobs are going to be created.

I want to tell the member that we have not heard any concrete solutions from that side except cutting things like CMHC. If we cut CMHC, all the funding for CMHC-

Supply March 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague.

His background is business and my background also is business, starting as a small business person.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension Act March 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my hon. colleague.

I am glad to see that members of the Reform Party who campaigned for change are now defending the status quo. They are now saying they are happy with an act that was put in place 30 years ago and they want to continue with it. Things change and sometimes we have re-evaluate things.

I am very surprised that members of the Reform Party who campaigned on the basis they were going to reform things are now in favour of the status quo. They want to support and maintain an act that was put in place in 1964.

The hon. member states that the Liberal senators voted in favour of the GST. He should look at history and see how hard the Liberal senators fought against GST. The hon. member should get his facts straight on that issue instead of making erroneous statements. Everyone knows that simply was not the case and is not true.

My riding of Vancouver South has a tremendous history. John Fraser, the first elected Speaker, was from that riding. Under redistribution it is basically wiped off the map. There is no riding of Vancouver South.

We need to review the act which was brought in in 1964. Should it continue? Can we improve it? Are there better ways of doing it? Canadians also want us to look at things that were done 30, 40 or 50 years ago, acts that have not been reviewed. That is what we are doing.

Reform members say they do not want to change anything but they would like to make some changes themselves. They are saying they do not want to change anything but they would support freezing the number of seats. When it is something the Reform Party wants it is quite acceptable to make the change. Those members only want to review it if it supports their party's view and political ideology.

Is the Reform Party against reviewing, updating and seeing whether other acts that have been in existence for a long time make sense in today's age? Times change and the way we do things change. For a party which is committed to reform and wants to make changes we are going to work with its members and co-operate with them.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95 March 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, this is the first opportunity I have had to make a speech in the House. I want to congratulate you on your appointment.

On February 22, Canada's finance minister stood before the House to release the first budget of Canada's 35th Parliament. By doing so, the government took the next step toward completing a process that began for us a long time ago, a process that originated with the desire to bring economic prosperity back to Canada and to bring personal dignity back to Canadians.

The recent election made evident that Canadians shared the Liberal vision of a better tomorrow, a tomorrow where a top priority of government is jobs and economic growth, a tomorrow where government acts with integrity, with respect for the constituency that it represents, a tomorrow where social programs are reinforced and strengthened by a caring government and not sacrificed under the banner of deficit reduction, a tomorrow where the government believes that tomorrow begins today.

In the recent speech from the throne we confirmed our determination to deliver on the commitments we made to the people of Canada during the last election campaign.

On February 22, we demonstrated our commitment by introducing decisive measures to reduce the deficit, by showing Canadians where and how we are going to pay for our program of economic renewal. We are taking the next step toward implementing that vision of a better tomorrow which Canadians overwhelmingly supported on October 26.

In my riding of Vancouver South my constituents have placed a tremendous amount of confidence and trust in me. They have entrusted me to come to Ottawa and to work with the government to ensure that their voices are heard as Vancouver residents, as British Columbians and as proud Canadians. They have asked me to battle for the interests of small and medium sized businesses. The majority of businesses within my riding are small and medium sized.

Whether those businesses are located on Main Street or Marine Drive or whether they sell groceries in the Punjabi Market or process lumber on the banks of the Fraser River, they all have one thing in common. For the past nine years they have been frustrated and feeling excluded from the economic decision making process that has shaped the country.

As a small business owner for most of my life I have promised small business in my riding that I would work with this government to promote positive initiatives, initiatives which will encourage growth and security for Canada's small and medium sized business sector.

Traditionally the Liberals have focused much of their attention on the enhancement of the small business sector. I am proud to say that this budget reaffirms our commitments to small business by providing it with tax relief and by improving its access to capital. This budget provides the two ingredients crucial to building a vibrant business culture. Most important, however, the budget allows small business owners to do what they do best; manage their businesses.

While this budget makes significant progress in addressing the key issues for the smaller business sector, some challenges still remain. One of the most significant challenges that small businesses face is attitude, the attitude that big is better. This must change. If small businesses are to flourish the measures taken in this budget will make substantial progress toward eroding this attitude.

Another significant challenge to the small business sector is the increasing paper burden. This burden has hindered growth and reduced productivity for many businesses. We must find a way to alleviate the paper burden.

A further challenge to growth in the small business sector is the GST, long seen as a thorn in the side of small business. We must find an alternative to the GST so that Canadians will once again have the confidence to invest and to take risks, a process which is essential for growth.

My constituents have also asked me to be frugal with their tax dollars. British Columbians are honest and hard working people. They are angry with the way they have seen governments spend

their tax dollars. During the election the people of Vancouver South asked me to work toward putting an end to the waste and mismanagement of past governments and to act responsibly with their tax dollars.

The government knows we cannot ask Canadians to pull together in hard times if we are not ready to make sacrifices. The budget demonstrates that we are willing to make those sacrifices: a smaller, less expensive cabinet, the Gagliano plan, and a "just the facts" budget all demonstrate the government's commitment to ensuring that the hard earned tax dollars of Canadians are not wasted. The government knows that we must continue to work with Canadians to make the tough choices needed to get our financial house in order.

My constituents have asked me to ensure that we do not compromise when it comes to our environment. I consider myself very fortunate to come from British Columbia, a province that has both a mild climate and unparalleled beauty. After experiencing my first winter here, I am confident that when I initiate a private member's bill to move the national capital from Ottawa to Vancouver I will receive tremendous support.

British Columbia offers a unique natural environment which I humbly submit is unequalled in the rest of Canada. It is a combination of mountains, oceans and forests, which ensures that British Columbians remain conscious of the impact our actions have on the environment.

No government owns the oceans, land or air, yet every government has a responsibility to protect our natural environment for present and future Canadians. We must never forget that we are only the trustees of this world. Our challenge is to pass it along to our children in a cleaner and healthier state than it was passed to us.

I hope to work very closely with cabinet, both in my capacity as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and as a representative of a constituency very much concerned about protecting our environment.

My constituents have also asked me to ensure that government remains compassionate, both nationally and internationally. During the election my constituents asked me to ensure that despite the pressure to cut back on government expenditures, a Liberal government would maintain Canada's record of compassion and continue to provide for those areas of our society which need our help.

February's budget announcement allowed me to return to my riding and show my constituents that the government, while still acting responsibly, has remained compassionate. Whether it means ensuring fair pensions for the elderly or providing opportunities for less fortunate Canadians, the government will not abandon those in need.

But compassion does not end at home. In some countries in the world freedom is not a right, it is a dream. In some countries in the world human rights abuses continue regularly unchecked. Many of my constituents come from countries which have track records of human rights abuses. They know first hand the difference between good and bad democracy. They are confident that Canada as a role model for human rights and compassionate government will not lose sight of its international responsibility as a facilitator for justice. They are confident that this country will never allow itself to be silenced by commercial interests when speaking out on human rights issues.

My constituents asked me to represent their diversity. Like Canada, my constituency has a diverse ethnic and cultural base. Many of my constituents are first generation Canadians. They have come here with their hopes and dreams and have become part of the Canadian mosaic. They offer us diversity, a diversity which I believe contributes greatly to Canada's national identity. It is our responsibility as the Government of Canada to ensure that we continue to represent our nation's diversity, that we continue to represent the constituency which we serve.

The Liberal government is proud to be working to include a truly representative cross section of Canadians. I am proud to be a part of that change.

I inherit a proud tradition in my riding of Vancouver South. Nestled between West 41st to the north, Canada's largest fishery, the Fraser River to the south, and Boundary Road to the east, my riding has had a long history of demanding a high quality of representation from their elected members. John Fraser served Vancouver South for 20 years and during that time was distinguished with being the first member of Parliament to ever be elected Speaker of the House. It is in that tradition of strong parliamentary representation that I am privileged to follow.

In conclusion, I would like to humbly thank my constituents for placing their trust in me to represent them at the federal level. My constituents have placed a tremendous challenge before me which I am proud to meet. Every long journey begins with the first step. On October 26 we took our first step on the journey toward economic prosperity for Canada. On February 22 we took another long stride.

Peacekeeping March 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, over the past 10 years I have watched the tragic situation in the occupied territories unfold. The situation in this region is both fragile and explosive. The February 25 massacre of Muslims praying in a Mosque in Hebron makes this tenuous peace initiative even more elusive.

Canada has long favoured diplomacy and negotiations to bombs and bullets. Canada has a long and internationally recognized record for its contributions toward the support of human rights and global peace. We have served in a peacekeeping capacity in the Middle East in the past. Our efforts in the Sinai in 1967 and the Golan Heights in 1973 were successful and did serve to alleviate tensions.

I believe that Canadian peacekeepers can again serve an important role in this region protecting human rights and promoting global peace.

I recommend to the hon. minister that Canada explore options which will allow it to contribute to a peaceful means to resolve this conflict and restore peace to the Middle East.

Small Business February 23rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the finance minister announced that the budget would be responsive to the needs of Canada's small business sector. Coming from a small business background myself, I could not agree more.

Payroll taxes have long been a thorn in the side of small businesses, in effect taxing job creation. The decision by the Minister of Finance to roll back the 1995 UI premium will save industry $300 million next year alone.

On behalf of the small businesses in Canada I would like to congratulate the minister on this bold and responsive initiative which we expect will significantly help job creation.

Supply February 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to the comments of the hon. member for Fraser Valley West. I have a couple of questions which have been asked before but they have not been answered in a clear, concise fashion. I would like to say that getting greater democracy in the House is always important for everyone but in a democracy one must always be pragmatic.

We want a workable government. We want a government which is practical and can work efficiently. We should always keep that in mind. I believe the example given earlier where 33,000 petitions were received makes it unworkable to continue debating petitions.

My first question concerns special interest groups. Does the hon. member feel special interest groups have an advantage in that they may have resources, financial and otherwise, to take advantage of a situation in determining the agenda of Parliament?

My other question is in terms of priority-

Criminal Code February 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for an excellent question.

Let me just say, as the hon. member said, that small businesses create 85 per cent of the new employment in Canada. If the government can create the right environment, small business will take the lead in promoting more stable economic growth in western Canada.

In the past too much reliance has been placed on using public funds to attract large corporations. This has encouraged a culture of granterpreneurship when we want to encourage entrepreneurship. We need to encourage co-operation among jurisdictions rather than competition.

In a period of fiscal restraint, the government must work more effectively with the limited dollars available. This can be done by relying on the entrepreneurial talent of westerners and by working on the entrepreneurial talent and strategic partnerships with provincial governments and the private sector.

To encourage small business that generate new jobs, the Minister of Western Economic Diversification directed on November 26 that the western diversification program focus its repayable assistance on independent small businesses, usually with less than 50 employees.

Projects are now being assessed on the basis of their contribution to the strategic diversification of the western Canadian economy.

To create the right climate for business, governments must work co-operatively and pool their efforts in implementing strategic economic initiatives. By working together and not duplicating efforts, we can save tax dollars and create new jobs.

A recent report by the Calgary based Canada West Foundation estimated that the removal of interprovincial barriers could result in the creation of 28,000 new jobs across the four western provinces.

As well, economic and administrative co-operation-I know my time is up, Mr. Speaker, but let me just conclude that there are a number of areas-