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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was forward.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Progressive Conservative MP for Brandon—Souris (Manitoba)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Fisheries October 28th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the minister is aware that the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation is prepared to retain Mr. Dunn who is the current CEO, in effect have two CEOs. Mr. Dunn will do the real work. Mr. Fewchuk will probably bait hooks.

Is the minister prepared to pay for Mr. Fewchuk's patronage salary out of his department's budget and not out of the fishermen's and get them off the hook?

Fisheries October 28th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

It seems that the federal government is not simply content with destroying the east coast and west coast fisheries, but now it wants to destroy a fishery that is actually working, and I speak of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation.

In a recent announcement, the minister appointed Ron Fewchuk as president and general manager of the corporation, a position I might add that pays up to $103,000 a year.

What qualifications does Mr. Fewchuk have other than being an ex-Liberal MP? Did the minister consult with the board chairman, the board and in fact—

Canada Co-Operatives Act October 22nd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I can honestly say that I have had very little if any opposition to this legislation coming from small or large co-operatives.

One area where I did have some concern with was how the private sector would deal with the legislation. I have made inquiries and quite frankly the private sector is not opposed to the co-operative legislation.

Canada Co-Operatives Act October 22nd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I met with the executive of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool on a number of occasions. It has a number of subsidiary companies, one which is referred to as AgPro which has a number of retail enterprises developed into its whole co-operative structure.

This is exactly what I spoke about, allowing co-operatives to compete in the global economy and in the economy that we have developed today in this great country of ours. The Saskatchewan Wheat Pool has gone public. It has sold shares. They are non-voting shares. It is allowed.

I talked about dissenting rights. They have in the province of Saskatchewan dissenting rights. Those members of the co-operative who do not wish to be part of that co-operative based on a share structure can with their equity get out of that particular corporation.

That did not happen, quite frankly, because the members of that co-operative found that the direction they were heading in with the share offering they made was quite successful. The dollars generated from that share offering were used to capitalize the co-operative to compete further against other member co-operatives, the Manitoba and Alberta pools, as well as the private sector. They were able to put up sufficient assets to compete with the private sector. So it has been very positive for them.

This legislation will allow the same thing to happen with any co-operative if it wishes to take that step.

Canada Co-Operatives Act October 22nd, 1997

Thanks. No, we do not use names here. We use only the member for Saint John. I am learning, Mr. Speaker.

The principles of the 1970 Canada Cooperatives Association Act were based on provincial legislation dating back to the early 20th century. While the provinces have been constantly updating their co-operative acts, as provinces normally are ahead of the federal government, it is about time the federal government caught up.

I commented and complimented the government on bringing this legislation forward and I continue to do so, but I should also say that it was done through the co-operation of the Canadian Cooperatives Association. It was the co-operatives themselves who wanted to bring forward legislation that was going to allow them to compete.

I think it rather interesting and rather appropriate that national co-op week was held October 12 to October 18. Members were not in the House during that period, which is unfortunate. The theme of national co-op week this year was co-operation now more than ever. I believe sincerely that theme in itself speaks also to the legislation.

The legislation allows a number of things. First and foremost, it allows the ability to capitalize in a different fashion from what they have been allowed to do in the past. They now have the ability to go public, to sell shares in corporations, which they never had before. It allows them to capitalize so they can expand and put more assets back into the co-operative.

The legislation requires two-thirds or more of the membership to make changes to a co-operative. That is very important. You must be flexible in today's global economy to be able to deal with the issues that are going to face the co-operatives not only now but in the future.

There is one minor issue that we will be able to discuss at committee, members' dissenting rights. I will not get into the detail now but there are some obvious issues that have to be dealt with in terms of dissenting rights. The question is not whether members should have the ability to dissent, because they should. They are members of a co-operative and have every right to do so. The legislation speaks to a timeframe, and that timeframe is a period of five years to pay out dissenters of their equity in the co-op.

A lot of co-ops want to merge, which they did not have the ability to do under the old legislation. Now I am sure they would like to in order to compete with the major corporate structure. In dissenting rights I think timeframe has to be dealt with. It has to be talked out in committee and perhaps an extension of the timeframe could be arranged. Instead of five years perhaps there could be an extension of years so co-ops will not be dealt with adversely if they have dissenters.

The bill attempts to balance member rights with corporate directorate. It also allows the directors now on the co-ops to have a 20% non-membership make-up, which again is very important to bring in new ideas, new people and new capital to the co-op systems.

It provides for alternate dispute resolution assistance from the federal government with regard to grievances between co-operatives and their members. Again, it is very positive to have that dispute settling mechanism.

Bill C-5 makes changes to the rules governing a corporation. It permits co-operatives to incorporate provided they operate on a co-operative basis, again very positive.

Bill C-5 introduced the concept of natural persons when describing co-operatives. As a result they are awarded the same rights and privileges as natural persons. This is instead of detailing the various rights, powers, privileges individually. It also is in keeping with the same rights now awarded to business corporations and mirrors the powers some province already offer co-operatives, a harmonization of legislation from provinces to the federal government.

Bill C-5 makes changes to the rules governing the issue of shares, which is very important. The conditions of issuing membership shares are set out in the corporation charter. Bill C-5 will permit co-operatives with share capital to issue investment shares to their members and to the public. This is provided the members have agreed to do so and have set out the rules in the charter bylaws. Traditionally co-ops have looked only to their members to finance their operations. This is probably the most important aspect of the legislation that has been put forward. It is very positive.

The government along with the Canadian Cooperatives Association has put forward an excellent piece of legislation. It is important that we do allow co-operatives, people working with people in order to make it better for co-operatives, to compete in today's global economy and global society.

When I arrived here I wanted to be positive about positive legislation. I did not talk about CPP or OAS. I do not plan on doing that right now. I congratulate the government. We will be supporting this piece of legislation. Not only does it help co-operatives but it helps Canadians where they live and where they work.

Canada Co-Operatives Act October 22nd, 1997

The principles of the 1970 Canada—

Canada Co-Operatives Act October 22nd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your recognizing me to speak as my colleague has shared his time. I have 10 minutes, although I would like to hear the hon. member from across the way. I am sure I can stay in the House and hear his words of wisdom.

I hope my colleague will not ask as many questions of me as she did of my colleague from St. John's West.

When I was first elected, not that many months ago, I said that when good legislation was put forward by the government I would make sure that I congratulated them and that I would speak positively on positive legislation. Coming from Manitoba and western Canada, the birth place of co-operatives, I stand today to say that this legislation is very positive.

Wherever I walk in my community or in my constituency I constantly see examples of co-operatives, whether they are agricultural co-operatives, housing co-operatives or a media co-op which has been developed within the constituency of Brandon—Souris. Being the birth place of co-ops, I appreciate that legislation from the 1970s is being updated to the 1990s and into the 21st century so that co-operatives can compete in a very competitive age that we have currently with the private sector.

I should also say that I will not stray, as has been mentioned earlier. I am not prepared to stand up here and talk about issues such as Stornoway or hypocrisy or things of that nature. I would like to speak to the very positive nature of the legislation put forward, as did my colleague from St. John's West.

As we all recognize, co-operatives really are the grassroots of industry and commerce. It started in western Canada in the late 1880s and in fact was put forward because individuals wanted to work together. They wanted to, as the name suggests, co-operate with one another, put their resources, assets and abilities together so that they could, in a non-profit way, make sure that they had opportunities to compete with the private sector.

By the late 1800s, the farmers were the ones who wished to make sure that they took up this opportunity in agriculture. In the FP-500 ranking in 1995, the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool does $2.7 billion worth of business in western Canada. The Alberta Wheat Pool does $1.5 billion worth of business. The Manitoba Pool Elevators does $744 million. These are 1995 figures. I can assure members that the numbers are much larger in 1997 numbers, to the point where the Manitoba Pool Elevators have shown a record profit. When I use the term profit, it is profit that goes back to the owners of that particular co-operative which in fact are the members of that co-operative.

I can also say that we have, by example, in western Canada one of the co-operatives that is vying constantly for first place with that of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and that is the Federated Co-operatives. They are a wholesaler. They make sure that they supply retail to these other co-operatives and are extremely successful.

We also have co-operatives, as my hon. colleague has said, in the Atlantic provinces. They have the Co-op Atlantic. I have to say that simply because I sit beside the hon. member for Saint John.

Income Tax Conventions Implementation Act, 1997 October 20th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I am duly impressed with the member's foresight, with his all encompassing knowledge and with his understanding of the situation.

His party was in the House during 1995 when the original legislation was passed. With such foresight, with such vision, with such crystal ball gazing, where was the hon. member when the original legislation was put through the House?

Income Tax Conventions Implementation Act, 1997 October 20th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative Party has always been a conservative party and will always be a conservative party. Certainly it is recognized by a great number of people in this country as being a national alternative as opposed to a regional party.

The Conservative Party realizes that there are inefficiencies within government. Those inefficiencies could be cut and save dollars in certain areas. Perhaps things like fences around Stornoway need not be developed. Those dollars could go into areas such as health care and education.

Bill C-10 speaks to an inordinate amount of taxation to the wrong sector of our society. We will continue to oppose any types of tax increases of this nature. In fact, we have suggested quite frequently that tax decreases are the way the government should be heading. We should be giving dollars back into the pockets of those people who pay.

We are in favour of decreases in taxes. We believe in efficiencies. I am sure there are other parties in the House who do not believe in the same efficiencies as is proven by some extravagant expenditures in the past. I am sure that some of those dollars could be put into the programs that Canadians really want: health care and education.

Income Tax Conventions Implementation Act, 1997 October 20th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member confuses a lot of issues. The question during question period was with respect to transfer payments to provinces. Even though the transfer payments have been decreased and the budget is balanced we still do not have sufficient funding to go into the health care system. If we wish to talk about health care, I can do that. But this is Bill C-10.

Quite frankly, the revenues that are generated by this legislation are not sufficient to cover off the $250 million that has been a shortfall in Manitoba since 1994 for health care services as well as for shortfalls in other jurisdictions. Seven out of ten provinces have had shortfalls in their transfer payments from the 1994-95 budget period up until today. There are ways of coming up with efficiencies and finding other revenues which can be forwarded to the health care system. It does not speak to Bill C-10. I believe that this legislation must stand on its own.