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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was reform.

Last in Parliament September 2002, as Liberal MP for Saint Boniface (Manitoba)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 52% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Starred Questions May 14th, 2001

On May 4, 2001, the Minister of Veterans Affairs announced an additional $34.5 million to provide full compensation for qualified Canadian Merchant Navy veterans and their surviving spouses. These funds bring the total monies for Merchant Navy veterans to $104.5 million and ensure that all successful applicants will receive 100% of their eligible payment. The majority of the second payment cheques will be in the mail by the end of May.

Canada Shipping Act, 2001 May 10th, 2001

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues for their patience. I am anxious to do this because I do not get this opportunity nearly as often as I used to in the past. It is indeed a great pleasure to be able to speak to members about Bill C-14, the Canada Shipping Act, at third reading debate.

Before I discuss the bill I acknowledge the important role that members of the House and the standing committee played during the examination of the proposed legislation. Changes to Bill C-14 would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of industry. I also acknowledge the quality of their submissions to the committee.

This bill deals mainly with the safety and promotion of a safe environment. These are major priorities for Canadians. The challenge is to maintain safety and protect the environment against a number of threats while still promoting the health and viability of the shipping industry.

Officials from the Department of Transport and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans worked closely with all interested parties to ensure that the legislation's pollution prevention provisions are modern and consistent with other domestic and international standards. The departments have also worked together to ensure that the penalties for non-compliance would be effective and reflect those imposed in other legislation.

Let me point out to the House that when ship source pollution is detected in the marine environment, Transport Canada investigates in close co-operation with Environment Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard. It is clear that industry supports the departments as they move toward a brand new Canada Shipping Act. This legislation shows that this government is committed to deliver a new statute that will benefit the marine sector.

We have also heard an outline on the provisions of this bill, the compelling reasons for it and its many strengths. Transport Canada is very proud of the consultative process that has made the legislation possible.

While industry for the most part spoke in favour of the proposed bill, several remained in opposition to the enforcement scheme. It is to this scheme that I would now like to focus members' attention.

Bill C-14 would establish a streamlined administrative enforcement scheme. It would use modern, cost-effective means to secure compliance with regulatory requirements. The Department of Transport is committed to work with its partner agencies to ensure a consistent application of the enforcement measures contained in this bill.

The administrative penalty scheme would ensure that Transport Canada has a firm statistical base by which to assess the effectiveness of its regulations and help focus its enforcement activities.

Judicial fines have also been set at amounts high enough to deter unsafe and environmentally irresponsible practices. These amounts reflect the potential harm that can result from these practices. They would ensure that penalties would not be regarded as simply the cost of doing business.

This bill is a conscious effort to hold those responsible for non-compliance liable for the consequences of their actions, including corporation heads.

Nobody should be able to avoid personal liability by hiding behind a corporation.

The proposed system contained in this bill is fair. It would provide for a more efficient and less costly alternative to the courts. It would provide for an alternative to financial sanctions through the use of assurances of compliance.

This system would be based on the successful program of administrative penalties developed in the Aeronautics Act, the Agriculture and Agri-Food Administrative Monetary Penalties Act, and the Competition Act.

This House will recall that during second reading some concerns were raised about the government's ability to protect Canada from foreign vessels that failed to comply with international standards. I want to point out that in section 227 vessels that contravene international conventions relating to safety and the environment can be denied access to Canadian waters.

I will now speak about Part 15 of the bill, which deals with amendments to the Shipping Conferences Exemption Act. Part 15 of Bill C-14 contains several pro-competitive amendments. These amendments would encourage greater competition within shipping conferences.

The amendments strike a balance between the interests of shippers and conference shipping lines and are the result of an extensive consultation period with all stakeholders.

The amendments are aimed at streamlining the implementation of the act.

In response to shippers' concerns, a motion to amend the proposed legislation on service contracts was introduced. Modifications were made to clarify the level of confidentiality in regard to the service contracts shippers negotiate and sign with individual conference lines.

The government realizes that in order to protect various Canadian interests a balanced approach is needed with regard to the legislation on conferences.

It is in Canada's interest to continue to attract foreign shipping lines while at the same time encourage affordable ocean transportation and an adequate and reliable level of service for shippers.

By adopting the amendments to SCEA, Canadian legislation pertaining to shipping conferences would be maintained on par with our trading partners.

The bill before us would bring about much needed change in Canada's marine law. It would usher in a new era in marine safety and environmental protection.

Transport Canada has consulted widely. It listened to stakeholders and made changes to accommodate their concerns. We have a bill before us that responds to many of their concerns without jeopardizing the effectiveness of the legislation.

The bill is fair, thorough and effective. It would give Canada's marine industry the legislative framework it needs to operate successfully in the 21st century.

I urge the hon. members to support Bill C-14.

Canada Shipping Act, 2001 May 10th, 2001

moved that the bill be concurred in.

Infrastructure May 8th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, a number of decisions have already been made. There will be a number of additional decisions this coming Friday.

Let us remember that the deadline for applications on the first round was February 1. Over 1,500 applications have been received from western Canada, roughly 600 of them for pure water and water disposal projects. I think that is extraordinary.

I might add that by the end of the program six years from now over $6 billion will have been spent throughout Canada, with $2 billion for western Canada.

Veterans Affairs May 7th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, with the full support of all my colleagues, including the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, I was able to announce in Winnipeg last Friday the final payment of $34.5 million to merchant mariners.

This payment is in recognition of the tremendous sacrifices they have made and of the contributions they made to the war efforts of Canada and Canada's allies. They will receive the money that is due to them, those who quality, I expect by the end of the month of May.

Infrastructure May 7th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, it is a program they were against. We had it once and will have it again. The application forms have come forward. A number of announcements have already been made.

It is too bad they are not watching what is happening. It is a top priority. We have said it time and time again. We will have a number of other announcements within the next couple of weeks.

I know the members of the opposition do not like that. They grimace, they laugh, they make fools of themselves, but that is the truth.

Veterans Affairs May 3rd, 2001

Mr. Speaker, as my colleagues know, I have worked very hard on this file in the past and continue to do so with my colleagues, including the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance. I hope to have a solution very soon. The moment I do, I will be delighted to share it with all my colleagues, and I will do so.

Veterans Affairs March 23rd, 2001

Mr. Speaker, the moment the issue was brought to my attention, I asked my department to address it.

There is clearly a problem: the Halifax survivors, those who receive pensions, are not keeping up with the cost of living. It is addressing that at this very moment. There will be an economic adjustment announced very shortly.

Veterans Affairs March 19th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, no one can give any assurance of any amount of money with respect to the merchant mariners at this point in time.

I have consistently said that once we have heard all the appeals, and we should have that information by March 31, I will go back to cabinet to see what can be done. Shortly thereafter, that is after March 31, probably within the next month, I should be able to do that.

National Defence February 19th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I am apprised that merchant mariners have made an extraordinary contribution to the country.

My colleague should recognize, and I believe that he does, that the initial request was for $50 million. That was insufficient. I was able to go back and get another $20 million. That will be insufficient as well.

I am waiting to see what the reviews will yield so that I know exactly how much I have to ask for. Until the it would not be appropriate to make a request because we do not have a specific amount, but the government and I want to be as accommodating as possible.