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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was debate.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Conservative MP for Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Aldershot (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply February 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to move the debate away from individuals and into the theoretical if I may do so. I am a historian by avocation. One of the things I have observed in my reading is that dictatorships as in the cases of Hitler and Mussolini are always founded in support from the people, usually massive support. Once dictatorships have captured the imagination of the people that tremendous support is used to implement things that are contrary to democracy.

When it comes to something like this petition I see a danger when there is a very popular government. Would the hon. member for Beaver River be afraid that a government could take advantage of its popularity, get a petition and get rid of the dissenters thereby getting rid of the very people we would want to have in a democracy.

Royal Bank February 18th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, today the Royal Bank branch in the village of Lynden in my riding is closing its doors after 92 years of continuous operation. It is a move that will seriously affect the small businesses in the community, for the branch draws hundreds of people every week from the surrounding farms.

Royal Bank officials have admitted that the branch is profitable. Their decision to close was based on what they said was poor growth potential in the area.

They have turned a deaf ear to petitions, protest marches, extensive coverage in the local media and letters to both the bank chairman and president. They have insisted that bank customers remove themselves to a new drive-in branch in the city of Brantford.

It is ironic that this government yesterday declared a moratorium on closing rural post offices in order to preserve rural communities.

The Royal Bank received its original mandate, its charter, from the people of Canada. It is a pity that now it chooses no longer to listen to them.

Income Tax Act February 9th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I have been following this debate and I do not quite understand what the reply was. Perhaps I can define the question again or take a third try at it.

I would like the hon. member to tell me whether the Reform Party is for or against closing tax loopholes. Does he feel that the closing of tax loopholes is a broadening or an addition to the taxes?

House Of Commons February 4th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to express my deep satisfaction with the debates that have taken place here over the past two weeks.

We MPs on all sides of this House represent the people who elected us. The various points of view have helped me to better understand this great country.

I especially congratulate my hon. colleagues across the floor, the Bloc and the Reform. They have spoken with conviction and passion. I doubt if there is a country in the world that would permit such a free exchange of ideas, ideas sometimes that call into question the very fabric of this nation.

We have heard here and felt the strength that is Canada. We do not pay lip service to freedom of speech, we live it. We should be the envy of the world.

Social Security System February 3rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed very much the remarks of the hon. member. I want to make one observation.

I believe that education is within provincial jurisdiction in Canada. I would have thought to some degree the problems in education that pertain to illiteracy and difficulties in reading have to do with the quality of instruction at the provincial level whether it be in Quebec, Ontario or any other province.

Therefore I ask the hon. member if he supports national standards in education as a way to confront this problem?

Cigarette Taxes February 3rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have come across unusual evidence that ordinary Canadians no longer support high taxation as a means of limiting the consumption of cigarettes. I refer to the annual report of the Non-Smokers' Rights Association which indicates an 80 per cent decline in membership between 1992 and 1993.

Public support has so faltered for this anti-smoking lobby and its affiliate, the Smoking and Health Action Foundation, that four-fifths of their annual income of some $717,000 comes from direct provincial and federal grants.

This group in urging that high taxes be retained on cigarettes despite the deluge of contraband across our borders is not speaking to the media for a significant number of members nor for the majority of Canadians.

Social Security System February 3rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I do not think we are beginning the reform on the backs of the disadvantaged. The direction of my speech was to ask that those who are able to take care of themselves should look after themselves and raise their own money. I think that applies right across the board. Those who are not in need need not be helped but we have to help those who are in need.

Social Security System February 3rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I think I can answer that very simply. Slash and burn is when the cutting of social programs leads only with the mind, only with head, and forgets the heart. We must remember the heart.

Social Security System February 3rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I guess my speech was not as good as I thought. Obviously a point has been missed here.

I did not mean to suggest there is something wrong with the method of Bloc fund raising. I meant to suggest that all political parties should receive support from the people, from their constituents, not from government. We would have a very incestuous relationship if the Liberal government were to be financing the Bloc at this time or the Parti Quebecois.

I must add further that the choice of the word separatism as opposed to sovereignty was a deliberate choice on my part. I actually did consider that very carefully because I am aware of the distinction and the distinction in the eyes of the Bloc, but I have to say that most Canadians they see the separatism rather than sovereignty. I am sorry.

Social Security System February 3rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, we have heard many fine suggestions from all sides of the House during this debate and I would like, if I may, to approach the matter from a slightly different angle.

We have been told many times and it has been expressed in many different ways that now is the hour of revision. We must examine the old ways and find new ones if we are to live within our means and still provide for the needy in society. We can never abandon those who need help. We must reduce our spending while preserving those social programs that have made Canada the envy of the world.

I do not believe we have to slash and burn. I believe we can retain the essentials right across the board if we define a new understanding between government and many of the special interest organizations that receive public funds. If those who can

take less were to do so there would be more for government to give where the need is greatest.

I have the opportunity to examine the published public accounts between 1991 and 1993. I have been singularly impressed by the way in which previous governments have financially supported all manner of worthy organizations, especially those specifically constituted to promoting specific causes such as organizations to preserve French outside Quebec, organizations to preserve English in Quebec, to further labour education, to raise the profile of women, to argue the dangers of smoking, to advance the cause of day care, to preserve minority cultures. The list is long for the worthy causes are many.

The difficulty is that most of these organizations rely on the federal government for funding, $50,000 here, $20,000 there, $30,000 here, $40,000 there. The money spent viewed across many ministries runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Let me give some examples. Understand that in doing so, I do not mean to disparage the organizations mentioned. All have valid messages. All have enormous commitment. All have hundreds, thousands, even millions of supporters.

Last year the Canadian Labour Congress received $4 million to further labour education. Other labour union groups received an additional $3 million for the same purpose. Meanwhile, to be entirely fair, the national headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce received $1.6 million. In every instance it is a lot of money. The point is the CLC, the other unions and the Chamber of Commerce have large paying memberships which believe in what these organizations stand for. It cannot but strike one as odd that the taxpayer is also supporting them.

The National Action Committee for the Status of Women also has incredible support, millions of supporters. It receives $300,000 in federal money with another $700,000 going to regional and provincial affiliates. This too is a lot of money. By way of contrast, the Girl Guides of Canada received $15,000, one of the lowest awards of hundreds.

Another example is the Smoking and Health Action Foundation, one of the most prominent anti-smoking lobbies in Canada, received $415,000 in federal and provincial grants. It received nothing from members. It did, however, pay $400,821 in salary and benefits to its eight full-time staff members. It is a generous employer.

My question is if an organization has broad grass roots support why does it not rely on that support financially? Why does it not appeal to the people who share its ideals to give a dime or a dollar?

The girl guides sell cookies, churches pass plates, political parties have fund raising barbecues and dinners. It would be a scandal for sure if the hon. members of the Bloc required federal money to finance their agenda of separatism. Are they any less idealistic, less motivated than the many other advocacy and special interest organizations that now receive public money?

There are hundreds of organizations, large and small, taking from the taxpayer when they could be, possibly they should be, raising all the money they need by themselves. My challenge to these organizations is turn your back on government funding. Prove to Canadians that your issues are so strong, so vital that like-minded people will get behind all your programs and they will spare that dime, they will spare that dollar.

The reality of today is government's cannot afford to finance organizations that should be able to finance themselves. We must spend on those individuals who are most in need, those who do not fall into some convenient catch word, those who are without strong voices and yet who are crying for help, the poor or the young, the tens of thousands under the age of 25 who are without jobs and with no prospects. We need to save money to save them.