House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was water.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Davenport (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 67% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Foreign Affairs January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the hon. member for Témiscamingue for his question. My impression is that Canada already plays a good role, a major role as a nation 27 million strong which is highly respected around the world. I think that the Liberal government will do a good job representing the aspirations and hopes for peace that all Canadians share from coast to coast.

Foreign Affairs January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am not an expert in military logistics and expenditures. I am only a politician. I thank the hon. member for Richelieu for his question, but I am not in a position to add anything to what I said before.

Foreign Affairs January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, as you will probably know, Bosnia was a beautiful part of the world, rich with culture, endowed with natural resources, producer of excellent wines, abundant with historical sights, the meeting place of Christian and Muslim architecture where minarets and church towers punctuated the skyline of cities, towns and villages.

Today that Bosnia no longer exists. Its civilian population lives in terror, famine and mourning.

Today in this Chamber we have been asked by the government to think about Canada's role as a peacekeeper and in particular about Canada's role in Bosnia. Here are my thoughts on our role in Bosnia.

It seems to me that the Government of Canada should continue the role of our armed forces in Bosnia while continuing to press for a political solution in Geneva.

Why do I say that? I say it for a number of reasons. Canadian troops in Bosnia these days are providing humanitarian relief. They are offering the most civilized role any military force can provide. They are ensuring survival and life protection, quite in contrast with the conventional role played by the military throughout centuries.

The withdrawal of our Canadian troops from Bosnia would mean in essence abandoning the civilian population to its fate of starvation and possibly death. Our withdrawal would mean that other nations whose troops are part of the United Nations effort in the former Yugoslavia may follow our example if we were to withdraw. Women, children and the elderly would run the risk of being wiped out or becoming another wave of refugees seeking a homeland elsewhere. Withdrawal would mean creating a crisis in adjacent regions. International security could be put in serious danger in the Balkans.

From the relatively contained problem in Bosnia, the danger of spreading is high with very serious security implications and even the possibility of laying the foundations for another world

war conflict. The withdrawal would mean a victory for the bullies who are pursuing the policy of ethnic cleansing, an abhorrent, barbaric, repulsive, blood-chilling concept which the world community must continue to reject and deplore vigorously.

All Canadians abhor the notion of ethnic cleansing. We are strong believers in human rights. We promote human rights at home and abroad at every international forum. In Bosnia the human rights of people who have lived there for centuries have been trampled upon. The Government of Canada should not lead Canada into a retreat but rather continue to protect innocent people in Bosnia through the United Nations and with the help of like-minded nations also involved there.

These are the reasons why I would sincerely hope that the Government of Canada will continue maintaining its present role, the fine and unique role that our troops are performing these days in certain parts of Bosnia.

During this debate a number of arguments have been advanced in favour of withdrawal. I will mention a few but they are not very compelling. Some have said: "Oh well, this is a civil war. There is no reason for any of us to be there". This is an ethnic war. Bosnia as a state, as a cohesive society, hardly exists any more.

Then there are those who have said that the situation has reached a point where air attacks are the only answer. However, what happens after the air strike? What does the world community do after it has bombed? Has that been thought through as to the consequences of such a measure which basically would affect the civilian population? We are not talking here of large armies concentrated in visible and easily targeted points. We are talking about very interspersed forces that are very difficult to focus on and reach.

There are also those who have said that this is too large a financial burden. Well, can you imagine Canada saying to the world community, to France, the United Kingdom, the Scandinavians, the Netherlands and others, that we find this role too expensive for Canada, a nation with the reputation that we have of wealth, abundance and the capacity to be generously available to the world community? What a sham that would be.

There are those who have said that we should withdraw our troops from Croatia for six months. What would happen to the Bosnian population during those six months? Has that question been explored?

Then there are those who have said there is no peace to keep.

Evidently that is a point that one has to take into account because we are not at that point yet. Therefore the answer is true. There is no peace to keep at the present time, but there are tens of thousands of lives that can be saved. I rest my case on those considerations.

Foreign Affairs January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in congratulating the hon. member for Red Deer for his candid analysis I would like to ask him if it would be fair to conclude that he favours Canadian troops remaining in Bosnia? If that is so, does his view represent the position of his party or is the position of his party the one articulated earlier by the member for Saanich-Gulf Islands?

Health January 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that there is considerable interest among Canadians about the report of the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies, entitled "Proceed with Care", published last November, and in view of the fact that several European Parliaments have already passed legislation on this subject, my question, which is either for the Minister of Health or for the Minister of Justice, is the following: could the responsible minister indicate whether she or he intends to introduce a bill on reproductive technologies and if so, when? Does she or he plan intensive consultation with interested Canadians and other levels of government?

Carbon Dioxide Reduction January 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on page 70 of the red book you will find: "A Liberal government will work with provincial and urban governments to improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energies with the aim of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent from 1988 levels by the year 2005".

We made this firm commitment in the last election. If we are to reduce carbon dioxide emissions we will have to marshall all available technology, the goodwill of all levels of government and the co-operation of industry, business and Canadians at large.

Canada has to pull its weight in the international community. The reduction of carbon dioxide is a concern of the international community. The Government of Canada has a big task to perform. Time is of the essence.

Speech From The Throne January 20th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on the measure introduced by the Conservative Party in the latter part of the 34th Parliament, the RRSP program has been distorted to such an extent that it provides a considerable tax advantage to high income Canadians and provides no advantage at all to Canadians in the lower income brackets. I therefore urge that this distortion be removed and that the loss in tax revenue be restored to the advantage of the overall revenue of the federal exchequer.

As to old age security, I believe that society is best served by a system in which we all contribute and where on reaching retirement age we all share in receiving the pension we have contributed to. In the case of the old age security to which we do not contribute directly, it is my belief that it should be redistributed to all Canadians equally regardless of income.

Speech From The Throne January 20th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the question is very interesting but also very complex. It should be asked to the responsible minister during Oral Question Period. I urge the hon. member to do just that in order to get an answer which I cannot provide in the time allotted to me. Generally speaking, my answer is the same as the one I already gave to the member for Québec-Est. The Minister of Finance's budget will provide a more detailed answer to that question.

Speech From The Throne January 20th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his remarks and his question. I am confident that the answer to his question will be known when the minister of Finance tables his budget, and also that Canada's economic policy will give hope to young Canadians looking for work. As many of you are aware, we have launched a municipal infrastructure program which, I hope, will give young people as well as all unemployed workers, regardless of their age, an opportunity to find jobs.

As was mentioned in the Throne Speech, the Secretary of State responsible for Training and Youth is in the process of creating a Youth Service Corps, patterned on the former pro-

gram set up and supported by senator Hébert, which was well received by Canadians across the country. I am referring to the Katimavik program. I hope that this global initiative will give young Canadians an opportunity to find work.

Obviously, we hope that the policy of our government and our party will adequately meet the social and economic aspirations of all the members in this House.

Forests January 20th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, over time forests have been reduced from 34 per cent to 12 per cent of the world's land mass. In much of the world deforestation continues causing soil loss, land slides, shortages of water, damage to fish and wildlife. Forests provide habitat for biodiversity and absorb carbon dioxide. Life on the planet is threatened when forests are threatened.

However, the world community increasingly recognizes the value of forests. Forests must be given high priority on the international agenda, both politically and scientifically. The proposed royal commission on forests and sustainable development patterned on the Brundtland commission would be a good first step. Unfortunately, in Rio in 1992 the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development issued a weak statement.

Therefore I urge this government to lead like-minded nations toward the establishment of an international forest commission. Such a commission would report on how to sustain forest biodiversity, ensure environmentally sustainable forest management and protect social-ecological systems.