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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was justice.

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

Won his last election, in 2000, with 56% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Grand Prix October 21st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I have no knowledge of the matter raised by the hon. member, but I will do my best to determine the facts and come back with an answer.

Ethics October 21st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I must correct the facts as stated by the member.

The fact is that after I received the ethics counsellor's advice, I took no further steps to advance the interests of the Irving companies. I respected the ethics counsellor's advice.

The only document I signed in relation to the $55 million was after the decision had been made, a decision in which I played no part. There was a technical requirement the Minister of Industry had to sign to process the matter before Treasury Board. It was under those circumstances that the document was signed.

However, because that issue has been raised I have referred it to the ethics counsellor and he has been good enough to say he will consider it.

Ethics October 21st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, as I recall the circumstances, there was important work for ExxonMobil. The possibility was that it was going to be taken south to the United States, to Louisiana as I recall. Efforts were made in conjunction with the provincial government to keep that work in Canada.

Along with others, I interceded to get ExxonMobil to award those contracts to Canadian firms. Speaking up for Atlantic Canada and trying to keep the contracts here I think is fully consistent with my obligations as Minister of Industry.

Ethics October 21st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, that is the very reason why I spoke to the ethics counsellor, told him what I had done, told him about the circumstances and told him about my activities as minister after that time. As a result of what I told the ethics counsellor, I received his advice to disqualify myself from any further involvement in matters involving the Irving family. No decision had been taken in relation to their matters before that point. After that point, I disqualified myself. Decisions were made by others.

There are issues that have been raised. I have referred those to the ethics counsellor. I am grateful that I will have his advice.

Ethics October 21st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, I made full disclosure to the ethics counsellor in the circumstances that I have described, not only about the trip but about my own activities subsequent to that time. The ethics counsellor gave me advice, which I followed.

I know that issues have been raised across the way. I believe that I complied fully with the advice, but because those issues have been raised, I have directed them to Mr. Wilson. He has been kind enough to say he will look at them. I look forward to his response.

Ethics October 21st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, first of all, these matters have now been referred, at my request, to the ethics counsellor. I spoke with him on Sunday when I came back from Asia. I recognized that these issues had been raised; I am satisfied I acted properly, but I have referred them to the ethics counsellor so that he may look at them, and I am grateful that he will.

On the points raised by the member, the only document I signed in relation to the $55 million was after the decision had been made. I was not part of the decision. I disqualified myself from it. Because technically a document has to be signed to release the funds does not constitute, in my view, a breach of my obligations. The ethics counsellor will look at that as well.

Ethics October 21st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the member. The facts are not as stated. First of all, in relation to the document, the only document I signed was after the decision had been made by cabinet. The money was provided for in the budget. Treasury Board required that the Minister of Industry sign technically to get the money de-blocked, which was done.

With respect to the appointment of the man to the advisory council, that advisory council is 30 volunteers from across the country who serve without pay to give advice to the government on ship policy generally, including labour unions and manufacturers as well as shipyards. A representative of Irving was appointed but there was no pecuniary interest to the company.

Ethics October 21st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I can only speak for myself. I can say that I approached the ethics counsellor after I became Minister of Industry and when the nature of the files before me made it obvious that I should do so. I spoke to the ethics counsellor in detail about the trip. He provided me with advice, which was to get out of files where the direct interests of the Irving company were involved by decisions that might be taken. I followed that advice.

Last week questions were raised about the items raised by the Leader of the Opposition. I referred those matters to the ethics counsellor. I believe I acted within the appropriate terms of the recusal, but the ethics counsellor has agreed to review it and for that I am grateful.

Ethics October 21st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the member may be referring to the structured financing facility, which is to assist purchasers of ships who come to Canada to get ships made or to buy them to buy down the interest rate they pay. That was a program started under my predecessor. I brought to my colleagues a proposal to change that program. It was for the shipbuilding industry as a whole, not for the Irvings or any particular yard.

I believe that is within the terms of my recusal. However, again, because this issue has been raised, I have referred it to the ethics counsellor and he has been kind enough to say he would review it.

Ethics October 21st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, it is very important to know that the decision in respect of that matter was made by people other than me. I had disqualified myself. The decision was made and contained in the budget of February 18. The document at the end of May was solely for the purpose of putting the matter before Treasury Board so it could decide on releasing the funds.

The Minister of Industry is required, as a technical matter, to sign the document. I do not believe that is a conflict. I have asked the ethics counsellor to look at it. I believe that I was well within the terms of the recusal, but I have asked the ethics counsellor to look at it, and he has agreed to do so.