Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was horse.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as Liberal MP for Lanark—Carleton (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2000, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

International Day Of Disabled Persons December 3rd, 1999

Mr. Speaker, today marks the seventh anniversary of the United Nations International Day of Disabled Persons. This day provides an opportunity to recognize the many accomplishments of Canadians with disabilities and to reflect on the contributions they make to society every day.

In 1998, the Prime Minister accepted the Franklin Delano Roosevelt International Disability Award in recognition of the Government of Canada's efforts toward enabling people with disabilities to achieve equality.

To mark this day, various federal departments have formed partnerships with agencies and representatives of people with disabilities. Today's celebration at the headquarters of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton includes the presentation of several community awards and features displays to increase public awareness of programs and assistance available to people with disabilities.

I encourage all hon. members to support persons with disabilities as the various levels of government work with the private sector to encourage equality in the workplace and in society.

Committees Of The House November 5th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the first report of the Standing Committee on Industry concerning its order of reference from the House of Commons of Tuesday, November 2, 1999, in relation to Bill C-4, an act to implement the agreement among the Government of Canada, Governments of Member States of the European Space Agency, the Government of Japan, the Government of the Russian Federation, and the Government of the United States of America concerning co-operation on the civil international space station and to make related amendments to other acts.

The committee reports the bill with one amendment.

Supply November 4th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to take part in the debate on the NDP motion. I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Perth—Middlesex.

I would like to talk about the level of consultation that has been held between the Government of Canada and various groups, such as that which has become known as the civil society and many other non-governmental organizations.

As Canada prepares to head into multilateral trade negotiations and as it continues regional trade negotiations for the FTAA, the Government of Canada has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to seek the views of Canadians on the scope, content and process of these negotiations. Indeed it has just completed the most comprehensive consultation ever undertaken on this topic in Canada. We intend to continue this dialogue throughout the course of these trade negotiations.

Before describing to the House the extent of these consultations, I would like to emphasize that, from an international perspective, Canada is on the cutting edge of public consultations where trade negotiations are concerned.

In international fora it is clear to other countries that we are very informed about the wide variety of views which exist in Canada concerning the international trade negotiating agenda and that we are being very aggressive in taking every opportunity to listen and respond to public concerns about this agenda. I am proud to state that these consultations represent Canadian democracy in action, a democracy that is dynamic and effective.

The Government of Canada has pursued consultations in a wide variety of ways. We have sought public submissions on trade policy issues through a Canada


notice and opened a new trade negotiations website to provide information and papers on the trade agenda. We are also using this site as a location for reporting on our consultations with Canadians. This strategy has put us at the forefront of using new information technology to communicate with Canadians and we are extremely pleased to be deepening our connection with Canadians in this new medium.

The Minister for International Trade asked the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade to undertake cross-country hearings to elicit public comments and views on trade issues. The committee produced a very comprehensive and informative report. The government will be formally tabling its response to the report on November 15.

We have also continued to consult with the business sector to identify our trading priorities. This consultation is taking place through the sectoral advisory groups on international trade. We are working very closely with the provinces in developing our trade negotiating positions.

We are very pleased that seven provincial trade ministers will accompany the Canadian government to the WTO ministerial meeting in December. Furthermore, we have conducted 26 separate consultation sessions on the issues of government procurement, investment and competition policy. These consultations, organized in close co-operation with provincial government trade representatives and senior trade commissioners in each region, attracted more than 300 participants across Canada from a total of 1,040 invitations.

These sessions met the government's objectives to build constructive links to and promote a dialogue with representatives of civil society on trade and investment related issues across Canada; to bring to the discussions a broad spectrum of stakeholders representing environmental, human rights and labour interests, as well as members of the business community; and to advance further substantive discussions with these stakeholders to ensure that Canadians' priorities and interests on these issues are reflected in the new round of WTO negotiations.

It was clear from these consultations that there exist differing levels of expertise on trade and investment issues represented among stakeholders. However, regardless of their level of knowledge, participants emphasized a need for continued, direct exchanges with expert stakeholders, and particularly with representatives of the federal government. We are committed to providing this contact and to ensuring that the process whereby our negotiating position is developed is as transparent as it can possibly be.

Consequently, in the next stage of our consultations leading up to the Seattle ministerial meeting the government will continue to work to expand productive working relationships with civil society stakeholders, develop focused and responsive public information and outreach activities to broaden these contacts, respond to the anticipated increase in stakeholder requests for information on the government's position on trade and investment, and lay the foundation for deeper and more strategic involvement of knowledgeable stakeholder groups that have the capacity and the credibility to champion federal consultation initiatives on trade and investment issues within their respective communities following Seattle.

The effectiveness of our consultations with Canadians can be measured in terms of the enunciation of Canada's overall negotiating objectives and priorities. We want to ensure that the lives of Canadians are improved through better access to global markets and through predictable and enforceable rules governing trade. We also want to ensure that these rules help protect the fabric of Canadian society and fundamental Canadian interests.

I believe that the extensive and ongoing consultation process that I have just described contributes very positively to these overall negotiating objectives and priorities.

Agriculture October 29th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board.

Yesterday many of us met with a high level delegation from Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It laid the blame for the current farm income crisis on the subsidies and trade distorting export policies of the European Union and the United States of America.

What action has the minister taken to address this ongoing, unfair and devastating situation?

Speech From The Throne October 18th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, not at all. It is important to remember that until 1993 the country existed without the law my hon. colleague is referring to. The law was rushed through during the Kim Campbell government just before the 1993 election. We have to keep that in mind as we look at this issue.

As well, it is important to remember that any exploitation of children and the production and distribution of child pornography is still illegal.

I am concerned that the law may have been carelessly drafted. Apparently it is possible that if somebody has written something themselves and maintains it in their possession and it can be defined as pornographic, then they can be charged. That is not the sort of thing we are worried about in the House.

I was one of those who very early on called for the Prime Minister to address the problem created by that judicial decision in British Columbia.

I have been quite willing, though, to wait for the courts to look at it. If the problem is not resolved by the courts, I think the House should look at redrafting the legislation to make sure it is ironclad that the possession of child pornography remains a crime throughout Canada.

Speech From The Throne October 18th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, it is important to remember that these problems did not spring up overnight.

If we look at the history of research and development expenditures in Canada, they have languished at the low end of the G-7 for many years. That is largely because of the branch plant economy we had in Canada. The brain drain problem is partly related to taxes. It is a very important component and I am pleased it is going to be addressed.

The hon. member referred to trade. It is important to look at the team Canada initiative of the Prime Minister. It has been quite effective in stimulating increased trade abroad. A lot people ridicule these trips abroad as junkets that do not accomplish anything. The fact is for years businesses have been asking ministers—

Speech From The Throne October 18th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Etobicoke—Lakeshore.

I congratulate Her Excellency the Governor General on both her appointment and inspirational address which she delivered on the occasion of her installation. Those of use who were privileged to witness that event were, I believe without exception, moved by her thoughtful and powerful address.

I compliment the hon. members for Windsor—St. Clair and Laval West on their eloquent remarks in moving and seconding the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

It is traditional that participants in this debate describe and praise the unique character of their constituencies. I have always felt particularly fortunate to represent Lanark—Carleton in the House of Commons. It encompasses one of Canada's major high technology clusters centred in but not restricted to the city of Kanata. It has a large rural area which includes much of Kanata and extends through West Carleton township in the county of Lanark, officially the maple syrup capital of Ontario.

In its towns and dotted throughout its landscape are numerous substantial and handsome stone homes and public buildings, a legacy of the Scottish stonemasons who were among the settlers who arrived in the last century. The people of Lanark—Carleton are very aware and proud of their heritage. At the same time, explosive growth of Kanata driven by successful high tech companies and entrepreneurs has added a dynamic sense of energy, pride and optimism to that historic and beautiful part of Canada.

Coupled with pride in its heritage is a sincere and energetic concern for the environment. One does not have to travel far to be close to nature. The increased pressure on water resources for industrial and recreational use has led to real concern in particular within the farming community.

The spirit of co-operation that exists among those seeking solutions in an era of diminished financial resources is reason to be hopeful. However, I believe there is widespread public support for moving environmental issues back near the top of the agenda for all levels of government. I was pleased that the Speech from the Throne committed the federal government to addressing the management of toxic substances, increasing protection for endangered species and strengthening our capacity to perform environmental research.

I have mentioned the contribution of high technology to my riding. Its importance cannot be overstated. I was pleased therefore to see that the government recognizes the interrelated role of so many factors that allow high tech companies to flourish.

There has been an ongoing debate about the brain drain. Despite the clash of statistical and anecdotal evidence, I am on the side of those who see this as a serious issue. The success or failure of any business depends on the quality of its management and the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm of its employees. Very simple rules of human behaviour govern the response of individuals and therefore companies to both threats and opportunities.

We live in a era when changes to global trade rules and patterns have subjected business to unprecedented competition. Companies that once hid behind high tariff walls disappeared as those walls crumbled.

The ability and willingness of governments to prop up or bail out non-competitive firms has eroded. There is also little public appetite for government grants to business. Governments do though have the ability to create the conditions and environment that will encourage companies to take risks and encourage individuals to be entrepreneurs.

One aspect of that is the burden of taxation, both personal and corporate. Taxes in Canada are high both historically and in comparison with our neighbour and major trading partner, the United States. However, the relatively recent and sustained campaign in favour of major tax cuts demonstrates just how short term some people's memories can be.

This government inherited a $42 billion deficit when it took office in 1993. Canadians enthusiastically supported the Minister of Finance as he brought in budget after budget that moved us steadily toward the surplus position we now enjoy. Prudence was the watchword. There was always the recognition that economic growth could stall. We were not prepared to achieve a budgetary surplus only to be thrown into a deficit situation by a future economic downturn.

Tax cutting has begun. Measures from the last three budgets will mean 600,000 low income Canadians will no longer pay federal income tax. The current clamour for tax cuts comes from those in the top tax bracket. That is understandable and the fact is one does not have to earn an enormous salary to be in that bracket, which brings me back to the brain drain.

Canada depends on successful business people to create jobs for other Canadians. We cannot afford to lose highly educated, highly skilled and highly mobile people. The disparity in income tax levels between Canada and the United States has been a significant factor for high tech companies in my riding that need to attract and keep skilled employees.

My message to both employers and employees is simple: your patience is about to be rewarded. I will quote from the throne speech:

Tax reduction is a key component of a strategy to increase individual incomes and to ensure an economy that produces the growth and wealth which enable those public and private investments necessary for a high quality of life. In its next budget the government will set out a multi-year plan for further tax reduction.

I included that quotation because many media reports suggested the speech gave little importance to lower taxes. The message is clear and the details will be spelled out in the February budget.

This session of parliament appears to be built around the theme of “Canada, the place to be in the 21st century”. I applaud the idea. It reminds me of a suggestion made by Dr. Howard Alper, vice-rector of research at the University of Ottawa. While considering the Canadian scientific diaspora, those top scientists and academics who are now abroad, Dr. Alper suggested a rediscover Canada program. Canada can only benefit by having many of its finest researchers available to, in particular, graduate students.

I was excited therefore to hear of the government's decision to fund a program known as the 21st century chairs for research excellence. The federal granting councils already play a very significant role in funding university research. They will now be responsible for enabling the establishment of 1,200 new chairs for research excellence in universities across the country. The objective is to have a total of 2,000 chairs as soon as possible.

That is the kind of bold leadership required if Canada is to be known as the country that celebrates excellence. I would extend that idea, though not the model, to other areas of human endeavour.

There has been a recent and overdue recognition of the need to celebrate our national heroes. Fellow Canadians who are successful on the world stage make us feel good about ourselves and serve as role models for others.

An obvious area is amateur athletics. In this era of multimillionaire professional athletes, to whom few of us can relate, we should remember the pride we always feel when our Olympic athletes perform well. At a time when study after study raises the alarm about how physically inactive our children are, we should look for ways to encourage amateur athletics. That will also require an investment in developing top quality coaches.

Along with celebrating excellence we should be known as a country that welcomes and supports creative minds. That means Canada is the place to be for artists, among others. One has only to look at the excitement created by Pinchas Zucherman becoming music director of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Often relatively small incremental costs mean the difference between experiencing the merely competent and the truly outstanding.

Many small steps can lead to a better country. One example is the annual Prime Minister's awards for teaching excellence. Another is the Governor General's award for caring Canadians. It is important to recognize and highlight the achievements of unsung heroes.

One group of heroes we can never properly thank is our war veterans. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to never experience war can have no real idea of what it was like. The reality that over 100,000 very young Canadians died on foreign soil in defence of their country can be acknowledged every November 11. But the enormity of the sacrifice and the loss and grief experienced by so many families rarely invades our own consciousness.

We became a country in the eyes of the world thanks to battles like Vimy Ridge. To recognize and celebrate the lives of those who died for Canada is not to celebrate war. It is a fundamental overarching responsibility we have to make succeeding generations know the price that was paid for our freedom.

I mention this in the course of this debate because another debate has been going on for far too long about building a new Canadian war museum. I believe the government should release from their commitment those who offered to raise money for the museum. Just build it.

I have seen much of the museum's collection that is unavailable to the public because of space restrictions and I can assure everyone that it deserves to be on display. I am aware of no other national institution that depended on private fundraising to be built. I hope there will be an early announcement that construction will soon begin on the new museum.

The Speech from the Throne addressed the need for an infrastructure for the 21st century. The most visible is the physical infrastructure we require as a trading nation to enable the free flow of goods and services. In addition to transport, the five year plan will focus on tourism, telecommunications, culture, health and safety and the environment. That is an ambitious objective but one which I believe Canadians will support.

The government has set a goal to be known around the world as a government most connected to its citizens. It will also take steps to accelerate our adoption of electronic commerce and encourage its use throughout the economy. There are challenges associated with electronic commerce.

In the last session of parliament we worked on legislation to protect personal and business information and to recognize electronic signatures. It is important that Canadians recognize and seize the opportunity we enjoy, because of our leadership in communications technology, to be a world leader in the control and use of electronic commerce.

I want to acknowledge and support the government's commitment to building stronger communities. In much of the industrialized world we have seen a growing gulf between rich and poor. There are almost daily media reports of newly minted high tech millionaires and corporate executives enjoying incomes that are many multiples of those earned by their rank and file employees.

Globalization has led many to question the importance of national boundaries. Every new round of trade negotiations appears to lessen the ability of governments to act on behalf of their citizens.

When Canadians are asked what separates them from Americans, we often point to our system of health care. A search for the defining idea of what makes Canada unique remains elusive. I suggest however that the answer may lie in embracing the idea of community. It is not a weakness to be seen around the world as a country that supports the less fortunate. It is not a weakness to be known as a country that embraces cultural diversity and welcomes new immigrants with their skills, energy and ambition to build a better life for themselves and their children. The danger would be in a retreat toward isolation as provinces, as communities and as individuals.

We as members of parliament have an ambitious agenda before us. The challenges set out in the Speech from the Throne are many and real. The goals are clear and within our grasp. Canada deserves nothing less than our best effort.

Health June 10th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

This week the Craig family of Dunrobin, Ontario launched “Sandrine's Gift”, a campaign to raise awareness about organ donation in memory of 11 year old Sandrine Craig who died as a result of a school bus accident.

Can the minister tell the House what he is doing to promote and encourage organ donations?

Natural Gas June 4th, 1999

Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to address the motion on natural gas introduced by the hon. member for Churchill River.

It is the government's current energy policy not to fund energy megaprojects but to leave it to the competitive market to decide what goes forward and what does not. This is one reason we have difficulty in supporting the hon. member's motion.

This policy has not resulted in a stalled natural gas industry. Far from it. The result has been some very exciting private sector driven developments including the expansion of natural gas distribution and production into new previously unserviced regions.

From an energy policy point of view it would not be sensible to depart from the basic principle that the market must decide where laterals are built. However, for other non-energy policy reasons there may be programs in other departments which seek to achieve economic development or environmental or other goals through the subsidization of laterals.

I repeat what my hon. friend from Halton said earlier, that the western economic partnership agreement was a possible avenue for some federal government support in this area, but the NDP government in Saskatchewan turned it down.

I understand the hon. member's desire to ensure an environmentally friendly and secure energy source for his region. That is what Canada's approach to the complex evolving global challenge of climate change is all about. We see it as a challenge that is both environmental and economic.

The Kyoto protocol in December 1997 reaffirmed the conviction among some 160 nations that the six commonly identified greenhouse gases are accumulating in the world's atmosphere at such a rate and to such an extent that they are putting the world's future climate at risk. For Canada this could mean more severe and more frequent weather disruptions, more inland floods in some areas, more droughts in others, rising sea levels and flooded coastlines, more wind and hail and ice storms, and greater threats to public safety and economic security.

The vast majority of global scientific opinion suggests that human conduct is certainly contributing to the problem and making it worse. The protocol involved a commitment on the part of the industrialized world to bring down greenhouse gas emissions. This action is much like an insurance policy against those future risks, and just like buying insurance one cannot get the coverage one should have had after the fact.

For Canada, our Kyoto target is to get our emissions down by the period between 2008 and 2012 to 6% below the level they were at in 1990. It will not be easy. Canada's northern climate and vast distances, its increasing population and increasing reduction, and its resource based and energy intensive economy all make our commitment much more difficult to meet. If we just carry on from this point forward with no changes, business as usual, by the year 2010 Canada's greenhouse gas emissions will rise to about 25% above our Kyoto target. We obviously have to slow that trajectory, flatten it out, and then turn it downward to reach our target within about a decade.

Where we will be when it ends will depend upon how astute we were at managing our domestic climate change challenges in relation to the rest of the world. We need to marry strong environmental performance with a strong economy.

About 85% of human made emissions are related to the way we produce and consume energy. The more energy efficient we become, the fewer emissions we generate. The more we achieve in this regard through greater energy efficiency, the less we will have to rely on other means to satisfy our Kyoto protocol obligations.

Across our entire national economy, in every sector and in the individual behaviour of each one of us we must achieve energy efficiency excellence. From a government policy perspective we have thus far used a variety of tools to achieve greater energy efficiency.

For one thing, we have tried to improve our own operations within the Government of Canada. We are on track to slash our emissions by more than 20% and to reach that goal by 2005.

Another tool is the provision of accurate information with which people can make informed decisions about energy use. The EnerGuide label is a good illustration. A third tool is peer group challenges like VCR Inc., the voluntary challenge registry program where industries and businesses pledge to improve their performances and report their progress in a tangible and public way.

There are incentives like Natural Resources Canada's commercial buildings program which is putting up some cash to encourage developers and builders to incorporate best practices from the ground up.

Hand in hand with these tools we must achieve a faster rate of new technology development and timely deployment of new technology. This is a key underpinning for everything else.

Consider an innovation like the Solarwall developed by Conserval Engineering, a new solar based energy saving technique for large building ventilation systems. It requires modestly increased construction costs one time but it generates significant savings in ongoing operating costs year after year, a more efficient ventilation system, fewer greenhouse gas emissions and a growing market across North America and around the world.

We must build our capacity for efficiency innovation within government labs, in academic institutions and in the private sector and we must put that new knowledge to work quickly in the marketplace. For our part federally, we are moving in that direction, specifically in each of our last three federal budgets.

Within Natural Resources Canada about $100 million each year is normally invested in the search for climate change solutions. Other federal departments add another $50 million annually. The 1998 federal budget contributed a further $150 million over three years to our climate change action fund. Altogether the annual federal financial commitment is now at $200 million.

There is no one single silver bullet solution to the global climate change challenge. We cannot expect to get everything we will need from energy efficiency and technology alone. Among other things, we must take greater advantage of the diversified mix of energy sources with which we have been blessed, such as hydro, solar, wind, earth and bioenergy. We need progress on a range of other issues such as recycling in the metals industry, municipal landfill management, and biotechnologies that can save energy and agriculture.

We need to strongly engage the enthusiastic participation of the average Canadian consumer. Taken together our collective behaviour can make a big difference. We need to focus on how to get more and more people to think globally about a profound problem like climate change and act locally to do something meaningful about it through their own energy efficiency.

These and a host of other issues are currently being assessed through our national climate change consultative process. It is a very transparent and inclusive process involving more than 450 people representing every dimension of Canadian life working through a series of 16 issue tables. We will start to hear their detailed advice this summer.

The bottom line of all this is there is no one answer.

As we open the 21st century we must establish Canada as the world's smartest natural resources steward, developer, user and exporter, as the most high tech, the most socially responsible and environmentally friendly, as the most productive and competitive. With respect to energy in particular we need to be the very best, the most intelligent, innovative and efficient at finding, developing, producing, delivering, consuming and exporting the world's most sophisticated and diversified energy products, skills, services and science.

I believe that is a worthy Canadian ambition.

Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 May 31st, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in the report stage debate on Bill C-32, legislation that proposes renewal of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

The 10 minutes available to me in this part of the debate are not enough to describe fully the many advantages of the legislation. They do provide, however, sufficient time to outline 20 ways in which the bill is a significant improvement over the existing act, 20 ways in which the legislation will mean better protection of the environment and the health of Canadians.

(1) the bill makes pollution prevention the cornerstone of the new act and provides authority to require pollution prevention plans for toxic substances.

(2) under the legislation all 23,000 substances in Canada will be examined to determine if they are toxic.

(3) Bill C-32 puts in place deadlines for taking action to prevent pollution from toxic substances.

(4) the most dangerous toxic substances will be virtually eliminated.

(5) the bill will provide the environment minister with the power to require industry to prepare and implement emergency preparedness plans for toxic substances.

(6) the legislation requires that the government conduct research on hormone disrupting substances, something that the ministers of environment and health already acted on last week with investments under the toxic substances research initiative.

(7) it expands the minister's information gathering powers to support scientific research on environmental problems.

(8) it will promote greater public participation through a new Internet based environmental registry of CEPA information.

(9) citizens will also have a new right to sue if government fails to enforce CEPA and it results in significant harm to the environment.

(10) the bill requires the establishment of the national pollutants release inventory and guarantees that Canadians will be able to get information about pollution in their communities.

(11) in recognition of aboriginal self-government aboriginal governments will have representatives on the national advisory committee alongside provinces and territories.

(12) the bill expands the authority to require cleaner fuels, meaning cleaner air in Canadian cities.

(13) the legislation transfers authority to set engine emission standards for new motor vehicles from the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and expands it to cover other types of engines such as those in off-road vehicles and lawn mowers.

(14) protecting the environment is a global issue. It is therefore essential for Canada to meets its international environmental commitments. The bill provides authority to implement our obligations under the Basel convention on the control of transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and their disposal.

(15) it will allow Canada to put in place a more stringent regime for ocean disposal in accordance with the 1996 protocol to the convention on the prevention of marine pollution by the dumping of wastes and other matter.

(16) Bill C-32 contains authority to implement the convention on prior informed consent for hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade.

(17) it also provides new authority to require pollution prevention plans for Canadian sources of international air and water pollution where another Canadian government is unwilling or unable to deal with the pollution source.

(18) to ensure that the law is obeyed, Bill C-32 provides peace officer status for our enforcement officers.

(19) it also gives enforcement officers the power to issue on the spot orders to stop violations and prevent pollution.

(20) the bill contains an innovative alternative dispute resolution mechanism to avoid costly court procedures.

These are 20 good reasons why I support Bill C-32. They are 20 reasons why all members should support the bill. Most important, this list of improvements outlines 20 ways in which the environment and health of Canadians will be better protected under Bill C-32.