House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was deal.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Green MP for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2008, with 14% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Excise Tax Act October 23rd, 2007

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-467, An Act to amend the Excise Tax Act (medical equipment).

Mr. Speaker, charities are increasingly funding the acquisition of medical equipment that community hospitals need. In my riding alone, the St. Mary's Hospital Foundation's Back the CAT campaign raised $1.6 million for a CT scanner and the Whistler Health Care Foundation raised $1.3 million for a CT scanner. The Powell River Health Care Auxiliary has similar plans.

Canadians who give to our hospitals and help their neighbours get the medical care they need should not have to pay GST on these donations. The bill would ensure that the funds raised by our hospital foundations will go even further in helping to improve Canadians' health care.

I ask my colleagues from all parties to support the bill and help gets results for our hospitals and for Canadians.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Softwood Lumber June 20th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the government brags about its softwood lumber sellout, but only seven months into the deal the U.S. has started attacking our programs, increasing the 10.8% duty to a 15% tax. Now we learn it is getting set to impose a new 50% penalty tax, while at the same time starting new lawsuits against us using our very own money which the Conservatives surrendered in the first place.

Canadians deserve answers. It is time to tell the truth. When will the government stop caving in to the White House and the U.S. lumber lobby?

Canada Elections Act June 18th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, definitely voting is a right. Many of our grandfathers have died fighting for that right and maintaining it. As parliamentarians, we have to ensure we maintain the integrity of that right as Canadian citizens to vote in elections.

At the same time, we have to be cognizant of the fact that our society is evolving and things are changing. One of the ways it is changing, and we have yet to address it in Bill C-31, is we are becoming much more of a technological age now. This is something we have to be cognizant of when we discuss the future.

People are on the Internet on a daily basis. Other organizations are using the Internet to electronically vote. We have to be thinking ahead right ow at a time when possibly elections in Canada will be held electronically. We have to ensure we have systems in place to deal with that. One item in the bill, which anticipates that coming into phase, is having the unique identification number granted to each individual in Canada.

I am going out into the future here and thinking outside the box, but someday Parliament may decide that Canadian elections can be done over the Internet, if that is the will of the Canadian people and if it is something that will enhance the integrity of our system and help to increase voter turnout.

One of the things we notice right now is young people vote in a disproportionately lower number than those who are over 60 for example. We have to do whatever we can as parliamentarians to ensure we cast a big enough net to have everybody participate in the electoral system. Some of the things the bill would offer is anticipating the future of the Canadian electoral system.

Canada Elections Act June 18th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, most Canadians would agree with what the hon. member has mentioned. There is an expectation that identification be at a level acceptable to most Canadians.

At the same time, we have to remember we are in an evolving democracy. We have to move in stride with the way society moves forward. We have to be aware of the fact that there are certain segments of our society where obtaining identification is difficult. We have to understand and be compassionate about people in those situations and ensure that we do not disenfranchise them from the democratic process.

It is not as clear, cut and dry as the hon. member has tried to make it. There is a grey area and we have to ensure, as lawmakers, that we walk in a gradual step by step manner. We need to ensure we walk in tangent with society. At the same time, we need to ensure we provide some leadership as to where we will go. We have to ensure we make the system better than it was when we first started.

Canada Elections Act June 18th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the member's question is valid. I am pretty sure she has had the opportunity to read the report came out on the allegations of the potential fraud committed in the Trinity—Spadina riding.

I have read the report and its findings. The interesting thing about the report, like any report, is the devil is in the detail. The way the report was done and the way the audit was performed was based on sample sizes of various voting boxes. It was not a 100% audit that reviewed every ballot box counted. In fact, if we go into the details of the report in the back pages and the fine print, there were areas in which the auditor or examiner could not go any further. There was missing documentation and ballot boxes that could not be retrieved. Therefore, their sample was based on a limited population to begin with.

I agree with the hon. member. The recommendations and the conclusions of the report were they could not find anything that would prove fraud occurred. At the same time, they realized our system had some wrinkles in it and they needed to be ironed out. Because of that, there was some missing evidence that did not allow them to proceed with a full and comprehensive review of every ballot cast in that riding.

The bill addresses ironing out some of those wrinkles, such as the serial vouching that went on in the riding. It will not be allowed to go forward.

As I said earlier, I agree with the member from the standpoint of it being a balancing act. We have to try to ensure we make our system more responsive to the development of our society. As we get more urbanization, it gets a lot more difficult for somebody to say, “My farm is just down the road from Bill, I have lived beside him for 20 years and I can vouch for who he is”.

We now live in an urban setting where people move in and out of our cities and it becomes a little more difficult for somebody to say that he or she can vouch for this person and then that person can vouch for somebody and then that person can vouch for somebody else.

We have to put in a little more stringent requirements on the rules of voting to ensure the integrity of the system is preserved and the confidence that Canadians have in our democratic system is enhanced. I believe the bill goes a long way to increase the confidence in our system.

Canada Elections Act June 18th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand in the House to debate the bill before us, Bill C-31, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Public Service Employment Act.

I believe the central issue of the bill hinges upon two points of view. One is the protection of privacy of the individual Canadian and the other is an increase the integrity and efficiency of our electoral system.

I believe the amendments from the Senate are appropriate and measured. We are dealing in the minority government situation, but we have a consensus around the amendments to the bill, which I believe will adequately protect the right of individuals privacy and at the same time will go a long way to improve the efficiency of our electoral system by enhancing the voter identification process.

The amendments will remove from the original bill references to the year of birth and to the date of birth, but will include the creation of a unique, randomly generated identifier for each electoral person, which will then be assigned to the Chief Electoral Officer to monitor.

The amendment will allow parties and Canadians to feel confident in our system. They will know that our process will allow for enough transparency in the system. At the same time we will have a reasonable and balanced approach to ensure we have a system about which Canadians can be confident.

During the last election, some issues and concerns were raised in the urban areas in Toronto, I believe it was Trinity—Spadina. Allegations were made that there may have been voter fraud. Some 10,000 Canadians signed up on the day of the election, through a process of serial vouching. People would vouch that the other people were who they believed them to be, then those people could vouch for other people and then those other people could vouch for other people. As this string of serial vouching went along, from a reasonable individual's point of view, there had to be some lapse in the integrity of that string.

I believe the bill tries to deal with those concerns in such a way that one Canadian can vouch for somebody else, but it eliminates the serial process of vouching, which I believe is a good thing.

One of the hon. members earlier in the discussion today raised a concern with respect to the proof of identification. I remember I stood in the House when we originally debated the bill and I talked about the requirement of the acceptability of first nations status cards as proof of who an individual was to allow the person to vote.

The issue we have is a delicate one. We are walking a fine line trying to ensure we are improving the integrity of the system by requiring valid identification from Canadians before they can vote. At the same time, we ensure we open up the process to enough Canadians so we have broad participation in the system.

We have a unique situation. Because we have a minority government, we have parties from both sides of the House agreeing on the amendments to the bill, on the balanced and reasonable nature of the bill and on the enhancement and the transparency of the process. It is a good thing for Canadians that Parliament agree, like we have on this. I look forward to the bill being carried and put into law.

Aboriginal Affairs June 15th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the member for Delta—Richmond East is not just opposed to land claims. He is also opposed to aboriginal fisheries. The sad fact is that the Prime Minister has not condemned the member because, shamefully, he agrees with it himself.

After more than a year of cutbacks and broken promises from the government, aboriginal people expect more than empty promises on specific claims.

Will the Prime Minister show Canadians that he takes treaty and aboriginal rights seriously and condemn the member for Delta—Richmond East today?

Aboriginal Affairs June 15th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, the member for Delta—Richmond East has once again come out against treaty rights for aboriginal peoples. The member has spoken out against a potential deal between the B.C. government and a B.C. band, even though the federal government has nothing to do with this proposal.

Why has the Prime Minister stood by in silence while the member for Delta—Richmond East campaigns aggressively against virtually all treaties that have been struck with B.C. first nations?

Canada Transportation Act June 14th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to my colleague's speech and I have a number of questions and perhaps a comment or two before my questions.

As we are both colleagues who represent the beautiful province of British Columbia, could the member elaborate on how Bill C-58 would specifically impact the economy of British Columbia and how the details of the bill would affect rail safety?

I represent the riding of West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country and a few years back we had a very bad derailment of a CN rail train near the Cheakamus Canyon. It dumped close to 40,000 litres of caustic soda into the Cheakamus River which virtually killed all the salmon in the river, from steelhead, to pink, to chinook. Therefore, rail safety is an important issue for the residents of my riding as it is with the citizens of Canada.

I have two questions for my colleague. First, how does the bill affect rail safety and, second, how does the bill affect British Columbians and specifically the economy of British Columbia?

Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act June 14th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, which includes 6 of the 11 venues for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Paralympic Games, it gives me great pleasure to rise in support of Bill C-47, an Act respecting the protection of marks related to the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games and protection against certain misleading business associations and making a related amendment to the Trade-marks Act.

I am very proud to speak to the bill today. The Olympic Games are more than just a sporting and cultural event. They will show to the world and to ourselves what Canadians can do. In less than three years, Vancouver, Whistler and the whole Sea to Sky corridor will host the world's largest event.

More than 20,000 employees and volunteers will put on the games. We will welcome more than 6,000 athletes and officials and more than 80 countries, and the competition will be covered by 10,000 members of the media and witnessed by more than three billion people worldwide.

The 2010 games will showcase our province, our culture and our people to the planet. They will create a lasting legacy of facilities for our athletes and immeasurable goodwill around the globe. They are Vancouver and Canada's time to shine.

Vanoc has delivered a business plan that will give us the games on time and on budget, despite being hit with skyrocketing construction costs and facing massive logistical, strategic and diplomatic challenges. Vanoc's accomplishment is a tremendous testament to Canadian know-how and business savvy and will not pass unnoticed abroad.

This sort of project requires a great deal of fiscal management. For Vanoc, this means that it has to be as careful as possible about the Olympic and Paralympic brands. There is no better branding than the Olympic brand and, without appropriate safeguards, many would try to take advantage of the goodwill created by the games.

We need to protect the words and symbols of the Olympic brand with special legislation to ensure that Vanoc has the tools it needs to prevent abuse. The confidence created by strong protection for the Olympic brand will improve Vanoc's ability to negotiate sponsorship agreements with businesses interested in associating themselves with the Olympic brand and provide important funding for the games.

This protection also will create the confidence which will ensure that sponsors are committed to the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic movement for years and years to come.

The Liberal Party support for the Olympics has been longstanding. The Liberal government of the Right Hon. Jean Chrétien was there at the very beginning and we championed the bid from its earliest stages. We supported the games with our words and, unlike the Conservative foot-dragging, Liberal governments have always provided the resources that were required on the federal side to support our athletes and support these games.

Long before I was a candidate for the Liberal Party, I took a leadership role in securing the Olympics for Canada by organizing the 2010 rally on Robson Street. Working directly with Mr. John Furlong and the 2010 bid committee, we organized a grassroots movement rally on the streets of Vancouver that was attended by over 50,000 Vancouverites in support of our bid and, as everyone knows now, we were lucky enough to secure it.

Providing enhanced protection for the Olympics has become a standard part of hosting the Olympic Games. The United States, Australia, Greece and Italy all have strengthened the legal protection for Olympics-related intellectual property rights. The upcoming games in Beijing and London are already the subject of such protection in those host countries.

Although existing intellectual property law in Canada arguably could be used to protect Olympic symbols and marks, the sheer volume of possible violations within the short period of the games creates a need for extra protection.

Ambush marketing, which has been spoken of here in the House, is a major concern for the host of any international sporting event. It is simply too easy to take advantage of the goodwill created by the games and mislead consumers into thinking that a company has a business association with the games when in fact it has nothing of the sort.

Bill C-47 would prohibit persons from using the Olympic and Paralympic marks for anything that could be mistaken for those marks in connection with a business without the permission of Vanoc or, after the games are over, the consent of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees. It would also prohibit people from promoting or advertising their business in a way that misleads the public into believing that they are officially associated with the games.

With normal trademarks, the courts apply a three-part test in order to allow an interim or interlocutory injunction against a suspected offender. The plaintiff must establish, first, that there is a serious issue to be tried, second, that it will suffer irreparable harm if the offending conduct continues pending a trial, and finally, that the balance of convenience is in its favour.

Bill C-47 waives the onus on Vanoc to prove the most difficult part of the legal test, that of proving irreparable harm. This will allow Vanoc to act quickly and effectively to stop abuse of its brand. John Furlong and his team have emphasized that this speed is essential because the impact of ambush marketing is immediate and the response has to be immediate as well.

I believe that there is widespread support in the House for the aims of this bill. The devil, of course, is in the details. My colleagues and I have examined the bill see if it meets the critical test of basic common sense and fairness. Let me speak to several points on fairness.

The bill grants specific and clear exemptions to allow for freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of commentary. Some news reports have suggested that it would be used to crack down on dissent. These reports are wrong. Bill C-47 specifically exempts news, criticism and parody from the restrictions.

The aim of this bill is limited, of course, to commercial uses. Bill C-47 will not affect the non-profit community at all.

It is also particularly important that the bill not adversely affect our athletes. I welcome an amendment by the committee which ensures that companies sponsoring our Olympic athletes are able to advertise that fact. Being an Olympic athlete is part of who one is and the amendment ensures that these athletes will be able to say who they are, even in the commercial context. Former Olympian Jeff Bean testified before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology that the spirit of the bill does not impede the rights of athletes.

The bill also has a grandfathering provision to prevent existing businesses that use an Olympic or Paralympic mark from being unfairly disrupted. Anyone who adopted and began using such a mark before March 2, 2007, will be able to continue using that mark for the same purpose and will not have to change the name of the business, but if someone wants to open a business today and use that mark, that individual would have to come up with a new name.

The terms safeguarded are well chosen in that they are limited to terms that refer directly to the games. There has been some confusion over whether words like “winter” or “Vancouver” are prohibited, but this is not in fact the case.

Bill C-47 also contains a number of safeguards that will protect the legitimate use of the Olympic or Paralympic mark in a business context. For instance, businesses will be able to use geographic names to describe their market or to explain their services.

The Intellectual Property Institute of Canada has expressed concern that the bill gives sponsors the right to sue independently, arguing that Vanoc or the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee are the ones that grant sponsorship and so they should be the ones to control access to the courts. The institute worries that this will lead to inconsistent applications of the bill. This is an issue that will have to be monitored closely as time goes by.

With these sensible features, Bill C-47 has found widespread support. Vanoc, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee support it. So do the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Own the Podium, Athletes CAN, and others.

It is time for the House to stand up for our athletes and champion and support the tremendous efforts of the Vancouver Olympic Committee to get this bill passed. It will protect the Olympic and Paralympic brands for Vancouver and the revenues that will benefit all hard-working Canadian families.

Let us make these the best winter games the world has ever seen.