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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was place.

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

Won his last election, in 2000, with 63% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Trade December 1st, 1997

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

In 1994 the federal government and the provinces signed an agreement on internal trade as a beginning toward the elimination of all interior trade barriers in Canada.

Can the minister inform the House on the implementation of this accord and what plans are there to eliminate all remaining internal trade barriers?

Division No. 33 December 1st, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address the concerns we have in government about some of the motions we think will be detrimental to the preservation and securing of the CPP as a pension plan for all of us, for future Canadians who will be retiring.

Contrary to what the previous speaker has mentioned, it is very important to understand we arrived at the changes through rather dramatic and extensive consultations across Canada. They are the result of federal-provincial statutory review which included extensive cross-Canada consultations.

Unequivocally we heard from Canadians. They asked that their governments preserve the plan by strengthening its financing, improving investment practices and moderating the growth of the benefits.

It is not rocket science to understand it is important to improve investment procedures. I would share some examples. In years gone by in various provincial legislatures and indeed in this place pension plans have been used by governments as a cheap source of financing.

For example, the government of Ontario in the 1970s consistently went to the well to borrow funds at as low as 3% interest rates at a time when marketplace interest rates were in the neighbourhood of 10% or higher. It used that money to build roads, bridges and other facilities; but in turn what happened is that the pension fund was suffering because it was not allowed to grow.

We cannot allow this to happen with the CPP. As a result of all the consultations and what Canadians have said, we must ensure if the money is borrowed and it is used as a fund that fair market value is paid. It is simply not acceptable to rob Peter to pay Paul by using pension fund money for cheap investments with a view that somehow taxpayers will save money. At the end of the day the particular pension fund will have to be shored up. In their entirety the motions run counter to a strong fiscal policy that we believe is needed to secure the CPP.

I also share an example with which some may be familiar. Money was used from the teachers' pension fund without a proper view toward investment practices. In 1989 or so one of the teachers' pension funds in Ontario, the superannuation fund, was running at a deficit and the other one was running at a surplus. The reason for the deficit was the bad borrowing practices of previous governments. We cannot allow that to happen regardless of who is in government. The CPP funds should not be used and abused in that way. That is one very important issue.

Motion No. 11 specifically wants to delete the new contribution rate schedule. The old unsustainable rate schedule would remain in effect.

The member is sticking his head in the sand, I say with all due respect. If the motion were to be accepted by the government it would put financial sustainability of the CPP at risk. That is the very issue the changes address. In parliamentary terms it probably should not be allowed on the floor as it is totally contrary to the intent of the bill.

Instead of rates raising by 9.9% in the year 2003 and then levelling off, if the motion were adopted contribution rates would rise to 10.1% in year 2016. That happens to be a year when many in the baby boomer generation will be looking to drawing on their CPP fund. Therefore it makes it even more important to ensure the sustainability of the CPP. Then it would go to 14.2% in the year 2030. This would be a 140% increase over current contribution levels. I cannot imagine justifying contribution levels rising by that amount. It makes no sense and frankly the motion would be destructive.

Another problem, and we have done the financial analysis, is that the plan would be bankrupt by the year 2015. It would impose a totally unfair burden on our children and our grandchildren. They would loose the ability to collect the CPP.

When talking about the CPP bill, the amendment and all the motions, we must recognize that our main goal should be to sustain and secure the system now. We consider it to be a top priority in government. We have heard other members and other people talk in terms of it being a tax. The reality is that it makes us distinct as Canadians because we have a public pension plan that leaves no Canadian behind.

I have heard the example used about people being in a race. At the Special Olympics there was a wonderful example that my good friend, Dalton McGuinty, the leader of the provincial Liberal Party in Ontario, talks about. In a race in the Special Olympics one of the runners fell. Another runner who was competing to win that race, which presumably we all do from time time, stopped and picked up the person and helped him finish the race. It meant the person who stopped would not be victorious. It meant that he would not win the race. What a message it sends about Canadians and about Canada.

Yes, we will stop and help when one falls. We are all in this together. The CPP is one landmark that shows us that we as Canadians care about one another. We could ignore the problem. Some paint it as a tax grab. That is nonsense.

This plan has to be secured for future generations. The bill will do that but the motions of the hon. member will not. A key priority is to secure retirement income for all Canadians. That is why we are proposing a comprehensive plan to make the system sustainable, affordable and fair. Affordable is key.

If we want to drive rates through the roof like some of the motions are suggesting with increases in the neighbourhood of 140%, that is what we should adopt. However that will not be affordable.

I have often found a lack of realism on the part of my colleagues opposite. They think that by putting a motion forward some workers will benefit. In reality it will be unaffordable for employers. If we do not have employers we do not have jobs. If we do not have jobs we do not have CPP contributions and the plan will fail. This is all inextricably tied to the economic growth and the future of this growth.

With great respect for my colleague opposite, we will be opposing these motions on the grounds that they are detrimental to the security of the future of the CPP.

Supply November 25th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, we heard a lot of wonderful words from the member opposite about brothers and sisters and working together.

Normally I would congratulate the Reform Party for this motion, except that I smell a hidden agenda. I wonder about the suggestion of going to the people of Quebec. If Reform members are going to communicate with the people of Quebec, I would like the member to tell me if they intend to use the same advertising agency they used during the federal election campaign, which sent a very poisonous message that was not helpful to Canadian unity.

I would agree with the member that the separatists have no interest whatsoever in keeping this country unified. However, we must develop a reasonable option where if we are saying that the separatists do not want to keep Canada together, we are prepared to talk to Quebec.

I would ask if the member could tell us exactly how Reform members would calmly talk to Quebeckers to ensure them that they are indeed a unique people.

Youth Employment November 24th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

In its first mandate the government tackled youth unemployment head on by establishing the youth employment strategy. However unemployment continues to be a serious problem for Canada's young people.

What initiatives has the minister taken to address this important issue?

Living Arts Centre November 18th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to bring to the attention of the House the official opening of the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga on November 14. The Living Arts Centre will be the heart of downtown Mississauga. This modern state of the art facility will provide citizens of all ages with multiple performance venues, studios and exhibition space.

We look forward to attending shows by high calibre international artists like Julio Eglizes, Penn and Teller, Raffi, Broadway productions and of course the many local artists and performing companies that will grace the Living Arts Centre stage.

Construction of the state of the art facility was funded under the federally initiated national infrastructure program. All three levels of government including the region of Peel provided $31 million in financing. The Living Arts Centre has itself launched a major community fund-raising effort which has already raised almost half of the $30 million goal.

We look forward to being royally entertained for years to come as the world comes to our new stage.

Councillor Frank McKechnie November 4th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, this past summer the city of Mississauga lost a good friend and a former colleague of mine, councillor Frank McKechnie.

Frank immigrated to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland in 1950. First elected in 1958 to the former Toronto township council, he served as a Peel county councillor, town of Mississauga councillor and a member of the city of Mississauga council and region of Peel council. Widely known as the mayor of Malton, Frank was Mississauga's longest serving councillor and one of Canada's longest serving municipal politicians. In addition to politics he was extremely active in the community, volunteering his time with a large number of organizations.

Frank was a kind and gentle man whose vision helped Mississauga grow into this country's ninth largest city and whose years of dedicated service to his constituents serve as inspiration to all of us.

The municipal election on November 10 will be the first time in 39 years without Frank McKechnie's name on the ballot. He will truly be missed.

Mississauga Fire And Emergency Services October 28th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I bring to the attention of members that last month the Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services won first place in the overall competition at the 14th annual international auto extraction competition held in Vancouver.

Twenty-five teams representing Canada, the United States, England and Australia, to name just a few, took part in this three-day event. The two series of tests consisted in freeing dummies from wrecked vehicles with hydraulic equipment and portable tools.

The Mississauga team won the competition with the fastest reaction times.

I wish to take advantage of this week's annual meeting of the International Association of Firefighters to extend congratulations to the Mississauga extraction team on a job well done.

Newfoundland School System October 27th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, about three weeks ago I asked a question in this House of the Minister of Transport with regard to what are commonly referred to as the curfew hours operating at Pearson international airport.

My question was can the minister confirm that there are guidelines restricting the hours of operating at Lester Pearson international airport and can the minister assure the citizens of Mississauga that the government will not allow the GTAA to unilaterally change these hours. I would like to point out the fundamental reason for asking that question.

This past summer, there were some tests conducted by the GTAA that were referred to in the media as secret tests. They were tests of planes flying in the hours that would generally be considered restricted hours, say between the hours of 12.00 am and 6 a.m.

These tests were conducted without any prior notification of the residents, the city or myself or anyone else. The purpose of the tests was to see if the noise actually did bother people at that hour of the night. I can say that it did. The results were quite conclusive and the people were upset that tests were done in what was seen as somewhat of a clandestine fashion, a secretive way.

The reason that I asked the minister the question, to the parliamentary secretary who is here to respond to this concern, is that the citizens of Mississauga have had a longstanding relationship obviously with Pearson international airport.

The concerns about increased traffic, increased noise, the lack of proper hush kitting on some of the older jets that are coming in, the concerns around the increased traffic in the area of cargo are very real for the citizens.

While I clearly recognize the significance of Pearson international airport as an economic engine within the GTAA, an employer, a taxpayer, a job creator, there is no question that it is a significant facility within the GTAA and within the city of Mississauga.

There must also be recognition by the people at the GTAA, by Mr. Turpen, by the entire staff and the board that there has to be some way to live in harmony with the citizens who reside within the boundaries of the city of Mississauga, particularly in the area around the airport.

My reason for asking the question and my concern is to ensure that the citizens can live with some reasonable assurance that there will not be an increase in night flights and that the curfew area or the restricted operating area will be respected by this government.

Perhaps the parliamentary secretary can also address the concern of the expanded cargo coming into Pearson with some reference to the usage of the Hamilton airport and other facilities around the GTAA to ensure that we do have an economic infrastructure that works solidly within the community, to the benefit of the business community, but at the same time allows the citizens to have a reasonable night's sleep during those hours.

I believe you are motioning that my time is up, Mr. Speaker. I would ask the parliamentary secretary to respond with particular emphasis, if he could, on the area of the increase in—

Supply October 23rd, 1997

Do you want to spend money or cut taxes?

Trade October 21st, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of International Trade.

The Latin American countries of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay are experiencing unprecedented growth. What is the minister doing to assist Canadian business to take advantage of this economic boom in Latin America?