House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was centre.

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

Won his last election, in 2000, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Women Entrepreneurs February 10th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to 15 outstanding women entrepreneurs in the Niagara region who were honoured at a dinner in my riding of Niagara Centre on January 29.

The women honourees were Suzanne Rochon Burnett, Helen Durley, Rose Smith, Elena Turroni, Stella Blanchard, Rita Talosi, Cindy Cameron, Yvette Ward, Nora Reid, Julia Kamula, Debbie Zimmerman, Heather Fazulo, Donna Moody, Robin Davidson and Pamela Minns. All of these women have dedicated their time, effort and expertise in order to make their communities better places in which to live.

It was a pleasure for me to be part of this event that recognized the contributions that they have made and will continue to make in the future.

I congratulate all of them. I also wish to thank all the members of the Welland/Pelham Liberal Ladies Association for organizing this event.

Niagara Municipality November 7th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Debbie Zimmerman, the outgoing chair of the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

Debbie began her political career in 1978 when she was elected to the Grimsby town council where she served until 1989. Debbie then served on regional council and was elected chair of the Regional Municipality of Niagara in 1997 and again in the year 2000.

Debbie has been an active member of a diverse number of corporate committees with the Regional Municipality of Niagara, as well as external committees and panels at the provincial level.

Debbie served as a member of the Team Canada 2001 trade mission to China and led the 2002 Niagara business trade mission to Ireland.

Debbie has been rewarded countless times for her outstanding contribution to the Niagara region.

I want to thank Debbie for her 25 years of exceptional public service and extend my best wishes to her in her future endeavours.

First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act November 6th, 2003

Madam Speaker, I can tell that the member is quite passionate about this and would really like a specific answer.

The question of harassment in the workplace is complex and has many dynamics. Treasury Board has been finding ways how to best manage this problem. Many of the large departments have already introduced values and ethics programs, and others are in the process of doing so.

I wish to inform the member that the Public Service Modernization Act, Bill C-25, which was passed in the Senate on Tuesday requires that informal conflict resolution systems be established and applied in each department.

I would hope that she is in agreement that this is a positive development that will lead to a common goal that we all share, which is a harassment free workplace.

First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act November 6th, 2003

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to respond to the question raised by the hon. member for Terrebonne—Blainville.

The government has a policy to prevent harassment in the Public Service of Canada. Our goal is to eliminate harassment from the workplace.

The Public Service of Canada has been successful in reducing sexual harassment significantly. The elimination of other forms harassment is a priority. This problem has the government's attention and it is addressing it from various angles.

Harassment situations are often very complex and not easily identified and resolved. The government's intent is not only to help employees who experience harassment, but is also to create conditions that foster a healthy workplace for all. This summer, focus groups for public servants were held across Canada to examine thoroughly the causes of harassment and ways of reducing it.

The government has focused on prevention and early resolution and has taken steps to increase awareness of harassment dynamics. In conjunction with the unions, the Treasury Board Secretariat is currently holding workshops to build awareness throughout the public service. Also, the Treasury Board Secretariat recently released a practical online course on the prevention and resolution of harassment. This online course is accessible and free to all public servants.

The government is aware of the critical role that managers and leaders play in development harassment-free workplaces. The Treasury Board Secretariat is currently exploring ways to better support managers, at all levels, to address problems before they escalate into harassment situations. It intends to better equip managers with people management skills, such as conflict resolution, negotiation and coaching skills.

Eliminating harassment requires the commitment and collaboration of everyone in the workplace. We want employees to feel free to raise issues in their organizations in order to resolve them, without fear of harassment. This is also in line with the professional and democratic values set out in the code.

However, the government knows that employees will be less reluctant to come forward with problems if they are protected from retribution.

A working group to review protection for employees who raise ethical issues in their organizations was recently formed by the government. The working group will examine the existing disclosure regime and propose ways to improve protection of employees who come forward and disclose wrongdoings.

The government is proud of the quality of service that federal employees provide to Canadians. The federal public service is a dynamic organization that is continually renewing itself to maintain high standards of service. We should never take our achievements for granted.

In this broader context, a greater emphasis will be placed on accountability. Officials of the Treasury Board Secretariat are in discussions right now with senior management of federal departments on the basis of our new management accountability framework, which is designed to enhance general management performance, including reduction of harassment in the workplace.

The government's commitment to values and ethics in support of respectful workplaces has been shaping our overall approach. Departments are also reviewing their harassment prevention and resolution processes to improve rigour and credibility. The government is confident that it is making progress and that it will keep improving in the future.

Broadcasting November 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to the report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage from the second session of the 37th Parliament entitled “Our Cultural Sovereignty: The Second Century of Canadian Broadcasting”.

Unicef October 31st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize the fundraising efforts of UNICEF volunteers and workers this Halloween.

The UNICEF on Halloween story began in 1950 when a small Sunday school class in the United States decided to collect coins on Halloween for children in need instead of asking for candy. They sent their cheques totalling $17 to the United Nations Children's Fund. Since then, UNICEF has expanded and so has its fundraising efforts.

In Canada, Halloween represents one of the mainstays of UNICEF Canada's fundraising programs. Last year alone over $3 million was collected by Canadian children for children in developing countries.

I would ask members to join me in congratulating UNICEF Canada for its outstanding efforts to help children in need on this special day. Happy Halloween.

Petitions October 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the second petition deals with the situation involving rural route mail couriers who often earn less than the minimum wage and who have not been allowed to bargain collectively to improve their wages.

The petitioners are asking that section 13(5) of the Canada Post Corporation Act be repealed.

Petitions October 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present two petitions today.

The first petition is on behalf of some of my constituents in Niagara Centre who condemn the creation and use of child pornography. They wish to draw to the attention of the House that the courts have not applied the current child pornography law in a way which makes it clear that such exploitation of children will always be met with swift punishment.

Paul Martin Sr. Award October 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Ralph Griffin, a resident of the city of Thorold in my riding of Niagara Centre, who has recently been honoured with the Right Hon. Paul Martin Sr. award for his dedication and commitment as an Ontario March of Dimes volunteer.

Mr. Griffin, who first became involved with the Ontario March of Dimes in 1987, has been volunteering continuously for 16 years, lending his support to various programs, particularly the befriending program which fosters friendships by matching a physically disabled adult with a volunteer who share common interests.

Mr. Griffin also organizes annual social events and fundraising activities.

Congratulations to Ralph and thanks for his devotion to the Ontario March of Dimes.

Child Abuse Prevention Month October 10th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to remind all members of the House that October is child abuse prevention month.

Unfortunately, some parents struggle with mental health issues, substance abuse, family violence or other serious issues. This impacts their ability to care for their children, and often abuse and neglect are the result.

Family and Children's Services Niagara, which has a branch in my riding of Niagara Centre, will be participating in the 11th annual purple ribbon campaign to help raise public awareness about the issue of child neglect and abuse. In the past year FACS responded to nearly 5,200 child protection concerns.

Agencies such as FACS need our support so they can raise awareness of this problem. Let us do what we can to protect our children.