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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was colleagues.

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

Won his last election, in 2000, with 40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Bill of Rights February 13th, 2003

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-360, an act to amend the Canadian Bill of Rights (right to education).

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

Privilege February 10th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I cannot begin to tell you how pleased I am to see the member for St. Albert stand in the House asking you to take appropriate action on a leak of a committee report by a member of the opposition. This is the pot calling the kettle black.

This issue started back in July 2002 on a CBC report. The chair of the committee himself made some very direct comments about an in camera meeting with one of the witnesses who had appeared before the committee. The reporter's name was Brown, and I quote:

Guite and Tremblay initially refused to appear before the public accounts committee and were issued what amounts to a subpoena. Many Liberals in the committee were also--

The chair himself stood up before the committee and said:

The Alliance MP [for St. Albert] says Guite felt as though there was a war going on between federalists and Quebec separatists and he was justified in doing anything he could through the ad program to help Ottawa's cause.

He continued:

Mr. Guite did feel that he was trying to save the country.

It is not only the member for St. Albert who in fact spilled the beans after that committee meeting, but it was also a member of the Conservative Party, who is now leading candidate for the leadership of that party, as well as a member of the NDP who today made an attempt to get a press conference in order to issue a minority report on a report not yet made public, as well as a member from the Bloc Quebecois at the time but who is no longer a member of the Bloc Quebecois. This was done after we gave assurances to the lawyer representing that particular individual that nothing would be made public.

Mr. Speaker, I beg you to get to the bottom of this issue because those guys cannot suck and blow at the same time. That is exactly what they are trying to do. Please proceed, Mr. Speaker.

Petitions February 7th, 2003

Madam Speaker, I have a petition signed by supporters of rural route mail couriers. They ask the government to take action in order to repeal section 13(5) of the Canada Post Corporation Act.

Foreign Affairs February 7th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, in October of 2002 the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, along with his counterpart in Quebec, announced special measures to deal with the Algerian file.

I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary this. Since the minister just returned from a trip to Algeria three weeks ago, could he report on that visit?

National Library of Canada February 7th, 2003

Madam Speaker, a book provides a refuge for the soul of the reader; a library a refuge for the soul of a country. The National Library of Canada, the soul of our country, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Since 1953 the library has brought together the needs and interests of Canadians, their culture, their heritage, and their understanding of Canada's place in the world.

Fifty years later the government has announced its intention to provide Canadians with even better access to their history. The new institutions, the Library and Archives Canada, will combine these two great institutions and stand out as a world class agency dedicated to the preservation of our culture.

Roy Romanow February 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to congratulate Roy Romanow on being named the recipient of the Atkinson Award for Economic Justice. Mr. Romanow, the former premier of Saskatchewan and head of the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, received this prestigious award for his work on health care, which provides a more powerful future for all Canadians.

The Atkinson Charitable Foundation award includes a financial endowment which will allow Mr. Romanow to continue with research and public education efforts to strengthen public health care in Canada.

I ask the House to join me in congratulating Roy Romanow on being honoured with this very important award.

Columbia

Bill McNeil January 31st, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay a special tribute to former CBC Radio broadcaster Bill McNeil, who died Wednesday, January 29, at the age of 78.

Mr. McNeil spent 42 years at CBC before retiring in 1995. He was best known for hosting the shows Fresh Air and Voice of the Pioneer . He also authored six books, including Signing On: The Birth of Radio and Mr. Canada: John Fisher . Fresh Air drew up to a million listeners each Saturday and Sunday morning.

Mr. McNeil's show became a success because it stirred the memory pot. People had a chance to talk about their youth, the depression years and homesteading in the west. It reflected a generation that experienced great changes, from the horse and buggy to the rocketship and man walking on the moon.

Undoubtedly, McNeil's gentle, resonant voice and quiet manner put both the subject and the listener at ease and succeeded in making Fresh Air “an oasis in a mad world”. He hosted his final Fresh Air broadcast after 24 years in May 1992.

On behalf of all citizens and my colleagues in the House, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr. McNeil.

Foreign Affairs January 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, in light of the reactions in Ivory Coast to the signing of the accord, can the Minister responsible for Africa tell us about the situation in Ivory Coast, particularly with regard to the safety of the Canadians who live there?

Queen's Jubilee Medal January 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to congratulate four recipients from Saskatoon of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal. The medal recognizes the achievements of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to their community and to society as a whole. Four well known members of the Saskatoon business community were honoured for their achievements.

I wish to congratulate: Russel Marcoux, the CEO of the Yanke Group of companies; Betty-Ann Heggie, senior vice-president of corporate relations at Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan; Jack Brodsky, president of the Saskatoon Blades; and Kent Smith-Windsor, executive director of the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce.

All of these individuals have contributed greatly to the Saskatoon community and to Canada, and I ask the House to join me in congratulating them today.

First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act January 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, we are debating a very important subject. I want to indicate that on this side of the House we do not believe for a moment that we have to choose between addressing what is a social issue and what is being considered as an economic issue. When it comes to first nations, the government has consistently taken action on both fronts, if not in parallel but at a complementary time.

Bills C-7 and C-19 are not only priorities on which the government is moving ahead but also we have moved ahead in other areas such as housing, water and sewer infrastructure, economic development and education. An advisory panel has made a number of recommendations to improve education. Funding for economic development has increased from $25 million to $125 million over the past two years. This funding has leveraged in excess of $400 million in other forms of equity and debt financing and has translated into real change and made a real difference in the quality of life for our aboriginal people.

In addition this action is empowering and creates good governance which is considered the foundation of self-sufficiency and economic development for these communities.

Almost 75% of those who responded to a recent survey done by Ekos Research agreed that providing the tools for good governance will improve conditions for economic and social development.

Well-functioning communities are based on good governance structures that can respond to the needs and aspirations of their people.

This proposed legislation will encourage economic development, will foster self-sufficiency and will lead to improved living conditions in first nations communities.

These statements are not based on wishful thinking or unfettered optimism. The government has already shown concrete evidence of how the institution to be legislated through Bill C-19 will benefit first nations.

For example, as has been mentioned the experience of the Indian Taxation Advisory Board, or ITAB, which will evolve into the first nations tax commission under Bill C-19, has shown us what can be achieved when first nations have more direct involvement in their fiscal matters.

Since it was created back in 1989, ITAB has helped about 90 first nations enter the field of property taxation. A further 29 first nations tax systems are now in development. With the help from ITAB, first nations across Canada have raised a combined total of more than $200 million in tax revenues over the past 13 years.

These first nations have generated more than $40 million annually in revenues through their property tax regimes. First nations with the authority to tax have used this revenue to provide services, build infrastructure and create jobs and businesses in their communities.

For example, property taxes have generated the necessary annual revenues required by the Innu of Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam adjacent to the city of Sept-Îles, Quebec to support community initiatives and increase participation in the local economy. Also, major projects that have been supported since taxation have been implemented and these projects include the building of a Sobey's supermarket and a Unitotal hardware store in the on reserve shopping centre development.

The tax system of the Squamish Nation has contributed to the construction of two gymnasiums used for education and social and recreational purposes, which serve as an integral part of the community in service to residents. Squamish also demonstrates the competitive nature of first nation taxation, with tax rates comparable to those in North Vancouver.

Also, Westbank First Nation taxpayers benefit from tax revenue through the first nation's implementation of new projects such as a new water system, purchasing private lands for parks and recreation purposes, paving and maintaining band roads, and building a new gymnasium and recreation centre. Besides other major projects, Westbank First Nation has the opportunity to invest in the community and to establish capital reserve funds for future projects.

We can see that these first nations, along with others that have implemented a property tax system on reserve, are in fact providing improved services to residents and building a stable and sustainable local economy for their communities. The First Nations Finance Authority, which would be legislated under Bill C-19, has in fact grown out of a need for long term public debt financing for first nations governments in order for them to provide affordable infrastructure in their communities.

The First Nations Finance Authority was established back in 1995 and was modelled on the very successful Municipal Finance Authority of British Columbia. As my colleagues on both sides of the House have heard, the primary goal of the First Nations Finance Authority is in fact to improve access to affordable capital by pooling the borrowing requirements of first nations. By pooling their borrowing requirements, many first nations will gain access to more affordable capital which they in turn can use to improve their infrastructure to build roads, water and sewer systems and so on. The rigorous standards, lower interest rates and institutional support will ensure that first nations operate within their debt carrying capacity. This access to capital will work to the long term benefit of the community as a whole.

Some 50 first nations are also taking advantage of the deposit taking services offered by the First Nations Finance Authority, which currently operates, by the way, two very competitive investment pools worth approximately close to $10 million. These first nations are getting higher returns on their investments than would be possible if they were investing on their own.

The first nations financial management board would be supported by the capacity development activities of yet another existing institution, the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada. The Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada is a national professional association that is committed to excellence in financial management for aboriginal people. It provides training, certification and professional development services to individuals who work in or aspire to financial management positions with first nations organizations. Its third annual conference recently attracted more than 600 delegates to discuss ways and means to strengthen financial management. That event was well supported by important sponsors.

As my colleagues on both sides of the House can appreciate, these services are strengthening the financial management capacity of aboriginal organizations in Canada.

For example, AFOAC has already certified some 200 individuals in its certified aboriginal financial managers program. This program was developed in collaboration with the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada and is gaining recognition as a professional designation within Canada's financial community.

As we can see, we have good reason to be optimistic about Bill C-19. This proposed legislation will enable first nations to build on the success of several existing institutions. Bill C-19 will confirm first nations jurisdiction over their finances and will provide new tools for the successful exercise of that jurisdiction. This legislation deserves the support of both sides of the House and particularly that of my colleagues on the opposition side.