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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

Questions On The Order Paper April 21st, 1994

I ask, Madam Speaker, that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions On The Order Paper April 21st, 1994

Madam Speaker, question No. 9 will be answered today.

Question No. 9-

Government Response To Petitions April 21st, 1994

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to three petitions, namely petitions Nos. 351-123, 351-131 and 351-134.

Supply April 18th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, for a moment I did not know where I was, until the member had concluded his remarks.

I want to correct the record. This capital city has already declared itself bilingual. In excess of 30 per cent of the people in this city speak both official languages. There are over 1.1 million people who live in the national capital region and use the international airport. I would say that over 55 per cent of those people speak French and English.

Is the hon. member trying to tell me that if I were a francophone living on the Quebec side and I used the international airport that I should not be entitled to speak to somebody in French?

On the other side there is a correction to the hon. member's comments. The Ottawa international airport not only serves other municipalities across Canada and the United States but it also serves some places in Europe. It is an international airport.

It is our intention to enhance the bilingual services at the Ottawa international airport. My hope is that we will reach a point where every airport in Canada will have the same flexibility and the same kind of services that are now provided at the Ottawa international airport.

I was not born a French or English Canadian. I came to this country a few years ago. I look at it as an enrichment and an honour for me to be able to speak French, English, Arabic and a little bit of Italian. I am working on my Chinese.

If anything we should be moving toward trilingualism in Canada and not just bilingualism. The whole world is moving toward not just one or two but three languages. The hon. member should travel to Europe to see that. In Europe the vast majority of people speak at least two languages.

Is the hon. member suggesting we should deny the majority of the people who live in the national capital region the right to services in French as well as the right of other people in the national capital region to services in English?

Budget Implementation Act, 1994 April 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party and opposition members are trying to really paint a very bleak picture in terms of what is happening in our society in terms of what this government is doing.

One would have to put things into perspective. We have two types of problems in our society. One is what we call a structural problem in terms of the infrastructure as a whole. It would have to be looked at.

The second problem is matter of the spending habits of governments of the past. I would suggest that the budget which was tabled by the Minister of Finance specifically addresses those two issues.

On the notion of government spending we have seen measures in the budget that specifically deal with government spending. It has been the practice of the government that every time we introduce a program we look at ways we could see a cost analysis of it in order to ensure a net benefit for the community as a whole.

On the issue of infrastructure, the structural problems, the Minister of Human Resources Development is undertaking one on the most aggressive reviews of not only the ways we deliver our social programs but the way we handle our youth across Canada as a whole. I commend him for taking this very aggressive initiative along with the Secretary of State for Training and Youth.

Unless we address the whole notion of our educational system, as everybody will know, we are going to continue in this limbo. We are going to continue to see those structural problems in our society. To that end the government has fulfilled its commitment prior to the election of reinstating funding for the literacy secretariat. We now have a capable minister in charge of that ministry.

That in itself does not solve the problem. We can talk all we want in the House but unless we have the elective co-operation of the provincial government as well as of the municipal government we will not be able to move further. The problem is not only in the House. People might think the government can with the stroke of a pen solve a lot of social and economic problems. That is not the case.

To that extent there has been a very proactive approach taken by this government with a minister specifically dedicated to dealing with provincial governments, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. He has undertaken a review in terms of how the government at the federal level does provide the services to the community as a whole. He is having a lot of consultations with other levels of government in order to have a collective approach of providing services to the community as a whole.

The same thing this minister is doing is carried out by all members of cabinet, by all members of the government. Therefore we are quite aware of the fundamental changes that need to be addressed in our society and we have taken action, unlike the previous government which talked and talked and the community did not see tangible action. We are taking action.

Rather than painting a bleak picture in society, the opposition should give credit to the government where credit is due, that this is a government in action.

The Prime Minister on a regular basis, every time he has an opportunity to speak anywhere, has clearly stated that government agencies, departments, ministers and members of Parliament are always on the lookout for ways to save taxpayers' money so at the end of the day we can show the Canadian public that we are taking action by example and at the same time we are serious about seeing the economy turn around.

I say to the hon. member that for better or for worse Canada is on the leading edge of all the big G-7 countries around the world in terms of economic growth. That goes to the credit of both the private sector and the public sector in recognizing the need to work together.

The youth are going to continue to be on the leading edge in terms of the changes that are required. Institutions, federally, provincially and municipally, have to recognize that unless we get to the bottom of the problem, which is the educational system, we are not going to be able to find a long term solution for our economic ills.

To that extent it will only be fair for the opposition to give credit to the cabinet, to the Prime Minister and to the government for taking a leadership role in trying to address the whole fundamental structural problem faced by our society within the area of training, literacy skills, and for that matter working with the provincial level to address the educational problem.

In closing, I am really proud to be part of a government which in a very short time has taken so many aggressive, progressive, dynamic, tangible actions and steps to deal with the ills that have faced society for the past 15 or 20 years.

Not everything is bleak. We still live in the best country in the world. We still have the best social programs in the world. We still have one of the most accessible educational systems in the world.

We want to make it even better. Let us stop telling Canadians that things are so dark, so bad. They are not that bad but they could be a lot better.

This government recognizes the fact that we must reach a minimal level of unemployment. As long as there is one unemployed Canadian the government will continue to work to ensure there is an opportunity for every Canadian.

We will continue to work but it is time for us as parliamentarians from all sides of the House to start working as a team in order to address the difficulties faced by our society.

It is my hope that when this item comes before the House it will receive the unanimous approval of Parliament, that we will all vote and give a strong mandate to the Minister of Finance, and to the government so it can continue to do the excellent work it has begun during the last 115 day or so.

We have to start working in a positive fashion. Canadians have told us they want us to work together. They want to see a team effort in order to address some of the social and economic difficulties and challenges facing our society.

They are sick and tired of seeing the type of bickering that takes place not only in the House but I suggest at all levels among politicians from different political parties. Canadians have told us clearly they want to see positive steps taken by everyone to solve some of the difficulties we are faced with.

To that end the call is out for every member of the House to work together so we can move forward with tangible steps to respond to the needs of Canadians from coast to coast.

I thank my colleagues for their positive comments this morning and it is my hope that they will support the bill before the House.

Young Offenders April 13th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I extend my congratulations to the Ottawa Police Department and Chief Brian Ford for a job well done.

Three offenders were arrested just hours after the recent drive-by shooting in the capital of Canada. Community leaders, business representatives and local police expressed their views at the public safety forum held in my riding last week.

Some of the recommendations were to increase from five to ten years the maximum sentence for a young offender convicted of first degree murder; to create the category of dangerous youth offender, allowing young offenders to be tried in adult court; to increase access to rehabilitation programs for young offenders; to ban all handguns with the exception of police, military, licensed collectors and sport gun club members; to ban the sale of ammunition to minors; to establish a permit system for the purchase of ammunition.

I know that most of these recommendations will be dealt with by our government and my community supports them.

Trade March 25th, 1994

First of all, Mr. Speaker, the Uruguay Round to be signed by April 15 will resolve many of the difficulties encountered from time to time. We hope that the international community will find ways to settle all trade disputes between countries in a positive fashion, by keeping the lines of communication open, encouraging dialogue and avoiding controversy between the United States, Japan and the other countries.

Trade March 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, with Canada-U.S. trade registering over $260 million a year, it is obvious that we will have trade disputes from time to time.

As far as Super 301 is concerned, senior Canadian officials have already conveyed our position on this issue to the United States. For now, we will continue to communicate with them in a positive way and we hope to reach a common solution.

Reverend Brian Weatherdon March 23rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, Reverend Brian Weatherdon, the respected, hard working and loyal associate minister of St. Andrew's Church, has recently been called to a new ministry in Hamilton.

During the five years Brian has ministered in Ottawa he has played a key leadership role in advancing important issues such as the fight against child poverty and the organization of nutrition programs for families in need. He was also very instrumental in helping me to establish National Child Day.

His enthusiasm and his dedication to his congregation and the Ottawa community have been exceptional.

Brian will leave behind countless accomplishments, memories and friends. I along with many others am sad to see Brian leave. He can be very proud of the meaningful contributions he has made to this community.

On Easter Sunday, Brian will take up his new duties as the minister at MacNab Street Presbyterian Church in downtown Hamilton.

I would like to inform the members from the Hamilton area that a very remarkable and generous man will soon be in their neighbourhood.

Canadian Foreign Policy March 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member on his comments, many of which this government subscribes to in the sense that from time to time we have to revisit any policies in order to ensure they truly reflect the modern age and the needs and aspirations of all those who are affected.

My question to the member is quite specific. Could he tell the House and all Canadians what percentage of assistance his side of the House would support in terms of gross domestic product, in terms of foreign aid that Canada should give to other countries around the world, taking into consideration Canada's position internationally as a member of the United Nations where we have a commitment to fulfil when it comes to the international scene? Also, would his party support the continuation of that level of aid?