House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was program.

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

Won his last election, in 2000, with 51% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Member for Ottawa South May 12th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to say farewell.

Might I say that I have never lost the sense of awe and privilege that I felt the very first time that I entered this chamber.

I came here with the conviction that a good government can be a force and a constructive tool for Canadians, and that our country can provide a unique example to the world. My view has not changed.

I have served in this place as Minister of Industry, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance, and as Deputy Prime Minister, great privileges bestowed by a prime minister to whom I shall always be grateful. But the greatest privilege was bestowed by the voters of Ottawa South who on four occasions entrusted me to take my seat in this place.

There is a time for every purpose under the heaven and I have other purposes to fulfill. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their sacrifice and commitment, and my family for their love, encouragement and tolerance.

May God continue to bless Canada.

Finance November 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, again, I do not take his estimate of any costs seriously.

When he makes these exaggerated claims about the cost of programs, he undermines any credibility he might have had otherwise.

In the meantime, the record of our government has been that we have paid down sufficient debt that we have actually freed up $3 billion in funds that were otherwise going to be spent paying interest costs to be used in other programs. That is a good record.

Finance November 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I cannot take any of his estimates of the cost of anything seriously.

We had remarkable success this year in spite of the fact that we had a series of difficult situations to deal with, natural disasters as well as human tragedies.

Notwithstanding all of that, we were able to forecast again this year a seventh consecutive surplus. That provides the government with true options.

The Economy November 5th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the unemployed do not pay into the fund, they receive benefits from it. So it is not a tax on the unemployed.

As hon. members are well aware, we are currently engaged in public consultations on the employment insurance fund. There will be changes for 2005, and revenue will more or less offset benefits paid out.

The Economy November 5th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, when we were elected we found that the then UI fund was in deficit. It was left that way by the Progressive Conservative Party. We also found the general accounts of the country in a $38 billion deficit, left that way by the Progressive Conservative Party.

Just a couple of weeks ago, a new Liberal government was elected in the province of Ontario, succeeding a Conservative government that claimed a balanced budget, and the new government found a $5.6 billion deficit.

I do not need to take lessons from those people about what a surplus is and what a deficit is.

The Economy November 5th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, we run a surplus or a deficit based on revenues minus expenditures. We are the only country in the G-7 that can say we are running a surplus and, this year, for the seventh year in a row.

I know that the hon. member likes to make light of this, but it is a very important achievement. It is an achievement of all Canadians. Canadians should be proud of what they have accomplished.

Equalization Payments November 5th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, we cannot say this because there is a formula. The situation changes from year to year, when the provinces post their economic performances. This year, there were changes in demographics and also in Ontario's economic performance. This narrowed the gap between Ontario and the other provinces.

I admit that this is a rather complicated formula. However, I believe there have been very few changes to the formula since its implementation, and it is working extremely well. We have proposed improvements, which we are currently discussing with the provinces.

Equalization Payments November 5th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, there are no cuts. There will be a problem if we do not have the authority to pay equalization in April. The Bloc has shown opposition to this.

However, it is important to understand that there is a formula, and as the Prime Minister said, sometimes the payments to the provinces are increased and sometimes they are decreased.

Without a formula, however, there is no way anyone can agree that the situation is completely balanced with regard to each province. Consequently, the formula works quite well.

Equalization Payments November 5th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is well aware that this is a long-standing formula. When the numbers change, the formula is affected.

I discussed this with Mr. S├ęguin yesterday. We are now trying to work on some improvements to the equalization formula.

Incidentally, I would really like to be able to make the equalization payments, something to which the Bloc Quebecois was opposed yesterday, when March 31 comes around.

Minister of Finance November 4th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I did not go on a trip with the Canadian brewers. It was not a private boat; it was a rented boat. As is usual with a group of friends, we each paid one quarter of the costs. The exact amount I paid is no one's business but my own.