House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was transportation.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Thunder Bay—Atikokan (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Information Technology September 25th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been eager to adopt and make use of new technologies. We are increasingly turning to the Internet for government services, information and education, and to keep in touch with friends and family around the globe.

A study released yesterday by the Geneva based International Telecommunications Union found that Canada is now one of the most connected nations in the world.

Our government has pledged Internet access for all Canadian communities by 2005. One way we are doing this is the Broadband for Rural and Northern Development pilot program, which makes high speed Internet access available to communities where service does not already exist.

Thanks to the Liberal government's vision and ongoing commitment, Canadians across the country are able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Internet.

Davis Cup September 23rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have reason to be proud today. Yesterday, 18 year old Frank Dancevic from Niagara Falls, Ontario defeated Brazilian Flavio Saretta and in doing so, led Canada to a 3:2 Davis Cup victory over Brazil. This is the first time in over 10 years that Canada has moved on to the World Group in Davis Cup play.

What is even more impressive is that Dancevic, a 10 time junior champion, was a last minute fill-in, called on to replace Canadian veteran Daniel Nestor. This is a great achievement for Canadian sport and these athletes are role models for all Canadians.

We wish Simon Larose, Frank Dancevic, Frederic Niemeyer and Daniel Nestor the greatest success as they prepare for next year's battle of the elite 16 team World Group.

Northern Ontario September 16th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on behalf of the people of northwestern Ontario to offer condolences to the many people who have suffered tragic losses as a result of two separate airplane crashes in northern Ontario last week.

The community of Nibinamik lost seven community members, including three elected band council members, on September 11, 2003, in the rugged and isolated bush north of Thunder Bay. The close-knit community of roughly 350 people is now struggling to cope with this terrible loss. Wasaya Airways also lost a pilot in this incident.

In a separate incident, two people believed to be from British Columbia were also lost north of Thunder Bay.

As the family and friends of the deceased struggle to deal with their losses, it is important that we understand that they are in our thoughts and in our prayers. In times such as these, northerners have a way of caring for each other, and the response in the region has been overwhelming. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank--

Natural Resources May 15th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, our future as a healthy, prosperous and sustainable society depends upon using all of our natural resources wisely. My question is for the Minister of Natural Resources.

What is the Government of Canada doing to ensure that Canadians will continue to benefit from our valuable mineral resources which provide us with so much?

Hearing Awareness Month May 15th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House and all Canadians that May has been designated Hearing Awareness Month by the Hearing Foundation of Canada.

One in every ten Canadians is profoundly affected by hearing loss. If we transfer those statistics to the House of Commons where there are 301 members, approximately 30 members of the House of Commons would be suffering from acute deafness. I sometimes think it is far greater than 30. Six in every 1,000 babies born in Canada have hearing loss.

Since 1979 the Hearing Foundation of Canada has raised millions of dollars to support services for deaf, deafened and hard of hearing Canadians.

The Hearing Foundation of Canada urges Canadians to join in the fight against hearing loss by avoiding overexposure to noise, wearing hearing protection and donating to medical research.

I ask all hon. members to please join me in wishing the Hearing Foundation of Canada a successful Hearing Awareness Month.

World Red Cross Day May 8th, 2003

Madam Speaker, today is World Red Cross Day, celebrated by national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies worldwide.

The Canadian Red Cross is a non-profit, humanitarian organization dedicated to improving the situation of the most vulnerable in Canada and throughout the world. All Canadian Red Cross programs and activities are guided by the fundamental principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. These principles allow it to provide help immediately to whoever needs it, wherever they are, whatever their race, political beliefs, religion, social status or culture.

In Canada, the Red Cross provides a wide range of assistance to millions of people through national disaster relief, first aid, water safety and abuse prevention programs.

We would like to declare today, May 8, World Red Cross Day.

Kyoto Protocol December 2nd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I understand and appreciate the kinds of concerns that have been raised. Those concerns have been raised time and again in the House in regard to how various groups and individuals, especially in certain occupations and certain regions of the country, are going to be affected.

However, what we have to ask ourselves is: What is going to affect them? We really do not know right now what the creative minds of the country will create in the next 20 years to cope with the kinds of problems that I and other members have been talking about. There is much that could be done. When it comes to producing energy, we are just at the beginning. Once we start rolling, we will find the creative minds of this world producing strategies, instruments, techniques and so forth that will drastically and dramatically change lifestyles, occupations and so forth, not only in Canada but all over the world.

However, there is one fact--

Kyoto Protocol December 2nd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, the comments that have been presented are interesting. Yes, a lot of those facts are well known. When we study the history of climate, the history of this continent of ours and the history of the world, we can find isolated incidents such as the heat waves in the 1930s and the dust bowls in central North America such as those that occurred in the United States and in the Prairie provinces. There is no doubt that we can isolate those kind of events.

However, this is not what I am concerned about. I am concerned about the overall and overwhelming evidence of a consistent, ongoing, consecutive pattern that is emerging now on a more frequent basis than ever in the history of the globe. Those concerns, plus all the other factors regarding those forms of behaviour, the machinery, the agricultural practices and a host of other causes that help to create the kind of atmosphere which we have to cope with at the present time, raise the level of concern among the intelligent people of the world who know that something has to be done. We cannot put our heads in the sand and bury ourselves there because there was a heat wave in 1935.

Kyoto Protocol December 2nd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, over the last few days there has been a lot of rhetoric from both sides of the House. The content of much of that rhetoric dealt with the economics of the implementation of the Kyoto agreement over the next few years.

There is something far more important than the holy dollar with regard to this issue and that is the well-being and the health of my fellow Canadians. My remarks concern an aspect of the climate change issue that has not received much attention lately.

In fact, I suggest that consideration of this part of the climate change issue might be the most compelling reason for us to take appropriate action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. As there is little or no dispute about the fact that greenhouse gases are profoundly changing the global climate, we now understand that there will be a broad range of direct and indirect impacts on our health and our well-being.

We will have more frequent and severe extreme weather events, such as tornadoes, ice storms, floods, heat waves, droughts and the smog episodes that we find so common in our major metropolitan areas. A warming climate in Canada could also mean increased water-borne contamination and an influx of more vector-borne infectious diseases. We also know that many of the pollutants causing global warming are also involved in the thinning of the ozone layer, allowing more harmful ultraviolet radiation to reach the earth's surface.

Some Canadians, especially children, the elderly and the poor, will feel these impacts more than others. Different regions of the country, the north for example, will likely be affected much more than other areas. In fact, climate change is already having an effect on natural ecosystems, communities and cultures in all parts of Canada's north.

We need only look at the Winnipeg River flood of 1997 and the Quebec-Ontario ice storm of 1998 for compelling evidence of the severe impact that climatic events can have on the health and well-being of Canadians and their communities. The toll of the 1998 ice storm was fantastic. Over 600,000 people had to be evacuated and 28 deaths and 940 injuries occurred. The Red River flood resulted in the evacuation of 25,000 people from their homes.

A recent study by researchers at Health Canada, published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health and entitled “Potential impacts of global warming and climate change on the epidemiology of zoonotic diseases in Canada”, has given us an idea of what we can expect to confront us in terms of infectious diseases as a result of global warming. The study warns that viral illnesses such as encephalitis and E. coli have the potential to become increasingly common in Canada as climate change allows for increases in the population of rats, mosquitoes and other infection-carrying vermin.

It further warns that heavy rainfalls and rapid snow melts have the potential to transmit more bacteria such as E. coli into our drinking water. The report also suggests the possibility of an increase in Lyme disease, which can result in chronic arthritis, nervous system disorders and debilitation. A warmer climate could result in a rise in the number of ticks that transmit Lyme disease and in the mice and small mammals that act as its hosts, to help the illness thrive in Canada.

These effects will also bring with them economic costs, such as costs to our health care systems, to our social support systems and to our productivity as a country. The Ontario Medical Association has said that poor air quality costs more than $1 billion a year in hospital admissions, emergency room visits and absenteeism, in Ontario alone.

By creating the conditions that increase the development of smog, climate change could actually increase these costs in the future, and this says nothing about the economic costs to Canadians associated with the impacts on their health from extreme weather events, declining water quality, more infectious diseases and other changes we can expect.

There is no question that a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will improve the health of Canadians by reducing the other pollutants that cause illnesses such as asthma and cardiac failure. Reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases by switching to cleaner power sources not only supports international efforts to tackle the problem of global warming, but will necessarily reduce the discharge of toxic pollutants, which translates into cleaner air and water and, ultimately, better health for all Canadians.

Yes, much research has to be done in this area. For example, many of our communities in Canada are one industry communities such as paper mill towns. More study has to be done to see if there is any relation between the toxic materials and the pollutants emitted from the paper making process and the high level of cancer that we find in many of these communities. For instance, in northwestern Ontario some of those communities that we call paper mill towns have cancer rates that are higher than the provincial average and much higher than the national average.

We must take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but that is not all we must do. Since climate change is already occurring, we must also take steps to prepare our public health system to reduce its impacts. We must do this because we have a duty to protect the health and well-being of Canadians and because of the economic impact that climate change will have on our health care system and the productivity of our workers.

We must develop contingency plans for outbreaks of new or re-emerging diseases. We must ensure that we have shelters for the poor, the elderly and the homeless as an escape from the heat. We need to enhance our emergency preparedness and response capabilities. We must protect the quality of our drinking water from severe weather events. Also, we must make Canadians more aware of these health threats and what they can do to avoid them.

I am proud to say that the Government of Canada is working with the public health community across the country to prepare for climate change. There is much to be done. We need to better understand the challenges ahead and develop actions to address these challenges. Preparing now will be more protective of human health and less costly than responding to emergencies as they occur.

There is a long path ahead for scientists, public health professionals, governments and individuals to address the impacts of climate change on the health of Canadians. In the end, we must work together as a country to ensure that no one region and no one vulnerable group suffers disproportionately from the effects of climate change.

Foreign Affairs November 27th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa.

In light of his recent visit to Cuba, I and the people of Canada would like to know the present status of the relationship between the Government of Canada and the government of Cuba?