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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

Criminal Code March 15th, 2001

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-300, an act to amend the Criminal Code (wearing of war decorations).

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to present the bill. It has taken four years of development. The process was very lengthy because of the involvement of a great number of players at various levels, from the highest level to the community level, in composing, rectifying and making the necessary changes to the bill.

It is a bill insofar as intent is concerned is very similar to one that was presented earlier this week in the House. However the legislative legal clerks of the House of Commons have indicated that the bill I am presenting is far more comprehensive and all encompassing and has some very unique characteristics. Therefore I am presenting it today.

The purpose of this enactment is to allow relatives of deceased or incapacitated veterans to wear on Remembrance Day at a public function or ceremony commemorating veterans, or in a circumstance prescribed by cabinet, any order, decoration or medal listed in the Canadian orders, declaration and medals directive of October 25, 1990, that is awarded to such veterans for war services, without facing criminal sanctions.

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

Mental Illness Awareness Week October 6th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House and all Canadians that October 2 to 8 is Mental Illness Awareness Week.

This national public education campaign was launched in 1992 with the objective of de-stigmatizing mental illness, providing information on mental illnesses and their treatment and promoting public discussion and informed decision making about mental illness. The motto of Mental Illness Awareness Week is “Let's unmask mental illness”.

According to Statistics Canada, one in eight Canadians will be hospitalized for mental illnesses, such as major depression, thus impacting substantially on the lives of those affected.

Mental Illness Awareness Week provides an opportunity for Canadians to increase their awareness and understanding of mental illnesses and overcome the stigma often faced by persons with mental illness.

Let us all join in wishing those organizations every success.

Canada Transportation Act June 14th, 2000

Madam Speaker, I rise today to address Motions Nos. 2, 3, 5 and 6 put forward by the member for Brandon—Souris and the member for Lethbridge.

Motions Nos. 2 and 3 seek to add a new definition of shipper to the Canada Transportation Act. One proposed definition states:

“shipper”, in respect of a contract for the movement of grain, means the person who is identified as the shipper on the bill of lading.

The other states that a shipper means the person responsible for transferring the grain to the carrier. Let me point out that there is already a definition of shipper in the current transportation act. The act already defines the shipper as a person who sends or receives goods by means of a carrier or intends to do so.

In Bill C-34 the government did not change that definition. If we were to accept the proposed definitions, we would end up having two definitions of shippers in the act. Similar motions were debated at committee stage and were not supported.

Adding a special definition for grain shippers would be confusing, should an interested party wish to file a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency. It seems that this is a back door attempt to get at the issue of the Canadian Wheat Board's transportation role.

Let me say that the Canadian Wheat Board's transportation role is being addressed through a memorandum of understanding that was shared with the Standing Committee on Transport last week. A memorandum of understanding is a document to be signed by the minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board and the Canadian Wheat Board itself.

The MOU reflects the government's decision, which was made after very careful consideration of the recommendations made by Mr. Justice Estey and Mr. Kroeger, and the extensive feedback from many stakeholders. The changes move to a more commercially based system involving tendering while at the same time addressing the concerns of producers about the ability of the wheat board to successfully fulfil its marketing mandate.

Motion No. 5 states that if there is a conflict between the Canada Transportation Act or any regulations made under this act and any other act that applies to the movement of grain, or any regulations made under that other act, the Canada Transportation Act prevails.

I draw attention to subsection 4(1) of the Canada Transportation Act. This section already addresses the issue of conflicts between orders or regulations made under the Canada Transportation Act and orders or regulations made under any other act in respect of a particular mode of transportation. The Canada Transportation Act states that the order or regulation made under the Canada Transportation Act shall prevail. I believe that this is once again an effort to change the government's policy decision on the transportation role of the Canadian Wheat Board.

As for Motion No. 6, it would preclude the Canadian Wheat Board from entering into contracts with the railways for the movement of grain, beginning no later than July 31, 2005. The Canadian Wheat Board's transportation role has been covered in the memorandum of understanding.

As part of its decision on grain handling and transportation, the government will establish a mechanism of continuous monitoring, measurement and reporting to provide information to the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board on the impact of these reforms and the overall performance of the reformed grain handling and transportation system. Should the monitor identify any problems or opportunities to improve the system further, the government will be in a position to act. I do not support the motions as presented.

Highway Construction June 9th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I would like to announce to the House that negotiations have been ongoing for a lengthy period of time, with the co-operation of all transport ministers and governments from each and every province, on the development of a national highway policy.

Airline Industry June 7th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, what this government is prepared to do is to adhere to the regulations and to the statutes in Bill C-26. We guarantee that the statements and conditions within that bill will be adhered to.

I am hopeful and positive that resolutions will take place to cater to the needs of the travelling public in the months ahead.

Supply May 30th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I am a bit surprised and shocked by the comments which the member for St. John's East has presented to this House regarding the ferry service. He knows very well that this government has gone full speed ahead, has increased capacity and has leased a larger vessel. We will have a brand new vessel crossing the strait next year. We are dealing with the huge problem of capacity. Millions of dollars have already been devoted to that service.

I want to go back to the comment the member made pertaining to the freezing of the rates, and even the lowering of the rates.

The rates are determined by a multitude of factors, which are cost factors, such as the depreciation of the vessel, labour costs, fringe benefits, maintenance and landing fees. I could go on and on. Collectively, those result in what we call a fee per customer.

What the member is recommending is that this whole host of costs be frozen. I would ask the member if he and his party are recommending cost controls, cost freezes and the freezing of all prices in his province.

Supply May 30th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the two NDP members and the specific examples they gave regarding the kinds of problems in our transportation network.

We must keep in mind that we are talking about a network that is composed of thousands of components. One of the most crucial components besides the federal government is the provincial governments.

I would like to hear from the NDP representatives the definition of co-operation to which they keep referring, the co-operation of the federal government with the provincial government. How in their policy would they be able to get provincial input into their so-called co-operative model and liaison with provincial governments if the provincial governments have only one track or one goal in mind, would like to have everything their way and no other way is acceptable to them?

Questions On The Order Paper May 19th, 2000

(a) The list price of the vessel, the Stena Challenger, was $60 million CDN, firm and final. However, it appears that Marine Atlantic, MAI, was able to negotiate a $2 million reduction on this price, for a final cost of $58 million. The vessel is also subject to a 25% foreign vessel import duty and 15% harmonized sales tax, HST, on the purchase price, for an additional combined cost of approximately $25 million.

(b) MAI followed an open and trasparent process in selecting its vessel. Early in the fall, MAI carried out some initial market research on the availability of vessels. Subsequent to receiving formal direction to negotiate on the purchase of a vessel and to maximize market coverage, MAI proceeded with an invitation to tender, ITT, to secure firm offers from brokers.

In their vessel search, MAI went to the market and researched over 40 vessels that were suggested by shipbrokers. Analysis was done on the suitability, cost and capacity of the vessels. A short list of six vessels that appeared to be reasonable candidates for the gulf service was developed. In November of 1999, a technical team was sent to Europe to inspect the six vessels.

In december 1999, with a desire to proceed with a transparent selection process, MAI issued an ITT to maximize market coverage and to secure firm offers. Using previously developed criteria, an assessment team composed of MAI personnel and a naval architect from Public Works and Government Services Canada, PWGSC, formed a short list of three candidate vessels; a night ferry, a day ferry and a Ro-Pax, from the 27 vessels offered by brokers through the ITT. Of the three vessels, one was subsequently removed due to its advancing age, high price and lack of adequate head room for commercial traffic. The two remaining vessels, owned by the same company, were deemed to meet price, condition and capacity requirements. Of these two, the Stena Challenger was chosen by MAI as best meeting their fleet requirements.

(c) Twenty-one brokers from around the globe submitted a list of vessels in response to MAI's ITT. To avoid the issue of multiple brokers claiming the same vessel, MAI requested that the brokers provide a letter of acknowledgement from the seller, identifying them as the preferred broker on any particular vessel. The Stena Challenger, was submitted by Brax Shipping AB of Gothenburg, Sweden, along with the appropriate letter of acknowledgement from Stena Lines.

(d) The Stena Challenger is nine years old. Constructed in 1991, it will be the youngest vessel in MAI's fleet.

(e) The Stena Challenger was built in Norway by the Fosen Mek Versteder Shipyard.

(f) The Challenger had undergone a refit prior to being purchased by MAI and will require only minor modifications. This work will likely be carried out just prior to the vessel being put into service on the gulf in 2001 after the current lease contract has expired. No decision has been made yet as to which facility will be used to carry out the upgrade.

(g) Having recently undergone a refit, MAI anticipates that very little upgrading will be required to the Challenger and would involve such things as the installation of additional seating, Canadian approved safety equipment and new signage. Most of the work is minor in nature and it is expected that is should be completed within a month to six weeks of receiving the vessel.

(h) MAI estimates that it will cost $2 million to bring this vessel up to Canadian standards, however, registration and vessel survey and inspection fees are included in this amount. Actual modifications and upgrade expenses are estimated to cost in the range of $1.3 million.

(i) No, the vessel has only been registered under the name the Stena Challenger.

National Highways May 19th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated already, negotiations are going on. What is essential here is that a national highway policy emerge as quickly as possible with the co-operation of all the partners, which means that all the provincial governments must be willing to contribute and take a very active role in partnership with the federal government to develop a national highway system.

National Highways May 19th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, the critic from the opposition party is quite aware of the fact that over the years we have had a multitude of individual contracts on a regional basis between the federal and provincial governments. Many of those contracts have already expired. Some of them are still in existence. The question that he has raised pertains to that type of procedure for dealing with safety and efficiency features on our highways within our provinces.