House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was energy.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Timiskaming—Cochrane (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 62% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Bilingualism February 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I want to address statements made in the House on numerous occasions by the hon. Leader of the Official Opposition.

The hon. member often refers to our country being divided in two, with Quebec on one side and English Canada on the other, thus implying that Quebec is French only and the rest of Canada is English only.

I believe this is an injustice and an insult to the 20 per cent of Quebecers who are not of French origin; to the over one million francophones outside Quebec; and as well to the 35 per cent of Canadians who are neither of French or English origin.

I call on the hon. Leader of the Opposition to respect all Canadians of all origins and to please refrain from making such statements in the future.

Supply February 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I want to make a comment in support of what my colleague from Burin-St. George's has been saying for the past 10 or 15 minutes. Let me relate a little experience I had during the campaign.

Repeatedly the polls in my riding said that people were in favour of capital punishment by 80 or 85 per cent. Throughout the campaign I was asked about 50 times whether if I was elected to Parliament, would I support my constituents and vote according to the majority and for capital punishment. My answer was no, that I was against capital punishment on a matter of principle and I would not vote for capital punishment. I said that if they felt strongly enough about this issue, they had one choice, not to vote for me.

Lo and behold when the ballot box came in, I had 60 per cent of the votes. If my arithmetic is right, even if I had the whole 20 per cent of the people who are against capital punishment voting for me-I doubt that because a lot of them are NDP-I still had 40 per cent of the people who are for capital punishment.

I feel I have a mandate to come in the House and make my own decision and vote against capital punishment. This is real democracy.

Mining February 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Natural Resources.

On February 10 the bodies of the two miners who had been trapped underground at the Macassa Mine in Kirkland Lake were recovered. These men died as a result of a severe rockburst that occurred on November 26, 1993. Unfortunately such occurrences happen all too frequently and are extremely difficult to predict and to prevent.

Is the minister prepared to allocate funding toward research and study of rockburst occurrences in order to reduce or prevent such tragedies in the future?

Prince Edward Island Fixed Link February 15th, 1994

I am glad that they applaud when I talk about separation and independence, because I see that you are sending a clear, unambiguous message: Quebec independence is what you want, not Quebec sovereignty. I am glad to see the reaction of my hon. colleagues in the Bloc Quebecois.

They have that knack and I see the rationalization they used for approving this project. They said, "Because there was a plebiscite in Prince Edward Island, we must respect the will of the people". They draw a parallel with a future referendum in Quebec. I would like to make a distinction.

The project in question is a bridge, a link, something to unite Canada and build Canada, something constructive. The eventual referendum in Quebec is a plan to destroy bridges and ties in this country. These people do not want a constitutional amendment; they want the outright destruction of our country, and I will never agree to that.

Prince Edward Island Fixed Link February 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, first, I would like to congratulate the members of the Official Opposition, the Bloc Quebecois, on the facility with which they turn any subject discussed here in the House to their advantage and bring it around to the only debate that concerns them, their only goal and objective, which is independence and the separation of Quebec.

Macassa Gold Mine February 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the bodies of Robert Sheldon and Leonce Verrier were recovered from the Macassa gold mine in Kirkland Lake, 6,000 feet below ground level. The two miners had been trapped underground since November 26, 1993 when a rockburst occurred at the mine.

On behalf of all members of the House I want to extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends, as well as to the communities of Kirkland Lake and Matachewan. To Robert Sheldon's wife, Susan, and sons Robert Jr. and Cory, and to Leonce Verrier's wife, Darlene, and daughters Céline, Lise and Nancy, I offer my prayers in this difficult time.

To all miners across the country I pledge to try to secure funding to research and study how to prevent these occurrences in the future. I salute the courage of these men and women who risk their lives every time they go underground in order to support their families.

Supply February 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to congratulate the hon. member for St. Albert and go back to a particular point that he raised in his comments about CIDA.

First of all, I would like to point out that I agree with the foreign aid policies of the Canadian government. I think that it is the tradition in Canada to assist those countries which are less fortunate.

However I agree with the member for St. Albert that there are better ways of using foreign aid. We are sending hundreds of millions of dollars to foreign countries with no accountability

whatsoever. There is no follow up. We do not know where this money is going. Often I believe it is going to buy a limousine for some local politician. I have an idea of how we can better use that money. I would like the advice of the member for St. Albert on it to see if he agrees with me.

We are spending hundreds of millions of dollars helping agriculture in Russia and the east bloc countries. Many of Canada's institutions are not being used. In Timiskaming-French River there is the New Liskeard College of Agricultural Technology. The provincial government is closing it in May. We have state of the art facilities there. We have the academics and the infrastructure.

Instead of sending millions of dollars to foreign countries why not use some of that foreign aid money to bring people to Canada and make use of our facilities by teaching them new skills. They could then return to their countries with new skills and technology.

We would accomplish two things. We would pursue the aims and objectives of helping those nations feed themselves and it would improve our exports because we could sell new technologies and skills to those countries.

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements And Federal Post-Secondary Education And Health Contributions Act February 9th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I would first of all like to thank the member for Capilano-Howe Sound for his comments. However, I must tell you that I do not share his opinions. To avoid any confusion, I would say to the hon. member that, although I am seated on this side of the House and speak French, I am not a Bloc Quebecois member. I am one of the millions of francophones outside Quebec who consider Canada, including Quebec, as their country.

Nevertheless, Madam Speaker, I have one thing in common with my colleague here from the Bloc; like him, I am puzzled too. From the beginning, since this House opened, I have heard the Reform Party with its far-right agenda telling us that we should not spend money to help the regions, we should not subsidize small business. Implicit in that is that people are poor through their own fault, because they want to be poor.

I also deplore the debate on equalization turning into a battle between Quebec and the rest of Canada. Very little is said about the other provinces like New Brunswick and Newfoundland. I think that the equalization program is unique; it helps define us as Canadians.

It is a program whereby the richer regions help the less well-off regions. I am from northern Ontario and I can tell you that our unemployment rate is probably higher than anywhere in Quebec. In some regions like Kirkland Lake, for example, it is 40 per cent.

That being said, I do not care whether my money is used to help people in Quebec, New Brunswick or Newfoundland. That is what Canada is all about.

In the morning, the people in the Reform Party tell us that we absolutely must keep small rural post offices open, and I agree with that because it is a kind of regional development. We can keep our small post offices open because people elsewhere in the country subsidize them and I fully agree with that.

What I do not understand is that in the morning, they ask us to do it, but in the afternoon, they tell us to cancel these programs. I would like to know what the Reform Party really wants on this.

Gasoline Prices January 31st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all residents of northern Ontario I want to protest vehemently the outrageous gasoline prices in our region.

While the price of crude oil has fallen from $20 to $14 a barrel in the last few months, we in northern Ontario are still paying as much as 62 cents a litre compared to a low of 42 cents in southern Ontario. Transportation costs cannot justify this price discrepancy. It costs only 3 cents a litre to transport gasoline in the north.

Is there collusion among the big oil companies to fix gasoline prices in northern Ontario? These immoral business practices cost over $1,500 more for our farmers and hundreds of thousands of dollars more for our school boards and municipalities.

I find it totally unacceptable. I call upon the big oil companies to allow the price of gasoline in the north to fall in line with those in the south and more fairly reflect the international crude price of oil.

Mining January 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on November 26, 1993 a serious rock burst occurred at the Maccassa mine in Kirkland Lake, trapping two miners underground and injuring many others. To this date recovery efforts have not been successful and the two miners are still missing. With each passing day chances of finding these two men alive become less and less likely.

Such tragedies are unfortunately a common occurrence in our mining communities. I would like the families of these two miners and the communities of Kirkland Lake, Larder Lake, Virginiatown and Matachewan to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them.

This government is committed to participate in further studies on how to prevent and anticipate these rock burst occurrences which are the major cause of mining fatalities.