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

Natural Resources February 26th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, as the Deputy Prime Minister just said, there are no formal negotiations at this point. However, I can assure the House and the hon. member that in all the trade agreements that we have signed with foreign countries, we have always protected the needs of Canadians, whether it is water or any other resource, and we will continue to do so.

Natural Resources February 26th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, Canada and the United States have long had very amicable trade relations.

Today, the minister is going to ensure—and we have been very clear about this—that in any negotiation or agreement with any country, Canada's sovereignty and needs will always be paramount and defended as such.

Mining October 19th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I wish to express my congratulations to the finance minister for his outstanding economic statement. The mining industry is thankful for the introduction of a federal tax credit for flow through share investors. It will stimulate the upfront financing of junior mining exploration projects all over northern Ontario and Canada.

Exploration spending will result in the discovery of new mines, which in turn will create jobs and result in billions of dollars in new investment and export revenues. The constituents of Timiskaming—Cochrane, the mining industry and I all believe natural resources will continue to be the building blocks of our economy in the 21st century. I thank the finance minister for his support.

The Environment October 17th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, the government must strike a balance between our environmental goals and job creation and economic development. We believe it is very important to save 300 jobs for Canadians.

Eldorado Nuclear Limited Reorganization And Divestiture Act September 28th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I rise to address the House on second reading of Bill C-39, an act to amend the Eldorado Nuclear Limited Reorganization and Divestiture Act and the Petro-Canada Public Participation Act.

I am pleased to be bringing this piece of legislation before the House at this time. Canada's economy is booming, due in no small part to the strong performance of Canada's resource industries. Today the energy, mining, forestry, geomatics and related industries account for 11% of Canada's gross domestic product. They directly employ 780,000 Canadians and account for 22% of new capital investment in the country. The sector had $97 billion in exports in 1998 and is the economic lifeblood of more than 600 communities across the country.

Canadian resource companies are showing that not only can they succeed in the knowledge based economy, but they are a dynamic and vital element of the new economy. Canadian resource companies are investing $35 billion per year in new capital, and average productivity growth is three times higher in the resources sector than in the rest of the economy. The policies implemented by the government are helping to ensure that Canada's resource industries remain competitive and continue to underpin our economic prosperity.

I am proud of the government's record on natural resources, but I am also convinced that we can never take a prosperous resource sector for granted. We must strive for continuous improvement. As we enter the new millennium, I believe Canada must become and remain the world's smartest natural resources steward, developer, user and exporter—the most high tech, the most environmentally friendly, the most socially responsible, the most productive and competitive—leading the world as a living model of sustainable development.

Consistent with this vision, it is important that Canadian resource companies have the ability to make strategic decisions and better position themselves in the domestic and global marketplace. With that in mind, I am proposing legislative amendments that will allow two of our major performers in the natural resources sector, Cameco Corporation and Petro-Canada, to continue their record of economic growth and environmental stewardship.

Hon. members are familiar with these companies. Canada is the world's largest producer and exporter of uranium, and Cameco is the dominant Canadian company, accounting for about 25% of both global uranium production and the western world's uranium conversion services capacity.

At one time both companies were crown corporations, fully owned by taxpayers. As hon. members are aware, this is no longer the case. The Government of Canada sold all its shares in Cameco by 1995. Although the government currently holds 18% of Petro-Canada's shares, it does not influence the management of the company.

At the time of privatization certain ownership restrictions were placed on both companies, but the energy sector is a dynamic sector and the market has evolved significantly over the past decade. While these restrictions were implemented for good reason, some have outlived their usefulness and are now preventing these companies from taking advantage of new business opportunities.

Officials of Cameco and Petro-Canada have repeatedly asked for changes in these ownership restrictions, which they view as unfair, since they do not apply to other companies in their respective industries. After careful review our government has determined that these arguments have merit.

Through Bill C-39 we are taking action to give Petro-Canada and Cameco greater freedom to grow and compete in the global market on a more level playing field with their competitors, while ensuring decisions will still be made in Canada.

The goal of Bill C-39 is to remove unnecessary restrictions that are limiting the ability of these companies to attract new investment capital and forge new strategic alliances, good alliances. Specifically the legislation proposes to modify existing restrictions on the ownership of shares and the disposal of assets in the Petro-Canada Public Participation Act. We are also proposing to amend the share ownership provisions of the Eldorado Nuclear Limited Reorganization and Divestiture Act, which governs Cameco.

In the case of Petro-Canada, Bill C-39 will increase the limit on the individual ownership of shares from 10% to 20%. We are proposing to eliminate the 25% limit on the quantity of shares that can be collectively owned by non-residents of Canada. In other words, there will be no foreign ownership restrictions for Petro-Canada.

In the case of Cameco, Bill C-39 will ease but not completely eliminate the current foreign ownership restrictions. The limit on individual non-resident share ownership will be increased by 10%, to a maximum of 15%. The ownership limit for an individual Canadian shareholder will remain at 25%. Under Bill C-39, the cap on total non-resident ownership of Cameco will move to 25% of the company's shares from the current 20%.

I assure hon. members that these proposed changes are intended strictly to give Cameco and Petro-Canada increased agility and better global positioning. Bill C-39 will not affect Canadian control of these companies.

As I have said, the restrictions on foreign ownership of Cameco will be loosened, although not totally done away with. The legislation will continue to require Cameco's head office to be located in Saskatchewan and for the majority of its directors to be Canadian residents. This will ensure that Cameco remains under Canadian control.

It is true that Bill C-39 will result in the elimination of restrictions on foreign participation in the case of Petro-Canada. A number of factors, however, will ensure that this major national will remain Canadian.

First of all, the 20% limit on individual ownership of voting shares in Petro-Canada will prevent a takeover by a major multinational. Then, as in the case of Cameco, the legislation will require the headquarters of Petro-Canada to be located in Canada—in Calgary, in this case—and the majority of its directors to be Canadian residents.

Finally Petro-Canada has more or less reoriented its activities to concentrate on off-shore resources in the Atlantic region and on the oil sands, both of which are essentially Canadian resources.

Bill C-39 will amend the provisions of the Petro-Canada Public Participation Act that govern the disposal of Petro-Canada assets. Specifically, the provision preventing Petro-Canada from disposing, particularly by sale or transfer, of all or substantially all of its commercial or production assets will be replaced by a similar one which makes no distinction between the two types of assets. Petro-Canada will thus benefit from more latitude in administering its portfolio of assets, while not being allowed to wind up its activities through a pure and simple liquidation of its assets.

The proposed amendments are not an indication of a major change in the government energy policy. In fact, they confirm that we want to let the market forces play within reasonable and responsible limits. This is merely housekeeping legislation bringing minor changes to property rules for Cameco Corporation and Petro-Canada.

I can assure my colleagues that the proposed amendments will have no impact on the prices of refined petroleum products. The recent hikes in gasoline and diesel prices in Canada are a direct result of the price of crude oil worldwide, which has increased three times since 1998. The price of crude oil is established according to supply and demand on the global market and has nothing to do with property rules established in the Canadian energy industry.

I also want to inform the hon. members that Bill C-39 will not change anything to the commitment Canada made toward non-proliferation of nuclear weapons or nuclear security. Also, it will permit Cameco to consolidate its position as a world leader in the mining and conversion of uranium.

Both companies support Bill C-39. Canadian as well as foreign investors will applaud this initiative, which should improve the long term outlook for shareholders as well as protect the Canadian status of Petro-Canada and Cameco.

This is clearly legislation which encourages good management of public affairs, and that is why I would ask all members to join me in voting to have it referred to a committee.

French Language Colleges In Ontario March 31st, 2000

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage recently cancelled a very important funding announcement for French language colleges in Ontario.

Could the parliamentary secretary reassure these colleges that they will continue to enjoy the support of the Government of Canada?

Environment March 31st, 2000

Mr. Speaker, where the protection and promotion of the environment is concerned, collaboration between the federal and provincial governments is not only desirable but necessary and essential, if there is to be any significant outcome.

The following are two examples of measures announced in the budget 2000, which call precisely for this concerted effort by all environmental stakeholders.

First example: budget 2000 extends the climate change action fund by three years. Its budget will be increased to $70 million annually. Hon. members will recall that the purpose of this fund is to finance the development of clean and economic energy technologies.

Second example: the budget provides $60 million to create and fund the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, which will create a network among climate science institutes and universities across Canada.

These are the types of active measures that involve society as a whole, not one specific government, in order to safeguard its own quality of life.

Human Resources Development February 9th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Timiskaming—Cochrane communities are 100% behind HRDC. Here is what they have to say.

From the town of Cochrane: “I trust the federal government will continue with this program despite the negativity created by opposing parties”.

From the town of New Liskeard: “I request your continued support for financial assistance programs to improve the quality of life in Timiskaming—Cochrane”.

From the town of McGarry: “We wish to advise you of our support for your government. We trust that your government will continue to provide funding for these very important programs”.

From Cochrane Public Utilities Commission: “Without the assistance of HRDC, 76 people would still be unemployed in Cochrane”.

From the town of Iroquois Falls: “Please be assured of my community's full support on this issue”.

From the town of Kirkland Lake: “I would like to express my support to the HRDC minister”.

Finally from the town of Charlton: “We would like to support our MP in fighting the official opposition and extreme right wing media who want to eliminate these”—

Committees Of The House December 15th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. When I presented the report of the official languages committee I should have said “Ottawa, the capital of Canada” instead of “the national capital”.

Committees Of The House December 15th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present in both official languages, the second report of the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages asking the Ontario legislature to declare Ottawa, the national capital, a bilingual city with two official languages,