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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was forces.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for York Centre (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 71% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Employment March 16th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I can only repeat that in a very short period of time we have to reduce the size of the military in order to meet our deficit reduction plan.

Does the Reform Party not want us to meet our deficit reduction plan? Does it not want us to get spending down? That is what we are trying to do.

We cannot move that many people that quickly without some incentive program to help them and that is exactly what we are doing. The costs of the program will be met and we will still

meet our deficit reduction program of getting to 3 per cent of GDP in three years.

Employment March 16th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, a significant number of people from the defence department are being asked to leave, to retire, and they are being given departure incentives to do so. This is normal when dealing with some 16,500 people in jobs that we need to remove in order to meet the budget commitments with respect to reducing the deficit.

That program has been put in place. They can choose not to accept it if they do not wish to, in which case the workforce adjustment policy would come into play and they would be offered an alternative job. I am talking about the civilians who are roughly 50 per cent of that group.

We have dealt with these people in a most fair and equitable fashion in an attempt to reduce the size, to reduce the budget. At the same time we are providing some protection for our employees which is a priority of the government. If they can be retrained and go into something else, we want to ensure they will have an opportunity to do so.

Government Expenditures March 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, as is usually said, I thank the hon. member for his question.

The Auditor General looked at this matter a number of years ago and found that there were some poor cash management practices. He was not saying that managers were wasteful in their spending at year end but that because the moneys were lapsing at year end, the end of March, if they did not spend them, they had a tendency to spend them perhaps prematurely, make purchases prematurely or spend money too quickly when it really was not due on the invoice.

To help prevent that, Treasury Board in the last fiscal year did an experiment that involved carrying forward some 2 per cent of departmental budgets into the following year so there would not be this year end frenzy as the member pointed out. That only involved a few departments.

This year we expanded it to all departments and have allowed them to carry over 5 per cent, which I think will help end that year end frenzy.

Ministerial Regional Offices March 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, there has been a review and as a result there had been offices closed.

The office in Quebec City was opened. That is the capital of the province. It is an important part of relations with provincial ministers in terms of dialogue with our own ministers when they are in that city.

However the entire group of ministerial regional offices is constantly under review both in terms of cutting costs and also determining if there are any offices we could do without. We have conducted a review. We will continue to conduct a review because we are concerned about the efficiency and effectiveness of the use of taxpayers' dollars.

Official Languages March 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in accordance with section 48 of the Official Languages Act, I am pleased as President of the Treasury Board to table, in both official languages, the annual report on Official Languages in Federal Institutions.

This report covers fiscal year 1992-93. It reports on the progress of the official languages program in federal institutions. I am particularly proud to table this report because institutional bilingualism has come a long way since 1969 when the first Official Languages Act was adopted.

This year, more precisely on September 7, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the coming into effect of the first Official Languages Act.

The 1969 legislation made English and French the official languages of Canada for all purposes of Parliament and the Government of Canada so that they would have equality of status in all the institutions of the Parliament and Government of Canada.

A new Official Languages Act replaced the 1969 legislation on September 15, 1988. It reflects the significant changes that have taken place in the status and use of the two official languages since that first legislation.

The 1988 act further specifies the constitutionally entrenched rights and linguistic principles initially set out in the Constitution Act, 1867 and then in the 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In line with the 1982 charter the 1988 act provides the framework and the provisions required to translate constitutional language guarantees and principles into day to day realities.

The annual report on official languages describes the activities carried out and progress achieved by federal institutions in 1992-93 in implementing the act.

It reflects their significant accomplishments in meeting the three main objectives and commitments of the program.

These are as follows. Within certain limits Canadians can deal with federal institutions in the official language of their choice. In designated bilingual regions employees of these institutions can work in the official language of their choice. English speaking and French speaking Canadians have equal opportunities to obtain employment and advancement in federal institutions.

The government clearly expressed its conviction and commitment to official languages in the recent speech from the throne.

Our cultural heritage and our official languages are at the very core of our Canadian identity and are sources of social and economic enrichment.

In making sure that federal institutions live up to their obligations under the Official Languages Act the government will continue to transform this conviction and commitment into reality in its day to day operations and in its contracts with Canadians right across the country.

Official Languages March 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to section 48 of the Official Languages Act and Standing Order 32(2) I am pleased to table, in both official languages, the fifth annual report of the President of the Treasury Board concerning official languages in federal institutions covering the fiscal year 1992-93.

Pursuant to Standing Order 32(5), this report is deemed referred to the Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages.

Employment March 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the infrastructure program was launched at the request of the municipalities across this country because they recognized that to create jobs in this country and to get people back to work we needed to keep up the infrastructure in our communities so that we could attract investment to increase our competitiveness in this increasing global economy.

The purpose behind the program was partly that and partly to get Canadians back to work. That program is being fulfilled and it is being fulfilled in partnership with municipal and provincial governments all in agreement right across this country.

Status Of Women March 8th, 1994

Madam Speaker, when my colleague delivered the budget to the House he indicated in bringing the deficit down it was necessary to freeze salaries for a further two years.

We are anxious to bring that to an end sooner if at all possible by finding efficiencies in the delivery of programs and services, and to examine roles and responsibilities as my colleague to my right is doing. Hopefully we will be joined in that exercise by our employees and their bargaining agents so that we can at the earliest possible time restore the opportunity for all of our employees to enjoy salary increases.

I might add that over the last few years even though there has been a salary freeze in three of the four years, because of the incremental increases on average increases of about 3 per cent have been going to our employees.

Status Of Women March 8th, 1994

Madam Speaker, pay equity is a priority of this government. We want to ensure that women in fact all people are paid in a fair and equitable fashion according to the duties and responsibilities they carry out. We are a pay equity employer.

There is a dispute on the extent of some of the back pay required to bring some of the classifications up to date. That matter is before a tribunal and also is the subject of some examination at Treasury Board. It is hoped we can bring about a settlement with the bargaining agents of our employees.

However we believe in and give priority to pay equity.

Pensions March 8th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I expect we will be in a position to answer that question in the very near future. As I indicated a few moments ago the study is nearing completion. It will be examined shortly by Treasury Board and we will give it every consideration.

I again thank the hon. member for the question.