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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was vote.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as Independent MP for York South—Weston (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2000, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Privilege March 10th, 1994

Given the commitment of the government and opposition members to reforming the House of Commons, surely we have the right as private members to present a piece of legislation and to expect that the piece of legislation will be considered by the House in a meaningful way, if our commitment to parliamentary reform is genuine.

Privilege March 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege regarding the 10th report of the standing committee on House management which deals with Private Members' Business. I would submit the process that has been followed infringes upon my right as a member of Parliament to advance Private Members' Business.

The House has been in session for almost two months and we have yet to begin debating or discussing Private Members' Business. Standing Order 94(1)(a) reads:

The Speaker shall make all arrangements necessary to ensure the orderly conduct of Private Members' Business

It is your responsibility, Mr. Speaker. I would submit it is your responsibility as well to ensure that the process is fair to all members.

The process that has been followed thus far is unfair. It infringes upon the rights of certain members of Parliament, particularly my rights as far as the private member's bill I introduced on February 17 dealing with the Young Offenders Act.

In effect, as a result of the 10th report of the committee, the private member's bill I introduced-and I undertook to my constituents during the election campaign to advance it in this Parliament-has effectively been blocked by a small committee of individuals meeting in camera to decide for whatever reason what bills and motions to pick as votable items in the House.

I would ask Your Honour to consider the following. The committee was required to select five bills and five motions to be debated, discussed and voted upon in the House. The committee was required to consider certain factors in its deliberations.

After these behind the scenes, in camera proceedings, which I as a member of Parliament was not entitled to attend, a decision was made on which bills were in the national interest and which bills would be given three hours of House time, plus committee time, plus the opportunity to be voted upon by members of Parliament. What are those bills?

The committee in its wisdom decided that designating hockey as the national sport of Canada was a more important piece of legislation than amendments to the Young Offenders Act. The committee also decided that it was more important to devote House time to a bill that would deal with the witness protection plan as if it affects a lot of Canadians.

Points Of Order February 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the member for Markham-Whitchurch-Stouffville rose to make a request of the Chair. I believe the Chair did not comment on his request to have your decision deferred.

Young Offenders Act February 17th, 1994

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-217, an act to amend the Young Offenders Act, the Contraventions Act and the Criminal Code in consequence thereof.

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to thank the hon. member for Leeds-Grenville for seconding the motion to introduce this bill.

During the election campaign Canadians made it clear that they would like to see some fundamental changes to our criminal justice system. It would appear that the Young Offenders Act has acted as a lightning rod for a lot of the concerns in the community. This bill in my view would address some of the very serious flaws in the Young Offenders Act.

The bill has three purposes. First, it would lower the age limits that define a young offender. A young offender would be defined as a young person between the ages of 10 and 15. As a result, 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds would be held responsible for their criminal acts and prosecuted in adult court.

Presently, 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds are subject to the Young Offenders Act and not the Criminal Code of Canada in adult court. In my view, 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds are old enough to understand the nature and consequences of their acts and should be held responsible as adults.

The second purpose of the bill would be to increase the maximum, I stress maximum, penalty for first and second degree murder from five years to ten years. I believe Canadians want to see some changes to the maximum penalty provisions for murder under the Young Offenders Act. Any persons between the ages of 10 and 15 who commit first or second degree murder would face a maximum penalty of 10 years.

Finally, the bill would allow for the publication of the name of the young offender after the young offender's second conviction for an indictable offence.

In conclusion, I believe if this bill is carried by this House it will go a long way to satisfying some of the very serious and reasonable concerns of Canadians with regard to problems in our criminal justice system.

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

Privilege February 16th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like the opportunity as a member of the House to make submissions in advance of your ruling.

I believe that members of Parliament have been affected by this matter. We have certainly received telephone calls and letters. I simply wish and I would like you to confirm that I will have the opportunity to make submissions to you in advance of your decision.

Privilege February 16th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the member for Markham-Whitchurch-Stouffville rose on a question of privilege and made submissions with regard to certain allegations that have been made.

He indicated when he rose on his question of privilege that he wished to clarify an issue, and I am quoting from Hansard at page 1387: ``that has become a subject of debate not only in this Chamber but also across the nation''.

The member stated: "This has impeded my ability to function effectively and efficiently as the member of Parliament for the riding of Markham-Whitchurch-Stouffville". Later on in his submission he stated: "I invite my colleagues in the House to examine my academic credentials and weigh the accusations in a rational and judicious manner".

Mr. Speaker, I confirm that you and I had a discussion earlier this day with regard to this particular matter. I understand you are presently considering the question of privilege raised by the hon. member.

I indicated to you that I wished to make submissions on this question of privilege. Therefore I wish to ask you to defer your decision on this matter pending an opportunity for me and other members, if they so wish and desire, to make submissions as to why this particular unfortunate matter has affected the privileges of each of us individually and the House as a whole.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, you will be called upon when a matter of privilege is raised to simply determine whether it is a matter of privilege and whether to allow a motion to go forward recommending a particular course of action.

I wish to give notice of my intention to move a motion. If you so decide there is a breach of privilege, I wish to move a motion that the matters affecting the hon. member for Markham-Whitchurch-Stouffville be referred to the elections and privileges standing committee. The committee would then have the authority to investigate the allegations against the hon. member. The committee would have the authority to hear and I would submit-

Air-India February 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Solicitor General.

On June 23, 1985 an Air-India flight was blown out of the sky off the coast of Ireland. The 329 people on board were murdered, the majority of whom were Canadian. It was the worst mass murder in Canadian history.

Press reports now indicate that one of the alleged murderers was trained at a Soldier of Fortune training camp in Birmingham, Alabama, and further that the U.S. government agreed to train terrorists at the request of the late President Zia of Pakistan.

Could the minister explain why Mr. Frank Camper, the operator of the Soldier of Fortune Training School, was not interviewed by the RCMP? Given the rather unfortunate and tragic history of this matter, would he agree that it is now time for a royal commission of inquiry as we promised in the last Parliament?

Canadian Olympic Hockey Team February 1st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, our Canadian Olympic hockey team leaves for Europe today without Toronto Maple Leaf star Glenn Anderson.

Mr. Anderson has had a lifelong dream to win Olympic Gold for Canada and is anxious to play. Cliff Fletcher and the Toronto Maple Leaf organization are anxious to have him play. The Olympic team is desperate to have him play, but the NHL board of governors, the majority of whom are American, refuse to let him play.

On Thursday I will be meeting with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. I will be accompanied by 11-year old Tiffany Williams, a die-hard Anderson fan from Belleville. Tiffany will present Mr. Bettman with a petition with over 5,000 names urging the NHL to reconsider its decision.

Tiffany and millions of Canadian hockey fans want to see our team win gold in Lillehammer. Glenn Anderson could help us win that gold medal, our first in over 40 years.

I urge other MPs to join me in my meeting with Mr. Bettman.

Petitions January 26th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present to the House a petition from an organization based in Calgary, Alberta, a voice for innocent children with regard to section 745 of the Criminal Code.

The petitioners state that those individuals convicted of first degree murder are sentenced to life in prison without eligibility for parole for 25 years, and further, that section 745 of the Criminal Code allows murderers to apply for a reduction in the number of years of imprisonment notwithstanding having been tried, convicted and sentenced in a court of law; that those individuals convicted of first degree murder or second degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment can be become eligible for parole after serving only 15 years by virtue of section 745. The petitioners therefore request that Parliament pass a law that would remove section 745 from the Criminal Code.

I should add that in the very near future I will reintroduce in this House a private member's bill that would have the effect of removing section 745 from the Criminal Code.

Foreign Affairs January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this discussion. I only regret that it did not take place in the last Parliament prior to the sending of troops to the former Yugoslavia.

The Prime Minister ought to be commended for giving members of the House the opportunity to express their opinion individually as to Canada's role in the former Yugoslavia and in peacekeeping missions around the world.

Parliament has been called upon today to consider the following statement:

That this House take note of the political, humanitarian and military dimensions of Canada's peacekeeping role, including in the former Yugoslavia, and of possible future direction in Canadian peacekeeping policy and operations.

I have to say how impressed I have been listening to the debate take place today, especially with the quality of speeches from the new members of Parliament. It bodes well for the future direction of the House and the importance of individual members of Parliament.

I had the opportunity to visit the former Yugoslavia before the conflict began. I cannot say how distressed I have been over the last several years to watch the constant bombardment of Dubrovnik and Croatia and the bombardment and the loss of life in Sarajevo. I cannot say how distressed I am as well to read about our Canadian troops being shot at and humiliated in Bosnia. Parliament has to come to grips with this issue and determine whether the risk involved and the cost of this mission warrant our continued participation.

Canada has made a commitment to be there until April. We ought to discharge that commitment to April and not renew our commitment given the danger faced by our troops presently in that region. As has been pointed out by a number of speakers, there is no ceasefire in Bosnia. There is no peace and there is no desire for peace. There is no peace to keep. Therefore Canada is not discharging its traditional role of peacekeeper. It is clear that we are discharging a humanitarian responsibility there to ensure that much needed aid reaches distressed regions.

In Croatia, Canada is playing its traditional role in keeping the peace in that region. I should note with interest that all members of Parliament of Croatian origin who have spoken in this discussion called for the withdrawal of troops from the former Yugoslavia. I found that rather interesting. I did not expect those individual members to be taking that position.

In any event it is clear our troops in Croatia are serving an important function. There is no doubt our troops in Bosnia are serving an important function, but it is also true that the nature of the mandate is unclear. There has been a series of incidents that would suggest our troops are not safe.

It is also clear that the cost of the mission is rather significant. There have been estimates of upward to a billion dollars having been spent in the last several years on this mission. The incremental cost is close to half a billion dollars.

We have to be cognizant of the expense given the open-ended nature of the commitment some hon. members are suggesting. There is a clear consensus that the role of peacekeeping has changed and there is confusion of the exact role of Canadian troops in Bosnia.

Canadians are justifiably proud of and committed to our tradition of peacekeeping. They are less sure about the current efforts of our troops in Bosnia because it is not a peacekeeping exercise. We ought to take note that a significant majority of Canadians in a poll that was released today expressed some very serious reservations about our continued involvement in Bosnia.

Canada has done its part over the years as has been pointed out. Canada has participated in every peacekeeping mission in the last 30 years. We have certainly done our part. We have contributed to the humanitarian cause in Bosnia and in other parts of the former Yugoslavia.

It is clear that a diplomatic resolution to the problem is not imminent. I do have concerns about the length of time that Canadian troops will be called upon to "keep the peace" in that particular region. It seems to me that the diplomats have failed at the UN in trying to achieve a peace there. It was clear three years ago there would be significant conflict.

For those reasons I believe at the conclusion of our commitment in April we ought to bring our men and women back home. It is not to suggest that all peacekeepers, the British, the French and others, will withdraw. There is the assumption that if Canadians withdraw then other peacekeepers or UN forces will withdraw. That is certainly not clear.

We have an obligation. We have discharged that obligation but we must recognize as well that there will continue to be conflicts all over the world. Are we suggesting that we ought to continue to participate in every conflict? There is so much we can do as a nation both fiscally and in terms of other commitments. I would call upon the government to continue our

obligation until April and thereafter bring our men and women home.