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

Kosovo April 12th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to associate myself with some of the comments made by the hon. member. I would like to elicit his views on the subject of sending NATO ground troops into Kosovo. In my respectful submission it would be a terrible mistake to involve NATO and Canadian soldiers in a ground war that could result in the loss of many lives not only on the NATO side but also on the Serbian side.

What are the hon. member's views with respect to the sending in of ground troops? Would he not agree that it is important for parliament to send a very clear message that it does not support a ground war in Kosovo?

Kosovo April 12th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, the question is at what cost? We agree that the atrocities have to stop. The hon. member talks about staying the course. It seems to me that we have to define what the course is and where we are going. If we get ourselves involved in a war, how are we going to extricate ourselves from that war?

It is almost as if the Canadian government and other NATO partners are making policy on the fly. Canadians were led to believe that the air strikes would be successful within a matter of days. The days have turned into weeks and soon the weeks will turn into months. We are talking about sending in ground troops now. There is an assumption that once we send in ground troops, Canadian soldiers, the war will be won at some point if we stay the course.

That is the same type of thinking which took place not so many years ago in southeast Asia when the Americans went into Vietnam. The Americans thought the war would be over in the short term but the weeks turned into months, the months turned into years and the years turned into the deaths of—

Kosovo April 12th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, could the hon. member comment on the long term impact that Canada's involvement in the Kosovo crisis will have on Canada's reputation?

As he knows, since the Pearson years and before Canada has cultivated this peacekeeping, peacemaking international reputation. Would it not be the case that as a result of Canada's modest involvement militarily in this matter its much cherished peacekeeping role internationally might be affected adversely for many years to come?

Kosovo April 12th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I have two quick questions.

It seems to be assumed that in the event that some type of peace agreement is arrived at that Canada can take off its war hat and put on its peacekeeping hat. Would the member not agree that that would be somewhat difficult and one could possibly expect the Yugoslav government of Slobodan Milosevic not to accept some of those participants in the bombing to become peacekeepers?

The second question I have for the hon. member is assuming that Canada does commit ground troops, which I think would be sheer madness, what would the exit strategy be? Americans went into southeast Asia, into Vietnam, thinking it would be of short duration. Some 15 or 20 years later, they surrendered after 65,000 Americans were killed.

Kosovo April 12th, 1999

How do we dispose of it if we cannot vote?

Kosovo April 12th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a further point of order in light of your comments. Any member of the House who speaks on this matter would be entitled to move an amendment as long as it is consistent with the main motion. At the end of the day we could have 150 amendments to this take note motion.

Kosovo April 12th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Speaker earlier ruled that the amendment which was put by the official opposition was in order. It seems somewhat strange that a take note resolution before the House that will not be voted on can be amended.

I would simply ask for the authority under which amendments can be accepted to a matter before the House that will not be voted on.

Kosovo April 12th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, now that all five political parties have spoken, it appears clear to me that there is a consensus to send ground troops into Kosovo under certain conditions. I would rather the debate be about whether or not Canadians are prepared to send ground troops into Kosovo, period. Sending Canadian soldiers to fight a war in Kosovo means that the Prime Minister and parliament would be prepared to accept that Canadian soldiers will be killed in action in Kosovo.

Before the Canadian government gets itself into a ground war, it should at least know how it will get itself out of a ground war in Kosovo. The Americans made the mistake in Vietnam of getting into a war they did not know how to get out of.

Is the member from the Conservative Party not concerned that a precedent has been set as a result of what is happening in Kosovo, that in future whenever any internal conflict takes place anywhere in the world wherein ethnic cleansing, murder and rape are taking place NATO will be required under the precedent—

Kosovo April 12th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, for all intents and purposes, Canada is at war. Canadian pilots are dropping bombs. People are being killed. Yet we have not taken a vote in the House of Commons in terms of a declaration of war. In any event as I understand it, the NDP supports the actions of the government so in effect supports this war that is taking place.

The Leader of the Official Opposition has indicated that under certain conditions the official opposition would support the sending of ground troops into Kosovo. I ask the leader of the New Democratic Party, under what conditions would her party support, if at all, the sending of ground troops into Kosovo?

Kosovo April 12th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. With respect to your ruling, you indicated that the amendment put by the Leader of the Opposition is in order. Do we then take it that there will be a vote at the end of the debate on the amendment?