Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was reform.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Saskatoon—Dundurn (Saskatchewan)

Lost his last election, in 2000, with 22% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply March 10th, 1997

Madam Speaker, as I was saying when I began speaking, the hon. member for Comox-Alberni had indicated that section 745 allows Clifford Olson to apply for early parole. He said that a few times in his speech but it is absolutely not true. That is the misrepresentation that we are getting from the Reform Party. It is absolutely not true. It allows him to apply so that he can become eligible to apply. There is a big difference. It is not a parole application.

However, that is too much for the members of the Reform Party to comprehend. They have never decided to deal with reason. Of course Reform Party members claim to act on behalf of victims. They claim they deal with the victims. Do they not realize that Clifford Olson after 25 years can still apply for parole? They do not seem to realize that.

There is room to manoeuvre in this whole area of dealing with section 745. Unfortunately it is quite difficult for the members of the Reform Party to deal with this area.

Let me suggest a solution to this whole matter. Unfortunately it appears that many of them will not be listening. That is fine, they can read it in Hansard some other day. Section 745 perhaps should be abolished in the future. It is something we should look at. I suggest that we take a serious look at abolishing section 745. The amendments that were made by the hon. Minister of Justice were good amendments and a good first step that we had to take.

However, getting rid of 745 does not end the whole matter. There has to be a step that takes place at the same time with the abolition of 745, returning discretion to the judges. We have to return discretion to the judges in the sentencing process. If we do not return discretion injustices occur. I will use a couple of examples to illustrate the problems that result.

Most recently there was a case in Saskatchewan, which I am sure hon. members are all aware of, in which a person was convicted of murder for having put his daughter to death because of his belief in her suffering as a result of illness. The judge in the case should have had the discretion to determine whether that individual would be eligible for parole on a second degree charge in 10 years time, for a first degree murder charge in 25 years, or whether he should reduce it. Maybe he should reduce it to two years, three years or four years, but he should have the discretion to vary from those numbers because we could have an injustice occur. All fact situations are not the same in murder cases.

Heaven forbid that they reoccur, but they seem to, in cases like Olson and Bernardo, the judge should have been able to say "I sentence you to life imprisonment with no parole for life". There

is no application for parole and no parole application can ever be made.

Reform members never suggest this. They simply tell us to get rid of section 745. They never mention this second step. That is what we need. We need this second step. They will probably leave the House and try to take credit for such an idea. Unfortunately some of the ideas that come from the other side of the House are only rehashed ideas they get from this side of the House.

Someone like Bernardo should have been dealt with at the trial process by the trial judge. He should have had the discretion to say no parole or no parole for 250 years. Outlive that, Bernardo. Or no parole for 500 years or whatever figure. He should have had that discretion. Unfortunately the Criminal Code does not allow him that discretion.

Another situation similar to this occurred well in excess of 20 years ago in the city of Saskatoon where an individual was convicted of killing four children, David Threinen. He had killed four children and plead guilty to second degree murder. The very well respected judge in the system in Saskatchewan, Justice Ian Hughes, who had to sentence him, subsequently left Saskatchewan and went to British Columbia.

At the sentencing he increased the parole eligibility to the maximum he could at that time which was 20 years for second degree murder. He made a recommendation that this individual never be paroled. That should not have been something he had to do. He should not have been obliged to do this. He should have had the discretion to be able to make that order at the time of sentencing, not left to the parole board, 20 years plus to be dealt with again. He should have been able to deal with it then.

These are the types of cases where there are injustices, when the judges should go lower in ordering parole eligibility or go substantially higher in ordering non-eligibility for parole. It deals with the whole matter. However, the amendments that have been proposed to Bill C-45 are good amendments. They have changed matters. It has been made such that an initial step has to be taken.

Why would the Reform Party ever vote against such a requirement when it makes it tougher for someone who is serving time for first degree murder in excess of 15 years to get parole eligibility? Why would Reform members, who claim to represent victims, vote against the bill? They claim to represent victims and yet they vote against anything that helps victims. That seems strange. Favour victims, vote against victims; favour victims, vote against victims. That is the Reform policy.

Recently I received a document from the Church council on justice and corrections, a coalition of 11 churches, Roman Catholic, Anglican, United, Presbyterian, Batiste, Evangelical, Lutheran, Salvation Army, the Quaker, Mennonite, Christian Reform and Disciplines of Christ. In that document they indicated they favour judicial reviews. They indicate judicial reviews are working reasonably well in the country. More than half the offenders eligible for a judicial review are not even applying for one, they indicated, often because they either know they do not stand a chance or feel they are not ready.

Then they come out with this statement: "None who has been released into the community has murdered again". None. We are getting a lot of fearmongering from the Reform Party, saying that Canadians are terrified that murders will be released into their community. Of those who have been successful in their application under section 745, none released into the community has murdered again. So why this fearmongering by the Reform Party if not to make this a political issue when it is not a political issue?

With that we proceed to other matters. The Reform Party claims that this a joke of the judicial process.

The hon. member for Prince George-Peace River indicated it is a joke of the process. Where is the joke? We have people charged with murder. There is evidence. They are convicted of murder. They are sent to jail for life. The question is one of parole eligibility. Where is the joke in this system?

People are consistently convicted in courts for the offence of murder. Is this a joke? If this is a joke, I cannot understand what the Reform Party would want in its place. Would it prefer trial by ordeal? Would it prefer-

Supply March 10th, 1997

Madam Speaker, this is a subject that is rather sensitive for members of the Reform Party who are so concerned about victims. I find it rather interesting that the last member to speak, the member for Comox-Alberni, said that section 745-

Supply February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, during his visit to Paris on January 22 and 23, the Prime Minister raised Canada's concerns over the French ban with both the French prime minister and the French president.

During the same visit, the Minister of Industry provided the French authorities with a copy of the report from the Royal Society. This study, commissioned by the Canadian government, raises some important questions regarding the report from the Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale which is used by the French authorities to justify its asbestos ban. Prime Minister Juppé has agreed to have its experts examine the Royal Society report.

The federal government meets regularly with the Quebec government, the industry and the unions to develop a common approach in addressing the French ban on asbestos use, as well as its potential effects in other markets. This is in line with the concerted action plan agreed upon on July 24, 1996 by all the parties.

The federal government has raised this important issue at the highest levels in France. I anticipate that all interested parties will continue to play their respective roles in this jointly managed file.

As an example of that concerted approach, our missions facilitated the current meetings by the Quebec minister for international affairs in Germany, Belgium and the U.K., where the asbestos issue will be raised, as well as his upcoming visit to Senegal and the Ivory Coast.

The Canadian Minister of Natural Resources is also writing to her Quebec counterpart on a memorandum of understanding with the industry on the responsible use of asbestos.

We are also invoking our rights under the World Trade Organization to address the French ban. As a first step we formally asked the French government on January 27 to justify the ban under the technical barriers to trade agreement. France's reply will help us in assessing the asbestos ban in the context of France's WTO obligations.

Pending that reply, it is premature at this stage to discuss other options available to Canada under the WTO. When all relevant information on that file will have been gathered with the help of the Quebec government, the industry and the unions, the Minister for International Trade will decide on any further action.

Meanwhile, it is irresponsible to discuss publicly any strategy with regard to further WTO actions, as it could prove harmful to the asbestos industry and its related jobs in the region.

Supply February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the hon. member mentioned that the ordinary citizens of Saskatoon do not support what Heritage Canada is doing. He must be walking on different streets from the ones I walk on.

The member is critical of what he referred to as cuts in spending. It is interesting to look at the Reform budget and the cuts which it suggested. The cuts are very interesting. The Reform Party suggested cuts to post-secondary education, cuts in health, cuts in the Canada assistance plan and cuts in equalization. Equalization cuts of 35 per cent. Cuts to the Canada assistance plan of 34 per cent.

Reformers are critical of what has been done to get the finances of the country in order. They would have butchered the system and destroyed it but all of a sudden, lo and behold, now that it is almost election time, they are the saviours. Three years ago when it was not election time they were the ones who would have destroyed the system.

Supply February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, it is very interesting to hear the member speaking about the spending of money on flags, on the pride that we should take in this country and on keeping this country together which, I take it he has already heard, is the best country in the world to live in. But he fails to mention all the money that was wasted on the last referendum in Quebec, the wasted money on posters that were printed in Quebec. Why was that money not put into Quebec's economy to help the children of the province of Quebec?

He indicates that the unemployment level is going up. That is not so. The unemployment level has come down, not as much as we would like, and we are trying to get it lower and we will get it lower, but it has not been going up, as has been mentioned.

It is very sad when a member refers to flag day as being a sad day for Canada. It is very sad that any member of the House of Parliament of Canada would say that in the democratically elected Chamber of Canada. That attitude is not understandable. A strong country leads to employment for all, including youth.

Supply February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to address the opposition motion today. The achievements of this government in support of Canadian culture and identity are significant.

Canada's culture has evolved through the contributions of our creative artists, our cultural institutions and the individual and collective expressions of who we are as Canadians. It is not one voice but many represented through the rich diversity of our regions and our varied ethnic roots.

In 1993 this government took over from a Conservative regime that failed to appreciate the importance of cultural development. The Liberal government has stayed true to our vision of creating a stronger, more unified country while strengthening the Canadian economy. In that vision, we place great importance on the need to support and strengthen Canadian cultural and identity and to celebrate Canada's heritage.

The practical side is clear. We want to strengthen the economy and provide more jobs for Canadians. We are doing that. We are also creating a stronger, more unified Canada where Canadian culture and identity thrive and where jobs and growth are a given. Let me give a couple of examples of how well it is going.

The Department of Canadian Heritage is an active partner in the federal government's job strategy. A great deal has been happening. The young Canada works program is putting young people to work and nurturing their understanding of Canada.

In 1996 the young Canada works program provided interesting summer job experiences for over 2,000 young Canadian. This involved four key areas of Canada's diverse cultural and natural heritage, specifically our national parks and national historic sites, aboriginal urban youth, Canada's two official languages and our heritage institutions.

The young Canada works program is unique, providing the chance for many of its participants to travel to other parts of this country. I am pleased to say that it will run again this coming summer.

As a government we are proud that young Canadians have this chance to connect with other Canadians, people from different backgrounds and regions of Canada.

Young Canadians have a sense of passion and commitment about Canada; like the country they call home, their future is ahead of them. Through young Canada works we are helping young people to finance their education, gain invaluable work experience and learn more about Canada.

This year we are adding two more components, providing graduate students with internship opportunities that will build their skill sets and increase their future employment prospects. Putting young people to work is important for all of us. The pride and passion they feel for Canada touches each and every one of us deeply at the very core of our being. Our Canadian identity is something we can share and celebrate. Young Canada works is helping Canadians do just that.

Another area where this government is working hard to build Canadian identity and culture while strengthening the economy is the arts. The arts in Canada have grown rapidly over the last decade. They contribute to Canada in many ways. They serve as the human talent pool for all the cultural industries and broadcasting. They touch on other areas of the cultural sector such as heritage, architecture and advertising.

The cultural sector contributes overall over $29 billion worth of economic activity to Canada's gross domestic product and supports more than 900,000 jobs. The Government of Canada knows that investing in the arts is a win-win situation. It is an investment in Canada. It makes good economic sense and it makes good sense for Canada's cultural identity as well as for Canadian unity.

The Department of Canadian Heritage is a success story in supporting the creation, production and distribution of the arts in Canada. For example, the performing arts are burgeoning in Canada. Over the last decade the number of live performances increased by 33 per cent. Attendance grew from 10 million in 1985 to over 13.5 million in 1995. Earned revenues, mostly box office receipts, grew 87 per cent to $187 million.

In 1994 alone Canadians bought more than 13 million tickets to performances by not for profit professional dance, music, opera and theatre companies, most of which the Department of Canadian Heritage supports through the Canada Council.

The Stratford Festival receives almost $790,000 from the Canada Council. In return Stratford generates $25 million in taxes and a further $100 million in economic activity.

The young Canada works program and support to the creation, production and distribution of the arts in Canada are just two mechanisms through which this government is building a stronger country.

Our commitment is clear. We will continue to lead the way in promoting the excellence of our artists and the success of our

cultural institutions and industries. We will continue to lead the way in engaging all Canadians in the life of Canada, including our youth who will take up our torch and create Canada's future.

Much remains to be done but our commitment remains. It is vital to ensuring Canada's strength and prosperity today and in the future.

Petitions February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the last petition I wish to present requests that Parliament not increase the federal excise tax on gasoline in the next federal budget.

Petitions February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the next two petitions call on Parliament to urge the federal government to join with provincial governments to make the national highway system upgrading possible.

Petitions February 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I have four petitions today.

First, the petitioners request Parliament to support the immediate initiation and conclusion by the year 2000 of an international convention that will set out a binding timetable for the abolition of all nuclear weapons.

Canadian Census February 6th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, it is difficult for me to stand to speak first when you recognized the member for Rimouski-Témiscouata before the clerk even read the order of the day.