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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was saskatchewan.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Canadian Alliance MP for Souris—Moose Mountain (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 63% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Amendment To The Constitution Of Canada (Quebec) November 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the recollections as he went historically through what has brought us up to where we are today. I must commend him because I appreciated it. It was like sitting at university again and scribbling down some notes.

I am not here to quarrel with anything said by the hon. gentleman. Historically I believe he is most accurate. The question in my mind is not one of checking the dates but rather it is this. Is there any other way Quebec could receive everything that has the obvious support of its majority? Is there any other legal way this could take place without touching that part of section 93 of the BNA act? If there were a way, if the charter could do it, for the sake of the rest of the provinces I would encourage the member with his wisdom, knowledge and background to lend more support to that. Let us not tear away at something the rest of the provinces feel is valuable.

Amendment To The Constitution Of Canada (Quebec) November 17th, 1997

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. If you delete sections 1 to 4 from section 93, has the hon. member given any consideration to what danger that may create in other provinces which are watching this debate extremely close?

I know in my province there are three minority boards. They all have a petition. They are all very much concerned about deleting sections 1 to 4 from section 93 in the hope that somehow the Charter of Rights will protect those things once they are extracted. That is the concern in western Canada. If the Charter of Rights will protect them after they have disappeared, why will the Charter of Rights not protect them when it is there? My constituents are extremely interested in this.

Second, I heard, and I would like the hon. member to address this, at least twice in the debate today that somehow there was something wrong about religion being taught in school. I hope I am hearing that incorrectly. In the history of our country we have had religion taught in the schools. Those people who want religion in the school should have that right under our constitution.

I would like the hon. member to address those two questions.

Amendment To The Constitution Of Canada (Quebec) November 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I have some questions I would like the hon. member for Quebec to address.

During the course of her deliberation, and I must say she did a good job, she mentioned that all of Quebec, and she named the different geographical areas, were all very much in support of this resolution. I do not doubt that it is the majority. On my desk in my office are a number of letters from the Province of Quebec wishing that I should speak against this proposal for various reasons, so she does not have 100% support. I have two questions.

First, have you ever considered that, by deleting sections 1 to 4—

Health November 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring attention to a small town in southeast Saskatchewan by the name of Redvers. It is a recipient of the prestigious five star award from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities awarded to communities that excel in providing access to persons with disabilities.

The new health care centre which is under construction will contain space for laboratory, radiology, community health services, a medical clinic, emergency, observation and maternity rooms as well as six acute care beds.

The Redvers and District Community Health Foundation Inc. is building the centre without one cent of provincial money and without one cent of federal money. Once again local initiative leads the people in my constituency.

Amendment To The Constitution Of Canada (Quebec) November 17th, 1997

Madam Speaker, I was not going to speak on this but I decided to when the hon. member got up. This is very close to my work throughout my entire life. He suggests we do not know anything about this problem we have.

I suggest to him that the word conservative in the histories of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta as it relates to the school system is a bad word. It is a bad word. So any time a Conservative stands up and tries to tell me that Reform does not know anything about this country I will tell him this. We know a whole lot about the country that he has forgotten or he never knew.

I have in my possession petitions signed by constituents who know what their forefathers went through in the formation of the province of Saskatchewan. There are some from Manitoba as well who say that we should take great care preserving that section. They do not want a repeat of history. They do not want a repeat of Conservative governments in the provincial house in Saskatchewan ordering minorities to close their doors or to take out certain textbooks. Alberta does not want it and certainly Manitoba does not want it.

The three prairie provinces are satisfied with their school systems. Even the slightest minorities are given an opportunity. I want to preserve that. Saskatchewan in total wants to preserve it. We do not want somebody messing around, providing a little break in the armour so that minorities could some day be challenged by another Conservative Party. God forbid that.

I am saying clearly that I have looked at the matter and taken the advice of my people, the people whom I represent. They are worried about the toe getting in the door once more. The minority rights they have enjoyed for three generations could conceivably go out the window. It is not just a one province debate. It covers all of Canada.

Supply November 6th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, maybe it is a good time to make a comment and then ask a question of both my colleagues on the government side and in the Bloc.

I listened this morning to the debate about taxes and fairness. It reminded me of the old cliché which says there is nothing surer than taxes and death. I had this come home to me the other day. I had power of attorney and was official guardian and had to deal with the burial of people who were destitute, had no money. I had to step in. When I got the bill, the thing which reminded me of the cliché was that I had to pay the taxes. These people were even taxed in death. Canadians are used to taxes.

I have a comment for the government minister and the member of the Bloc. Approximately five years ago because of the illegal importation of cigarettes into Canada the federal government removed most of the federal tax in Ontario and in Quebec. It was a federal tax but it was not removed in western Canada. Smokers out there had to pay the full shot.

Would either of these members say that maybe Saskatchewan smokers should be reimbursed because they had to pay all the cigarette taxes when over half the smokers in other parts of Canada did not have to pay them?

Supply October 30th, 1997

Madam Speaker, it was with interest that I listened to the discussion and to the gentleman on the opposite side when he gave us details of what alcohol cost Canadians each year. It would seem to me that if we threw the stuff away we would get our deficit in order in a short period of time.

I do not doubt the authenticity of the statistics at all. I believe they are true.

What bothers me more than anything else in listening to the debate are the words “we must use compassion”. I am a compassionate person but I have had experiences in my life of picking up dead children at the scene of an accident, of going to homes of teenagers who have been killed. It is very difficult to move toward compassion when you see the person who caused the crime, who caused the death, go to the courts and within no time at all be out on the street with a minimum fine and a minimum restriction.

What bothers me is listening to a teenager who has been given an alcohol charge saying “I wonder who the judge will be. I would sure like to get that one because he is not as hard”. It reminds me of the cowboys lining up to draw a horse. They want to get an easy horse because an easy horse is easier to ride.

We must be more conscious of what we are dealing with here. The people who brought this to our attention came as a lobby group. They did not come asking the government for money, as most lobby groups do. They did not come asking for anything but that we take an honest look at this national disgrace. They called it a national tragedy. It is a disgrace and Canadians can no longer allow it to go on.

When you ask people what they think of our courts, our courts are going down this way every day because of the decisions being handed out. On my way driving in to the House of Commons I heard a report about a man who had been bludgeoned to death. The police picked up the perpetrator's trail, followed the blood trail to a house and arrested him. However, it has been thrown out of court because the proper procedure for the search was not followed. That sort of decision is an example of the decisions which are ripping the guts out of Canadians. The decisions brought down in alcohol related incidents are doing exactly the same thing.

Abraham Lincoln said that alcohol has many defenders, but nobody has ever come up with a defence.

When this motion goes to committee we must listen to what our constituents are saying. Do not worry about the legal part of it, first of all we should listen to what our constituents are saying. They will support the resolution which is before us with an overwhelming majority and with a great deal of enthusiasm.

It is fine to say that an accident happened and that it really was not the driver's fault because he was not in control of himself. He was in control of himself when he started to drink. When he started to drink he was cognizant of the fact that he could cause harm to himself and other people. I do not think for one moment that Canadians are going to continue to listen to our courts using that as an excuse, permitting those who perpetrate a crime to walk away free.

I was driving in Saskatchewan the other day when the news reported that two young ladies had been shot in a service station at night. I used to work in that area. Then the names were reported and it shocked me. The one person involved with that double murder is now walking the streets of Saskatchewan. The people of that town are livid because of the decision of the court.

The court is saying that people were not really responsible. They must have been responsible when they started drinking. They must be responsible for the deeds which they have done.

I hope when we go to committee we do not let bleeding hearts take over and not honour the commitment of this motion. I hope we do not put anything in the way of the Canadian public receiving justice when it comes to this very serious topic.

I know very well from my experience that we need a victims' bill of rights. Everybody seems to have rights nowadays. What about victims' rights? Why are we so afraid of victims' rights? Why are we so afraid of the mother who has lost a three-year-old child? Does she not have any rights?

We know more than four people are killed needlessly every day. Let us suppose that one MP is killed every day for the next 300 days. Just think about it. Are we more important than our constituents? Not one bit.

I know this much. If four of us were killed in a traffic accident, if we were clobbered by a drunk driver, and the next week if four more of us were killed, we would be very quick in this House to come up with something which is a lot stronger and a lot more punishing than what the MADD organization is proposing.

We should not place ourselves above our constituents. Sometimes I think we do. My constituents are important to me. I know what they are thinking about this. Every newspaper in my constituency carried my article in support of MADD. I received very good reports from that article.

They want something more than what we have at present. If we come out of committee with no changes and with nothing more than what we have at the present time we have failed abysmally. We have to show the Canadian public now that we in the House are serious. We are the highest court in the land. We make the decisions and the judiciary carry them out.

I am not saying we should not allow a judge leniency. I am saying that we have to make the message clear to the Canadian people. The message we are giving right now is not a very good one. Let give all the emphasis possible as legislators and bring some credit back to the House. We will gain respect quickly if the motion goes forward and we do something more than what I fear may happen.

I will be supporting the motion and I wish it all the best in the final result.

Trans-Canada Highway October 27th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the 288 kilometres of undivided portions of the Trans-Canada Highway in Saskatchewan has this year claimed nine lives and in the past four months 38 serious injuries have occurred on the undivided sections.

The government is shirking its responsibilities. It refuses to initiate a national highway program. It refuses to return a reasonable share of the excise fuel tax. These refusals are directly related to some of the deaths and injuries on the untwinned portion of Saskatchewan's Trans-Canada Highway.

When motorists approach Saskatchewan on the number one highway there should be signs saying “Drive with extreme caution. This highway receives no federal funding”.

Supply October 21st, 1997

Mr. Speaker, it was with interest that I listened to members from the New Democratic Party as they alluded to my home province of Saskatchewan. The success of those in Saskatchewan in achieving some of their goals in recent years is because they adopted a policy that was not unlike the NDP policy with the premier there, but they followed a more conservative policy.

Last weekend when I returned home—this hits both the opposition and the NDP—an 80-year old lady who is very close to me fell and broke her hip and her shoulder. She had just finished waiting six days, not six hours, in agony to get a post-operative bed. I would like to inform the members to my left that these are some of the horror stories in Saskatchewan at the present time. I know there is restructuring and I know they are trying to make amends, but do not ever let it be known that all is well in the province that initiated medicare because it certainly is not.

Every day horror stories cross my desk from my constituency and beyond. Which province probably has the longest waiting list for hip surgeries? Saskatchewan. Which province has cut more beds per capita than any other province? Saskatchewan. Which province at the present time has the longest waiting list for access to an MRI machine? Saskatchewan.

Let it be made known that in order to get to the point they are at today with the cuts from this government, all is not well in the socialist medicare system of Saskatchewan. As the result of the delays for MRI machines, people are now going to North Dakota where they can get an MRI diagnosis within two days once they apply.

The following statistics just came in. The trans-Canada highway in Saskatchewan is a national disgrace and some of the blame has to be borne there. There is no question about that with the robbery of the excise tax and Saskatchewan getting about 4%. Hon. members know that when they put 50 litres of gas in their gas tanks, $5 goes to the federal government through its excise tax, and about 40¢, that is all, is returned to Saskatchewan.

While the provincial government has been a little better, the eastern and western sections of the trans-Canada highway that runs through Saskatchewan are presently untwinned. Already this year that highway has claimed seven lives unnecessarily. That same small stretch of untwinned highway has claimed 38 serious accidents. Do not tell us about all of the glories, about what is happening across Canada. In Saskatchewan alone these are the facts and no one can get around it.

I listened with interest to this speech because we do not hear much in the House about my province. I will leave that with hon. members. While I congratulate them for some of things that are being done, let us not deceive the people that all is well in socialist Saskatchewan.

Canadian Wheat Board Act October 7th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I rise for the first time in this House. I want to say that no bill will ever come before the House this session which is closer to my constituents than this bill.

I come from the Souris—Moose Mountain constituency where the farmers in 1960 wanted options. They were not satisfied with the marketing of grain. Although they were subjected to all kinds of opposition, phoney road bans, phoney literature being spread about it, the farmers said they want an option. They dug down deep into their pockets and built the Weyburn inland terminal. Today the city of Weyburn has the largest grain handling facility of any inland place in Canada because the farmers exercise an option.

Members opposite do not seem to realize that is what Reform is talking about. We are talking about an option.

If the wheat board does not look clearly into what our young farmers are saying, and I know this is true in Souris—Moose Mountain, if they are not given an option, then the wheat board, in its original purpose, the reason for which it was designed, will self-destruct. That self-destruction will not take too many years.

There is one thing of which members opposite ought to be cognizant. They brag about the 37% vote they got. The only difference between a third and a half is a sixth. That fraction is growing smaller and smaller all the time because of the bills they are putting before the House such as the bill which revises the wheat board.

They talk about democracy, with 10 of its members being voted in and 5 being elected. They say it is a Canadian bill. Is the creation of the Ontario Wheat Board not a Canadian bill? All of its members are elected. What is wrong with electing all of the members to this board?

As long as there is not accountability and open books, as long as there is not accountability in the way their statements are audited and produced, then that area of suspicion grows with every crop that comes off every farm. It is growing and government members had better understand why it is growing.

I alluded to the farmers in my constituency who have and will continue to put their money into their own grain handling facilities. If those farmers are given the option tomorrow, we will find out which option they will take. They will take the same option which they did in building their facilities. They will take that option. There is no doubt about it.

The member talked about getting permission from the Ontario Wheat Board to deliver grain across the border. Why is it that the people in the west cannot get permission to deliver their grain to the area of their choice? It is allowed in Ontario, but it cannot happen in western Canada. Government members will have to answer those questions.

The electorate of western Canada did answer. The greatest wheat growing province in Canada said “no way, we are going to elect eight Reformers all from the rural area”. There is the answer.

Those members say this is an Ottawa made bill for the bureaucracy that basically is in Ottawa, and therefore the bill is going to stay here. They know very well with the government members, five of them being appointed, all they have to do is take three members away from the 10 and they have the majority.

Democracy goes right out the window. All of those three members elected have to do is side with the government and the five who are appointed and the wishes of the farmers are gone.

Members know that and that is exactly why they did not have a totally elected board. That is exactly the reason. They are not fooling the farmers of western Canada. They are not being fooled one little bit.

If the farmers right now who are in dire straits, and there are a lot of them with the price of wheat, are given the opportunity, if they are listened to, they would say “Please, in our democratic society of Canada give us the choice. Don't legislate to us. We grow it, we store it but we don't own it. We don't sell it. We can't understand the operation because our selling agency is not even responsible to us”.

This is why, in my constituency, more and more agents every year are going out of wheat. Do members know why they are going out of wheat and barley production and the acreage is going down? Because they do not have a choice.

When they can get mustard, canola and soya, all of these commodities, that is where they are going. They contract it in the spring. They know what they are going to get and they got a choice. They have a choice with whom they even contract it to.

That is all we are asking, but those members want to keep this thing a dictatorial body governed not at arms' length from the government. The government is right in there and that is where the mistrust comes.

I know I can go to the people of my constituency, even those who support the wheat board, even those who openly say they want more control. They have said no, they are not going to get it with this mix-match. “We will give them 10 elected boys but we'll control them”.

They still see the board controlled by the government. That is exactly what the farmers do not want and that is not what the farmers on their survey of western Canada said.

I hope this bill gets a good airing in this House. I hope committee goes through it in detail because the major producers of western Canada deserve more of an option than what they have been given under this bill, for this is a billion dollar industry.