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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was liberal.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as Reform MP for Okanagan—Coquihalla (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 1997, with 53% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Starred Questions February 21st, 2000

With respect to AIDA/WFIP and the tree fruit industry: ( a ) what is the percentage differences in gross margin levels among commodities: For example, perennials, tree fruits, versus annuals, grains; ( b ) can the government provide information to show that commodity groups are not treated inequitably based on their relative use of eligible and ineligible expenses; ( c ) can the governement provide data that would indicate the AIDA program would still work should back to back below average returns be experienced in the base period; ( d ) can the government provide information to indicate that the inclusion of negative margins in the reference margins but reducing to zero in the claim year is more beneficial than reducing negative margins to zero for both the base period and the claim year; ( e ) can the government provide information to show if AIDA recognizes the special problems of perennial crops such as the little flexibilty to switch commodities and varieties?

Human Resources Development February 17th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt it was a business decision, but the member for Hamilton Mountain did say that Duchess Foods did not go to HRDC. In fact, they never asked for any money whatsoever.

If Duchess Foods did not ask for any money, why did the minister give $370,000 to Duchess Foods? Was it not just to enhance the minister's own political career?

Human Resources Development February 17th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the member for Hamilton Mountain said that Duchess Foods never went to HRDC. She said that Duchess Foods never asked for a grant and that, in fact, Duchess Foods never asked for anything at all.

Why did the minister of HRDC give $370,000 in a grant to move jobs, not create jobs, but to move jobs from Hamilton Mountain, a short distance down the road, to the minister's riding? Why did she do that?

Human Resources Development February 14th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the people of Okanagan—Coquihalla to draw to the attention of the House a formal complaint I have made to the Summerland detachment of the RCMP against the Minister of Human Resources Development.

The minister promised several times in public last week that members of parliament can acquire information regarding grants and contributions in their riding from local Human Resources Development offices. All my inquiries at the local offices have been turned down, and I have four such offices in my riding.

The Liberal government has imposed a gag order and local HRDC offices are not allowed to release any information on local grants despite the minister's assurance.

The shovelgate scandal has exposed the questionable ethics of this government once again. The minister promised to be open with Canadians, yet refuses to release information to members that was readily available only two weeks ago.

The Minister of Human Resources Development should not only be ashamed, she should resign.

Canada Elections Act February 14th, 2000

Madam Speaker, I rise on behalf of the people of Okanagan—Coquihalla to speak to Bill C-2, an act to amend the elections act.

As a young man I joined the Canadian armed forces. I was very proud of our country's democracy and I still am today. But as we look around the world we see that Canada still operates in some areas where we can improve our democratic system. I think all people in the House would agree that the way in which senators are appointed should be changed. That is why Bill C-2 is very important.

Webster's Dictionary defines democracy as “a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their agents under a free electoral system”.

Legislation that governs the way in which people elect their representatives is a statement of how democratic a nation is. If it is to meet these ideals of democracy, it must be as free and unhindered of restrictions as possible. At the federal level in Canada, the elections act governs the way Canadians elect members to this House.

In the past, the elections act has been criticized for having a number of restrictions that limit the ability of Canadians to exercise democracy. The Liberal amendments have done nothing to address these restrictions. In fact, they have strengthened them with the intent of ensuring that the Liberals as a governing party are re-elected.

I will test three aspects of the bill to show they do not meet the definition of democracy. They are the debate over third party spending limits, the blackout on poll results prior to election day, and patronage appointments.

The first aspect I will test is the debate over third party spending limits. Two separate court decisions in Alberta have struck down the elections act spending limits on third parties as unconstitutional and for good reason. Spending limits always work in favour of the governing party which in this case is the federal Liberal Party. It has a big advantage. The Liberals by virtue of having the most MPs have the most free broadcasting time. In their role as government they can use taxpayers' dollars to advertise for re-election under the guise of information from the government.

The Liberal Party's election spending limit is close to $30 million. The official opposition has a spending limit of closer to $9 million. Third parties cannot spend more than $150,000 or not more than $3,000 in any one riding.

I for one fail to see how spending limits enhance the freedom of Canadians to elect representatives. The spending limits are obviously biased toward the Liberal Party with its massive spending advantage. Associations and private individuals can barely get their message across given the $150,000 spending limit in this bill. The whole idea behind Bill C-2 is to curtail freedom of expression and the democratic process.

The second aspect I would like to test to show that it does not meet the definition of democracy is the poll results publication blackout period. In a recent court case, Thomson Newspapers v the Crown, previous legislation preventing the publication of poll results in the final 48 hours of an election campaign was struck down and for good reason. Canadians do not need a paternalistic government trying to black out information from the voting public.

Not to be foiled, this Liberal piece of legislation re-establishes a poll blackout during the last 24 hours of an election campaign. The Liberals believe that if the polls are favourable for them on election day, voters will be more likely to vote for an alternative party to send a message of protest. A blackout on polls during the final 24 hours limits the constitutional rights given to all Canadians while favouring the governing party. It will certainly be challenged by the media in another costly court case which of course again will be lost.

The Reform Party has suggested a compromise that would see an end to poll blackouts. Blackouts would end if the media disclosed their methodology, who paid for the poll, the number of respondents and the question asked. The Liberals rejected this sensible solution, even though it better informed the electorate, because there is no advantage to the governing party.

The third aspect of the bill I would like to test that it does not meet the definition of democracy is the continued use of patronage appointment. There is not too much to examine because the continued use of patronage appointment fails the test straight off the mark. It is unacceptable in a democracy for the Prime Minister to appoint Liberal Party loyalists to key positions like a returning officer in every riding of the country.

I know the parliamentary secretary stood in debate and said that appointments were no problem. Even the Chief Electoral Officer has asked that he be given the power to hire returning officers based on merit alone.

It is ironic that when Elections Canada assists emerging nations during their elections it recommends avoiding a patronage ridden system like Canada's. The Chief Electoral Officer has gone as far as to say that he would not recommend this elections act to a third world nation or emerging democracy, calling the appointment of returning officers in Canada an anachronism.

This patronage system must be abolished. Returning officers and poll clerks should be selected on the basis of ability, experience and impartiality and these positions should be publicly advertised. By not eliminating patronage appointments within the electoral process, the Liberal government is blatantly trying to ensure it has the advantage in every riding.

To conclude, the Liberals had an opportunity to modernize our electoral process by increasing the freedom of the electorate to choose their representatives. This would have strengthened our democratic process making Canada the envy of the world. Instead the Liberals have reaffirmed the regressive aspects of our elections act ensuring the governing party has all the advantage while limiting the freedom of Canadians to elect their representatives.

These regressive measures not only fail to meet the test of the definition of democracy but have created the situation where our own Chief Electoral Officer would not export our system to a developing nation. Instead of vesting the power in the people, the Liberal government is vesting it in itself.

Starred Questions February 11th, 2000

What were the operational capabilities in the statement of requirements for the cancelled EH-101 helicopter in the following areas: (i) radius of action, (ii) endurance, (iii) flight in icing, (iv) weapons stations, (v) MAD, (vi) data recording, (vii) EMP/TREE, (viii) aircraft self-protection suite and (ix) sonobuoy relay?

Starred Questions February 11th, 2000

With respect to the Sea King shipborne helicopter which entered into service with the Canadian Armed Forces in 1963: ( a ) what was their original estimated operational lifespan; ( b ) what is their current estimated operational lifespan; ( c ) what measures are being taken to extend the operational life of the Sea King fleet; and ( d ) what are the operational capabilities of the current fleet in the following areas; (i) radius of action, (ii) endurance, (iii) flight in icing, (iv) weapons stations, (v) MAD, (vi) data recording, (vii) EMP/TREE, (viii) aircraft self-protection suite, and (ix) sonobuoy relay?

Forest Industry February 8th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the people of Okanagan Coquihalla who have serious concerns about the softwood lumber agreement. Since Canada entered into this agreement many lumber producers have faced severe hardship. My riding has seen hundreds of layoffs in the forest industry with more and more jobs threatened every day.

J. S. Jones Timber Ltd., the biggest employer in the Hope-Boston Bar area, is on closure notice. One of the most efficient lumber mills in western Canada had to tell over 100 employees they will soon be out of a job because the federal Liberal government negotiated a bad deal. The softwood lumber agreement has failed to protect the interests of our forest industry.

When the softwood lumber agreement expires the people of Okanagan—Coquihalla are demanding that the federal Liberal government remember there are people working in the forest industry in British Columbia and we expect a better deal or no deal at all.

Questions On The Order Paper February 8th, 2000

What were the operational capabilities in the statement of requirements for the maritime helicopter that will replace the Sea King in the following areas: (i) radius of action, (ii) endurance, (iii) flight in icing, (iv) weapons stations, (v) MAD, (vi) data recording, (vii) EMP/TREE, (viii) aircraft self-protection suite and (ix) sonobuoy relay?

Standing Committee On Finance December 16th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, the member has his facts and figures wrong. As has been pointed out, we would have offered tax relief in 1997 with the return of the $7 billion UI fund. To get to the heart of the matter and how we can say that we want to increase defence spending, we would not waste as much money as the Liberal government wastes on unnecessary items.

I do not have to go very far back to remember a $25 million program where we were giving out free flags to the Canadian public when the people in Bosnia and Croatia did not have the proper clothing to wear. The government wasted $25 million there and sent our military personnel literally having to exchange helmets and flak jackets as one unit was getting on the plane to come home and the other unit was getting off the plane.

I would tell the government that its priority in spending is out of whack 100%, it has been for years, the Canadian public has financed the deficit reduction the government takes claim for, and it is time to return that money to the Canadian public and use the priorities we as the official opposition have suggested to re-fund, for example in defence.