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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

Petitions September 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I present a petition of 74 people from the areas of Osoyoos, Oliver, Okanagan Falls, Penticton of my riding of Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt.

The petitioners say that the majority of Canadians believe the privileges that society accords to heterosexual couples should not be extended to same sex relationships.

Therefore the petitioners pray and request that Parliament not amend the human rights code, the Canadian Human Rights Act or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in any way that would tend to indicate societal approval of same sex relationships.

Peacekeeping September 21st, 1994

Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to the minister's comments and I too travelled to the former Yugoslavia and found there that our troops indeed are doing a magnificent job under extremely difficult circumstances and we should all be very proud.

As the minister mentioned, peacekeeping is not the only issue that the Canadian Armed Forces has to deal with and because the resources are very thin and we are downsizing the Canadian Armed Forces we have to look at the possibility of internal conflicts here on our shores in Canada.

You might say that Canada never has to worry about things like that but even in my own riding of Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt this summer we had a forest fire in that region and had to call out the Canadian troops and we had people from Calgary come in and do a job there. That was a very small contingent and just a small example.

We do not have to go back too far. We had a situation in Oka where we had great demands put on the situation there as well.

How can the minister or the ministry deal with ensuring that we keep our role in the world as a peacekeeper but also ensure that we have enough resources to ensure we have the people here to do the job as well?

Immigration Act September 19th, 1994

They can do it twice in Canada? I see. Clearly, this is not what Canadians have been asking for. Why are we admitting people with criminal records at all? They should not be allowed in the country.

Immigration Act September 19th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have read through this particular piece of mumbo-jumbo. It is a fact that in this bill we are saying that we will take criminals as long as they have not committed a crime that has a sentence of 10 years or more. That is what this bill is doing.

Why would we do that? Why would Canadians in their right minds say: "We know criminals are bad and we will not accept you if you have murdered somebody. We will not accept you if you have done a few other things that would have a sentence of 10 years or more in Canada; but if it is less than 10 years, if you have just broken into houses-"

Immigration Act September 19th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his questions. They are very interesting.

I am not a judge nor a jury but I can comment. Maybe the person who committed those crimes should have thought very carefully about the consequences for his wife and children before he considered the crimes. I think it is reasonable to ask that we be responsible for those types of things.

If he is after reunification with his family maybe that is an item for his country of origin to deal with and not a particular problem for Canada in this case.

With regard to family reunification which the hon. member briefly touched on, I would say that the Reform Party does very much stand for the principles of the family.

We do not have a problem entirely with family reunification, but I think it has gone a little bit too far. We are talking about family reunification for adopted children and children of adopted children. It goes on and on with cousins. Where does it end?

Family reunification in the close knit family is fine, but the laws in this country take it a little bit too far in my opinion.

Immigration Act September 19th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise on this first day of our return to Parliament in what I feel will be a very historic session. We in the Reform Party will be here to make sure the government keeps the train on the tracks during this period.

Over the summer I had the opportunity to hold a series of town hall meetings in my riding. After those meetings it became quite evident that immigration is a priority in my riding. I know that members throughout the House have heard concerns from their constituents as well about immigration. I am certainly glad to see that Bill C-44 is moving toward fixing the problem. Unfortunately it has not gone far enough.

In addressing Bill C-44 I feel it is vital to stress the importance of immigration. It is one of the cornerstones of Canadian society. Cultural diversity has and will continue to be beneficial to our nation. Immigration provides us with an increased global awareness and has been integral to the development of Canada. We must take a constructive approach and work together to solve the many immigration problems, not just criticize, which unfortunately is all too easy.

We are considering a bill which the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has proposed, apparently to correct the all too numerous shortcomings and failures in our immigration system left by decades of ill-conceived, misguided Liberal immigration policy.

The bill would never have seen the light of day if Reform members had not presented the minister almost daily with an ongoing litany of outrage and complaints by the Canadian public.

We have an immigration system that is clearly almost as out of control as the $600 billion debt. The government has finally conceded that Canadians in every part of the country are fed up with an inadequate and confusing immigration policy that has allowed thousands upon thousands of unworthy immigrants into this magnificent land, a policy that has blatantly ignored the interests of the people.

What are the priorities for accepting immigrants into Canada? First, family reunification is a policy that has been so badly abused that it accepts people with no thought of whether they will be beneficial members of our society. The reunification of families should be a consideration, one of many in assessing an application, but not the main priority. Immigration quotas call for the largest single group of immigrants, some 111,000 or 45 per cent of the total, to be admitted from this class.

In addition, 11 per cent of immigrants or about 28,000 people will be refugees. In far too many cases these are people who just show up on our doorstep. We have no choice, due to our laws, but to grant these people a hearing, a process which can take up to three years. During this time of overburdened taxpayers, who foots the bill? The taxpayer foots the bill.

Way down at the bottom of the priority list is what the immigration bureaucrats call the economic class, in other words the fortunate few who have the financial resources to purchase their way into the country. Who says Canada is not for sale?

Whatever happened to the hard working, self-supporting immigrants who built this country, people who were admitted because they deserved to be here? Whatever became of the people who had the skills the country needed, who had dreams of freedom and self-sufficiency, who had the initiative and courage to make their own way in a brave new land? That Canada of 127 years ago depended on a sturdy, skilled, hard working immigrant to develop and prosper and to populate our empty lands. That they were successful is apparent in the prosperous, safe, free country in which we live today. Many here in this House have descended from these early immigrants. My grandfather was from Scotland, my grandmother was Irish and my wife's parents are from Italy. They came to Canada and they contributed. They raised children. They were and are law-abiding Canadians.

Today our needs have changed. Our economy no longer needs pioneers but rather computer experts, investment bankers, electronic engineers, experienced business people and traders, technicians, skilled trades people and educators. One thing has not changed. We need people who are ready to take the risk of moving to a new land, ready to seize opportunities, to move and develop some still empty spaces. We do not need those who have come to exploit or drain our social services, and we certainly do not need criminals.

Since that Liberal heyday of the seventies when Trudeau and his obedient officials opened the floodgates to immigration, based not on the needs of the country, not on selectivity or high standards, but on some seemingly intangible set of feel good principles, Canada has been on a backward slide. The Canadian public demands a tougher approach as to who we admit into this country, but this government shows no real intention of doing this or of listening to Canadians.

I have received letters in my office and I know each and every member in this House has received letters from constituents complaining about the immigration system. I would like to read a brief excerpt from a letter received the other day from a gentleman in Summerland, British Columbia. He writes:

Our current immigration system is overlooking our social services, education, health services and policing. We believe we should be good to those we allow in, but we should not be seen as easy marks by any immigrants. There are so many deserving people who want to come to Canada and be good citizens. Why should we have the patience with those who are not willing to obey our laws? If we are tough but fair, we will do far more good overall.

It is noteworthy that Bill C-44 deals specifically with provisions which decide not whether criminals will be admitted as immigrants, but which ones. I put it to you that no criminals, none, should be admitted to Canada, period, not as an immigrant, not as a refugee, not even as a visitor-none.

A report drafted by senior advisers in the immigration department for the minister says that many Canadians think the immigration program is out of control and that major changes reflecting public opinion are needed. There is a sense the immigration program needs fixing. It urges that immigrants need to be better selected.

I further submit that all immigrants to this country must respect the laws and contribute their fair share. Any slip, any criminal conviction, should be grounds for deportation.

It is a privilege for people to be allowed to come to Canada to live, a privilege much sought after by many from other countries all over the world, even by people from developed nations.

Canada and its immigration policy have become the laughing stock of the world. It is no secret it is far too easy for criminals to come here. We are not even checking to ensure the people we do admit are not criminals. As a result, the people of Canada have been subjected to increasingly violent crimes. The bitter irony is that even when these criminals are apprehended and dealt with by our courts and even when deportation orders are issued, our immigration officers are impotent to deal with them, to send them out of the country, to ensure they never darken this land again. Oh, no, they simply file an appeal of the deportation order and disappear into the woodwork.

All of us have seen the devastating and deadly effects of this inept system. Now the minister with this sadly flawed legislation hopes to lull Canadians into believing this government actually intends to do something. Canadians will be fooled no longer.

The minister is proposing that we actually allow criminals into Canada simply because the crimes they committed would not earn a maximum sentence of 10 years in this country. Clearly, this is sending the wrong message. A criminal is a criminal. Those who commit small crimes can be inclined to commit more heinous ones. In what way does Canada or the people of Canada benefit from having criminals here? The only immigration policy that will work is one that allows people into this country solely on merit.

In a letter to me dated August 29 the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration states: "Protecting Canadian society from criminals is a top priority for me and my officials". Having the minister guard our gates against criminals is like having a fox guarding the hen-house.

Canadians are far from gullible and will not tolerate this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde approach. Canadians of all stripes are demanding that the law get tough with criminals. That will prove to be an impossible task if we continue to import law breakers. We should bar all criminals. I will repeat that. We should bar all criminals, without exception. Canadians do not want an invasion of criminals. Canadians do not need terrorists hiding here and plotting violence in other parts of the world. Canadians do not need street gangs or the additional stress on our already struggling social programs.

Canada is also nearly bankrupt so how can we afford to admit these people? Before any immigrant steps onto Canadian soil, before they leave their native land, have their criminal record checked with all the resources at our disposal. I have been told that immigration officers are prohibited from checking criminal records through Interpol. Why?

Immigration officials have told me it would bottleneck the application process to check whether refugees have a criminal record. Then let it be bottlenecked. I say it is far better than having even one Canadian murdered or having violence erupt in the streets or making our own citizens live in fear in their own homes, their streets or their playgrounds.

What about immigrants who commit crimes while in Canada? Again, our Liberal created policies and laws have forgotten the sole reason for their existence. It is not to concern themselves with the welfare of the criminal and his or her family. Our laws were made to protect Canadians. The criminal should have thought of the hardship he would cause his family before he broke our laws.

If found guilty of a criminal act in Canada, anyone who is not a Canadian citizen should be put on the first plane out of the country. It would be simple enough to carry this out directly from the courtroom to deportation. Let the offender have the right to appeal. Everyone should have the right to appeal, but let it be from some other country, perhaps his country of origin, not in Canada and not for the taxpayers to pay the final bill.

In my peaceful riding of Okanagan-Similkameen-Merritt we have a particularly repugnant fellow, a landed immigrant who feels no particular need to respect this country's laws. He scorns our courts. He laughs at our law enforcement officers. This man eluded a murder charge on a technicality in our courts. Currently he is being tried for a string of burglaries, a crime he has served time for previously. He has a record as long as your arm, Mr. Speaker, and perhaps as long as all of our arms and a deep and abiding contempt for the citizens of our land. He has been ordered deported by immigration officials but he has exercised his right of appeal.

This man is a criminal. He has had a second chance and then some. Where is the compassion and the consideration for the innocent people who are his victims? Logic dictates that there is not even the remotest chance of his rehabilitation, yet we keep him here at the taxpayers' expense.

This individual is a burden on this country and will continue to be so. Why should Canadian taxpayers have to spend some $40,000 a year to keep this foreign national in our prisons? This person should be on the next plane back to his homeland where I understand the law takes a sterner view of this type of criminal conduct. Why are we not sending him home? Let us do it. Send him home.

This unacceptable situation is the end result of the current laws, laws that originated to a large measure with a Liberal government. The proposals before us are more of the same. It appears on the surface to be a step in the right direction. We are tired of hearing that. It is like the old saying: You cannot get there from here. The government knows this proposal will be almost impossible to enforce. It will be spun around and distorted by lawyers and judges and the immigration bureaucracy will find a way to thwart it. After all, this is the way the government deals with these matters with Canadians.

Canadians from coast to coast to coast have called loud and clear for tougher measures. This bill does not address the ills and dangerous inadequacies of immigration. It does not have a clear mandate for the Immigration and Refugee Board which increasingly acts as a law unto itself. It does not solve the problem of a department that cannot enforce its own deportation orders. It does not even have reliable knowledge of how many deported criminals and undesirables remain in this country. It is a typical Liberal answer to a problem: doing too little far too late.

This government, the minister and his colleagues, have exhausted the patience of the people of this country. Canadians are raising a hue and cry. Not only the people of the west but all Canadians demand that the minister do his job.

We Reformers have presented our proposed amendment to this bill and urge all members of the House to support it. This Reform amendment is what Canadians are telling us to do. It is time to start listening and not just pretend to listen. The ministry is out of control. The immigration department is out of control and Canadians will not pay the price for the minister's mismanagement.

Immigration Act September 19th, 1994

You are just an MP.

Immigration Act September 19th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore on her speech. I have some concerns and I was wondering if the hon. member could briefly answer a few of them for me.

We all know that Canada is the envy of the world. The bill deals with serious criminals. It tells them specifically that they cannot come to Canada which I think is a move in the right direction.

If we are the envy of the world and if we have the ability within our immigration system to choose the best people to come to our country, ones who are willing to abide by the laws of Canada, why would we say we will not allow people in if they have committed a crime that would warrant a sentence of 10 years or more in Canada? Why are we allowing any criminals into the country? It seems ludicrous.

I heard the minister mention the word accountability several times in his speech. This is not accountability. This is not what Canadian people from coast to coast to coast are asking for. They want law-abiding people to come and live in our country without this ridiculous nonsense of 10 years.

Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act June 21st, 1994

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. This afternoon I was engaged in committee. The government has throughout this session of Parliament stressed the importance of committee work. I also find it very important to be here for a vote, although the loyal and Official Opposition and also the government have decided that they would take this away from me, my privilege to vote on this issue.

Criminal Code And Young Offenders Act June 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the seconder of my private member's bill should be the hon. member for Calgary Southeast.