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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

Financial Administration Act June 21st, 1994

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-263, an act to amend the Financial Administration Act and other acts in consequence thereof (exempted crown corporations).

Mr. Speaker, in an effort to further the good management of all government departments, agencies and corporations, the bill I am proposing at this time seeks to improve accountability by moving certain crown corporations currently exempted from the provisions of the Financial Administration Act into the accountability framework suggested by the Auditor General.

Auditors General have on several occasions in their annual reports made recommendations to introduce this change. Their concern focuses on the fact that these exempt corporations do not face as rigorous an examination as do all other government departments, agencies and corporations.

In a country with the grave debt problems which we have, all government bodies must have the greatest dedication to accountability. We in this House must ensure that every dollar of taxpayers' money is used carefully and judiciously and in the manner of which all citizens of this country can approve.

This bill will remove concerns in this area by ensuring the highest level of responsibility and embracing the principles of good management. It will enhance the credibility of government and the public image of these corporations.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Reserve Force Act June 20th, 1994

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-261, an act to facilitate participation in the reserve force.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Saanich-Gulf Islands for seconding this bill.

Canada is relying more on reservists to meet its military commitments and with the recent downsizing of the regular force the demand on reservists will undoubtedly increase.

The auditor general in his 1992 report to this House found that reservists had a serious training deficit when compared with trades and ranks in the regular force. He put much of this down to the reservists being unavailable for training, often due to the demands of their jobs or difficulty in scheduling time off to coincide with the training exercises and courses offered. Many reservists use their annual vacations to attend exercises essential to developing their military skills. This is a great price for them to pay and for their families to have to forfeit a well deserved vacation to serve Canada.

If we are to have an effective volunteer reserve force and if Canada is to be able to meet its international commitments we must take steps to ensure that reservists are able to get the training they need and the time required to get that training.

This bill will enable reservists employed by the federal government to be given up to a two month leave of absence to attend reserve training and exercises. This bill in a small way seeks to ensure that the Government of Canada lead the way to demonstrate leadership by ensuring that the federal government provides leadership of all Canadian employers in facilitating the development and professionalism of the Canadian reserve force.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Auditor General Act May 3rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in favour of the act to amend the Auditor General Act with regard to reporting.

Make no mistake about it. Canadians are going to hold this House responsible for every red cent the government spends. They see it as a duty of Parliament to ensure the highest standard of responsibility in government. It is the duty of this House to ensure that tax dollars entrusted to us are used prudently and for the purpose which Parliament allocated them.

I have concerns for the ability of the members in this place to fulfil their duty without sufficient information provided in a timely fashion. We have at our disposal an excellent instrument to ensure sound management, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada.

Annually, the Auditor General submits a report to this House in which he reviews the manner in which the nation's business is carried out by the various departments, agencies and crown corporations. He takes into consideration not only purely fiscal concerns but also the performance and mandate of the organizations he is reviewing.

The Auditor General also makes recommendations for improving operations from time to time. Indeed the Auditor General's reports are thorough. The latest ran to some 700 pages. They are deserving of the fullest consideration by members of this House. Over the years a massive amount of waste and poor administration spending in government has been brought to light by the Auditor General.

Earlier this year he reported on the National Arts Centre, a crown corporation. He found serious deficiencies in the manner in which the corporation was managing its finances. With an annual budget of $40 million a year and a staff of about 300, the

Auditor General found serious deficiencies. This is a cause for serious concern to all Canadians.

Surely good stewardship of public money is not too much to ask. In fact, the Auditor General's annual report has been almost bursting with recommendations for improved management, for better performance of mandates as well as dire warnings regarding the practices of the federal government at times.

Indeed this report is probably the taxpayers' greatest friend. It is unfortunate then that more time is not available for members to give every topic in the report their fullest attention when the report is presented. Time however does not permit such a full debate. Unfortunately by the time the estimates find their way through committee much of the good work has been forgotten.

Government needs to spend a little more time discovering whether all those tax dollars we squeezed from our constituents are being spent to good effect.

At one point, being a brand new member in this House full of ideas and questions, I decided I would take on the task of trying to discover how effective various government job creation programs had been over the years. I discovered that no one had taken the time to follow up on these programs in any scientific way over a long period of time. Just think of all the billions of dollars that have been poured in this direction and we cannot even prove it even created one real long term job.

The work of the Auditor General is monitoring the activities of government in a very real, very necessary way indeed.

The private sector I would submit has its own controls on efficiency and productivity. It is called competition. Government has no such control. The best control the taxpayers have is full disclosure of the fiscal management of the government and accountability for it.

I will use a word that I hear often on the other side of the House, transparency. It is a word that we hear often. The Auditor General's office provides such transparency, that window into the workings of the government operations.

This transparency will be enhanced by the provisions of this bill that we are considering here today, allowing the Auditor General to report when he considers the matter to be timely. This will make his recommendations that much more effective. Rather than allowing the problems to run unchecked until the annual report is tabled, urgent concerns can be dealt with when they are uncovered and should be dealt with that way.

Over the years several auditors general have called repeatedly for parliamentarians to be supplied with adequate information in a timely fashion related to the management of government agencies and crown corporations to ensure the achievement of those organizations' objectives. In the task force report on crown corporations' accountability prepared by the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committee in July 1992 it was stated: "Legislators are generally not supplied with adequate information related to the achievement of crown corporation objectives".

What is troubling about these observations is they have been noted time and time again. The litany of waste continues unabated no matter how often we talk about it in this House.

It seems to me that part of the problem lies in the House getting its information in one large, somewhat indigestible serving at the start of the year. Maybe if we took it in bite sized portions we would be able to deal with these matters easier.

The massive document tabled in this place contains a wealth of information, but little time is allowed to analyse, discuss, debate or act on it. In some cases the problems revealed are very old problems and rarely ever come back to this House to be dealt with.

On page 23 of the current report the Auditor General states: "Parliament is not being provided with the information that would enable us to assess the desirability and affordability of sustaining programs at their current levels within the context of their commitments". He goes on to call for cyclical reviews of all statutory spending programs such as unemployment insurance, international aid and income support. This would be more possible within the framework of the bill under discussion here today.

Further in the report he comments on the current program evaluation. He says: "Based on the office's government wide findings, I am forced to report that the evaluation regime is not working as intended". He also underlines the necessity for objective reporting. "Evaluations for example of crown corporations which originate from within the organizations themselves are unlikely to treat objectivity with the problems encountered".

There are in fact several concerns here which I share with the Auditor General and which I suspect are shared by many members of this House. The issue comes back again to accountability.

In the bill before us we see measures which permit the Auditor General to do his work more effectively and thus permit this House to do its work more efficiently. It is also my belief that no crown corporation should fall outside the mandate of the Audi-

tor General's scrutiny and thus the scrutiny of these members to ensure the performance of their mandates and good fiscal management.

It seems to me that in this Parliament we have a dedication to accountability which has been endorsed by all sides of the House. The government on page 12 of its red book states: "Whether it is in health care or regional development we think that it is important to measure the long term outcomes and consequences of our policies and programs and that is why we have placed so much emphasis on evaluation, innovation and finding the best practices".

Similarly the Bloc Quebecois has had its calls repeatedly for accountability in government. So we are all in accord on this. In fact if we examine the record going back over many years, we have the recommendations of the public accounts committee, the auditors general committee and many members of this House, including the member for Ottawa-Vanier, supporting the changes included in this bill.

I call on all the members of this House to support Bill C-207. It is time to make these changes, changes which will strengthen the ability of Parliament to manage the nation's business with the care with which Canadians demand that we do it.

Canadian Navy May 3rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday Canadians remembered the Battle of the Atlantic. Canadians have enjoyed 50 years of peace and security

in large part due to the contribution of the courageous sailors of the Canadian navy.

Today the navy has as its mission the continued assurance of this peace. Canada has the world's longest coastline and is a major trading nation with busy seaports on both coasts. Her maritime interests are undeniable, particularly the fisheries.

Our navy plays a significant international role in NATO and made no small contribution to bringing about the end of the cold war. In peacekeeping operations the professionalism of our navy is respected around the world.

Today almost 1,000 Canadian sailors and airmen are off the coast of Haiti and Yugoslavia doing their part to support UN operations.

As we remember those sailors of World War II, I call on all Canadians to also remember the men and women of the Canadian navy who serve us so well today.

Apple Growers May 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Revenue will recall that at a recent Chamber of Commerce meeting in Penticton he expressed concerns for the apple producers of Canada. He will also recall that he stated that once proof of damage was supplied to his department, immediate action would take place. I remind the minister that that information was supplied early in April by the fruit growers.

Can the minister please tell this House today when Canadians will see his government take action?

Apple Growers May 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Revenue.

The minister has been asked several times by Canadian apple growers to immediately stop the dumping of U.S. apples into Canada. As usual the government talks a good game but also as usual nothing concrete comes of it. The best the government has come up with is for the growers to start anti-dumping action through the Canadian International Trade Tribunal which will take at least five months before damage is halted. These growers are being hurt by this dumping today.

Will the minister take action now to stop this destruction of the apple industry in Canada?

Battle Of The Atlantic April 27th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, Sunday, May 1 will commemorate the Battle of the Atlantic across Canada. We will honour the Canadian veterans who fought so courageously and with such great sacrifice to keep the enemy from our shores and to gain control of sea lanes so that allied forces could bring World War II to an end.

We honour those who served in the RCAF coastal command, the Royal Canadian Navy and our merchant navy. During the bloody and bitter conflict in the Atlantic, each one made a vital contribution to destroying the German U-boat menace which extended from Britain right into the St. Lawrence.

They made possible the transport of vital troops and supplies to beleaguered Britain. Without their heroic efforts there would have been no Normandy landings on D-Day.

This year we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II through the Canada Remembers program. This Sunday let every Canadian who cherishes freedom remember those who fought so well and who made the supreme sacrifice in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Ironman Canada Triathlon April 25th, 1994

Canada's own Ironman Triathlon takes place every August in the city of Penticton, British Columbia. This year's race is scheduled for the weekend of August 27 and 28.

It is the only sanctioned Ironman race on the North American continent. The competitors compete in a gruelling course which includes swimming, biking and a marathon run. The 1994 race will attract over 1,300 athletes from every corner of the world to the Okanagan valley.

The event is staged almost entirely by volunteers. On race day thousands of volunteers busily man race routes, transition zones, first aid stations and perform a myriad of other tasks. They do their jobs so well that virtually all the world's top triathletes come to compete in this world class event.

I call on all members of this House to recognize Penticton's Ironman Canada Triathlon for its contribution to placing Canada on the international sporting stage.

Foreign Affairs April 21st, 1994

Madam Speaker, one of the greatest tragedies of our time has been the destruction of the dream of world peace by surging ethnic and national conflicts.

Naive as the vision may have been, when the iron curtain collapsed people around the world believed that in a history plagued with war and atrocities mankind would finally be on the path to a peaceful coexistence. Of course that has not proven to be the case.

Eighty years ago the world was plunged into World War I by events which took place in the same unfortunate lands that we are discussing tonight. The firestorm that resulted produced one of the saddest chapters in human history. We must ensure that we do not become entangled in that same web.

The difference today is that this civil war is being played out in real time for millions of television viewers. Almost every day grisly images of mangled children and slaughtered civilians are brought to our screens and in the newspapers. I picked up a copy of the Globe and Mail in which the mayor of Gorazde was reported as saying that Gorazde looked like a slaughterhouse. There were reports of scores of injured and dead lying as they fell amid the debris. An amateur radio operator yesterday was heard saying: ``Wounded people are lying everywhere. The situation is desperate''. Stories of atrocities abound and the term ethnic cleansing, despised by all civilized people since the days of Hitler, has re-entered our vocabulary.

The root cause of this age old conflict is ethnic intolerance and greed. This conflict reaches back into time across the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Turkish Empire and beyond. These are old quarrels being reignited; new battles over old grievances and old hatreds. The fighting has been bitter and indiscriminate.

Two years ago the United Nations dispatched a peacekeeping force into this savage war zone when the Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies were prevented from bringing relief to civilians. For the first time UN forces were deployed during a conflict to ease the plight of innocents. This too was accompanied with television images and the terrible price being paid by the non-combatants: children maimed, orphans abandoned by their care givers, women brutally and systematically raped, marketplaces shelled, and old people lying in twisted heaps. Civilized people could not stand by and let this misery and indiscriminate slaughter continue.

Another article in the paper quoted the Bosnian prime minister in an interview saying: "NATO must take immediate and decisive action to prevent a mass slaughter in Gorazde".

UN peacekeepers have done their best to bring food and medical supplies to these people, to provide some of the very basic things that human beings need to survive. They have done their jobs valiantly and in the face of great adversity. They have been blockaded and besieged. They have been threatened with deadly force, captured and held hostage, terrorized, shot at and shelled. They have performed with exceptional dedication, bringing hope to the victims of this war.

At every turn attempts to find a peaceful settlement have been thwarted by the Serbs. The lies, the deceit and the irresponsible actions of these people are an affront to civilized humanity. Truces have been declared, only to be broken within hours if not minutes. Ceasefires have been agreed to, only to be kept until the military manoeuvres were completed and then violated.

For peacekeeping to function there must be a wish for peace. For peace to be possible there must be some recognition by the combatants that war is a last resort, that the inhuman acts occasioned by war are repugnant, and that all other means must be exhausted before the final option of war is exercised. That does not exist in Bosnia.

We have at least one combatant in the struggle, Serbia, which sees that war as a means to achieve its national objectives. While no one has clean hands in this conflict, perhaps finally the other two protagonists, the Croats and the Muslims, have come to realize that continued arms struggle only brings disaster to their own people and that in the end nothing is really gained. The Serbs on the other hand are prosecuting a war of aggression that aims to subjugate and eliminate the other ethnic groups.

It is understandable in the face of all the horrible facts of this conflict and its capacity to seemingly go on forever that civilized nations are considering more drastic measures to put an end to it and that urgent calls are heard to bring more military force to bear.

The arrogant manner in which the Serbian leadership has conducted themselves, almost as if they hold themselves beyond accountability for their actions, and the utter disdain they obviously have for the United Nations demonstrate clearly their rather primeval attitude, like a bully with a chip on his shoulder. Serbian leaders have dared the UN to take action to stop them.

No matter what our feelings, we must exercise wisdom and restraint. We must consider very carefully where we cross the line between humanitarian relief for the innocent civilians and becoming combatants ourselves. We must not justify the bully's actions by adopting his methods.

The use of air strikes around Sarajevo succeeded because it demonstrated the resolve of the UN to protect safe havens it had created. It was great for the people of that city, but it took the UN down a path of intervention in a civil war that could be dangerous. This was demonstrated when a British Harrier was shot down over Gorazde. The spiral of action and reaction can be very dangerous.

The request before NATO now is to expand the use of air strikes to cover other safe havens. This draws the UN and NATO even further into the web. When did we cross the line, becoming participants in this conflict rather than neutrals? We must ask ourselves whether we are inviting reprisals against our peacekeepers on the ground. At the very least there must be co-ordination between the Canadian forces and NATO to ensure that our troops, Canadian troops, are as safe as possible from reprisals.

Will these actions improve the ability of our troops to deliver aid or impair them? What will our response be if Canadian peacekeepers are attacked and suffer casualties? Is this the right action to take?

Already the Canadian military is facing difficulties in sustaining operations at existing levels. If we agree to these air strikes we will be by extension committing ourselves to expanded troop commitments if the call goes out for them.

Indeed many questions are before the House. Can we, on the other hand, ignore the suffering brought on by the Serbian aggressors against the enclaves and the safe havens? The shelling of the hospitals, the careless endangering of innocent civilians is unacceptable.

The Serbs have shown a blatant disregard for international protest and concerns. They have repeatedly rebuffed the attempts of peace envoys, international delegations and truce negotiators to try to resolve this conflict. Almost at every step United Nations protection forces are hampered in their efforts to provide aid.

Even Russia, which has shown great reluctance to join the international chorus of protest, has angrily condemned recent actions by the Serbs.

I support the actions that we would take in support of these air strikes and I would ask every Canadian tonight at home as they are going to bed thinking of how safe we are in our country to spend a few moments and think about our Canadian peacekeepers who are doing a tremendous job for the entire world and say a few words for them.

Education April 20th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I hope the program the minister is talking about is not the band-aid type variety but is a true reform to a commitment to education.

One of the most appealing aspects of a voucher system is it allows individuals to choose what is best for themselves.

Could the minister tell the House if he has already discussed the idea with his provincial counterparts and, if so, what was their general reaction?