House of Commons photo


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 May 5th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to rise pursuant to Standing Order 36 to present some petitions signed by people from the area of Penticton who are increasingly concerned about the future of the Penticton regional airport as negotiations have been ongoing for three years now and the negotiations are at an impasse.

The petitioners pray and request that parliament immediately appoint a mediator to assist in reaching an acceptable transfer agreement to all parties. I am presenting 98 of these petitions today and there will be thousands more to come.

Penticton Airport May 5th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the people of Okanagan—Coquihalla who are concerned about the future of the Penticton airport. Negotiations for the transfer of the airport to the city of Penticton have been ongoing since 1996. Here we are three years later and the process has been halted for the eighth time.

The Penticton airport injects over $12 million into the economy of the south Okanagan. The airport manages over 44,000 air movements per year. To lose this important link in transportation infrastructure would be economically devastating.

The people of the south Okanagan are taking direct action to keep the airport open by signing a petition demanding that the federal government appoint a mediator to bring the parties back to the negotiating table.

The closure of the Penticton Regional Airport will clearly be the responsibility of the Liberal transport minister who has mismanaged this file from the beginning. What will it take for the Liberal government to appoint a mediator to finalize this vital agreement?

Petitions May 3rd, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour and privilege today of presenting a petition with 308 signatures. These residents from the south Okanagan are greatly concerned about the future of the Penticton airport. The negotiations have been ongoing since 1994. Right now they are at an impasse. My constituents are calling on the government to appoint a mediator to assist in the transfer of the Penticton airport.

There will be thousands more to come.

National Defence April 29th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, the minister is wrong again. He knows that he cut defence spending and other programs. At the same time they have increased spending and added $12.5 billion to program spending that is questionable in the first place in the latest budget.

The defence minister, the foreign affairs minister and the Prime Minister have positioned our troops for war. The PM has committed our troops. Is he as committed to giving them the resources they need to do the job?

National Defence April 29th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, the minister is wrong. Our troops are the best in the world, but there is just not enough of them. The minister knows full well that there is not enough of them because the government has cut $500 million a year since it took office in 1993. Our Canadian armed forces are underfunded, underresourced and undermanned, and the minister knows it full well.

Will the Minister of National Defence stand in the House today and tell Canadians that he will go to cabinet and request a 10% increase in the defence budget? Will the minister do that now?

Points Of Order April 27th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, during the course of question period I asked the Minister of National Defence about the rules of engagement. He referred to guidelines that had been established by NATO.

I wonder if the minister would table those guidelines for the House this afternoon.

Kosovo April 27th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, these are urgent issues on which all Canadians want to have details.

One of the most important questions that must be answered today, however, is the matter of rules of engagement for this mission. Somalia and Bosnia have shown us that the rules of engagement must be established at home, in Canada, before the deployment of a mission.

Will Canada determine its own rules of engagement, or will they be determined by NATO? Will the defence minister tell us precisely today what those rules of engagement will entail?

Kosovo April 27th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, the official opposition offers its moral support to the 800 troops that the government has committed today. I think Canadians should all pray for a safe and speedy return. However, there are many questions that must be answered.

The 800 Canadian troops heading to the former Yugoslavia will be working in conjunction with the British Fourth Armoured Division. Canadians want to know precisely what the command and control structure will be. Will our troops be commanded by Canadian officers or will the British have complete command and control over our forces?

Supply April 27th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Edmonton East.

Before I get into my comments regarding the motion before us today, I would like to comment on what we have heard this afternoon from the Prime Minister. I appreciate his being in the House to present this information and his giving Canadians and members a brief lecture on politics 101 and the executive authority of the government in the House of Commons.

I remind the Prime Minister and the executive branch of government that along with their executive decision making power comes something called executive responsibility. The opposition will be holding the government accountable for every action it takes which seems to be inappropriate to the official opposition and to the people of Canada.

With respect to that I have great concerns over the types of troops we have heard are being deployed to the Balkans. The Prime Minister has given us very few details about those troops. He has given us a number of 800 troops, but he has said very little about their role and their missions of operation. He has said very little about all of these things. I get the assurance from the defence minister that he will also speak to these issues.

My point is that the House agrees executive decision making is in the mandate of the Government of Canada as is executive responsibility. We will do everything to make sure the proper troops are deployed and the capabilities are there. We all know the government has reduced military capability over the last five years since it came into power. It will be held to account for all those things. The auditor general has pointed it out. The chief of the defence staff has also pointed out the capability deficit we have now after six years of Liberal dominance in the country.

However, I digress. I rose this afternoon on behalf of the people of Okanagan—Coquihalla to speak to the opposition motion:

That this House calls on the government to intensify and accelerate efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Kosovo through the involvement of Russia and the United Nations, and to urge NATO not to take actions that expand the conflict and stand in the way of a diplomatic solution.

I congratulate members of the Canadian Armed Forces, particularly those in the air force who have done a superb job in executing the sorties and missions they have been given over the last 35 days. All Canadians should take time to thank them for that, and to pray for their safe and speedy return to Canada. All of us want to see a diplomatic solution to this situation.

Therein lies the problem with the motion. In the way it was written it makes it sound as though we have not been concerned about a diplomatic solution. In the newspapers I read on a daily basis and in the media reports I see, the diplomatic flurry of activity surrounding Kofi Annan, the ministers from Russia, our Minister of Foreign Affairs and other interested parties has definitely increased. Canada must show its absolute resolve not to fray away from its NATO allies in this terrible tragedy happening in Kosovo.

The motion lays out some assumptions that the Russians and the UN have been kept out of the negotiations. I feel that is totally false. I would not even want to be sending that message. That is why I cannot support the motion before the House today.

It is also important to note that the UN has been in the Balkans for most of this decade, trying to resolve various territorial and ethnic disputes. There is increased diplomatic activity going on right now, but there has been such activity for the last 10 years. We have tried.

If members of the NDP think this is some whim NATO has embarked upon for no good reason, they are sadly mistaken. We have to remember Canada's involvement. We have a stake in it as well. Eleven of our peacekeepers have died through peacekeeping operations in the Balkans. I do not say that lightly. I am quite concerned about that. Do we have a stake in it? Of course we do, because those people did not die in vain.

NATO has taken military initiative due to the failure of an agreement in the UN to take action against Serb ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Russia and China would oppose UN sanctioned action in the security council. We know that full well. Kofi Annan has even identified that.

It is ridiculous to say that Russia has been excluded. Russia is important. Every media report, everything we see, shows that all the stakeholders are trying to get Russia involved. Russia is seen as an important mediator to end this conflict.

I will remind members of the House and maybe my colleagues in the New Democratic Party of the goals. I am not condemning the NDP for bringing the motion forward. They drafted the motion in the spirit of wanting to find a solution, but I do not think there has been a lot of thought into what they are saying here.

First, one of NATO's goals is to end ethnic cleansing. Second is the withdrawal of Serb forces. Third, refugees must be allowed to return to their homes in Kosovo. Fourth, NATO peacekeepers must be allowed to enter Kosovo. Fifth is a political solution. That is the fifth link in the NATO agreement to which the 19 member states have agreed.

We are already striking Yugoslavia with our NATO air forces to reduce the ability of the Yugoslavian military and paramilitary to commit aggression. This is very, very important and it is working. The evidence shows that this tactic is working.

The comments made yesterday by the deputy prime minister of Yugoslavia show that the political decision making powers are fraying on their side. We cannot allow them to fray on our side. NATO must maintain its resolve to continue the campaign until the Yugoslavian leadership accepts a negotiated settlement.

With this type of motion I would have to ask what kind of message are we trying to send to Mr. Milosevic? He would love this motion, because this motion shows cracks in NATO's resolve. I just do not think that is appropriate at this juncture.

We have successful air operations continuing. We are reducing the Yugoslavian army capability. That is very important and there are signs that a political solution may be found.

I want to also remind people that on April 12 the Leader of the Opposition laid out some principal objectives in supporting the government and NATO. The first was that it attains the moral objective of halting ethnic cleansing. Second was that we achieve the political objective of creating safe homes for Kosovars and stabilize the region through negotiations. Third was that we pursue the military objective of damaging the military capabilities of Yugoslavia to reduce its capacity to practise ethnic cleansing and bring the Yugoslavian government to the negotiating table.

When I was home on the weekend I met up with a World War II veteran and I had a conversation with him. His name is Lieutenant Colonel Harry Kwarton. I said to Harry, “Sir, what do you think of what is going on right now?” He said to me, “At the end of the second world war we told the world that we would never let this happen again, and you bet we are doing the right thing by being there and supporting this”. I think we are on the right track.

I want to congratulate our troops and again remind the government that I for one will be holding it responsible for its executive decision making. It had better make sure that the capabilities it commits are the proper ones and we have the ability to do the job.

Kosovo April 23rd, 1999

Mr. Speaker, the Deputy Prime Minister knows full well that statement is 100% pure balderdash.

The vague answers to critically important preparedness and funding questions raise more and more doubts about the government's commitment to our troops.

Last April the auditor general pointed out that the government has failed to give our ground forces adequate funding to modernize equipment. He said that our infantry and armour could be detected, engaged and defeated long before our troops even knew that the enemy was present.

How can the Deputy Prime Minister stand in his place today and pretend that our troops are being properly equipped when the government has not announced a single funding measure—