Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was grain.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Brandon—Souris (Manitoba)

Lost his last election, in 1997, with 18% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply June 19th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to follow the member for Vegreville. In some respects he seems to be an expert on plebiscites. He seems to be an expert on systems. I would like him to answer a couple of direct questions. What is the system he is proposing? I would like him to define how that system would actually work, if he is actually saving the wheat board while bringing forward his new system.

Competition Act June 18th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Industry.

In June 1995 the Bureau of Competition Policy outlined a review of the Competition Act. At that time a discussion paper was circulated to obtain feedback on several proposed changes to this act.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers produced a paper which outlines strong arguments against the bureau's recommendation to repeal the price discrimination and promotional allowance provisions of the act.

Would the minister assure the House and the independent grocers across Canada that their concerns will be explored before any other changes to the act are adopted?

Criminal Code June 17th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I know the proposals being put forward by hon. members opposite are in the interest of the national good or in their view of the national good.

My concern is whether there are any data available on extent that section 745 is actually used on an incidental basis. How many times it has been used, how many people have had their sentences shortened and, if so, what has been the outcome of that shortened sentenced?

National Unity May 30th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, in 1870 Louis Riel fought for the recognition of a province that was split between the English, French and Metis peoples. Riel understood that while divided in number, these people were united in purpose.

Today we know that it is these feelings of tolerance and compassion that still unite us. This nation has thrived because of differences and not in spite of them. We have been able to draw together, to work together, for the betterment of Canadians and the country as a whole. We have stayed together all these years because it is the desire of Canadians to do so.

As we approach our nation's birthday and our third millennium let us look at our achievements and our growth and let us be proud to be Canadians.

National Defence May 27th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence recently announced that the government is ready to move ahead on the vast majority of recommendations from the special commission on the restructuring of the reserves.

What assurance can the minister give this House that the reserves community across Canada will be involved in this restructuring process?

The New Millennium May 16th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, 1967 was a defining year in our nation's history. At the time of our 100th birthday every province, city, town and village joined together to celebrate Canada's accomplishments. A wave of national pride swept across this country as we took stock of our blessings and our nation's future.

Western Manitoba's wordsmith, Mr. Fred McGuinness, has suggested that we repeat this centennial experience by giving national recognition to the approaching millennium. I agree. We have the leadership, the commitment and the creativity. Let us get on with the show. Let us fasten our attention on the future and let us celebrate being Canadian.

1996 Census May 6th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, at the UN world conference on women in Beijing it was recognized that unpaid work, which is mostly done by women, should be factored into the development of social and economic policies. For the first time, the 1996 census will ask Canadians about their unpaid work.

Will the Secretary of State for the Status of Women tell the House why the government is seeking this census information?

Supply April 29th, 1996

Madam Speaker, the member opposite raised two very legitimate concerns.

It was not my intent to create the impression that we need not worry about the victim, that we need worry only about the perpetrator. The point I was making is we have to be cautious in carrying through with our fundamental legal positions in legislation and in the charter of rights and freedoms so that victims' rights are not seen as removing the rights of offenders.

The second comment concerned the growing number of victims' organizations. The member was adding to the number of persons involved in those organizations. Those organizations are symptomatic of the communications industry and how it has been growing throughout the country. Nothing happens in Vernon, as an example, that we do not hear about instantaneously throughout the nation or throughout the world.

I have a daughter in Australia. We have already had communications from that area because of the massacre that happened there yesterday.

Let us not refocus the impact. We are simply attempting to ensure victims and their families have some involvement in the total criminal justice system. It is for that reason that I support the member opposite in his opinions.

Supply April 29th, 1996

Madam Speaker, before I commence the formal part of my address, let me simply add that all members in the House know of some event or some circumstance which has impacted either on them or on close friends whereby the victim has had some long term scarring and

would appear to have had very little public recourse in terms of addressing that level of hurt.

My colleague for Erie who will be sharing my time with me, will be adding to my comments today. I personally support the thrust of the proposal members opposite are making today.

Throughout the country over many years there have been attempts to put something in place. Manitoba has had some pilot projects on victims services. I am sure that is true of other parts of the nation as well. Various municipalities have engaged personnel to attempt to assist a family or the victim of a crime, whether it be vandalism, theft, or some other sort of violation. A system has been put in place because of the difficulty in handling life after the fact.

The hon. member's concern for victims of crime is very admirable. We have often heard the public criticize the judicial system for placing the rights of the offender ahead of the rights of victims. That was addressed to some degree by the previous member with regard to justice for all. One cannot defend one side or the other on that one.

I agree that more needs to be done to protect the rights of a victim. I would also emphasize that we must be cautious. It is not to imply that one way to achieve protection of a victim is to diminish the rights of an offender. Therein lies the tricky part; not to allow the legislation currently in place in human rights legislation or in the charter.

We would ask ourselves whether there is a necessary trade off between competing rights. Is justice better served by somehow reducing the rights of an accused person? The emergence of the victims' rights movement in Canada is one of the most important criminal justice trends we have seen in the last 20 years. Yet I doubt any victim organization in Canada would advocate eliminating the right of an accused to a fair trial, the right of due process, the protection of habeas corpus or the protection of an accused against self-incrimination. Do I need to remind the House there are rights guaranteed to all Canadians under sections 7, 10 and 11 of the charter of rights and freedoms?

I will not dwell on this matter of comparing the rights of the accused with the rights of the victim, but this may be necessary in considering the content of a bill of rights. I believe a more constructive approach is simply put to determine where and how the victim should be involved in the criminal justice process.

The concept we should embrace is access to justice for the victim. At what point in the criminal justice process does the victim deserve to have input? There were some suggestions in my colleague's speech and I would not attempt to diminish the thrust my colleague was putting forward.

However, are there various points along the process where we can examine with close scrutiny where access should be made? Should there be input to the police, to the investigation, to the trial of the accused, at the sentencing stage and later at the parole decision making stage and finally when the offender is released from custody assuming that guilt is determined in the issue?

If we can provide the victim or the victim's family with appropriate access to the criminal process in a timely fashion, maybe we can be a little less concerned about who has more or who has fewer rights.

Let us examine the progress made over the last two decades both in terms of general recognition of the needs of the victim and specific measures. Much of the policy and programs dealing with the victims is derived from a report by a federal-provincial task force on justice for victims of crime in the early 1980s, which offered 79 recommendations to both levels of government for improving social criminal justice and health responses to victims of crime.

In 1985 Canada co-sponsored the United Nations declaration of basic principles of justice for victims of crime. It was widely and universally accepted that Canada was a leader in this movement. This document soon became the basis for a unique Canadian statement of principles. This statement was endorsed by the federal government, the provinces and the territories in 1988. It has provided a reference point for provinces to develop their own policy and legislation on victims' rights, and most jurisdictions now have victims oriented legislation.

It is important to note provinces' perspectives since provinces' responsibility for the administration of justice means that not all access to justice issues are under federal control.

The law now provides for victim impact statements. Section 735 permits provinces to determine the forum for the victim impact statement in their jurisdiction. In effect this provision creates flexibility, for example, by allowing police based victim witness service programs to generate victim impact statements or alternatively crown or court based services as appropriate.

Victim fine surcharge provisions were also added to the Criminal Code by Bill C-89. The victim fine surcharge is an additional monetary penalty imposed on an offender at the time of sentencing. A victim fine surcharge is required to be imposed in addition to any other punishment imposed on an offender convicted or discharged of a Criminal Code offence or an offence under part III or part IV of the Food and Drug Act.

In addition to these surcharges, several provinces have passed legislation to impose a victim's surcharge on provincial offences and this revenue may also be used for victims' services in those provinces.

I will do my personal best to bring forward concerns and information which will support this thrust by members opposite.

Brandon Police Service March 26th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I rise to salute the Canadian Police Association in general and the Brandon Police Service in particular who are in town this week.

The Brandon Police Service has developed an innovative approach to traditional crime prevention, one that is community based with a focus on youth.

In January 1995 to increase informal accessibility of police officers to young people, six Brandon schools formally adopted a cop. The officer is sometimes a guest in the classroom or a walker in the halls which provides students with the opportunity to interact with the officer at whatever level they choose.

Canadian police forces across the country are making great efforts to bring policing closer to the communities and are working with the communities to address issues relating to crime prevention.

I salute the initiative of the Brandon Police Service and the administrative staff of the participating schools. I encourage more involvement of this type across the country.