Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was important.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Portage—Interlake (Manitoba)

Lost his last election, in 1997, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Science And Technology February 21st, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his question and to also thank him for his very hard work in supporting science and technology in Canada.

We have committed to making the networks of centres of excellence a permanent program funded at an annual rate of $47.4 million. We have committed to making the industrial research assistance program a stable program at $96.5 million.

As Robert Prichard at the University of Toronto indicated, this budget will be understood historically as a critical turning point for Canada, when Canada reaffirmed that it is going to compete with the strongest nations in the world for innovation, research and development.

Science And Technology February 18th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, our government has a vision for the 21st century. We are investing in science, technology and building the information society.

We announced last week numerous programs for science for young people. We have renewed the Canada space plan. We put major funding into Technology Partnerships Canada. We are putting Canada on the fast lane to develop the information highway with programs like CANARIE, SchoolNet, the community access program, and digital collections. We have invested in the health services research fund, have started the medical discovery fund and numerous other initiatives. The auditor general has said we have the best ever strategy for science and technology.

Research And Development November 21st, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for her question.

The government believes in developing new technologies in Canada and building the industries of the future in these new technologies. One of these new technologies is fuel cells which produce electricity in an environmentally friendly way from hydrogen and oxygen. Ballard Power Systems is a company which holds 83 world leading patents in this area, providing an advantage to Canada.

The investment yesterday of $30 million through Technology Partnerships Canada in Ballard Power Systems provides an example of how the government is working in partnership with the private sector to create jobs and industries in Canada.

Supply September 30th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, this gives me an opportunity to explain what is happening with the situation in British Columbia.

The Community Futures Development Corporation, where it is responsible for a region, deals with men, women and anybody who lives in that region, on an equal basis. However, it was discovered that the needs of women historically have not been sufficiently met. Therefore, the Women's Enterprise Societies have been set up in the four western provinces.

In order to make sure, in British Columbia in particular, the Women's Enterprise Society and centre have an agreement with the Community Futures Development Corporation so that there is a partnership. They work together to make sure that men and women are both very well served.

Certainly the experience in all four western provinces has shown that the Women's Enterprise Centres targeting women are badly needed. The example we have in British Columbia of a very strong partnership between the Community Futures Development Corporation and the Women's Enterprise Society is an example of how we can deliver services to all effectively and without having duplication.

Supply September 30th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on the motion of the member for North Island-Powell River.

One thing which is very important is that the government has set the stage for a major thrust to increase trade in the Asia-Pacific. My colleague the Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific has been at the forefront of this effort. The Prime Minister has been at the forefront leading trade missions to various countries in the Asia-Pacific. When we look at the trade statistics, clearly we are making major progress in Canadian trade with the Asia-Pacific region. Right up front is the presence of British Columbia as the gateway to the Asia-Pacific.

Next year is the year of the Asia-Pacific. I would like to point out to the hon. member that this January, Canada assumes the chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation. I would also like to point out that the government is well under way at this point in planning events throughout the year and that these activities will culminate in our hosting the APEC economic leaders meeting in Vancouver in November next year.

As all members of the House know, British Columbia is indeed Canada's gateway to the Pacific. This is becoming more and more important, not just for British Columbia but for the whole of Canada.

To mark this meeting of Asian and Pacific leaders, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada also inaugurated the year of the Asia-Pacific. Cultural, academic and trade activities, as well as other related events, will take place throughout Canada in order to showcase the solid relations that exist between Canada and its Asian and Pacific partners, and to raise their profile.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, working in close co-operation with other federal departments and the province of British Columbia, has already opened an office in Vancouver to support the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation activities which will highlight British Columbia as the gateway to the Pacific rim.

The government recognizes that British Columbia has a strong and growing economy. We know well that this economy relies on small business and trade and on exports, and that the growth in the Asia-Pacific is very important to the growth of the economy and the well-being of people in British Columbia.

Our government is making sure that businesses throughout Canada have the information they need to grow, to expand and to participate in these new markets in the Asia-Pacific. As an example, in British Columbia the Canada-British Columbia Business Service Centre responds to thousands of queries every month from people all over the province who are starting or expanding their businesses or expanding their markets. The centre, which has been developed under the tenure of our government, is an excellent example of how the federal government can work in partnership with provincial governments. It shows how we make use of innovative technology to meet the needs of those businesses that create the jobs in the current economy.

I should point out that just two weeks ago the Internet web site run by the Canada-British Columbia Business Service Centre won the Distinction 96 Gold Award for renewing services and program delivery. Each month this web site helps more than 50,000 visitors find the practical information they need to start and expand their small businesses. This is very important for British Columbia and it is very important for small business in British Columbia.

Our government has also worked in new ways to develop a program called Strategis which we have put onto the worldwide web so that businesses can find the information they need, the information they want when they want it. On Strategis there are thousands of new technologies which are available. On Strategis there is the ability to connect up very easily with business partners across Canada. Indeed for foreigners interested in doing business with Canada, Strategis is a virtual marketplace for Canadian goods and services. It is but one component of what we are doing as a government.

Let me point out another effort which is helping British Columbia to participate as the gateway to the Asia-Pacific. This is the international trade personnel program. My department, western economic diversification, is delivering this program. It is helping

companies in British Columbia and across western Canada to hire recent graduates to help them develop their export market.

The program has been very successful and its reports already show significant market penetration as a result of the activities of these eager young graduates. Many of the markets that are being penetrated are in the Asia-Pacific region, and this means jobs for young people, for recent graduates in British Columbia.

Growth in British Columbia and in the Asia-Pacific relies on these small businesses, the emerging industries. This is where we are putting a considerable effort.

My department, western economic diversification, has also recently created investment loan funds in co-operation with banks and other financial institutions. These loan funds provide access to capital on fully commercial terms for small businesses in new growth sectors like biotechnology, health, environmental technology, information technology, telecommunications, tourism and other knowledge based industries. This is a further example of what we are doing in partnership with financial institutions to provide loans in areas where the risks are higher and where the needs are great.

Not only do small businesses need access to financing but they need help in knowing how to expand and grow their businesses. Western diversification officials in British Columbia are working with firms in the emerging economy to help with their business planning as well as responding to calls from entrepreneurs who are seeking advice. Members of the third party from time to time have found western diversification so useful to small businesses that their offices are now regularly referring clients to the western diversification office for help and advice.

Throughout British Columbia, WD supports a network of 32 community futures development corporations. These CFDCs are run by volunteers who work hard to create jobs and to help with the growth of small businesses in their communities. Let me give a few examples.

In Powell River the CFDC has helped to develop the waterfront. The Strathcona CFDC in Campbell River on northern Vancouver Island has helped to solve a pollution problem caused by fish waste and at the same time helped develop a local industry, turning organic waste into marketable compost. It was able to do this with financial help provided through western diversification to make sure that we have a strong on the ground organization.

In the Campbell River area of northern Vancouver Island nine loans totalling $316,000 using the working opportunity fund have been made to local small businesses. This is another example of the CFDCs working and helping locally in economic development.

In the Terrace area of northwestern B.C. we recognize the importance of aboriginal businesses to the development of a strong economy. Here the CFDC is making loans to businesses run by aboriginal people to foster the creation of badly needed businesses and services in the First Nations communities.

The government believes that in the future it is the young people in particular who are important to growth and it is opportunities for young people of which we need to be most aware. In April of this year western diversification provided $200,000 in new loan capital to each CFDC to provide financial assistance to British Columbia's young people to create their own businesses.

I have visited with several of these CFDCs and talked to many of the young people who have benefited. The experience has been excellent with this program and the response from young people and from the CFDCs to this program and this funding have been very rewarding.

Western economic diversification has also established the women's enterprise initiative, recognizing that more and more of small businesses are being operated by women. In British Columbia the Women's Enterprise Society is working hard to bring more and more women into the economy as entrepreneurs, sharing and participating with other entrepreneurs.

The hon. member says he is concerned about the closure of DND bases in British Columbia. Let me remind him of the government's commitment to assist communities during these times of economic adjustment. In areas where the downsizing of a facility will have a major effect on the local economy the government has stepped in to help. In the communities around CFB Masset, responsibility for solutions to economic adjustment has been delegated by the government to the community. The community is charting its own future with financial support from the Government of Canada.

Similarly, through the infrastructure works program local communities have identified needs. Over 400 projects have now been approved in British Columbia with the federal share exceeding $220 million or one-third of the total cost. These projects are expected to create or maintain more than 9,000 short term and 400 long term jobs. Eighty-five per cent of the program funding is allocated to water, sewer and local transportation projects. These will not only enhance the local infrastructure but they will also improve health and the environment.

We are looking to the future to build a strong base of science, research and technology in British Columbia. The federal government is contributing $167 million over five years to the Tri-University Meson Facility at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. TRIUMF is one of the world's leading facilities for subatomic particle research. The applied research conducted at TRIUMF has already resulted in the creation of new commercial

products in biomedical, radiopharmaceutical and medical isotope research, products like PET scanners and pion therapy beams.

TRIUMF generates economic activity for western Canada through its purchase of products and services, and through technology transfer and commercialization. In addition, some 700 scientists from around the world come to British Columbia to conduct research and attend scientific conferences organized by TRIUMF.

The hon. member should also know that the federal government has supported many networks of centres of excellence headquartered in British Columbia. British Columbia is home to the networks for research on telelearning, on bacterial diseases and on genetic diseases. In addition to that, the federal government has invested some $600 million in the Centre for Advanced Wood Processing and $3 million in the Biopharmaceutical Innovation Resource Centre Fund.

The good news is that these investments in critical research and development, coupled to their commercialization, are likely to have very substantial benefits for the British Columbia economy for many years to come.

In partnership with the provincial government, the federal government has provided $5 million over the last two years under the agreement on communications and cultural industries. This money has been invested in over 45 projects to promote culture and technology development in British Columbia.

To make sure that people in communities throughout British Columbia have access to the information highway, the government created a community access program and to date 34 rural and remote communities in British Columbia have been hooked up to the Internet and even more will be connected over the coming two years.

The government has been active in making sure that there is information available for small business, that communities have support for economic development, that science, research and technology in British Columbia have solid support. It has also negotiated open skies agreements with the United States to increase tourism in British Columbia. It has successfully managed the infrastructure works program in partnership with the provincial government and local levels of government.

The government has done a substantial amount for and with the people of British Columbia as part of the partnership which is this country of Canada, people working together to make things happen.

British Columbia is a major contributor to Canada, not only from an economic point of view but, more important, through the contribution of all its citizens. It contributes to the strength of our country culturally economically, scientifically and to the unity of our great country.

The hon. member should also know that in the time I have been here the Liberal members from British Columbia have spoken strongly, loudly and forcefully for the province of British Columbia and that is one of the reasons why British Columbia and British Columbians are doing very well at the moment.

I ask that my time be shared with my colleague, the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra.

Research And Development September 17th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, there are historic reasons why the science and technology federal laboratories initially grew up in Ottawa.

However, over the last 10 years a major effort has been made to correct this. Some of the recent federal laboratories, 10 or so of them, have been placed in Quebec. There are major initiatives to put the Canadian Space Agency in Saint-Hubert.

As a result of these efforts, the federal spending on science and technology, when we include all the federal expenditures, is now very close in Quebec to the population of Quebec, which is about 25 per cent.

Standards Council Of Canada Act June 18th, 1996

moved that Bill C-4, an act to amend the Standards Council of Canada Act, be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to support the Minister of Industry on the third reading of Bill C-4.

Let me begin by thanking the Standing Committee on Industry for the prompt review of the bill. I would also be remiss if I did not thank the more than 1,000 Canadians who participated in the consultations which led to the development of this amendment and this amended bill.

Its first objective is to provide a structure giving more adequate support to the efforts of the 14,000 Canadian volunteers who give of their time, energy and expertise to the national standards system.

Modern, effective standards are an integral part of creating the right marketplace conditions to encourage economic growth and jobs for Canadians. Marketplace framework laws like the amendments here to modernize the Standards Council of Canada help create an environment in which Canadians can make the decisions needed to create jobs and growth. These changes define the rules of the marketplace to balance the interests of all parties: businesses and consumers, small and large enterprises, buyers and sellers, the private and the public sectors.

When marketplace framework laws work effectively, governments can stay on the sidelines, like referees, and let the private sector get on with the job.

Marketplace framework laws have been at the core of the government's program to revitalize the Canadian economy. The changes proposed here fit well with our overall strategy.

When the Minister of Industry tabled the agenda for jobs and growths in the publication "Building a More Innovative Economy", he outlined how Industry Canada would address four key elements to help the private sector create jobs and ensure growth in Canada. These four elements are trade, infrastructure, technology and the marketplace climate.

The legislation before us addresses one of these elements, the marketplace climate. Standards establish a common benchmark against which the performance of goods and services can be measured. The impact of this legislation will be felt on all the other elements of our jobs and growth agenda.

Standards promote trade both domestically and internationally. Internationally, standards like the ISO 9000 series give Canadian products and services a seal of quality recognized around the world. Within Canada, standards enable different jurisdictions to agree on a benchmark for quality that allows them to eliminate duplication of government services.

Let me give the House an example of how important standards can be to international trade. Twenty years ago Canadian plywood was virtually unknown in Japan. Japanese builders had not accepted the wood frame construction we use commonly in Canada. There was therefore no market for Canadian plywood in Japan. Well developed Canadian standards in this area have, however, helped to convince the Japanese building industry of the value of wood frame construction.

The forest industry in Canada worked hard with the government to have Canadian certification recognized. The Canadian Plywood Association became the first organization in the world to gain Japanese approval as a foreign testing organization. Today Canada sells the Japanese 70 million board feet of plywood each year.

Let me also give an example of how participation in standards development leads to expanded trade. Advanced Information Technologies Corporation, a Toronto based company, is working with the International Organization for Standardization to develop standards for passports that can be read by a machine. Its work has opened many doors for its business and last year its sales topped $34 million, with 80 per cent of the sales coming from the machine readable document business.

Standards are vital in order to build an effective infrastructure. If members want an example of what can happen when uniform standards are not applied, study the early history of the railway industry in North America and in Australia. In Australia each state applied a different standard gauge for railway tracks. Hon. members can imagine the result. No train could travel from one state to the next. Every time one came to a state border the cargo had to be unloaded from its cars and reloaded on to the next train.

We can shake our heads now in wonder at why this happened, but we must ensure a similar situation does not now arise in the case of infrastructure for the next century, infrastructure for the information highway.

This infrastructure requires a great deal of co-ordination in the standards that will apply. The standards clearly affect a number of both federal and provincial jurisdictions, and a wide range of industries are involved in providing both the road bed and the content for the information highway. We do not want to find ourselves in the cyberspace equivalent of having to unload our information railway cars every time we come to a border.

Standards are vital to the healthy development of technology. The government's overall objective is to create conditions where we can build an innovative society in which research and development create technology and the business community adapts and adopts the best technology possible. That is the way to create jobs and growth in the modern context.

One cannot have technological innovation without safeguards. Canadians must be assured their health and safety will not be

compromised by the new processes, the new products and the industrial designs that make our society innovative.

Canadians want assurances that the buildings erected this year will not topple next year due to unproven techniques. Canadians want assurance that the electrical appliances they buy can be plugged into outlets at home and, once they are plugged in, they want the assurance a short-circuit will not burn their home down.

Canadians want assurances their natural gas lines will not leak, that the gasoline they buy has the right octane levels for their car and that the propane tanks they buy have the right thread fit for their gas barbecues. Canadians value new innovation and the convenience of modern technology. However, Canadians will not compromise safety and security.

This creates clearly a challenge for government. On one hand, we must encourage creativity and the adoption and adaptation of new technology. We do not want to slow down innovation. At the same time we have an obligation to ensure the new innovations will not expose Canadians to unwarranted risks. Standards are an effective way in balancing the need for technological innovation with the need to prevent undue risk. They enable innovators to know in advance the criteria that must be met.

The criteria have been established as a result of consensus on how the public interest can best be protected. This enables the business community, researchers and innovators to forge ahead. Innovators can be as quick and flexible as they need to be in responding to new ideas and to new opportunities.

Innovators know that by using standards set for their technology they will stay within the limits of safety. From my own constituency the needs are particularly important in farm related technology and new machinery as well as in the advancing and roll out of the information highway.

Why has the adoption of standards been part of the government's strategy to create jobs and growth? Standards help business people, they help innovators and they help the consumers of Canada to get on with the task at hand.

People do not always have to be looking over their shoulder to see what the government thinks. They do not consistently have to check for government approval, they just apply the standards that are there and accepted.

The primary objective of this legislation is to make standards a more effective tool for the creation of jobs and growth in Canada as well as to provide safety for Canadians.

Bill C-4 is part of the government's overall strategy to create market conditions where the private sector can get on with the job of building a modern innovative economy.

I congratulate all those who contributed to the drafting of this bill and I ask my colleagues to give it their full support.

Prisons And Reformatories Act June 18th, 1996

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-53, an act to amend the prisons and reformatories act.

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

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act June 18th, 1996

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-52, an act to amend the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superannuation Act.

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

Science And Technology March 12th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the government recognizes that in today's world, science and technology are key to economic growth and to jobs. By laying out yesterday in the science and technology strategy an effective technology plan for the nation, we are signalling to Canadians that we want to see an end to the era when we were net importers of science and technology products. We want Canadians to build those science and technology based products here in Canada so that there are jobs for Canadians in Canada and that those jobs will continue for a long time into the future.