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

Questions On The Order Paper November 28th, 1995

Madam Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Assistance To Research November 21st, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I would like to reaffirm to the hon. member that decisions made by the granting councils, and in particular the Natural Sciences and Engineering Granting Council to which he referred, are taken impartially with reviewers from across Canada in a way that is fair and recognizes excellence.

I am pleased to say that from the point of view of Quebec, Quebec scientists and researchers are doing very well competitively and, from the granting councils in general, they receive their fair share and often very much more than that. It is a good compliment to Quebec, under the circumstances, with the granting councils operating fairly.

Science And Technology November 21st, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. It is true that sometimes when we are deep in snow on the ground in Canada it is nice to have the sort of inspiration and hope which is provided by Chris Hadfield up in space using Canadian technology including the space vision system to link in partnership in space two former cold war protagonists.

I should add as well that earlier this month we launched RADARSAT which is positioning Canadian entrepreneurs competitively in the global earth observation market with some very new technology. It provides some remarkable advantages as well in monitoring and being able to improve the quality of our global environment.

Supply November 21st, 1995

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to the motion. The concept that the Government of Canada has not been working hard to ensure a strong aerospace industry in Canada is totally false. Canadian involvement in space and in the development of the Canadian space industry has been exemplary. The story of Canadians in space shows clearly that Canadians can solve problems.

In typical Canadian fashion we have been modest in singing the praises of Canada's accomplishments in space. I am here today to ensure that Canadian scientists, Canadian engineers and Canadian entrepreneurs get their full recognition in terms of the marvellous accomplishments they have made and are making in the name of Canada in space.

Canadians are space pioneers. More than 35 years ago Canada launched Alouette . We were the third country in space, a pioneer. It is the same today. Just last month we launched RADARSAT, the world's most sophisticated earth observation satellite. Canada is leading the world.

Last week we saw Major Chris Hadfield onboard NASA's STS-74 shuttle mission to Mir using Canadian technology to help bring together the Russian space station and the U.S. space Atlantis . The two events showcased Canadian technology to the world in an unprecedented way.

I welcome the opportunity to tell Canada's story in space and specifically to underscore today the very important role Quebec has played in this effort. Ours is an increasingly competitive world and governments cannot afford to invest time, effort and money in ventures that do not bring significant gains both to scientific knowledge and to economic and environmental benefits the world over.

Canada's space program is a growth industry, aligned with the new realities of information technology providing us not only wonderful new technology for manipulating in space but new communications technology. Canada is a world leader in this area.

The Canadian space industry provides employment for 4,000 Canadians and pulls in annual revenues of more than $500 million. Over the last decade the average annual rate of growth in the space industry has been 15 per cent, with Quebec a particularly high performer.

Over the past ten years, the space industry in Canada has grown annually by 15 per cent, with Quebec being a particularly strong performer.

The space program was established to meet Canada's needs in areas vital to our economy: telecommunications, resource management, surveillance and environmental monitoring. Satellite communications has been the way for the auto route of information, the information highway, the 20th century equivalent of the railway providing linkages that help bind the country together from one end to the other.

The Canadian space program is also driven by a desire and a political will to ensure the development of a globally competitive economy. In a fashion, all regions of the country have been able to draw on the government's space effort, to transfer space technology from government laboratories to the private sector, and to capitalize on employment and economic activity generated as a result of this visionary program.

The province of Quebec and its aerospace industry have been beneficiaries of the program. The location of the Canadian Space Agency in Saint-Hubert on Montreal's south shore is testimony to the importance of Quebec in this national effort. It underscores Montreal's international role in space, in satellite communication and in the information age.

The space agency has brought several hundred highly educated scientific people to the greater Montreal area and has added to Montreal's position as a centre of high technology. I am particularly heightened by the fact that Quebec has shown considerable leadership in the program, the industries and the people of Quebec. More than $540 million in contracts have been won by Quebec firms since 1988, which is more than 35 per cent of budget of the space program.

Quebec's leadership position in the space sector is further reinforced by strong engineering skills and industrial activities. The RADARSAT satellite was built by the Spar aerospace facility at Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, as was MSAT, an advanced telecommunications satellite scheduled to be launched in the first quarter of the next calendar year. Mission control for RADARSAT is located at the space station in Saint-Hubert.

In building the satellite Spar was able to draw on the skills of a pool of highly specialized small and medium size enterprises that provided various components of the RADARSAT satellite. In economic terms some 60 per cent of the RADARSAT program was awarded to Spar and its subcontractors. This is just the beginning of the RADARSAT story.

Presently a study is under way to look at partnership arrangements for the next generation of RADARSAT to ensure commercialization of the RADARSAT system and launch of the second RADARSAT satellite. It is significant that a major Quebec based firm has become involved. I am referring to SNC-Lavalin, a firm that has successfully established itself as a world leader in project management.

Let me take a moment to talk about Canada's RADARSAT satellite. It is a remarkable Canadian achievement to have built and successfully launched a satellite earlier this month. The satellite uses radar to allow continuous monitoring of the earth's surface. Unlike most of the previously launched earth's observation satellites which cannot see through clouds and cannot therefore monitor much of the earth's surface much of the time, RADARSAT can monitor it continuously. By using the radar it can peer through the clouds and have a continuous assessment of the nature, the events and the changes on the surface of the earth.

Not only does Canada's RADARSAT provide a complete and continuous coverage of the earth's surface but it uses an extraordinary technology developed in Canada to provide a remarkably flexible, precise and complete coverage. RADARSAT can provide full coverage of Canada's Arctic area every 24 hours, full coverage of Canada's entire land mass within three days, every three days, and full coverage of the total surface of the world, of our globe, every seven days.

RADARSAT will provide for Canada and for the world a remarkably new tool to monitor crop development, to assess the status of crops, yield, insect infestations and all sorts of other things that may happen to the crops planted and to assess the status of forests, the growth, the harvesting, the regeneration and so forth. It is a wonderful tool with the ability to monitor the world's forests and specifically help Canada better manage its own forests.

It is very important for shipping to know precisely what is happening in terms of ice conditions like those in Hudson Bay or the northern Atlantic. RADARSAT will be able to provide that. The monitoring of water conditions to better control floods during spring runoff not only in Canada but around the world is a wonderful new technology that helps people the world over to live better and have a higher quality of life.

These are but a few of the potential applications of RADARSAT. Thanks to the foresight of our government, Canadian industries now have an extraordinary commercial advantage in RADARSAT. Canadian industry is well positioned to take advantage of the benefits of the new satellite. Canadians have expertise in the technology and are now actively marketing the potential of RADARSAT, its satellite system and its earth monitoring capabilities the world over.

I want to talk for a moment about the space agency in Saint-Hubert, home to Canada's astronauts. Chris Hadfield landed yesterday at the Kennedy Space Centre after a seven-day mission of historical dimensions. Here again Canadian content in a mission characterized by NASA as one of the most technically demanding ever undertaken by the shuttle program was significant owing to the Canadian role, the role of Canadian technology and Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, in bringing together the United States and Russia, the world's two space superpowers, in a successful partnership in space.

Marc Garneau, the first Canadian in space, paved the way for future Canadian flights on the shuttle. He will once again be space bound next year. Julie Payette is continuing her training and we expect this will lead to a flight opportunity in the years to come.

Canadian astronauts provide a wonderful role model for young Canadians. They are very important in a world where such role models are too infrequent. It is particularly significant as we try to promote the development of the science culture to have role models like Chris Hadfield, Marc Garneau and Julie Payette.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, the hon. Minister of Industry and I unveiled the second long term space plan in June 1994. We reconfirmed that Canada would be a significant contributor in space in the future. We reconfirmed that Canada would make a significant contribution to the international space station program, the largest scientific endeavour ever undertaken in the history of the world.

The program will break new ground in fields as diverse as biotechnology, physiology, material science and fluid physics, a new era in understanding space medicine, to name just a few. Canada will provide the technology that will make possible the assembly and maintenance of the world's science and technology institute in space. The operations of the Canadian contribution, the mobile servicing system, a leading edge robotics system, will be located in the space agency's facility in Saint-Hubert. Astronauts and space station operators from around the world will come to Saint-Hubert to train and to become knowledgeable about this very sophisticated and, one could say, intelligent robotic system.

I am proud to have been associated with the Canadian space program.

I am very proud to be associated with the Canadian space program.

Since we have become the government we have been privileged to participate in and lead many initiatives to ensure the continued prosperity of Canada and the Canadian Space Agency, to ensure the continuity of our Canadian astronaut program, to ensure a continued place for Canada in space, in new technology, in communications. Canadians are justifiably proud of our accomplishments. We should all be pleased with the social and economic benefits that come from this national effort. In today's information economy, we are indeed fortunate that Canada has such a strong space program.

In closing, let me emphasize once more the important role and the foresight our government has played in leading the Canadian space effort. It has mobilized an effort that will transfer increasingly some extraordinary technology to Canadian industry and provide at the same time the technology that will help us monitor and improve the global environment.

This is our future, this is Quebec's future, this is Canada's future.

Department Of Human Resources Development Act November 20th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a pleasure to be here today as the member for Portage-Interlake in Manitoba and speak about Bill C-96, the act which will formally establish the new Department of Human Resources Development, a department for which my close colleague and fellow Manitoban, the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre, is responsible.

Some might ask why the Secretary of State for Science, Research and Development would be particularly interested in talking on Bill C-96. There are several reasons. First and foremost, the bill brings together people and resources in a new way, a way that will position the Government of Canada to play a more effective role in human resource development.

The bill is central to a redefinition of the role of government in Canada, a role that improves the ability to form partnerships, to share resources, to enhance local and national understanding of the issues and to use national networking and research to ensure effectiveness and accountability.

It is a paradox perhaps of our age that governments, like computers, must cost less and do more at the same time. Sharing powers through partnerships, bringing groups and resources together at the local level is the process this bill enables, a process essential to meet the challenge of our times.

The process is now operating in many locations across Canada: at the new Learning Centre in Portage la Prairie, at the Learning and Life Centre in London, Ontario, at le Centre de resources humaine de Matagami in Québec, and in many other areas.

Sectoral partnerships like the Automotive Repair and Service Council, the Canadian Steel Employer's Council, partnerships with industry leadership, are further examples of sharing, decision making and resources through partnerships.

Decentralization and a sharing of powers through partnerships, a regrouping of stakeholders and resources locally, this is what the DHRC is about and this is what Bill C-96 will enable us to continue doing.

We now live in the knowledge age, a time when an understanding of science and technology is vital for the development of human resources. This has happened for several reasons. More and more of the employment and the business opportunities of today depend on a knowledge of science and technology.

Over the last five years there has been a net gain of more than a million jobs for those with a college or university education but a net loss of more than 600,000 jobs for those with only high school training or less.

Employment in some science and engineering based areas, computer science, software engineering, advanced materials, biotechnology, environmental technology, are now and continue to be among the fastest growth areas for employment. Just being able to use a computer well in one's job has been estimated to provide a 15 per cent additional income benefit compared to a similar worker without such skills.

Science and technology are important as well because they are increasingly essential for the efficient delivery of government services. In Portage-Interlake constituents have historically often had to travel long distances to get to the nearest Canada employment centre.

Constituents from Ashern, Gypsumville, Dauphin River, Peguis, Fisher River, Jackhead and many more communities have had to travel two, three, four hours one way to get to the nearest Canada employment centre.

Fortunately due to the advance in technology and the foresight of the Minister of Human Resources Development it will not be long before employment kiosks are much closer so that increasingly constituents will be able to receive effective service in their own communities, as the citizens in Stonewall in my riding already do.

We look forward to the day when such service will be provided cost efficiently over the Internet to all people in their own communities. The government's community access program is providing rural communities across Canada the opportunity to get connected and to be served effectively at home.

Science and research are also increasingly essential to the design and the implementation of programs through the human resources development department.

As the National Advisory Board on Science and Technology emphasized in its report "Health, Wealthy and Wise", all levels of government need to evaluate the effectiveness of their programs and the efficiency of their delivery. They need to begin to understand the underlying causes in order to reduce the overall demand for remedial social programs.

NABST further emphasized that social science humanities research may be the key to responding to these issues. NABST singled out the self-sufficiency project of the human resources development department as an example of the sort of critical action research needed, testing by doing.

Numerous strategic initiatives now being undertaken by the human resources development department follow in the same fashion. Examples include the taking charge initiative in Manitoba, helping single parents on social assistance, and the improved access to child care initiative in British Columbia, a four-year project to test new ways of delivering and developing child care services.

The Government of Canada is not taking the lead in any of these initiatives. We do not want to take the lead. It is the results of these partnerships that interest us.

It is the creation of the human resources department in its present structure and the leadership of its present minister which have allowed the effective integration of sophisticated social science and program design so that we can expect to see for the first time with the upcoming reform of the unemployment insurance system an overhaul which has effectively used science based testing to ensure a better and far more effective program.

Science and technology in the development of human resources are only effective to the extent that they are used wisely and are balanced by the ability to develop critical human elements, ethics, discipline, creativity, hope, courage, self-esteem, compassion, tolerance, diversity, co-operation and team work.

It is also these elements which are important and can be nurtured within the focus of the new department which is focused on co-operation and partnerships, sharing resources and decision making, targeting these particular values. Our bottom line is that we must advance in the development of human values even as we advance in science and technology for economic purposes. To make wonderful developments in science and technology for

economic goals alone but to fail to make the same developments in social and human sciences would be like a see-saw with all the weight on one side.

In this context it is appropriate to mention today, national child day, the important role the newly developed human resources development department can and is playing in nurturing the children of Canada.

Let me use an example of an effort in my riding of the newly opened learning centre in Portage la Prairie. It offers technology to help provide citizens with an alternative learning mode, including self-directed computer based learning, for all levels from grade 4 through first year university. The facility is of particular relevance to single mothers and their children.

As noted in the statistics reported last week, some 56 per cent of single mothers in Canada live in poverty. These mothers and their children deserve and need our attention. At the Portage learning centre they are receiving it. It is coupled with a day care facility which enables single mothers to be full participants and to learn new skills and to enhance their success in the participation in the job market and to enhance their income.

This example and many others like the improved access to child care initiative I mentioned earlier are important building blocks for our society and our children tomorrow.

Let me now return briefly to the theme I began with, a new department with a new approach, decentralized in that it shares resources and decision making in the most effective ways. This approach allows the rapid emergence and development of creative local initiatives to respond to local needs, and yet at the same time provides a nationally networked department which can share experiences, best practices and test results from new initiatives from one end of Canada to the other.

Today, the government has begun an in-depth reform of our labour market and social security programs, by creating a system of employment for the 21st century.

As a government we started the process of reform from the ground up. We have engaged almost 100,000 Canadians directly in deciding how to deal with unemployment insurance, how to deal with job programs, how to deal with issues like employment equity and child care.

The result will be a job system built by Canadians for Canadians. The result will be a system preoccupied not with turf wars but with results and getting things done. The result will be a system run by partners who can get those results. The result will be a system that favours the creation of employment in the wealth creating private sector rather than enlarging the government sector.

That is what Canada needs and that is why the government is creating through Bill C-96 a new Department of Human Resources Development and ensuring its mandate.

Tourism Industry October 27th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian tourism commission has already spent $50 million, while its partners have invested $35 million.

This year, revenues related to tourism increased by 18 per cent in our country. Clearly, a united Canada, in which the provinces and the federal government co-operate, is the best thing for Canadian tourism. It is definitely an argument in favour of a no vote on Monday, so that we can indeed have a united country and the best possible environment for tourism.

Research Periodicals October 24th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, it is important to recognize the important role the Social Sciences and Humanities Council has played in social science and human research. This role is well recognized from coast to coast.

In looking at how it deals with the fiscal situation the council has drawn on its experience and has made very careful, fair and peer reviewed decisions for the best interests of Canada.

Excise Tax Act October 17th, 1995

moved that Bill C-90 be read for the third time and passed.

Excise Tax Act October 17th, 1995

moved that the bill be concurred in.

Foreign Investment October 2nd, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the hon. member that Canada's telecommunications infrastructure and programs are seen as among the leaders in the world.

We are moving very quickly to open up a very competitive environment. Investment in this area is increasing dramatically and the investment in research and development, which has been the particular question today, is very substantial. It looks like a bright future.