Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was brunswick.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Carleton—Charlotte (New Brunswick)

Lost his last election, in 1997, with 26% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada Remembers November 8th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, this Saturday, November 11, communities across Canada will be holding special commemorative ceremonies in honour of Canadian veterans to let them know Canada remembers their valiant deeds.

In this century alone, over 100,000 Canadians have given their lives in the service of their country. Some remember these Canadians as friends of their youth, as comrades in arms in the service, some as mothers and fathers, or brothers and sisters, or spouses.

It is also a time for all Canadians to remember and pay tribute to those who purchased peace and freedom for us through their sacrifices, their suffering and with their lives.

We are what we are today, we have what we have today because of the people we honour on Remembrance Day. Throughout Carleton-Charlotte and indeed across Canada we will always remember them and their deeds.

Manganese Based Fuel Additives Act November 7th, 1995

Madam Speaker, I listened very intently to the excellent presentation by hon. member. I have just a quick question.

He mentioned a number of varieties of automobiles. I believe he stated that all automakers in Canada and many of the foreign automakers were supporting this initiative.

Is this something that just evolved in the last month, or two or three months? Or have these studies been ongoing for several months or perhaps years, as the automakers make their plans and directives for new equipment and machinery that will go into their automobiles for future generations?

I wonder if the member could perhaps address that.

Department Of Health Act November 2nd, 1995

Mr. Speaker, indeed I will respect your wishes. I am pleased to hear that the hon. member and his colleagues support the health care system we have in Canada. I cannot speak at great length about the system that might be in place in New Zealand to which I believe he referred. I do not have any expertise in that area so I will not refer to that part.

However, I do know, and I have seen it personally over many years, of the benefits of the medicare system in our country. Yes, we can improve it. Yes, we should continue to work toward improving it and making it even better. It is a system that has been admired throughout the world and we should continue to promote and protect it for years to come.

Department Of Health Act November 2nd, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for reminding me of that. It is a usual courtesy that when one asks a question to wait around and hear the answer.

I am amazed that the hon. member would prefer the system of our good friends in the United States where there are literally millions of people who have no health care. We have all heard the horror stories of their losing a lifetime of savings, losing their homes as a result of a health problem some time during their lives. I am sure the hon. member was not suggesting that we should look at that type of system for Canada.

The principles that were put in place were put there to protect the health care of all Canadians so that all Canadians would be treated equal.

I would suggest to the hon. member that if his particular situation, to which he referred, was an emergency situation, most hospitals that I have been involved with over the years-and I served on a hospital board for some 15 years-always set aside time both in their outpatients, in their emergency rooms and in their OR for emergency situations. They also schedule those selective procedures that have to be done. Some may be in day surgery, some may be a little more serious and take more time.

The world is not perfect in each and every hospital, but in the particular situation the hon. member describes that certainly his doctor-and I am not being critical of his doctor-should have interceded on his behalf if indeed it were an emergency situation and obtained the OR time or the day surgery time and made sure that it was scheduled. I think there was some responsibility there.

We have the greatest health care system in the world. We see this on a daily basis. However, there is always room for improvement, which is exactly what we are doing. We are trying to work with the provinces to avoid those areas of duplication and to assist in putting together a better program.

The provincial health care ministers are trying to develop a better program that will continue to evolve and improve in order to make it even better than it is today. I suggest that it takes all of the health care practitioners working to improve the program and maintain those principles that have made the health care program in Canada envied throughout the world.

Department Of Health Act November 2nd, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to attempt to reply to the hon. member's statement and possibly a question.

He called the greatest health care system in the world, that is admired by citizens in every country throughout the world, a stupid system. Yet it is based on not how many dollars you have got in your pocket, but on need.

The hon. member did not go on. I see him moving out now-

Department Of Health Act November 2nd, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I am going to support Bill C-95. The Department of Health is very important. It is the department of drug certification, the department of product safety and the department of health act enforcement. It is the department of defence against disease, that common enemy of all Canadians.

From time to time hon. opposition members have criticized the Department of Health. They say it spends too much money. I say it is money wisely spent and not at all more than its responsibilities require. Consider the array of vital activity the Department of Health supports under its mission to help the people of Canada maintain and improve their health.

Health Canada plays a major role in protecting the health of Canadians. This House has been preoccupied with paring back for some time, but hon. members know very well that certain demands on the system will not go away simply because budgets are cut.

Health threats allow no fiscal restraint. It is a challenge of the Department of Health to maintain an infrastructure that guarantees quality health care to Canadians in good times as well as in bad.

More than 2,000 people work in the department to protect the health of Canadians by regulating goods and services mostly under the Food and Drugs Act, but also under the air and water legislation.

Health Canada has an environmental responsibility to manage chemical and radiological hazards. Each year a way must be found and the resources must be provided to review 1,000 new medical devices before they reach the market.

Health Canada prevents or regulates the sale and advertising of dangerous products and warns consumers about those in circulation. With everything else on their minds, people do not want to be worried about those details in their daily lives. The department helps take that worry away.

Product safety is part of the larger picture in maintaining health. Accidents in the home and at work are a major cause of death and disability between the ages of 5 and 35, causing not only the loss of enjoyment of life but economic loss and heavy medical and hospital expenses.

Each year thousands of field inspections, almost 3,000 last year, are carried out among food and drug establishments. Each inspection leads to an average of five analyses of food, drug and medical devices, some 14,000 last year. The department is responsible for

the nutritional quality of food, for making sure that additives, agricultural chemicals and processing methods are safe.

In 1994 more than 77,000 tests of suspected illicit drugs were carried out. Health Canada administers the Narcotic Control Act. It also works to ensure that drug products which may be effective when used one way do not pose unacceptable risks in another way. All pharmaceuticals in use in Canada must be certified by the department. A revised drug certification renewal process is designed to improve protection of consumers and to increase their access to important new drugs.

Over the past year, investigations were conducted into 20 outbreaks of disease including TB, cholera, hepatitis B, hanta virus and the hamburger disease. We do not know enough yet about some emerging infections to be able to prevent or control them. Radio, television and the press report to Canadians every day on the gaps in our ability to track threats such as drug resistant bacteria and those surfacing viruses. The public is more knowledgeable than ever in history.

Health intelligence is shorthand for pooling awareness, information and understanding of health problems and approaches among various jurisdictions and health sector partners.

The Department of Health's laboratory centre for disease control is now strengthening Canada's health intelligence network. This initiative, which will include participation in a new global network designed to detect emerging diseases, is endorsed by the provincial governments. The provinces know that national leadership in this area is essential if we are to make the most cost effective choices among all available health technologies and options.

The path to the government's objective of getting more value for every dollar spent on health is paved by preventing illness before it starts and by promoting healthy living. Each dollar that goes to prevent ill health saves tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars in treatment costs.

Health intelligence is one of the tools used within the department to address perplexing and persistent issues, such as mental health, cancer, AIDS, family violence, heart and lung disease, and prenatal deprivation. The department supports research to determine what will enhance health. It then promotes these activities by education and awareness campaigns and by developing infrastructure and programs.

For instance, the department is at the penetrating point of a network of government programs for children. The clear understanding is that the future of children depends on critical input during the first year of life.

The government as a whole directs more than $15 billion annually to Canadian children and their families to support health and development. Health Canada provides a wide range of programs for children at risk of abuse or injury, social or physical diseases. This year its child development initiative includes a ground breaking childhood cancer information system and strategies to address children's mental health.

Hon. members have heard of the department's prenatal nutrition program to reduce the tragedy of infant disability due to poorly nourished mothers. This is a comprehensive effort that includes diet supplements as well as counselling in nutrition and lifestyle issues such as smoking, substance abuse, stress and family violence.

As we come to pass from one century to the next, we might reflect that when our great grandparents witnessed the last such passage, their average lifespan and that of their friends was many years less than ours. As recently as the 1930s the average lifespan of a Canadian male at birth was only 60 years. A baby boy born today can expect to live at least 25 per cent longer, the equivalent of an extra week per month, or 13 weeks annually, or 15 years of extra life. A female baby's longevity has been extended by 18 years.

Better nutrition, better housing, better working conditions, and better sanitation have been major contributing factors to our better health and longer lives. But also there are marvels of human ingenuity applied to the field of health. The cholera and typhus that assailed our ancestors was controlled. Our children were defended against smallpox, diptheria and polio by simple vaccination. We learned to deal pre-emptively with the ravages of syphilis and tuberculosis. In each we triumphed. We spared thousands of lives and prevented a huge loss to the productive capability of this nation. Billions of dollars have been saved in the cost of care.

The federal government spends many millions of dollars each year on health research and makes it available to all provinces, all hospitals and all doctors throughout Canada. The outcome of this research saves the lives of Canadians.

The unfortunate reality is that illness still exists. Diseases afflict us unpredictably and haphazardly. Most illnesses, especially the major ones, are blind accidents. We are only able to deal with them after they have made an appearance. We must use the methods of medical care for this.

In Canada fortunately, disease is not made twice tragic by having a sick person bear the cost of the treatment. Expenses are paid in full by Canada's comprehensive and universal medical insurance programs which pay family physician and specialist fees as well as the charges for tests, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, surgery and

hospitalization, any or all that are required. This system is a source of deep national pride.

Patients in some provinces were asked to pay the difference between what health care providers were charging and what their provincial health plan would pay. This practice became known as user charges. As well, some doctors were billing patients over and above the provincially approved rates. Extra billing and user fees were a serious threat to our national medicare system.

To stop this erosion the Liberal government of the day instituted the Canada Health Act in 1984. This established in law the five principles on which the system remains supported. Everyone is covered for all medical necessities. Access to care is on an equal basis. Coverage is portable among provinces. Administration and payments are handled by the public sector. It is this act that still governs the health care system that has evolved in Canada and which is the best health care system in the world.

It is the Department of Health that administers and enforces this act, this cornerstone of Canadian cohesion. It is this bill, Bill C-95, that positions the department even more surely to discharge its responsibilities so essential to our national interest. It is therefore my intention to vote for its passage which I trust will be swift.

The Economy November 1st, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I was delighted to learn this morning that we had reached our 1994-95 deficit reduction target.

During the 1993 election campaign we proposed bringing our finances under control in a balanced fashion while building economic growth and jobs in Canada.

Will the Minister of Finance tell my Carleton-Charlotte constituents and the House if we are still on target for next year and still to reach our interim deficit reduction goal of 3 per cent of GDP in 1997?

Petitions October 19th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I am certainly pleased to present a petition signed by well over 100 residents, mostly in the Campobello area of my riding of Carleton-Charlotte.

The petitioners draw the attention of the House to the fact that GST for short term rentals from the United States is applied to the full value of the item being rented instead of on the rental value itself. They request that Parliament assess the GST to be only on the market rental value of the item in question in the future. I am pleased to table this petition.

Aquaculture Industry September 29th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health.

Over the past few years the New Brunswick Bay of Fundy aquaculture industry has grown to be a $100 million industry in the Carleton-Charlotte constituency. An infestation of sea lice is threatening the industry.

What is the minister doing to fast track the approval of new drugs to control the sea lice problem in this region and save this important industry in Carleton-Charlotte?

Oceans Act September 29th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I join with those in support of Canada's oceans act this morning.

Last November the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans released a document setting out the potential elements of an oceans management vision for Canada. The government sought the advice of all Canadians and the message was loud and clear: the federal government has a leadership role to play in oceans policy. Federally, ocean related responsibility has been fragmented and there is a need for focus in order to meet the needs of all Canadians.

Several key oceans programs are being brought together under one department to promote synergy in operational policy development, to eliminate duplication and overlap and to provide a more efficient and effective service to Canadians.

In recognition of these principles, the Canadian Coast Guard was merged with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans last April. This merger has already improved the government's ability to manage and protect Canada's oceans and marine resources and has strengthened its commitment to marine safety.

This merger decision was not taken lightly. The decision to seriously consider a merger was made in mid-October of 1994. A study of the proposal was conducted by a joint program review initiative by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, with input from the Department of the Environment, the machinery of government, the Privy Council Office, the Treasury Board Secretariat and Natural Resources Canada.

The purpose of the study was to propose measures to strengthen the policy and program framework and policy delivery capacity for the administration of Canada's oceans.

The goal was, first, to ensure the environmental protection and sustainable development of Canada's oceans resource; second, to provide essential marine safety services; third, to foster efficient and competitive commercial and other marine activities in Canada.

The feasibility study was completed in November 1994 and it confirmed that a merger of the two organizations could result in a number of benefits at the policy and program level.

One of those benefits was improved policy development and direction of the environment and response to the United Nation's Convention on the Law of the Sea. Another was increased effectiveness with respect to fisheries management, enforcement, marine safety, environmental response and one focal point for industry.

With the merger, DFO has assumed responsibility for coast guard marine operations, including search and rescue, marine communications, vessel traffic services, aids to navigation, icebreaking and pollution response.

The Canadian Coast Guard and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have many things in common. They have similar backgrounds and traditions. They have similar operations and marine policies and they both share similar views on improving ocean management.

While becoming the principal marine of the new Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the coast guard brings to the organization a reputation for distinguished service from coast to coast.

Collaboration is not new to the government. The coast guard and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans pull together as a strong team in responding to the Grand Banks fishing dispute on turbot. The coast guard played a valuable role in helping solve this dispute and one for which all Canadians are most grateful. Together the coast guard and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans demonstrated their commitment to preserve and protect our fisheries

resources when others wanted to continue their destructive practices.

This merger can serve only to enhance Canada's efforts in conserving and protecting fishermen, fish and our marine environment. Together they now have a combined fleet size of 148 vessels, including 42 offshore vessels that will improve coverage in the area of search and rescue, as well as the ability to move more aggressively toward a tougher conservation regime through increased enforcement activities.

This will allow the maintenance of the frontline enforcement presence while strengthening surveillance, fishing enforcement and environmental protection activities. The coast guard has a well earned reputation reflected in its motto: Safety First-Service Always.

Both DFO and the coast guard are strong organizations with a common history of working in the marine environment and with shared goals and interests in ocean safety and environmental protection. Together they are building a stronger and more effective department.

With the merger, Canada has the opportunity to become a world leader in oceans and marine resource management.

To make our oceans vision a reality, we need to manage Canada's oceans and major waterways so that they are clean, safe, productive and accessible to ensure sustainable use of our fisheries resources and to facilitate marine trade and commerce. We need to build on our understanding of the oceans so that we can be more responsive to the changes and priorities.

With this merger we will be better able to deliver marine safety services effectively and efficiently while maintaining high national standards. Issues such as boating safety and licensing, marine navigation infrastructure, safety systems and emerging technologies, levels of service as well as user fees and other cost recovery mechanisms must be addressed.

As I pointed out, Canada's ability to manage and protect its oceans has improved with this merger. Amalgamation of the two fleets has increased offshore enforcement capabilities on both the east and west coasts. I am convinced this merger forms a very strong partnership that will streamline oceans management in Canada. I am delighted to speak in support of Bill C-98.