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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was students.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as Progressive Conservative MP for St. John's West (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Won his last election, in 1997, with 44% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Hibernia November 18th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, today the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are celebrating the birth of a new industry.

Yesterday as oil flowed on board the $5.8 billion Hibernia platform, workers celebrated their accomplishments. Many of the 5,800 constructions workers, 90% of whom are Newfoundlanders, are also quite proud of their contribution.

It is also time for Canadians to share in our celebration. Of the $5.8 billion cost, $2.7 billion was spent in Newfoundland, but $1.4 billion was also spent in other parts of Canada.

The $1.8 billion loan guarantee of the Government of Canada will never be called upon. The billion dollar grant will be repaid in full. In fact, Canada will receive much more now that the amount of recoverable oil has been significantly increased.

This new industry with a potential of $100 billion of business from the 5.8 billion barrels of oil and 52 billion cubic feet of natural gas will be a major contributor to Canada's oil supply, government revenues and business profits.

On behalf of all Newfoundlanders we are delighted to begin our contribution.

Customs Tariff November 18th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, just a brief reply.

Obviously we in Newfoundland, as part of Canada, are very strongly supportive of the free trade agreement, but today in Newfoundland nobody is really talking about the free trade arrangements. We are talking about the massive Hibernia oil project which was developed between the Government of Canada, the Government of Newfoundland and a large group of private sector partners which yesterday flowed oil for the first time. It is a huge industry. It is going to create thousands of jobs in Newfoundland and in eastern Canada.

There are an estimated 6 billion barrels of oil that can be processed or recovered from the offshore Hibernia field. It is a great day for Newfoundland. Today we are very happy that the Government of Canada, the Government of Newfoundland and the private companies have developed those significant amounts of jobs in Eastern Canada.

Customs Tariff November 18th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, that was not our intention. When our caucus discussed this we decided to support it because it is under free trade and in line with the policies in which we very strongly believe. Our intention is that we should not be changing things today which will affect another policy which will come before the House next spring. Those are the things that drive businesses crazy.

The fact is that there is probably going to be a comprehensive automotive policy presented before the House in the next legislative sitting. We thought that in order to make business a little easier we should not be making any changes today which may affect their jobs. That is really where we are to with that.

Customs Tariff November 18th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that hon. members just cannot wait for this wonderful bill.

There seems to be a pretty decent consensus in the House for this bill, with the exception of the New Democratic Party which opposes free trade even when it is point blank in front of their faces that it has done wonderful things for Canada, created hundreds of thousands of jobs. At least they are consistent in their opposition to free trade. We cannot say that for the adaptable Liberal government which very quickly when they see a good idea, no matter where it comes from, will happily take advantage of it.

On the last occasion when we had an opportunity to speak in the House on Bill C-11, we stressed the importance of making legislation that simplifies our lives and simplifies the business practices of business owners. Today, I reiterate these words.

We acknowledge that Bill C-11 will help improve the competitive position of Canadian industry within a freer trading environment as well as in the long run make the tariff system simpler. However, there are some concerns that need to be addressed.

In committee we heard dissatisfaction from business owners as they faced pressures to adopt new methods according to legislative changes. The time period allotted to them is unacceptable, given the nature of the changes they face.

Second, some automotive manufacturers may face additional changes early in 1998 once a clear automotive policy is implemented.

I will address these two main points today. First, amendments to this bill must be considerate of the business owner, the individual or groups of individuals who must implement our decisions in the real world. They must be given the necessary time to implement changes and carry out the process.

Second, it is inappropriate that the government take decisive actions when a clear automotive strategy is not in place as of yet. While we know that industry generally supports the bill, we also know that they have qualms about it.

The issue of greatest concern to the committee is the sense of urgency that is being placed on the bill. Those with the Canadian Importers Association are very concerned with the speedy passage of this bill. They point out that importers do not have sufficient time for what is a very time consuming and costly exercise. They ask for a period of administrative tolerance. This timeframe would allow them to adapt to the changes and alleviate their uneasiness with the timing of the proposed legislative changes.

The recurring message that we are hearing from the business community with respect to the uneasiness they face are their concerns related to the delivery and implementation of the tariff simplification initiative. While they support the elimination of regulation and business procedures, they are deeply affected by the timing of this bill. They feel it is quite rushed and they have not been granted enough time to prepare for the upcoming changes and the enormous challenges they will face.

The Alliance of Manufacturers is but one example of this concern. They stated, and I quote; “It is a scary exercise. There is very little time to do the programming we need.” These are the most affected parties. We demand that the government listen to their concerns and continue with the theme of simplification. If it is going to simplify the process, then it needs to continue with the agreement and simplify the law to all business owners. We will hold the government accountable to this and urge it to listen to the suggestions it has received.

We also heard concerns from vehicle manufacturers groups. It is no secret that Canada is in need of a strategic automotive policy, one based on free and fair trade. We understand that work is to be completed in this area in early 1998. Why then, we ask, make changes to automotive tariffs when the strategy is not in place? Why make changes now when a clear automotive policy is yet to be decided and risk having to amend the tariff to fit the policy later on?

This plan is not logical. It is not fair to the automotive industry. The government ought to stop and think about the possible repercussions of amending clauses now and then setting its automotive policy.

By trying to rush through legislation, the government is missing the point. A comprehensive automobile policy needs to be introduced in conjunction with clauses in Bill C-11 which pertain to automotive tariffs. Why take the chance of negatively impacting jobs and investment in Canada?

The free trade agreement that was so profusely objected to almost 10 years ago is today the largest bill on our shelves in the House of Commons. It is a huge factor in contributing to tax revenues and job creation in this country. The government continues to carry out our Conservative initiatives and our tariff agreements. However, as I have highlighted, there are several important factors to consider.

This is the most complex tariff system in the world. We know it and our trading partners know it. I strongly urge the government to consider the huge task that lies in front of importers in Canada and demand that they be given time to adapt to these enormous changes. As well, strategic consideration must be given to a comprehensive automotive policy.

My message today is that this is a beginning, not an end. We cannot stop now with all the progress we have made for the simple reason that the bill has been simplified. Work still needs to be done.

I would ask the government to commit to continuing with the work in progress, to continue developing trade agreements with our partners and to look ahead at the global marketplace to achieve a standard of excellence with our trading partners. This means that the government must continue to promote trade, thus encouraging business development and job creation in Canada.

Telecommunications Act November 4th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the member with respect to deregulation. It is something we all have to do.

Today a piece of legislation is being presented that deregulates and opens up a Canadian industry so that more jobs can be created through deregulation. I cannot understand how the Reformers say in one case it is good and in the next case it is bad. They have to be consistent. In our case we are consistent.

We believe in free trade. It creates jobs in Canada and we are proud of our record on that accomplishment.

Telecommunications Act November 4th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, oh those righteous Reformers. They stand and criticize the Liberals. They criticize NDP members for opposing the free trade legislation because they think they will build fences around Canada. The Tories opened up Canada to the world. We showed the world we could compete in telecommunications and in many other sectors, but now the only people who know anything about managing Canada's economy are the righteous Reformers.

They have a long way to go before they can do some of the good things the Conservative Party did for Canada. Free trade was one of them and the GST was another.

Today the country is in decent financial shape because of the GST. Nobody liked it. Nobody liked free trade. However, anybody who looks back in an historical unbiased way will say that both those actions of the Conservative Party were very good for Canada.

Telecommunications Act November 4th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say that the PC caucus will be supporting the legislation. We see it as a way to prove to the rest of the world that we can be competitive, can create jobs and can do it through a free trade agreement.

I am amazed that the NDP caucus still fights against the free trade agreement. I guess it is not as changeable as the Liberal Party and the Government of Canada are today. All parties fought against the free trade agreement when we brought it in back in 1988. Basically it was a big issue. It was to be terrible for Canada. At least the Liberals had sense enough to realize that it was good for Canada. They have been building on it ever since. The NDP is consistent in its opposition even when it is a good idea.

I will be sharing my brief time with the member for Compton—Stanstead.

Bill C-17 amends the Telecommunications Act and the Teleglobe Canada Reorganization and Divestiture Act in keeping with our obligations to liberalize basic international telecommunications services under the GATS, an agreement which Canada signed this past February.

Under the terms of the GATS, Canada agreed to end monopolies held in the area of overseas telephone services and fixed satellite services. Canada also agreed to eliminate restrictions on foreign ownership in satellite earth stations and the laying of international submarine cables. Bill C-17 ensures that Canada fulfils these obligations.

Bill C-17 amends the Telecommunications Act by establishing a licensing regime for international service providers to be administered by the CRTC. This is a similar system to that of many other countries.

Bill C-17 empowers the CRTC to contract out the need for a telecommunications numbering service and overseeing the collection and distribution of local subsidies.

Bill C-17 also clarifies the Telecommunications Act with respect to the role of Industry Canada in the certification and inspection of telecommunications equipment for use in Canada.

In order to protect the integrity of our telecommunications system under the bill non-certified equipment cannot be used in Canada. The bill also gives Industry Canada powers to set technical standards, inspect equipment and enforce penalties for those selling non-standard equipment within Canada.

The Teleglobe Canada Reorganization and Divestiture Act is amended by repealing the provisions that create a monopoly environment in Teleglobe Canada. It opens up the telecommunications market between Canada and the rest of the world, allowing other providers the opportunity to provide services within Canada. This is expected to result in cheaper long distance rates due to increased competition.

The opening up of the telecommunications industry is a policy of the Progressive Conservative Party which began in 1987 when we privatized Teleglobe Canada. After a few years of functioning as a private sector business Teleglobe's management decided to expand its operations. In 1995 it recognized that its future was in servicing foreign markets and it proceeded to do so. Now two years later it has increased its share of telecommunications carrier services between several non-Canadian destinations by over threefold.

When the PC Party began privatizing many crown corporations federal Liberal Party members in particular fought against the plans. They believed we would lose our identity in the process but are now expanding on the achievements of our party by further opening up markets and allowing non-Canadian carriers access to our telecommunications sector. Is it not odd how they have changed?

When we privatized Telesat Canada the official opposition of the day also fought against our plans, stating that it needed all the government support it could muster to challenge the world in the face of global competition. Reformers have gone now from advocating interference to opting for a freer marketplace. With the FTA and the North American Free Trade Agreement the PC Party further liberalized trade in telecommunications for Canadian businesses. The official opposition of the day also fought against these.

They now stand as avid free traders, signing the GATS and extending the North American Free Trade Agreement. Our obligations under the GATS mean that Teleglobe Canada will relinquish its exclusive access to the Canadian market as of October 1, 1998. Telesat's monopoly will end on March 1, 2000. Therefore current ownership restrictions have to be removed from the Telecommunications Act.

Our caucus supports the GATS because it is a free trade agreement. We continue to support the principle of free trade. The relinquishing of Teleglobe Canada's exclusive rights to the Canadian market has led the U.S. to open up access to its market, which is what we thought would happen in the beginning.

Canada also benefits from greater access to European and other developing nations. Furthermore, as I stated earlier, the consumer will be rewarded with the possibility of cheaper long distance rates due to increased competition in the marketplace.

When the Telesat divestiture act was being debated it was argued that the 10-year monopoly was not enough; it had to be longer. The government now realizes the 10 years was more than enough. After 8 years we are debating the opening of the marketplace. Industry wants less control in exchange for open access to the rest of the world. That is really the principle of the free trade agreement. It will not grow without these changes and the government has finally recognized it.

The PC Party is supporting the legislation because it continues the process we started of enhancing the competitiveness of Canadian firms. It is because of our initiatives that Canadians enjoy the great degree of prosperity we have today.

Our evolutionary approach has produced well positioned Canadian companies that are today strong enough to compete globally. We support them in their continued efforts.

Fisheries October 30th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the minister simply refuses or is unwilling or unable to deal with this problem.

When skippers stop putting their boats out fishermen stop fishing and plant workers get laid off. The domino effect creates more unemployment in an already economically depressed area of Canada.

My question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Will he, on behalf of the fishing industry people of Newfoundland and Labrador, do whatever is necessary to make sure that these stupid and ridiculous regulations are changed?

Fisheries October 30th, 1997

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker.

There are regulations in the Government of Canada that have created unemployment in Atlantic Canada and particularly in Newfoundland. The clawback on earnings in excess of $26,000 from fishermen at a rate of 100% puts fishermen in the situation where they simply must stop fishing. The end result of course is lay-offs in the fish processing industry.

My question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development. Will he change these absurd regulations as requested by the Government of Newfoundland and the Newfoundland fishermen's union so that those Newfoundlanders who can work will be able to do so?

Fisheries October 30th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question relates to the absurd use of regulations by the Government of Canada that deliberately and knowingly create unemployment in Newfoundland and in all of Atlantic Canada.

The clawback on earnings in excess of—