House of Commons photo

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

Fisheries And Oceans February 12th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, my question is again for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

As I mentioned earlier, many of the regulations of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans need to be changed because the Newfoundland fishery has changed.

Will the minister appoint an independent commissioner to review the present regulations with the intention of replacing or removing all unnecessary regulations so the fishermen will not have to spend half their time in the fisheries offices? Further, will the minister approve temporary vessel registrations until this study is completed?

Fisheries February 12th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

In the ever evolving Newfoundland fisheries, fishermen are being hampered by out of date regulations. In particular now that individual quotas are in place, there is no need for length restrictions on vessels so as to limit the harvesting.

Three fishermen from Petty Harbour, Messrs. Howlett, Chafe and Madden, are being forced to cut four feet off a recently purchased vessel. Conforming to the old regulations will cost them an additional $10,000, as well as force them to fish in a less safe boat.

For the safety of these and other fishermen, will the minister authorize temporary vessel registrations for 1999?

Taxation February 12th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, since 1993 Canadians have been paying more in taxes and getting less back in services. The employment insurance program is a good example.

Despite the claims that the Liberals have been cutting taxes, payroll taxes have gone up steadily since 1993. The surplus in the EI program is still running about $6 billion per year with a total surplus of about $19 billion. That means that the government has taken $19 billion more from the workers and the employers than it gave back in benefits.

This situation is absolutely intolerable. In Newfoundland and Labrador the EI changes have directly contributed to our massive out-migration. Over 30,000 individuals in the last three years have left Newfoundland. Throughout St. John's West from Bay Bulls to Placentia our rural communities are being devastated.

This year in Newfoundland with an unemployment rate of 18% many individuals cannot receive EI benefits, even though Newfoundlanders this year paid $32 million in premiums more than they received in benefits. It is time to use the EI fund for the benefit of those who need it most, the unemployed.

Income Tax Act December 8th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the member for London North Centre for bringing forth the bill. Obviously it would be an improvement to the student loan system of today. However, I have fully concur and agree with the member from British Columbia who just spoke. Oftentimes the Liberal government takes away so much and gives back a tiny bit in its place, which does not solve the problem at all.

The real problem with post-secondary education is the cash transfers under the Canadian Health and Social Transfer Act. In 1995-96, $16.6 billion were transferred to the provinces to give social services and in particular post-secondary educational services to all young people. In 1997-98 Canadian health and social transfers to the provinces were $10.4 billion, or a loss of $6.2 billion to the provinces primarily in a fund directed toward social services and in particular post-secondary education.

If we combine that problem with tremendous cuts in transfer payments to the provinces, a tremendously high unemployment rate for young people, twice the national average consistently for the last 10 years, we realize the problem that many of our young students face.

The bill we are discussing is a good one. It is an improvement. Giving a tax break or a tax incentive to somebody who is heavily in debt, to the tune of $50,000 or $60,000 after getting an education, is good, but it is not the solution that young Canadians want when they cannot find jobs. Allowing students to write off some of their interest under student debt is good, but again it is not the solution that young Canadians want.

First and foremost young Canadians want an opportunity to access a good education at a reasonable cost. That is not happening in Canada today with tuition increases of over 200% in the last seven or eight years. Education is becoming almost impossible for many of our young people to access at any cost. Tuition increases are prohibitive. They are encouraging some of our young people not to become educated and as a result they will be faced with tremendous unemployment problems as they go through their lives.

The bankruptcy problems of young students and the change the government made to make it more difficult for students to declare bankruptcy is shameful. It does not serve young Canadians well. It does not serve students well. It is almost discriminatory against young people who have worked hard to obtain an education. If we combine that with some of the out-migration because there are no job opportunities in Canada, we begin to see a fuller picture of the problems facing post-secondary students.

Bill C-316 is an improvement. Our caucus will be voting for this improvement. If nothing else, it at least acknowledges the fact that an investment in education is an investment for the benefit of the country. As such students should get a tax break because they have invested in many ways as businesses do in their education, which makes Canada a stronger, better and more productive country.

The bill will allow all students to be treated fairly, those who can access the Canadian student loan program and those who have to go through private sources of lending such as banks or other sources. If they are attending school and require a loan from a private source, a bank or whatever, at least now students involved in the post-secondary system will be treated fairly.

In conclusion, we in our caucus will be supporting the bill. It shows that the government is at least beginning to think in the right way and look in the direction of post-secondary students, education and its value into the next millennium.

We do not agree with some of the other government programs, but in this case the member for London North Centre and his caucus colleagues have brought forward a bill that makes some sense to students and will make their lives a bit easier. It will get the full support of the Conservative caucus.

Division No. 299 December 7th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, yes.

Division No. 299 December 7th, 1998

Would you record my name as well, Mr. Speaker.

First Nations Land Management Act November 26th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on Bill C-49, the first nations land management act, on behalf of our caucus and our critic from the south shore of Nova Scotia.

We know this act is not all encompassing. We know it does not solve all the problems of our first nations, however our caucus will be supporting it because it is a step in the right direction.

This piece of legislation has been almost 10 years in the making, beginning in 1989 as the lands revenue and trust review. That agreement encompassed a number of areas, of which land management was only one. While that agreement fell through, a number of first nations persevered with negotiations for land management.

A framework agreement on land management was signed by 13 first nations on February 12, 1996. The 13 first nations were joined on May 12, 1998 by Saint Mary's in New Brunswick to bring the total number of first nations to 14. I would like to commend these 14 first nations for taking the initiative to develop the framework agreement and to persevere with it.

As we can see, it is progressing through the legislative process. It is being watched carefully not only by the 14 signatories to the agreement who are eager to begin implementation, but by many other first nations as well.

The framework agreement may become a model for other such agreements on land management once this legislation passes and the first nations are given the opportunity to implement it. Thirty or forty first nations have already expressed an interest in this framework agreement. I expect many more will do so as they are able to see the benefits of such legislation.

We are all aware of the faults of the Indian Act. This legislation will allow first nations to move out from under some of the restrictions of the Indian Act and provide opportunities for first nations to manage their own land and resources through land codes that they will develop specific to their own requirements.

Not only does this transfer authority from the federal government to the first nations, but through the land codes it also encourages stronger community participation. Land codes must be ratified by the communities and voted on by those first nations people living both on and off the reserve. This is an onerous job but one that the first nations felt was important enough to warrant the extra work.

By providing votes to those people living on and off reserve, it broadens the process by including the experience and observations that all these individuals might bring to this process.

The legislation is necessary to implement the framework agreement that deals specifically with land management. This is not a treaty and has not changed the constitutional rights of first nation peoples or the powers of section 91 and section 24 which state that reserve land is a federal jurisdiction. The first nation land, which will remain reserve land as defined in the Indian Act, will provide the first nations with greater control and autonomy over these lands. It is a step toward self-government, something this Progressive Conservative caucus supports. We will continue to support the first nations in this land management agreement.

Tobacco Act November 25th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I will happily rephrase the question.

In this case we take in $2 billion worth of revenue for taxes on tobacco in Canada. It costs Canadians $10 billion. I am wondering why there is so much opposition to another bill that was discussed as well. We are trying to raise a miserly $100 million to assist young people to stay off tobacco, to be able to lead normal healthy lives.

How is it that in the U.S. tobacco companies are willing to pay $202 billion to show that the products they sell are so unbelievably harmful to citizens of the United States of America? I also want to say how profitable tobacco companies must be to be able to offer $202 billion to settle some lawsuits.

Why is it so difficult to raise a small levy in Canada to help our young people stay off tobacco?

Tobacco Act November 25th, 1998

We were talking about it and the member was talking about it. I want to ask the member relating—

Tobacco Act November 25th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the member for New Brunswick Southwest who is doing an excellent job critiquing the very good piece of legislation we are talking about, Senator Colin Kenny's Bill S-13.