Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was rights.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Cape Breton Highlands—Canso (Nova Scotia)

Lost his last election, in 1997, with 30% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply May 5th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question. To my knowledge the process of defence conversion is well under way, as has been mentioned by previous speakers. The government is assisting this process.

I did not feel the need to go into a great deal of detail since those points have already been made by those closer to the issue than myself.

We are well aware that parallel to a restructuring in the defence sector, which is proceeding and which will be informed by the debate and by the review on defence policy now taking place, as well as other initiatives which the government is taking to promote the high technology and information sectors of our economy, that we will assist and support the conversion of industries currently developed to focus mainly on military production, into other activities.

It is not something that takes place overnight. It is a process in which the government is assisting. We are not following the Reform Party's approach which would have been, as I understood it, not to cut defence and not to support conversion, which I find rather contradictory certainly in the light of the changes that are taking place not only in Canada but around the world in this very important sector of our economy.

Supply May 5th, 1994

Madam Speaker, first of all, I wish to thank the hon. member opposite for his question and also for his participation in the Human Resources Development Committee, where he made a very useful contribution on behalf of his party. But in responding to some points that he has raised, I said that Quebec had been considerably spared by the defence cuts in the budget. I say this because it is true and because other parts of Canada have suffered much deeper cuts in terms of funds, dollars and jobs.

If we had followed his party's guidelines, the cuts would have been much deeper in Quebec and elsewhere. But I think that what the hon. member must remember is that, for example, on the MIL Davie issue, I am not an expert on that, but from what I understand, it is under discussion by both levels of government. There is a plan and both governments are discussing it, and that is what they have to do in a country such as ours. And that is what we need in order to find solutions to our problems. With that, I think the hon. member should, as he has been doing on the committee, and his party also should participate constructively in solutions that we must all bring to the problems, not only in Quebec, but in other areas of this country as well.

Supply May 5th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate today, for a few minutes, and particularly so as a member of the government party.

Since the election, last October, the Liberal government has taken to heart the commitments in our red book, the commitments that had been presented to Canadians after much reflection and debate within our political party.

For this government, jobs are the priority. Since its very first day in office, the new government began to keep its promises and implement policy initiatives designed to create jobs, to revive the economy, to spur economic growth, all things that Canadians had been deprived of during the last years of the Conservative government.

The February 24 budget we presented to the Canadian public was a continuation of the initiatives the government had begun to put implement. There was the infrastructure program that will create jobs directly, renew the infrastructure across Canada and kick-start the much needed economic growth. In the last budget, the government put the emphasis on small and medium-sized businesses as the engine of the economy, with several initiatives designed to sustain them across Canada, so that they can create jobs.

We also put the emphasis on the electronic and high tech sectors, which in our opinion are other engines of the Canadian economy. We have started to examine several areas of government policy and activity through in-depth reviews of foreign policy, defence and social security, a field I am involved in as chairman of a House committee.

We have taken measures to build up the confidence of Canadians in political and governmental institutions. Canadians have responded, as can be seen in the polls and in the decreased contempt they feel for politicians and the government. These measures have been taken under the guidance of a Prime Minister who is a man of experience, who feels a strong and sincere passion for Canada and the future of Canada, and who sees how this country can become one of the guiding lights of the 21st century.

Quebecers have benefitted from federal programs and initiatives. The recent budget included measures to promote job creation in Quebec. That province was largely spared when severe cuts were made in Atlantic Canada, for whom defence spending is very important. It is not easy for those provinces.

The federal government took part in many joint programs with the Quebec government and Quebec firms to create jobs, particularly in the defence and high technology industries in Montreal, Quebec City and elsewhere.

It seems strange that the official opposition, which wants to take Quebec out of Canada, should always be saying, through this motion and its remarks today, that the federal government does not give enough money to Quebec and does not give enough contracts to Quebec firms. This is ironic and even inconsistent for a party dedicated to Quebec separation.

When the official opposition talks that way, it should think about the benefits for Quebecers of the presence of Quebec in the Canadian federation, and it should try to co-operate with the government in order to create jobs that will keep the economy going. It should strive to build a better Canada instead of breaking up this great country.

Supply May 5th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I listened with some interest to the remarks on this motion by the hon. member for Okanagan-Shuswap.

I found it somewhat strange that he would mention a concern on behalf of his party for the defence cuts which the government introduced in the budget. At the same time as saying that these cuts were premature he argued that we should not support the conversion of our defence industry to civilian purposes and to help in the redirection of that technology into areas of greater demand.

Perhaps the member could elaborate on what seems to be a paradoxical position from his party's perspective. Why is he opposing cuts? Is that not what is party has been calling for? Why is he opposing economies which have been made with great difficulty and after much soul searching by this government? What other cuts is he proposing in order to keep the defence budget higher than this government has recommended?

Supply May 5th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I would like to address a brief comment to my colleague from LĂ©vis. I know that he is familiar with the employer, MIL Davie, which is located in his riding. As the Minister of Industry and the Minister of Transport have already indicated in this House, the government is perfectly aware of the important role this company plays in the economy of the Quebec City region. The government has also received MIL Davie's

business plan, which has first to be approved by the government of Quebec as principal stockholder.

Why does his party insist on raising this issue today, when the hon. member and his colleagues know the government has the matter well in hand, is working on it, advancing it? The hon. member and his colleagues know full well that we are looking into the problem of industrial technology transfer for the benefit of employers in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada.

Snow Crab Fishery April 22nd, 1994

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

While his announcement earlier this week has brought welcomed relief and hope to many fishing communities in Atlantic Canada, the minister will know that a potentially explosive situation is brewing in the snow crab fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

With the groundfishery there all but decimated, gulf fishermen without snow crab licences have watched with growing envy and frustration as a small group of snow crab fishermen do extremely well from their access to this now valuable and plentiful resource.

How is the fisheries minister proposing to address this glaring inequity and avert a crisis in the snow crab fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence?

Committees Of The House March 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the first report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development.

Pursuant to the order of reference of February 8, 1994, your committee has considered the modernization and restructuring of Canada's social security system.

This interim report represents the first phase of your committee's consultation with Canadians on the modernization of Canada's social security system.

Your committee is already preparing its second phase of consultation in anticipation of the release by the Minister of Human Resources Development of the government's action plan and proposed changes.

In conformity with the House's reference on February 8, it is your committee's intention to table its final report with recommendations on or before September 30.

I want to thank most sincerely all members and staff of the committee as well as the hundreds of Canadians who have contributed to that phase of our work.

Fisheries March 23rd, 1994

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

Fishermen in my riding are concerned that their livelihood is being threatened by a few large Canadian vessels fishing bluefin tuna off Bermuda's coast. As the parliamentary secretary knows, Bermuda is new to the bluefin tuna fishery and is not a member of ICCAT, the international body overseeing the conservation of this fragile resource.

This Canadian fishing activity in Bermuda's waters could threaten the ability of other tuna fishermen in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to fish their own quota later this year.

Would the parliamentary secretary please explain to the House and to my constituents what actions the government is taking to stop this inappropriate fishing activity?

The Rankin Family March 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, five sons and daughters of Mabou, Nova Scotia made their family and their community proud at last Sunday's Juno Awards in Toronto.

The Rankin Family brought home four Junos including entertainer of the year, group of the year, country group of the year and single of the year.

Combining beautiful harmonies and energetic step dancing, the Rankins have gained international acclaim performing their unique brand of Celtic music across Canada and around the world. They are part of the thriving musical culture in eastern Nova Scotia that has its roots in Canada's Scottish heritage.

We in eastern Nova Scotia are proud to share this rich cultural heritage with the rest of Canada. We could have no better ambassadors than the Rankin Family.

Interparliamentary Delegations March 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House in both official languages the report of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association on the meetings of the Bureau and of the Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe held on January 17, 1994, in Copenhagen, Denmark.