Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was riding.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for South West Nova (Nova Scotia)

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

Statements in the House

Fisheries March 1st, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the fishermen of South West Nova Scotia are frustrated. They feel they have not been consulted by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and there are many concerns. They are deeply worried about their future, the future of their families and the future of their coastal communities.

I ask the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans what he is doing to resolve the concerns of these fishermen and ensure they will have an opportunity to be listened to and have a strong voice in the management of the fishery in the future.

Peacekeeping June 22nd, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the recent opening of the Lester B. Pearson Canadian International Peacekeeping Training Centre at the former military base in Cornwallis.

All of Canada should be proud of the centre and the ability it has already demonstrated to draw an international multidiscipilinary clientele to the Annapolis Valley and to the riding of South West Nova. We hope this centre will continue the tradition of peacekeeping established by former Prime Minister Lester Pearson.

By the way, Mr. Speaker, visiting us in the gallery today are the following dignitaries from South West Nova: the MLA for Argyle; the warden of the municipality of Argyle; the warden of Yarmouth County; the mayor of the town of Yarmouth; and the chairman of the Yarmouth Development Authority. I welcome them to this House.

Peacekeeping Act June 19th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the bill we are addressing today, Bill C-295, proposes to shift control of the Canadian peacekeeping activities from the crown to Parliament as a whole and to amend the National Defence Act to reflect this wider decision making responsibility. Rather than offering an improvement to the system now in place, such legislation may well substitute rigidity for flexibility and inaction for responsiveness.

The bill before us was created out of concern for the Canadian forces' personnel serving on peacekeeping missions and the desire to ensure the government follows a sound decision making process; of that I am certain. However having examined the bill I am equally certain that it confuses more than it clarifies and that it will impede decision making rather than assist it.

In short, the bill will worsen rather than improve the system now in place. It will add time to matters that demand urgent responses and it will dilute responsibility for decisions that demand clear, unequivocal leadership. For these reasons I must oppose Bill C-295.

Bill C-295 would restrict the prerogative, speed and discretion of the crown to decide Canada's contribution to UN or regional peace operations. Peacekeeping like other military operations is carried out under the authority of the Minister of National Defence. Section 4 of the National Defence Act identifies the minister as the representative of the crown responsible for the management and direction of Canadian forces and for all matters relating to national defence.

However, the proposed bill would remove the responsibility and direction not only of the minister but of all the government respecting military operations. As a result, the bill would slow down the government's response to UN requests for assistance in peace operations and compromise its ability to respond to changes in the peacekeeping mandate in a timely manner.

It has been said that lost time is never found again. That certainly is the consensus of many former Canadian UN commanders who have identified as a major problem the length of time it takes for the international community to respond to a crisis.

Major-General Roméo Dallaire has spoken publicly of the importance of speed in responding to emergencies. He has estimated that tens of thousands of lives would have been saved in Rwanda if his urgent request for troops had been met with action.

I do not think Bill C-295 would improve the situation for a commander who found himself in a position similar to that of Major-General Dallaire. With another layer added to the decision making process it would require even longer for Canada to become involved and provide help. If a situation is deemed an emergency it should be treated like one.

Bill C-295 would also compromise a structure in place to manage international Canadian forces' operations. Every potential operation is evaluated against guidelines that include the broad political and foreign policy context, the overall mission requirements as well as our own military capability. These guidelines have been refined for more than 40 years of practical experience. They also reflect in a prudent but pragmatic manner the new thinking that has emerged since the end of the cold war. This new thinking was articulated in a 1994 defence white paper which contains a list of key principles that underlie the design of all peace missions.

I should like to remind the House the Minister of National Defence consulted widely before formulating this policy. The overriding principle determining each peacekeeping mission is that it addresses genuine threats to international peace and security, such as the worsening situation in the former Yugoslavia, where there are emerging human catastrophes such as we have seen in Somalia and Rwanda.

I have explained why and how Bill C-295 would slow down Canada's ability to respond and contribute to international peacekeeping. Now I would like to talk about how the bill confuses the issues that underlie our current system. The confusion represents many more impediments in what must be a rapid and flexible decision making process.

First, Bill C-295 as it is currently written contains restrictions that would prevent the government from carrying out its obligations under the UN charter. Chapter VII of the charter provides for action by the security council with respect to threats to peace, breaches of the peace and acts of aggression. Under various articles of the charter UN member states are required to carry out the security council decisions aimed at maintaining international peace and security.

Although as worded the bill appears to cover the UN chapter VII operations, most of its provisions contradict chapter VII requirments. I question whether Canada would have contributed to the gulf war if Bill C-295 were in effect a few years ago.

What troubles me more however is the provision of Bill C-295 that gives up Canadian sovereign command of Canada forces elements. I believe strongly that this would lead to an unworkable command and control relationship. The intent of the bill seems to be taking us back in time to the first and second world wars when Canadian troops came under allied rather than national command. This indeed appears to be a regressive step and one that I doubt the bill's proponents meant it to take.

Canadian forces personnel serving on peace operations today are always commanded by a Canadian. Canadian units and personnel can only be placed under the operational control and not the operational command of the UN or other multinational commanders for specific tasks. Under operational control, changes to the tasks assigned to Canadian peacekeepers or to their area of operations must receive Canadian national approval. Under operational command, Canadian troops could be reassigned and moved without such approval.

Under current legislation a non-Canadian commander who only has operational control cannot separately assign components of a Canadian unit. A company of infantry soldiers, for example, cannot be removed from its battalion to serve with another unit unless the deployment is approved by Canada. Once again, under the non-Canadian operational command this could happen.

Currently commanders of Canadian contingents are directly responsible to the Chief of the Defence Staff for the success of their operations. However under Bill C-295 Canadian commanding officers would be placed under UN or other international command. To my mind this would mean less national control, not more.

To sum up, I cannot support a bill that appears to provide for greater control by the government over peacekeeping operations when in fact it reduces government control, compromises national authority over troops abroad and confuses several key components and concepts. Moreover, at a time when flexibility of response is critical to meeting the demands of rapid change, the bill proposes significant restrictions on the government's ability to manoeuvre.

The government has demonstrated its commitment to consultation. We have listened to the views of parliamentarians and ordinary Canadians alike in formulating defence policy and we will continue to do so in the future.

Petitions June 14th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour and the privilege to present three petitions on behalf of the constituents from the Middleton and Margaretsville areas of Annapolis county, Nova Scotia.

One petition comes from the Digby and Weymouth area of Digby county in the federal riding of South West Nova.

The petitioners pray and request that Parliament not amend the human rights code, the Canadian Human Rights Act or the charter of rights and freedoms in any way which would tend to indicate societal approval of same sex relationships or of homosexuality, including amending the human rights code to include in the prohibited grounds of discrimination the undefined phrase sexual orientation.

Firearms Act June 12th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I am supporting the motion.

Cornwallis Park Development Agency December 6th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in South West Nova the Cornwallis Park Development Agency has been established to promote economic development since the government announced the closure of CFB Cornwallis.

Can the Minister of National Defence assure this House that the government remains committed to ensuring the economic viability of the Cornwallis community? Will the Department of National Defence work together with the Cornwallis Park Development Agency to render CFB Cornwallis property attractive to outside investors?

Yarmouth High School April 26th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to welcome a class of grade 12 students from the high school in the town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, the largest town in the riding of South West Nova.

Mr. Ken Langille and his group are on a law society tour of the capital. These young people have raised funds for this trip by writing, publishing and selling a magazine outlining various criminal activities and cases.

Mr. Ken Langille is a well known teacher throughout the educational system in Nova Scotia for being an innovative teacher with regard to our legal system.

It is a pleasure on behalf of the government and the House to welcome them to Ottawa. I hope they find their trip to be educational and productive. I know all members of the House will join with me in wishing them success and a safe journey home.

Cfb Cornwallis February 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence.

CFB Cornwallis has been a recruit training centre for nearly half a century. Now we learn that Canadian troops training as peacekeepers for deployment in the former Yugoslavia are training in California.

Will the minister please tell the House why this training is being done in the United States instead of at Canada's foremost training centre, CFB Cornwallis?

Could the minister also tell us that no extra costs will be incurred by the Canadian Armed Forces in order for this undertaking and this training to be done in the United States?

Speech From The Throne January 27th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question.

Yes, we probably do have similar rural areas in our constituencies in the provinces of Nova Scotia and Quebec. There is no doubt I feel certain parts of the government are too centralized. They should be partly relocated to the areas where they generally would fit into the activities of that area.

As for the youth of the country, the hon. member heard me say that I am deeply concerned about youth as a person with so many grandchildren of my own. At the same time, I realize that the minister has made a great effort and is putting the youth training plan into place.

To a large degree, it would be a real benefit compared to what we have had in the past. It may not be everything at the start of the program but it will certainly be a start that was not there. I am sure it will grow and prosper. Our young people will prosper by it.

Speech From The Throne January 27th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate you on your appointment to the Chair. Your guidance and leadership will be appreciated by all in this House.

I appreciate the opportunity to speak in this first session of the 35th Parliament as a duly elected representative for the riding of South West Nova. It is a pleasure, indeed an honour to have been elected by the people of South West Nova to represent them and to bring their concerns to the government and to this House.

The Prime Minister and this government have been given a clear mandate by the people of Canada to implement the programs as outlined in the now famous red book.

South West Nova is a riding in the southwestern part of Nova Scotia. It was represented by Coline Campbell for many years. Coline did not seek re-election this time and I want to wish Coline and her husband Ron, God speed and good health in the future.

South West Nova is a riding rich in history and dates back to Champlain's landing in 1604. The riding has a diverse cultural mix of native Canadians as well as English and French speaking people. As a matter of fact, the Acadians in South West Nova proudly celebrated their 225th anniversary this past year with festivities mainly centering in and round the University of St. Anne at Church Point in the district of Clare. This small degree granting university has the distinction of having the best immersion program in this country.

I want to say that I intend to maintain a close personal relationship with the people of my riding and to the best of my ability give them personal service.

For generations our people have made their living through the use of natural resources, the sea, the land and the forests. However, in recent years our people have found it difficult to make a living from those resources. The fishing industry has been crippled mainly because of mismanagement.

Our ground fishermen are second to none in this country and have co-operated with management to help keep this fishery alive. The thanks these same fishermen received in return for their co-operation from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was a mid-season quota cut which resulted in great monetary loss for bought quota and a reduction of 40 per cent in their catches.

These fishermen were betrayed and lost all trust in the department of fisheries. Our fishermen want better management of these fishing industries where justice and fairness play leading roles. The fishermen of South West Nova want to work and they want to fish.

Recently I had the privilege of meeting with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to voice my concerns for those fishermen of South West Nova. I am pleased the minister indicated to me and to the deputy minister that he too wanted fairness in his fisheries policies so that the people in the industry could regain that lost trust.

The fishermen want to co-operate but insist they must have some input into the decision-making process. I am pleased that at a meeting with the minister of fisheries just today he again reinforced his commitment to visit the fishermen in South West Nova in the very near future. I will be reminding the hon. minister when the near future is here.

In the forest industry our riding is also experiencing some problems. Small woodlot owners have great difficulty trying to

survive. Years ago when a small woodlot owner ran into difficulty and when things were tough and hard, he was allowed o go into the woods and cut a few cords of wood and sell it to the local people. Under the present regulations a man cannot even do that in order to bring bread to the table for his family. It is time to realize that this is also a problem. We have to work to rectify it.

The only mining activity in our riding was centred around the tin mine in Yarmouth County. This mine is closed because of falling world tin prices. The result is 400 more people out of work. This, together with the closing of the textile mill in Yarmouth has left the town and area with over 600 more people unemployed. The people of Yarmouth, Argile and Clare are working together in an effort to bring new business and industry to the area and are in great need of this government's assistance.

In Bridgetown, the friendly town, one of the two main industries has closed with the loss of many jobs. The people of Bridgetown will not give up as they continue to try to attract new business.

Farming in the constituency continues to survive reasonably well even though the traditional family farm is slowly disappearing and with it the opportunity for young men and women to live and work at home. Because of this we need to find alternative ways to keep our children employed, one of which could be the expansion of small business.

Small business in South West Nova has provided employment for many of our citizens but has depended largely on the success of our natural resources. The decline of these natural resources automatically means the decline of others and this is a situation we are currently facing.

Our government must look closely at the rural areas and small towns of our country and encourage small businesses. We must provide the economic climate necessary for people to risk their time and capital.

Last but certainly not least is the issue of CFB Cornwallis, an issue that is very near and dear to my heart. As a young sailor I served at CFB Cornwallis and it has always brought back fond memories for me. South West Nova has been the home of this base for over 50 years. Since 1949 it has served as the only English speaking recruit training centre for Canada.

In December I had the opportunity to meet with the Minister of National Defence with regard to this issue. I explained to the minister the history of CFB Cornwallis as a recruit training base and I spoke to him about a recently developed peacekeeping training plan. I explained to the minister that this peacekeeping plan was developed entirely in South West Nova by the people in and around Cornwallis.

I explained to him the work, the time, the research and the money spent by the community on this plan. I informed the minister that this was our plan and we would be upset if the military tried to steal that plan and implement it in any other part of this country.

I explained to the minister the necessity of blending the advice of military officials with the concerns of the people of Cornwallis and the surrounding area.

The Minister of National Defence has heard from me exactly how the people of South West Nova stand on the issue of Cornwallis. I hope that the minister will seriously consider the input of the local people when the final decisions are made.

Before concluding, I want to say that the most important resource we have in this country today is that of our youth. As a father of seven children and the grandfather of 25, I have great concern. I am pleased to hear that our government is working to implement the youth training corps to begin putting young Canadians back to work.

In conclusion, before coming to this House I made a commitment to the people of my riding that I would fight as hard as I could to ensure that their interests were represented. To the people of my riding, I pledge accessibility and accountability.