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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was rights.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Liberal MP for Richmond (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2008, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply November 1st, 2006

Mr. Chair, since the minister did not object to the added tax on the income trust, I would like to ask her something that she claimed to know. She said she would develop the seniors council. How much money has been allocated to that seniors council and when will she establish that council?

Business of Supply November 1st, 2006

Mr. Chair, I would like to remind the minister that under that platform was a promise to seniors that the government would not add tax to the income trust. The Conservatives have just broken that promise. I would like to ask the minister, did she object when the cabinet talked about this issue?

Business of Supply November 1st, 2006

Mr. Chair, the minister does not remember one thing in the campaign platform that supports seniors during the campaign. I can understand that.

I want to remind the minister that during the campaign the Conservative Party said that it would support seniors. What did it do? It eliminated the secretary of state for seniors and denied seniors a seat at the cabinet table. Is that how the minister's government supports seniors?

Business of Supply November 1st, 2006

Mr. Chair, does the minister remember that during the campaign seniors issues were a big thing in the Conservative Party's platform? Does the minister remember that item in her party's platform?

Garden City Lands October 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, for over a decade I have advocated for the development of the Garden City lands in Richmond.

Last year an unprecedented three way agreement was signed. This deal could have addressed Richmond's need for affordable housing, a multicultural art centre and other community amenities.

Sadly, after intense lobbying by Conservatives and their allies, the Agricultural Land Commission rejected Richmond's multi-million dollar deal. The Conservatives now want to take back the land for possible military use.

This is ridiculous. Why would anyone think that using the Garden City lands in downtown Richmond for military use would be better than the creation of affordable housing, recreational facilities, green space, new jobs and $350 million in economic growth?

International Day of Older Persons October 3rd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, on October 1, the world celebrated International Day of Older Persons. This day is set aside to celebrate the wisdom and accomplishments of senior citizens around the world.

Shamefully, the Conservative government commemorated this day by announcing $1 billion in cuts to social programs, key programs that directly touch the lives of Canada's seniors, such as affordable housing through the CMHC, the Canadian volunteerism initiative, Status of Women Canada and the literacy skills program.

The seniors in my riding of Richmond are very concerned with these program cuts. Sadly, I was reminded just how the government is not standing up for Canadians.

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 September 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the fact is we were winning in the court and producing results. This is why the tax rates have been reduced. The court forced it to be reduced down to 10.8%.

The problem is we are not saving jobs. I bet with the member opposite that there will be layoffs. Industries already have to restructure because of the possibility of this agreement being passed. Many jobs will be lost, and I will bet that this will be true.

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 September 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the provincial government has no choice. The Government of Canada, under the Conservative leadership, has abandoned the industry. It has withdrawn all the support, the loan guarantees that are so important in this battle with the Americans on this issue. The government denied its support to the industry and in effect, if it does not support this deal, it will be hung out to dry. The industry has no other methods of staying in the battle.

A few weeks ago, Premier Gordon Campbell issued a statement to support the deal. He outlined all the difficulties with the agreement and asked the federal government to renegotiate. The government turned him down. It turned down every request from the provincial government and the industry.

I have talked to people in the industry in my riding. They are telling me that, with the price going down as it is, with this agreement, they will be facing a tax duty that is higher than what it is today. The court has ruled that the Americans cannot charge more than 10.8% on our exports, but this deal would allow the Americans to set a 15% tax duty on our exports. With the price going down, companies have no means to survive. They have no choice but to be bullied into accepting the deal.

It is amazing that the federal government, the Conservative Party, is now blaming the provincial government for this deal. The provincial government is not at the negotiating table. The federal government has negotiated this deal and it is forcing and bullying the provincial governments and the industries to accept the deal, and that is the sad part of that government.

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 September 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, this industry needs a better deal and investment in the long term forestry strategy that helps build a profitable and sustainable industry. This is why I cannot support this agreement. I want a better deal for Canadians.

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 September 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative government is set to ratify a softwood lumber agreement that is simply bad for Canada.

After removing all the support from the lumber industry by eliminating the loan guarantee, the Conservative government is trying to force companies to accept this flawed deal.

I cannot in good conscience support a deal that relinquishes $1 billion to the American government and the American lumber industry, one that gives Canada's lumber companies an ultimatum to comply or be heavily taxed, one that sets a dangerous precedent that seriously undermines our rules based trading relationship with the United States. This agreement is simply not good enough for the Canadian lumber industry or Canadians.

The softwood lumber agreement is a prime example of the government's willingness to accept mediocre deals from the U.S. rather than stand up for Canadians. Since when did giving up $1 billion to the United States equate to a good deal for Canada? Since when did bullying Canadian companies to take this deal or face a 19% penalty tax equate to standing up for Canadians?

The fact is this deal leaves $500 million in the hands of the American lumber industry which it can use to attack the Canadian industry by undercutting our prices or by launching future lawsuits. This deal gives the American government roughly $450 million of the illegally imposed duties. This deal creates an export tax that is actually higher than the current U.S. duty. This deal has anti-surge provisions which will deprive the Canadian industry of the flexibility to deal with unexpected situations like the pine beetle infestations. This deal abandons each of our legal victories under the rules of international trade in exchange for only 24 months of peace.

The fact is this deal is a bad deal for the Canadian lumber industry as it sells out Canadian interests for political expediency and the Conservative election checklist.

I want the House, the lumber industry and all other industries in Canada to take a look at the larger picture that is at stake here. This Conservative softwood lumber agreement sets a dangerous legal precedent.

By ratifying this agreement the Conservative government sacrifices Canada's credibility and the credibility of the dispute resolution provisions of NAFTA.

By ratifying this agreement the Conservative government is encouraging other U.S. sectors to ignore trade rules and instead seek political decisions that will act in their favour.

By ratifying this agreement the Conservative government will create more trade uncertainty which seriously undermines Canada's international position in the export market and inhibits investment in our forestry sector.

By ratifying this agreement the Conservative government is saying that it is okay to force a 19% penalty tax on companies that are unwilling to sign on to this agreement.

By ratifying this agreement the Conservative government is saying to Canadian industries that they must accept this deal or the government will abandon them.

This deal carries with it the potential to establish Canada's long term trading relationship with the United States. Do we want that relationship to be based on selling out Canadian companies and accepting less than 100% refunds or should the Canadian government establish a relationship that sends out a clear message, a message that says the Canadian government will fight for the rights of our companies.

Sadly this deal says to Canadians that losing $1 billion to the American government and the lumber industry is okay. That is not good enough for me. I stand here to fight for a better deal for Canada's lumber industry, a deal that does not bully companies into a flawed agreement.

Canadian companies have the legal right to the full repayment of the illegally imposed import duties and the right to opt out of the Conservative softwood lumber agreement.

Forestry companies should be able to pursue their legal rights, both under NAFTA and in our domestic courts. The government should be there to support these companies, not dictate to them.

The government should immediately make loan guarantees available to these companies so as to provide them with the credit worthiness that they will need to enable them to reclaim the money owed to them. From the onset, Conservative the softwood lumber agreement has been more about politics than what is best for Canada and our producers.

The government owes it to Canadians to achieve nothing less than what it promised: free trade and 100% refund. The Liberal Party has long been a staunch supporter of the lumber industry. We are steadfast in our commitment to a resolution of the softwood dispute that is based on the rule of law in international trade and one that seeks full compensation of the $5 billion in illegal lumber duties.

We call for the American government to fulfill its NAFTA commitments so as to lawfully resolve this dispute and set a clear precedent that Canada stands behind our industries.

The Liberal Party believes in a long term solution to the softwood lumber dispute. This is why we have developed and proposed a supplementary aid package that better meets the needs of the industry. This package is modelled on the very same package that was introduced by the former Liberal industry minister, David Emerson. This industry--