House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was forces.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as Liberal MP for Hillsborough (P.E.I.)

Won his last election, in 1997, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Forces Day October 20th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, members of the House, before I go to my speech, I also want to say that this will be my last speech. I said the other night when I spoke in the take note debate that it was my last speech, but this definitely will be my last speech in the House.

I want to thank all members for their co-operation over the years. I want to thank you, Mr. Speaker, and all the Speakers for the great role they play in the running of this glorious institution.

The government readily supports private member's Motion No. 134 to designate Canadian forces day. This day would officially recognize on an annual basis the significant contribution that our military forces make in promoting Canadian interests, peace and security, both at home and around the world.

Through the instituting of Canadian forces day, citizens across the country would be encouraged to learn more about our armed forces. It would provide them with an opportunity to personally thank the many men and women who work tirelessly in Canada's interests day after day, year after year.

A Canadian forces day would mean a lot to Canadians, and it would mean a lot to those in uniform. The Canadian forces are a vital national institution. They reflect Canada's cultural, linguistic and regional diversity, with a presence in every province and territory, in more than 3,000 communities across the country. The Canadian forces are made up of many faces, all of them serving as one under a single flag. They come from across the nation, from farms and from cities, from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, men and women alike, all of them united by the common cause of serving Canada and Canadians. The Canadian forces are an essential part of the national fabric.

Just outside this building on the lawns of Parliament Hill every summer, members of the primary reserve force conduct the colourful changing of the guard ceremony. Many of them, as trained infanteers, have also served overseas on peacekeeping missions or assisted during domestic crises, such as the ice storm of 1998, as has been mentioned. These Canadians live, work and study in this very community.

The Canadian forces are everywhere we look. Forces personnel are raising families in our communities, contributing to our local economies and working alongside many of us, sometimes without our knowledge or recognition. Defence research and development is stimulating Canadian innovation. The national cadet program is teaching responsibility and citizenship to our children. The Canadian forces, in short, are a very integral part of our society.

The Canadian forces are also an integral part of Canada's history. Since Confederation, their members have made great sacrifices in the building of our nation. Thousands of Canadians have died in active service with the Canadian forces, from Paardeburg to Vimy Ridge, from the beaches of Normandy to Kapyong. Many of the veterans who survived some of these battles are among us today, former members of the Canadian forces who fought with great courage for their nation.

The Canadian forces today continue to perform core functions of the government. Our men and women in uniform work every day to protect Canadian sovereignty, promote national interests and secure international peace and security.

Canadian forces members bring relief during natural disasters. They provide search and rescue services. They patrol our coastline and enforce Canadian law. They help fulfil our international obligations. They bring peace and stability to troubled regions of the world through peace support operations.

Over the last year or so the Canadian forces have been involved in the interception of over 600 illegal migrants, year 2000 preparations, disaster relief in Turkey, peacekeeping in East Timor, NATO operations in Kosovo, and North American security through NORAD.

The Canadian forces provided support to and helped co-ordinate over 8,000 search and rescue operations, a record number. These efforts resulted in the saving of over 4,000 lives.

At this very moment approximately 2,500 Canadian forces personnel are deployed on 16 operations around the world. We currently have more than 1,500 men and women in Bosnia-Herzegovina alone. The list of operations is long: Ethiopia and Eritrea, Iraq and Kuwait, the Golan Heights, Guatemala, and Sierra Leone. Just recently a Canadian officer, Major-General Hillier, assumed command of Multi-National Division Southwest in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

As these examples illustrate, all members of the Canadian forces, from privates to general officers, are making a concrete difference in improving the world in which we live. Much of their work is, by its very nature, thankless and hard. Members of the Canadian forces have chosen a profession that puts their lives at risk, all in the name of Canada and Canadian interests. They face down aggression and tyranny in distant lands every day so that we may live in peace and prosperity here at home.

The government is committed to providing the Canadian forces with the right tools for the job. With two consecutive defence budget increases, a comprehensive quality of life program, and a list of newly procured equipment, the Canadian forces are building a strong future on an even stronger foundation.

The government is also committed to ensuring that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen are properly recognized and publicly thanked for their national service.

On September 6 the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief presented the first Canadian peacekeeping service medals to recipients in Ottawa, including many members of the Canadian forces. As Canadians we recognize elements and individuals of the Canadian forces through various honours and events such as this one. However, we have yet to reserve a day when all Canadians from coast to coast can take a moment to thank all members of the Canadian forces for their dedication and hard work. By declaring a Canadian forces day today in the House, we will provide that opportunity.

People across the country will be given the occasion to recognize the accomplishments of our men and women in uniform. It will, in short, give Canadians an opportunity to thank Canadian forces personnel for their dedicated work. It is time for us to officially set aside a day when Canadians of all walks of life can thank members of the Canadian forces for their service and increase their knowledge of military issues in the process. It is time to officially establish Canadian forces day.

I urge my fellow members to support this motion. I would like to put forward the following amendment. I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the words “Canadian Forces” and substituting the following: “both at home and abroad, in such areas as humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, search and rescue and UN peacekeeping, should proclaim the first Sunday in June as Canadian Forces Day”.

Peacekeeping October 17th, 2000

Madam Speaker, as a Canadian and as a parliamentarian I am very proud to rise in the House tonight to speak in support of the motion before us on possible Canadian peacekeeping activities in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Indeed it is an historic moment every time Canada deploys in an international operation such as this one. It reaffirms in no uncertain terms our steadfast commitment to world peace and security.

By supporting the proposal before the House we will be continuing in the fine Canadian tradition of coming to the aid of those in need. By participating in the United Nations mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea we will be showing the world that we not only speak of peace but we act on it as well.

We have heard today from some members of the House why this mission is important. After years of bloody war, an estimated 100,000 or more dead and about 1.5 million displaced, the fighting has finally stopped. What is more, the parties are now looking for help in their bid to establish a lasting peace.

From a moral standpoint there are very good reasons to participate in this mission. Furthermore, from a military perspective this mission is well within our means. In other words, we have both the will and the military potential to successfully contribute to this UN operation.

The conditions on the ground in Ethiopia and Eritrea are ready for a peacekeeping force. The parties have signed the agreement on cessation of hostilities and have called for a UN mission to monitor and ensure this agreement. The parties are prepared for peace and we are well placed to respond to their call for help.

With an end to open hostilities there is now little threat posed by the warring parties. In fact, the greatest dangers that our forces anticipate on this proposed mission are the harsh operating conditions, disease and unexploded munitions. These are threats that with proper precautions can be minimized and effectively managed by professional forces such as ours.

In fact, Canadian forces personnel would be well prepared for any possible contingency. They would receive thorough pre-deployment training, enabling them to deal effectively with everything from land mines to refugees. They would have the necessary equipment and support required to carry out their tasks effectively and safely. They would be physically prepared for the harsh conditions on the Horn of Africa with all the requisite medical support and attention this entails. The military preconditions are right for this mission. Furthermore, the proposed concept of the operation is sound.

Canadian soldiers would be there for six months only. This would ensure that our expertise is used at the most critical moment in the initial months of the mission. It would also ensure that the Canadian commitment of soldiers and resources would be temporary and would not place unreasonable long term demands on our forces.

Canada would be in good company. The proposed mission calls for the Canadian forces to operate alongside an experienced and professional allied force, that of the Netherlands, and under the operational command of the deployed standby forces high readiness brigade, better known as SHIRBRIG, from its headquarters. This, along with robust rules of engagement, would ensure that deployed Canadian forces are provided with the full support, leadership and authority required to effectively carry out their mission.

As hon. members may know, the proposal before the House calls for a company group of approximately 400 personnel to be committed to the United Nations mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Given the Canadian forces current operational tempo, this deployment is achievable.

The government's rationalization of overseas commitments is largely complete. The high operational tempo experienced just a year ago when close to 4,500 Canadian forces personnel were in operation is now behind us. This being said, the Canadian forces remain busy currently with about 2,500 personnel on overseas deployments.

The proposed commitment of approximately 400 personnel is therefore within our means. By providing a company group to the Dutch battalion, Canada would be making a substantial contribution to the overall success of the mission, while at the same time guarding the quality of life of its military personnel.

I would like to call once again on all members of the House to support the government's proposed involvement in the UN mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Our help is needed. Our soldiers are prepared and our objectives are achievable. Let us not fail to respond.

I will take a few moments to thank and say farewell to my colleagues on the last time that I will be speaking in this glorious Chamber. Over the last 12 years in parliament I have met some wonderful people on all sides of the House. My opposition colleagues, even in the toughest of times, have shown me non-partisan respect. I certainly appreciate this.

I would also like to recognize my own colleagues. I have met some lifelong friends that I will always hold close to my heart. I thank both the staff and members I have worked with in my capacity as parliamentary secretary to both veterans affairs and labour. I also thank those I have worked with in the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association and on the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs. I thank them all for their help, for their advice and for their friendship. I have had the most remarkable 12 years in the House and I have been privileged to serve the people of my riding of Hillsborough and the people of this great nation.

Committees Of The House October 5th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fourth report of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs on Bill C-41, an act to amend the statute law in relation to veterans benefits.

Interparliamentary Delegations September 18th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House in both official languages, the seventh report of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association which represented Canada at the spring session held in Budapest, Hungary from May 26 to 30, 2000.

Interparliamentary Delegations April 13th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association which represented Canada at the meeting of the economic committee and the political committee held in Brussels and Paris, February 20 to 23, 2000.

Interparliamentary Delegations March 13th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House in both official languages the fourth report of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association which represented Canada at the meetings of the defence and security committee held in Washington, D.C. and southern California from February 1 to 8, 2000.

Flight Training December 16th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, 60 years ago, on December 17, 1939, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand joined together in Ottawa to sign the British Commonwealth air training plan agreement.

A significant milestone for Canada, the air training plan became one of the first symbols of our country's participation in the second world war and was certainly one of Canada's most important contributions to the ultimate victory.

Between 1940 and 1945 Canada became known as the aerodrome of democracy, as 107 air training facilities were established across the country to train more than 130,000 air and ground crews. Many of them paid the ultimate price, fighting for the causes of freedom, international peace and human dignity.

In many senses the training plan laid the foundation of our longstanding co-operation with our allies on the European continent and elsewhere around the world.

Today the tradition of training the world's best aviators lives on with the government's commitment to the innovative NATO flying training in Canada program.

Interparliamentary Delegations December 16th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1), I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the third report of the Canadian-NATO Parliamentary Association which represented Canada at the 45th annual session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands from November 11 to November 15, 1999.

Canadian Tourism Commission Act December 1st, 1999

I have heard.

Royal Canadian Army Cadets November 29th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, yesterday marked the 120th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Army Cadets.

Over the last 120 years, the Canadian cadet movement has helped youth understand the values of active citizenship, leadership and physical fitness.

Through the Royal Canadian Army Cadets we are investing in Canadian youth and meeting our mandate to develop leaders for the next century.

By contributing to their communities and by acting as ambassadors for their country in the eyes of the world, cadets live up to the expectations of Canadians.

Ex-army cadets have contributed greatly to our war efforts. By 1918 there were 64,000 cadets enrolled. Of these, upward of 40,000 ex-army cadets voluntarily enlisted to serve in World War I.

It is to be noted also that of the 64 Victoria Crosses awarded during World War I, 25 were won by ex-cadets.

On the 120th anniversary I extend my thanks to the young men and women and the numerous volunteers who continue to make the Royal Canadian Army Cadets a success.