Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was federal.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as NDP MP for The Battlefords—Meadow Lake (Saskatchewan)

Lost his last election, in 1997, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supplementary Estimates (A) November 21st, 1996

Madam Speaker, New Democrats will also be voting no on this motion.

Supplementary Estimates (A) November 21st, 1996

Madam Speaker, New Democrats in the House tonight will be voting no.

Supplementary Estimates (A) November 21st, 1996

Madam Speaker, New Democrats in the House vote nay to this motion.

Supply November 21st, 1996

Madam Speaker, New Democrats in the House tonight are voting in favour of this motion.

Divorce Act November 18th, 1996

Madam Speaker, the Minister of the Environment has tabled legislation which puts in front of all Canadians this government's plan to protect endangered species and habitat in Canada.

To his credit, the minister has made some significant changes to the proposals which were circulated for discussion last year. I have to thank all the groups, organizations and individuals who responded to those proposals. Without their input the legislation in front of us now would have been laughable.

But the bottom line today is that while no longer laughable, the legislation is still inadequate. For me the trouble lies in the simple fact that for effectiveness the federal government will continue to rely on the willingness of the provinces to co-operate.

When I asked the minister a question relating to this on October 31, he chose to ignore the specifics and instead concentrated on the generalities. Therefore I am trying once again to secure a more specific answer. Today I am looking for a hint that the Liberals are even considering the subject matter of my question in two parts.

The first part of the question dealt with the idea of a habitat inventory for species currently on the list. I acknowledge that habitat protection is the most critical part of the legislation. We have a list of species considered endangered at this moment but we do not have a specific list of their habitats.

There is a legitimate fear out there expressed by workers in resource companies, by farmers and ranchers and by people living and working in rural communities that this legislation is one day going to jump up and steal away their incomes. We can best deal with protecting critical habitat as well as these fears by doing an inventory of the habitat specific to the species on the endangered list. We can best devise and structure recovery and management plans if we have an inventory. I want to know if the minister is giving any consideration to this matter.

I am also concerned that without an inventory the only way we will know that habitat protection needs to be undertaken is if an environmental assessment on some project tells us that something needs to be done. We should not need to be always reacting to project proposals in these matters. We should be acting in advance of proposals being considered and an inventory will aid in this process.

The second part of my question dealt with the effectiveness of enforcement mechanisms. As I have already said, the legislation recognizes the national accord for the protection of species at risk signed by the provinces in which each of the provinces agrees to establish complementary legislation and programs that provide for

its effective protection of species at risk and for the protection of their habitat.

However, there is no clear understanding of what happens should one or more provinces fail to provide adequate protection. If this were health care and the federal government truly cared about health, the Canada Health Act provides for penalties when the provinces do not live up to the standards set at the national level. Those penalties are financial penalties but on environmental matters, in particular the protection of endangered species, there is no similar penalty. There does not appear to be even the threat of a penalty that the federal government can make.

My question was for the minister to tell us what enforcement powers he has at his disposal to ensure the provinces establish adequate companion protection.

Endangered Species October 31st, 1996

Mr. Speaker, earlier today to the media and in question period, the Minister of the Environment talked in glowing terms about his plan to protect endangered species and habitat in Canada. In doing so he has conceded that the co-operation of the provinces is critical to making this process truly effective.

As far as federal lands are concerned, is the minister prepared to do a full habitat inventory for species currently on the list? As far as provincial co-operation is concerned, can the minister tell us what enforcement powers he has at his disposal if any or all provincial governments fail to include habitat protection within their own legislative framework?

Education October 30th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada has announced that tuition fees for students at Canadian universities have increased by nearly 12 per cent over the last year.

Since the Liberal government took power and started hacking away at transfers for post-secondary education, tuition fees in Canada have increased by a total of almost 30 per cent. Increased fees mean more and more young people are being excluded from the opportunity to participate in the so-called knowledge based economy that we consider so important because they can no longer afford to go to school.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. If by continuing the cuts to education is it his intention to deny the children of middle class and working families access to education. Is it the government's intention to return Canada to the days when only the wealthy could afford to go to university?

Poverty October 28th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, in the days prior to the Liberals meeting and convention in Ottawa, the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops released a report on poverty.

That report is a listing of the dismay felt by Canadians about the level of poverty in this country. Certainly the Liberals should have been dealing with that issue during their convention. Seven hundred thousand people have joined the ranks of the poor since this government took office.

The Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops talked about jobs as being one of the key elements in ensuring we can eliminate poverty. Creating jobs deals with problems within aboriginal communities. Creating jobs deals with matters in our urban environment. Creating jobs helps to ensure a better economy for rural Canadians.

The Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops has sounded an alarm of which the Liberals have to stand and take note. I urge them to pay attention to that. I urge all Canadians to ask for the creation of jobs.

Goods And Services Tax October 11th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I was sorry to hear that the tentative deal to harmonize the GST with provincial sales taxes in three Atlantic provinces appears to be back on track with the so-called Nova Scotia compromise on book sales.

It is obvious from this deal that harmonization negatively affects the province's right to make tax policy sympathetic to local

economies. Under the deal in Nova Scotia books will continue to be taxed by the federal government, which does not seem to understand the growing evidence that the GST harmonization will not benefit consumers, workers or regional economies.

New Democrats across Canada led by Nova Scotia's Alexa McDonough say that the current harmonization proposal is the wrong direction for tax reform since it shifts taxes away from business and corporations and applies them to the poor, middle class and working families.

Harmonization including the Nova Scotia compromise remains unfair and ineffective.

Employment Benefits October 10th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, yesterday while appearing before the finance committee the finance minister announced that the deficit for 1995-96 is $4.1 billion below the government's target of $32.7 billion.

The reason given for this is that government spending and interest charges were lower than expected, but the figures the minister released for employment insurance show another reason the deficit is lower than expected.

While the government has cut benefits for unemployed workers by $1.3 billion in 1995-96, the government is collecting $9 billion more than it is paying out in benefits. Most of this surplus will go to reducing the deficit.

This is not the government's money. It rightfully belongs to the 13 million workers who contributed to it. At a time when the unemployed are having a difficult time trying to make ends meet with reduced benefits it is cruel and unfair to make the deficit numbers look better by gouging unemployed workers.