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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was years.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as Reform MP for Cypress Hills—Grasslands (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 1997, with 49% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Criminal Code September 27th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I commend the hon. member for Yorkton—Melville for his bill, Bill C-409. I am surprised, after having been here for seven years, that he is still sufficiently naive to believe that anybody over there cares or ever will care whether their laws are cost effective or not, but I give him A for trying.

The legislation that we are trying to get a sunset clause, namely Bill C-68, was based, as I recall very clearly, on public hysteria, prejudice, political expediency and on spurious, dare I even say duplicitous cost estimates; $85 million indeed. We said at the time that this was ridiculous. We have been proven right in spades.

The government has already spent more than four times that amount of money and it is nowhere with the program. It has managed to corral I think 800,000, or maybe even by this time a million, gun owners who have come forward to apply for their licences or who have received their licences, either a POL or a PAL, but there are at least, by the government's own estimates, another 2 million owners out there. Many people think there may be as many as 4 million. The government has 1,700 people trying to process paper in Miramichi. It is an impossible situation.

This is the old story of rolling the rock up the mountainside and it keeps rolling back down. They will never get this done in time for the deadline and when that deadline passes we will have at least a couple of million Canadians who will be deemed, under the provisions of Bill C-68, to be instant criminals. This is an absurdity.

I have only been here for seven years. I suppose I am a bit of a greenhorn in this place, but I do not know of any single piece of legislation that has created the degree of public anger, mistrust and pure bloody minded rage at government that this legislation has caused.

It has been on the books now for five years. To this day I cannot walk down the street in the town of Swift Current, Saskatchewan, where I have my office, without somebody accosting me and asking me what we are going to do about this loony legislation. It never dies. This is an area that is suffering from a lot of other real major problems, but this is the burr under the saddle. It is not good for government to have legislation that keeps a very large minority of the population in a constant state of agitation, and, believe me, they are agitated. I would think that anyone who lives in a rural riding, regardless of their party, would be well aware of that fact.

The parliamentary secretary in his analysis mentioned a couple of things which I really must comment on. He says that the background checks have been effective, and that people who should not have had guns have been denied the right to buy them because of these checks. However, what he fails to mention is that there really is not any solid connection between the availability of the checks and the legislation that we are talking about.

We have had background checks in this country for at least 20 years that I am aware of and they did not have to pass this nonsense. They did not have to bring in this bureaucratic monster in order to bring about something that was already there.

The parliamentary secretary also stated that if Bill C-409 were to become law, all Canadian gun laws would be sunsetted and Canada would be left with no licensing and no registration. Well, if that is true, I can only assume that the hon. parliamentary secretary is saying that all of our gun laws are useless because Bill C-409 would only sunset gun control laws that the auditor general proved were not cost effective at achieving their stated objective of saving lives and reducing the criminal use of firearms.

Again I have to ask: Is the parliamentary secretary saying that all our gun laws, going all the way back to 1934, are not cost effective? That is a terribly broad statement to be making.

When the legislation was first debated back in 1994, we believed that the government should at that time have done some really serious studies, some scientific evaluation of what the legislation might entail, what it might result in and whether it would be beneficial, cost effective or not. The government chose not to do that. At the time there were a couple of very important academic studies that had been done, one in Canada in Vancouver and one in the United States in Florida, that strongly—

Taxation September 27th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, my son has join the exodus of young professionals from Canada. A 40% increase in salary and a 30% decrease in income tax proved irresistible to him. I cannot fault him for his actions.

He would have liked to have maintained some ties here but if he does not sell his house and even close his bank account the Canadian tax collectors will regard him as legitimate prey no matter where he goes.

What the Prime Minister said, more or less, was “There is no place here for smart people with ambition. Go elsewhere. You are not welcome here”. The Canada Customs and Revenue Agency adds “And don't come back.”

Youth Criminal Justice Act September 25th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The animals seem to have escaped from the zoo. Could we have a quorum count, please?

Youth Criminal Justice Act September 25th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I note again that the Liberals are showing their utter contempt for the House, as they usually do. I would ask for a quorum, please.

Youth Criminal Justice Act September 25th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. My apologies to my worthy colleague. Our colleague is recognized as the House expert on this subject. I think it most unfortunate that we do not have a quorum here to listen to him.

Roy Romanow September 25th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the retirement of a long time fixture on the national stage, the hon. Roy Romanow. How could we ever forget the historic role he played in the debate on repatriating the constitution 20 years ago?

Mr. Romanow has wisely called for a new generation of politicians to step forward. As an MP who is stepping down at the next election, I agree. We may have disagreed on many issues in the past, but I certainly share his view that it is time for new leadership, not only at the provincial level but at the federal level as well. Sayonara , Roy.

Species At Risk Act September 19th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I notice that members opposite seem to be a bit embarrassed about this bill because the Liberals are making no attempt in the House to defend it. I am not really surprised that they do not want to be associated with their handiwork in a public way.

The enforcement and penalties provisions of the bill epitomize the contempt the government has for due process and individual rights. Why does the government always have to use the big sledgehammer to come forward with legislation which, we must admit, has a wonderful intent? I am sure its intentions are fine. I agree with them but not with the means. With what the government is proposing to do and the jeopardy it will place rural people in, our farmers, ranchers and woodlot owners will have to live with draconian legislation which contains provisions contrary to every historical piece of jurisprudence that I can find, and certainly contrary to the spirit of common law.

Why do I say that? Provisions in the legislation for searches without warrants of any building other than a dwelling house are almost word for word the same as in the notorious firearms legislation, Bill C-68. Even the condition that a warrant to search a dwelling may be obtained merely on the basis that there are reasonable grounds for believing that entry will be otherwise refused are incorporated in this bill. This bill also copies the provisions in Bill C-68 that make it a criminal offence to fail to assist an officer searching one's property or to withhold self-incriminating information.

Clauses 86 to 91 must have been written and compiled by the same folks who wrote the firearms legislation because paragraph after paragraph in the enforcement section are absolutely identical in wording to the other bill. This is not a coincidence.

We say that this bill is to protect endangered species. I think it is here to protect a predatory species, namely the lawyers who have written it for lawyers. Lawyers will become fantastically wealthy trying to defend innocent landowners against the provisions of this insane legislation.

Not only are the provisions for search and seizure and all those good things totally contrary to the spirit of Canadian law, but the prescribed penalties for killing, molesting or trafficking in endangered species will be extraordinarily severe. This is a country noted for leniency for most criminal sanctions, but with this legislation an individual may be fined up to $250,000 and/or imprisoned for up to five years, even if he does not deliberately commit the offence. Even if it is through negligence or accident, these penalties are available.

The same penalties are available for “destroying the nest or den of an endangered creature” again even through negligence. A person who accidentally runs over the nest of a bird which is supposedly endangered could be in trouble.

If I go out on my ranch, which incidentally teems with game, to check my cattle and I accidentally run over a species of plant which is deemed to be endangered, or even if my saddle horse steps on such a plant, under the terms of this legislation I can be charged. I can be charged not for some statutory offence, but with a crime. Why does the government want to make criminals of ordinary citizens every time they turn around?

The implications of the legislation for farmers are really alarming. Equally alarming to the possibility that one might accidentally destroy a nest or den is the provision that the penalties I have been quoting can be applied to anyone who destroys any part of the deemed critical habitat of an endangered species. There does not even have to be any endangered species present for this law to come into full force.

I would ask the indulgence of the House to read from an analysis of the bill which was prepared by Mr. David Pope, a prominent Calgary attorney who, as I do, cherishes civil liberty and the common law. Here is what Mr. Pope has to say:

The offences and penalties for actions against plants, animals and organisms that are deemed species at risk and the lands which make up their habitat are unlike any found in Canadian criminal law. These are not offences of murder, arson, theft or rape but are for harming or harassing a plant, animal or organism or destroying a portion of its habitat.

Mr. Pope then describes the listed environmental crimes as “strict liability offences”. That is to say that an accuser need only say that the offence was committed and the person accused must then prove that he did not do it. This is called, in legal terms, reverse onus. It is almost never used in criminal law. In the past it has been virtually unheard of, and the test for conviction is much less than the usual standard of the criminal law. This is a dangerous change, especially when one realizes that it is aimed directly at ranchers and farmers who are usually not seen as criminals in Canadian society.

The competent minister has authority to appoint eco-police who have the same powers as a peace officer but no training. These eco-police only have to justify themselves to the minister.

Finally, since I see my time has nearly elapsed, there is a provision in Bill C-33 for anyone 18 years or older and resident of Canada to start an investigation against a rancher or farmer for any of the offences that we have been mentioning. Any special interest group or anyone with a grudge against a particular farmer may launch such a prosecution and can do so in complete anonymity.

As a matter of fact, the act states that the minister may not release the name of the plaintiff. Anyone else in a criminal court in Canada is allowed to face his or her accuser. Even murderers have that right, but someone who may have accidentally or negligently damaged an endangered species habitat does not have that right. He or she cannot bring an accuser into open court face to face.

I do not know how the bill can be fixed in its present state. We would have to eliminate so many sections to bring the enforcement and penalty provisions into line with Canadian custom and other Canadian law that we would virtually gut the bill. I would respectfully suggest that that is what should happen. Perhaps that is why government members are not defending the bill. Maybe that is their intent. I pray that it is.

Let us go back to the drawing board. Let us get it right. Let us protect endangered species without beating up on our own citizens.

Parliament Of Canada Act June 13th, 2000

Do you have any other kind?

Parliament Of Canada Act June 13th, 2000

Madam Speaker, I have a question for the member for Wetaskiwin. I have a bit of a theory about the Liberal House leader out on a fishing expedition and casting flies. Lo and behold, a fly fell in front of the hon. member for Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough and he leapt on it like a big trout. He and his colleagues have been doing the work in this place of the government.

As members of the House may have noticed, the government members have had nothing to say all night. They have been sitting there smiling like Buddha while that group over there does their dirty work for them. I think this a little delicious.

I would like to ask the member for Wetaskiwin if he believes that the other party, the fifth party, licking the hands of the hon. House leader for the government, is the shape of things to come?

Parliament Of Canada Act June 13th, 2000

Madam Speaker, my comment would be that between 1984 and 1993 the Tories could have done a lot of things that they did not do. This is just a very small example. They could have balanced the budget for openers, but all they did was whine about it after they finally got booted out.