House of Commons photo


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

Gun Control September 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice should be aware that opposition to gun control is not just a preoccupation of rural westerners.

In the past few weeks I have received more than 100 angry letters from urban Ontario residents who do not share the minister's jaundiced opinion of the competence and integrity of Canadians, or the patronizing view that gun owners need to be protected from themselves.

I have advised these people that I am one of the good guys and that they should direct their anger where it belongs: at the minister.

A few of these correspondents are probably part of that huge crowd out on the lawn today. They are sending a clear message against statism. I hope the minister is listening and perhaps rethinking his elitist prejudices.

Tough gun controls have proven ineffective in many jurisdictions including New York, Illinois and the United Kingdom. Why must we continue down this-

Petitions September 20th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions from constituents of mine in the two districts of Burstall and Maple Creek. The petitions are very similar in content so I will read only one of them.

Whereas the Criminal Code of Canada, section 241, states that anyone who counsels a person to commit suicide or aids or abets a person to commit suicide is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years; whereas the Supreme Court of Canada recently upheld section 241 of the Criminal Code of Canada in the Rodriguez decision, recognizing that section 241 was enacted to protect all individuals, including the disabled, the terminally ill, the depressed, the chronically ill and the elderly; and whereas if section 241 were to be struck down or amended such protection would no longer exist, we, your humble petitioners, therefore pray that Parliament not repeal or amend section 241 of the Criminal Code in any way and uphold the Supreme Court of Canada decision of September 30, 1993 to disallow assisted suicide or euthanasia.

I concur with these petitioners.

Petitions September 19th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 it is my honour to present the following petition from residents of the east end Saskatchewan district in my constituency.

Whereas except in police states there is no evidence that the incidence of criminal or suicidal misuse of firearms within any given socioeconomic environment is impeded by restrictive legislation, whereas law-abiding Canadian citizens are already overburdened by unnecessary and ineffective gun control legislation, wherefore the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon Parliament to desist from passing additional restrictive legislation with respect to firearms or ammunition and to direct its attention to the apprehension and adequate punishment of those who criminally misuse firearms or other deadly weapons.

Gun Control June 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, since the introduction of gun control in 1978 the annual homicide rate in my home province of Saskatchewan has averaged three per 100,000, the same as in adjoining Montana where there are almost no firearms restrictions. Economic and social conditions are parallel and so are the murder rates.

On the other hand, since prohibition days New York state has had the toughest North American gun laws outside of Mexico, yet the murder rate there is five times higher than in Canada. I do not know why, but I suspect the presence of organized crime, widespread drug abuse, racial tension and grinding poverty just might have something to do with it.

Instead of concentrating on the emotional rantings of the Coalition for Gun Control, the Minister of Justice should inform himself by comparing firearms legislation and crime statistics in a wide variety of jurisdictions. Prejudice makes bad law.

Gun Control June 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary. On Wednesday my colleague from Prince George-Peace River pointed out that no hard data exists to demonstrate that further gun control legislation will reduce gun related crime. On several occasions the minister has stated that we must look for the root causes of crime rather than caving in to knee-jerk reactions.

Will the minister commit that he will introduce no further gun control legislation until there is hard statistical evidence that the current legislation is not working?

Gun Control June 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I was into my question. I am sorry.

Will the minister show some responsibility and protect us from ourselves by instituting a rope control program, with rope acquisition certificates and a mandatory registration of all ropes more than a metre long?

Gun Control June 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.

A few weeks ago I attended a briefing by a group of gun control activists. They freely acknowledged that "additional controls would have little or no effect on violent crime". To justify their position they pointed to the 31 per cent of suicides that are committed with guns and which they claimed might be partly preventable.

Since 27 per cent of suicides are committed-

Young Offenders Act June 16th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his questions. He must be aware that reform schools or youth wings, as he calls them, do not exist anywhere in Canada any more.

I am advocating, and I am advocating strongly, that doing away with them was a mistake because there is now no real mechanism to deal with these young people. We have the open custody situation or we have jails for adults. We really do not have much in between. We have youngsters in remand centres interminably.

They get into more trouble there; they get educated. That is why we should have reform schools where they get proper education. Yes, I am nostalgic. I do yearn for a period of our history when society was orderly, when there was a discipline of

children, when the police and the courts had power and exercised it.

I do not have a yearning for a police state, but I do have a yearning for a state where people are safe and where there is a social contract which involves decency and mutual respect among people. We have lost that. A lot of it is due to the same frame of mind that framed the original Young Offenders Act and which did not have the courage to come forward and do a full job with Bill C-37.

Young Offenders Act June 16th, 1994

Madam Speaker, two months ago, almost 10 years to the day after the passage of the Young Offenders Act, Nicholas Battersby was shot down in cold blood on an Ottawa sidewalk. Because the person who shot him was a young offender, we know very little about him. All we know is that he shot a man for a lark, for fun.

There was a big public outcry, lots of calls for tougher law enforcement, and the media and the usual brown shirted brigades of gun control lobbyists were braying that we should stop crime by getting tough on honest citizens.

This is something like a man who has two dogs, one vicious and one gentle. The vicious dog bites the postman and so to appease the postman the man shoots the gentle dog and then takes the vicious dog and tries to sweeten his temperament by overfeeding him.

What will happen to this young man? Because of the date of the crime I presume he will be tried under the old Young Offenders Act; but for the sake of this discussion let us say that he would be tried under the new one. It is less likely under the new act than under the old that he will be tried in an adult court for the simple reason that the new law will lead to interminable court delays with the new process of reverse onus that has been written into it. If he is convicted he will face a maximum of 10 years in custody, no minimum, of which perhaps 6 years could be in closed custody. Judging on the way the laws have been enforced to date that is all rather hypothetical and somewhat unlikel

What should be done with a person like that? I respectfully suggest that murder by a 16-year-old is no less harmful to the victim than murder by an 18-year-old. Therefore the penalty should be essentially the same. I am not suggesting immediate incarceration with older prisoners where the young fellow would be the plaything of sexual predators. That constitutes cruel and usual punishment by any standards and is unworthy of a civilized society.

We should have institutions designed to serve specific age groups. We used to have them. They were called reform schools. Some hon. members may say that is too expensive and we cannot afford it. If we could rehabilitate some of these young hoodlums perhaps it would be money well spent. It should not be expensive anyway; it need not be expensive. Young people incarcerated in a reform school could do useful work, including growing their own food which adult prisoners in the penitentiaries used to do and which we have done away with in most cases. Why do we not go back to that? When the young offender is not working to earn his keep he could be educated. Go easy on the pool tables and TV.

A 14-year old young offender in open custody was recently quoted as saying: "It is easy time; it is kind of like a playground: Disneyland or something". What is that young fellow learning about the justice system?

The proposed amendments to the Young Offenders Act are in our opinion purely cosmetic, a transparent attempt to pacify a public clamouring for meaningful change. The government's response to almost everyone's principal demand that the maximum of age of application be lowered from 17 years to 15 years is to be sloughed off with a silly and meaningless compromise requiring 16 and 17-year olds to establish, through a tedious and expensive court process, that they should not be tried in adult court for the most serious crimes: murder, attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault and so on. The cost and confusion will be enormous: a bonanza for lawyers.

Since both reverse onus and judicial selectivity are involved some lawyers will probably be able to seek the spotlight and beef up their incomes by mounting a charter challenge. This is

an act written by lawyers for lawyers. I think of the constituent who asked rather plaintively: "Can't you pass a law down there forbidding lawyers to run for Parliament?"

In the House on June 6 the hon. member for Saint Hubert said: "These motions will be similar to extradition proceedings. It is going to be a waste of energy and public funds and through it all young persons will learn how to foil the system and scoff at the law". I rarely agree with anything the hon. member says but I certainly agree with that. She was spot on.

Of course her proposed solution differs from mine. She would continue to treat these louts like poor little misguided children, subject to the same rules as 13 and 14-year olds. People of16 and 17 are not children, for heaven's sake. They hold down jobs. They drive cars. They have babies with or without the benefit of matrimony. If they are unhappy in the parental home generous social welfare will in most provinces provide reasonably comfortable independence.

Bill C-37, rather than ensuring that these older young offenders will end up in adult court, makes it less likely than ever because of the reasons I have cited. I do not want to sound like a nagging parent saying "when I was your age-", but at the age of 17 I was working in a bush camp swinging an axe to raise money so I could enter university. If anyone had dared to suggest to me that I was a child I would have been outraged. We do young people no favours by relieving them of responsibility.

One of the hon. members opposite probably will not believe this, but I can actually remember when I was 10 to 13-years old. My companions and I fought regularly but never dreamed of using the knives which as farm boys we all carried. We did not try to maim each other. We had an archaic code of conduct which might seem terribly quaint to the lawyers and social workers who have been trying to redesign our society.

You did not kick somebody who was down. You did not pick on little kids or gang up on anyone and you never, never hit girls. In other words, we knew the difference between right and wrong; so did my kids as recently as 20 years ago.

I venture to say to the young savages who terrorize their weaker classmates, vandalize property and give the finger to their powerless teachers, to exempt 10 and 11-year olds from the rules of civilized conduct is socially destructive madness. A child who gets away with it at 10 or 11 and whose parents are not held legally accountable for his or her actions learns a lesson which all the prattling counsellors and dreamy eyed social workers in the world cannot erase.

Now the minister tells us that section 43 of the Criminal Code which protects parents who do care about their kids and use reasonable force to discipline them is up for review. What strange world does the Liberal Party inhabit?

The road from uncorrected naughtiness to mean destructiveness to full blown delinquency is short and straight. The government owes it to the children of Canada and to the future of our society to re-enter the world of every day Canadians. Bill C-37 is a start, but only a start. Let us get on with it.

Madam Speaker, I neglected to inform you that I am splitting my time with the hon. member for Red Deer. I hope I can put that in now.

Yukon First Nations Self-Government Act June 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am a little disturbed by some of the comments of the hon. member, his overwhelming enthusiasm for the bill. Companion Bills C-33 and C-34 in my view legislatively and constitutionally entrench a form of apartheid in the country. The fact that the people who are being segregated will perhaps have greater rights than the segregators is a bit unique. They are ensuring perpetual divisions within the country, as well as, as my hon. colleague has stated, ensuring that for the future and perhaps for all time the people who will be segregated from us will be condemned to a life that has no real meaning.

Let me explain what I am getting at. In the 1950s and early 1960s I spent most of my time working in the bush with native people. They were very self-reliant, hard working and proud. They did what they could to support their families. They did not ask the government for anything. By and large they were happy and successful people. They built their own cabins; they hunted their own food. They did not ask us to send them more money, give them control over more resources and they would be happy. They never thought of themselves as being unequal because they were our equals. Now we are going to make them something different.

Does the hon. member believe or does he not in the equality of all Canadians?