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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

Gun Control May 4th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice who has been musing about banning private ownership of handguns.

The 1,054,000 registered handguns in the country have a value of at least $300 million. Is the hon. minister considering compensation, or will big brother be going door to door and confiscating what is now legally owned property of Canadian citizens?

Petitions April 26th, 1994

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, it is my honour to present a petition duly certified by the clerk of petitions. It is signed by 60 residents of the Hodgeville-Glen Bain district in my constituency.

Briefly the petition states in part that the petitioners humbly 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, euthanasia. I support the petition.

(Questions answered orally are indicated by an asterisk.)

Gun Control April 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in June 1975 the following remarks appeared in an MP's report to constituents.

"Very strict regulations governing the sale and possession of handguns and automatic weapons and the prohibition of sawed off guns have not deterred the criminal element from obtaining them for use in the commission of crimes. The standard rifle or shotgun is sometimes used in murder, but a registration card would not save the victim. It would be a mistake to initiate legislation in this area which would impose unnecessary red tape upon law-abiding citizens. All governments are faced with the primary challenge of dealing with the root causes of violence, the disease rather than its symptoms".

These words were written by the Hon. Otto Lang, a prominent Liberal who actually believed in classic liberalism.

Correctional Service Canada April 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I wish the hon. minister had been my employer when I was in the working world.

This is going to be a relatively open institution but, as I understand, it will house serious offenders now incarcerated in other institutions.

What reassurances could the Solicitor General offer for the security of farmers and ranchers who are understandably concerned about the matter and who will be living next door to the place?

Correctional Service Canada April 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Solicitor General.

A short while ago Correctional Service Canada announced the appointment of a kikawinaw or a matron for the healing lodge on the Nekaneet band reserve in my riding. This is a very expensive senior position but that institution will not be operational for at least another year.

Does the minister approve of this sort of management within his department?

Foreign Affairs April 21st, 1994

Madam Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to participate in this debate tonight although I must say I do so with minimal enthusiasm. This is the end of a rather long personal road for me.

I have always opposed the intervention by Canada or Canada's allies in other people's wars but as of this time I have had to change my outlook. Enough is enough.

Time after time in my lifetime the western world has stood by compromised, temporized and allowed large numbers of people to be butchered. We have the situation now in Gorazde in which thousands of people are in imminent danger of death unless somebody moves in from outside and helps them.

At this stage there is only one way that can be done and that is with air strikes. There is no possibility on earth of getting ground troops from anywhere into that area in time to help those people.

I am not talking geopolitics here. I am talking humanitarian efforts because those people will die en masse. There is no question about it if the world does not do something. It has been said many times here tonight that air strikes alone cannot solve the problems in Bosnia. That is true but if they are executed immediately they can save the people of Gorazde and that is what counts.

There is no time for an ultimatum. There is no time for further discussions. The necessary mechanics are already in place. Warnings are not an option. Warnings have been given again and again and they are no longer taken seriously. Air strikes have to be not only immediate but unrelenting. Anything that moves, tanks, field artillery, has to be taken out. Bridges have to be taken down. Any kind of ammunition or field depot, anything that helps the Serbian war effort, should be fair game in the Gorazde area.

If that is done, if you punish them hard enough and fast enough they, being normal human beings in some ways, will have a self-protective instinct. They will move back. The problem with this scenario is that there is also no time to pull out our troops. If we are going to save Gorazde it has to be done now. Our people cannot be taken to safe haven before the air strikes are made.

Our field commanders on the ground must have the freedom to do whatever they deem necessary to get our people out of harm's way. If air strikes are executed we have to face as a country and as a Parliament the fact there probably will be Canadian casualties. It is inevitable and this is a responsibility that the government with the support of apparently almost everyone on the opposition side has to face up to.

We have all been briefed at great length on the inhospitable terrain in that country for movement of troops, for normal military manoeuvring. Even if we had large numbers of troops in there we would still need the air strikes.

A lot of people I have spoken to who are military people would agree that it does not necessarily follow that if we escalate the war we must have hundreds of thousands of foreign troops in Bosnia.

The Bosnian Muslims are there already. They have been effectively disarmed by the embargo that we have imposed supposedly against all of Yugoslavia. This has really had a serious effect only on the people of Bosnia. They are the victims of this. The Serbs one way or another have continued to get arms. I presume they are able to make them because they have a certain amount of industry intact. They have not had the war rolling back and forth across their part of the country for two years. They are getting them from elsewhere, they have to be.

Let us lift the embargo. I think this is what the Bosnia Muslims want. It would mean that we could help these people without committing large numbers of western troops. Give them a chance to die with dignity. They are dying anyway and they will continue to die by the tens, perhaps the hundreds of thousands if we do not give them the chance to help themselves.

I would urge, I would beg the government to take this to the UN, take off the embargo. Give these poor devils a chance.

I notice that on this I am in complete agreement with the hon. member for Regina-Qu'Appelle. I doubt if there is anyone in North America with whom I have larger degrees of political differences and I heartily concur with this. Let the Bosnian Muslims have a chance to defend themselves.

First and foremost save the people of Gorazde. Stop making idle threats. Stop giving ultimatums. Make the air strikes and make them before it is too late.

Canada Oil And Gas Operations Act April 21st, 1994

Madam Speaker, I will be the only speaker for the Reform Party on this matter and I shall be brief.

Bill C-6 is mostly housekeeping. As we stated earlier in the House, we will endorse its basic thrust which is to transfer regulatory authority over frontier oil and gas development from the political arena to an independent body, the National Energy Board. We believe that this action is also endorsed by most of the industry stakeholders.

This bill does have one glaring weakness which we were unable to remedy in committee. It gives the National Energy Board unlimited power to determine what is or is not a significant discovery or a commercial discovery and to make unilateral decisions affecting certain technical operations.

Aggrieved parties will be able to appeal a board decision only to the board itself so that a single quasi-judicial body becomes in effect judge, jury and executioner. Questions of law of course could be further appealed to the courts by any party willing to accept the cost and long delay of such actions. But questions of fact, technical decisions, could not be challenged.

Industry representatives have indicated to us that the National Energy Board as presently constituted functions well, has knowledgeable personnel and has a good track record.

Our concern is that we are looking at the board in a snapshot in time. We do not know what it will be like 10 or 15 years from now. Bill C-6 nevertheless gives it an extraordinary amount of power with no checks or balances.

Laws are like contracts. They should be written to deal with worst case scenarios, not under the assumption that all concerned parties will be forever noble, rational and fair.

In committee we attempted to rectify this problem with amendments to allow final appeals of board decisions to a second independent body, the oil and gas committee as defined in the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act. Having failed to win this safeguard in committee, the Reform Party will not vexatiously continue to pursue a cause which is already lost.

Most of the bill and its intent are acceptable to us. We therefore support it, albeit somewhat grudgingly.

Witness Protection Act April 20th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise to offer my support for Bill C-206. To me it is self-evident that anyone who risks his or her personal or family safety to testify for the crown is entitled to protection. This is especially true if protection has been promised as an inducement to take the stand.

In general, formal witness protection and relocations are needed for serious prosecutions involving drugs or organized crime. The people needing protection are often pretty unsavoury folks, criminals motivated by fear, vengeance or greed to turn against their fellows and act as police informers. Nevertheless, if they help us, for whatever motive, they have the right not to be hung out to dry by law enforcement agencies which use them to make their case. There must be national, predictable and enforceable mechanisms to deal with such people and this is what Bill C-206 is all about.

Without informants who can testify without fear, investigations and prosecutions of people involved in organized crime sometimes lead nowhere. The cost in wasted effort by police officers and courts is enormous. It must be incredibly frustrating for police to have the goods but be unable to secure a conviction because the safety of a witness cannot be guaranteed.

The type of protection envisaged through this bill is complex and expensive, and it might be required for several years for individuals. Nevertheless, if it helps to put dangerous criminals out of business it will be a sound public investment. When convictions are obtained, society wins.

Not all beneficiaries would be paid informants. In Canada the most famous protected person, federally protected because of his high profile, was Igor Gouzenko. He was given a false identity. If my memory serves me correctly he was kept out of sight for 40 years. I doubt that many Canadians begrudged him his new life.

Although I support this bill I do wish that it was a little broader in scope with provisions for increased penalties for threatening witnesses and with more emphasis on in situ protection for those witnesses who are not paid informers and who do not want to have their lives disrupted by relocation. I am referring to ordinary citizens who just happen to witness a crime and who hesitate to get involved because of the possible retaliation against them or their families.

I most especially wish that this bill would provide better and longer term protection for victims who risk being victimized again if they agree to testify against a dangerous individual, an individual who might very well be out on bail awaiting trial or who, if convicted, probably will be paroled after serving a fraction of his sentence.

Consider this. Women who cause their husbands or lovers to be jailed for assault face early confrontation with their attackers. Some of them live in fear of the man they sent to prison. The released criminals can walk around freely. If they are vindictive and vengeful, their victims have to cower at home, protected only by court orders which are scraps of paper or by anti-stalking laws which are useful only if the abuser tries to extract vengeance over an extended period of time.

A woman in such a situation cannot even keep a shotgun handy to protect herself because in Canada the victim has less rights than the brute who might want to kick her door down. She can live in fear. She can run. She can hide. That is not fair.

In summary, I compliment my colleague on the other side of the House for his initiative in this regard. Canada's witness protection system is at best patchwork. We need national guidelines and criteria so that from coast to coast the same protection is available for all Canadians.

It is high time that informers are given the guaranteed protection warranted for their assistance in bringing offenders to justice and this bill is a short step in the right direction. It merits our support.

Firearms April 18th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the anti-gun lobbyists would have us believe that Great Britain has been very successful in keeping its peasantry disarmed and docile. Tough gun laws work they say.

A couple of weeks ago I discussed this with a Scottish gun merchant. He told me: "Great Britain is awash with illegal arms. It is a lot quicker and easier to buy them in pubs than from me, and cheaper too because there are no sales or import taxes".

Now, according to yesterday's Ottawa Sun the same situation is developing here in Canada.

Our Minister of Justice should consider getting tough with criminals and stop musing about his intent to further harass and intimidate the millions of decent Canadian citizens who own or wish to own firearms.

Petitions April 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I have received yet another petition from constituents requesting the repeal of section 745 of the Criminal Code.

I would like to present it pursuant to Standing Order 36. It has been duly certified by the clerk of petitions. I wholeheartedly endorse the request of these constituents.