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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

Petitions April 13th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I would like to present four duly certified petitions on behalf of my constituents, three of them dealing with the same subject from the towns of Shaunavon, Cabri, Maple Creek and Gull Lake.

The gist of the petition is that whereas section 745 of the Criminal Code of Canada requires a convicted murderer sentenced to life imprisonment without chance of parole for 25 years may apply for a review after 15 years, and whereas the murder of a Canadian citizen is a most reprehensible crime, wherefore the undersigned humbly pray and call upon Parliament to repeal section 745 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

The fourth petition from residents of Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, and environs contains some 150 signatures dealing with section 241 of the Criminal Code.

The petitioners beg that Parliament not repeal or amend section 241 of the code in any way and to uphold the Supreme Court of Canada decision of September 30, 1993 to disallow assisted suicide and/or euthanasia.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95 March 23rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, we asked the Minister of Finance this morning to address that very question. We did not get an answer. My own interpretation is that it will probably cost about an extra $1.5 billion a year if this current increase continues.

What I am more afraid of is that this is the shape of things to come and that we are going to have another spurt of interest rate increases. As our bond ratings are downgraded and as foreign investors begin to look more and more unkindly on us, we could very easily see 8 per cent interest rates by the end of this year. Then watch the deficit roll.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95 March 23rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the answer is yes, it is having a very marked bad effect on our competitiveness in the agricultural markets.

One of the main reasons that farm input costs are so high is the tax component they contain. It does not matter whether one is buying a tractor or a litre of diesel fuel or repairs for something on one's farm, the tax component if one tracks it backwards through every stage of production in many cases, I would suspect in most cases, amounts to some 50 per cent of the cost when the farmer goes to buy it from his agent.

If we were not being taxed to death in order to maintain this excessive debt load, then the prices of farm inputs would automatically go down and we would be more competitive on the world stage.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95 March 23rd, 1994

Yes, le Bloc réformiste, bien sûr.

The only part of his address that bothered me and sort of spoiled the effect was when he persisted from time to time in referring to two different countries, Quebec and Canada. If he would accept the premise that we are all one country, I would really like to see him move many seats this way and display his considerable talents on behalf of the nation because he really knows his economics.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95 March 23rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I will address the first comment of the hon. member for Portneuf.

Where does the money come from to pay the interest on the debt? I guess this is an exercise in semantics. You can take it out of their right pocket or you can take it out of their left pocket. The fact remains it collects $120 billion in taxes and $40 billion goes to pay interest on the debt.

Yes, I agree with the hon. member. We are borrowing money to pay interest on the debt because we are not quite breaking even. We are borrowing more than the interest cost. Where this will end, the hon. member knows well.

I want to compliment the hon. member for Portneuf on his original speech. I did not get a chance to stand up because everyone wanted to ask him questions. I applauded him. I thought he had perhaps become a Reformer when I listened to his economic analysis.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95 March 23rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, today we are asked to give extensive borrowing authority to a government that has already shown in its first budget that it is not only fiscally incompetent but also fiscally incontinent.

On February 22, while the Minister of Finance was singing into our ears, I could not help but see the ghosts of Michael Wilson and Don Mazankowski coming back to haunt us. We heard all the old platitudes. For example-

-restoring fiscal responsibility, a responsible social security system and a framework for economic renewal. There was even a mandatory pledge to get a handle on things next year and really take action the year after that.

The minister bravely proclaimed it is time for the government to get its fiscal House in order while confessing that the government plans net spending increases of $3 billion in the next fiscal year.

After nine years of Tory smoke and mirrors, inflated revenue estimates and broken promises, Canadians were entitled to expect something new, something better. All they got was the same old hokum that hardly anyone takes seriously any more.

This government which plans to persist with the Tory practice of killing the economy with high taxes is nevertheless predicting that the economy is going to miraculously rebound, thus inflating its projected revenue.

Personal income tax which unexpectedly fell by $6 billion this year is supposed to rebound by $7 billion next year. The anticipated increase of $1 billion from higher UIC premiums will probably come true. Why should GST revenues increase by $1 billion when anyone who has a few dollars is scared to death to spend them on consumer goods?

Rather than face reality and cut spending now, the government wants to party on. It wants to borrow another $34 billion to pay the tab. It has already been quite a party, twenty years of glorious excess.

Now our children and our grandchildren are going to be stuck with both the bill and the hangover. The $500 billion that this government already owes is going to be around for generations. Because of it those future generations are going to have a lower standard of living than we have had. There is no way out.

In the name of decency and common sense, how can we justify borrowing another $34 billion to make their burden heavier? More to the point, how can we talk about adding another $100 billion to this load on their backs for the next three years?

Remember that $100 billion is based on the rosy estimates of this government. If events of the last 20 years are any indication, it will probably be closer to $150 billion if the foreign money lenders do not come and take our credit card away before that happens.

Thanks to the magic of compound interest the debt we have already accumulated is eating us alive. Debt service costs this fiscal year will equal the cost of old age pensions and UIC combined. Every second the federal government pays more than $1,200 in interest. A typical Canadian family of four pays $460 in taxes every month just to cover the interest on the federal debt, a third of which is foreign debt.

For 20 years the Grits and the Tories have told us soothingly that mounting government debts are not really a problem because they are internal, that we owe it to ourselves and since the interest payments remain within the domestic economy they constitute only a recirculation of funds, an economic perpetual motion machine.

Even if one accepts this Disneyland approach to economics, the basic premise is no longer true. We are paying so much interest to foreigners that even though we have had a trade surplus every year for decades, our current account balance has been negative since 1985. This year our current account shortfall will be $25 billion and our foreign exchange reserves are shrinking.

If provincial foreign debts are added to those accumulated in this place, and that is reasonable since most countries do not have states or provinces borrowing money on world markets, Canadian public foreign debt is greater than that of Mexico and on a per capita basis it is greater than that of Brazil.

The government can wail "But there is nothing we can do. If we cut spending it is going to hurt". Sure it will but the pain can only be delayed, it cannot be avoided. Every time a year goes by and another $40 billion is added to the burden, the intensity of the potential pain becomes greater.

What is more desirable, to cut voluntarily while we still can or wait for the inevitable fiscal meltdown to burn us up like New Zealand and Sweden? How long does the government think that our economy can survive if the foreign bankers cut us off? How long before we would have to go hat in hand to the IMF like a third world country?

The government says it cannot cut spending because of its great compassion for the poor and the disadvantaged. I submit that the trick is to target social spending to those who need it. We can no longer afford to subsidize high income individuals and we can no longer afford to subsidize corporate Canada. If the government does not start to practise a little basic economic management, that compound interest machine is going to continue to accelerate.

One-third of every tax dollar collected by the government is already being used to service existing debt. What happens in the not too distant future when that becomes 40 cents out of the dollar, 45 cents or even 50 cents? Where will the money come from to pay for social programs or even to provide basic government services?

If the whole rotten structure comes tumbling down there will be no medicare, no pensions, no UIC, no welfare, nothing. Those who will suffer the most will be the weakest members of society: the sick, the old and the very young. That will be the govern-

ment's legacy to the people of Canada if it does not begin to take the problem seriously.

The government has proven through its non-budget that it cannot be trusted with a credit card. That card should be locked away in a safe place before the foreign bankers come and take it away from us.

Criminal Code March 18th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in 1978 Gregory Fischer was convicted of premeditated murder of RCMP constable Brian King. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole for 25 years.

He has appealed his sentence under section 745 of the Criminal Code. If he is successful he will be eligible for parole in spite of the restriction imposed by the trial judge.

On January 20 the judge hearing his appeal in Saskatoon declared a mistrial because he felt that the presence in court of the victim's family and a group of police officers created an emotionally charged atmosphere for the jury.

When capital punishment was abolished in Canada the public was led to believe that the minimum time served for first degree murder would be 25 years. Twenty-two first degree murderers who were successful in getting their reviews have been granted parole or day parole. This has been a cruel deception on the families of murder victims.

Section 745 must be removed from the Criminal Code.

Question Of Privilege March 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is a pity so many members opposite think that irony is something found in a scrap yard.

It is equally a pity the hon. Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has attempted through my remarks to divert attention away from a personal attack he made on one of my colleagues. It was indeed a personal attack.

If the minister would care to read my entire speech in Hansard rather than taking a few lines out of it, he would know full well that I was taking a shot at people who use the term redneck as a conversational A-bomb to devastate anyone who does not agree with their politically correct views. I then proceeded to define redneck in my terms and I stick to it.

I still am a redneck by those terms, but not by the insulting terms used by the minister which imply-

Supply March 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Immediately prior to members' statements we had a speech from the hon. Minister of Public Works and Government Services. It was very eloquent although somewhat inflammatory.

I believe that there is still time remaining on the clock and I am wondering if comments on that matter are possible.

Atomic Energy Control Board February 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Natural Resources.

In spite of the fact that there has been a constant reduction in the number of licences to hold and handle radioactive material in the country, the staff of the compliance division of AECB has continued to grow.

It is now rumoured that there are plans to open regional compliance offices in Vancouver and Halifax in spite of the fact that there are only 370 licensees in B.C. and less than that in the maritimes.

Can the minister confirm or deny these offices are being planned and, if they are, can she justify it?