House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was land.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as Reform MP for Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 1997, with 38% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Parliament Of Canada Act June 13th, 2000

Madam Speaker, I wish I had the blue book with me. I believe it is about 25%, but he is asking for an absolute figure. If we are talking percentages we cannot give an absolute number because numbers in ridings continue to change.

I do not know, but maybe he is interested in recall because someone in his riding is planning to start a campaign against him, or something to that effect. He is afraid people are going to ask why he does not pay attention to the previous Reform Party policies so that they can get rid of him.

For me, it is no worry. Nobody is that unhappy with me as their member of parliament.

Parliament Of Canada Act June 13th, 2000

Madam Speaker, as the hon. member is well aware, there is no reform policy any more because we are now members of the Canadian Alliance.

I did make a commitment to my voters that if a majority of them got together and recalled in a petition, which has not happened by the way, then I would honour it. I think that is the best answer I can give the hon. member. Until a party becomes government it cannot implement recall. I am quite sure that if a recall policy had been in effect in the last years of the Mulroney government, we would not have had to put up with so many years of mismanagement by the Tory Party.

I am glad to hear that the Conservatives agree with our taxation policies. That is important but it is only half the game. There is parliamentary reform, which they are not interested in, and a whole list of things that need to be dealt with.

Parliament Of Canada Act June 13th, 2000

Thank you, Madam Speaker, for asking them, as my colleague said, to put a sock in it. It is hard enough to speak here when these people are talking over what one is trying to say.

The Trudeau era is the primary image I have of what happens when the political elite takes control of its own wages and benefits, and passes legislation that is not to the benefit of every other person in the country. That is why this needs to be taken out of the hands of the political elite and given to an independent commission to make those kinds of recommendations.

I am sure that in those days maybe even the Trudeau Liberals could have been re-elected—if they had not done something like that—if they had put it in the hands of somebody else outside the system. No, they made sure that their pocketbooks were good and thick at the expense of Canadian taxpayers who were held back at a time when they were losing their homes, farms, businesses and everything else as a result of inflation.

I want to talk a little about the pain the PC Party down at the end of the building here seems to be feeling as a result of the MP pension issue. Members of that party think they were defeated because of the MP pension plan. They think that was the major issue in the last election.

Let me tell the House that the last Conservative to be elected in my riding was John Diefenbaker. No other Conservative has been elected since. We have had Liberals but they were defeated because they did not happen to know there was a place called western Canada. It was just where another automatic vote came from. It was good-bye to Gordon Kirkby who was one of the primary architects of Bill C-68, the firearms legislation. Prior to that it was a NDP member. It has been back and forth as they searched for an alternative who would make a difference.

As for Mr. Diefenbaker, most of his supporters, workers and campaigners are now members of the Canadian Alliance. They came through the reform party. They have had it with the Progressive Conservatives.

Those are the many reasons why the antipathy toward the Conservative Party runs so deep, so longstanding and is so visceral. It is based on a number of factors.

The national energy program instituted by the Liberals was supposed to be done away with immediately when Mulroney and the rest of the Conservatives were elected. They left it in place for years and took billions more out of western Canada. That is one good reason.

The aircraft maintenance contract was taken from Winnipeg by force and transferred to Bombardier in Quebec by an act of cabinet after it was fairly awarded by a competitive contract.

They wonder why they do not elect anybody in western Canada? Let them think about it: the ongoing deficits, the spiralling debt, increasing taxation.

In Saskatchewan there was a bush league boondoggle called gigatext where they thought they could translate French into English and English into French just by pushing a button. The only button that was pushed was the voters of Saskatchewan who awarded the Progressive Conservative Party roughly 7% in the last election. I do not think it got much more in the previous election. It had nothing to do with MP pensions. It had to do with the things that I have just mentioned.

Added to that were ongoing, well documented excesses and scandals. There is a book written about it, On The Take that most of us have read if we are from Saskatchewan. In case the Progressive Conservatives are under any misapprehensions, they should read the text of what I have said tomorrow and they will understand why they have no voice, no members and no representation in western Canada.

Getting away from the historical aspects, we had an opportunity to do it right by adopting the recommendations of the Blais Commission report last time. That was rejected out of hand by the government, which is a total waste of more tax dollars. We could have converted the non-taxable allowance to taxable and put the pension on a commercial basis, but we lost the opportunity. This is just another example of a process that is flawed when it is in the hands of MPs. It needs to be taken out.

The Canadian Alliance is governed by its members meeting in biennial assemblies and they set the policy. We are just asked to implement policy. I think it is rather a good idea. They get to set the stage.

Some parties have a policy similar to ours but they have zero chance of bringing it into effect. What is the purpose of having a policy if we cannot bring it into effect? For instance, the NDP wants Canadians to elect 20 of them so they can be the conscience of parliament. Big deal. When have the Liberals or the Conservatives ever listened to their conscience? Why would anybody elect a party like that or any of its members? For goodness sakes, that is just too much to hope for.

I abstained from the previous vote to send the bill to second reading. I will be opposing the bill in the upcoming vote.

Parliament Of Canada Act June 13th, 2000

Madam Speaker, I would like to talk a little bit about an image that comes to mind when we get to the debate about pay, pensions and things like that.

I will go back to the Trudeau years. I did not pay too much attention to politics in those days, but we were into hyperinflation in some of those years. All of a sudden, Trudeau, his cabinet and the Liberal Party slapped handcuffs on the wage aspirations of the average Canadian worker of 5% and 6%. Can anybody in the House forget where they were the night that happened, when Trudeau sat there in his expensive suit with a flower in his lapel and locked us into 5% and 6% wage increases over the next couple of years? Before he did that, he made big wage increases to two classes of people: members of parliament and senators, and federal judges. The political and judicial elite of Canada were exempt from the laws they made for every other person in the country.

Madam Speaker, could there be a little less cross-talk in the House so I can speak and be heard?

Young Offenders Act June 13th, 2000

Madam Speaker, it seems that some people construe this bill as an attempt to oppress people, throw kids in jail and throw away the key. It is actually about accountability and accepting responsibility and consequences for one's actions and undertakings.

I am grateful for the opportunity to rise today to speak to the private member's bill of my hon. colleague from Surrey North, Bill C-297. Last November I was ready to speak to Bill C-3, the new youth criminal justice act, which incorporated the entire substance of Bill C-297. Unfortunately, the hon. member's words and remarks of last year have come true. He said of the government's legislation “Quite simply, I do not anticipate that the new youth justice legislation will be implemented for some time yet. I have heard possibly by year's end at the earliest, but even that may be wishful thinking”.

He also thought that this amendment was sufficiently important to be incorporated within the present Young Offenders Act. As there is much to complain about the current legislation, it seems that we are left to reform by amendment rather than come up with new legislation that will do the job. We will wait to see if Bill C-3 can get out of committee before the next election. In the meantime, I certainly wish this bill success because the government's legislation seems to be bogged down.

The hon. member for Surrey North is right. This legislation is of sufficient importance. From all accounts, it has sufficient support from most members of the House to succeed, despite the actions of the Bloc Quebecois in committee, which is filibustering the whole youth criminal justice bill. Consequently, this bill had to be brought back to the House in its present form, rather than incorporated in the new legislation that was meant to cover the entire range of youth justice.

I was going to say that it will be interesting to see if Bloc members will support this private member's bill, but according to the speeches we have just heard, obviously they are not interested in accountability and responsibility.

Bill C-297 seeks to amend section 7.2 of the Young Offenders Act by allowing a youth court judge or a justice to allow an accused young offender to be placed in the care of a responsible person. This person would undertake in writing to be responsible for the attendance of a young person in court when required and comply with other conditions that a youth court judge or justice may specify, such as curfews. The young person would also comply in writing with the arrangements and other conditions specified by the youth judge or justice. It is a form of bail. It is also a contract, with all the inherent elements of a contract, such as responsibility, terms, conditions and penalties for breaching the contract.

Bill C-297 seeks to broaden the accountability of those who have in writing agreed to provide proper supervision for the young person involved. This amendment would broaden the consequence of failure of compliance to the conditions of the contract from a simple summary conviction to a dual procedure or a hybrid offence. Failure to comply under the new amendment would be punishable by up to two years of imprisonment. It is a fairly serious punishment.

Currently, failure to supervise constitutes a summary offence punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 or six months of imprisonment, or both, which for some offenders is a very small requirement. One could argue that serious incidents seldom happen with such breaches under the current system. This may or may not be so. However, no matter if there were absolutely no incidents, such an amendment would still be necessary because the seriousness of the issue would still exist.

This is definitely not a frivolous amendment, as the Bloc would construe it. It is obvious, merely by the inclusion of this amendment in the legislation of the Minister of Justice, Bill C-3, that there is widespread support for this initiative.

It is important to note what this legislation is not. It is not the sins of the sons or daughters being visited upon the parents. This is a common misconception of the bill. No adult will vicariously suffer any penalty for the misdeeds of a youth. The circle of accountability has been broadened with this amendment, as has the circle of responsibility.

Both the adults and the courts will have agreed to take on this responsibility. With the passage of this bill the courts would have a choice of summary conviction or to proceed by way of indictment. That is a choice for the courts to make.

If those responsible for the accused decide that the responsibility would be too much for them to handle, if circumstances change during that time, or even if the young person violates the agreement, the adult has the means to change the contract or has the option to inform the authorities. In fact, I would say that the adult has the responsibility to inform the authorities.

Taking on such a responsibility as that of parents and guardians for youth charged with crimes would be a tall order, requiring a serious commitment to the task. For instance, if a youth had ADD or ADHD the parents would have to consider carefully their capacity to supervise and to comply with the agreement. Such a disorder has a huge effect on behaviour. Parents of youth with ADD or ADHD would say that it is difficult to manage at the best of times. It would be almost impossible to ask parents or guardians to be responsible for such an unpredictable situation and person.

The amendment would also bring to bear the gravity of the agreement that would well address the relationship of the youth to the parents or guardians. Rather than exacerbate the situation between the parents and the youth, this amendment would call upon the parents to acknowledge responsibility where perhaps none existed before. Rather than avoiding the situation of lack of parental supervision, which may have contributed to the charges in the first place, a positive reaction would be the clarity in the issue of responsibility brought to the attention of the parents or guardians. A clear choice would be made by the parents and a serious consequence would be the result of failure to comply with an agreement. Again, I must reinforce that this is not a forced choice, but a serious one nonetheless.

I was glad to read of the support from members of both the government and the opposition for this bill. We know that we are on the right track and that my hon. colleague is right to have this amendment in a private member's bill, given the state of Bill C-3 being bogged down in a Bloc engineered filibuster in the standing committee.

In this amendment we do not see a “throw the book at them” approach, of which we on this side are sometimes accused. We do see the bar of accountability and responsibility raised for both the courts and those who seek to enter such an agreement. The punishment for failure is greater because the stakes are higher and the cost of failure of compliance can be great. People experience and in fact my hon. colleague from Surrey North experienced the cost of failure to comply. No one knows the price of the failure of the current system better than he does.

Reading the speeches of the various members of the parties in the House I see a common refrain: Canadians want more accountability on the part of parents for the criminal actions of their children. We also hear from some quarters that society is to blame and that accountability is somehow everyone's responsible. We know that when we say everyone is responsible, that usually means no one is responsible.

We must get to the root of crime. Peer pressure, poverty and a myriad of other conditions contribute to the decision to break the law, but we also know that there are many young offenders for whom social conditions were not a factor. It is a complex issue, but let me say that it is also a decidedly simple one. Our personal actions are ours alone. We take on responsibility individually and our accountability is personal.

The bill strikes a chord at all levels: the courts, the adult population and youth. The act, by enlisting the co-operation of parents or guardians in the courts, illustrates to the young offender that even adults must act with some sense of responsibility.

This seemingly tiny bill, the purpose of which is to make a common sense amendment to the Young Offenders Act, illustrates clearly that while people may forgive, circumstances can be very unforgiving. The circumstances which resulted in the death of the son of the hon. member for Surrey North were the result of a series of wrong decisions made by individuals. He and his wife and daughter will never recover from the loss. He and his family have turned their tragedy into a positive crusade to save others from similar pain. He is to be commended for his courage in acting upon his convictions.

I call upon all hon. members of the House to put aside partisan concerns, consider not only where the bill came from, but the possible consequences to people and their families if we fail to enact the bill. I call upon all members of the House to please support this legislation.

Canada National Parks Act June 13th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I agree to some extent with my hon. colleague. I do not have a park in my riding, but Prince Albert National Park, the home of Grey Owl, is located north of my riding. I think it is subject to creeping bureaucratization. It needs to be cut back and spending priorities need to be looked at again.

Last summer I probably had more phone calls, more petitions, more letters and more newspaper articles written on the lake that Grey Owl's cabin is on than on any other issue in my riding. Groups of people came to see me. I had to tour the park. They have finally managed to wrestle it to the ground, but it has been quite a task. The local people have to have their eyes open all the time. They have to be aware of what is going on.

Vigilance is always very important when dealing with bureaucracies. Legislation is important, but it is how people use legislation to accomplish their ends. Parks are not an end in themselves and people are not an unnecessary and unwelcome intrusion on the national parks, and I think that is important to say.

Supply June 6th, 2000

Madam Speaker, I get really offended when people such as the hon. member who just spoke talk about people who are handicapped being the beneficiaries of this program or other things. They use it like people in wars who use women and children as human shields.

That program that is run by HRDC is rightly being criticized. It is right that we call for an independent investigation. For members opposite to say it benefits women, it benefits children, it benefits the poor, it benefits the handicapped, so we cannot possibly ask the government even a question about it is completely offensive. I would like the hon. member, the minister, the parliamentary secretary, the chair of the committee and all Liberals to understand that when they run a program that spends billions of Canadian taxpayers' dollars it is subject to scrutiny. If they deny it, the Canadian public will have the last word on it.

Supply June 6th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, we understand that the hon. member who just spoke got quite likely up to 10% of her war chest from a company centred in her riding. What we are wondering is how that helps the hon. member's riding.

Is she so terribly necessary to the solution of problems in her riding that it is better to take money from the poor and give it to the wealthy to ensure that the wealthy have jobs in this country? Or, is there some other motive that she can ascribe to it?

Surely one would not believe that her motives were so pure that accepting money from a company that had received a big donation from the federal government by way of the fund, meant to shovel money into ridings for the purpose of buying votes, would benefit her riding.

Supply June 6th, 2000

Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague said that every member must vote for this motion. I note that the Liberal member for Broadview—Greenwood is concerned that the power of the Prime Minister's office has turned members into voting machines. In the ridings they are nothing but patronage machines. The member for Waterloo—Wellington said that MPs should roll up their sleeves and go to work and do whatever they can to effect change.

I would like my colleague to comment on what he thinks the chances are of those people living up to those kinds of commitments. Is it just all talk, talk, talk?

Yukon June 6th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, at the end of the 19th century the '99ers created an economic boom in Yukon when they took part in the Klondike gold rush.

Now the economy of Yukon is in ruins, a victim of total mismanagement by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

Consider these facts. Since 1996 the mining industry has declined by an incredible 87%. It is currently sitting at a 30 year low and is expected to drop even further this year. The population has dropped 10% and the stagnant economy is imploding.

Yukon is rapidly becoming almost entirely dependent on government transfer payments and a 90 day tourism season that contributes little to a sustainable economy.

Yukon needs mineral development and the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development's policy of suffocating developers in red tape is turning them away.

The evidence is clear: The minister and his bureaucracy have failed Yukoners. It is time for a change.