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

Canada Transportation Act May 15th, 2000

Madam Speaker, the member and members of the committee seemed to put a lot of confidence in the airline ombudsman who will deal with the difficulties and questions that arise as a result of the consolidation that has taken place in the airline industry in Canada.

A while back the official opposition tried to institute another ombudsman, the first nations ombudsman, to try to bring some accountability to first nations undertakings. The House deemed that such an officer would not really be effective or necessary in relation to aboriginal affairs.

I note that the office of ombudsman for the airlines was not a creation of the airline executives or I am sure we never would have had it. Yet the minister of Indian affairs seems to think it has to be the chiefs who create an office of ombudsman if ever there were to be such a thing with Indian affairs. It occurred to me that there was quite a bit of hypocrisy evident in such a position.

Moving on, I would like my hon. colleague's comments on another aspect of competition. It concerns not prices, not frequency or anything like that but that little word innovation which often comes to light when people are in competition with one another. In other words, how can we attract customers? How can we best serve customers? How can we make things happen?

One of the things I was interested in as a business traveller was that Canadian Airlines made provision for computer plug-ins. It seems a small thing but when we are on a long flight and we want to do some work we end up doing work somewhere between Toronto and Winnipeg. That is not necessarily the full extent of a lot of our trips. That is just one small example of innovation.

Despite the Competition Act, I wonder what my hon. colleague thinks is now going to drive innovation. We know that business class subsidizes seat sales and will continue to do so, but how is that going to work with respect to innovation in airline travel? Will we see many changes in the future or are we going to be stuck with what we have?

Aboriginal Affairs May 15th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, it is time for the minister to wake up and smell the tulips.

The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has failed to meet even the most basic needs of the people for whom it has primary responsibility. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reports that 65% of on reserve housing fall below standard codes and 23% lack water. Yet the department can find $10,000 for the national tulip festival.

Does the minister think that those people who have to carry water to their rundown houses would approve of this grant?

Aboriginal Affairs May 15th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, we know that 84% of aboriginal households live below the poverty line and that the unemployment rate on Indian reserves is in the range of 80% to 90%. We also know that in the 1998-99 fiscal year the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development made a $10,000 grant to the national tulip festival.

What we want to know from the minister is how was section 66 of the Indian Act fulfilled? How was the general progress and welfare of those poverty stricken people promoted by this grant?

Indian Affairs And Northern Development May 12th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, during the 1998-99 fiscal year, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development made a $10,000 grant to the National Tulip Festival. I realize that just everyone loves tulips, but according to the Indian Act, expenditures must promote the general progress and welfare of the bands.

Given the deplorable conditions on Canada's reserves, can the minister explain how the progress and welfare of Indian bands was promoted by giving a $10,000 grant to the National Tulip Festival?

Correctional Service Canada May 5th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, last month residents of Prince Albert had the shock of a lifetime when a boarder showed up at their door in handcuffs and shackles, accompanied by a Correctional Service Canada guard.

It turns out that he had been delivered to the wrong house and that, unknown to them, their neighbours or even the city, the house next door was a halfway house for offenders on supervised release.

A bylaw in the city of Prince Albert does not require notification where homeowners intend to open their home to room and board as long as they do not have more than three people at one time.

Correctional Service Canada has used the bylaw to avoid disclosing its plans to house offenders on staged released programs in the city. Stating that they were only obeying the law, officials protested wide-eyed innocence when the issue became public, and the solicitor general has not responded to my letter on the matter.

As Canada's top lawman, the solicitor general must instruct his own officials to do more than obey the letter of the law. They must also obey its spirit and intent.

Budget Implementation Act, 2000 May 4th, 2000

Madam Speaker, I am glad to be here to speak on Bill C-32 today. Although we are close to the end of the debate, it is good to get one's two cents worth in, particularly right after tax season when it is all that many Canadians will have left as a result of the tax and spend policies of the Liberal government.

We just had a budget introduced in Ontario that gives significant tax relief. On the heels of that budget, there was a dinner in Toronto last night at which every leader of a major Conservative-minded, Conservative policy political party, were in attendance. We note that the leader of the Tories at the far end of the building was not there. We thought maybe Joe Clark did not consider himself to be a Conservative. We have been saying that for quite some time.

The reason our taxes are so high is that the Liberal government is not really in control of spending. Since I am deputy critic of Indian affairs I thought I would talk about some of the uncontrolled and misdirected spending occurring in that area with which I am most familiar.

In committee recently it is interesting to note that members of all parties have begun to speak out on the mismanagement of resources and the wasted lives of Canada's aboriginal people despite massive government spending that is equal to or exceeds the amount spent on other Canadians. Spending on elementary and secondary education of Indian children is in the region of $976 million annually. This is second only to social assistance in the amount of $1.097 million. That is a lot of money. The money spent on education amounts to 21% of all spending by Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

In chapter 4 of the latest report of the auditor general he pointed out that money spent on aboriginal education was not being properly accounted for. The report makes statements like:

Actual education costs are not known to the Department.

The report goes on to say:

It is noteworthy that education funding and costs may be different from each other. For example a March 1999 study concluded that it is not possible to determine how education funds provided by the Department for First Nations schools are actually spent...We reported similar concerns in our previous audits of funding arrangements between the Department and first Nations.

I note the use of the plural of audit. In section 4.65 he says:

We could not find any separate cost per student analysis for First Nations elementary and secondary schools; nor could we find information that identified per student costs paid directly to provincial authorities.

I have spoken to a couple of school boards in my riding about that same issue, where funds have not found their way to the school board responsible for educating the children who have moved in off the reserve. It is getting to be a major issue. Moving on to section 4.66, the auditor general again raised the issue of funding by saying:

—methods used to allocate funds from the Department's headquarters to its regions are based largely on information that was developed at least 15 years ago. The Department has no updated analyses.

What can I say? That 15 year old information is still being used to base spending. The Minister of Finance is raising funds to transfer for Indian education based on 15 year old information, which is a complete waste of taxpayer money.

Special needs students are a special responsibility of society, and here is what the auditor general reported on this area:

In one region of Canada the amount spent on special needs children was $581 per year for all students. In another costs range from $2,047 per special needs student to $65,650 although there was no mechanism in place to ensure that the needs of those students were being met.

What can we say about that? Why should Canadian taxpayers be happy about statistics like those? These figures are not out of the air. They are actual statistics used by the auditor general in making his report.

The finance department collects taxes from all Canadians to fund education for Indians. It is necessary to ensure that the taxes and other funds collected are well spent. Mismanagement of public funds is one of the main reasons taxes are so high. Repayment of Canada's national debt which stands at almost $580 billion is negligible.

We have been speaking about the money side of it, but the numbers only tell half the story about Indian education. The latest auditor general's report uncovers a human tragedy. Students are just not getting the education they need to succeed in society. Their dropout rates are far higher than normal. They are not moving from high school into jobs.

The dropout rate before completion of grade 9 is 18%, whereas the rate for all Canadians is 3%. For Indian youth between the ages of 18 and 20 who left school the rate is 40% and 16% for the Canadian population. For Indian youth between the ages of 18 and 20 who graduated the rate is 30% whereas for all Canadians it is 63%. The population with at least a high school education is 37% for Indians and 65% for all Canadians.

Canadians are paying a lot of money in the form of the millions of dollars the finance minister's bracket creep has brought into the taxation system. This includes people from the first nations and immigrants. It includes all taxpayers from teenagers with after school and evening jobs to people past retirement age who are still working and everyone in between, the rich and the poor. People have been pushed into higher tax brackets and are paying more and more money for results that just do not amount to anything. It is a disaster for the human beings involved in this kind of program. We should all be ashamed of it. I certainly am.

What can we say about the government when it comes to other things like debt repayment? Does debt repayment amount to anything? Not at a bit. No homeowner or businessman would be permitted to take such a cavalier attitude toward debt reduction.

Let us imagine what would happen if people with mortgages on their houses were permitted to tell the bank how much they were going to pay. What would happen if they could walk into a bank, reach into their pockets or wallets and pull out some change? What would happen if they counted out a few bills, tossed them down and said that is what they were paying on their home mortgages? They would not even get out of the bank without the manager grabbing on to them and saying that they need to sit down, sign something and make a plan to get out of debt.

When people get too far in debt I am told counselling is available. Maybe we should send the finance minister for counselling to figure out how to handle Canada's debt. The government is putting a mortgage on the future of our young people. Anybody who deals in mortgages knows that is a dead hand, that we cannot move. That is the way of the future.

Unless the Minister of Finance gets a grip on Canadian taxation and allows the economy to get moving, we will pass on to our children a non-performing economy and a country that will be better to leave if future economic prospects mean anything. The best alternative is a Canadian Alliance government, and that is what will happen after the next election.

Auditor General's Report April 12th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general speaks of sloppy administration, inadequate monitoring and lack of accountability in the minister's own department.

The minister says he has a plan to fix it, but here is the issue. The lives of aboriginal children and $1 billion worth of taxpayer dollars are at stake. That minister is responsible. Who will the minister blame for the shambles in aboriginal education? Will it be the provinces and the bands?

Auditor General's Report April 12th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general's report states that many of the required assessments are missing and that there is inadequate monitoring of aboriginal education programs by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

The auditor general could not figure out where the money went. Maybe the minister would like to tell us, if he can and if he will.

Petitions April 6th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I have presented petitions on Bill C-23 before and I have another roughly 350 here, bringing the total to 1,400 people who are calling on the Government of Canada to take all necessary steps within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada to preserve the definition of marriage in Canada. I am pleased to present these petitions on their behalf.

Aboriginal Affairs April 5th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, yesterday members of the House had the opportunity to give rank and file Indians an effective tool that would enable them to hold their band leaders accountable for their actions.

My colleague, the hon. member for Wild Rose, had created a bill called the first nations ombudsman act that had the potential to empower Canada's most powerless people, those who live on reserves. The legislation was launched after extensive coast to coast consultations with grassroots aboriginals and was supported by them.

Last night the aspirations of those people were crushed when the Liberal, Bloc and New Democratic parties ganged up to defeat the legislation. Members of those parties have forgotten that the primary goal of government is to protect and serve the people.

Grassroots aboriginals will not forget this setback. Their struggle for accountability will go on and members of the alliance will continue to support them.