Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was reform.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Reform MP for Kindersley—Lloydminster (Saskatchewan)

Lost his last election, in 1997, with 33% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act December 12th, 1996

The member says I should not be cynical at Christmas time. It just so happens that a lot of civil servants have not enjoyed a very good Christmas because for some political reason their head office was moved from one end of the country to the other and they had to tag along. Had they known it would save them some of their own tax dollars, they may have been prepared to move from Ottawa to Regina or from Vancouver to Halifax.

What really happened was that they knew some politicians were playing some games with the location of their national office and their lives were being wrecked as a result. It is time we stopped doing that and look at cost effectiveness.

If this motion had stated that the head office of the agency be located in the most cost effective location in Canada, I would have jumped for joy. That would be real progress. But that is not quite what the amendment says. The Liberals had not even thought about that as a criterion for the selection of a location for their national office.

I am sick and tired of playing these silly political games, playing with people's lives and spending taxpayer dollars needlessly.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act December 12th, 1996

Madam Speaker, I would just like to comment on this grouping. We are really only dealing with one amendment put forward by the Bloc regarding where the agency's national office will be located.

The parliamentary secretary for the minister of agriculture just spoke and talked about the accountability that is in the system, and that this type of amendment is not required. I agree with him only on one point. This type of amendment should not need to be required. If there were accountability it would not be required.

I want to review with the hon. member some facts that prove that his argument is a bunch of hogwash. He says that the minister and the agency will be accountable. Let us look at the record of the Liberal government. Location is very important.

We have seen governments from as far back as I can remember playing political games with locations of head offices. Even recently in this Parliament the Liberals brought forward a piece of legislation that privatized CN Rail, which means that basically it should be able to run its own affairs. In the legislation it stated that the national office of CN Rail had to be located in Montreal. Talk about politics. What a bunch of foolishness.

The previous Tory government decided that for political reasons the national office of the Farm Credit Corporation had to be in my province in the city of Regina. That was a political decision. Where was the accountability? Where is the accountability now, where was the accountability then?

It is not only with the locations of office locations, it is with the granting of contracts. All of western Canada was infuriated when the Conservative government offered the CF-18 maintenance contract to Canadair instead of Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg even though Bristol Aerospace had the best tender with better quality and a lower price to offer.

Because of political expediency there was no accountability. It was a joke. A few members ran into Prime Minister Mulroney's office and demanded that the contract with Canadair be accepted for political reasons, and the Prime Minister bowed to their wishes.

What should be the criteria for determining the location of the national office? Has it even dawned on anybody to debate the criteria? The criteria for the location of an agency's head office should be cost effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. The most effective and productive location for the head office of the Farm Credit Corporation may just be Regina, I do not know. I do not think a cost benefit study has ever been done to determine where that national office should be.

The most cost effective location for the single food inspection agency might be the national capital region, but we do not know. That was not even a consideration. The minister said because there are other departments involved, this may be the right place. But nobody looked into it. Nobody crunched the numbers. That was the last thing on the agenda.

The first priority has always been political expediency: "How are we going to maintain the most votes? If we are in trouble in Atlantic Canada, then we had better put some office in Atlantic Canada. If we are in trouble in Alberta, we had better put something in Edmonton or Calgary".

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act December 12th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, we are at the report stage of Bill C-60. My colleague from the Bloc Quebecois has proposed a large number of amendments.

This bill went to committee prior to second reading, and the purpose of a bill's going to a standing committee of the House of Commons before coming to this House for approval in principle is to allow the committee more opportunity to make amendments and reshape the bill in the most effective and useful manner after hearing witnesses and government officials give reason for the bill and what should be in it and what should be changed from the initial bill tabled.

Reform tried to use this opportunity to introduce several amendments at committee stage. In fact, 25 Reform amendments were proposed in committee during the clause by clause consideration of the bill after we had heard from a number of witnesses.

Because we have introduced our amendments at committee stage we of course are unable to reintroduce the same amendments at report stage. Therefore we have not introduced amendments at this point because we sensed a wall of resistance by the government to any proposals we would make.

The rationale behind the majority of our amendments to this bill was simply to make the new single food inspection agency more accountable to Parliament. I have noticed that some of the amendments proposed by my colleagues from the Bloc Quebecois move in that same direction, but often in a slightly different vein than those amendments we proposed. Even in committee my colleagues from the Bloc and Reformers often voted together on issues where we could make the food inspection agency more accountable to the Parliament of Canada and not just leave it as an option that the committee at the wishes of the government could look into the effectiveness of this new agency, but in fact that it must review the effectiveness of the agency and that the agency must be more accountable to this institution.

Over the years Parliament has less knowledge and less control over what is happening in the vast bureaucracy, the new agencies that have been constructed by governments. We feel that the trend needs to be reversed.

While the government members of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food could at any time review anything, we all know that because the committee has a majority of government members, the committee need not review anything if the government does not wish it to.

We are trying to reverse that trend so that government will be seen to be more accountable and will indeed be more accountable.

The new food inspection agency begins its operation under this legislation in 1997. It will become one of Ottawa's largest bureaucratic entities, with 4,500 employees and a budget of $300 million. We are not talking small potatoes here at all.

Federal officials contend that ending interdepartmental overlap and duplication in such areas as enforcement, risk management, laboratory services, informatic systems and communications will save taxpayers $44 million annually starting in 1998-99. But surprisingly, no detailed breakdown is available to back up this estimate.

When we ask questions about where exactly is the $44 million going to be saved, departmental officials did not know where that was. They really had not arrived at that stage yet. It was just a figure they seemed to have pulled out of the air and expected the savings to be realized.

We are very concerned about this new federal food inspection agency not because we think it is a bad idea but because we see examples of previous experiments along this line and what has happened. The most obvious one is the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, which was created to be accountable and responsible to the department of agriculture. However, it has run amok and has no confidence by and from the industry. This was revealed the other day in our committee when several people from the industry appeared on the issue of cost recovery. The prime example they put forward as an illustration of the failures of cost recovery was the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, which was designed very much along the same lines as this agency.

Therefore, members will understand why we are concerned that this agency be held more accountable to Parliament and to the committee that reviews the effectiveness and the work of the Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

As I said, 25 Reform amendments were put forward in committee and only two were accepted, one being a clarification of which minister was responsible for the federal good inspection agency. There was some concern because the minister of agriculture was not put in the original document and in fact the government may be intending to do away with the department of agriculture. Therefore we insisted that amendment be included.

The other amendment that was accepted was in the preface of the document. It merely indicated that part of the mission statement of this new agency was to be cost effective. I am very pleased that was put in the preface of the legislation. Unfortunately, when we tried to give it some teeth by putting forward amendments in the actual clauses of the bill that would ensure its cost effectiveness, the government put up a wall of resistance and refused to accept every and any amendment we put forward.

We think that actually more than $44 million could be saved if the government knew what it was doing and had a responsible plan in place and had actually thought this thing through more than picking a number of $44 million out of the air.

With regard to my amendments put forward by this grouping by the Bloc, Motion No. 1 is an amendment that would require the government to respect the legislative authority of the provinces but it does not deal with much else. This may be considered symbolic but we think it looks like a motion that could be supported because we certainly do recognize that in some areas the provinces do have authority.

With regard to Motions. Nos. 13, 22 and 23, we do have some concerns, particularly on Motion No. 13. While consultation with the provinces is to be applauded and we support it, the fact that each province's approval is required to establish standards does cause us concern that we may see some trade barriers developing between the provinces, above and beyond what we already have, using standards as a way to protect one's own provincial area of the industry at the expense of a neighbouring province. Of course that is not the way to unify the country. We really do have some concerns about Motions Nos. 13 and 22.

Motion No. 23 is another amendment with respect to the jurisdiction of the provinces. We support their jurisdiction but are not sure that this particular jurisdiction needs to be entrenched at this point in the act.

I think I will have more opportunities to speak to this bill as we progress through the various groupings.

Questions On The Order Paper December 12th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I would like it verified which Christmas we are talking about.

Questions On The Order Paper December 12th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I know you are aware that I have Question No. 9 on the Order Paper. It has been on the Order Paper since February 28 of this year. Prior to that the same question was on the Order Paper in the first session of this Parliament.

The question simply states: "What is the total dollar amount spent on advertising by the government and its crown agencies in fiscal years 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994 by province in each of the following mediums: television, radio, daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, monthly newspapers, billboards and direct mail?"

What I am trying to find out is if the federal departments can be accountable for how they spend their advertising dollars. Certainly they should be.

Mr. Speaker, you will probably recall this because at one time you were the parliamentary secretary to the House leader and I raised this issue with you many moons ago. You assured me that all but four departments had done their work, had presented the information and that the information would be forthcoming. I have since talked to your successor and he assured me that all the information had been gathered and it was just a matter of putting it in a report and that I should have it shortly.

I keep talking privately with the government House leader's office. I have not received an answer to my question. Lately I have had no assurance that it would be answered at all.

I am very confused by the mixed messages I am getting from the government House leader's office, and particularly his parliamentary secretary. Perhaps because his last name starts with Z he is the last one to know what is going on. However, I am getting tired of waiting.

Radioactive Waste Importation Act December 11th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to speak to Bill C-236 which was introduced to the House by my colleague from Fraser Valley East. Bill C-236 has a very simple bottom line. It would ban the importation of high level radioactive waste into Canada.

I will speak as a citizen of the province of Saskatchewan which has a nuclear industry. In fact one of Saskatchewan's major industries is the uranium mining industry. It has generated a lot of income. I am not an alarmist who gets fearful. My knees do not begin to shake when I hear about nuclear energy. When electricity was invented and was being developed, it had a dangerous component and a beneficial component. The automobile can be very useful; it can get us to Ottawa, it can get us around our ridings but it also has a potential for danger.

The problem with the nuclear industry is the waste material associated with it. Some may want to pretend it is not a serious

matter. Others may want to be alarmists and suggest that the whole industry should be immediately shut down. Both responses are very irresponsible.

It would be wrong to shut down electricity producing plants, whether for hydro or nuclear electricity, just because a person had been electrocuted. It would be wrong to ban automobiles because someone had been killed in a car accident. Those would be rather extreme reactions to very real problems.

In the agricultural sector which I am involved in, there is waste. The trick is learning how to deal with that waste. In Canada we have high level radioactive waste and we do not know how to deal with it. We are developing the technology but we are not there yet. My colleagues have outlined a number of these problems.

If we have problems here at home, why are we even considering the importation of high level radioactive waste into Canada? We should be developing the technology to handle and control radioactive waste. Once we have the technology down, once we know how to handle our own problems then perhaps rather than importing radioactive waste from outside Canada we should be selling that technology to other nations around the world so that they can effectively deal with their high level radioactive waste.

It is common sense. Reformers always talk common sense. I know, Mr. Speaker, you have been persuaded and I appreciate this very brief opportunity to make a very cogent point.

Excise Tax Act December 10th, 1996

Madam Speaker, it is good to hear that Saskatchewan is being heard from in the House of Commons this afternoon. I know Saskatchewan has some pretty strong views on taxation. We know a lot about paying taxes. Like many Canadians, we feel we pay more than our fair share of taxes. We are not very excited about Bill C-70, to harmonize or blend the sales taxes.

We have talked about the Liberals a lot in the House of Commons. It sounds like a broken record but it is not. It is broken promises which are serious business. It is important for Canadians to know that Reformers are holding the Liberals accountable for their broken promises here in the House of Commons. I think this

has been said a number of times but it needs to be repeated because these are important people who have made these statements.

The current finance minister on April 4, 1990 when he was sitting on this side in opposition said: "I would abolish the GST". That is pretty plain and simple. I can understand that. Canadians understood that and they elected a Liberal government because they had a pretty good hunch that the current finance minister would hold that position in a Liberal government.

The current Prime Minister on September 27, 1990, just a few days after his finance minister had made that statement, said: "I want the tax dead". I know when something is dead. Coming from the farm I have seen dead animals. We bury them and they are no more. They are gone. They are forgotten and we do not deal with them any longer.

The GST is not dead. It is alive and kicking. In fact, it is growing new hands. It is going to pick more pockets through a blended sales tax, a BST. That is a fitting name for the Liberals' approach to tax reform, call it BST. Again, coming from the farm I know what BS is and this is an accurate name for this sales tax.

I want to tell the House about what is happening in Saskatchewan. We already have a 9 per cent sales tax, one of the higher sales taxes in Canada. There is only a province or two with a higher sales tax. We take the GST of 7 per cent and add it to our provincial sales tax and we have got 16 per cent or actually a little over 16 per cent sales tax on most of the goods we purchase. If it is services, because it is not a blended sales tax, we pay only the GST. As as farmer, if I go to my accountant or if I take a piece of machinery to a mechanic for repair or, as we all do if we have to get a haircut, we pay the GST but we do not pay the PST. It is on goods only.

Liberals think that they are not getting enough revenue from taxes and they have to blend it so that the provinces and the federal government can extract more from us, particularly in the service industry which all of us rely on so much.

What did the Liberals do? They thought the provinces would just jump at this chance of having a blended sales tax. They forgot one thing. Provincial governments also have to get elected. They were concerned and said "how are we going to sell this BST, taxes going up on new items that currently are not being taxed or at least taxed at as high a level as it would be under a blended sales tax?" There is a little problem with the provinces. They did not jump on board.

The Deputy Prime Minister could not keep her promise and had to resign, albeit a rather odd resignation, having done a poll first to see whether she could get re-elected before she resigned. I guess that is the way the Liberals think. Put honour at the bottom of the list and check out expediency and pragmatic opportunity first.

In any event, so be it. The Liberals were in trouble over the reform of the sales tax. Killing the GST was out of the question. They were trying to cloak that in some new scheme called blending or harmonizing the sales tax. They finally were able to sell it by offering three Atlantic provinces $1 billion. Whose dollars? A billion of our dollars, taxpayer dollars, to blend this new sales tax.

The Liberal premiers of the Atlantic provinces went along with this buyout. Suddenly they found out that Atlantic Canadians were not so excited about it. They realized that the bottom line is they are going to pay higher taxes. One province did not go along with it because of course that province had to go to the electorate sooner than any other province, the province of Prince Edward Island. The Liberals found out that they were not very popular in Prince Edward Island as that government went down to defeat. I believe that the blended sales tax was a part of the reason the Liberals' ship sank in Prince Edward Island.

We have an NDP government in Saskatchewan. Believe me, NDP governments know how to tax. They like to tax about as much as Liberals do. We have a 9 per cent sales tax in Saskatchewan. We are killing jobs and sending business to Alberta where there is no provincial sales tax. We have high taxes on our phone bills; we have high taxes on our power bills and the rates are going up; we have increased our gasoline tax, meanwhile our roads are in shambles; we have a high provincial income tax; provincial crown leases have increased; municipal reassessment is being done in Saskatchewan, which is increasing the cost to the taxpayers. Of course the taxpayer, no matter what level of government it is, is the same person.

The NDP got a sudden shock in Saskatchewan the other day when it lost a byelection in North Battleford, a seat it had held for most of the last 40 years. People in Saskatchewan were telling the NDP that they do not like the high taxes. They do not like the NDP nickeling and diming them to death. They are not prepared to pay more and more for less and less. Surprise, surprise. In Saskatchewan the NDP lost a safe seat. A new Liberal MLA was elected in the riding of North Battleford.

The Liberals have also selected a new provincial leader. Of course they have had all kinds of problems. They have been shooting each other in the foot and stabbing one another in the back, as Liberals are prone to do once in a while. Out of the whole mess they had to choose a new leader. What did the new provincial Liberal leader in Saskatchewan pronounce almost at the beginning of his mandate? He said: "I think we should harmonize the federal and provincial sales taxes".

I was jumping for joy. That will ensure that Liberals will not be re-elected as members of Parliament for Saskatchewan. Saskatchewans simply do not want higher taxes on services. We are opposed to it. I believe the Liberal leader is already backtracking. In later press releases and interviews he has talked about reducing the provincial sales tax more than he has about blending or harmonizing the federal and provincial sales taxes. Politicians, when they make as big a blunder as the new Liberal leader made, are pretty quick to change their ways before they totally annihilate their political future.

Harmonizing, he thought, would save Saskatchewan taxpayers money. Obviously Saskatchewan people do not think so. That is why he is changing his tune and talking about tax relief rather than a new tax.

Where did he get the idea that tax relief might be sold to Canadians? He has probably looked at Reform's fresh start, for one thing. He has probably listened to the people, the common sense of the common people, who are saying "we do not want more taxes, we do not want to see how imaginative you can be by introducing some kind of harmonized sales tax".

What Reform has offered Saskatchewan is not some new program, not a new tax scheme. It has offered tax relief. In the case of the province of Saskatchewan it would mean that $440 million would be left in taxpayer pockets. That is money they would not have to send to Ottawa.

In Saskatchewan we send everything out of the province. We send our young people out of the province. We send our raw products out of the province. We send our opportunity and our future out of the province. We send our tax dollars out of the province. Only Reform has talked about leaving tax dollars in Saskatchewan, in the hands of the people of Saskatchewan, so that they can make the best decisions as to how that money will be spent. That idea is going over extremely well.

We are looking at how we can keep things in Saskatchewan and how we can make that province grow. Reform has put forward a fresh start proposal which would leave $440 million in taxpayer pockets, rather than losing it through the BST, which was so aptly named by the Liberal Party.

My time has just about expired, and so I will set the record straight. The NDP tax high, Liberals tax high, Reform spells tax relief. That is what Canadians want. That is what the people of Saskatchewan want. That is what the residents of Kindersley-Lloydminster want. That is why I am speaking on their behalf in the House of Commons.

Canadian Wheat Board December 4th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the minister has read his own bill.

The primary reason to reform the wheat board was to allow farmers to actually manage the board that they pay for. Instead, the minister wishes to retain his tight leash on the board by handing out the key management positions himself. He will appoint the chairman of the board. He will appoint the CEO of the Canadian Wheat Board. Can the minister not see that farmers want a board that is accountable to them and not to him?

Why does the minister feel that a farmer elected board of directors is incapable of choosing its own chairman and selecting and hiring its own CEO?

Canadian Wheat Board December 4th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, after three years of waiting farmers now see the agriculture minister's totally inadequate blueprint for changes to the Canadian Wheat Board.

Farmers wanted a more accountable, flexible and transparent wheat board, one they could govern and call their own. Instead, the minister is proposing a powerless, partially elected board where the minister calls the shots.

Ontario wheat boards have had their own farmers direct the boards for many years and, believe it or not, have been able to manage their own affairs.

Why does the minister show such blatant disregard and lack of respect for Canadian farmers by not proposing that they run their own wheat board?

Pest Management Regulatory Agency November 8th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency is a prime example of the Liberals' love affair with big government.

Canada's PMRA is inefficient, bureaucratic and costly. Currently the PMRA has registered 19 new pesticides which is good, but it took 242 bureaucrats to do it which is disastrous.

Canadian agriculture and agri-food industries are pleading for the agriculture minister and the health minister to get their act together and work diligently to fulfil their promise for a more streamlined and more efficient PMRA.

Most disappointing is that many letters, phone calls and personal appeals to these ministers are being virtually ignored, further demonstrating to Canadians just how arrogant this government is.

The Liberal's bloated PMRA is costing farmers a lot of money and is making the Canadian agricultural industry uncompetitive. On behalf of the farmers across Canada I invite farmers to get behind Reform's fresh start for Canada to bring about reforms to the PMRA, another example of Liberal-Tory bureaucratic empires.