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

Pest Management Regulatory Agency November 7th, 1996

Will the minister please come down to earth and realize that his disregard for the bloated Pest Management Regulatory Agency, one that pushes cost recovery rather than reducing farmers' input costs, has ended up costing farmers a lot of money and that his bureaucratic mess is making Canadian agriculture less competitive? Will the minister admit that?

Pest Management Regulatory Agency November 7th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the agriculture community is finding that the Minister of Health is not listening.

I have to commend the hon. minister for living up to his reputation recently described as having the conversational knack to circle the earth without ever landing.

Pest Management Regulatory Agency November 7th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister of agriculture on an issue impacting agriculture.

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency is a prime example of the Liberals' infatuation with big government. The number of bureaucrats in this empire in comparison to the number of pesticides registered is astronomical. Apparently it takes 213 bureaucrats to register 19 new products. That 11:1 ratio beats the proverbial light bulb jokes.

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency is inefficient, bureaucratic and costly. The minister is receiving calls and letters from all across the country complaining about it. Will the minister take

responsibility and act to correct the nightmare his government has created?

Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act November 5th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, there is someone intending to speak. He is not here yet. I understand the Bloc has another speaker who is prepared to speak to the bill.

Agricultural Marketing Programs Act October 30th, 1996


Motion No. 2

That Bill C-34 be amended by deleting Clause 31.

Motion No. 3

That Bill C-34 be amended by deleting Clause 36.

Mr. Speaker, perhaps you will be lenient and give me 11 minutes because I would like to take a minute to congratulate you on your appointment to the chair. I am sure, Mr. Speaker, you were listening to my speech last night and while I had some concerns about the way that you were appointed to the chair and the fact that it broke some Liberal promises, we certainly do respect your ability and we wish you well in that position. I hope you get your outfit in time for Hallowe'en. I am sure you will look very officious in the chair in your outfit.

I do have to admit that you were one of the best hecklers, one of the most aggressive hecklers on the other side and it will certainly be a change for you to be sitting in the chair. We know that you will restrain yourself and we will miss that boisterous echo we used to hear from the other side. Sincerely, congratulations and we wish you well.

I rise today to discuss Bill C-34, important agricultural legislation that proposes the amalgamation within the various sectors of agriculture marketing. As my colleagues are aware, this bill will combine four separate agricultural acts and one program into a single act.

Reform generally supports this motion in principle. However there needs to be some amendments in order for the act to best assist farmers, financial institutions and other organizations that are affected by the act.

We brought some amendments to the committee. By the way, the bill followed the new route that you, Mr. Speaker, so heartily endorsed. The bill went to committee prior to second reading in the hope that there would be more opportunity for amendments in committee.

Unfortunately, the amendments were not accepted by the government side. We were a bit surprised. We thought perhaps under the new formula at least some amendments would be accepted but they were discarded without any due consideration. We really do feel badly about that because some of them were excellent amendments. I believe they all were, but certainly some of them were.

We have put three amendments forward today. Mr. Speaker, you correctly ruled that the first amendment cannot be considered because it did not receive a royal recommendation. That is unfortunate because the minister and government had the opportunity to grant it a royal recommendation and we could have at least debated this amendment in the House. I do not know why the Liberal government is afraid to debate new ideas in this House, why it would use the technicality of rejecting a royal recommendation to get itself off the hook.

Our first amendment would have permitted in cases of emergency where an emergency advance was issued on an agricultural commodity, that $25,000 would be included in part of the $50,000 interest free portion of the cash advance. The rationale and the thinking of the Liberals on this issue is beyond logic. Here we have a bill which suggests that a $50,000 interest free cash advance be provided to producers on the first $50,000 that they accept in advance and that interest be paid on subsequent amounts advanced, up to a maximum of $250,000.

If there is an emergency, if there is trouble in the industry, if there are dire situations, when the farmer is down and out, does the Liberal government extend any consideration? No, it gives them a knock out punch. The government says if there is an emergency situation, $25,000 will be advanced but it will not be interest free.

If the government allowed the $25,000 to be advanced and said: "You pay interest but the next $50,000 will put you on par with other producers who qualify for $50,000 interest free", that would be fine, but the Liberals did not see it that way. They said: "If there is an emergency, we will just knock the farmers a little harder. We will try to keep them down and we will charge them more interest than we will charge farmers who are not facing an emergency". This is blatantly unfair.

I do not understand why the Liberals were afraid to debate this issue in the House, why the minister would not permit a royal recommendation to my first amendment that was tabled in the Notice Paper. He chose not to and he will have to answer and be accountable to producers for his actions.

I want to get to the second and third amendments which were grouped together. In a nutshell, these two amendments eliminate the government purchases program. This program has not been used for years. The last time it was used was in 1985. It has only been used once or twice in the last 20 or 30 years. It is a relic. It is a bit like the Conservative Party; it had its day, but it is gone.

We asked the officials why the government purchases program is in the new legislation, the new reorganization of cash advances. They said they did not know why it was there but that maybe sometime they would have to use it. It is the same as saying that maybe sometime we will have to impose the speed limits on horses and buggies that are in the bylaws. We may just have to use that sometime.

Knowing the way government works, I am sure they need a few bureaucrats in charge of the government purchases program even if it is not being used. Therefore they will expend some money just to monitor the situation. Of course that will be money that cannot be spent in more useful areas.

The government purchases program provides the minister with wide ranging authority to buy, sell or import agricultural products, to stabilize domestic market conditions and to conclude sales to other governments or government agencies.

I have heard members from the other side worry about vertical integration in the agriculture sector. If members want to talk about vertical integration, this is it. The government can be in total control: buy, sell, import products. This is not a good situation. The federal government has no business being in a government purchases program for agricultural products. It is not using the program. It is history. It is ancient. It should not have been included in the bill. All it will do is provide work for a few people in the department when they could be better expending their energies in another area.

Therefore we brought forward very reasonable amendments which would delete this part of the bill. Those two clauses are the only clauses which deal with the government purchases program and we believe they should be deleted.

We talked about the wide ranging power that it gives to the minister. It also affords zero accountability. Although there are no resources budgeted to this program, the government has been unable to adequately justify continuing it by entrenching it in the new legislation.

There is some unusual terminology in it which quite frankly could not be defined. They could not say what unusual market conditions were.

Given the technology at the end of the 20th century as we approach the 21st century, any attempt to justify the continuation of this program is shallow to say the least.

Ten minutes is not a lot of time in which to discuss the bill. However, we did talk about other areas of the bill as well as the government purchases program and the fact that the emergency

advance should be interest free. We will have an opportunity to debate those issues further at third reading.

We were concerned about the fact that the minister has the power to increase the contingent liability. We made the argument in committee that if the contingent liability needs to be increased, that means the industry is doing well. It does not mean there is a crisis or an emergency; it means that producers' income is increasing. We felt that there should be provisions in the bill which would make the minister more accountable to the industry and to the House with respect to the contingent liability.

We were concerned about the fact that there was some inequity in the bill. Not all producers and organizations were treated equally. It seemed the problem was the Canadian Wheat Board. It has a higher default level than other producer organizations and administrators who administer the cash advances. Because it could not get its act together quickly enough, it was provided with special provisions to account for its difficulties. That of course is to the detriment of other sectors within the industry. When we favour one group we always hurt someone else.

The penalty for default on Canadian Wheat Board advances was, I believe, based at zero per cent while others were higher. The Canadian Wheat Board was given a two-year period to get its act together. I would have thought that the Canadian Wheat Board, being the wonderful institution that it is, would have had its act together more quickly and would have been administering the cash advances on a more prudent basis.

I would ask the House to consider the two amendments to eliminate the government purchases program. We believe it is the prudent thing to do. This is 1996. Why are we implementing something that should not be used and probably will not be used? However, it is in this piece of legislation and it requires the attention of the department. It requires consideration from time to time simply because it is in the legislation.

I ask the House to consider supporting the two amendments under consideration at the present time.

Point Of Order October 30th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order with regard to two questions on the Order Paper.

The first is Question No. 9 of which notice was given on February 28, 1996 with a request that a response be made within 45 days. This same question was initially tabled in the House in September 1995. The previous parliamentary secretary to the government House leader assured me and the House that an answer was forthcoming. Apparently a couple of departments were not able to supply all of the information quickly. Following prorogation of the House, the successive parliamentary secretary assured me that an answer was forthcoming very soon.

We are now in October and a considerable time has elapsed since February, over half a year. I still do not have an answer to Question No. 9.

As well there is Question No. 60, for which notice was given on June 13. Again, much more than 45 days has elapsed and the question has not been answered. I would like to know why.

Committee Of The Whole October 29th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, you should come and join the opposition benches. Maybe you could get appointed to the Chair.

I was at promise No. 12 where there was a billion dollar pay-off to get three provinces to co-operate on a co-ordination of tax policies between the federal and provincial governments.

I could go on, there are a lot of promises here. There is promise No. 19 which deals with NAFTA. We do not need to talk about it because that has already happened.

I want to talk about promise No. 26 which states: "We will better prepare for the transition from school to the workplace, provide a constructive outlet for the skills and talents of younger Canadians, the innocent victims of Canada's prolonged recession, enhance the opportunity for job training and improve literacy and numeracy skills of Canadian workers and improve access to employment for women and single parents by making quality child care more available". There are so many broken promises in that one promise alone that I do not know where to start.

Let us talk about youth unemployment. Conservative estimates have the unemployment rate for young Canadians at 18 per cent. One of my colleagues mentioned that there are 1.4 million Canadians unemployed at the current time. The member for Broadview-Greenwood indicated that two million Canadians are currently unemployed.

Then we could talk about all the day care spaces that were promised by the Liberal government. The Liberals had no hope of ever fulfilling that promise yet they made it to young single mothers and others who needed help with child care. What an irresponsible thing to do. How can Liberal MPs look their constituents in the face when they make promises they do not have a hope of keeping?

That is in contrast to our fresh start proposal which recognizes child care whether it is in the form of day care or care in the home or care by other trusted caregivers. There is no discrimination based on the type of child care. That would create far more child care than the broken Liberal promises could ever have hoped to accomplish even if they had been able to keep their promises.

There are pages of broken promises here. There is No. 41: "A Liberal government, if it can obtain the agreement of the provinces, will be committed to expanding existing child care in Canada by 50,000 new quality child care spaces each year that follows a year

of 3 per cent economic growth up to a total of 150,000 new spaces". A broken promise again.

Here is a kept promise, No. 56. Every once in a while we come across a promise that the Liberals kept and it is quite notable when we do hit one: "The Liberal government will enhance the role of the trade commissioner service by adding to its staff qualified technology and science attachés who can gather information for diffusion back in Canada and identify opportunities for Canadian exports abroad". Here again the Liberals were able to add some positions and increase the spending of government. We are not sure how effective it has been but they were able to keep that promise.

I must mention promise No. 71: "A Liberal government will work with the provinces and the territories to provide Canada's natural resource industries with greater certainty by co-ordinating a specific system of land access, settling aboriginal land claims and resolving delays and uncertainties in current regulatory processes".

At the Liberal convention last weekend, aboriginal people were outside burning the red book because the Liberal government failed to keep its promises to aboriginal people. The aboriginals were pulling the red book apart page by page, using it to light a bonfire. That again is in stark contrast to Reform's fresh start proposals based on our aboriginal policy task force, which consulted with aboriginal and non-aboriginal people alike to put forward some very solid proposals.

There are a hundred and some promises here. I am trying to get to the last one. "A Liberal government will also expand the rights of Parliament to debate major Canadian foreign policy initiatives such as the deployment of peacekeeping forces, the rights of Canadians to regular and serious consultation on foreign policy issues".

We all know that the take note debates happened after the decision was made. It was another slap in the face of Parliament just like we have been slapped around by not having the Liberals fulfil their promise of appointing two deputy speakers from the opposition benches. This has to change. The Liberals are not going to change it. The alternative is to start with a fresh start, a new opportunity for Canadians, one that is offered by Reform.

Committee Of The Whole October 29th, 1996

The hon. member opposite is saying hear, hear. He thinks article XI is still there. He thinks a different government signed it away. It was his own government that signed article XI of GATT away after it promised Canadian farmers it would defend that article to the death. Not one of them died or even lost a night's sleep over the loss of article XI.

The Liberals broke their promise when it came to standing up for Canadians in their trade relations with the United States. I happen to be a durum grower and I know they put a cap on durum exports to the United States. They did not have to. We have a trade agreement that says that we do not have to put a quota or a cap on our exports of durum into the United States. It does not matter.

The Americans put a little pressure on and said: "You be good boys up there in Canada, you Liberals, you co-operate with us. We do not want any more of your durum for a while". The agriculture minister said: "Okay. We'll just close off the flow of our high quality durum that is bringing a good return to Canadian farmers. We'll oblige you. To heck with these trading arrangements we made. We'll punish our own farmers just to help you poor Americans out". That was the response of the Liberal government.

The Liberals made promises about agriculture stabilization that they did not keep. They promised a whole farm NISA for all of Canada. They failed to deliver. There were two provinces that were not interested and they forgot to ask the provinces whether they would go along with their proposals for agriculture stabilization.

They promised a spring cash advance. They just reneged on that one the other day.

They did keep seven promises. One of them was to establish an Agri-Food Development Council to improve Canada's competitive position in the agri-food industry. I expect they kept it because it is a council. They had some Liberals who needed a job and they want to create jobs. So they said: "We'll create a council and we'll put some Liberals on this council. In that way we have kept our

promise and have also dished out some patronage at the same time". That is agriculture.

The Liberal government made a whole lot of other promises. That is what this debate is about, keeping your word, keeping your promise. If you say you are going to appoint deputy speakers from both sides of the House, you had better do it, Mr. Speaker. Canadians are not going to take being lied to any longer.

The red book is full of promises that have not been kept. The success rate is just about as dismal as it was with their agriculture promises. Let us go to promise number one: "We will restore Canadians' faith in themselves and their government". They failed dismally. In stark contrast Reform has offered in its fresh start proposals a guarantee that we will listen or we can be recalled.

Promise No. 2: "We will work with the provinces to redesign the current social assistance programs so sorely tested in recent years to help people on social assistance who are able to work to move from dependence to full participation in the economic and social life of this country". Nothing has been a more dismal failure than this promise.

They go on to say in promise No. 4: "We will exercise unwavering discipline in controlling federal spending". What a laugh. The recent contracts offered by the former and disgraced minister of defence are a testimony to the failure of promise number four. That is in stark contrast to the fresh start promise of things like balanced budget legislation that would prevent the foolish spending that we have seen from the Liberals.

Promise No. 10: "A Liberal government will replace the GST". My colleagues have talked about that, so enough has been said.

Promise No. 12: "A Liberal government will work closely with provincial governments to achieve the maximum possible co-ordination of tax policies". That one was a blow-out too. Only three provinces agreed to any kind of co-ordination of tax policies. For those three provinces to agree they took a $1 billion pay-off. That is a broken promise and again is in stark contrast to Reform's fresh start proposals that take seriously-

Committee Of The Whole October 29th, 1996

The hon. member says they have kept them all. I will bet that the hon. member does not even know what one of those promises are.

The Liberals made 28 promises with regard to agriculture but have kept only 7. That means they have failed with only a 25 per cent mark. No matter how you look at it, that is pretty dismal.

I will mention a couple to put them on the record. Liberals promised that they would provide a greater commitment to research and development, both applied and basic. The opposite is true. They cut funding for research in agriculture by 16 per cent.

The fresh start proposal that the Reform is taking to Canadians in the next election calls for an increase in spending for agriculture research. We would find the savings by streamlining the department in other areas.

A Liberal red book promise says that they would use GATT negotiations to aggressively defend and clarify article XI to maintain supply management. The Liberals were barely in office when they scrapped article XI. Everybody knew that was a promise they could not keep but they made it anyway. That is disgraceful. They should not be allowed to get away with that.

Committee Of The Whole October 29th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the word is hypocrite.

This demonstrates to Canadians that the Liberals say one thing during election campaigns in opposition and then they slap us in the face and do exactly the opposite. This is not only apparent with protocol and House affairs but in all sectors.

I must speak about agriculture because I am the agriculture critic for the Reform caucus. I love agriculture and I am dismayed with the broken promises of this Liberal government with regard to agriculture.

The Liberals have been patting themselves on the back over this past weekend saying they have been keeping promises. Reform looked at their promises with regard to their agriculture platform document prior to the last election and they made 28 promises.