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

Committee Of The Whole October 29th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this motion. It is interesting that it is the appointment of a replacement for one of your deputies that has sparked this very interesting debate in the House.

I am pleased to speak regarding the appointment of my hon. colleague from Kingston and the Islands to the position of Assistant Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole.

I have the honour of knowing the member. I worked with him on the procedure and House affairs committee when I was first elected and served as Reform's House leader. As a parliamentarian, of course, I have no objection whatsoever to the hon. member's holding the position of the Assistant Deputy Chairman of Committees of the Whole. I would hope that the hon. member is following the debate. I am sure he is watching this debate with great interest.

In a report released in January 1993 regarding the independence of the Chair, the authors firmly stated that the assistant deputy speaker should be alternated between government and opposition parties, citing the Westminster model as an example. By using this model, they said that their authority would be greatly enhanced and the non-partisan nature of the Chair would be greatly augmented.

Most ironically but not surprisingly, the report is titled: "The Liberal Plan for the House of Commons". The authors are the current Minister of Health, the labour minister, formerly the government whip and the opposition whip before the last election, the Minister of International Co-operation, the former government whip who was recently appointed to cabinet, and even the hon. member who is being considered for the appointment, the member for Kingston and the Islands.

The member for Broadview-Greenwood paid quite a tribute to the hon. member and suggested that somehow Reform was going beneath the dignity of the House to even have a debate on his appointment to the Chair.

He talked about the wonderful qualities of the MP for Kingston and the Islands and what a great parliamentarian he is. I do not quibble with those observations.

Then he went on to somehow suggest that we should not review the hon. member's statement here, his paper, about opposition members being appointed as deputy chair.

He got into the whole issue of question period and my leader's statement that we wanted to make this House work better, that we want to be a constructive opposition. We are still a very constructive opposition.

I want to talk about the early days, because I remember them very well. I remember coming into the House and at times even giving the minister opposite previous notice of what the question would be, in good faith, in an honourable way. We would ask a minister of the crown a question and the minister would get up in shock and dismay and ridicule the questioner. He would be very undignified about it.

I suddenly realized it takes two to be honourable and to function in a very dignified manner in the House. We found it did not matter how we asked the questions, what our decorum was. The Liberal respondents, ministers of the crown, were lacking in respect and dignity when they answered our questions; very seldom did they answer our questions.

Then he talked about the tacticians. He said question period is run by a bunch of tacticians. Opposition people sit in their little rooms planning their questions and then unfortunately the government has to respond with its tacticians. It just so happens that one of those tacticians was the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands when he was parliamentary secretary to the government House leader. I knew he was because we would talk about it. He would tell me they were in their rooms cooking all this up.

This is same hon. member who the hon. member from Broadview-Greenwood said is above all of this and here he had been involved. The picture that the member for Broadview-Greenwood painted was not an accurate picture whatsoever.

I hope that the member for Kingston and the Islands is paying close attention to this debate. He has been very aggressive in debates in the House and we have had a good time debating many issues. Every once in a while he will take the opportunity to quote from the New Testament. He did it very recently.

I would like to remind the hon. member-because I am sure he is listening-about a story where a father had two sons and he asked the two sons to go out and work for him. One son said sure he would go do it. That son went out, forgot about obeying his father and did not do the job he was told to do. The other son said he was not going to do it but then he thought carefully about his decision

and he said, yes, he would obey his father and carry out the task he was given.

I hope the member for Kingston and the Islands reads the report he authored some time ago that said opposition members should have two of the four chair positions. I hope he is the son who said he would go sit in the chair. I do not care about promises made in the past. I hope he will reconsider. I hope he will do the honourable thing tonight as he thinks about his commitment to democracy in this place and he will say that he will not accept that. It is not the right thing to do until the Liberals have kept their promise to make sure that two opposition members are appointed as deputy speakers sitting in the Chair. I trust he will do the right thing.

If the hon. member does not he is open to criticism. I guess we cannot use the h word in the House but we can certainly talk about the h word outside the House. That is what the member for Kingston and the Islands will be if he accepts the position that has been offered to him by the government.

Agriculture October 29th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, in keeping with the spirit of this week, I rise today to commend the minister of agriculture on his amazing Halloween performance. He has truly given new meaning to the term "trick or treat".

The minister has tricked farmers by failing to deliver three-quarters of the actual agriculture promises in the red book, keeping only 7 of 28. Specifically, the minister has cut agriculture research, failed to defend agriculture aggressively in trade relations with the Americans, quickly abandoned his commitment to preserve and strengthen article XI of the GATT and has fallen short of creating a national whole farm safety net.

When the minister attempts to treat farmers with the promise of reforms, he tricks them again by not following through, as most recently demonstrated by his unspectacular announcement of Canadian Wheat Board reforms. The minister is pushing costs into farmers' laps through his cost recovery schemes. Reform thinks it would be a real treat if the minister would make some of the cost disappear, starting with the oversized Pest Management Regulatory Agency.

If the minister does not start to perform soon, farmers may wave their magic wands and turn him into a pensioned pumpkin. That trick would be the greatest treat of all.

Taxes October 22nd, 1996

You have not read it.

Agriculture October 8th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I certainly had a lesson on how not to hold a press conference. It is a good thing the minister is not the chief electoral officer because our democratic process would be in shambles.

How can the minister call a plebiscite of producers when he does not know what the question will be, he does not know who can vote, he does not know what constitutes a majority and he does not know if the vote will be binding?

Will the minister commit today in the House to giving all western Canadian barley producers a clear, honest question on whether they want the choice of how they market their barley?

Agriculture October 8th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, last Friday could have been a glorious day for the minister of agriculture. His news conference could have been his opportunity to be king for a day but sadly he remains the king of delay based on his press conference on the Canadian Wheat Board.

The minister promised Reformers in the House: "I will give a detailed response to the panel's recommendations". In fact, his message was so unclear it took his officials four more days to write up a press release.

After three years of preparing for this big day, why was the minister's statement so vague and underwhelming? When will the minister specifically tell prairie farmers what he plans to do?

Canadian Wheat Board October 2nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, if the minister wants to talk about gross misrepresentation, he should talk about his own Angus Reid poll which was a crude manipulation, attempting to swing support behind the monopoly selling of barley. That is why a plebiscite is so important.

I would really like the minister to commit today to call a plebiscite with a clear and honest question, which he has said is important, that will allow all prairie barley producers a vote on their marketing choice in the future.

Canadian Wheat Board October 2nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, evidence shows that the Canadian Wheat Board has not performed well with its sales of barley. The agriculture minister has sat back and twiddled his thumbs over marketing reform while barley growers have lost millions of dollars.

The minister knows that the Alberta plebiscite and several prairie polls, including his own, indicate barley growers support voluntary participation in the Canadian Wheat Board.

My question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. Will he stop twiddling his thumbs and implement his panel's recommendations or at least hold a plebiscite soon asking barley producers if marketing barley through the Canadian Wheat Board should be voluntary?

Criminal Code September 24th, 1996

They can heckle in the House-I am being heckled right now-but they cannot admit they are wrong. They do not know how to apologize when they are wrong and do not correct themselves when they get off course.

Prior to the last election, the Prime Minister said he had the people and he had the plan. One of his people is the hon. member for Prince Albert-Churchill River. He is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and is supposed to be a heavyweight on justice matters. However, he does not seem to have the support of his own constituency, of his own party in his own riding. One has to wonder where they have gone wrong.

As I pointed out, it seems fairly obvious that the Liberals cannot admit they have made mistakes, have not addressed the seriousness of criminal and justice matters, have been totally off course on the issue of section 745 of the Criminal Code and are totally off base on this bill, Bill C-45.

We have debated these justice issues in the House for a long time. We talked about repealing section 745 even before one of the colleagues of the Liberal members brought forward a private member's bill, which had broad support in the House, for repeal of the section.

However, the Liberal hierarchy on the front benches-I suppose the parliamentary secretary would be a supporter of this-decided to sidetrack its own member's private member's bill. Of course he was kicked out of caucus because he did not see eye to eye with the Liberals and they derailed his private member's bill which actually had the support of the entire House. It was approved by the elected body.

That private member's bill would have brought in a more strict justice system, which was actually what the people wanted. The people of Kindersley-Lloydminster want that. The people of Prince Albert-Churchill River want that. But that would never do. That would mean that people like Clifford Olson and other first degree murderers would not have a faint hope. That would probably alleviate some of the opportunities for people in the legal profession to generate more income for their law firms. Who knows all the reasoning behind the Liberals who determined that their colleague's bill should not be passed.

I would like to hear some of the explanations from the other side why they dumped that private member's bill and brought in this bill which does not do the job. It does not repeal section 745 of the Criminal Code but provides special status for some murderers and less status for others. It is the same old repetitive story: special status for some and let us deal more harshly with others. In this case it is special status for murderers of one person but does not provide that same special status for murderers of more than one person. It is really silly when one stops to think about it.

It is time for some common sense to emanate from this House. We have to start seeing some of it from the other side. We have been speaking on behalf of Canadians on these issues but it has been falling on deaf ears in the justice department and on deaf ears in almost every ministry on the other side. It has to stop. Our country is too important to play games with Canadians and not abide by their wishes any longer.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to speak on behalf of my constituents in Kindersley-Lloydminster. I just hope that for a change colleagues opposite will listen to what has been said, will recognize the error of their ways and correct them very quickly.

Criminal Code September 24th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak to Bill C-45. This bill deals with section 745 of the Criminal Code. Section 745 is not a bad law that needs changing. It is a bad law that needs to be turfed.

Several experts have spoken about section 745 and have spoken about Bill C-45. I do not propose to this House that I am expert of justice matters. I have many colleagues who have far more knowledge in this area than I do and they have spoken very eloquently after extensive research on the issue. We know that officials from police forces have spoken about section 745. They

have far more knowledge than I do on this. They have talked about the fact that section 745 needs to be repealed. I respect the views of my colleagues, I respect the views of the police.

Interestingly enough, provincial officials have spoken about section 745 of the Criminal Code. They also are very knowledgeable and expert in the area with which they are dealing. They are the attorneys general of some of the provinces.

On May 11, 1996 the Ottawa Sun reported that during a meeting, the attorneys general of Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario pushed for the total repeal of section 745, while Saskatchewan and Quebec argued that it should be amended.

Harnick from Ontario and Evans from Alberta said they would like to see the screening of first degree murderers for early release be done by the justice minister's office rather than the parole board or a provincial judge. The provinces were concerned about Bill C-45. They thought it would be a financial burden and an imposition on their judicial system as it will be the provincial judges who review and determine which first degree murderers' 745 applications will be referred to a jury.

This underlines the fact that there was not proper consultation between the federal government and the provinces when the government introduced Bill C-45. This is not uncommon. We have seen several examples of the federal government failing to work co-operatively with the provinces within confederation. Here we have another example.

It is interesting that the financial agreements with the provinces and the territories expired on March 31 and to date the justice minister has only signed agreements with a couple of the Atlantic provinces. There is a total lack of co-operation between the federal government and the provinces and Bill C-45 to repeal section 745 of the Criminal Code is a prime example.

I do not have extensive and deep knowledge of the justice system but I certainly have heard very capable critics and very knowledgeable experts suggest this bill is bad, it should not be passed and that section 745 of the Criminal Code should be repealed.

I appreciate what others have said but I want to tell the House what I am hearing from constituents and from ordinary Canadians like myself who are not experts in the area but who may have very strong feelings about the justice system and what is wrong with it.

Reform MPs have learned to be excellent listeners. I would encourage members opposite who are pushing this type of legislation to take a few moments and actually listen to what their constituents are saying, what the people on the street, the people on the farms, are saying about section 745 of the Criminal Code.

I want them to listen to the victims' rights groups that have stated categorically that they are opposed to any tinkering with section 745, and are calling for the repeal of that section. They do not support Bill C-45.

I ask them to listen to the taunting of convicted killers such as Clifford Olson who are making a mockery of the justice system, that we would even consider a faint hope clause. They are becoming notorious because of the lack of action by the Liberal government. It is really ridiculous when we see the publicity they are getting simply because the Liberal government wants to put criminals' rights ahead of victims' rights and not correct the justice system.

I hear from the local RCMP officers. They certainly do not support section 745 of the Criminal Code. They do not support changing the act to have two degrees of killers, those who are serious killers and should not be given a faint hope clause and those who are not quite so serious because they have just killed one person and they deserve a faint hope clause. They have been very outspoken in their opposition to the Liberal government's initiative.

My constituents have no use whatsoever for a faint hope clause which would allow premeditated killers to get out early on any type of parole. I even hear from people who live in Liberal members' ridings. They are not very happy with their MPs.

I am happy that the member for Prince Albert-Churchill River is sitting in the House. The other day I met one of his constituents on the plane when I was flying here. His constituent recognized me and began to talk to me. He was concerned about justice and crime. He talked about the high rate of crime in the Prince Albert area and the fact that his member did not seem to be very concerned about it. He told me quite frankly that his member would not be re-elected.

I thought this person is probably not a Liberal, so we have to take his words with a grain of salt. He may have been playing politics. However, he told me the feeling in the Prince Albert area was pretty widespread that the member did not take criminal issues seriously. Of course, he has a federal penitentiary in his riding so the issue of crime and convicted killers being released on early parole is an important issue in his constituency.

I read in the paper the other day that it looked as if the hon. member for Prince Albert-Churchill River was going to be challenged for the nomination by someone in his own party. Even his own people are not very happy with his performance.

I suggest there could be broad support for the member beyond partisanship. There are Liberal members who actually do try to stick up for their constituents and represent them. But this member

does not seem to be one because his own party, for reasons I do not know-maybe justice issues, maybe some other issues-feels their member is not doing a good job.

All I know is that everything I have heard from his riding, and I have heard these complaints for a couple of years, indicates the member is in real trouble in his riding and may very well not be re-elected. Liberal Party people are concerned about the performance of this government for a number of reasons. The trouble with Liberals is that they cannot admit they are wrong.

Supply September 18th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member does not pay very much attention to what Reformers have been saying about roads. If he had done so, he would realize why we did so very well in the Labrador byelection when we talked about a road that needed to be built in that part of Canada for which the Liberals had absolutely no regard and almost lost the byelection over. Reform had zero votes in 1993 and almost won the byelection in 1995.

I take some solace in the fact that Reform listens to Canadians and knows where they want to spend dollars. Reform does not support spending where the federal government does not belong. We stand by our budget. We stand by spending money for federal infrastructure where the federal government is required to play a role.