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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was billion.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Reform MP for Capilano—Howe Sound (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 1993, with 42% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Environment March 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is well known by the media that this contract is up for renewal as of April 1. It is very disappointing that the government is not informed about this important matter.

Environment March 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment.

In 1974 the Ministry of the Environment leased a parcel of land in my riding for the construction of the Pacific environment

centre. The centre was never built, but the lease payment on the empty land is now $3.1 million annually and is likely to rise during the remaining 51 years of the lease.

Would the minister please tell the House what steps have been taken to end this wasteful spending?

Immigration March 18th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I gave three days' notice to get a numerical answer that I believe and legal counsel told me is an appropriate question to ask of the minister.

I would like to know how many people have contacted the minister-

Immigration March 18th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

During the last three months my constituents sent me only letters critical of the current rate of immigration, none suggesting that the current rate is acceptable or that it should be increased.

Could the minister please give a simple and short answer to the following simple and short question? How many Canadians have contacted him in his capacity as minister in recent months with comments critical and supportive of the number of immigrants he is planning to admit next year?

Canadian Foreign Policy March 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I thank again the hon. member for his comment.

I want to make sure that I am not ever wanting to depreciate the efforts that people make. I believe, however, that the effectiveness of efforts made by individuals is determined by the institutions and the incentive structures in which they work.

It has been suggested to me by people who are intimately in contact with this that we can bring the system we now have into the next century by looking at what other countries have done. They have removed it from their foreign affairs departments where the culture simply does not seem to be functioning as well as it does when the institution is separate, profit motivated and the private sector has a direct stake in it. That is my basic concept.

Canadian Foreign Policy March 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I thank very much the hon. member for pointing out the existence of this report and my executive assistant will go after it tomorrow morning. Perhaps we can speak a little bit more about my ideas.

I have already been invited to send my concept to a number of private sector groups and government people for comment. Then perhaps something can develop out of it with the hon. member's support, maybe a private member's bill. If he wishes I will happily give all of these ideas to the government to do something good for Canada.

I am most pleased with the hon. member's comments and thank him very much.

Canadian Foreign Policy March 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, since 1982 the Department of Foreign Affairs has administered the federal government's program for the promotion of Canadian exports.

In recent years this program has been criticized by academics, the private sector, provincial governments, government employees and others for the following reasons.

First, employees and the workings of the TCS have been integrated only imperfectly into the culture and operations of the Department of Foreign Affairs. The pursuit of mundane commercial interests is not a natural activity of individuals who joined foreign affairs and were trained to become diplomats dealing with international politics, war and peace and the nation's external security. While there are many career officers who work hard on their assignments in the commercial field, such assignments continue to bring little prestige and opportunities for advancement in the institutions hierarchy.

Second, the private sector has expressed discontent with the lack of input into the work of the federal trade promotion work. The Department of Foreign Affairs is heavily bureaucratized and never has had a tradition of working with the private sector in the pursuit of its traditional mandate.

Efforts to rectify this situation through the creation of consultative committees have not been a great success. One aspect of the criticism by the private sector is that the operational objectives of the trade commissioner services are often linked with political goals.

The promotion of political and military alliances, of human rights and democratization and of international development efforts can and often do interfere with the promotion of international trade.

Third, the work of foreign affairs duplicates and overlaps with that undertaken by provincial governments. In major countries abroad, trade representatives from the two levels of government compete with each other. Further duplication occurs as federal trade offices throughout Canada deal with the private sector and promote exports in competition with provincial officers.

Fourth, even within the federal government there are at least 15 other departments that undertake trade promotion activities of their own. CIDA-INC as it is known is one of them. In some instances its activities are better financed than those of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Efforts to co-ordinate the different federal departments' offices through foreign affairs have not been totally successful. Time does not permit me to dwell further on the negative assessments of the Department of Foreign Affairs trade promotion efforts.

Instead, I must now turn to some positive suggestions for reform of Canada's program. Suggestions for change involve different models of organization based mostly on real world experiences. There is a proposal to create a crown corporation independent of direct political influence.

The Government of British Columbia recently created such a crown corporation. Another model envisages the complete privatization of the service. This best describes the system used by Britain where executive agencies with independent management have been established on a contractual basis.

The removal of the bureaucratic culture from these agencies has resulted in substantial performance increases. This precedent can be applied to the trade commissioner service offered by our federal government. However there is also great merit in an approach I am investigating now in the context of preparing a private member's bill. The approach involves the use of a commercialized service to deal with the problems of the present system.

The following represents my preliminary thinking on the subject and I welcome suggestions for improvement from anyone interested in the subject.

I propose to call the new organization the Canadian Trade Organization. Let me call it CTO for short. Its headquarters in Canada will be located in one of the large commercial centres like Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver with branches in other cities. The CTO will have offices in foreign countries with headquarters in the capital like Rome and subsidiary offices in major cities like Milan.

The responsibility for the Canadian operations will be in the hands of a board of directors consisting one-quarter each of representatives nominated by the federal government, the provincial governments, private sector organizations like theCanadian Manufacturers' Association and the Exporters' Association, and general membership consisting of Canadian, foreign and multinational firms.

The day to day operations of the CTO are undertaken by a private staff, the executive director of which is also on the board of directors. Governments can have liaison officers on the operational staff.

Financing of the CTO will come one-quarter each from the four groups represented on the board of directors. In addition the organization is required to sell its services to private firms and administer Canadian involvement in trade fairs throughout the world. This is important.

Profit sharing or bonus payments to employees successful in such private sector sales will assure that the CTO is responsive to market needs. Such needs often involve Canadian governments in their roles as diplomats and makers of industrial policies. The proposed links of these government offices with the CTO through the board of directors and liaison officers assures that the public interest will adequately be reflected in the employees' work.

Periodic meetings, the publication of a newsletter and social affairs arranged in different cities will provide a constant link among directors, staff and the private sector in Canada. Contacts through such arrangements will provide the proper environment for the flourishing of commercial activities of CTO.

I now turn to the business offices of the CTO abroad. They will have advisory councils consisting of representatives from the local Canadian embassy or high commission and from local industry. The latter will most likely consist of multinational corporations, Canadian firms with representatives abroad and local firms interested in trade with Canada.

The operations of the foreign business offices will be in the hands of Canadian managers who work with staff consisting predominantly of persons who speak the local language, have local contacts and are familiar with the country's business practices.

Financing for these offices will come from the same sources as that for the operations located in Canada, that is federal and provincial governments as well as interested parties in the private sector.

In addition special efforts will be made to obtain financing through contracts with private sectors abroad and in Canada. These contracts will involve market research, establishing commercial contacts, assuring representation at fairs and exhibits, keeping an eye on technological and product developments and many other activities that would help promote international trade and Canadian competitiveness.

In many smaller countries CTO offices will be attached to local embassies or consular offices. In larger countries they will be housed in separate quarters though a close link with the diplomatic representative is essential.

The preceding is only a rough and preliminary sketch of the institutional, financial and operational characteristics of the proposed replacement of the international trade promotion system which is presently operated by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

My sketch should suffice to show how the commercialization of these trade promotion services will first, eliminate the currently existing duplication of government services. Second, it will permit its governors and operators to concentrate on commercial issues while it retains the benefit of access to and advice from Canada's professional diplomats in foreign affairs. Third, it creates private sector incentives for professional staff to serve the needs of Canadian business. Finally, it removes domestic and international political agendas from the trade promotion program.

In conclusion, I note that it should be possible to structure the CTO so that the government cost of providing trade promotion services will be lowered considerably. Such savings should be welcomed by the federal and provincial treasuries and departments like foreign affairs during this period of extreme financial restraint.

The commercialization of the service would permit governments to focus better on the delivery of services in which they have a competitive advantage. The financial and operational involvement of the private sector would increase operational efficiency of the service. It would also raise general interest in international trade.

I believe that out of the shortcomings of the current trade commissioner service in foreign affairs arises an opportunity for change that will produce nothing but winners.

Questions On The Order Paper March 15th, 1994

Under the family reunification program, (a) what is the number of immigrants admitted to Canada during the last 12 months (b) what was the average age of the immigrants admitted to Canada (c) how many immigrants does the minister of immigration expect to admit annually during the next three years?

World Cup Skiing March 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, during the last two weekends the resort community of Whistler in my riding hosted three World Cup skiing events.

They were a great success as a result of the hard work of a large army of volunteers, the management and employees of the Whistler Ski Corporation, sports federations, the media and sponsors from the private sector. Over 12,000 spectators and many more television viewers throughout the world saw the events.

In the women's downhill Michelle Ruthven finished third, Kate Pace fourth and Kerrin Lee-Gartner ninth. In the men's downhill Cary Mullen finished fifth, Rob Boyd tenth and Edi Podivinski fourteenth. Cary Mullen also placed fifth in the Super Giant Slalom yesterday.

Let us thank all those who have made the event such a success. Let us congratulate those who braved one of the world's most challenging race courses and send sleds full of roses and a hearty thank you to those who represented Canada so well by beating some of the world's best racers.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1994-95 March 7th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, frequent contacts with my constituents indicate that the two areas of greatest concern to them are the deficit and immigration. The two issues are related.

My constituents wonder about the costs which immigrants impose on Canadian governments during this period of fiscal crisis. Even though on average and over their lifetime immigrants historically have made a net contribution to the coffers of the government, they are concerned about those who enter Canada under the family unification program.

The minister has announced that next year he has ordered the admittance of 110,000 individuals in this category. Under current laws these family unification immigrants are almost exclusively the elderly parents of persons already in Canada as landed immigrants. We know from past years that the bulk of these parents are of an age where they are likely to pay only small if any premiums to the provincial medicare program. Yet

as landed immigrants they are entitled to free medicare for the rest of their lives.

A distinguished newspaper columnist had obtained information on the numbers and age distribution of family unification immigrants admitted during the period 1988 to 1992. Using data on the average cost of medicare services required by older people, the columnist estimated that the family immigrants admitted during this period added about $1 billion to the annual cost of the Canadian medicare system.

I think it is legitimate to ask an equivalent question about the family immigrants to be admitted next year and in future years once their levels have been decided. In fact I believe that the government should be required to publish regularly estimates of the costs immigration policies are expected to impose on public services.

If the costs are as high as some experts think they are, the government might consider changes in existing policy. One such change might involve the rule now existing in Australia according to which parents are admitted only if they do not leave at home more of their children than they join in their new country of residence.

Another perhaps somewhat more radical policy might be to admit only immigrants who agree to live in Canada without having their parents join them. There are large numbers of foreigners willing to come to Canada under these conditions, I am sure.

I should note that no one expects a definitive answer on the dollar costs. Canadians are sophisticated about the uncertainty surrounding all such estimates involving social and economic magnitudes. They want an estimate accompanied by explanations of the underlying data and the assumptions. They will interpret it with the proper caution.

I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me to bring forth these issues again in the House. I am sure the people of Canada will appreciate having the answer to the question I raise.