House of Commons photo

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

Auto Leasing April 19th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, all the minister's recent announcements are about demands from the banks for more business.

The demands by others for more freedom to compete with the banks are never mentioned. I am sure this has nothing to do with the banks' generous financial support for the Liberal Party and the government's $105,000 grant to the Canadian Bankers Association.

Will the minister assure the House that the up-coming white paper will level the regulatory playing field between banks and their competitors?

Auto Leasing April 19th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the Reform Party wants deregulation for the benefit of consumers, but letting banks into car leasing will not be good for consumers. Without more competition among banks, it will only fatten their already fat wallets.

Will the minister assure the House banks will not be allowed to expand their business until they are also forced to face more competition?

Social Program Transfers April 19th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance recently stated in the House that the Reform budget "had reductions in transfer payments to the provinces that made ours look like a peanut hill. They were enormous". This statement is false.

The Reform Party had proposed a cut of $3.5 billion in provincial transfers for health, welfare and higher education and $3 billion in equalization payments. The Liberal budget projects a cut of $7 billion on social program transfers. The Liberal budget exceeds the Reform cuts by $500 million.

I ask the minister: where is the peanut hill? Why these misrepresentations? Is it lack of information, carelessness or a deliberate political tactic?

Bank Act March 28th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to elaborate for a few moments-not delay the business of the House-on the remarks just made by the hon. parliamentary secretary.

Most people in Canada do not really understand what happens when they write a cheque and send it to an uncle a few provinces away, how the bank gets the money and how it is transferred. It is all done on what one could compare to a super highway that connects all the banks, dealers and others who have access to it. The debits and credits flow back and forth at the speed of electronic signals.

The arrangements which guide the traffic on this highway have to be updated periodically in light of technological innovations, changing economics and the development of new instruments, development of problems like bankruptcy and so on. These developments are taking place in the rest of the world and if Canada wants to be competitive it has to do the same thing.

Essentially, we set rules and standards for the vehicles that are travelling that road. We set traffic signs that guide whatever is going on. It is quite clear that at the end of such a highway the business which takes place in no way is influenced by the rules guiding the traffic on the highway. The entire system is like a public good, it has to be protected.

The Bloc is proposing that the setting of the rules which increase the efficiency of that highway and the flow of information back and forth is an interference with national sovereignty and an encroachment on the rights of provincial governments. I do not think this is correct. It is like having one highway stretching across the country. The culture developing at either end is not impeded by having a highway that functions efficiently and safely.

In the same way I believe the financial institutions that are developing in each province have the opportunity to maintain the

local characteristic to be regulated and to be encouraged. That is up to the provincial government. This bill does not deal with these issues and I would be the first to argue against any encroachment by the federal government on provincial rights with respect to what is going on in the financial sector at the access points on this highway for clearing financial obligations within Canada.

Therefore, the Reform Party opposes these amendments and will vote accordingly when the vote comes up.

Bank Act March 28th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I find that a strange interpretation of the way democracy works. It shows a lack of appreciation for how complex some of the technical matters are regarding financial bills of this sort.

There are all kinds of things wrong with the bill, but there is criticism on it on the basis that the government has shown its willingness to respond to public concern about a proposal. To me it shows the government is listening. We have a society which takes into account the people who are specifically affected by legislation. I praise the government for having made these modifications.

The bill is not very good. However, with respect to these two clauses I commend what the government has done. The registration of names, names which have already been registered, was an item of contention. We heard about it in the finance committee and I am persuaded that this is a good move. It is for this reason that the Reform Party will support the two amendments placed in Group No. 2.

Bank Act March 28th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, there are indeed 10 motions, but they are grouped into Group No. 1 and Group No. 2. The hon. member who constantly said there were 10 motions obviously was putting the two groups together. I will however follow the direction set by the Chair and simply discuss the motions in Group No. 1: Motions Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10. I had a good look at them.

All except for one concern changes in the French translation of the English text. While I do understand and read French, I am not sufficiently expert in the legalese that is involved in here. I have every confidence in the competence and integrity of the writers of this bill in the Department of Finance that this is in order.

Therefore, I express the Reform Party's support for these amendments. I hope we can get on with debate and get through this business. This is an expensive time to be held up at this stage and talk about things that are not relevant to the motions. We will have a chance when third reading of Bill C-15 comes up to have our fundamental objections to the bill registered. I hope we can expedite the passing of these motions today.

Bank Act March 28th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am very disturbed. I am following the discussion and I am prepared to speak on Group No. 1, Motions Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10. I have counted them three times; there are eight. On what is the hon. member speaking?

Borrowing Authority Act, 1996-97 March 21st, 1996

Madam Chairman, the minister set the tone. When he made his introductory speech, he opened up the debate about the budget. He bragged about all the accomplishments in the budget. I have the right to respond to his bragging.

It is very clear the hon. member does not understand that the people of Canada are very unhappy about having voted for a party which said it would get rid of the GST, that it would respect universality, that it would not cut medicare. There were all kinds of promises of this sort.

When we knocked on doors these issues were brought up all the time. I felt very uncomfortable when I was confronted by constituents who said: "I am not going to vote for you. I am going to vote for the people who promised to get rid of the GST, preserve universality of access, will not cut transfers to the provinces".

Is that something we should take sitting down without reacting? The issue is credibility. What kind of credibility will the government have in the future?

There is constant reference to the fact that the red book promises are being fulfilled. Well, we have heard enough about the GST. It is time to pull out the promise that there would be no end to the concept of universality. Under discussion today is the government's budget, not what the Reform Party would have done.

What is relevant is the fact that we went to the voters and said: "We cannot act irresponsibly and promise the elimination of the deficit. We cannot act irresponsibly and say that the country's financial crisis is likely to be eliminated simply by economic growth" as was promised. Credibility is the issue. The government's broken promises are the issue. We are talking about the budget that delivers the core of the Liberal program for government in the next two years.

Borrowing Authority Act, 1996-97 March 21st, 1996

Madam Chairman, I find it very interesting that the hon. member brings up the proud institution at which I received my Ph.D. some 35 years ago.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I have been infected by all the knowledge the bank where he used to work has broadcast. I used his documents in my classes at Simon Fraser University where I had been teaching for 25 years.

We are living in Canada, not the United States. That was a diversion of attention which I am sure the viewers of this debate will see right through. I did not get an answer to the question. The minister did not respond at all to the challenge that the deficit is $17 billion according to the budget. The same budget provides information which says that if the government stopped its accumulation of unemployment insurance fund surpluses, the deficit would not be $17 billion but $22 billion. He did not respond to that at all.

My questions about targeted employment levels, forecasts of employment and unemployment rates were not answered. I cannot even dignify his answer by saying indirectly it was a total smoke-screen. This is a breaking with historic precedent. It used to be a yardstick. When those government members sat over here on this side of the House, they constantly reminded the government on what the promises were on the unemployment rate and why they were not delivered.

I would ask the minister to respond to one other thing in this budget. The finance minister's father was responsible for introducing to Canada one of the achievements of which we was most proud, the universal access to social programs.

Universality of access to social programs. I looked it up in the dictionary. It is defined as receiving benefits without any questions being asked about the background of the individual. We all know that this is very important and efficient. It gets rid of the means test. It prevents people from hiding assets. It prevents all kinds of inefficient changes in behaviour and it increases the dignity of people who are enjoying these benefits.

The previous government introduced a slight violation of the principle of universality by saying to certain old age security recipients that they could get the money but if they were too rich, the government would take it back. Some people have called that a break in universality. I do not want to argue about that. One could interpret it this way and one could say that universality had already been broken by the previous government.

I think the hon. finance minister's father would probably turn in his grave if he knew that his son was responsible for breaking down the principle of universality. In the finance minister's proposed treatment of old age security benefits, eligibility for the first time since the 1970s will be based on income. A means test has been reintroduced. It is necessary to point out that it was this government which did this.

I would like to hear what the minister has to say to the people of Canada, all the strong supporters of members of the Liberal Party who went into the election campaign saying: "We have a record of looking after the welfare of people and universality is a sacred matter". What is the answer to the people of Canada who put their trust in the Liberal Party in relation to what it has actually done in this budget?

Borrowing Authority Act, 1996-97 March 21st, 1996