House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was grandparents.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Reform MP for Mission—Coquitlam (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 1993, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Split Lake Cree First Nation Flooded Land Act June 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise to make a direct comment on the words spoken by both the hon. member from the Bloc, two speakers previously, and the hon. member from the government House, a speaker before that.

I want to recognize the contribution made by the Split Lake Cree First Nation and indeed all our First Nations people and remind this House that earlier in this session it was a member of the Reform Party who spoke for and argued for the rich cultural heritage given to us by our First Nations people and that therefore we must retain lacrosse as our national sport.

Not one member on the government side or from the Bloc spoke in recognition of this rich cultural heritage in our First Nations people.

Perhaps it is time for all members in this House to stop making hurtful and unproductive comments and remarks in the House. I respectfully submit it is unparliamentary.

Petitions June 13th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I would like to present a petition on behalf of my constituents asking the government to amend the Divorce Act to grant grandparents access to grandchildren.

At this time I am receiving calls pretty well daily from across the country from grandparents who are under stress because they do not have access to grandchildren. I hope all sides of the House will work hard to amend this injustice.

Lacrosse June 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, recently we agreed in this House that lacrosse would be recognized as Canada's summer national sport.

This bill has now received royal assent. We have learned that the Minister of Canadian Heritage is in possession of a report which would eliminate all funding for lacrosse.

The minister's office assured me that this was not the official position of the government. Then his parliamentary secretary told us recently in this House that a decision on this will not be forthcoming until late summer.

This puts the men's national lacrosse team in a desperate situation. It hopes to compete in the world championships in England this July but will not be able to unless recognition of its status is forthcoming.

I call on the minister to make a decision immediately on our national summer sport which will then allow our national team to compete for Canada in the upcoming world championships.

Petitions June 1st, 1994

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I would like to present three petitions on behalf of my constituents, the first one asking that the human rights code not be amended to include sexual orientation; the second asking that Parliament ensure the enforcement of the present Criminal Code of Canada prohibiting assisted suicides; and the third asking Parliament to act to extend protection to the unborn child.

Postal Services Review Act May 27th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to speak in this debate this afternoon. It is a concern of mine and has been for some time.

I join in the debate to support the concept of periodic reviews of Canada Post Corporation and its proposals to change the postal rates. I believe it is high time that Canada Post Corpora-

tion became answerable in some public way to somebody other than cabinet.

The postal service in Canada has been the subject of much debate and public displeasure for many years. In the late 1970s and early 1980s there was concern expressed over large deficits and accumulated debt in the post office. Then the solution seemed to be to set the post office up as a crown corporation. This was going to bring efficient management to the post office. In some ways it may have brought some form of efficient management but it was a management that did not care about the people of Canada.

The people of Canada depend on the post office, on mail delivery. This is a vast, mostly rural country where mail delivery to the door or to the mailbox at the end of a farm lane is taken as a given in Canadian society.

Not any more. We have superboxes for homeowners in new suburbs to walk to and we have post office closures by the hundreds in rural areas. This has already happened.

Many rural Canadians have been saddened by the closure of their rural post offices because in many of these small communities their local post office was a spot where one could meet and chat with neighbours and their local postmistress or postmaster. It served a real social purpose in the community as well as a postal service.

In Lake Errock, one of our small postal communities in my riding of Mission-Coquitlam, the residents have worked hard over the last two years trying to get Canada Post to recognize the rights and necessities of their part of rural Canada.

To Canada Post I suggest just looking at economics is not enough. The post office is set up to serve the people and it is hoped that the present government will be concerned about all Canadians and continue to recognize rural post offices.

The other problem faced by Canadians was the intermittent, or should we say the regular strikes or work stoppages by the postal workers. Who in the House can forget the regular nightly images on our television screens of the postal workers' union heads, Joe Davidson and later Jean-Claude Parrot, spelling out their ludicrous demands on behalf of their workers while we all suffered with mail delivery shut down?

I used to send out many Christmas cards and about that time I stopped sending out Christmas cards and I have not done so since.

I agree, the post office perhaps more than any other crown corporation needs a watchdog that can review price increases and internal matters to ensure that Canada Post is properly run and that taxpayers are at least in this instance getting their money's worth.

As I said, to this extent I agree with the thrust of Bill C-203. However, set up a new bureaucracy to monitor the post office, a new board supported by a secretariat, personnel and all the attendant trappings? Maybe when there was more money in the treasury and maybe when the public was less cynical about government appointments to tribunals such as this, but surely not now.

The previous government was infamous for the proliferation of boards and tribunals to which it would appoint its friends and supporters. The Canadian people voted last October to stop this kind of practice and we in the Reform Party respect the wishes of the Canadian people.

As I said earlier, the thrust of this bill is a good idea. Surely the types of things that the review board was going to do in this bill can be done by the government operations committee of the House of Commons.

Canada Post Corporation is within the mandate of that committee. The committee deals with the estimates of Canada Post Corporation and if the inquiries are structured properly this committee should be able to do the job of Bill C-203's review board.

I served for a short time on the government operations committee and it seemed to me at the time that after the estimates were reported back from the various departments which reported to this committee, this committee would have sufficient time at its disposal to deal with Canada Post Corporation.

My suggestion puts the responsibility for the post office operations where it belongs, in Parliament. It is the fundamental function of all of us here to serve the Canadian people. One way of serving them is to put the subject of mail processing and delivery in the hands of elected representatives.

To be precise, Canada Post would at least 10 days before publishing a proposed regulation in The Canada Gazette send a copy to the clerk of the government operations committee for review. The committee would have 120 days within which to hold public hearings on the merits of the proposal and make recommendations to Canada Post. The committee's recommendations would be published in The Canada Gazette and the corporation would have 30 days to report to the committee in writing.

The recommendations of the committee and the response by Canada Post would be submitted to cabinet. If cabinet did not act within 30 days the regulation would come into force.

Again, when Canada Post wishes to make major changes in service these corporate plans would be submitted to the government operations committee for review. Surely that is one of its purposes.

Ultimately after a public hearing process the recommendations of the committee would be sent back to Canada Post and then the entire package submitted to the minister in charge of Canada Post for final approval.

With respect to rate increases, while the final decision would be up to the cabinet, a full public hearing process would have taken place on the subject and the rate increases again by the government operations committee. An important issue that the government operations committee in its review of the post office may wish to inquire into is whether, as alleged by the Canadian Courier Association, Canada Post is using the revenues gained because of its exclusive role as a mail courier to subsidize the purchase and operation of courier systems. Such an inquiry would be a good first step in establishing that the members of the House of Commons were serious about holding the Canada Post Corporation to account.

The Canadian Courier Association in a letter dated October 29, 1993 sent to all members of the 35th Parliament set out its concerns about Canada Post. It recited the findings of the Nielsen task force and the inquiry of Alan Marchment carried out in 1986 to support their case. I suppose it was the purchase of Purolator Courier that prompted this outrage by the Courier Canadian Association. Who can blame it? Canada Post used its unique position to subsidize its areas which compete with the private sector so Canada Post can charge less than the private sector.

As I said, this would be an ideal matter for the government operations committee to investigate.

In conclusion, while I support the thrust of Bill C-203, I do not support the means to accomplish the end. I would support amendments to the bill which would put the government operations committee as the review agency and would also support whatever changes would be necessary to the rules of this House to allow the government operations committee to perform this task.

Budget Implementation Act May 26th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, as I have only just begun to prepare this speech, I will rely on you to stop me if I run over my time.

While Bill C-17 contains parts which are acceptable to me, I would have preferred that the government had introduced separate bills for each act for which it is suggesting changes. In particular, I would have preferred the changes to the Unemployment Insurance Act to be a separate bill.

As we know the government's budget proposed changes to the unemployment insurance program. We support the direction of the changes, the reduction in benefits, the increases in the qualifying period and the reduction in the employer premiums. However we in the Reform Party feel that the government did not go far enough.

The proposed changes or amendments could have gone much further. This is a good time to state that the Reform Party supports the return of unemployment insurance to its original function, an employer-employee funded and administered program to provide temporary income in the event of unexpected job loss.

Is that not the purpose of such a program? Should it not be a self-sustainable program? Is it supposed to serve a purpose? Yes, it is supposed to serve a purpose; unexpected job loss, unplanned job loss. Yet in Canada we have seasonal workers who go on unemployment every year like clock work.

If the Canadian economy were flush, if it were abundant in a surplus of tax dollars unused and needing or waiting for a recipient, okay, great. Then perhaps we could understand this abuse of our tax dollars. We all know that the premiums paid through the unemployment insurance plan do not even begin to cover the cost of our current program.

However the program is not working as it was set out to work, as a sincere and caring effort to help those in need who through perhaps no fault of their own were suddenly without a job and therefore income. Those people pay into the unemployment insurance plan in good faith, hoping it is there for them if they ever need it.

The unemployment insurance act was first passed in 1940 and has been amended many times. When it began in 1941 UI was limited to full time wage earners. Part time workers as well as salaried employees with high pay and good job security were excluded. The subsequent history of the plan has been its step by step expansion to include high risk seasonal workers as well as low risk workers, civil servants and teachers. About 90 per cent of Canadian workers are now included although MPs and senators have not chosen to include themselves, yet.

Particularly noteworthy were the reforms undertaken by the Liberal government in 1971 when Bryce Mackasey was the responsible minister. Mr. Mackasey made UI much more generous and introduced regionally extended and maternity benefits.

Subsequent studies and reforms have tried to undo the damage but progress has been limited. The Conservative government appointed the Forget commission in 1985 but did not have the courage to act upon its excellent report. The changes made by the Tories in 1990, higher contributions, stiffer conditions for eligibility and directing some benefits to job training were in the right direction but far from sufficient.

How should unemployment insurance be reformed?

Decades of politically inspired manipulation have produced grave defects in the Canadian unemployment insurance program and system. It is discriminatory. The combination of regional entrance requirements and regionally extended benefits means that claimants are treated more generously in regions of the country where the unemployment rate is higher.

The result is unfair inequality between individuals. Simply by living in a certain place, one person may be entitled to far greater UI benefits than another even though both have contributed equally to the plan.

It increases unemployment. After the Liberals reformed UI in 1971, the Canadian plan became the most generous in the world. Overly generous benefits create what economists call induced unemployment. In plain English, people are tempted to slow down their job search to take maximum advantage of their benefits.

It creates despondency and dependency, for one certainly brings on the other. When one can work 10 weeks and collect UI benefits for 40 weeks there is little incentive to switch to a more stable employment. Extending UI to fishermen and other seasonal workers has had the perverse effect of encouraging workers to remain in declining industries. It has become an inefficient income support plan rather than social insurance.

Politicians have loaded so many special features on to the UI, regional preference, coverage of seasonal workers, benefits for pregnancy, child birth and adoption and so on, that the original purpose of providing temporary income in case of unforeseeable and unintentional job loss has been lost.

These and other problems of UI have been pointed out in several studies, most notably the one I have just mentioned, the Forget commission appointed by the Conservatives in 1985 when they first came to power. The Conservatives lacked the courage to do what all impartial students of UI agree needs to be done; namely, reform the system so that it treats people equally, bring benefits into line with those paid in other countries and stop using UI to subsidize seasonal industries. Rather, stand up to the entrenched special interests.

The Tories conveniently decided to forget Forget. The Reform policy, in contrast, is to make UI a sensible, sustainable program of social insurance. As with all social programs, reform will be undertaken prudently with due regard to the expectations that people have been led to develop. It would be desirable to phase in reform of UI at a high point of the business cycle when unemployment is relatively low.

To finish and sum up, the Reform Party will return unemployment insurance to its original and basically sound purpose of providing temporary income in case of unexpected job loss.

Petitions May 26th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I would like to present a petition on behalf of my constituents asking the government to amend the Divorce Act to include a provision which would ensure the right of access of grandparents to their grandchildren.

I am adding a further 600 names to the previous thousands I have already submitted. I wish across Canada we could all be aware of the needs of our grandparents and grandchildren today.

Penitentiaries May 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Solicitor General for his answer. He may be aware that I did contact his office and was waiting for a confirmation on just that question. I have not yet received it.

However, I am concerned that classification seems to be one of the areas where there is inconsistency. In making the term low risk, would the Solicitor General please check in his public inquiry as to how the classification comes about. That seems to be the problem why we have so many high risk prisoners with low risk classifications.

Penitentiaries May 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Solicitor General.

Recently in my riding of Mission-Coquitlam two high risk prisoners, wrongly labelled low risk, walked away from Ferndale minimum security prison. They walked away either by walking out the front gate or by crossing the prisoner golf course and going over the four-foot fence.

Mission's mayor and council have requested an immediate public inquiry as to those prisoners' classification in being there. Because of the federal government's inaction to this point, the municipality is going to hold its own public inquiry.

Will the Solicitor General launch an immediate public inquiry into the whole classification system?

National Sport Act April 27th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I was going to rise in the House today to speak against this, but I guess I have to change that because I have already agreed to the amendment and everything.

Why are we using valuable debate time in this House to debate and vote on a bill which dismisses our national support of lacrosse as though it never was? Perhaps this member does not know his Canadian history. Perhaps this bill is presented to this House out of ignorance.

It occurred to me that if one member of this House is ignorant of our history perhaps other members are not aware of our rich cultural heritage, a cultural heritage given to us by our first peoples. I am therefore going to present some of our history of lacrosse to this House. In 10 minutes I cannot really do the game justice but I will do what I am able.

There are some who try to date lacrosse back to Confederation, perhaps because many of the encyclopaedias refer to it as being our national sport at that time.

Lacrosse cannot be dated in this House. Who in this House is going to decide when lacrosse started in what today we call Canada? We have records going back to the Seven Year War, the 1700s, and the story of the English trader Alexander Henry's experience at Fort Mackinac when on the pretence of celebrating King George III's birthday on June 2, 1763 the Ojibway Indians played lacrosse outside the open gate of the fort. When the ball went through the gate the players and the onlookers went after it.

Upon entering the grounds they attacked the garrison and seized the fort. It is told that the native women concealed the weapons beneath their skirts.

Father Brebeuf, the Jesuit priest, speaks of lacrosse in his writings. Many in this House I am sure are aware of the Jesuit priests or the Black Robes who date well back in Canada's 1600s.

I am told that the Creator gave lacrosse to our native people.

I have with me today a list of 27 citations referring to lacrosse as Canada's national sport. They are recognized authorities or researchers, such as sports writers, historians and five encyclopaedias. Some of these resources date from 1877, 1902, 1911 and right up to the present.

Shribners is the earliest source which in volume 14, May to October 1877, states: "The game of lacrosse was adopted as the national game of Canada on July 1, 1859".

In 1911, Encyclopaedia Britannica , 11th edition, states: ``Lacrosse, the national game of Canada''. I do not have time to quote them all here.

When our children ask us and their teachers for facts on a subject where do we send them? We send them to the encyclopaedia for factual information.

I am not here today to build up lacrosse and tear down hockey. Both are great sports. In fact if we were to ask our national lacrosse and hockey players their opinions I wonder if we would not find many had played both sports during their careers and value the special attributes of both.

Hockey legend Bobby Orr I believe played lacrosse for Oshawa. Other lacrosse celebrities including such names as Wayne Gretzky, Joe Nievendyke, Gary Roberts, Cliff Renning, Newsy Lalonde, Jack Bionda, Adam Oates, Brian Bellows and many more that I cannot name. Each played lacrosse in the summer and hockey in winter. Gretzky used lacrosse to sharpen his hockey skills.

There are some facts about lacrosse I am sure many members here are not aware of. The Guinness Book of Records states that the first night game of baseball was played in the 1883. Baseball fans pride themselves on the fact that this was an amazing accomplishment. Would it surprise the House to know that the game of lacrosse was played under the electric light in Montreal in 1880?

Are we all aware that some of hockey's proudest moments began in lacrosse? Each year there is a celebration and a congratulation among hockey people as they hold their all-star game. The concept of holding all-star games began in the 1870s when the lacrosse clubs in Ontario banded together to challenge their rivals from across the border in Quebec.

In the 1870s and 1880s when hockey was becoming popular, in order to increase its appeal to the public, the game borrowed from the most popular sport of the time, lacrosse, the concept of goal posts, centre face off, referees and the position names for its players.

In 1904 Canada sent its first delegation to the Olympic games. Among the team sports which represented Canada at its premier was the lacrosse team. Lacrosse is the only Olympic team sport where Canada has won more medals than the rest of the world combined.

Talk about numbers and attendance at sports games. In 1910, when the Canadian Minto Cup Senior Lacrosse Championships of Canada were played between New Westminster and the Montreal Shamrocks, there were 15,000 spectators. That is not very many you say. It is incredible when we look at the facts. The number of people living in New Westminster at that time was under 8,000. The game literally shut down the majority of B.C. as people travelled to New Westminister to see the game. That is the spirit of nationalism.

How many here are aware of the fact that the Right Hon. Lester B. Pearson during his office of Prime Minister became the head of only one sport in Canada? Lester Pearson accepted the role and served as honorary chairman of the Canadian Lacrosse Association.

I have always been a sports participant and not much of a spectator, but I did have an opportunity to learn about our national sport lacrosse. Often heard it is the fastest sport on two feet, from a family connection in my early twenties. Lacrosse great Jack Bionda is my brother-in-law, and he played both hockey and lacrosse professionally.

Through Jack I can best describe how these two great sports are a part of one's life. He played hockey for the Boston Bruins and in two Stanley Cup finals; for the Toronto Maple Leafs, among others, and was a defenceman for the Portland Buckaroos for six years.

However, lacrosse was his sport, beginning in Huntsville and carrying Jack to the west where he played in seven Man Cup finals, five of them winners. He played for the Victoria Shamrocks, Nanaimo and the famous New Westminster Salmonbellies. Jack's superb stick handling developed when he was a lad of 10 or 11. He was inseparable from his lacrosse stick and he walked to school practising, hitting the telephone poles with the ball as he walked along. This ability to control the ball until the last minute and score won him the lacrosse all time high scorer in his time.

He has been honoured in the New Westminster Lacrosse Hall of Fame and the Canadian Hall of Fame. Even today in his sixties Jack gives tirelessly to young lacrosse players at clinics and tournaments. His love of the sport extends to the continued use of the wooden native lacrosse stick.

That brings me to Wes Patterson, a Tuscorora native which is part of the Six Nations. Wes Patterson is a North American Indian who knows as much about the cultural heritage of our national sport of lacrosse as any person in Canada. For many years he has been engaged in successfully producing the wooden lacrosse stick through Can Am Lacrosse Ltd. I wish I had one in the House today to show the skill of this very talented aboriginal.

I have not yet had the honour of meeting Wes Patterson but I have it from good authority that this native can make a complete lacrosse stick in 20 minutes as you watch. He talks of the days as a young boy playing lacrosse and how you were not able to play on the team if you did not select, cut your hickory limb, steam it, bend it, shape it, cut the leather strips and make the net.

What am I trying to say? Is it not long past time for Canadians to realize the cultural contribution of our first people, our truly first people not just in sport but in many things? This is not mythology but true, actual facts.

I do not think Canadians can cheer any harder or enthusiastically for hockey than they have already demonstrated during the Canada-Russia hockey series of the past or than they did during our hockey team's performance at Lillehammer. Both sports are very popular at this time. If members are not aware, ask the countless volunteers who sign up the youth of our nation each season for both these sports.

Today I pay tribute to all volunteers in both associations who over the years have given countless hours promoting these sports. Above all I can never dismiss what the past has given us. We do have a rich cultural heritage.

Come to the Commonwealth Games in Victoria this August 18 to 28 and see lacrosse as the introductory sport. Who will be representing our aboriginal people? Wes Patterson.