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

Goods And Services Tax October 11th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I must remind the minister that the GST is still going to be on the books. The provinces may bite the bullet themselves and take the 8 per cent rebate, but the GST will still be on books and this government promised to remove it. If mothers have to buy a science or medical book which may cost $100 and they are paying an additional 15 per cent, that is just too much money.

I say again the statistics find that an unemployed person is three times more likely to be at the lowest reading level than someone who is employed. I again ask the Minister of Finance to please address this question: When will the government help families, help those mothers at home, keep its election promise and remove the GST on books?

Goods And Services Tax October 11th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, this is Family Week and this government is still taxing reading, learning and the future of Canadians, in spite of the Prime Minister's promise to remove the GST on books and in spite of the government's own statistics which state literacy is important. Society rewards individuals who are proficient and penalize those who are not in terms of employment opportunities and job success.

Given this government's own findings and the promise by the Prime Minister, how can the Minister of Finance continue to rationalize the GST on reading materials?

Hazardous Materials October 10th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this very important debate.

I begin this evening by congratulating the hon. member for Burnaby-Kingsway for bringing this matter forward for discussion and hopefully for approval.

Private Members' Business in this Parliament has been the source of many fruitful and interesting debates. As hard as it sometimes may be for us to believe it, occasionally bills and motions actually pass. Without Private Members' Business we probably would not be having this debate tonight.

The motion put forward by my colleague seeks something relatively simple and inexpensive. By passing this motion we will be sending the Minister of Transport a message, to move quickly to establish a Canadian test site for Operation Respond. We are asking him to have the effectiveness of the software developed by Operation Respond tested to determine if it does identify hazardous materials, thus improving the safety for firefighters and others who may be involved in a chemical fire.

Everyone in the Chamber and all Canadians are indebted to firefighters for the courageous work they do. I am sure we all remember trips to the local fire station to see the big red trucks and

the brave men, now women and men, who hourly put their lives in danger to protect our lives and our property. I never cease to be amazed by the ability of our firefighters to respond quickly and effectively to all forms of crisis.

In this motion we are addressing a particularly dangerous situation where hazardous goods or chemicals are involved in a fire. We have moved to a time in history where with complex materials and chemicals a firefighter must have a level of sophisticated knowledge beyond anything previously required in our history.

The firefighter has to know the particular combustibility of compounds, how various chemicals react together and, of course, the means that must be used to put the fire out.

Approximately 25 years ago the system which is presently used, CANUTEC, was developed by the Department of Transport. It is an excellent system that has served us well in the past years. I understand that it works when placards are put on vehicles or rail cars transporting hazardous goods, explaining the content of the rail car or transport truck or other ferrying device. Once these placards are spotted by the firefighter they call the staff at CANUTEC with the information. Within eight to ten minutes a call comes back telling the firefighters at the scene what the contents are and how they might fight the blaze.

As I said, it is a good system but perhaps not as quick as it could be. That is where this motion comes in. That is where Operation Respond comes in.

Under this system, which is has been ably explained by the member for Burnaby-Kingsway, each truck, vessel, rail car or any other mode of carrying freight which is part of the Operation Respond program carries a unique number.

Firefighters simply need to find the unique number which I gather is displayed in many places on the container and enter it into a lap top computer carried in a firebrick.

Within a minute the contents of the container will be displayed on the lap top computer screen. The sources of the information for Operation Respond are data bases kept by the carriers. This system is not only quick but gets around the problem encountered with CANUTEC where sometimes the placard showing the relevant information regarding the container is destroyed in the crash or burned in the fire.

The Operation Respond system can be used for passenger rail where it would show entry points and electrical systems et cetera on the passenger cars. The software for this program was developed in the United States and is the property of the United States government. I am informed it is willing to share it with us for free. It has already made this offer to Mexico and Mexico has said yes and is testing and implementing Operation Respond.

The hardware needed to use the software is a lap top computer. Most fire stations already have them, at least according to the International Association of Firefighters. A place is needed to test and surely this government can find some vacant land. How about some of the Canadian Armed Forces bases land that has already been closed. Why not try it? What do we have to lose?

Why is Canada not testing Operation Respond already? There are some reasons. Transport Canada believes the current system, CANUTEC, needs no improvement. Countless examples prove that this is not the case. CANUTEC system does work but not as quickly or as a reliably as Operation Respond would.

Officials point to the fact that in using the present system there have been no direct casualties from incidents involving hazardous materials. Is this not just luck? In the event of a major spill in downtown Toronto would the CANUTEC system work fast enough to prevent casualties? They also fail to account for those who have been exposed to contamination, the inconvenience of unnecessary evacuation or loss of property which might have been preventable.

Apparently what stands in the way are the egos of Transport Canada, the egos that developed the original detection system and do not want to give it up. They do not want to give in to progress. Let us say in this case that Operation Respond is to be used along with CANUTEC to placate the egos of Transport Canada. Let us test it to see if it works and let us see how it works. The costs of proceeding are minimal. Through adoption of this motion let us send a clear signal to Transport Canada to draft the test criteria which can be used to determine if the test is a success.

What is the position of international firefighters? International firefighters of course support this demonstration site for Operation Respond. They say that firefighters deserve the right to know exactly what hazardous materials may be present at any incident. They need access to reliable information within the first three to four minutes on arrival. That will save lives by ensuring that firefighters use the most effective response techniques at any incident involving hazardous materials.

In passenger rail emergencies Operation Respond will make it easier for firefighters to save lives by knowing entry points, electrical, mechanical systems and bypass advice.

The International Association of Firefighters urges the transport minister to make Operation Respond's Canadian test site a top priority in his department by committing staff and resources to this project immediately.

Let us send a clear message to our brave firefighters that we in this Chamber stand behind them in what they are trying to do. I know the firefighters in my riding and across Canada need the Operation Respond system and I know they are watching tonight. Let us send a clear message to the Canadian people that we have their safety at the top of our agenda. Let us adopt this motion.

Goods And Services Tax October 10th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, this week is family week, and the government has forgotten families.

First, the government pays lip service to family concerns and throws money into short term job creation programs for youth to look good on paper. To make matters worse, that money is drawn on the country's battered credit, already at nearly $600 billion in taxpayer dollars.

Now, after saying there would be no GST on books in its election promises, the government is still going ahead with a new 15 per cent tax on reading materials which will take effect April 1 unless the Atlantic provinces are prepared to bite the bullet and swallow the 8 per cent additional tax as premier of Nova Scotia, John Savage, said he is prepared to do.

The Prime Minister wants credit for this? When is the government going to keep its word and remove the GST on reading materials? I remind the Prime Minister of his promise to remove GST on reading materials. I remind the Deputy Prime Minister, who said that books are a necessity.

This is family week. Remove the GST on books.

Divorce Act October 3rd, 1996

Madam Speaker, I enjoyed listening to my colleague from Calgary North. She always brings a different perspective to this question when we debate it in the House because of her experience in law. I think she may be able to help me on this particular issue. I wonder if my colleague could comment on the prospect of mediation before access and custody is even decided or settled, usually prior to divorce. It would then be agreed by both parents and hopefully on the needs for the child and the ability of the non-custodial spouse to pay. Hopefully that would make for a better and lasting settlement and would probably result in payments being made on a regular basis.

Would my colleague also comment on the program called parenting after divorce? It became mandatory in Alberta after February 1, and Alberta justice minister Brian Evans said that the program is intended to help children and also to save the courts time and money since our courts are already overburdened. The program was basically brought in to minimize the impact of divorce on children. Would my colleague comment on whether she feels mediation would help and if so, should it be in the bill?

Divorce Act October 1st, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals do like to be heard.

This is very pertinent to the last part. I want to point out, after the interruption, that this again is a woman who deals with this every day of her life, the worst scenarios in lack of child support.

This is what she said: "When I first went into the business I tried to be cool and objective, a real hard-boiled detective, but it just wasn't my style. As a result I often find myself getting emotionally involved in my cases and giving my clients personal advice. My favourite cases are those in which my work helps to reunite a family. Some fathers are actually relieved when I find them. They miss their children and are eager for a fresh start.

"Take the case of Joe and Sally. Joe, tired of being turned away every time he wanted to visit their children, stopped paying child support and Sally refused to let him visit until he started sending the cheques again. To end this bitter standoff I drew up a modification to the child support decree stipulating that the payments and visits were to resume immediately. Sally, still distrustful of Joe, was reluctant to sign the agreement but I warned her I would drop her case if she didn't. Finally she gave in. Both the cheques and the visits have been helping ever since.

"Helping women get the support they deserve is immensely satisfying. However, helping fathers like Joe make amends to their families makes me feel that my profession is really worthwhile. Fatherhood can and should be more than just a monthly cheque not just a wallet. My work has taught me that a child whose daddy disappears is never quite the same". As a teacher for over 30 years, I can second that.

Now that I am coming to the end of my speech, I must again say that no one understands any more than I do, having personal

experience, the very serious issue with which we are dealing. If we do not start caring about everybody, if we do not start putting children first and trying to help families, then we are going to see more and more separation, divorce and lack of support payments.

Divorce Act October 1st, 1996

Mr. Speaker:

No matter how onerous the child support decrees against these men may be, no matter how diligently governments enforce these decrees, for reasons of basic economics and arithmetic, divorce and unwed motherhood will inevitably mean

economic catastrophe for the people involved. If anything, tougher child support rules are likely to exacerbate the catastrophe especially among the poor.

It is not that I did not hear the comments at the side, however rudely said. What it does say is that the members opposite are trying to point out, and perhaps rightly so, that usually the mothers have a very difficult time. Yes they do. But that does not mean that we should put our heads in the sand and pretend their is economic prosperity out there. There is not.

I do not want to see families falling apart even further than they do after divorce. A divorce does not mean a family has to fall apart. People who use common sense can encourage the father, which is usually the non-custodial parent, to continue visiting and to let his children know he still loves them and cares for them. But we cannot hammer them into the ground and then say come on, be a good family person. You have to use your head. For many years those paying the support and the parents who are receiving the support have had a lot of problems. I am personally well aware of it. But that does not mean that I stop thinking or stop facing reality.

In these economic times the Liberal government should certainly look at the 10 per cent unemployment level. We cannot punish people. We have to offer encouragement. That is what we must do when we are making laws.

If we have moved to no fault divorce, which I believe we have, at least let us be consistent in awarding child support maintenance and not use this to punish the non-custodial spouse. There is no big bad guy out there and no one on a white charger either.

We also have concerns with clauses of the bill which allow the government to suspend licences and passports in order to achieve payment of support arrears. I recognize that in these instances of persistent arrears we should be careful. By suspending a licence or a passport we may be putting someone's ability to earn a livelihood in jeopardy. It does not help to make it so difficult that someone may end up out of a job. Then they cannot make any payments or help anybody, least of all their children.

If the ability to earn a living is jeopardized then there will be no money at all to pay child support. It is a lose-lose situation. We must also keep in mind the revocation of a passport may place such a person in jeopardy if he or she travels or works outside of Canada. This international law aspect of the revocation of a passport should be explored.

I hope these clauses will be examined closely in committee. We will be considering amendments which lengthen the period of notice under clause 22 of the bill which amends section 67(4) of the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act.

What also distresses me about this bill is the fact that it does not address the issue of access, especially the access of grandparents to grandchildren.

Finally the media is starting to pick up on that major issue in our society, giving Canadian children access to their families, which also includes grandparents.

We are told to wait for a comprehensive review of the Divorce Act. I put it to the Minister of Justice today that a number of grandparents do not have much time left.

Let us agree on one thing. There are no good guys, no bad guys in divorce. The term no fault divorce recognizes that. How do we establish fairness and equal responsibility and access rights that recognize that parents divorce and children do not? I am talking in general terms here because we are all aware that there are parents who should never have been parents. Some are irresponsible and not supportive. But the average parent, divorced or not, cares about his or her children, loves them, wants them with them and wants to help them. This is a major reason why mediation before divorce and before child custody and access is decided is necessary.

What am I really saying? It is the children who are the real victims of divorce. They need a loving, caring family. As a teacher for over 30 years, I can tell the House that all children are affected by divorce. However, divorce does happen and will continue to happen. So what can we do as a country? We all must remember that the family is our most basic unit in society.

Unfortunately in today's world over 50 per cent of marriages end in divorce. Unfortunately in the case of divorce, which is what this bill deals with, it is most often the case that children are the last to be considered. This in spite of the fact that the courts and our laws use the phrase "in the best interests of the child". In fact, in most cases it really comes down to the best interests of the custodial parent.

We know from heavy documentation in the United States, which keeps records of trends in divorce, that generally the practice was in the best interests of the custodial parent. The child and the rest of the immediate family are seldom considered.

The House knows that I have been concerned about our Canadian grandchildren and I have spoken of the crisis after divorce when many grandchildren no longer see or visit with their grandparents. Perhaps I see families in a different light than other members of the House. It seems to me that just because a divorce takes place does not mean that a child or children of that marriage no longer have a father or a mother. A divorce should not make those children any less deserving of maintaining family ties. It would be more difficult, perhaps, but also more necessary.

If we want a strong, healthy society then we must be concerned with all families, divorced or not. We must ensure that children are encouraged to maintain access to their whole family. Children need to know they are loved by both parents, regardless of the divorce and by both sets of grandparents. Child support or a lack of it is a major problem but I feel the government by treating it as a one sided issue is not going to help the issue but rather exasperate it.

I want to say at this time that I will be making some amendments because obviously there are some current concerns which I have already raised pertaining to this and I hope those amendments will be taken seriously by the government.

In closing I would like to point out an American book, Ladies' Home Journal. A business woman, Rebecca Morrick, was a parent who suffered from lack of support payments. They did not come to her on time and so she started her own collection agency. She said: "I understand the anger and frustration of the women who come to me. I know what it is like when a support cheque doesn't come or a child's birthday is ignored. I know how it feels to hunt for pocket change just to buy a gallon of milk. Believe me, I've been there".

Then she talks about her work and how successful she has been in finding, as she calls them, deadbeat fathers. That is not a very nice term but it does probably describe the situation. She said: "It takes me about six months to start collecting money from deadbeat dads and I do most of my leg work by computer. In the end a client can make out quite well. Even if the support award is relatively small, the ex can be made to pay his or her spouse the compound interest that would be accrued over the years of non-payment. Not surprisingly, finding fathers on the run is my speciality. In a case I am closing now, my largest one ever, I tracked down a deadbeat dad who owed more than $200,000. He had been ordered to pay my client $300 a month to support their daughter back in 1979 but he skipped town without paying a cent.

"His wife Moranda hadn't tried very hard to find him, thinking that he would never earn enough to make the payments anyway. Years later, however, Moranda learned that her ex had become a successful songwriter for a country music star. We found him in Nashville, had him served by the court and we are in the process of seizing his royalty cheques, some of which amount to more than $30,000".

She is talking about those that she has had that are successful. What she is saying is there are very serious issues of non-support. She sees them all the time and tries to rectify the situation with a certain amount of success. She mentions too that the bureaucracy often gets in the way and that happens in Canada too. It gets in the way too often and sometimes our workers in the social field are overworked and cannot address all the concerns.

What I want to point out is that here is a woman who has gone through the situation, who works with it every day, who sees the worst scenarios, but is she biased like the member opposite? Does she only push one side of the question, like the member opposite? Or does she deal, and this is what-

Divorce Act October 1st, 1996

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to thank you for recognizing me today in this debate. It is an honour for me to speak first. I have been asked by my party to lead off on this second reading debate.

We recognize with Bill C-41 that the government is addressing a much needed part of our society in that there are support payments which are in serious arrears. In British Columbia, my home province, there are serious arrears and persistent arrears in some cases. We must deal with the issue and this bill is welcome in that sense.

There are a lot of divorces in which the non-custodial parent is working very hard, is making the support payments and is trying to keep in touch with his previous family. I say "his" because nine times out of ten the non-custodial parent is usually male in our society.

I feel that the bill addresses a very important concern; however, I have several reservations regarding it.

In the 1996 budget the government addressed a strategy to change the Canadian child support system, including the introduction of guidelines to establish child support awards in divorce cases. Legislation implementing key components of the strategy was tabled in the House of Commons on May 30, 1996. Both the guidelines and the new tax rules for child support are scheduled to come into effect on May 1, 1997.

Bill C-41 is a bill which will amend the Divorce Act and other acts in order to establish a federal system of aid for the payment of child support or spousal maintenance.

The bill will alter four statutes in order to do these four things. First, it will establish federal guidelines for child support. As I stated before, that is needed.

Second, Revenue Canada data bases will be open for searches in the case of payment default. This may cause all sorts of problems arising from the questions of privacy and confidentiality. These are some considerations we have to look at.

Third is the denial of passports and certain licences to individuals whose support payments are in arrears. In doing so, in denying those passports or licences, there will be a garnishee notice. The intent of this bill, as I understand it, is that the notice of intent to garnishee will no longer be there. That is a major concern. Why? We recognize that sometimes if a person receives a notice of intent, they then can be long gone if their intent is to never pay the support payments.

However, suppose the person is working out of the country, suppose they are off on the oil rigs somewhere in Iran and that notice of garnishee does not get to them within the 30 days. Suppose there is an affidavit that does not have correct information on it. We know that happens often in the legal system. Then they are at an extreme disadvantage. That is another problem.

The fourth is that it would provide for the garnishment and attachment of federal public service pensions and the wages of individuals working at sea.

The acts involved in Bill C-41 besides the Divorce Act are the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act, the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and the Canada Shipping Act.

Speakers for the government on this bill have already indicated that it does establish a grid of payment levels for child support as well as creating a number of enforcement mechanisms which can be brought into place should default occur. That is all it does.

It does not deal with the deductibility of support payments from income tax. It does not establish a system of required mediation. It does not improve access issues for non-custodial parents or dare I say for grandparents, and it does not address the issue of redress for the parent who pays child support but is denied access by the custodial parent without just cause.

These are only some of the matters that are important issues in family law today that this bill neglects to address. If Bill C-41 does not deal with the most controversial aspects of child support announced in the 1996 federal budget, namely income tax payment and deductions, and it does not deal with access to children or any of the other issues relevant to family law reform, why has this government called this Bill C-41 a comprehensive strategy to improve the child support system?

Comprehensive means all encompassing. This bill is a piecemeal approach at best for amending the Divorce Act. When I say comprehensive, I am referring to a working draft of federal child support guidelines issued in June 1996 by the Department of Justice where it states in the 1996 budget that the government announced a comprehensive strategy to improve the Canadian child support system, including the introduction of guidelines, et cetera. I have a problem with that because I do not see this as being comprehensive.

Canadians need a comprehensive approach. The focus of such comprehensive reform would be changes that benefit the children of divorce. We are talking here about children. As I have spoken about before in this House, when I talk about grandparent rights or any rights in the family, it is the children I am always concerned about.

A comprehensive approach would include compulsory mediation as a first step in the divorce process rather than going straight to court. A comprehensive approach would include access provisions that are enforceable. It would also include the elements of easier access for grandchildren to their grandparents. As well, the bill should include the tax payments and deductions announced in the budget.

I find the Liberal government's rationale odd when a reason given to me by the minister for his failure to support my grandparents bill in committee was that he would be doing a comprehensive family law review of the Divorce Act. Hence at some later date the grandchild-grandparent relationship would be dealt with, unfortunately though, far too late for many of our grandparents.

Yet this minister is in favour of a piecemeal approach to child support. Is Bill C-41 a comprehensive reform? No, of course it is not. It is a typical Liberal knee-jerk reaction to part of the problem. As always, when someone deals only with part of the problem they deal with the easy part first, the part that will not get them into any trouble. This is the Liberal philosophy. Play it safe, do not stick your neck out. There must be an election around the corner.

Playing it safe and delivering only half a loaf will not work in the case of family reform. There are pressing issues and they should be addressed together in one bill.

Dealing specifically with Bill C-41, we have some major concerns. We do not believe the bill takes an even handed approach to the issue of child support.

We are here to represent all Canadians, both men and women. This bill is decidedly biased against the male parent. There is very definitely a lack of equality for both parents. We all know that the much larger group paying child support are men. This bill does nothing to assure them of access rights.

There is nothing to address the issues of mediation which are so necessary if couples are going to live apart but still maintain the best interests of their children uppermost in their minds. I understand there is provision on the books at the present time that asks divorce lawyers to attempt mediation prior to going into the divorce court. I am told it is a half hearted measure at best and few attempt it seriously.

That is why I was interested to read of the Edmonton pilot project which requires people to take a six hour course before they can start action over child access or custody. The free two night seminar gives general information on topics such as the impact of divorce on children, how to reduce a conflict and ways to negotiate settlements without going to court.

Alberta justice minister Brian Evans said the program is intended to help children and to save the courts time and money: "If you have an agreement right off the bat and the parties are amicable and the children are well taken care of, there is no intention of forcing this upon people. There is some flexibility. The focus of the program is on minimizing the impact of divorce on children and avoiding future problems with the law. If they are damaged psychologically and emotionally there is a very good chance they are going to get into our criminal justice system".

The article goes on to say Alberta is the second province after Saskatchewan to introduce such a program. Manitoba is considering a similar move.

There is no similar program in B.C. according to Diane Bell of the family law section of the Canadian Bar Association in B.C: "It would be nice if it was available. If this free was around I think lawyers would use it".

The Edmonton program is a year long pilot project that could be expanded to the rest of the province. The departments of justice and social services are implementing it. Mr. Gronow, a justice official, said that 1,200 couples in the Edmonton area will go through the course each year because they cannot settle disputes over child custody or access. The parent who wants to take this issue to court will have to prove he or she has taken the course.

I have to pat the people in Edmonton on the back because I think what they are addressing is the real issue. First, no child support payment system is going to work if people are not willing to go

along with it. It is realistic because it deals with the actual facts. If we look at the fact that realistically we are going to address the needs of the child and the ability of the father to pay and that both parents who are getting divorced are involved in that mediation, then the reality is they are going to come up with something that is workable. I think that is what Edmonton has addressed and rightly so.

What the article is telling us is that there is a need for such programs. Divorce is a major happening in our country and we had better deal with it in a positive manner. I believe we cannot over emphasize our commitment to children. To invest in a child is to invest in the country.

Bill C-41 gives authority to the governor in council, the cabinet, to set the payment grid for child support and for spousal support but does not clearly indicate that judges may vary the grid if warranted by the circumstances. I think it would be all too easy for a judge in this case to just go with the grid because it will probably result in fewer appeals.

Therefore everything meaningful and important in this bill will be implemented by the order in council, and so parliamentarians will not have the opportunity to review or to comment on the child support payment grid.

Reform has difficulties with this mechanism. We always have difficulty when this government tries to bypass Parliament in an attempt to legislation through the use of regulation. This grid should be referred to a committee of this House for study before it has legal affect.

Given my recent experiences with the House of Commons justice committee I doubt whether that would be the appropriate forum. However, some committee of this House, hopefully one on which members are sympathetic to the problem of family break-up, should review these guidelines.

Clause 2 of the bill which amends section 15 of the Divorce Act recognizes that a judge in both child and spousal award situations may look at agreements made between the parties, ability to pay and matters which would be of benefit to the children. First the judge is to take into consideration the guidelines, which is the grid established under this bill.

I think the drafters here have it backwards. The judge should look first at agreements reached between the parties and only when the parties cannot agree look at the grid. As well the judge should look at the ability to pay. If we are looking seriously at mediation before divorce, as Alberta is, then the parents have already worked out an agreement which will work for them.

There will be no need to put extra stress on a couple who are already in a stressful situation. We have plenty of evidence of large awards of support and maintenance which bear no relation to the spouses ability to pay. No matter the consequences, we run into problems of the payment.

The Financial Post took a realistic look at this problem. In the article ``Getting tough with deadbeat dads won't solve the problem'', the writer states:

Deadbeat dads stand only slightly below tobacco companies in the modern compendium of villainy. Governments across North America compete to devise the toughest schemes to extract child support money from these men. Give the prize for harshness to Tory Ontario. Beginning this January 1, Ontario fathers who fail to pay court imposed child support obligation will lose their drivers' licenses, will see their credit ratings stripped away, and will soon hear the pounding of the debt collector's fist on their front door.

So, can Ontario's single mothers soon look forward to a big bump in their incomes? Hardly.

Even those men lucky enough to have full time employment are averaging only about $40,000 a year, according to Statistics Canada. But a father who moves away from his children must still pay taxes. He must still eat and put some sort of roof over his head. It's still against the law for him to appear in public naked and he must somehow get to work.

A single man earning $40,000 faces income taxes of more than $15,000 in Ontario, even after the first Harris tax cut. Grant him a frugal $1,500 per year for food, and another $6,000 a year for a cheap apartment. Budget $1,500 to finance, insure and operate a car, and $1,000 for shoes and clothes. Toss in $2,000 more for laundry, electricity, toothpaste, a telephone to call the kids he is supporting, the occasional haircut and a few other meagre incidentals.

In other words, provided that this man is willing to devote every discretionary dollar to their lives, and provided too that he never remarries and never fathers any more children, we might be able to squeeze as much as $10,000 a year of child support out of him. If we fail to make him live like a monk, if we permit him to form a new family, then the money available will rapidly tumble to a thousand or two a year. And that's not going to do very much good is it?

Here's the truth that the whole deadbeat dad discussion evades. The reason women and children usually suffer economically after the break of a family is not that some man is selfishly or punitively withholding money from them, although of course some men do. The reason women and children suffer is that the typical wage earner does not earn enough to support two households. Neither for that matter does the comparatively affluent wage earner, one of the ten per cent of Canadian workers who grosses above $50,000 a year-".

Petitions September 25th, 1996

Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I rise on behalf of my constituents in Mission-Coquitlam to present a petition. It asks that the government conduct a full public inquiry into the relationship between lending institutions and the judiciary, and to enact legislation restricting the appointment of judges with ties to credit granting institutions.

Criminal Code September 24th, 1996

We are talking about first degree murderers here. We are talking about mass murderers. For goodness sake let us have some common sense in the remarks coming from that side.

I must comment on what the member for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell said yesterday because according to him the crime rate is going down. I guess it depends on what poll we read or what political group we listen to.

I have in my hand the poll from the Readers Digest which I think is pretty non-partisan. It says that between the 1960s and the 1990s the total Criminal Code violations reported to police nearly quadrupled from over 2,000 to over 10,000 for every 100,000 people. Property crime soared from almost 2,000 to over 6,000 during the same period. Violent crime exploded. Whereas there were 221 violent crimes per 100,000 people back in the 1960s, the figures in the 1990s are now astounding at over 1,000.