House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was process.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Reform MP for Surrey North (B.C.)

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

Statements in the House

Petitions September 27th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I have the privilege to present a petition on behalf of my constituents of Surrey North.

The petitioners allude to the tragic murders of Pamela Cameron, Jessie Cadman, and Melanie Carpenter, whose father Steve is organizing the public rally outside today for National Victims Day.

The petitioners ask Parliament to call upon the government to bring forward legislation to protect Canadians from dangerous and high risk offenders.

Violent Crime September 27th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, Jesse Cadman, Sean Simmonds, Laurie Wood, Linda Williams, Chris Lussier, Paul McDaniel, Graham Niven, Sukhjit Sangha, Pam Cameron, Mindy Tran, Melissa Deley, Melanie Carpenter and the list goes on. These are not just names. They were people with family and friends who loved and cared about them, people whose hopes and dreams and possibilities were cut short because our criminal justice system and the government's lack of corrective action failed them.

The government allows a justice system to exist which is too lenient in sentencing convicted offenders and too generous in doling out parole. It consistently fails the victim.

Steven Carpenter, his family and supporters are calling for justice system changes. It is time the government listened to the people and did something meaningful and positive.

Petitions September 22nd, 1995

The third petition, Mr. Speaker, raises concern regarding the standards of training and education of aircraft maintenance engineers. These petitioners are praying that the minister would leave the existing legislation alone for the licensing of aircraft maintenance engineers.

Petitions September 22nd, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present three petitions to the House today from the residents of Surrey North and other residents of Canada.

The first two petitions draw to the attention of the House the inadequacy of Bill C-68, the proposed gun legislation, toward the solving of violent crime. These petitioners are requesting that Parliament call on the attorney general to bring in a bill that would address violent crime.

Justice September 18th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I call attention to the need for appropriate sentencing in order to prevent habitual offenders from victimizing communities.

The tragic death of Melissa Deley in my riding of Surrey North so horrified my constituents that they were moved to march spontaneously in the streets of Surrey. The police were vigilant and swift in their pursuit and capture of the man accused of ending this innocent child's life.

However, my constituents were horrified to learn that previous to this, the accused stood before a judge and a crown attorney pleaded with the judge to incarcerate this man because of his record. He had attacked a guard while he was in custody. Instead the accused was released by the judge with a $500 fine.

Melissa's parents and my constituents refuse to believe this is the way our justice system should operate. They refuse to believe the crown is powerless to protect law-abiding citizens from habitual criminals. Surrey North wants criminal justice reforms that work and it wants them now.

Code Of Conduct June 16th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the points I was going to make on this motion have been admirably expressed by my colleagues before me.

We are talking about Motion No. 24 which is part of the process in carrying out Bill C-43. This motion deals with the creation of another committee to study the parameters for a code of ethics for MPs. When we consider the historical activity this topic has been subjected to over the years, we cannot really commend it surfacing again even though the need is very predominant. However, we cannot say it is a step in the right direction or give congratulations that we are actually addressing this. It has been around too long. The matter has been put forward so many times with no action resulting from the process in the past. The reputation of this topic is such that one wonders if we mean business or if it is a filler that is just going to be brought in again, discussed for a bit and then allowed to die.

Considering that we come from all walks of life, ethics is a moral topic that we are dealing with. We all have different value systems. The existing rules from the various sources we receive direction from are very general so that they are subject to all kinds of interpretations depending upon one's value system. The consequences over the years of all those sorts of variables have resulted in the general public not trusting or believing in the integrity of members of Parliament and senators and it is time that we address this.

I really question whether we need to set up another joint committee. Certainly all the guidelines and actions that have happened in the past which have set precedents should be correlated. We should study the present code of ethics or conflict of interest situations to see what we have and try to tighten them up so that we have less interpretations of what the actual situation is. Then we can see if we need to take this further or at least get back to the public for input.

This has gone through a number of studies. Possibly all that is needed is to gather together what we have and with the members of the House and the other place get on with setting a code of ethics versus travelling the country spending many dollars to get input from people who have been here in the past.

We have had an example which should be considered. If this motion is passed and the committee is put together we could use the 35th Parliament as an example from the point of view that we have 204 rookies. We are all learning. When it comes to what is ethical and what is not ethical the first thing we discovered was that we were never off duty. Everything we do is viewed by the public. One is always an MP. When does our personal life begin or even come into being here? One always seems to be an MP.

When talking to learned people who have followed this through the years, it absolutely boggles the mind the kind of things that can get you into trouble. They can seem very innocent. These sorts of things should be defined. It would be very nice if we could go somewhere, look at the ethics and come up with an interpretation that would at least provide a standard or average for what MPs and senators believe. Right now it is all over the ballpark.

We work hard. We spend a lot of time working. We are very concerned about the country. Yet we get ourselves into positions of trouble and there are no guidelines to help us. We should be providing some sort of rules with tighter interpretations. If it means another committee, then that is the way to go. I certainly do not want to see it die. The reputation of this topic is poor. Let us try to do something about it.

We do not have to go out and be subjected to bringing more people in. We have the data here. Let us put it together and come up with something.

Alternative Fuels Act June 16th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on this bill.

I cannot agree with the overall need for the bill in the first place. However, the amendment would certainly enhance it. I will direct my remarks specifically to the bill and whether we need it.

I believe the bill is an excellent example of how we as parliamentarians can get caught up in believing that enacting new or revised legislation is the answer to problems we may encounter. Making the bill law is an example of how we have allowed too much government into our daily lives.

The bill's objective is to accelerate the use of alternate fuels for motor vehicles, and specifically targets the government motor vehicle fleet of approximately 30,000 vehicles. The bill then devotes its text to the mechanics of the process deemed necessary to achieve a 75 per cent success rate by the year 2004.

I shall address my remarks to the main objective, as the semantics of the process are irrelevant at this point if one disagrees with the main objective and the overall concept.

The bill is asking us to make a law based on a verb, to accelerate or not to accelerate. The concept of converting gasoline motor vehicles to alternate fuels is already in place. Activity in the government department toward achieving this end is already underway. Therefore to accelerate this activity is not a legislative concern but a management concern in the government departments and corporations, et cetera, this bill includes.

We do not need more laws in our lives. We need to improve the existing ones in their appropriate jurisdictions to resolve problems; if it is a management problem, put the problem there. In this case senior management should have a plan for converting to alternate fuels and the plan should include the number of vehicles by certain dates, be it 2004 or otherwise.

Our colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources, has also indicated the legislation should empower management or bureaucrats to make changes rather than telling them what to do. That was in the Hill Times on April 20. In other words, delegate the authority to carry out the action to management and then expect it to get on with it to achieve the policy as stated by the standards.

The basic principle of delegation when used effectively reduces the number of rules and regulations, laws, et cetera, required and creates the necessary direction at the level of the department or corporation as a policy and procedure versus national law to actually implement the act. By effectively using the principle of delegation we succeed in reducing the amount of law and government in our daily lives.

I am not suggesting this proposal is not an effective action toward reducing the greenhouse effect in our environment. I agree with the comments made by the Minister of the Environment, a member of the Bloc Quebecois and my colleague from Swift Current-Maple Creek-Assiniboia for publicly supporting the concept of converting gasoline motors to alternate fuels.

I agree legislating this type of action, the converting of gasoline motors, et cetera, is in our jurisdiction as legislators, as it provides direction for the people of Canada in this regard. How it is done or the process to achieve this is a managerial concept.

A law of this nature tells all Canadians Canada is working toward this conversion. It provides a sense of direction. The marketplace would be aware of this overall objective and we can pass this as legislation. How fast it goes should be a management situation.

It is not our role to legislate the process to be used by individuals or groups and in this case government departments or corporations. Individuals and groups should be managing their own resources, finances and otherwise and developing a plan conducive to their own situation to achieve this goal.

Bill S-7 is in the realm of management, as I stated earlier, not law. Why is it deemed necessary to be concerned about the speed at which this is occurring? Obviously there are barriers present and the nature of today's marketplace may well be one, as resources for alternate fuels are few and far between.

By legislating that 30,000 plus government vehicles be converted within an eight or nine year period will create much more demand on the marketplace and force the issue on it for change in existing trends. We are not only legislating management techniques for government organizations, we are also becoming involved in the marketplace in that we are suggesting it change its management practices within the next eight or nine years to accommodate the demands this bill will put on it.

Another concern is the cost factor involved and the effects of the time limitations we will have on the budgeting process of an organization, not only the actual conversion costs but the operating costs. The rationale now is alternate fuels are cheaper. If we use the supply and demand principle once we get into the process of conversion at some point the cost of that fuel will also go up.

Bill S-7 will have an effect on several principles or concepts considered important in society. The environment is one. Some of those concepts are government interference in the management process, that is, lack of delegation, government interference in the marketplace which relates directly to the principle of too much government in our daily lives and government entering into the field of free enterprise.

I agree this accelerating process for conversion would definitely contribute toward improving our environment. However, I do not see the need for a national law to achieve this objective. The appropriate position in senior management should send a memo to the appropriate position in purchasing to recommend a conversion program within the budgetary parameters and considerations, et cetera, of the existing vehicles and get on with this conversion through a management process versus a national law.

Criminal Code June 15th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in this debate as well.

Most of the debate has focused on the sexual orientation aspect of section 718.2. I too have received a strong response from my riding and from various Canadians across the country on this. Their main concern seems to be that the term is not defined and that the consequences of it being in the bill remain unknown.

Arguments against including the phrase have been presented at great length. I would like to focus more on the effect of having greater sentences for some crimes versus others. In this bill it is based on hate, which is an emotional or human response.

Another concern I have is the categorizing of conditions. I do not really think I have to be anything as far as religion or whatever is concerned. If someone assaults me I should have the right under law to extract a sentence on that.

I would also like to look at the reason we are having such difficulty with crime in this country. We all agree that we have a crime problem and that we have various groups that are making life very difficult for us. I would like to try to figure out what has happened. What happened to our justice system that has turned things around?

This brings me to a philosophical concept. Over the past 30-odd years we have seen a gradual erosion of the concept of law. In moral philosophy there are two opposing ways of looking at a situation. One school of thought is represented by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant in his Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals . Kant argued that actions should be based on the intent of a person doing the action and not the consequences of the action. Kant himself said: ``An action done from duty has as its moral worth of that action not in the purpose that is to be attained by it but in the maxim according to which the action is determined''. Again that is an implication of intent. He is basically saying that it does not really matter what the result is of what you do; what matters is why you wanted to do it in the first place.

The opposing view is presented by the British philosopher John Stuart Mill in his work Utilitarianism , where he argued that actions of individuals should be based on the consequences of the action. He was more concerned with the consequences of an individual's action than he was with the intent behind the action.

An easy way to get a better understanding of that concept would be the example of one person striking another one. Kant would want to know why that person struck another, what motivated him to take that action, whereas Mill would come up with the fact that the person was indeed struck and that in itself is the offence.

One might ask what all this has to do with the bill today. I firmly believe that the intent of the Canadian justice system has changed from addressing the action involved and the result of the action to now trying to address intent and be psychologists and psychiatrists in the court system.

We also have come into other problems that could very well relate to this switch in the philosophical approach to how we view our justice system. We talk about criminals getting more rights than victims, for example. Well that follows my argument that if we are looking at why somebody does something we are not looking at the person who is dead, the victim.

There are a number of things that have happened in our system that bring me to think there has been a definite switch in philosophical views or actions in our society and we have switched from the Mill concept to the Kant concept and are stressing more and more the intent aspect.

This first started to erode when we looked at the state of mind component from the point of view of mental illness and people who were involved in some sort of crime who were mentally ill. We tended to forgive their crime to a certain degree because they knew not what they did. From there it gradually evolved to where we even got into debates involving drug abuse, for example: I take drugs or I drink and because I am in that state from the inducement of drugs I am not responsible for what I do.

I see this intent business getting totally out of hand. The point is that it does not really matter what your emotional state of mind is, when you kill somebody they are dead and that is the end of it.

We have to try to create situations where people who need help and who can be harmful to others or themselves can be treated before they end up in our courts so we do not have those kinds of situations.

Firefighters June 12th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Motion 136, proposed by the hon. member for Winnipeg Transcona. The motion states:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should consider the advisability of "Right to Know" legislation for the protection of firefighters and other public servants who, in the course of duty, are confronted by fires or disasters involving potentially harmful substances such as toxic chemicals.

That is a very broad statement. I am surprised we are talking to such a statement because to my mind it would be a given that

kind of information would be available or that there would be processes in place to provide such information.

The motion was developed out of a genuine concern for the safety of firefighters. These people seem to be lacking the necessary information so they can do their jobs effectively or as effectively as they would like to do it. I equate it to an emergency department in a hospital. Emergency staff really do not know what they are dealing with until the patient gets there.

I commend the member for Winnipeg Transcona for bringing this problem to our attention. Because of the nature of the firefighters' job it is not often they are actually in the news unless some very unfortunate situation occurs. Several recent incidents highlight the danger of the nature of the firefighters' job.

Recently in Ottawa firefighters had to respond to a fire that turned out to be in a house that was used mainly for drug purposes. When the firefighters arrived at the fire they rushed into the building to put the blaze out. They moved as quickly as possible according to procedures for firefighting. They were not expecting or necessarily looking for exposed needles and other dangerous drug paraphernalia. The irony is that the local police were aware it was a drug house but because of concern at overstepping the bounds of privacy, the information was not shared with another emergency response group. I find it phenomenal that they cannot work in partnership and share information that relates to an incident.

That is a concern we must definitely address, if not through legislation proposed in this motion, then the government should be looking at other ways to get around the letter of the law and use some common sense. Information should be shared among the principal players that are addressing the same concerns, especially when safety is involved. We must be practical and use some common sense on the issue.

Another issue which relates to the whole attitude of how emergency response personnel deal with injured persons would be to keep in mind today's environment in relation to infectious diseases. HIV-AIDS and tuberculosis are two diseases that come to mind that can cause a great deal of concern not only to firefighters but any other emergency response personnel.

In response to these valid concerns, groups such as the International Association of Firefighters have done a lot of work in researching the problem. That research is available to us to pursue. The association has called on the government to take steps to protect firefighters while they are performing their duties. One of the arguments put forward is that firefighters deserve to know what hazardous materials may be present at any incident. That follows logic. If firefighters are called to a potentially hazardous situation, it sounds very logical to be able to pass on information about what they are facing and what they are dealing with.

That is a principle we can address by looking at a better communication and perhaps addressing the Privacy Act or situations involving that act.

A second principle would be access to reliable information that will save lives by ensuring that firefighters use the most effective response techniques at any incident. The previous speaker talked about a propane tank in a barn. If somebody was aware the tank was there, that information should have been available to the firefighters responding to the fire.

Both arguments put forward by the IAFF are certainly valid. The principles involved in them are certainly worth looking at. They are very timely. There must be numerous options for addressing the proposals by the association that we can look at and it is time we did. This motion presents a couple of suggestions in relation to ways of addressing that.

The IAFF supports the establishment of a computerized national emergency response. This is one suggestion on how to address these issues. It would provide accurate information to firefighters at the scene of a hazardous material incident. The system would provide not only information for stationary incidents such as the propane tank in the barn, but also for hazardous materials that are on the move.

A system which deals with materials in stationary structures should certainly be looked at for a couple of identifiable reasons. We are already doing one through the women's program in many institutions such as hospitals, et cetera. The other one would be to prevent firefighters from going into the barn without knowing about the propane tank.

I would like to move on to the computerized system for materials in transit. A system is already in place which requires little placards to be put on vehicles. One of the problems occurring with that is that the placards may not be up to date. Therefore, firefighters can arrive at a derailed train and find the placard is not up to date or they may not even see the placard because of fire. There are situations in the system which really do not address all the problems.

A computerized system seems to be one very good answer. However it will only be as good as the information being put into it. The government is suggesting that this system is not up to par in relation to providing the kind of information that would facilitate the problem that firefighters have.

In the world of technology today, I am suggesting that system, if it is not here now, is not far away. We should be looking at it very seriously as a possible solution. We should be doing some research and investigation of it and figuring out what the cost of it is going to be. If it is plausible it should be implemented on a

test basis some place to see whether or not it will address the problem.

The motion deals not only with small aspects of the problem but is all encompassing. It deals with stationary situations, movable situations, health and all other aspects. Therefore, because of the nature and broadness of this motion and the fact that it is a problem that should be solved, we should be looking at it. It is not an isolated type of thing. It is a general thing.

Budget Implementation Act, 1995 June 5th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the accommodation in switching the speaking order.

The motions I am addressing today relate to the Canadian health and social transfer. This transfer was one of the more controversial aspects of the latest budget as it transformed the whole system of federal transfers to the provinces.

The transfers were represented by the finance minister as being more flexible in approach. In his budget speech the finance minister stated: "Provinces will now be able to design more innovative social programs, programs that respond to the needs of the people today rather than inflexible rules".

When that statement is considered on its own, it almost seems as if anyone can identify that as being something positive, constructive, et cetera. The provinces will be allowed to be more innovative and will indeed have fewer rules, therefore becoming more flexible.

I wonder what definitions are meant by innovation and flexible and how they are actually applied. Does it suggest it will allow the provinces to have more control over management of the programs and be able to adapt programs to meet the specific needs of residents in their area? Of course, innovative would be to create the programs.

The minister goes on to state: "However, flexibility does not mean a free for all. There are national goals and principles we believe must still apply and which the vast majority of Canadians support. Our goal must be to combine greater flexibility with continued fidelity to those principles".

This suggests that the government will still be making and interpreting the rules and that the provinces will abide by the decisions and interpretations. Therefore, they will have to be flexible to adapt to less money because this is very suggestive that there will still be federal control over it. Yes, they will become flexible in that they will have to adapt to providing innovative programs on less money.

We cannot have it both ways, especially based on this approach. On the one hand the federal government says it will allow greater flexibility, but on the other hand it is going to enforce the national standards.

The finance minister continued his speech with a commitment to maintain the five conditions of the Canada Health Act: universality, comprehensiveness, accessibility, portability and public administration. Then the minister proceeded to outline the cuts in the transfers to the provinces under the new Canada health and social transfer. This is an excellent illustration of how the federal government is failing to address the fundamental problem now facing health care in Canada: declining federal financing combined with a lack of provincial manoeuvrability.

Also in the red book there is the statement: "The Liberal government will not withdraw from or abandon the health care field". We are talking about semantics or the meanings of words. We talk about flexibility. Flexibility how? We talk about being innovative. How? Here we talk about withdrawal as well. Withdrawing or reducing finances can be interpreted as withdrawing

from the program as we knew it in 1993. Therefore, we have another broken promise if we interpret the word withdraw that way.

At this time I would like to provide a little background on the subject. Under the Canada health and social transfer, the funding to the provinces will be reduced from what it otherwise would have been in 1996-97 by $2.5 billion. It will go down to $26.9 billion. That tends to suggest to me a withdrawal of funds from health care. Of course, it is going to make the provinces innovative and flexible in trying to find programs which will meet the needs of the provinces based on less money. It is going to be further reduced from what it otherwise would have been in 1997-98 by $4.5 billion, bringing it down to $25.1 billion.

That is not a complete representation of the total effects of the cuts in the last budget. When discussing the value of the transfers to the provinces under CAP and EPF, the government decided to include the value of the tax points which were transferred in 1977. This component of the transfer is not and never has been a budgetary item. The value of the tax point transfer is not included in the budgetary expenditures, nor is the forgone tax revenue deducted from the budgetary revenues. We begin to wonder whether the tax point transfer was included in this whole process just to mask the depth and the significance the reductions which are proposed in this transfer to the provinces will actually be.

The cash transfers to the provinces are scheduled to fall from their 1994-95 level of $25.2 billion to a 1997-98 level of $19.9 billion. Included in the cash transfers are two components: the equalization component and the CHST component. Over three years the equalization payment will continue to grow. It will actually grow from approximately $8.3 billion in 1994-95 to $9.6 billion in 1997-98. On the other hand, funding for Canada health and social transfers will be reduced by $6.6 billion, from $16.9 billion in 1994-95 to $10.3 billion in 1997-98.

When we get through all the jargon and the process of what is actually happening and try to figure out what the bottom line is, and when we consider the components of cash transfers, tax points, the CHST component, the equalization component, the CAP component and the EPF component, what is actually going to happen? I sat down and tried to pull this all together. It looks like this will represent a 39 per cent cut over this period of time to 1998 in federal cash transfers for health, advanced education and social assistance as they are now being lumped into a block program.

When we start to think of the diminishing cash contributions, the key question which comes to mind is: How does the federal government hope to enforce the national standards in health care if the cash contributions are diminishing every year and what will happen when they get down to zero? That is where clause 51 comes into play. It allows the government to withhold any transfers, such as those going to advanced education or social services, based on its interpretation of the province's behaviour in relation to health care, or whatever it is. That is a threat to the provinces.

In any given year, based on a judgment of the government, transfers can be withheld from the provinces. Again, it must be flexible because now it will affect the other two components as well. Of course, there will be more people upset, which will also apply pressure.

The whole process is totally unacceptable because the control is being kept by the federal government instead of being decentralized to the provinces and closer to the people who are actually receiving the care. That is why my hon. colleague from Lethbridge has introduced the amendments which would prevent these kinds of contradictions and I fully support them.