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

Health Insurance And Services May 15th, 1995

I will be about a minute, Mr. Speaker.

In conclusion, I proposed this motion because the federal government seems unwilling to address the fundamental problems facing health care in Canada: declining federal financing, combined with the lack of provincial manoeuvrability. The government has ruled out amending the Health Care Act and the minister has portrayed herself as a defender of it and thus medicare. This is not so and we must defend it.

Health Insurance And Services May 15th, 1995


That, in the opinion of this House, the government should consider allowing the provinces greater flexibility in the provision of health insurance and services.

Mr. Speaker, the request in my motion is simple. The Reform Party, like all Canadians, Canadian political parties, Canadians working in health care and a multitude of other Canadians, including the provincial premiers, recognizes the provinces have been delegated legal and constitutional responsibility to provide health insurance and services in Canada.

As the provision of health services and insurance has been delegated to the provinces, I am asking they be given the authority to achieve it or to carry it out.

The actual delegating of this task is not the hard part. The giving up of the authority over the actual control of how the task is carried out is the hard part. Unless the delegator, the federal government, is willing and able to devise the plan, update it as necessary and authorize each aspect of it prior to its implementation, in which case this is not feasible, the delegator must be prepared to delegate out some authority and in order to achieve what they want they identify what is to be achieved by the provinces, what components or principles are to be included and what standards of performance are expected. Then they give the authority necessary for the provinces to achieve this.

As a national government we can legislate these guidelines, standards or principles, or both, or whatever else we should call them. We have done this via the Canada Health Act. We have established five fundamental principles to be incorporated by each province in its approach to providing health insurance and services. The principles are accessibility, comprehensiveness, portability, public administration and universality.

The Reform Party believes these are sound national principles. The problem is not the principles themselves but the accompanying description or definition applied to each of them. For example, in the act the definition or interpretation of accessibility includes only one aspect of what access to care can actually mean, based on a person's ability to pay. That is commendable, as it opens the door for all Canadians regardless of their personal financial position to receive or have access to health care.

However, another aspect of access is when does one have the access to the actual treatment necessary for the condition one is presenting. I am thinking now in relation to the when part from a clinical or medical point of view. If a person requires a hip replacement, for example, or finds a lump on their body in some area it should not be, to get access to treatment can take sometimes weeks or months. Access to treatment from a medical and clinical aspect is extremely important, sort of the stitch in time premise.

Early intervention in many situations saves future grief and discomfort for the individual as well as saving health care dollars in the long run, as one is addressing or presenting a condition much earlier than one would be by leaving it for months or weeks and so on.

There are other problems with the Canada Health Act. There are restrictive clauses that create these problems. Portability comes to mind as another one.

These problems must be addressed and resolved. The act needs revising and updating, allowing for more flexibility for the provinces not only in the administration and management of the service but also in the actual meaning or interpretation of the five principles. The meaning of decentralization of authority must play a much larger role in our health care system to preserve it.

In the Financial Post on April 22 of this year an article was written by Alan Toulin entitled ``Decentralization Appeals to Canadians' Desire for Control''. Alan Toulin is saying Canadians want more control over the things that directly affect their lives, and governments at all levels are feeling the pressure of this growing public sentiment.

He also quotes a leading business figure from Quebec, André Bérard, the National Bank chairman and chief executive officer.

Mr. Bérard apparently delivered a speech in Ottawa on how the process of decentralization is an inescapable force for both businesses and governments at all levels.

Mr. Toulin makes reference that Mr. Bérard argues that those levels of government responsible for the spending of the money are the ones who should decide how health care, education and income security should be organized:

Citizens are more vigilant and can have more direct control over the actions of provincial and local governments when it comes to the spending decisions on behalf of the public interest, Mr. Bérard believes. In a country as large and diverse as Canada it is clear that many citizens feel Ottawa is a remote, lumbering government that cannot be controlled by them.

"The nearer the level of government is to the citizens, the more merciless these citizens are when they see public waste. They know that they are the ones who will ultimately pay. They are merciless because they know that they will have real power; that their voice will be heard; that their vote will not be diluted by millions of others", Bérard said.

He goes on further to sing the praises of decentralization.

That is basically what we are saying in this motion. There needs to be more flexibility. That kind of authority can go to the provinces and they can get on with providing health care according to the five major principles. Then they will be evaluated by the people in the province.

Another component in the health care system that needs some serious revamping is funding. The initial agreement between the federal government and the provincial governments was a 50:50 split. Over the years that has eroded. We have a system of tax points and cash payments known as established program financing. Because the tax points grow over time as the economy grows, the cash portion of EPF is shrinking. It is down to 23 per cent now from 50 per cent.

Established program funding was introduced in 1977, replacing the cost sharing of post-secondary education and health care with a fixed per capita block funding transfer. That was the first time federal funding growth was unrelated to provincial program costs. It was designed to increase the rate of growth in population and in the national economy.

Over the years further amendments were brought into the EPF system. In 1986, Bill C-96 reduced the growth of the EPF transfer. The payments were still tied to economic and demographic growth but their annual per capita growth rate was 2 per cent lower than what it would have been under the old formula.

In 1991, Bill C-69 froze the EPF transfers at their 1989 levels. That was to be applicable for two years. In 1991 Bill C-20 extended the freeze on the per capita transfers to provinces for another three years. Therefore the provincial entitlements will continue to increase at the same rate as the population.

Beginning in 1995-96 the rate of increase of the EPF entitlements will be limited to per capita rates of increase in the GNP minus 3 per cent. We continue to play little games in the funding component of our health system.

Instead of just health and post-secondary education in the block transfers, government has added welfare into the block. From an article on April 13 in the Globe and Mail entitled ``Ottawa is trying to heal health-care strife'', by Edward Greenspon, he says:

Part of the logic of lumping the three programs into a single fund was to allow Ottawa to blur their minds of where cuts fell and to pass to the provinces the hot potato of how to distribute the pain.

Further along in the same article, he goes on to say:

Figures in the budget show that Ottawa will, in fact, reduce its cash transfers over the next three years to $10.3 billion from $17 billion, a rollback of almost 40 per cent. And the government has given no assurances of when it will end.

Federal funding in support of health insurance and services should be unconditional and should recognize different levels of economic development in the provinces.

The federal government has established five fundamental principles via the Health Care Act. It needs to be looked at from the point of view of interpretation. It is a little ambiguous in that the government can interpret it one way and the provinces can see a different interpretation. We also need to look at whether we actually need the cash component of the EPF as a whip to keep the provinces in line. Is that really necessary?

In the article to which I made reference, I beg the question whether it is actually necessary to have that kind of control over the provinces. If one decentralizes it into the provincial area, the people will rise up and say what they want. If they are not happy with what they are getting, especially if they have the five guiding principles from the national government to make some sort of evaluation judgment, they will rise up and tell their government to spend their health care dollars with less waste or they can vote the government out and get one which will provide the services.

Put the control there. Let the provinces establish the methods of providing health care according to the five basic principles, and define them a little better so they are not ambiguous interpretations, and let the people judge whether they are satisfied.

In the Ottawa Citizen on May 1 an article entitled, Time for a tonic'' stated:The provinces-are demanding more leeway in controlling their costs. And increasingly, provincial cost-cut-

ting measures are running afoul of the federal government's reading of the Canada Health Act".

To my mind the word "leeway" in that article is very suggestive of flexibility. The provinces are asking for flexibility. The article also makes reference to the government's reading of the act. That could be interpreted as suggesting different methods of interpreting how one can read the act; the federal government reads it one way and the provinces may read it another way. That again points to the need for revision of the act, allowing for broader and more flexible definitions. At the same time the need for using the cash payment as the whip should be addressed.

The government must do something concrete and substantial. It must take some positive action to preserve the health care system for Canadians. It has been stated it is a priority of the government by both the Prime Minister and the health minister. However, when we consider the financial threats which our health care system is facing and the lack of action by the government to diminish those threats we wonder what kind of a priority it is.

The most apparent action to date has been on a reactive or defensive basis. With respect to the user fee situation in British Columbia and the private clinic situation in Alberta, the government's action was based on its interpretation of the ambiguous accessibility clause of the health care act That has to be addressed. So far that is the most assertive or aggressive type of behaviour we have seen from the government in relation to health and it has been in a defensive mode.

Other actions taken by the government tend to leave us confused and without a sense of direction. It campaigned in 1993 on no cuts to health care. During its first year in office it continued to say that it would protect the health care funding to Canadians. However, earlier this year we started hearing things like "cuts to social programs, including medicare. We have to address all social programs. If they are all going to be cut, then health care will be rolled in there with them".

We also heard the system needs to be reformed, that there are problems with the health act and those problems must be addressed. We also heard from various ministers the provinces should be given more flexibility to manage their affairs.

Block funding was set up, including the three components: health, post-secondary education and welfare. This is being sold, to my mind, as an opportunity for provinces to have more flexibility but in a sort of backhanded way. They are given less money and then told they have three components where they can be flexible applying that money.

That is not what we are saying in our flexibility plan. It is what the government is trying to sell when it says that flexibility must be given to the provinces. I think it was Ted Byfield who said we have inflexible flexibility, which is basically what we are looking at here.

Reformers believe that the provinces are fully capable of providing quality health care to their residents as long as they are allowed the stable funding to do so. They need the resources. A workman is only as good as the tools he has.

The leader of the Reform Party said it best in Toronto last November to the Ontario Hospital Association. I would like to quote him. "It is the provinces, not the federal government, that have the constitutional jurisdiction to operate on our health care system. It is the provinces, not the federal government, that provide the bulk of health care funding. And it is the provinces, not the federal government, that have the greatest experience in health care delivery".

I suggest a prescription. If the decision is to devolve health care to the provinces what does this mean in a detailed type of prescription? I would like to make three suggestions: first, transfer tax room to the provinces; second, define core health services; and third, amend the Canada Health Act with those things in place on a national basis. The provinces would have the guidelines and authority to get on and provide a health care program that we can not only afford but want as well.

The Reform Party taxpayer budget outlined how we could decentralize health care by ceding addition tax room to the provinces. This would ensure more stable funding for provincial health care over time. The provinces would not have to worry about what new legislation, steps or cuts the federal government would be making from year to year or the interpretation that each different government would make to the various components of the health act.

At the end of the process of the transferring tax room, provinces would present the revenue levels and flexibility necessary to fund health care according to the demands of the electorate and within fiscal restraints.

Decentralization of health care would ensure that services were delivered and funded by the level of government closest to the people. I made reference to that earlier.

From the point of view of defining-

Members Of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act May 10th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the pension plan was introduced in 1952 by an act called the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act. It was amended in 1992 to coincide with the Income Tax Act.

During the course of this debate the conditions of the pension have been illustrated several times, so I do not wish to go into that, other than to look back to pre-election 1993 when there was considerable concern among Canadians as to how the pension plan had developed since 1952. There was enough concern, obviously, that in 1991 an amendment was passed to bring it in line with the Income Tax Act. Here we are in 1995 again looking at a possible adjustment to the pension plan.

Some of the things which were of great concern to the Reform Party prior to the election were members of Parliament having to serve only six years to be eligible to draw the pension, regardless of their age. Another condition which was of great concern to us was the indexing. I think at age 60 it was indexed according to the cost of living. A third concern was the fact that the pension was based on the best six years of salary. It did not say whether they were consecutive years to my knowledge.

The people of Canada had concerns about the provisions in the plan. They were not happy with it because it did not coincide with the private sector. It tended to suggest very strongly that there was a two tier system for pensions in the country, one for MPs and one for everyone else.

I assume some pressure was brought to bear through 1992 and some adjustments were made, such as passing the amendment which would put the plan in line with the Income Tax Act.

Now we are considering Bill C-85. I actually do not understand what the bill will do to address the general concerns which were expressed about the pension plan prior to the 1993 election.

When I read through it I notice that the eligibility age has been increased to 55. That rules out the concern of getting a pension after six years of service. The person would still have to wait until they were 55 years old.

The plan was brought in originally in 1952. In those years I can remember that my parents, for example, were looking toward their retirement. The eligibility age was 65. The trend at that time from a health and a technological point of view was that men, because they formed the major part of the workforce in those days, would retire at 65 and be dead of a heart attack or some such thing before they reached 65 and a half.

I suggest strongly that over the years we have made advances in health, not only in the curing of various conditions but also in prevention. We lead a much more healthy lifestyle, so 55 is not really rational for 1993. If we were debating this in 1952 when the plan was originally implemented it might have some validity.

That is one thing which Bill C-85 does in addressing the inequities of the existing plan. As far as I can see it really does not do much of anything else. It talks about opting out or opting in, however the phrase is worded. That is a one-shot deal. It applies to members of Parliament now. It includes those who have six years' service. Once that happens every MP who comes along after this will have to participate in the plan. The amendment does not really address much other than an increase on when one can draw the pension. To my mind that is not enough.

The whole pension issue and this bill, when one looks at it in its entirety, is an excellent illustration at how out of touch government politicians are with the Canadian public. There was a hue and cry about pensions prior to the election. The majority of Canadians realize that even with these changes in the pension plan, it will far exceed those available anywhere else in Canada.

The other component in this plan that has to be looked at very seriously is the retirement compensation account and the mechanisms used in paying out the benefits.

Regarding the opting out situation, there will be no choice. It is a one-shot deal. It is going to put a number of Reformers, who will come into this Parliament in the next election in great numbers, in the position of having to participate in the plan. It will be against their principles.

One of the things that illustrates the point I am talking about now is an article that was in the Vancouver Sun on February 9, 1995 by Barbara Yaffe. That article was entitled ``Pension tiff is a measure of MP-voter rift''.

In her article she pointed out that one of the problems with the pension issue is that MPs are the ones that determine the

pensions. Many of my colleagues have made reference to the same point. One wonders how many other jobs there are where people can determine their own pension benefits.

We have two options basically. We either have a pension plan or we do not. If we choose to have a pension plan, the Reform position is to bring it in line with that of the private sector, including such things as retirement age, indexing, et cetera. It should allow MPs the choice of whether or not to participate and seriously consider the benefits of allowing for some independent body of Canadian taxpayers to decide on the plan's perks, mechanisms, et cetera.

The pension plan as it stands is not acceptable to the majority of Canadians. The changes proposed by Bill C-85 are tokenism or lip service. I am quite confident that the Canadian public will come to this conclusion as well.

All of us must constantly keep in mind that the Canadian people are the ones who pay the bills. We work for them. It is probably why we are called public servants. That seems to be something that some of us tend to forget quite easily once we come to Ottawa.

Once again I refer to the article by Barbara Yaffe. She writes that this unsavoury struggle over politician pensions has revealed one thing quite clearly. "How utterly out of touch some MPs are with the real people in their ridings".

One must wonder why only Reformers seem to be speaking on this bill. Does this issue not concern the constituents of any other members of the government?

The people of North Surrey have been very clear on this issue. I cannot accept this pension plan as it presently stands, nor can I accept the proposed changes in the bill. My constituents have also said to me very strongly that we must get these opinions out here on the floor of the House because the government is not listening to them.

Therefore I want to tell all members of the House and my constituents in Surrey North that I will not be participating in the pension plan. I am joining my colleagues in opting out until something comes along that is much more equitable with the rest of the country and my fellow Canadians.

Petitions May 10th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the third petition is signed by 68 residents of Surrey and the surrounding area.

The petitioners request that Parliament reject the justice minister's gun control proposal and call on the minister instead to bring forward proposals which will enable the police and the courts to deal quickly and firmly with perpetrators of violent crimes of all types.

Petitions May 10th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to present three petitions today.

Two of the petitions ask Parliament that in light of the murders of Melanie Carpenter, Pamela Cameron, Jesse Cadman and many others, to make the following changes in the criminal justice system: to rescind the mandatory release legislation where violent offenders are involved; to ensure all information about violent offenders, including prior offences and refusal to enrol in treatment programs is provided to those making decisions on release of parole; and to separate violent offenders from society until it can be proven they will not reoffend.

I concur with the petition.

National Nursing Week May 8th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, this week is National Nursing Week. As a nurse, I realize the important role nurses fulfil in our health care system and the many challenges they face daily.

Nurses face the seemingly never ending challenge of providing more services at higher standards with less funding. This is the result of a combination of today's fiscal constraints, rising health costs, public expectation, and the expanding role of health services.

Changes in the role nurses play have great potential to improve cost effectiveness in our health care system. For instance, in many cases nurses can provide the necessary education, guidance, and care without the patient having to visit or revisit a physician.

Our health care is too important an issue to be left only to politicians. Health care debates and decisions must involve all major players, and nurses are ideally positioned. I ask all members in the House to join me in saluting all of Canada's nurses today.

Divorce Act May 4th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise to speak on Bill C-232, an act to amend the Divorce Act, sponsored by my colleague from Mission-Coquitlam who is herself a grandparent. I know she has put a lot of time and effort into creating and promoting this piece of legislation. I must commend her.

I would also like to make reference to the gallery and the attendance of a number of interested persons in this particular legislation. I commend them for their attendance.

With reference to the previous speaker's comment on the changing world, I sometimes wonder if we are not today playing a bit of catch up here. Some of the principles or the things we were used to in days gone by just slipped away from us because of various other things that were occurring in our world.

For example, technological developments such as transportation and communication have had a tremendous effect on how we live our lives today. We travel farther. The world is much smaller. On the other hand, we can communicate much quicker with each other. We have E-mail for example. Even in my lifetime, and I do not like to think I am that old, I can remember the first telephone in our neighbourhood.

We look at such an amendment where we are talking about general access and we have the technological equipment. The resources are there for this kind of thing.

Another thing has snuck up on us from the days when a small percentage of people did not have access to grandparents due to distance, death or whatever. It now seems to have turned the other way. We are suddenly aware that this very important aspect of our lives has slipped away from us.

One of the other things that contributes to that is the advances made in health care, not only from the point of view of our attitude toward living a healthier lifestyle but also through medical research with which we can prolong our life. Consequently, we are living longer. The average person's lifespan has gone to 72 years from 25 or 30 years ago when it was six months after one retired at 65.

Some of the things we have seen come out of what has affected our lives are such things as higher divorce rates and family break-ups. The average marriage lasts something like five years. It might be seven, I am not exactly sure on that statistic. A higher divorce rate is a given in today's society. Family break-ups are occurring. It is a two working parents society as well. The standard of living that could be enjoyed on one income in 1960 now requires two.

Those kinds of things have had an effect on us. They have created situations in today's society. We find ourselves trying to come up with some way to get that component back into our life of the family, including the grandparents.

One of the previous speakers got into a legal concept. What I am suggesting here is that we look at the intent of the law more so than the letter of the law. There will be time enough for the letter of the law when it gets into committee. Then we can get our learned people in those areas to address those issues. This House has to say what the intent is. The intent is to get a family structure or have the grandparents included in the family structure.

Another thing in our society today versus 20 or 25 years ago is the advent of new Canadians who do not necessarily have a European background. We hear more and more about the extended family. We are trying to put that into some sort of a parameter as to what that actually means. We also hear of the extended family in our aboriginal groups.

It is time that we looked at these new concepts. If there are some legal barriers in recognizing these in law, then it is our responsibility to see how we can overcome them. The extended family could include the grandparents quite nicely. I would prefer that.

I realize there are very many different ways a divorce situation can turn out. On the other hand, if there are children involved in a situation who are going to go into the social service realm and foster parent situations and there are grandparents sitting right there who have to get a court order to apply to get into that situation, that just does not make logical sense to me.

When we address this point by point, we must look at the bottom line and know that the overall objective is what is best for that child. On average, we can argue that the family and the grandparents in normal situations are what is best for the child. There will always be the isolated cases.

When we get down to looking at it line by line or looking at the letter of the law, that is when we address those issues. What I am trying to say now is that there are four amendments here. One is asking not to have to go to court to make an application to apply for access. That does not mean to say they are going to get it, but when they have made the decision to make an application they have to trot off to court first.

Another amendment we must address is the right to know. As I related earlier, we have all of these wonderful advances such as E-mail and television and we can fly on the Concorde to goodness knows where and how fast. I certainly think that at some point we should be able as the intellectual animal of this planet to come into some sort of situation in which we can recognize what is best for the child. If there is animosity at the time the court is making these kinds of decisions, I still believe there are ways in which what is best for the child can be addressed and that we can use this technology to that end. A year from now the situation might be a little better and people might get over their feelings and start thinking more about what is actually happening to their loved ones on both ends of the age scale.

Another thing that comes into this concept is our roots and our family tree. If we do not keep in touch with each other that will be much more difficult to keep track of. I believe there are a number of people who find that important in their lives.

With respect to geographic living conditions, I am not too familiar with what is happening in divorce rates, but it is my understanding that when access is granted to one of the parents there are usually restrictions placed upon where these people can live. They get a geographic area in which they can live so that the other side can have access. I am suggesting that will not survive long in our society. At some point that will be addressed, and maybe this is a good time to do it. As I have said, communication and transportation are not the problems they once were. I am much more familiar with the geography of British Columbia, and I can remember when it took two and a half days to get from Kimberley to Vancouver, which can now be done in almost nine hours, or ten hours if you are not speeding. Surely to goodness we should be able to look at these kinds of things to resolve these barriers.

I would like to reinforce that it is a given when we look back at situations in our past, when there was the family unit, including brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, that it was always the grandparents in that family unit who were constant. I

may have lost touch with my brother and his wife for a while, but I never lost touch with my parents.

I encourage this House and all hon. members to unite behind this non-partisan issue and support the bill.

Firearms Act March 28th, 1995

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to the motion proposed by my colleague from Yorkton-Melville. The intent and the effect of this motion are very clear, to split the bill into two parts. One part would contain the Criminal Code amendments dealing with the criminal use of firearms while the second would contain all the regulations governing the ownership of a firearm, including such things as storage, transportation requirements, training courses, minor permits, et cetera.

The bill as it stands addresses two facets of firearm possession. One facet is directed toward those who possess firearms legally and the other is directed toward those who possess firearms illegally.

The Minister of Justice through the bill is requiring all persons who legally possess a firearm to register their firearm and that this will reduce the number of persons who possess a firearm illegally. The first response to this is how will this approach achieve that?

Before pursuing that, let us look at the approach to solving the problem. The problem we have is the illegal possession of firearms and the misuse of these firearms. The approach of the bill is to impede or to put up barriers to the legal possession of firearms, which will supposedly reduce illegal possession of firearms; in other words, punish the law-abiding citizens to get at the law breakers.

Gun control measures aimed at reducing crime and the registration of firearms are two separate issues. If the purpose of Bill C-68 is to reduce crime, why does it include the registration of all firearms? Should it not be plainly demonstrated beforehand how registration prevents and reduces crime?

This is what Reform members have been asking the Minister of Justice and so far they have failed to get a clear, concise, satisfactory answer. Establishing how these two components are linked has not been forthcoming.

On February 16 the Minister of Justice opened the debate on Bill C-68 and spent much of his speech dealing with registration. One of the minister's arguments was to reduce the number of firearms smuggled into Canada. The minister stated we should reduce the number of firearms smuggled into the country. It is a laudable goal and one which the Reform Party supports. Then the minister went on to state this would be achieved through registration. He said the registration of all firearms will enable us to do a better job at the borders.

The minister added on February 16:

We will never stop the smuggling of firearms entirely. There are 130 million border crossings a year. We cannot stop every vehicle and check every trunk and glove compartment. But we can do a better job than we have done in the past and registration will enable us to do it.

How does registering a gun allow them to work better at the border? If cars are not stopped in the first place, how will they know if the gun is there?

Perhaps members opposite will grasp why Reform members are so frustrated with the bill and the minister's rationale. We can divide the minister's arguments with regard to smuggling into three statements: one, the registration of firearms will enable us to do a better job at the borders; two, it is hard to stop the smuggling of firearms entirely because of the volume at border crossings; three, we can do a better job and registration will help us. It sounds like a circle to me.

That seems to be the argument on how registration will reduce smuggling. That argument utterly fails to answer the question of how the registration of firearms in Canada will reduce smuggling. I can see how more border inspections and more border guards will reduce smuggling, but I fail to see how registration will work in this regard. It is incumbent upon the minister and the government to provide clear answers to these genuine questions.

One reason firearm owners oppose registration is they see it as a step toward confiscation. While the Minister of Justice has tried to allay that concern, prominent colleagues in his own party seem to favour that view. In the debate on March 13 the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and the Status of Women said the following:

In 1987 the English writer Martin Amis wrote: "Bullets cannot be recalled. They cannot be uninvented. But they can be taken out of the gun".

The speaker went on to say: "I would add that the safest way is to take away the guns". This certainly sounds like confiscation to me.

I would like to comment on the politics of this issue and this bill. They have become very interesting because of the reaction of the Liberal and NDP caucuses. Members of the government who support the bill like portraying this as a right-left ideological debate or a debate between the people of Canada and the gun lobby.

The justice minister on February 16 said:

We have an opportunity for Parliament to make a statement about the kind of Canada that we want for ourselves and for our children, about the efforts we are prepared to make to ensure the peaceful and civilized nation that we have and enjoy and to demonstrate just who is in control of firearms in Canada. Is it the gun lobby or is it the people of the country?

This type of talk is simply presumptuous.

At a town hall meeting I held in Surrey in March most people wanted to talk about the government's proposed gun legislation. They were overwhelmingly in favour of tougher criminal penalties for criminal misuse of firearms but they were opposed to the registration of their firearms, seeing it as expensive, intrusive and impractical. These people were not members of gun lobbies. They were individual citizens who are hunters, collectors or target shooters.

One person I remember quite well was a Delta police officer who talked at some length about how the proposed registration would be totally ineffective at reducing crime. Citizens such as these are the ones opposing the registration aspects of Bill C-68. The sooner this is realized by the government the better.

If opposition to the bill is just the gun lobby, why are members of the minister's own caucus having trouble with the legislation? Why are eight of the nine members of the New Democratic Party supposedly opposed to the legislation? To think that all of these members of the NDP and Liberal caucuses have been coerced by gun lobbyists is phenomenal.

The motion the member for Yorkton-Melville has introduced reads as follows:

That all the words after the word "That" be deleted and the following substituted therefore:

this House declines to give second reading to Bill C-68, an act respecting firearms and other weapons, because the principle of establishing a system for licensing and registration of all firearms and the principle of creating a variety of offences are two unrelated issues that should be addressed separately.

I would like to finish with the following quote that expresses my sentiments also:

My constituents have been asking all along that the bill be divided into two parts: legislation that directly affects law-abiding gun owners and legislation that affects the criminal use of firearms.

That was a quote from the March 13 Hansard . The person who said those words was not another Reform member, nor was it some member of the nefarious gun lobby, but the Liberal member for Cochrane-Superior.

I read the motion that has been put forward. To that member and to other reasonable Liberals, the member for Yorkton-Melville has provided members with the opportunity-

Petitions March 17th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I present a fourth petition signed by 95 people from Surrey and surrounding area. The petitioners pray that Parliament intervene and stop the minister from amending the aircraft maintenance engineering licensing system.

The petitioners feel that the licensing system should be retained in its current form and continue to be monitored as is the current practice.

Petitions March 17th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is signed by 25 people from Surrey and surrounding area and 170 people from my riding of Surrey North, requesting that Parliament not pass Bill C-41 with section 718.2, as presently written, because of the undefined phrase of sexual orientation.

These petitioners feel that everyone currently has equal status under the law.