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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was made.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Acadie—Bathurst (New Brunswick)

Won his last election, in 1993, with 66% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Decontamination Of Military Sites April 22nd, 1997

Mr Speaker, as I said yesterday, obviously the Government of Canada recognizes its obligation to respect the environment in the area described by the hon. member and elsewhere.

The challenge is a considerable one, because most of these facilities were built a long time ago, when standards were quite different from what they are today. However, I can assure the hon. member that we will do everything in our power to ensure the integrity of the environment, in Canada's Far North and elsewhere in this country.

Flooding April 22nd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that every member of the House understands the concerns of the people of Manitoba with respect to the potential disaster impending there.

Obviously there is a very broad arrangement, led by the Government of Manitoba, which includes the municipalities and a wide array of Government of Canada departments, including the Department of National Defence.

I want to say to the hon. member and to the people who obviously are very apprehensive about impending events in that part of the country that the Government of Canada will do everything it can. The Department of National Defence will do everything it can. As we know, the Government of Manitoba will do everything it can. The municipalities directly affected will participate in every way they can to avoid what appears to be an enormous natural disaster which will take place in a very short time.

However, with respect to the inevitable, the cost, the dislocation and the disruption that will occur, the Government of Canada is absolutely committed, as I have indicated to my colleague in the Government of Manitoba today, to treating Manitobans equitably. We will give them every opportunity to respond to the problems they are faced with in a flexible way. We guarantee that the people of Manitoba will be treated as well or better than anybody who has ever been faced with this kind of disaster in Canada.

Employment April 22nd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the hon. member's question concerning the armoury in Shawinigan, it is obvious he has not paid much attention to how that project has been set up.

The announcement we made last week with respect to that armoury calls for a private-public partnership where the armoury would be built as a facility for the reserves, for the militia. It would also be privately owned. It could serve for many other purposes. It

could be part of a larger complex. It could be an existing building or a new building.

The hon. member should look more closely at exactly what the government has proposed. He should understand that we are moving to meet what I thought his party supported. When I made the report to the government with respect to the future of the Canadian forces we said we were moving the reserves and the militia from 20,000 or 22,000 to about 30,000. Is the hon. member against the increase in the number of people who are going to be functioning in the Canadian forces as part of the militia and the reserves or is he not?

Government Spending April 22nd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I want to reply to the hon. member from smarmy. It is not something he would understand, but government does not operate on a day to day basis with respect to projects that take years to put in place and years to evaluate.

If the hon. member is suggesting that in any part of the country, including his riding, the government should come to a complete halt and not proceed with projects and initiatives that have been undertaken by people who have had an interest in them over many years, then he should tell us. However, if the member looks closely into that radar-although I am not sure it is a Doppler, knowing the hon. member-he might want to look at what the future holds for the Reform Party in this country.

St. Hubert Military Base April 21st, 1997

Mr. Speaker, it is true that a number of communities were affected by the restructuring, and reduction in the number of military facilities across the country.

However, I think the Government of Canada made a major contribution in the St. Hubert region. I was there about ten days ago, and I saw the facility the Government of Canada set up in St. Hubert. We would have much preferred to have that, in northern New Brunswick, rather than limited economic spinoffs as the result of the closure of the Chatham base.

St. Hubert Military Base April 21st, 1997

Mr. Speaker, when the military bases were closed or reduced, in certain regions, evaluations and analyses were done to assess the economic impact on the region.

Obviously, there were a series of closures that had significant impact. The hon. member mentioned Cornwallis, for example. In my province, however, the military base at Chatham was closed at a cost of 1,000 civilian and military jobs.

I think that, in all the reductions we have faced at national defence and in the Canadian forces, we have been as fair as possible and have applied similar criteria, as circumstances dictated, across the country, including in St. Hubert.

Decontamination Of Military Sites April 21st, 1997

Mr. Speaker, this is a phenomenon that several sectors of the government and of the private sector must address. It is now recognized that situations that were acceptable in the past are no longer tolerable.

The Government of Canada has undertaken to do as much as it can to protect the environment, both in the north and elsewhere in the country. The agreement signed with the United States, which has not yet been approved by Congress, will make it possible for us to do some of the work.

There is no doubt that the sites to which the hon. member is referring are not the only locations where there is a problem. The Department of the Environment, the provinces and the federal government are aware that there are several locations in the country facing the same problem.

While it is not just up to the Department of National Defence, I would like to reiterate that the Government of Canada will do its utmost in all circumstances to ensure the integrity of the environment in a contemporary situation such as the one with which we must contend and in the situations she has raised today in the House.

Decontamination Of Military Sites April 21st, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the work that was to be done following the departure of U.S. military forces was considered, at the time, to be normal and reasonable. Obviously, the Government of Canada recognizes its obligations with respect to the environment and we recognize that we must take all means necessary to try to clean up the sites to which my hon. colleague is referring.

I would like to point out, however, that as a general rule the American government has never paid any compensation for problems that may have occurred following its departure from military installations.

As for the situation involving Canada, we have succeeded in negotiating an agreement whereby the American government will

pay US$100 million, which is a considerable amount and which is a first. Regardless of what the Americans do in this connection, the Government of Canada will respect its environmental obligations.

Military Bases April 14th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I hope the theory advanced by the hon. member is not an indication of his party's attitude to the Americans who came to Canada during the Cold War, not as invaders, but as part of an alliance to defend the interests of North America as a whole.

Canada recognizes its responsibilities regarding the environment. We will do what it is our responsibility to do as far as cleaning up is concerned, and not only in the case of U.S. facilities but also in the case of other sites. As far as the U.S. government is concerned, we have done our best to reach an agreement that is realistic.

I think the hon. member should find out more about this, because it is the only agreement signed by the Americans who, during two world wars and subsequently during the Cold War period and even today, have worked and are working throughout the world to protect the interests of people who want to maintain their freedom. I hope the hon. member understands that.

Military Bases April 14th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the figure of $500 million mentioned by the hon. member was not established by the Government of Canada.

We negotiated with the U.S. government to find out whether it was possible to reach an agreement on cleaning up certain sites.

I may remind the hon. member that the Americans deployed military units in various parts of the country over a period of nearly 40 years. At the time, conditions were vastly different from what they are today, especially with respect to the environment.

I hope the hon. member realizes what happened in other countries where the Americans had military facilities. I suggest the hon. member find out what happened when other countries, including Canada, had to deploy units for 40 or 50 years in certain countries, such as our stint in Europe with NATO.

These are situations we are dealing with now that the environment has become an important factor, but we should also remember what the situation was like when these incidents occurred.