House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was petitions.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Beauséjour (New Brunswick)

Won his last election, in 1993, with 76% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada Elections Act November 25th, 1996


That in relation to Bill C-63, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Referendum Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage of the bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill and, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business on the day allotted to the consideration of the report stage and second reading and on the day allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required, for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Business Of The House October 23rd, 1996

Madam Speaker, I wish to inform the House that tomorrow, October 24, will be a designated day.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency Act October 10th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise today, on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, to speak to the motion requesting that Bill C-60, an act to establish the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, be referred to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food before second reading.

This bill is the starting point of a very important journey. The plans for the trip began in March 1996, when we were preparing the budget speech; at that moment, our government stated for the first time its commitment to establish an agenda aimed at finding alternative solutions for the delivery of programmes, at finding the most efficient and least expensive way to carry out programs and provide services.

This journey is an important part of that agenda and it will lead us to the creation of a unique food inspection agency, gathering under one roof all the activities previously performed by three different federal departments. Our government knows some of the important port of calls where it will have to stop along the way.

The Canadian fishery is an important contributor to national import and export activities. In addition to considerable domestic consumption of Canadian fish and fish products, substantial markets exist for Canadian products abroad. Fully 84 per cent of fish and seafood caught by Canadians is destined for foreign markets.

Similarly, markets exist within Canada for fish species that are not indigenous to Canadian waters. Some 50 per cent of the fish and seafood consumed in Canada is imported. To support these high import and export figures and to promote confidence both at home and overseas in fish destined for human consumption, this government is committed to ensuring that fish inspection policies within this new agency retain the prominence and the high standards that they now have as part of fisheries and oceans.

In order for any food inspection service to meet the needs of its many client groups not the least of which are consumers, ensuring food safety for all Canadians must be the first priority. A new agency must uphold the excellent reputation of existing inspection

services to ensure the safety of products consumed by the Canadian public whether these products originate in Canada or elsewhere.

As we know, since at least 84 per cent of all fish caught in Canada is destined for foreign consumers, a new inspection agency will also have to improve and guarantee access to foreign markets for our products.

We must assure our foreign trading partners that Canadian sea products are of good quality and meet the requirements of strict regulations. That means we will have to keep up the excellent work that Fisheries and Oceans is doing now in the area of fish inspection.

Finally, to reach these goals in a period of budgetary cuts, we will, of course, have to maintain a certain form of cost recovery so that those benefitting from the inspection services will pay part of the costs.

The new single food inspection agency, which will become a reality if the bill is passed, stops in each one of these ports of call, that is to say that it takes into account all these needs while drawing on new approaches for the delivery of inspection services, many of them initiated by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and creating new opportunities for the future.

We all know that the Canadian fish inspection program is world renowned. We must keep this reputation, and we will, since the new agency will be operating from such a solid foundation.

The bill enshrines the quality management program and the new importer quality management program, which are based on the premise that food safety is the main concern.

The new agency will rely on highly specialized fish inspectors, who are currently controlling the industry's quality management systems, ensuring their efficiency.

The new single food inspection agency will also be forward looking. It will create a food inspection regime that consolidates inspection activities at the federal level. It will enhance ease of access for products to foreign markets. It will facilitate greater collaboration between the various levels of government in Canada, providing the basis for equivalency of standards and programs. It will simultaneously reduce overlap and duplication while promoting a more efficient and effective service delivery system. This government is fully cognizant of the necessity of maintaining open and frequent dialogue with the new agency's many clients. This we will do.

As Canadians grow and their needs change, the government also evolves to continue to meet their needs. We are committed to doing things differently and the Canadian food inspection agency represents a significant step in this direction.

We all recognize that this is an opportunity whose time has come. As Secretary of State for Fisheries and Oceans as well as for Agriculture and Agri-Food, I remain certain that the fish inspection system will be enhanced within this new agency.

Our journey is starting now with the passing of this important bill establishing a canadian food inspection agency. I believe it will result in the setting up of a agency, which will see to the efficient and effective implementation of a world class food inspection program.

Co-Operatives October 10th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, in recognition of national co-op week from October 13 to 19 and on behalf of the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, minister responsible for co-operatives, I wish to pay tribute to all Canadian who have left us the legacy of a strong co-operative sector and to all those men and women who continue to build on that foundation.

The co-operative is a unique form of business where the best of people and capital meet to address community needs in a democratic fashion.

As community based and democratically controlled organizations whose savings benefit and remain in their local neighbourhoods, co-operatives have contributed to the development of a strong Canadian economy for more than a century.

Co-operatives and credit unions are well recognized for combining economic and social objectives supported by strong corporate citizen behaviour. They offer a proven development model that can assist in our efforts to revitalize rural Canada.

While co-operatives have been historically strong in the agri-food sector, I believe they can play an equally important role in the broader rural economy.

The government has made rural economic renewal a priority. We are committed to forging a renewed partnership with co-operatives to assist them in this effort.

The co-operative sector makes a tremendous contribution to Canada's fabric, from building a strong sense of solidarity within a community to becoming a leader for the processing and marketing of many commodities; from breaking ground in financial technology to maintaining a strong base of enthusiastic volunteers.

All together, co-operatives, caisses populaires and credit unions have a membership of approximately 12 million Canadians, provide jobs for 133,000 people, and represent assets of $143 billion. Over the course of the year, a number of co-operative success stories were collected to demonstrate what can be achieved when concerned and affected people control the identification of priorities, the design of the business plan and the implementation process of a project or program.

The Government of Canada has committed to modernizing its co-operative legislation. The national co-operative associations spent a number of years defining their legislative requirements. A countrywide consultation process on their proposals is currently underway. The Minister of Industry and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food will be looking to the House to support the adoption of a new Co-operatives Act before the end of this parliamentary session. Our co-operatives deserve the best legislative environment to address the new global economy and their need for expanded sources of capital.

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate the millions of Canadians who have made the co-operative sector a vital and growing part of the Canadian economy.

Canadian Wheat Board October 4th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, it is true that the agriculture minister is now in Regina and that he should be momentarily starting his news conference to announce his response to the Board's report.

Rather than confirming or denying the rumours that the member seems to want to put before us, I would invite him to come to my office to listen to the minister at the news conference, which will provide him with all the answers he wants.

Lobster Fishery September 18th, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the minister is now making every effort to get the aboriginals and the commercial fishermen together, so that they can sit down, talk and reach an agreement in order to resolve this dispute, which leaves the commercial fishermen feeling targeted because the aboriginals are fishing, while the aboriginals are exercising what they claim is their right to fish for subsistence and ceremonial purposes.

Oceans Act June 11th, 1996

I find I am always able to speak out when I hear ridiculous statement.

Oceans Act June 11th, 1996

How many times did you vote against your party, Louis?

Oceans Act June 11th, 1996

Absolutely. The interests of the country.

Canadian Wheat Board Act June 11th, 1996

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in the debate on Bill C-212, an act to amend the Canadian Wheat Board Act.

This bill would amend the act so as to require an annual audit of the accounts and books of the Canadian Wheat Board by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada.

The government fully supports financial responsibility in all its departments and agencies, however, this bill raises many questions that warrant careful and thorough consideration. The government must strike a fair balance between financial responsibility and the smooth operation of its various agencies and departments.

The first question raised by the bill is that of responsibility, or more precisely the proposal that the board be audited annually by the Auditor General of Canada.

At first glance, this seems a wise proposal, but it should be pointed out that the Canadian Wheat Board already has all of its financial operations audited in depth annually.

The results of this audit by a firm of independent and highly reputed consultants are published each year in the board's annual report and financial statement.

A summary of this report is sent by mail each year to all those who have a board producers' permit book, and the full report, available on request from the Board, is tabled once a year in the House and the Senate.

In addition to this annual audit, an internal audit committee, comprising, among others, a representative of the board's advisory

committee, elected by the members, supervises the ongoing audit, division by division, of the board's expenditures.

Through the information it releases in its annual report, the Canadian Wheat Board provides more financial information on its operations than many major private grain companies.

At a time when the federal government is trying to eliminate overlap and duplication, and put government back on the right track, the proposal to further audit the board annually seems to add a useless extra step, which would be duplicating established practices and result in a waste of time, and money of course.

The board is constantly seeking to improve its planning, management and operations. To this effect, it has on occasions asked for outside advice, leading to recommended changes.

A review conducted in 1992 by the management consulting firm, Deloitte and Touche, pointed out a number of things to be changed. I have the honour to inform the House that, since the publication of the review report, the board has proceeded with the recommendations it contained.

The board has adopted a corporate vision and mission as well as a set of strategic goals. It has put in place a budget process, a business planning process, a reporting system, and a new performance appraisal system.

We should also take into account the fact that the Canadian Wheat Board is operating in a highly competitive environment. Private grain companies, whether in Canada, the United States, Europe or Australia, are very reluctant to release the slightest bit of information that might give an edge to their competitors.

Their main goal, as is the case for the Canadian Wheat Board, is to maximize profits on behalf of their customers. In the case we are concerned with, the customers are the men and women who grow wheat and barley in western Canada.

For all the reasons I just explained, the government cannot, for the time being, support the subject matter of this bill.