House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was role.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Labrador (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Won his last election, in 1993, with 77% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Interparliamentary Delegations June 22nd, 1995

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the seventh report of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association which represented Canada at the 1995 spring session of the North Atlantic Assembly.

Veterans Review And Appeal Board Act May 12th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, those of us who witnessed the recent celebrations of V-E Day cannot help but be reminded once again of the importance of the second world war and indeed the other wars in which Canada has participated. That war was a defining moment for this country.

It was a time when young Canadians from all across the country sacrificed themselves. Some went for various reasons. Some went because of valour. Some went because of patriotism. Some went out of a sense of duty. Some went for adventure. For whatever reason, they went. They went for their country and to defend and protect an important cause.

The second world war was a defining moment for us as a country. It helped to partially establish what we are as a country, what we stand for, what we believe in, what we are prepared to defend. It was also a defining moment for individuals, all of those young Canadians who went overseas. In the second world war it was not just young Canadians but young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, because the province that I represent was not part of this country between 1939 and 1945. So there were young Canadians and young Newfoundlanders and young Labradorians who went over, serving in different forces but all for the same cause. Not only did it define our country, but it defined them as individuals. It gave them an experience that those of us who did not participate in that war can never appreciate.

I recall growing up in St. John's, which had an important role in the second world war because it was a jumping-off point for ships, planes, and personnel. I remember the blackouts and air raid sirens. I remember my father being in the home guard. I remember the soldiers, sailors, and airmen in the streets, in the clubs and in the USO. However, those of us who did not actually participate in the war cannot really appreciate what those young Canadians and Newfoundlanders went through as an experience. Not only was it a defining moment for our country, it was a defining moment for them as individuals. Some of them paid the supreme sacrifice by laying down their lives. We honoured them some time ago, and we honour them again today.

As the Legion continually says in its rituals, "At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them". We must remember them, not only for their sake but for our sake and for the sake of our country as well. If we forget that defining moment for the country and that defining moment for them as individuals, then history is bound to repeat itself. I want to make that point today while those events are fresh in our minds.

I do not want to be lengthy today, because the longer I speak the more we will hold up improvements to the veterans pension plan. What I want to say is that for those individuals who went overseas and lost their lives, we can only remember them, honour them and pay tribute to them, but for those who came back we can do something as a country. We have been doing something as a country but we must continue to do something as a country. These individuals gave up an important part of their lives and some of the best years of their lives. They gave up their younger years, when they could have been doing other things. We must remember them for that. Some of them also gave up abilities they had. Many of them were injured. Many of them were totally disabled. Some of them were partially disabled.

This country has taken the responsibility that we owe them for that, for the sacrifice they made and the contribution they made to us as a country and to the world.

Canada has been paying a pension. This particular piece of legislation will speed up the Canadian pension administration. It will merge the Canadian Pension Commission and the veterans commission into one. It will make a two-stage process and it will free up the lawyers who are available to work on the appeals for the veterans as they apply. It gives Veterans Affairs Canada the authority to make first-level decisions and it merges the Canadian Pension Commission and the Veterans Appeal Board into one appeal body.

We heard on my committee from a great many witnesses. We heard from very few who oppose this legislation. Some had some modifications they wanted made, and that is what the House of Commons process is all about. But by and large, people and veterans support this legislation and believe it will be an improvement in the amount of time. We have been far too lengthy in granting appeals to veterans in the past. We heard that in some cases it takes years for a veteran to get through the initial process and the appeal process. This legislation will speed up the process and make it more efficient.

There is really very little more to say. This is a simple piece of legislation but it is important. I encourage the House to pass it speedily. I believe there is all-party support for this. I urge the House to get on with the job because of what we owe those people who went over to represent us.

Committees Of The House March 31st, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the first report of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs, in both official languages, on its deliberations on Bill C-67 with amendments.

National Revenue November 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Revenue.

The Auditor General was very positive about the minister's efforts to combat the underground economy to make sure that everybody pays his or her fair share in this country but he also said that much more could be done.

What plans does the minister have for combating the underground economy in future? Could he be specific about projects now in train or planned to combat this situation?

Committees Of The House October 31st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I wonder if we could seek the unanimous consent of the House to hear representation from the Reform Party on the special joint committee report by the member for Saanich-Gulf Islands.

Committees Of The House October 31st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present to the House in both official languages the report of the special joint committee of the House of Commons and the Senate on the review of Canada's defence policy.

This is the first comprehensive parliamentary review of defence policy in the history of Canada. Here we present our conclusions on the principles, purposes and objectives that should guide Canada in setting defence policy.

We believe the Canadian Armed Forces is a national institution we can all be proud of because of its past record. As well, it is of vital importance in the future to Canada's position as a world trading nation given our strong interests in peace and stability.

We have made recommendation to shape a defence policy that reflects the balance between what Canadians would like to do and what we can afford.

I would like to thank the close to 300 witnesses who appeared before us over the last seven months and those who sent us briefs and suggestions. I also want to thank those members of Parliament of all parties who worked so diligently and so co-operatively to produce this report. There was a great deal of consensus among us and I am confident this report will stand the test of time.

Interparliamentary Delegations September 21st, 1994

Madam Speaker, I have the honour to present to the House the third report of the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association concerning the North Atlantic Assembly's spring session which was held in Oslo, Norway, May 26 to May 30, 1994.

Excise Act February 22nd, 1994

Eighty per cent is not bad.

Defence Policy February 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I take your point and will be brief.

On the last point, let me just say that I would foresee an increasing role for the reserves in the Canadian Armed Forces. We are committed to the total force concept, as was the previous government. We will be studying the comments the Auditor General has made on the inadequate integration of the reserves. However, suffice it to say that I see a continuing and increasing role for the reserves in the Canadian Armed Forces. Indeed, approximately 30 per cent of our people in Bosnia are reserves.

I take the point concerning locations of representations. I assure the hon. member that the committee will want to travel all across the country. The committee wants to hear from as many Canadians as possible, including those who traditionally have been part of the armed forces establishment and those who are simply interested.

With regard to the minister's comments this morning about the white paper following on from the committee report, if the member reads the blues, he will see the minister said that the government would not necessarily be totally governed by the report of the committee. He did go on to say, I think if the blues are checked, that the government would ignore the committee report at its peril.

I simply took that as the minister giving himself enough latitude to be the government, as is his role, but saying very clearly that this is a serious process and that we do want to hear recommendations and to hear policy formulated from the parliamentarians of Canada after listening to the people of Canada.

Defence Policy February 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I tell the hon. member that Bagotville is very important to me because CF-18s from Bagotville are staged into Goose Bay from time to time. In my riding we have a very direct connection in Goose Bay to Bagotville. I do not know what the future is for that base or other bases. I know the government will very soon make clear its intention in that regard, in keeping with the promises made in the red book during the campaign. Very soon Canadians will be apprised of the intentions of the government in that regard.

I just want to make two other comments. As I understood the hon. member he seemed to want to have the government's intentions first. As a member who has been around here for some time, I have to say I have been very impressed by the way in which this particular Parliament has proceeded, that is by actually asking members of Parliament what they thought before the government made some decisions.

Those of us who were around here before know that was not always the case. Decisions were made. They were a fait accompli. They were handed to people whether or not they liked them. This way is a much better way to proceed. Not only are parliamentarians being asked their opinion before long-term government decisions are made, but the people of Canada are having a chance to participate. When we were in opposition we called for this and I am very happy to see it is taking place.

With regard to an increase in spending, whether or not the member agrees with a joint committee I do not see a great increase in spending. It seems to me the committee will have to travel whether or not it is both Houses. The salaries of senators as well as members of Parliament will be paid on whatever committee they happen to sit on any particular day. I do not see a

great increase in spending as a result of having a joint committee rather than a House of Commons committee.