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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was jean.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Timmins—Chapleau (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 1993, with 55% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Department Of Natural Resources Act November 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to the motion of the hon. member. He seeks to make it mandatory that the minister provide the reports.

I submit that the answer is clearly there. In conjunction with the budget speech normally delivered in February each year, the President of the Treasury Board tables on behalf of the Department of Natural Resources part III of the estimates which reports on the operations of the preceding fiscal year and the current fiscal year and as well includes proposals for the upcoming fiscal year. Therefore the intent of this amendment is already being met by those provisions. However, flexibility is needed as to when the report is delivered to Parliament so as to conform to the budget process.

We may ask why the obligation to table an annual report is not contained in this bill. Section 153 of the Financial Administration Act was amended on May 1, 1991 to permit statutory reports to be discontinued by order in council when they contained the same or less information as the estimates frompublic accounts. This provides a streamlined reporting to Parliament while ensuring no less information.

The cost savings as a result of this continuation of 23 statutory reports is estimated to be in the neighbourhood of $500,000 annually. Is the tabling of an annual state of forests no longer obligatory? The obligation to table this report in Parliament has been removed. This does not preclude the minister from tabling a report in Parliament. In addition the report could be required by regulation of the governor in council. The clause as written provides greater flexibility for parliamentarians to request changes to reports and timing of these reports.

The CFS has indicated that it may be more useful to see and measure progress on forest management and other forest related issues if such reports are every two or three years. If circumstances require, shorter time frames for reporting to Parliament on specific aspects of natural resources could be identified.

Changing a regulation is less cumbersome and consuming than changing the act.

Gold Reserves April 29th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, recently the Minister of Finance announced that Canada would stop selling off its gold reserves which was initiated by the previous government and which has resulted in the depletion of Canada's gold reserves and has no doubt put pressure on the downward trend of the price of gold on the international market.

This is good news for Canada and to my riding Timmins-Chapleau, in particular to the city of Timmins which is known as the city with the heart of gold.

I want to acknowledge in this House the hard work of His Worship Mayor Vic Power, the mayor of the city of Timmins, for having brought pressure to bear on the government to stop the sale of Canada's gold reserves.

I am confident that this move by our government will have positive results and that gold will once again regain its glitter on the international market.

Speech From The Throne January 28th, 1994

Madam Speaker, as a preliminary matter, I would like to add my congratulations to the Speaker and the deputies. On a personal matter, I would like to thank my wife and family for their support and hard work during the recent election campaign. It was their efforts basically that brought me into this Chamber.

I would also like to thank all my hard workers and the people of Timmins-Chapleau for giving me their overwhelming support in the election. I can assure them that now as a member of the highest court in this land, I will do my utmost to serve them and this government.

I would like to tell you something about myself, Madam Speaker, and something about my riding. First of all, I am a young man born of immigrant parents. I was born and raised in the western community of Unity, Saskatchewan. My parents had emigrated from Germany and they farmed there. My friends from the west will recognize and remember where Unity, Saskatchewan is.

I received my primary and secondary education there and in the latter part of the 1950s I came east. I attended the University of Ottawa law school and graduated in 1962. At the conclusion of that I established my practice in Timmins, Ontario, where I have been to this date.

It was during the course of my university days here at the University of Ottawa that I had the good fortune of meeting my wife who was teaching school in Hull, Quebec. She is from Notre-Dame-du-Laus, Quebec. I am sure my friends to the left will know where Notre-Dame-du-Laus, Quebec is. At the time that I met her she could not speak a word of English and of course I could not speak a word of French.

We have now been married for some 33 years and I have learned some French, by no means perfect, but my wife has perfected the English language. Fortunately our children, all four of them, are perfectly bilingual. As a matter of fact our youngest daughter, who graduated from the School of Journalism at Carleton University in 1990, is now doing her masters at the University of Montreal.

That is basically who I am and where I came from. Of course I practised law in the city of Timmins since 1962.

Timmins-Chapleau is a very diverse ethnic riding, but basically has about a 45 per cent francophone population. The rest of the population are of various nationalities: Finnish, Italian, English and so on.

The base economies of the riding are mining and forestry. Without these economies there would be no reason for any human habitation in Timmins-Chapleau. As we all know, mining and forestry is a large part of the total Canadian economy, but since 1987, particularly in the mining sector, it has been all but gutted because of the policies, or lack of policies, of the previous government.

The mining industry is in a very serious decline. The ore reserves are almost at their depletion point. The mining industry advises us that unless we do something to revive and revitalize the industry, in a matter of four to eight years we will have another situation such as we have in the east coast fishery.

I attribute a lot of this to the previous government for cutting the flow-through shares initiated by the Liberal government in 1983. That program made available a large amount of capital for exploration. That capital has dried up since 1990. Now we are told by the industry that the total amount being expended in exploration is somewhere in the neighbourhood of $300 million, whereas to keep up mining reserves in the country we need a minimum of $800 million a year expended on exploration.

I noted in the throne speech specifically there was no mention made of mining. On October 15, during the course of the election campaign, the Liberal government released its very progressive and comprehensive mining policy. I know that everyone is happy with it and that it must be implemented. It is our task now at hand to implement the policies that were stated by the Liberals in October 1993.

It is my contention that a good place for the government to begin is by reintroducing flow-through shares. Aside from some abuses that took place under the program we know that it produced the capital required for exploration in the country. Since that program was gutted in 1990 all our capital has been going out of the country to Chile and other parts of the world where exploration has increased. This has been to our detriment and has resulted in the depletion of our ore reserves.

If the program were reintroduced by the government it would re-establish and regain the capital so urgently required for exploration. Although there have been critics of the program who said it was a run on the treasury, there are studies suggesting that the program was revenue neutral.

Let me give an example of what flow-through shares produced for the country. In 1988 in Val d'or, Quebec, there was a discovery made in the township of Louvicourt as a result of flow-through financing. That was a world class metal ore discovery. In the last two and a half years the company has spent

some $350 million to prepare the infrastructure to mine the property. I am advised that by July of this year the mine will be in full production. There have been many other discoveries, but that world class discovery alone will more than pay tenfold for anything that the flow-through shares may have cost the treasury over the time the program was in existence up to 1990.

It is my hope that, if not in the next budget, some future budget will include the reintroduction of that program with modifications so that abuses can be eliminated.

We have a lot of work to do in the mining sector. The people in mining have been working very hard. They have told us what the problems are. It is now up to the government to address those problems and to implement the policies in our mining statement on October 15, 1993.

I want mention something about the forestry sector because it is another part of the basic economy of Timmins-Chapleau. It contributes largely to the Canadian economy. I am advised that in the last three or four years the pulp and paper industry people have suffered great losses, some $2 billion to $4 billion. They certainly have my support, and I am sure many people will support them, in their efforts to delay the implementation of effluent discharge reductions that were to take effect in 1995 by two years.

I know my time is up and that I will have many more occasions to speak. I will address those matters later.