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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was province.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Conservative MP for St. John's East (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 47% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Seniors October 19th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, under the able chairmanship of the hon. member for Niagara West—Glanbrook we have been holding a series of Canada-wide round tables on seniors issues in an effort to develop and fine tune our party policy as it relates to Canadian seniors.

On Saturday my colleague from Niagara West—Glanbrook, our leader and I participated in a round table on seniors issues in St. John's.

All told, six seniors organizations took part in a very lively and informative exchange of views on issues like health care and seniors, elder abuse and fraud, and income and retirement. Seniors are an important and growing sector of our society. It is our party's intention to offer them a relevant and comprehensive policy platform in the next federal election.

Seniors built our country. It is about time they were given the attention and support they deserve.

Newfoundland and Labrador October 3rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, for the first time since 1949, when Newfoundland and Labrador joined Canada, the province does not have full time cabinet representation. The current minister has announced publicly that he will not be seeking re-election. We do have four other Newfoundland and Labrador members sitting in the government caucus.

Why will the Prime Minister not appoint a full time cabinet minister from Newfoundland and Labrador from among his four members, or is the Prime Minister saying that Canada's youngest province does not deserve equality with the rest of this nation?

The Budget June 23rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, a prominent Liberal well known to members of the House called a Newfoundland open line radio show today saying that Bill C-43, the bill containing the Atlantic accord, could not be put through the various legislative stages in the Senate all at once.

The government knows that is not true. All we need is for the Liberals to agree to speedy passage. Why are the Liberals holding up passage of the Atlantic accord when Conservatives have agreed to pass Bill C-43 and to give it royal assent immediately?

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments June 20th, 2005

Madam Speaker, those might be very interesting questions, but what would be even more interesting would be for the hon. member to ask his leader why he fell down on the job so badly.

Last week a member of the NDP was actually trying to get a private member's bill through on EI. When the hon. member's leader found himself in a position of having influence over the Liberal government, why did his leader not say to the Prime Minister of Canada, “We have been fighting long and hard for EI reform and EI changes. Bring about these EI reforms to help seasonal workers in the Atlantic area and seasonal workers all over Canada”?

While the hon. member's questions might be interesting, what he is trying to do is divert attention away from the real issues like employment insurance, the Atlantic accord and many other issues which his leader failed to support.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments June 20th, 2005

Madam Speaker, I have absolutely no problem supporting Bill C-43. As the hon. member mentioned, it contains some very good things. It contains the Atlantic accord legislation. While we were against the way the Liberal Party introduced the Atlantic accord as part of an omnibus bill instead of a stand-alone piece of legislation, we did support the budget Bill C-43 and there is Bill C-48 as well.

As I mentioned a moment ago in my comments, if the NDP were to win power at the ballot box, no one would begrudge the NDP the right to bring in a budget. The NDP would bring in things I am sure we would agree with and others that we would disagree with vehemently. But the NDP is not the party in power at the moment. That is no way to run a country.

That is no way to bring down a budget. The government which happens to be in a minority situation found itself in a difficult position with regard to staying in power and all of a sudden the NDP came along with what I call a blackmail bill and bringing in things that should not be introduced. It has taken the corporate tax cuts away from the budget, things which would give business the opportunity to expand workforces, to employ more people. That party, which claims to be the party of the workers in this country, is actually suppressing jobs. As I said, the NDP will pay a heavy price for that at the ballot box.

An Act to Authorize the Minister of Finance to Make Certain Payments June 20th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to make a few comments on Bill C-48, a bill which the government calls the companion bill but which many of us call the NDP budget bill.

The Conservative Party is not against a better deal for post-secondary education. We are not against giving municipalities across the nation better access to funds for the provision of infrastructure such as water and sewer or urban transit facilities. We are not against the provision of additional social housing for the disadvantaged.

On the contrary, we see a Canada where our young people can receive an affordable education, get a well-paying job, buy a house and raise a family and so on. We believe in the Canadian dream and the right of every citizen to have access to that dream. This bill is less about the Canadian dream than it is about the Liberals' dream of staying in power forever. It is also about the NDP dream of being a bigger player in the parliamentary process.

The bill, as we are all aware, was scratched on the back of an old envelope in a backroom in the middle of the night. It is not about good government at all. It is about political expediency. It was the price of the NDP for propping up a corrupt government which is determined to cling to power at any cost. It is long on promises and short on detail, just the sort of bill that the NDP knew that the Liberals would like. The NDP has sold its soul to the Liberal Party. The NDP members are accomplices now to corruption, scandal and to ever bad spending decision that the government has made over the last year since the election campaign.

If the items in the bill are so important to the Liberals, why did they not include them in the original budget bill, Bill C-43? Given the government's cuts in transfers to the provinces in its effort to balance the national budget, it is no secret that students, health care, services at the municipal level, and the unemployed have been hard hit. Simply put, the Liberals balanced the budget in the nineties by passing the deficit down the line to municipalities and the NDP knew that.

Many times in the past eight year period since I have been here, I have supported NDP motions that called attention to the devastation that had been wreaked by the government over the decades. The NDP knows that the Liberals have been in power too long, long enough for the rot of corruption to set in, yet the NDP made a deal with the Liberals and it is not a deal of which it should be proud.

As part of its deal the NDP insisted that tax cuts for business be dropped from Bill C-43, the main budget bill. The tax cuts were designed to make Canadian business more competitive in the global economy. These tax cuts were aimed at allowing businesses to expand and create more jobs. We supported the tax cuts.

Why has the NDP refused to support tax cuts which create more jobs for the unemployed is beyond me. We in the Conservative Party are not against creating more and better jobs all across the land. Neither would I suspect are the tens of thousands of people from all over Atlantic Canada who have had to leave their homes for jobs in Ontario and Alberta.

The NDP portrays itself as the workers' party, but I ask, what is more important to a worker today than a good job? The business sector is the greatest creator of jobs in this country and why the NDP cannot support that is beyond me.

When the Liberals came to power in the early nineties, they gutted the employment insurance system. They made it more difficult for workers in seasonal industries to qualify for EI benefits and when they did qualify, it was for fewer benefits for a shorter period of time. In other words, the Liberals used the EI system and the moneys that they generated on extra premiums to amass a massive surplus which they used on things like the sponsorship scandal. These are the kinds of policies that the NDP is now supporting.

I asked earlier, what is more important to a worker than a good job? I would further ask, what is more important to an unemployed worker than a good EI system, a system that can carry a seasonal worker over until he or she gets back to his or her place of employment again? This is where the NDP fell down on the job. Not only did its budget deal strike out against job creation, it did not use the leverage with the Liberals to get much needed improvements to the EI system.

How can the NDP call itself as a socialist party and then forget about the workers in its deal with the government? It was in a position to really do something good for the workers of this nation and it failed.

Then there is the Atlantic accord. The first Atlantic accord was signed back in 1985. It gave the province of Newfoundland and Labrador about 70% of its revenues. Then all these revenues were clawed back under equalization. During the election campaign, the Conservative Party committed to the province to give it 100% of its offshore resources.

The Liberals had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into a deal with the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. We made numerous attempts when that deal was passed to have the accord split from the main budget bill and introduced as a standalone bill for speedy passage.

The Liberals constantly refused. The NDP supported us in that regard but yet, when it was cutting a deal with the Liberals, did it insist on a standalone Atlantic accord bill? No. Did it insist on that being part of the budgetary package? No. The NDP abandoned the Atlantic accord just like it abandoned the workers and the people of Atlantic Canada. It did not use the position it was in to get better benefits on EI for Atlantic Canadians who have a big seasonal workforce. It abandoned the people of Atlantic Canada when it came to the Atlantic accord by not insisting on standalone legislation.

If the NDP were to win power at the ballot box, I would not, and I am sure no one in this nation would not, begrudge it to right the priorities around the budget when it came to introducing a budget. I might disagree and others might disagree with some of the spending priorities, but if the NDP had the people's mandate, it would have every right to bring this kind of budget forward that it is bringing forward now.

However, the NDP did not win power. Indeed I remember in the latter stages of last year's election campaign the Liberals crushed the NDP by telling the people that a vote for the NDP was a vote for the Conservative Party of Canada. They were not too anxious to prop up the NDP at that time, but still, the NDP remained so anxious to prop up a corrupt, scandal-ridden government. I believe that in the long run the NDP will pay big time at the polls in the next election campaign.

We stand here today debating a budget bill that came about as the result of a backroom deal between the NDP and the Liberals. The deal was scratched on the back of an envelope, probably at 2 a.m., and is worth $4.6 billion. Is this any way to run a country, to have the NDP writing the budget bill in a hotel room in the still of the night on the back of an envelope or an old napkin? Is that any way to run a country?

Bill C-48 is not a budget bill in its own right. It is a bunch of loose promises made, as I said, in a backroom in the middle of the night, when the Prime Minister was in his bleakest political moments. It is not about honour. It is about political expediency. It is about a place at the table of power. Canadians deserve much better.

Petitions June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I want to present a petition on behalf of 300 to 400 constituents in St. John's East who wish to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the majority of Canadians support a democratic government where elected members of Parliament represent the voice of Canadians in matters of social policy in the nation and not an appointed judiciary.

The majority of Canadians support the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. They call upon Parliament to enact legislation to uphold and protect the current definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

Fisheries May 30th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, during the last federal election the Minister of Natural Resources sent out an election flyer that made a promise on foreign overfishing. On foreign overfishing, this is what the minister's election flyer said, “The Prime Minister came to this province and promised to do whatever it took to end foreign overfishing on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks, including custodial management”.

The Prime Minister has yet to fulfill that election promise.

Last month the government held an international conference in St. John's to talk about foreign overfishing, but little came from that conference except talk. People in the fishing industry said that this conference was more about politics than progress.

The fisheries on the nose and tail of the Grand Banks continue to be pillaged on a daily basis. The time for talk is over. When will the Prime Minister take concrete action on custodial management and fulfill his election promise to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador?

Natural Resources May 17th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the government said it could not split the Atlantic accord from the main budget bill because the Bloc would not agree. That is incorrect. All three opposition parties agreed to split the bill. Only the Liberals refused.

Now that the Conservatives, the NDP and the Bloc have agreed to split the bill, will the government stop playing politics with the accord and agree to split it from the bigger budget bill?

Natural Resources May 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, on Friday and again today the government has refused to give its consent to a motion splitting the Atlantic accord from the larger budget bill. All of the three opposition parties have agreed to separate the Atlantic accord from the big budget bill.

Why are the Liberals playing politics with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and refusing to give their approval for a separate bill?