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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

Petitions May 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, my second petition is also on behalf of several hundred of my constituents who say that the majority of Canadians support a democratic government where elected members of Parliament represent the voice of Canadians in matters of social policy.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to enact legislation to uphold and protect the current definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.

Petitions May 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today.

The first petition is on behalf of several hundred of my constituents who are horrified by pornography which depicts children and are astounded by legal determinations that possession of this pornography in some cases is not even criminal.

The petitioners ask that Parliament to take all measures necessary to ensure that possession of child pornography remains a serious criminal offence.

Natural Resources May 2nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I recently wrote the Prime Minister asking for a separate bill on the Atlantic accord. The Prime Minister wrote me back of course refusing my request.

The Prime Minister was willing to cut a deal with the NDP to save his own job and to put his corporate tax cuts in a stand-alone bill. Why will the Prime Minister not bring in a new bill on the Atlantic accord? Why is he holding the people of Newfoundland and Labrador hostage to his budget requests?

Natural Resources April 12th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, in the media today there are headlines stating that the fate of the government and its programs may well depend on the outcome of the Gomery inquiry. There is one initiative, however, that need not wait for Judge Gomery's report. That is the Atlantic accord legislation.

Will the government reconsider its position today and remove the accord legislation from the omnibus budget bill and immediately put it before the House as a stand-alone bill?

The Budget April 6th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, when is the Prime Minister going to stop playing games with the Atlantic accord and stop playing games with the lives of people in Newfoundland and Labrador and the people in Nova Scotia?

The government has already agreed to change the implementation bill by agreeing to take out Kyoto. In view of the fact that Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador are losing $1 million a day, why is the government delaying implementation of its commitment to these provinces by preventing the quick passage of this deal under stand-alone legislation?

Civil Marriage Act April 5th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to speak in this debate today and to voice my concern regarding this issue.

First of all, I want to say that I will not be voting for the bill.

I will not be voting for it. I believe we do a grave injustice to marriage by changing its definition. I believe firmly that we would do well to pause reflectively before we alter social structures like marriage and the family because these institutions lie at the core of our society. They represent the accumulated wisdom and experience of the ages.

As we are all aware, traditional marriage predates European civilization. It is a physical union, yes, but it is also considered to be a spiritual union. This is why so many of our mainstream churches are against this move.

We hear many of the churches say that government is involving itself in a piece of social engineering that may prove to be very dangerous to society. Can we say with certainty what the social outcome of a redefinition of marriage will be? I am reminded of what Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, Archbishop of Toronto, recently said:

If same sex marriage receives the approval of Parliament, then what?

He went on to say:

The law is a teacher. Does Canadian society as a whole and do parents in particular understand what the law will be teaching in this instance? It will be teaching that homosexual activity and heterosexual activity in marriage are morally equivalent. Public schools will be required to provide education in that light.

He continued:

Many parents would not agree, so is it fair to put children in the position of having to reconcile the values and beliefs of their parents with a novel state-sponsored understanding of marriage that may not be truly supported by the majority of Canadians?

These are valid concerns that the government has not yet addressed in the debate.

The churches are very concerned about their own protection. The government cannot say beyond a shadow of a doubt that churches will not at some point in the future be prosecuted by the courts for refusing to sanction and perform same sex marriages, which have, after all, received the approval of Parliament.

Has this government received assurances yet from provincial premiers that they are going to pass legislation giving protection to religious officials and organizations that decline to celebrate same sex marriages that are contrary to their faith? I do not think so.

I believe that, regardless of what the federal government says, churches will eventually be forced to perform these ceremonies or else they will lose their tax free status.

When the government offers assurances that the churches will not be put in that situation, I say they have no credibility to make that statement.

Just a few short years ago, the justice minister of the day, who is now Deputy Prime Minister, said when we were debating the same sex benefit bill that we could put our fears to rest, our fears that the same sex benefits bill would lead to same sex marriage. She said that the government would insert a clause saying that marriage is the “union of one man and one woman”, to the exclusion of all others.

That did not stand up. Today, this same minister is part of an administration that threw that clause out the window and placed a bill before Parliament changing the definition of an institution that has for centuries been considered the cornerstone of society.

The same government is saying to us today, “Trust me when I say the churches will not be forced by courts to perform same sex marriages”. This government is being deceptive when it states that.

Adding a new category, a same sex category, to the institution of marriage alters substantially the nature and definition of marriage. It changes to recognize the legal concept of marriage for the whole of society. Marriages cease to be solely the union of a man and a woman. As the president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop O'Brien, stated:

Marriage as we now know it will become but one variety of a new reality.

He cautioned that the word itself would ultimately lose its sanctity throughout society. He went on to say, and I agree:

We need to be able to speak of, and support, the importance of marriage as the committed...relationship of man and woman, which produces and nurtures the next generation.

This is a step in the wrong direction for our society. This government continues to hide behind the Supreme Court as if the court is forcing government to act. The Supreme Court simply said that same sex marriage was consistent with the charter. It did not say the state was compelled to legalize it.

At the height of this debate, a column in The National Post by Barbara Kay recently caught my eye. The headline on the column reads, “It's time to think about the children”. Ms. Kay made this point:

Canadian researchers have made no effort to harvest the views of those who have the most invested in the gay marriage debate--children. Nobody has asked children if they “strongly prefer, strongly reject or don't care” whether they have: a single mom, single dad, mother and father, two moms or two dads.

She says that children are, by nature, “social conservatives” and will by nature respond that they prefer a mom and a dad. She concludes by saying:

Canada is one of only three places on Earth poised to endorse the use of children as social guinea pigs without their consent. And all because our intellectual and political elites “haven't ever really thought about it.”

Ms. Kay makes a good and valid point. Researchers or government, nobody knows what the outcome of this reckless piece of social engineering will lead to. Does it not make sense to answer these vitally important questions before embarking on this course of action?

This is probably one of the reasons an Ekos poll taken on February 17 among the people of Ontario showed that 48% of Ontarians oppose same sex marriage while only 35% support it.

In conclusion, let me say that this is a terrible time for our country. Anyone who is tracking the social workings of government over the last 10 year period is painfully aware that the assault on marriage continues. One newspaper column put it this way:

Some conservatives argue that same-sex marriage is just another broken window. First make divorce easier. Smash. Then give common-law couples most of the same rights and benefits as married people. Smash. Now give men the right to marry other men and women other women. Smash. Marriage becomes just another lifestyle option, one in a long list of possible choices that a couple can make, with no special status or privilege. As the once-hallowed institution loses its lustre, even fewer people will want to be part of it.

A few years ago, back in 1995, Judge Gérard La Forest of the Supreme Court said that the ultimate reason for marriage:

--is firmly anchored in the biological and social realities that heterosexual couples have the unique ability to procreate, that most children are the product of these relationships, and that they are generally cared for and nurtured by those who live in that relationship.

If the government is so convinced that it is travelling down a road that Canadians want it to go, then the very least it can do is allow the people of Canada to be fully represented by extending to all members a free vote. To do otherwise is a grave violation of conscience and a grave disservice to generations yet to come.

As I have indicated, Mr. Speaker, I have grave concerns as to the outcome of the social experiment that we call same sex marriage. In all conscience, therefore, I will be compelled to vote against the bill when Your Honour calls the vote.

Diabetes Awareness Month March 8th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, March is Diabetes Awareness Month and I was pleased to meet with Carol Ann Smith, regional director of the Canadian Diabetes Association from Newfoundland and Labrador.

Diabetes is a disease affecting more than two million Canadians and one-third of those affected are unaware that they even have the disease. The Canadian Diabetes Association, through the hard work and dedication of 35,000 volunteers, works to prevent diabetes and improve the quality of life of those affected through research and education. Through its fundraising efforts, the association is supporting 114 diabetes research teams nationwide at a cost of $5.8 million this year.

Diabetes is a disease that affects Canadians in every province, community and walk of life. Today I salute the Canadian Diabetes Association in its efforts to improve the daily lives of Canadians suffering from this disease.

Petitions March 8th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from a number of my constituents in St. John's East who wish to draw the attention of the House to the fact that marriage is the best foundation for families and the raising of children.

They want to draw attention to the fact that we passed a motion in June 1999 calling for marriage to continue to be recognized as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. As a result of that, they are now calling upon Parliament to pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being the lifelong union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

National Defence February 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, flight training at Goose Bay has continually declined under the watch of this government. The government has talked a lot about Goose Bay, but it has not delivered.

Byelection rhetoric is starting to heat up, but the people of Goose Bay want to know if they have a future at 5 Wing Goose Bay. Will the people of Goose Bay have to live on by election rhetoric or is there actually a plan to ensure the future of their region?

Ocean Ranger February 16th, 2005

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, in their workplaces and in their churches, Newfoundlanders paused to take note of a tragic anniversary. During the early morning hours of February 15, 1982, the lights of the offshore drilling rig Ocean Ranger sank beneath the raging north Atlantic, taking the lives of its crew of 84 men.

The offshore oil industry is by its nature an international industry, but it is also an industry that the people of the province have embraced with hope and determination. It is little wonder, therefore, that 56 of the people lost on the Ranger were from Newfoundland and Labrador.

Newfoundlanders are no strangers to the bounty and the danger offered up by the north Atlantic. For centuries, we lived and died by the fishery. Today we are trying to wrestle a future from beneath the ocean floor. Today we remember that our struggle for economic well-being often comes with a heavy price.

Today we salute the families left behind and today we mourn their loss.