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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

Supply November 4th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I am absolutely astounded to hear the Minister of Natural Resources stand in this place today and say that the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and the minister of finance for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador really do not understand the deal that the Prime Minister has put before him.

I spent a few years in the house of assembly with the hon. member and he engaged in the same old bafflegab when he was trying to sidestep an issue or when he was trying to deceive the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. This is what he is trying to do today.

The Prime Minister says we can get 100% only until our provincial fiscal capacity equals that of Ontario. Ontario's fiscal capacity, as the member knows, is based entirely on the performance of its economy. If Newfoundland and Labrador's fiscal capacity were based entirely on the performance of its economy, we would get 100% of our resource revenues indefinitely.

However, here is the key. The Prime Minister has artificially jacked up Newfoundland's fiscal capacity by adding in our current equalization payments and the current offshore revenues that we receive. That puts us artificially close to Ontario's fiscal capacity. Therefore, it takes only modest gains in oil revenues to reach the Ontario threshold at which time the clawback provisions of the equalization act kick in again.

Does the Minister of Natural Resources actually think he is fooling anyone by this constant bafflegab? I ask the minister to stand on his feet and explain to us today Ontario's fiscal capacity versus Newfoundland and Labrador's fiscal capacity, and if the clawback will kick in at that time.

Supply November 4th, 2004

Is there a clawback?

Natural Resources November 2nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the minister representing Newfoundland and Labrador was a guest recently on the popular Rogers cable television show called, Out of the Fog . After that show, the people of the province knew that the minister was still in the fog on this issue.

In spite of repeated calls for the minister's resignation, he continues to toe the Ottawa line. Does the minister not realize he is causing great damage to the province's position by continuing to side with the Prime Minister on this issue?

Natural Resources November 1st, 2004

Mr. Speaker, Liberal MPs from Newfoundland and Labrador and Senator Baker turned thumbs down on the Prime Minister's offshore deal.

On the other hand, Newfoundland's cabinet representative is turning out to be a big disappointment. He is the only Newfoundland MP who thinks the Prime Minister's deal is a good one, but in the media today, he is admitting he is somewhat confused.

Why does the Prime Minister not simply listen to every other Newfoundland and Labrador MP and the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and implement the offshore deal made on June 5 with Premier Williams?

Natural Resources October 28th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's aide has stepped over the line this time in threatening Newfoundland and Labrador.

How dare he say that Premier Williams has made a mistake of historic proportions and that he is doing it on the backs of the people in Newfoundland and Labrador, that he may get some short term gain but that he will pay for it in the long run.

Is that how the Prime Minister operates? How can the Prime Minister threaten the people of Newfoundland and Labrador just because they want fairness?

Supply October 28th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I must confess that I am not fully versed on what was said before I came to the House today, but I can easily understand where the Bloc is coming from on this particular issue.

Quebec is a lot like Newfoundland and Labrador in that regard. It has been the victim of the fiscal capacity for quite some time and it, like us, has been the victim of threats from the federal government. When we speak of threats, I am appalled at what I am reading here today and what was passed to me a few minutes ago.

I am totally appalled that the Prime Minister's Office would stoop to the level that it is stooping with regard to this offer that is on the table for Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Prime Minister's Office is warning that Newfoundlanders will be the real casualties in the anti-Ottawa crusade that Premier Danny Williams launched this week when he walked away from the first ministers' meeting and accused the Prime Minister of lying.

He is making a mistake of historic proportions and he is doing it on the backs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the Prime Minster's spokesman Scott Reid said yesterday. He may get some short term gains, but he will pay for this, he said, in the long run. At stake, said the Prime Minister's Office, is the billion dollar plus deal that languishes on the negotiating table, and the problem that the premier will have eventually is that the truth will get out and he is going to pay for what he has done to the Prime Minister.

Can you imagine, Madam Speaker, in this day and age, is that not a sad commentary on federal-provincial relations? We have the premier of a province working hard, passionately for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, to get the people to the point where at least they are staying home and that the province is not losing its population in such a very real and serious way.

Can you imagine, Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister's Office today issuing that kind of a release, warning the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that if they do not kowtow to what is being promised, they will pay for it in the long run? Is that the state of federal-provincial relations to which we have come to in the country, where the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador is not free to hold the federal government to the promises it made to the people in the election campaign without being the victims of a threat from the Prime Minister's Office?

How dare the Prime Minister of this country and his office use the office of Prime Minister in that way, to threaten Newfoundland and Labrador. This is a sad day for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador and instead of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador paying, let me assure the Prime Minister that he will pay in the long run.

Supply October 28th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I too want to say a few words on the Bloc motion on Canada's fiscal imbalance, a motion which I do support. It has also been said that Newfoundland and Labrador has been the victim of too much money; too much money in Ottawa and not enough back home.

I think we all realize that over the last couple of days this whole business of the fiscal imbalance, as it applies to Newfoundland and Labrador, has been driven home quite well. Over the last few days we heard the Prime Minister of the country say to Newfoundland and Labrador “here is the deal, take it or leave it”, an offer that does not see the province get 100% of its resources. It is an offer that breaks, in a very significant way, the Prime Minister's promise to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador during the election campaign.

The people of Newfoundland and Labrador were offered, as all hon. members are aware, a $1.4 billion deal over an eight year period. If we failed to take that kind of a deal we were to have 100%, up to a $234 million cap, neither of which, incidentally, is 100%.

Given the current price of oil, which is more than $50 a barrel, the province's minister of finance has said to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that if we were to sign that kind of a deal we would be leaving on the table billions and billions of dollars each year. I am given to understand that the people of Nova Scotia have rejected this offer as well, saying that it falls far short of what the federal government promised to the people of Atlantic Canada.

I want to give the House some idea of how far the deal falls short of what the Prime Minister actually promised to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. For instance, in a year when the province takes in say $500 million in oil revenues, it would get to keep $234 million. That is less than 50%, which is a far cry from the 100% that we were promised.

Right now, after pumping oil for 10 years in Newfoundland and Labrador, the province only receives 14% of the revenues from its offshore oil while the Government of Canada and the oil companies get a whopping 84%.

Yes, what has been offered is an improvement in the current situation because wherein the lion's share of the offshore revenue is clawed back by Ottawa through reductions in equalization payments, but it is not 100%. Let us make no mistake about it, 100% of the offshore oil revenues is what the Prime Minister promised during the election campaign.

What happened between the Prime Minister's election promise and his very different written offer of October 14? Rising oil prices is what happened; rising oil prices and the unwillingness of the federal government to let any cash windfall accumulate in the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The federal government is somehow of the opinion that if Atlantic Canada is kept dependent upon the federal government then come election time it will have a lever to use against the people in these areas. Somehow it is a positive and the government will be the recipient of the seats in Atlantic Canada by keeping Atlantic Canadians dependent on the federal government.

In his public statements during the election campaign, the Prime Minister talked only of Newfoundland and Labrador receiving 100% of its offshore oil revenues. However, with oil at more than $50 U.S. a barrel right now, the Prime Minister saw fit to introduce a few constraints on his election promise.

We are talking about a very complex issue here. I am convinced that the minister who represents Newfoundland and Labrador does not really understand the offer that has been made by the federal government. If the minister understood what the federal government was trying to do to Newfoundland and Labrador he would not be considered today, back in his home province, as the Benedict Arnold of Newfoundland and Labrador politics.

If the minister is listening, let me explain to him in 60 seconds what the federal deal is all about. The Prime Minister said that we can get 100% only until our province's fiscal capacity equals that of Ontario, but Ontario's fiscal capacity is based entirely on the performance of its economy. If the fiscal capacity of Newfoundland and Labrador were based only on the performance of our economy, we would be getting 100% of our offshore oil revenues forever and a day. It would never kick in.

However, what the Prime Minister has done in his offer, is he has artificially jacked up Newfoundland's fiscal capacity by adding in our current equalization payments and the modest offshore revenues that we get right now. He has added all that to our fiscal capacity to try to bring our fiscal capacity up closer to Ontarios. It artificially puts us closer to Ontario's fiscal capacity. It takes only a modest gain in offshore oil revenues to bring us up to Ontario's fiscal capacity, at which point the clawback provisions of the equalization act would kick in again and all our revenues would be flowing right back to the federal government.

Ontario's fiscal capacity is based on its actual revenues. However when the Prime Minister artificially jacks up our fiscal capacity by adding in our equalization payments and adding in the modest revenues that we receive in offshore oil revenues now, then our fiscal capacity comes very close to what Ontario has right now.

The Prime Minister made his offshore revenue promise at a time in the election campaign when things looked pretty bleak for the Liberals, when even our seven seats in Newfoundland and Labrador meant a whole lot to the Prime Minister of Canada.

Today I am calling upon our five Liberal MPs from Newfoundland and Labrador to take their lead from the provincial Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador and the NDP of Newfoundland and Labrador which have both come out behind the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador in his quest to get a fair deal for our province.

I give full marks to the Liberal Party provincially but I give zero marks to Newfoundland's federal MPs who do not have the courage of their convictions, do not have the courage to stand up for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

We were never in a better position. We now have a minority government in the country. Before this time our seven seats meant nothing to the federal government because it always had 170 to 180 seats. Today, however, our five seats from Newfoundland and Labrador mean an awful lot to the federal government. The five Liberal MPs representing Newfoundland and Labrador can make or break the government if they want to use their clout effectively.

I am calling upon those five Liberal MPs to do what is right for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. We have been the victim of the government for far too long. It has ruined our fishery and it has broken its promise on custodial management. Ten per cent of the people in Newfoundland and Labrador have moved out in the last six year period.

This is our only chance to get a fair deal in Confederation. How dare the Prime Minister of this country tell the people of Newfoundland and Labrador that they can get 100% of their offshore revenues, and then turn around and do something different. This is not fair to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. The five members will pay if something is not done to make this deal a fair one.

Natural Resources October 27th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, now that the Prime Minister has had 24 hours to reflect on his broken promises to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and now that he has had a chance to talk to Premier Williams, would the Prime Minister tell the House if he is willing to stand by the commitment he made to the premier and the people of our province during the federal election campaign?

Or maybe he will bounce this question off the Newfoundland minister who, unfortunately, today has been called the Benedict Arnold of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Business of supply October 26th, 2004

Mr. Speaker. I will remember that. Let me say that the Prime Minister's deal did not mention a cap. The Prime Minister's deal did not mention time limits or the fiscal capacities of Ontario or anywhere else. It was not part of the deal. Now it is suddenly part of the deal.

I am very disappointed, as well, that the five Liberal MPs did not show up here tonight for this debate.

Business of supply October 26th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I did not ask the minister for a meeting because I felt the Prime Minister of Canada had the integrity to keep his promise to the people in Newfoundland and Labrador. I did not need a meeting with the minister to confirm that. However, he did not have that integrity.

I am very disappointed with the Newfoundland's minister. I am very disappointed that Newfoundland's Liberal members are not coming to the defence of our province on this very vital issue. This is the one last hope the province of Newfoundland and Labrador has to get a fair share within Confederation. I would say to the minister that this opportunity will not present itself again.

This is one of the reasons why the people of Newfoundland and Labrador elected five Liberal members in the last election. Mr. Martin's deal did not mention a cap. Mr. Martin's deal did not mention time limits or the fiscal capacity of the other province. It was not part of the deal.