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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was things.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Conservative MP for Saskatoon—University (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 42% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Credit Cards December 7th, 2004

Since I have attained this honourable position, I have lessened my skepticism of politicians. I have now come to believe everything I hear from the other side of the House regardless of what party.

Credit Cards December 7th, 2004

Mr. Chair, it is a real honour to approach a subject tonight which is very much in the practical sense, not to imply that anything and everything else we do here is not practical.

This is a very relevant question, particularly around Christmastime, as many consumers will take out their plastic, take out their cards, make purchases and perhaps come to regret them later. It may be the amount of the purchase they will regret and not necessarily the purchase or the giving of the gift itself.

This is a topic that has a very practical and direct relevance and which we as parliamentarians should address and interact on, even if we do not put forward or bring out legislation from this debate.

This is very important, because the educational aspect, the empowering of consumers, is one of the most mighty things that we can do when it comes to credit cards and purchasing by credit. When I was looking through some data today in preparation for an outline of this speech, I noted that approximately $156 billion, according to the numbers that I read, is spent every year through credit cards in this country. That is an immense sum.

One of the other things I noted in going through the data, looking at its relevance and trying to see how this actually does apply to people in their day to day lives, was the amount of credit card fraud. While it is somewhat small when compared to the $156 billion, in the neighbourhood of $200 million it is significant. It is one of the reasons that the banks often give for their higher interest rates.

I have to admit, though, I tend to be skeptical of all lawyers and all bankers.

Credit Cards December 7th, 2004

Mr. Chair, I want to make a brief comment and then perhaps the hon. parliamentary secretary could respond. I listened very carefully to the member's speech and was quite interested in it.

There was one small discrepancy that I would like to give him the chance to correct. He mentioned a former distinguished member of the House, Mr. Bill McKnight, the former member for Kindersley. He was quite right; Mr. McKnight was distinguished. He was a former minister of national defence. However, my colleague should be aware that the member came from Saskatchewan and in Saskatchewan there is no greater offence than to call a Conservative a New Democrat. I am pretty certain my colleague misspoke. To be referred to as a socialist for people from my province who believe in free enterprise and hard work is something which I am sure we would not want to be left on the record. I will give the hon. parliamentary secretary a chance to revise his remarks.

Canada Education Savings Act December 3rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to my hon. colleague's comments. I think he has a sincere interest in advancing the cause of his constituents and advancing the cause of young people who grew up in poverty and want to get a better and more adequate education.

I have a comment and a question. The member seems to concentrate on the institution of the university and not so much on the individual person. Coming from a rural background, many of my schoolmates and friends never had the ambition or interest to go to university. They wanted to become electricians, carpenters, start their own farms, start a business, and so on.

When I listen to the debate about funding the institution, I wonder why we do not get around to talking about delivering the need to individuals. Individuals can more directly and more adequately make the decision about their education and how their lives will be more productive, be it a tech school, a trade or starting up an innovative new business.

What ideas would the hon. member have and how would he encourage more emphasis on the individual, instead of merely an institutional approach of funding universities?

Petitions December 3rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition today on behalf of the people of Saskatchewan from several ridings, including my own, a petition about the modern scientific evidence for mitigation and prevention of disease through the use of natural health products. The petitioners call upon Parliament to support greater freedom and choice in their personal natural health care products. In particular, they are calling for support for the legislation introduced by the hon. member for Oshawa, Bill C-420.

Agriculture December 3rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, all we have from the government on the live cattle ban is excuses on why the U.S. border will not open. President Bush has come and gone, and still the border remains closed.

The Prime Minister has failed our livestock producers again. When will the border open?

Canada Labour Code November 25th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate at least what the government has been attempting to do, and something is better than nothing.

I heard the government saying again that there is still some defence of education or art if it is an undue risk. I am not a lawyer, but I have talked to lawyers in our caucus, one of whom was a former attorney general in the province of Manitoba. I have been told that if defence lawyers get a bit of room, they will go right through it. We should give them no room whatsoever.

All child pornography has undue risk to it. There should be absolutely no excuse for education or art. That is the point we are trying to get across. Why does the government not get it? There is nothing educational about child pornography. There is nothing artistic about child pornography. The definitions should be narrowed to such an extent that those useless categories should be eliminated.

Will the government see the light on this issue?

Canada Labour Code November 25th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the reason I am addressing this issue during adjournment proceedings tonight is because of the seriousness of the question. That is not to say that some questions are not serious, but the question I put to the Minister of Justice some time ago dealt with the issue of child pornography. This is an issue that we as Canadians must deal with to protect our young and society. In particular, my original question dealt with loopholes for child pornographers in his legislation. I know the government has worked on this legislation, but my underlying goal is to close all possible loopholes for child pornographers.

Let us be clear. I do not think there is one member in the House, at least I hope not, that would want a single child pornographer anywhere in this country to get away with the destructive habits that have been promoted through that criminal behaviour. Not only is the initial crime of taking pictures, et cetera, harmful, but we have a wide body of literature in the social sciences indicating that child pornographers can feed on this and go on to more heinous crimes. Mr. Ted Bundy, a serial murderer in the United States, is a perfect example.

It is with that intent and underlying concept that I addressed the original question to the Minister of Justice. When I asked him about using the charter of rights to protect child pornographers, he rightly said that the legislation must be constitutional. I have a concern with that. The minister undoubtedly has some very talented lawyers in his department, but we have not looked at the closing of every last loophole to close off the artistic merit defence. That is a defence that has been used in the courts. That is a defence that has absolutely no reasonableness to it. I cannot for the life of me think how anyone could possibly consider child pornography even the least bit to be artistic. That was the basis for my question.

I am wondering how the government can consider, even in the slightest way, that anything about child pornography, in any way, shape or form could be considered artistic. I would urge the minister to consider legislation stating that child pornography would not be protected by artistic merit.

I understand the need for legitimate purposes, and to spell out very specifically and very clearly in the most narrow terms what they are. Absolutely, these offences should be most narrow for police and training purposes, and that I understand.

I will reiterate my question to the Minister of Justice. Will he ensure that the artistic merit defence will no longer be possible through all legal means through his bill? Will he do everything he possibly can to narrow the defences of child pornography so that child pornographers will not get off? Can he assure me, on the artistic merit defence, that it can no longer be used?

Ukraine November 24th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, it is an important issue that we deal with tonight. As I begin my speech, let me first say that it will not be Churchillian eloquence. It will not be another cross of gold. It will be a speech, as my hon. colleague said, from the heart.

First, tonight, as I rise to address this question, I want to address ultimately why we have the right as Canadians, not as citizens of the Ukraine, not as people directly involved, to address this issue and speak on why we have the moral imperative, the duty, to deal with this issue.

What we are talking about tonight is a fundamental issue, an issue that we must not let rest, an issue that is more than just of concern to Canadians of Ukrainian descent, but is of concern to all Canadians who believe in freedom.

We in this country have a government based upon unalienable rights, rights that are not derived because of our ethnicity, our class, our gender or our country of birth, but rights, that are, as I said, inalienable, rights that are an endowment at birth. Specifically, we have the rights to life, liberty and property, and these are not just for Canadians. We, as Canadians, believe they are the rights of the whole world.

That is why we must address this issue in Ukraine because the inalienable rights of the citizens of Ukraine have been deprived. The citizens of Ukraine have had their inalienable right to liberty deprived, inalienable rights to speak freely, to address the problems of their nation and to a free and open democratic election.

It is not for us to choose sides. Let me emphasize and reiterate, tonight not one member of the House is calling for one candidate or another to be elected. We are calling clearly and eloquently, we are calling with singleness of voice for a free election, for an open accounting.

We must look at the evidence. We must look to decide if has it been free and fair. From all reports coming out of Ukraine, I think it is clear it has not been.

Having personal acquaintances and friends of the family who live there, may I draw on some of their recollections and advice. In specific, let me read a letter my office received just the other day from an acquaintance in Ukraine. I will take the liberty to adjust and disguise a few of the features of the letter for security purposes. For the record, this is what they are facing in the country.

Ukraine is swayed in demonstrations of protest against the unlawful results of the runoff election. The level of violations is just immense and unthinkable.

As this writer notes, look at the website, for English translation of some of irregularities that have been noted.

The writer continues:

In short, the pro-government candidate...won according to the official data from the Central Election Commission (the head of which was drunk!!! during election night). And violations are unprecedented--people voting several times using absentee ballots, the observers from the opposition and international observers were not let into polling stations on the East and South of Ukraine. 7 boxes with ballots were set on fire in the Lviv region alone!!!

In Kyiv ballots were destroyed by throwing acid in the voting boxes on several polling stations. Many Yushchenko observers were beaten up on the East. Level of people requesting to vote from home due to health reasons rose between 200% to 500% on polling stations of all the regions, which points to either an abnormal health deterioration or obvious violation.

The writer of the letter also notes that 99% of these votes went for one candidate. It is amazing. The writer continues:

Turnout rates on some of the polling stations was 105% (all of those on the lists + those using absentee ballots). 96% turnout rate in [one] region [home of one of the candidates]--there have never been anything like this before, even in Soviet times!!! Also several notes of bombs being planted were registered--none of them was true.

The author was volunteering during the election night, helping to put the election information site together. They were cut off from electricity for two hours. There were three polling stations in their area. They experienced information blocks from the east since 11 p.m.

The writer continues:

All the exit polls show a Yushchenko victory with a gap of between 5 to 11% (depending on the exit poll). Situation as of 10 pm on Monday in Ukraine: more than 300,000 people gathered on the central street of Kyiv to protest the official...returns holding orange stripes and banners (colour of Yushchenko).

Demonstrations are held in the most of the cities; in Lviv yesterday... more than 100,000 people were protesting...Buses are heading to Kyiv from all over Ukraine to support those standing in Kyiv, despite all the hedges on their way...

I believe the author is saying problems and encumbrances, but with limited English expressed it that way. The writer goes on:

--(tires are punctured by little things thrown around on the road leading to Kyiv, cars and buses are not let into the city, and yet they go there; several mayor city and oblast city councils pronounced Yushchenko [the second candidate] as legitimate president of Ukraine.

Ukrainian elections didn't meet any democratic standards, they were condemned by the EU and the USA. Now we truly need the help of international community.

Today Yushchenko was sworn in as the new president in some areas. Yanikovych gang did not agree, 1.5 million people are on the streets of Kyiv, many more ALL the regions of Ukraine.

I think that's enough of the information as for right now. Just wanted to brief you on what is going on, it is important that information flows to other countries.

That is direct evidence from an eye witness, an eye witness now observing the irregularities and the problems in the Ukraine, a witness demonstrating the severity of the problem there.

I am ultimately most concerned about this problem because it is a violation of the inalienable rights of the citizens of Ukraine. For those who know the history of Ukraine, it is a sad thing that they have had their rights violated again and again.

We have seen the famines that Stalin imposed upon the nation in the thirties. The Russian-Soviet civil war was most severe in the Ukraine with the red, white and green armies all fighting for control of it and then the ravages of the Second World War. This is a country that needs the world's help in defending its inalienable rights. It has had its rights violated repeatedly through the course of history.

Let me note the final reason why I care so deeply about what happens in that country. I spent time there. I spent Christmas there and I have friends there, real people who I know. I care for them. We as Canadians must all care for them, even the ones we do not know.

As someone whose grandmother was born in the region of Chortiza, south Ukraine, I can envision the territory having personally visited it and having talked with the people. All Canadians, not just Canadians whose ancestors were born in the Ukraine, care deeply about this election. We care deeply because we believe in the rule of law, representative of responsible government. We care deeply and believe that it is their absolute right.

I have been most gladdened and heartened to hear the unanimity of the House, standing behind the Ukrainian people and their quest for freedom. I call on all members not to tire of the efforts we must put forward in the next days, weeks and perhaps next months to call for and urge for what we can do to have Ukraine continue and grow to be free. I call on all members to continue, both in the government and the opposition, to unite as Canadians, Canadians who stand for freedom, not just in Canada but in Ukraine. I call for an open and free count of the votes in Ukraine, an open and free election, and I call on Canada to support it.

Taxation November 24th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, while all Canadians are already experiencing a winter without NHL hockey, the finance minister is doing his best to end junior hockey in Saskatchewan.

The Saskatchewan Jr. Hockey League is the only junior hockey league in Canada where the players, through their sponsors, are taxed on the room and board per diem that they receive.

For two years the Minister of Finance has done absolutely nothing to help teams in his home province. It is a disgrace that he has done nothing to help the SJHL. It includes teams like the Humboldt Broncos, a team in my constituency which is the heart of the town of Humboldt, a team which demonstrates the best of Canada and a team which is stuck with a $10,000 discriminatory tax bill.

Fortunately, the member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands has presented Bill C-285 to protect the SJHL.

While the Minister of Finance has done nothing to help protect Saskatchewan hockey, all other Saskatchewan MPs do support the bill and will support Saskatchewan hockey.