House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was chairman.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Conservative MP for Dufferin—Caledon (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

John Lynch-Staunton June 13th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, today I would like to honour a fellow colleague who I have had the great pleasure of getting to know. On June 19, Senator John Lynch-Staunton will be turning 75 and thus retiring from his seat in the Senate.

Senator Lynch-Staunton is a member of the Conservative Party of Canada for the province of Quebec in the Grandville senatorial division. He was first appointed to the Senate on September 23, 1990 by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. From September 1991 to November 1993, he was Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate. In addition, he was elected leader of the opposition in the Senate in December 1993.

In 2004, Senator Lynch-Staunton served as the first leader for the new Conservative Party of Canada on an interim basis.

Today I am honoured to stand and speak of such an esteemed senator and Canadian. I thank Senator Lynch-Staunton for his hard work, dedication and service to Canada. I wish him all the best for a very happy retirement.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis June 1st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, recently I introduced a private member's bill that would designate the month of June as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis month. This is also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. The bill would ensure that throughout Canada, in each and every year, the month of June shall be officially be known as ALS month.

Approximately 2,000 Canadians currently live with ALS. Two or three Canadians lose their battle to this devastating disease every day. With improved knowledge about ALS, health care providers and families can help those living with this disease live life more fully.

The ALS Society of Canada recognizes the involvement of volunteers at all levels of the organization as a vital component to achieving its mission of helping people living with ALS and raising funds for ALS research.

Throughout the month of June, ALS societies across Canada will be raising money for research through a variety of ways, one of which is through the sale of cornflowers. Members should show their support for ALS research and buy a cornflower.

Budget Implementation Act, 2005 May 17th, 2005

Madam Speaker, my question for the member involves the issue of the gas tax and moneys that are being allotted to municipalities.

In my riding there are a number of small municipalities that have the job to repair bridges and maintain roads. The warden of Dufferin County, a fellow named John Oosterhof, has suggested that he is most concerned that the issue of funding is based on population as opposed to kilometres. Some of the city people, such as Mayor Miller of Toronto, say they have to have all this money. The problem is that many rural municipalities just do not have the funding. In my area a bridge had to be closed because the municipality did not have the resources to repair it.

The decision appears to have already been made that it will be based on population as opposed to kilometres. Would the member be prepared to have the government reconsider that formula and base it on kilometres as opposed to population?

Sponsorship Program May 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, once again we learn of further evidence from the Gomery inquiry that continues to link senior levels of the Liberal Party to the sponsorship scandal. We hear tales of cash-stuffed envelopes and briefcases and sworn evidence showing that the Liberals have run election campaigns on dirty money.

It has now been revealed by the director general of the party's Quebec wing that in May 2001 his predecessor was linked with the former public works minister and the chief Liberal organizer from Quebec. In addition to this evidence, it has further been alleged that a close friend of the former prime minister acknowledged at the time that he set up a lucrative kickback system that moved money illicitly from the ad agencies to the Liberal Party.

This damning testimony linking Liberal Party officials to illicit cash proves further that the Liberal Party was using taxpayer dollars as if they were their own.

This is much more than a story of rogue Liberals and greedy ad men. It is a story of admissions from senior Liberals that show the party is no longer fit for public office.

Petitions May 13th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from residents of my riding who ask that Parliament pass legislation to recognize the institution of marriage in federal law as being a union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

ALS Month Act May 11th, 2005

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-384, an act to designate the month of June as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) Month.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a private member's bill that would designate the month of June as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis month, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

This bill would ensure that throughout Canada in each and every year, the month of June shall be known as ALS month.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Committees of the House May 10th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the fourth report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

Orangeville Farmers' Market May 9th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday, May 7, I had the opportunity to take part in the opening of the 14th annual Orangeville Farmers' Market. Each year the market opens with a free pancake breakfast, complete with real maple syrup courtesy of Marlene Black and the team from Orangeville Insurance Services. Following the breakfast, the Royal Canadian Legion led the procession and the market was officially opened for 2005.

The Orangeville Farmers' Market will be home to the Blues and Jazz Festival in the first week of June and will also host the Strawberry Festival in early July.

None of this would be possible without the strong support of Mayor Drew Brown and the town council as well as the numerous performers and vendors taking part. Much is also owed to Janice Gooding, who is in her fifth year of managing this event.

With a schedule jam-packed with performances and vendors and all around fun, the Orangeville Farmers' Market is sure to offer enjoyment for all throughout the months to come.

Civil Marriage Act May 2nd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I, like most of my colleagues on this side of the House and many on the other side as well, believe in the traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

However, in the course of this debate those of us who support the traditional form of marriage have been told that to oppose Bill C-38 would be a violation of human rights and an unconstitutional violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is an attempt by the government to shift the grounds of this debate. The government does not want to debate the question of traditional marriage versus same sex marriage. It would rather focus on attacking its opponents as opposing human rights and the charter. This debate is not about human rights. It is a political, social policy decision and should be treated in that light.

Let me present several reasons why the issue of same sex marriage is not a human rights issue, and why defining the traditional definition of marriage would probably not violate the charter or require the use of the notwithstanding clause.

First of all, no internationally recognized human rights document has ever suggested that there is a right to same sex marriage. For example, in the universal declaration of human rights, the foundational United Nations human rights charter, almost all the rights listed are worded as purely individual rights, rights which everyone shall have or no one shall be denied. When it comes to marriage, the declaration says:

Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.

The use of the term “men and women” rather than “everyone” suggests that only traditional opposite sex marriage is contemplated. The subsequent international covenant on civil and political rights contains similar language. Attempts to pursue same sex marriage as an international human rights issue have failed.

In 1998 the European Court of Justice held that “stable relationships between two persons of the same sex are not regarded as equivalent to marriages.” In 1996 the New Zealand Court of Appeal rejected the recognition of same sex marriages despite the fact that New Zealand's bill of rights explicitly listed sexual orientation as a prohibited grounds of discrimination.

When the New Zealand decision was challenged before the United Nations Human Rights Commission as a violation of the international covenant on civil and political rights, the United Nations Human Rights Commission ruled in 2002 that there was no case for discrimination simply on the basis of refusing to marry homosexual couples.

In fact, to this date no international human rights body and no national supreme court has ever found that there is a human right to same sex marriage. The only courts that have found in favour of a right to same sex marriage are provincial courts in this country or state level courts in the United States.

If same sex marriage is not a basic human right in the sense of internationally recognized human rights law, is it a violation of Canadian charter rights? Several provincial Courts of Appeal such as the Court of Appeal in my province of Ontario have said that it is, and we still have not heard from the highest court in the land.

In the same sex reference case the Supreme Court of Canada declined to rule on the constitutionality of the traditional definition of marriage despite a clear request from the Liberal government to answer that question. All of the lower court decisions in favour of same sex marriage were dealing with common law, judge made law from over a century ago, not a recent statute passed by a democratically elected legislature.

It is quite possible that those lower courts may have found differently if there was a marriage act passed by this Parliament defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. So the whole discussion of the notwithstanding clause is an irrelevant distraction in this debate. There is simply no reason to use or discuss the use of the notwithstanding clause in the absence of a Supreme Court decision which indicates the traditional definition of marriage as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court of Canada has not done so. The Supreme Court has also said in various cases that statute law requires greater deference than common law.

Should legislation upholding the traditional definition of marriage be passed, a good argument can be made that the Supreme Court would give it considerable deference.

There are several examples of Parliament having passed statutes without using the notwithstanding clause that effectively reversed judicial decisions, including Supreme Court of Canada decisions, under common law. The courts have accepted these exercises of parliamentary sovereignty.

In 1995, Parliament passed Bill C-72 reversing the Supreme Court's decision in Daviault, which allowed extreme intoxication in a criminal defence.

In 1996, Parliament passed Bill C-46 reversing the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in O'Connor, which allowed the accused to access medical records of the victims in sexual assault cases. When this new law was challenged in a subsequent case, Mills, the Supreme Court wisely ruled, in a decision by Justices McLachlin and Iaccobucci, that:

It does not follow from the fact that a law passed by Parliament differs from a regime envisaged by the Court in the absence of a statutory scheme, that Parliament's law is unconstitutional. Parliament may build on the Court's decision, and develop a different scheme as long as it remains constitutional. Just as Parliament must respect the Court's rulings, so the Court must respect Parliament's determination that the judicial scheme can be improved. To insist on slavish conformity would belie the mutual respect that underpins the relationship between the courts and legislature that is so essential to our constitutional democracy....

There is good reason to believe that the Supreme Court of Canada, if it were eventually asked to rule on a new statutory definition of marriage combined with a full and equal recognition of legal rights and benefits for same sex couples, might well accept it.

The Conservative Party of Canada's position that the use of the notwithstanding clause is not required to legislate a traditional definition of marriage is supported by law professor Alan Brudner of the University of Toronto who recently wrote in the

Globe and Mail:

For all we know, therefore, courts may uphold opposite sex marriage as a reasonable limit on the right against discrimination when the restriction comes from a democratic body.

The notwithstanding clause should be invoked by Parliament only after the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled on the constitutionality of a law. As yet, there has been no such law for the Supreme Court to consider, so there is no need to use the notwithstanding clause.

My leader has undertaken to bring in a reasonable, democratic compromise solution, one which is defined in statute that marriage remains the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, which extended equal rights and benefits to couples living in other forms of unions, and which fully protected freedom of religion to the extent possible under federal law. I believe that the Supreme Court of Canada would honour such a decision by Parliament and therefore I will be supporting the traditional definition of marriage.

Committees of the House April 21st, 2005

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the comments of the parliamentary secretary. However, we do have to look at the experience that we have encountered with respect to BSE. It has caused a big problem in the agricultural community. This issue is scaring the living daylights out of the agricultural community.

I have one simple question. The hon. member indicated that the Liberal government was not in favour of recommendation one. Recommendation one says that an independent commission of inquiry be struck with the mandate to investigate the 2004 avian influenza outbreak in British Columbia and to also prevent occurrences of outbreaks. The answer as to why he was opposed to this recommendation is that it takes away from strong measures already taken by the government.

We have to be satisfied. The international community is trying to tell us that a country must be considered free from all of this. They do not seem to be satisfied. They seem to be rather concerned about it.

I would like another explanation as to why the hon. member's government is opposed specifically to that first recommendation.

It is well known that exports of Canadian poultry were significantly down from the previous three years. March 2004 exports were down 54% from the previous years. August 2004 exports were down 77% from the previous years.

We have to be satisfied that the conditions are safe. The hon. member can say they are, but we do not appear to be satisfied. I would like further information on that.