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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was international.

Last in Parliament August 2019, as Conservative MP for Calgary Forest Lawn (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 48% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act October 28th, 1997

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today in this historic place to speak on Bill C-6, an act to provide for an integrated system of land and water management in the Mackenzie Valley, to establish certain boards for that purpose and to make consequential amendments to other acts.

As this is my maiden speech in the House, I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to the voters of Calgary East. They are the reason I am here today and I assure them I will be their voice in this House over the next four years.

I would also like to thank the volunteers who so tirelessly worked on my campaign. Most important, I want to express my thanks to my family. My wife Neena, my daughters Priti and Kaajal, and my son Aman have stood by my side over the last few months and I realize the next four years will be trying ones but I want to express just how much they mean to me.

I would like to speak to several of the concerns that I and my party have with this bill.

Reform's main opposition to this bill evolves around the creation of yet another level of bureaucracy. In addition there are specific industry concerns that need to be addressed before this legislation comes into being. It would be much easier to iron out any wrinkles in the agreement prior to its taking effect than to introduce an amendment to legislation at a later date which only adds to the bureaucratic jungle and the backlog of legislation we currently face. Our time and energy as parliamentarians could be better spent elsewhere.

With that said, I do realize the validity of the goals of this legislation and in particular the need to implement past agreements made by the Government of Canada. It is also important to take steps to better manage and protect our lands for our children and our grandchildren.

We are dealing today with an agreement made by the Mulroney government. In 1994 under Bill C-16 a land claims agreement was made between the federal government, two First Nations bands and the Metis calling for an integrated system of land and water management to apply to the Mackenzie Valley through the creation of certain boards. The Reform Party opposed Bill C-16 due to its creation of an additional and unneeded level of bureaucracy and opposes Bill C-6 that we are debating today for the same reasons.

In 10 minutes I do not have the time to go into great detail on all the concerns. However, I would like to spend a moment or two on an issue that is of great concern to me, the establishment and management of the various boards that act as watchdogs over the use and development of the Mackenzie Valley.

These various boards will be partly comprised of individuals nominated by the First Nations involved and partly from the nominations of the territorial and federal governments. I have no real concerns over the appointment of individuals nominated from the territorial and First Nations groups involved. However, with this Liberal government's previous history of nominating its political pals from days gone by, I am concerned that this will be yet another political patronage ploy for the government.

One only needs to look at the government's appointments to the Senate since it was elected to power in 1993 to see that it would much rather appoint its political pals than the best suited individuals for the jobs. With its record I am left to wonder how the government will decide to choose who will sit on the various boards.

In particular I am concerned as to the technical expertise these individuals will bring to their positions on the board. As it deals with a very sensitive environmental area, I would ask the government to put aside its own political agenda, that is making sure all of their political pals are not put in place, and ensure that board members are put in place because they are the best individuals for the job.

Other involved parties have specific concerns with this legislation as it currently stands. The Northwest Territories Chamber of Mines, which speaks for some 600 groups and individuals, has serious concerns after the briefing it was provided by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development at the end of September. Specifically the Northwest Territories Chamber of Mines has four main concerns.

Not only does the bill provide new obstacles for resource development, it also raises several concerns about the possibility of litigation in the future. It also leaves the various parties open to the use of deliberate delaying tactics in the periodic environmental reviews that must occur under this bill. I have already expressed my concern over the election process of board members which the chamber also raises.

In each of its concerns there are several compounded and complex issues within each area of concern. I would like to take a moment or two to outline some of the complexities of these issues and hopefully someone from the government side will help to clarify any confusion that exists.

With respect to the obstacles for resource development, there is growing concern over the rights to compensation, the powers granted to the boards regarding permits and leases, and an enforcement policy which can best be described as confused. I believe that for effective management of the land and water resources in the Mackenzie Valley area there needs to be more specific policies set in place before this bill is passed into law. We need to be proactive in setting out specific guidelines, especially in the areas of jurisdiction of the boards. We cannot be making up the rules as we go along.

Second, several questions remain unanswered concerning the unresolved issues not addressed in this bill. The participants of the briefing session that DIAND held in Yellowknife at the end of September left with the understanding that such unanswered questions would only be resolved by the courts. Our current court system is weighed down enough with litigation. It would take years before litigation arising from the flaws in this bill could be resolved. This should not and cannot happen.

With environmental concerns playing a fundamental role in how we approach matters regarding land and water management, the concern over various delaying tactics that groups can impose in ensuring that the periodic environmental reviews and assessments that must occur through the bill is real and must be dealt with. Although the government officials feel that these concerns are improbable, past experience suggests that these concerns are indeed justified.

Before I conclude, I would like to reiterate our concerns with the bill and why our party will be opposing it at second reading. There are too many unanswered questions as to how the land and water management will be structured. In my opinion the government is simply reacting to the commitments made by the past government without thinking about the environmental consequences of the bill.

We agree that the government should hold to its responsibilities even if they were made by previous governments. However, the question remains, at what cost? We should look more closely at what the consequences of this bill are.

Second reading deals with the principle of the bill. Without some major amendments at committee and at the report stage we feel that this bill will do more damage than it will do good. It will only cause a more confused bureaucracy with unclear regulations, regulated by a board or a series of boards that are appointed by the government.

Our environment should be first and foremost in our minds as we study this bill in more detail. I therefore urge my colleagues to join me in opposing this bill as it is.

The Constitution October 24th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, this weekend we celebrate the anniversaries of two milestones for democracy in Canada.

Five years ago this Sunday, on October 26, 1992, millions of Canadians had a rare taste of grassroots democracy when they cast their votes in a national referendum on constitutional change. Ordinary Canadians resoundingly rejected the special status, distinct society laden Charlottetown accord. By doing so, they also rejected the top down process by which that accord was drafted. Canadians set an important precedent that day. Never again will they allow political elites to dictate our constitutional future.

Four years ago tomorrow, millions of Canadians defied conventional wisdom and set another democratic landmark. They voted Reform by the millions. On that day 51 new Reform MPs joined the Reform member who is now the member for Edmonton North.

These are two great dates, two dates that mark the coming of age for democracy in this country. Reformers everywhere should be proud.

Volunteers October 21st, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge and commend the countless volunteers who unselfishly devote their time and energy to making their communities a better place to live.

These volunteers ask for nothing in return. As a result of their efforts, dedication and commitment to their communities, their friends and their families enjoy a high quality of life that has become the envy of the world.

I cannot stress strongly enough that these volunteers are a sense of pride for all Canadians. I therefore take great pride in acknowledging the following community associations in my riding: Abbeydale, Albert Park/Radisson Heights, Applewood Park, Calgary Marlborough, Crossroads, Dover, Erin Woods, Forest Heights, Forest Lawn, Inglewood, Marlborough Park, Millican Ogden, Penbrooke Meadows and Southview.

Our heartfelt thanks goes out to all these community association volunteers. Their commitment has not gone unnoticed and is very much appreciated.

Supply October 21st, 1997

Madam Speaker, this is my first time speaking in the House and it is indeed a privilege.

I have listened to the motion of the NDP and to the response of the Liberal government. I represent a riding which is not very well off. A lot of people are looking for government assistance and are on government assistance.

The general thrust, as I listen to the members of the NDP and of the Liberals, is that with the spending that will take place, jobs will be created. However, the evidence is to the contrary. Yes, we do need to spend money on many of our social services but that is not going to create meaningful jobs. It is going to create jobs that are there but are not meaningful jobs.

What is important for the economy is to reduce the deficit. I have business experience. I am a small businessman and in the last 15 years the tax burden on my business has exceeded to the point where I have had to cut staff in order to balance my books. It is lower taxes and the proper environment that will create the investment and create meaningful jobs.

I have two daughters in university who will soon be going into the job market. They are looking for training in jobs that will be meaningful and help in our prosperity.

The economy is changing into an information age and moving into a global economy. That is where we will excel in the job training aspect by retraining our youth. It is not in spending money but in creating the environment for the business sector. We all know it is the business sector that will create the jobs, not the government sector. The government sector is always inefficient so we must create an environment for the businesses that will create the jobs.

I do not disagree with some of the points that she has made concerning spending money on training which will create jobs. Yes, it may create jobs but it will not create ever-lasting jobs.

All we hear from the NDP is that there are many unemployed and we should be spending money to create jobs. I differ on that. The spending of money is not going to create jobs.

Some of the proposals which were just mentioned may create jobs and may be necessary. It is not going to make a big dent in the unemployment rate. I share the view that we should bring the unemployment rate down. Our fundamental difference is that the NDP is asking for spending and we are not. We are asking for a climate to create jobs.

Immigration Act October 7th, 1997

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-241, an act to amend the Immigration Act (right of landing fee).

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce my private member's bill in the House today. This bill amends the Immigration Act to prevent the assessment of the right of landing fee on immigrants in addition to the application fee. This will prevent economic discrimination against immigrants from low income countries which may be caused by such fees.

Canada is a land of immigrants and the current right of landing fee placed on people coming to Canada in addition to their application fee is discriminatory and regressive.

This practice goes against our history and against our vision of our country. Almost everyone can trace their roots back to immigrants and even today immigrants continue to play an important role in Canada's development.

This bill is a step in returning Canada back to its vision regarding immigrants. This bill was introduced in the second session of the 35th Parliament and I hope that members of the House will seriously consider the bill's intent and purpose.

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

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act October 6th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address my comments to the member and draw on what my colleague from Calgary Southwest said about job killing.

That is job killing for the workers, but what about the small businessman, and the extra tax burden which the government does not want to call that, but it is a tax burden on small business. What about the small business, the extra tax on small business? It will kill many businesses that are borderline because of the high taxes of the Liberal government.

What about killing small businesses which will in turn kill jobs and will take livelihood away from small businessmen. What about that?

Multiculturalism October 2nd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, Namaste, Sasri-Kal, Ram-Ram, Ya Ali Madat and Jambo.

These greetings emphasize that Canada is a multicultural society. Our multicultural policy was intended to build bridges but it has been manipulated in the past and therefore faces growing criticism today.

Canadians are looking to strengthen their roots in this country. They want to be Canadian first, especially when the very existence of our country is in question. Often people ask “am I a Canadian or am I a hyphenated Canadian?” I can attest to the fact that today culture and multiculturalism are thriving not because of government funding but because people choose to do so on their own.

The multicultural community can play a very important role in the unity of our country. I urge the government to make positive changes to this policy. Let us ensure there is no discrimination, no barriers to their advancement and that they enjoy full freedom as defined in the charter.

Cultural Grants Acknowledgement Act September 30th, 1997

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-222, an act to require that in the advertising and at the opening of a cultural project supported by public money a public acknowledgement be made of the grant and percentage of the total cost that the grant represents.

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce by private member's bill in the House today. This bill would require the recipients of grants of public funds for cultural projects to acknowledge that a grant has been made. It would also require recipients to specify the percentage the total cost of the grant represents at the time the program is announced or advertised and open to the public. Non-compliance may result in the recipient's having to repay the grant.

It is my hope that the members of the House will seriously consider the bill's intent and purpose.

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