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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Calgary Nose Hill (Alberta)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 70% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada Pension Plan May 30th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development. The minister has assured this House that the Canada pension plan is in good shape with a healthy surplus.

However, almost all the surplus, 93 per cent of it, is loaned out to provinces at bargain basement interest rates. For example, it has just been reported that a Saskatchewan crown corporation, SaskTel, owes $100 million of its huge $600 million debt to the Canada pension plan at below market rates.

How could cheap loans to debt ridden governments and crown corporations be in the best interests of CPP contributors and beneficiaries?

Health May 27th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is still why, but perhaps to help the Minister of Health I could advise her we have learned that the real reason the meeting has been cancelled is pressure from interest groups.

Could the Minister of Health tell the House why she is not willing or someone is not willing to move vigorously to protect the lives and health of emergency workers and their families?

Health May 27th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the very busy Minister of Health.

Every day ambulance workers and firefighters risk their lives for Canadians. They also risk exposure to infectious diseases

from the people they rescue. When this happens they want to be notified so that they and their families can seek quick treatment.

A workshop was set up to establish a process to give emergency workers this vital information but now the minister's department says the workshop will not be going ahead, even though all stakeholders have agreed that things could be worked out quickly. My question is why.

Budget Implementation Act May 26th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am sure members of the House will be very sad that I only have three or four minutes. It is very interesting to me that members of the Bloc keep urging the goose to lay more golden eggs while at the same time they want to kill the goose.

I thought I might throw into the debate a few observations. I am indebted to Mrs. Karen Selick for some of this material.

These days in Canada our unemployment rate is over 11 per cent. Most probably know that, but what most of us probably do not know is that the unemployment rate in Hong Kong is about 1.5 per cent. That is the rate at which economists consider to be full employment. Those 1.5 per cent are primarily people in the process of changing jobs. About 1.5 per cent of our over 11 per cent are unemployed for the same reason, but what about the other 10 per cent?

With 1997 fast approaching and many Hong Kong residents scrambling to find a way out before China takes over, one would expect that Hong Kong would be going through a major economic recession complete with a high unemployment rate. Strangely it is not. Why? It is in part because it has no unemployment insurance.

There is a hypothesis that the existence of unemployment insurance increases unemployment. This hypothesis has been proven correct by economists. Economic theory can predict and explain this result and empirical studies have validated the theory.

I thought members of this House should have these scintillating facts before them as they consider this issue.

Non-Confidence Motions May 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I speak today in support of the motion introduced by my colleague from Mission-Coquitlam. I believe members ought to consider three propositions relating to the measures she has placed before the House: first, that freer votes are needed; second, that freer votes are coming; and third, that freer votes should be welcomed.

I suggest freer votes together with relaxation of the confidence convention will allow members of Parliament to truly fulfil their responsibility to represent the interests of their constituents in Parliament.

The strength of our party system is of the utmost importance. That is to say party members must act as a team. They must be able to stand united behind a clearly articulated action plan. Parties must be a source of inspiration. They must ensure that MPs do not vote arbitrarily or irresponsibly. That is why we must present them with measures which would enable them to move the system toward a more direct democracy. Indeed in a representative democracy the paramount responsibility of elected members is surely to truly represent not only the party's interests but also those of their constituents.

This is the first of two reasons why I believe freer votes are needed. Put in its simplest terms democracy means rule by the people, not rule by a Prime Minister, not rule by a Prime Minister and cabinet, not rule by elected members belonging to a government party, not even rule by all 295 MPs, but rule by the people.

Regrettably in Canada few would argue that democracy in the full sense of government by the people does not exist. As Professor Mortimore has written, there is only a crude veto power at election time. In the absence of a system that translates informed public opinion into policy decisions, manipulative insiders will continue to make policy and govern.

I believe that democracy is not a fixed imperishable, but a dynamic that must be reinvigorated as old conventions grow increasingly unable to meet the needs of a changing society.

A true commitment to preserve and protect the essence of our democratic system, to ensure that we enjoy the reality, not just have the label of living in a democracy, is why we must now move toward mechanisms like freer votes which will more truly empower a better informed and technologically advanced public.

In addition to our obligation as leaders and elected representatives to preserve and promote truly democratic government there is a second reason why measures like freer votes are needed. The system must change because it has largely lost the trust, respect and support of the people it must serve.

One need look no further than the results of the last election to gauge the anger at the system that prevails in Canada today. It would be a mistake to assume that by changing the players in this institution the Canadian electorate has exhausted its political discontent. The 1993 election was a symptom of the disease, not the cure.

Unless we ensure that national decision-making is more truly reflective of the judgment of Canadians they will continue to express their disdain for the decision-making system and for their representatives with all the resulting negative consequences for our society.

I sincerely believe that only reforms to the system will make it possible for Canadians to develop new confidence in the way they are governed. That is why I believe freer votes are needed as a small and necessary step in the process of reform. I also believe that free votes are coming.

I am a member of a party which is advocating more open and accountable government, subject to checks and balances controlled by the people themselves. The implementation of direct democracy measures such as recall, referendums and citizens' initiatives and freer votes is a key element of the Reform Party program.

This is a party that in six short years has already won enough support from the public to elect 52 members to represent the people of Canada in the House of Commons. However, we should be clear that Reformers have not created some sudden demand for direct democracy. Rather we are here because the demand existed but no traditional political vehicle was willing or able to respond to it.

The demand has been intense enough to energize Canadian citizens like me to devote the enormous amount of time and effort necessary to inject an entirely new dynamic into the

political equation. Neither the demand nor the determination to meet it is going to go away.

In addition, changes are occurring in our society which make democratic reforms imperative and inescapable. Citizens are focusing increasingly on their rights and demanding that those rights be met.

In the marketplace now the consumer is boss. Canadians are well educated, well travelled and well informed. They recognize the increasing degree to which policy decisions do not enjoy any broad public support. They comprehend the waste and mismanagement in the administration of the country's economic affairs and the burden of the huge mortgage that has been placed on our future. They are saying: "If anyone were listening to us such poor decisions would never be made. Perhaps it is time we got to make some of these decisions". They are saying these things louder and more insistently all the time.

Dr. David Elton of the Canada West Foundation has stated that we can fight this move toward direct democracy until it sweeps us aside or we can work to facilitate it through a thoughtful and well managed process. But one way or another, measures like freer votes are coming. It is up to us to ensure that this irresistible force does not meet immovable MPs because we have already seen that immovable MPs can and will be removed.

It is only fair to point out that the present Prime Minister has shown absolutely no sympathy or understanding for this clear desire on the part of Canadians to move toward direct democracy. He says he finds the notion of referendums repulsive. When presented with a petition signed by tens of thousands of voters demanding the right to recall a representative who has lost their confidence he says: "You will get your chance in four years and not before". He says MPs should vote as directed by the party they ran as part of and vote as directed by their own judgment. Freedom to vote the wishes of the constituents who elected an MP to represent them in Parliament does not make his list.

In fact the government House leader, in proposing changes to the rules of the House of Commons on February 7 explicitly excluded any mention of free votes, stating that the subject cannot be dealt with by the rules. He then spent considerable time denying the legitimacy of free votes in Canada's parliamentary system, including reference to our constitutional legacy from the United Kingdom. What he failed to mention is that the United Kingdom's Parliament has enjoyed free votes for over 20 years now. He does not explain why this legacy has been ignored in our Canadian Parliament.

I would like to conclude on a positive note with my third proposition that free votes should be welcomed. Canadians, a tolerant and forbearing people by nature, remain willing to allow their representatives a good measure of latitude in the exercise of their own judgment and in support for the program a representative's party took to the voters.

Surely it is not too much to ask that when the member's own judgment or party agenda clearly and demonstrably diverges from the broad public consensus in the riding he or she represents that it is the constituents' interests which will carry the day. If we cannot countenance democracy even to that degree, if the views and conscience of one representative must always be able to override the interest and conscience of the thousands of electors he or she represents, then we ought to be honest, admit that we have abandoned the notion of being a democratic nation where the people rule and accept that we have instead an elected dictatorship.

Members of this House are glad to live in a democracy. We value and affirm our right as citizens in this democracy to make decisions for ourselves regarding our future and the laws within which we will conduct ourselves.

We recognize that such freedom is meaningless unless we, the elected representatives of Canadian citizens, stand ready, willing and able to give effect to their rights of self-determination by giving effect to their wishes when we vote on their behalf.

We continue to abrogate the democratic rights of our fellow citizens when we refuse to truly represent them for personal, partisan or political reasons. My colleague from Mission-Coquitlam has provided in her motion a very concrete measure by which we can allow our fellow citizens their legitimate role in a 21st century democracy.

It is a measure long since adopted in other respected democracies including our role model of the United Kingdom. Only we as members of this House of Commons, this house of the people, can be agents of needed change. Will we have the courage and commitment to be leaders our constituents can count on to put their interests ahead of our party when it comes down to a choice?

They voted for us. Will we vote for them? I urge members to support this motion.

Supply May 12th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I was not intending to cast aspersions on youth. I was simply reporting what the police told me. They told me that based on the goods that were taken, on the modus operandi of the break-in, they believed it was juveniles involved.

Based on that belief they went on to tell me that there was essentially nothing they could do, even if by some good fortune they found the people involved. If they were juveniles, the message to me was to accept it, that nothing was going to happen that would deter or stop this kind of activity if it has been committed by juveniles.

Supply May 12th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the comments of my hon. colleague.

It is clear that poverty, family dysfunction, abuse are factors in crime. That is not something I would dispute. What I am disputing is that it is an excuse for crime. I do not believe that we should excuse choices to violate the rights of others based on the fact that these elements are present in the life and background of a citizen. That is not a legitimate excuse.

We have to recognize that it is difficult to make good decisions when these factors are present but we should still demand that those decisions be made. We can point to the fact that many people who struggle with those very same circumstances still are able and can make good decisions.

As for the causes of crime, I would probably be elevated to sainthood if I could outline those in a short answer. Rather than looking at the causes, we have to look back at a little thing called personal responsibility. In some ways, we can all find reasons for doing what we are doing but what we have to do as a society is say: "I do not care what the reasons are. Those choices are not acceptable" and that is the focus we have to put on those kinds of activities.

Supply May 12th, 1994

Madam Speaker, last night I listened with interest to an address given by Justice Lilles of the Territorial Court of Yukon to a conference self-named Youth Justice in Crisis. Judge Lilles used the opportunity to argue that in his view the present system is working quite well and that tougher measures are not the answer.

Indeed, we have heard those sentiments expressed here today in this House.

The only solution this judicial expert offered was that kids should not be taken out of the home and that families in communities ought to be empowered.

In her summation of his talk, the conference co-chairman asked the participants the rhetorical question how do we combat the let's get tough attitude.

Canadians need to realize that the current youth justice system has energetic defenders within the system. Some of these people are so strongly opposed to substantial change that the word "combat" comes naturally into their discussions.

The conference is named, Youth Justice in Crisis, but the word crisis does not appear to be applied by participants, certainly not by Judge Lilles, to describe the failures of the system. Rather the crisis seems to be that some people want to change the existing system.

The demand for change, it is stated, must be "combated by those within the system". If the youth justice system itself

really is in crisis, Judge Lilles defence of the present system did not indicate that he felt any sense of crisis.

Unfortunately this is the view our political decision-makers all too often appear to be influenced by. For too long we have bought the line we heard yesterday in the House that, "crime is caused by poverty, dysfunctional families, abused children and hopelessness". Why do we persist in feeding this kind of nonsense to rational human beings?

Members of the House have personally suffered from degrees of poverty, dysfunctional families, abuse and have at some time or other in their lives suffered from feelings of hopelessness. What made us law makers rather than law breakers? On the other hand how can we explain the fact that many offenders are from homes where they are comfortably well off, loved and cherished and have unlimited opportunity?

Simplistic rationales for lawless behaviour just do not help the situation we find ourselves in today. Yes, we should work energetically to combat poverty, family breakdown, abuse and loss of spiritual stability. However these realities have never been and will never be eradicated completely. We have to offer help to members of our society who have been wounded by such circumstances but make it abundantly clear that these factors will not make us tolerant of violations of the rights, safety and security of law-abiding citizens.

What is at the root of the current public concerns about the justice system in our country is not the level of crime so much as the lack of firm and unequivocal response to it.

When my home was broken into and thousands of dollars worth of hard earned goods stolen, the police told me: "It was probably juveniles and even if we catch them it will do little to solve the problem because we have seen third time convictions for break and enter get off with probation".

Canadians are concerned that the message keeps going out to our youth that disrespect for the rights of others and resulting crime is a low risk activity. Canadians are outraged and now frustrated to hear our law makers and law enforcers say openly and consistently to youth who threaten others' property and safety: "Do not worry. We are just here to help you, not make things unpleasant for you. We really understand it is not your fault. If you had a nicer home or parents or community we know you would not do those things".

What Canadians want to hear from our law makers and justice system is this. "We know life is tough sometimes and it hurts. We want to help. But let us get something straight right off. You do not hurt other people or their property. We do not allow that. If you choose to violate that simple standard of our society the personal consequences to you will be unpleasant. Harming others' property or lives is a high risk activity in our society. It is something we just do not tolerate".

The present Young Offenders Act sends just the opposite message to young offenders. It says: "Whatever you do we will pretty much excuse you and not hold you personally responsible. Instead we will challenge your home, family and community to meet all your real and perceived needs so you will want to be a nice person. Providing of course that they do not give you any physical discomfort or do anything to lower your self-esteem or interfere with your freedom to act on your own opinion and values". Increasingly young people in our society are expressing frustration at the lack of responsible and appropriate societal values and limits. Fortunately many, even the majority, continue to be given those needed societal constraints by their homes and the larger community. Most young Canadians are decent, responsible, law-abiding and a credit to their families and to all of us.

As they struggle to make good choices in the stress and challenge of a rapidly changing world, we need to affirm our approval and appreciation for their hard work and self-discipline. An important way to do this is by demonstrating the opposite response to unrestrained, disrespectful and unlawful acts by their peers. Since they are most at risk from youthful criminals, at the very least we owe them simple, personal protection and safety.

These are the reasons I support the motion before the House today. The chief of police for the city of Calgary, my own city, Chief Borbridge, has confirmed that the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police supports lowering the age of operation of the Young Offenders Act to those under age 16, as has been proposed.

Over half of young people charged with violent offences are aged 16 to 17 at the time of the offence and violent offences involving youth have increased significantly since the Young Offenders Act was passed into law.

I do not believe that the Canadian public is asking for an unconsidered swing to harsh, punitive measures that are devoid of compassion or uncaring about the need for rehabilitation. However it is very clear that they want a great deal more accountability in the youth justice system. They want young offenders held accountable to society. They want the rights of law-abiding citizens protected. They want to take the fun and thrill and ease out of threatening the property and safety of others. They want the consequences for deliberate lawless choices to be strong and unpleasant enough to inject a healthy dose of caution and disincentive into the minds of youths considering offending the rights of others.

We can legitimately debate the nature and quality of such consequences. However there is no doubt whatever that the vast majority of people we all represent, the people who sent us here,

the people who are footing the bill, want changes in that direction.

I suggest we do our job as law makers in responding to the demand for greater protection. This motion is a small step in the right direction. I urge members to give it their support.

Agriculture May 10th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I think it is fair to say that when we are fighting in an unfair competitive position where trading partners are being heavily subsidized that we must find ways to assist our own industries. That is why we welcome the recent GATT agreement which diminished these international subsidies and allowed us to compete on a more level playing field.

At this point we are reversing that trend, as I understand it. Now the question is what we can do to make our industry more competitive in this new regime of freer and fairer trade.

Agriculture May 10th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. I am sure he knows a great deal more about this subject than I.

I think it is very clear given the trade agreements we are negotiating and have negotiated that supply management is no longer up for debate. It is going to be forced to be phased out by the requirements of the agreements we have negotiated with trading partners.

We have to think ahead about how we can make it easier for our producers to move into these new market realities. That could be by way of measures to ease the transition for them and to assist them in finding better ways to manage and to compete in the marketplace.

We agree with R and D. I think that R and D is one of the things this country needs and should continue to be encouraged by the government and by our tax system. We also could point out that more efficiencies have resulted as the hon. member has said. That again is proof positive we can do better when these things are managed properly.