House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was benefits.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Souris—Moose Mountain (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 74% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada Post February 24th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Revenue.

Post offices in my riding have informed me that Canada Post has 18 rural post offices under consideration for closure. Yesterday the minister said that there is no plan to close rural post offices. Yet, in a letter, Canada Post vice-president for field operations said that continuing to support small rural post offices are a heavy burden on the bottom line.

Will the minister categorically tell the residents of Souris--Moose Mountain that small rural post offices in their constituency are not under consideration for closure and will not be closed?

Canadian National Railway February 11th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour and Housing. The employees of CN and the Teamsters rail union are in a legal strike position.

The Canada Labour Code requires the parties to have an agreement in place to specify the supply of services during the strike to prevent an immediate and serious danger to the safety and health of the public. The agreement the parties have fails to do so. The minister has applied to Industrial Relations Board to set the services.

What services is the minister requesting be provided during the strike and how will this impact on the economic interests of farmers, grain companies and other businesses?

Star of Courage February 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge Master-Corporal Jason Cory Hamilton, who is stationed at Trenton, Ontario, and whose parents, Russell and Fern Hamilton, are from Whitewood, Saskatchewan, in my constituency. They are in Ottawa today.

Today Jason will be awarded the Star of Courage, which is awarded for acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril.

On October 2, 2003, after their convoy's lead vehicle had struck an anti-tank mine, MCpl Jason Hamilton and Cpl Danny Matthews entered an undefined minefield to recover three of their stricken comrades near Kabul, Afghanistan. He and Cpl Matthews worked their way on to the dangerous terrain until they reached the first fallen soldier. After escorting the injured soldier back to safety to administer first aid, Cpl Matthews and MCpl Hamilton returned, advancing farther into the minefield, only to discover that the mine blast had claimed the lives of two other soldiers.

This is a salute to great acts of courage and bravery on the part of MCpl Jason Cory Hamilton.

Agriculture February 3rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to add to the government's debate and to bring the attention of the House to the current farm crisis in this country and in particular in my constituency.

I have seen firsthand the difficulties experienced on the family farm. My constituency has been hit by three frosts. An early frost damaged what otherwise would have been an excellent crop.

The government struggles with a CAIS program that does not work. It expects farmers to make substantial cash deposits to participate in the program, knowing full well that farmers are cash-strapped. The program fails to adequately take into account the cost of production and low commodity prices. Even when a claim is made, farmers cannot expect a turnaround in 60 days, 90 days or 120 days. Many times they have to wait months only to find that their application has made no progress.

Why should farm families have to use their equity and hold down two jobs to survive on the family farm? Why? Because the government does not care and is not prepared to design a program that meets farmers' needs and protects farmers against circumstances beyond their control. The government needs a plan. The government needs to put some money in it. The government needs to take some action, and action is required now.

Points of Order December 13th, 2004

That is correct, Mr. Speaker. I made the wrong reference. I meant to refer to the deputy leader of the government and not the House leader, and my apologies to him.

Marriage December 13th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, is the minister's position that anyone who does not take part in the religious ceremony or performs a religious service on the basis of religious freedom will likely get fired? Will he take steps to ensure that these rights are protected and that no individuals will lose their job because they insist on their rights and freedoms?

Marriage December 13th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, yesterday on CPAC the government House leader and a senior government minister took the position that civil servants, such as justices of the peace or marriage commissioners, should lose their jobs if they fail to take part in same sex marriages on the basis of religious or conscientious beliefs.

Is the minister's position the position of the Liberal government? Is the real agenda of the Liberal government to make the proposed marriage legislation an attack on religious and conscientious freedoms of ordinary citizens?

Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act December 3rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make some brief remarks with respect to Bill C-281.

There is no question that when it comes to protecting the rights of workers and their wages and salaries, every member of the House would agree that those are important issues which need to be addressed. Workers need to be protected. We have many human tragedy stories that would indicate people have suffered through loss of pensions, entitlements or severance pay. It is not a question of whether those rights need to be protected. The big issue is how they are best protected without creating problems in other places and with regard to other interested parties.

There are obvious examples in a bankruptcy of people who have to take economic loss. Many suppliers are even below the worker in terms of unsecured status. They too suffer significantly.

When a business comes into being, there are many dreams, aspirations and hopes by many parties. Fundamental to getting that business started is the ability to raise capital and operating funds to buy inventory, goods and supplies and to have the plant and the process operate. Most people would go to banks, credit unions or third parties to obtain finances to get their businesses started and to establish those jobs in the first place. Those parties provide funds in return for security. It could be hard assets, inventory or floating charge debentures, but they take those things in exchange for providing cash. They expect to realize on that security. That is why secured creditors have been given preference.

I find it hard to understand how employees are in a situation where pensions are unfunded to the degree they are without some policing taking place. The one who provides the funding expects to get the cash back when the business fails. If we start to destroy the concept of secure transactions, we will be unable to start businesses and create the jobs. We need to be careful.

When we look at the scheme that presently exists under section 36 of the Bankruptcy Act, secured creditors are first, then preferred creditors and outside of bankruptcy fees and costs, the workers are number four. Then it goes to unsecured creditors. Workers are protected to the sum of $2,000 in past wages.

The previous bill introduced by the member talked about super priority status for workers, and it was limited to $10,000. Why was it limited to $10,000? It was for good reason. It is hard to estimate or understand the amount and value of unfunded pensions, et cetera. The present bill places the workers ahead of all creditors, regardless of time and dollars. How is a person, who is advancing funds, to know what these liabilities may be?

If this bill were passed, there would be severance, which would depend on the length of time the worker was employed. There would be unfunded pensions. A lack of money in the pension fund could be created by it being actuarially unsound by the economic conditions, or by perhaps negotiations through collective bargaining agreements that would enhance the pension which has not yet been funded or to which no contributions have yet been made. These amounts could be huge, but unknown at the time the business started up and unknown at the time the financing was advanced. The only thing that can happen is they would have to plan for a contingency. They would have to plan for what the eventuality may be, which would then restrict credit, lower the amount that could be loaned or increase the interest rate.

This is not the way we want to go. This is not the way we want to deal with business, taking the problem from one area and placing it in another, particularly when the secured creditor has little to do with funding pensions and policing how that happens.

We must look at other alternatives that would preserve the current lending system and that would look at protecting the workers. I think that is a valid concern.

It is interesting to note that workers in other jurisdictions, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia are not given a super or high priority status over secured creditors. They have considered something akin to a worker's protection fund where there is a contribution from the employer, the employee and perhaps from the government. These funds are then used in part to protect workers. It is funded by the people who are affected and the people who have some control of the government.

In each of the jurisdictions they have limitations, so there is some certainty as to what is involved. The United States has put a cap in dollars but has given them a preferred status. It is those kinds of options that need to be reviewed. These are options that take into account the rights of the workers and the security of the market. They ensure that trade and commerce can continue, that we are able to do business as we have known business to be done, and it does not take a resolution that resolves one problem and creates another.

It is for this reason that I feel this particular bill ought not to be approved. It should be opposed. We should look at a bill, introduced in proper time, that takes into consideration all of the stakeholders, all of the parties that are involved, and addresses the issue fairly and into the future.

It is not something we can resolve in what is happening today in a particular situation. It is what we do to resolve an industry issue that is of concern to us. We need to address worker protection. We must address the issue of pensions. Some of that may need to be addressed through pension legislation separate and apart from the bankruptcy legislation. In any event, it must be a broader perspective. It must have a broader view. It must take all of the interests into account when it is being drafted.

Agriculture December 3rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, a year ago the Prime Minister was on the phone with Premier Klein seeking advice on what to say to President Bush about the BSE crisis. In a subsequent meeting with the President last year, no action was taken and the border stayed closed. Now, a year later, the Prime Minister again meets with the President and the border continues to be closed to live cattle.

My question is for the Prime Minister. Having failed to cause President Bush to open the border now, what does he have to say to all the farmers and ranchers across Canada who are facing another winter of despair? What will he do beyond small talk and no action?

Canada Labour Code December 2nd, 2004

Madam Speaker, there is no doubt that our nation, our economy, our workforce and indeed our world has undergone significant change since 1965 when the major portion of part III of the Canada Labour Code was reviewed. It started back in the days of the Hon. John G. Diefenbaker and ended in the days of the Hon. Lester B. Pearson.

The review is predicted to take place in the next year or year and a half, and certainly I can understand, with part I of the Canada Labour Code dealing with industrial relations being reviewed in 1999, part II of the code dealing with health and safety being reviewed in 2000, why the minister feels it is important now to have part III reviewed. It will be interesting to see how the process will work and how it will end.

Today's society requires much flexibility, ease of movement and cooperation between employer and employee and a collaborative effort in meeting the challenges of new and developing markets and increased competition in the marketplace and indeed in the global economy.

Business must continue to be economically viable and profitable and at the same time the basic rights and interests of employees must be addressed.

Having said that, there must be a blending of interests of not only employer and employee but that of commerce, industry and the prosperity of our nation as we know it.

Today's announcement of a commissioner and three experts, and with the contributions from business and banking interests, combined with those of the labour movement and employee representatives, should result in a broad based collaborative approach to the review. It must take into account large and small business interests, large sector employee-employer relationships, small sector employee-employer relationships and those in small towns and villages and the rural parts of our country.

Circumstances have changed and relationships have developed that are not necessarily one of employer and employee, but independent relationships where substantial business can be conducted out of a home with computers and modern technology that makes business tools available right on our desktops and, in fact, on our person as we go from place to place.

We have a generation where there are many two worker families with young children to look after and other dependent adults, maternity leave, paternity leave and compassionate leave and these have to be considered in the balance. We need the flexibility to meet ever changing demands and ever changing needs.

The Vanier Institute of the Family published a document entitled, “It Keeps Getting Faster: Changing Patterns of Time in Families”, and this applies as well to the workplace. It states that “--every day routines are hurried and, at times, regimented and largely beyond our control...and there is that nostalgic tug that draws us back to a longing for simpler times when life was uncomplicated”.

However there has been a rapidity in change in recent years and the pace of change has accelerated dramatically with advances in information technology, engineering and the globalization of the economy.

It is in that context that the review is being undertaken and certainly the work of the commission will be monitored and watched closely as it addresses the many issues that have been raised. In the end it is my hope that there will be a blending of interests to the benefit of all of us.