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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was firearms.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Yorkton—Melville (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 69% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions On The Order Paper June 20th, 1994

What are the names of the Indian Bands, ( a ) which have their financial affairs fully managed by the Department of Indian Affairs, ( b ) that are under the alternative funding arrangement?

Department Of Labour Act June 20th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased today to speak to the measures introduced by the government in this bill. I think more than anything this bill demonstrates the difference between the Liberal principles and Reform principles.

It clearly demonstrates an old way of thinking about government and a new common sense way of thinking that Reformers are hearing from Canadians across this country. Maritimers and Newfoundlanders are just now beginning to hear from Reformers. I hope they are listening today.

Bill C-30 is one small component of the government's Atlantic groundfish strategy called TAGS in bureaucratic language. TAGS was announced in April by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister of Human Resources Development as the Liberal government's $1.9 billion response to the continuing human tragedy unfolding in Atlantic Canada. It resulted from the virtual disappearance of Atlantic cod from our eastern fisheries.

TAGS took effect on May 16 and replaces two Conservative government programs, the northern cod adjustment and recovery program and the Atlantic goundfish adjustment program.

The Atlantic groundfish strategy is a five year program which will provide a range of options for an estimated 30,000 groundfish fishermen and plant workers. It has several components which I would like to review at this time.

First, there is financial support here of between $200 and $382 per week. Second, it provides for training programs including literacy training, adult basic education, university study programs, leadership training, career guidance training and entrepreneurial training.

Another aspect of it is that participants will take part in employment projects called green projects which will be designed to preserve and enhance the environment and designed to provide fishermen and plant workers with new skills and job experience.

Another thing that TAGS will do is provide an employment bonus to participants who find and accept work outside the fishery. It will also provide an affordable wage subsidy which will be paid to employers outside the fishery sector to hire fishermen and plant workers in permanent, full time employment and provide on the job training.

Another thing is that this program will provide employment counselling, mobility and relocation assistance to those workers who want to move to find work. Program participants will also have access to self-employment assistance to help them create their own jobs. All of these can be very positive measures.

Finally, we come to the Atlantic groundfish strategy which will provide an older worker adjustment program or an early retirement package for fish plant workers between the ages of 50 and 65 who do not want to participate in any of these other programs. This is the reason for Bill C-30. That is why the government introduced it and that is the reason we are here today.

First, I commend the government for the Atlantic groundfish strategy. Reformers believe that it is an improvement over the programs that it replaces. It requires participants to participate in training and upgrading programs, work on community projects and a range of labour adjustment options and incentives to get fishermen and plant workers back to work.

I think many of the measures were designed to provide participants with a number of choices to fit their particular circumstances and needs. I also think the programs were designed to save the government money in the long run by trying to get these participants back to work. I commend the government for the thought that went into these programs. There seems to have been some real innovative thinking based on the premise that what we have done in the past has not worked.

I believe the program design indicates a legitimate desire on behalf of the government to try and use these programs to avoid or break up the dependency cycle which often accompanies government programs of this nature.

I look forward to finding out how they actually work, to see if any of these measures have application in the rest of Canada particularly as they relate to the larger task of reforming our social programs currently under review in the Department of Human Resources Development.

So much for the compliments. Let us get to Bill C-30, the plant older worker adjustment program. The innovative thinking seems to have stopped at this point. Bill C-30 will amend the Department of Labour Act to allow the Minister of Human Resources Development to enter into federal-provincial agreements and provide for an early retirement package of up to $1,000 per month for approximately 1,200 fish plant workers between the ages of 50 and 65. This is estimated to cost between $53 million and $67 million. The total cost of the program is to be shared by the federal and provincial governments on a 70 per cent 30 per cent basis respectively.

The government will purchase annuities for older fish plant workers, the amount to be calculated on the basis of 70 per cent of their UI benefits, up to a monthly maximum of $1,000.

While this guaranteed income is currently only available to fish plant workers, government officials advise that a similar package is now being designed for fishermen. As we can see the measure is going to be expanded.

It seems every time we target a new program for a certain group it creates inequities and others say "Me too", so we create another program. It has a snowballing effect. We get into the mess we are in now and it is costing us millions and billions of dollars.

Government officials explained the rationale for this new program. They said that some fish plant workers will not want to participate in the other program options offered by the government. They said that providing up to $1,000 per month to these older workers would in fact save the government money. Benefits under the Atlantic groundfish strategy will range from a minimum of $867 per month to a maximum of $1,655 per month.

Unfortunate, Reformers believe the government has not thought this final measure out very well. Under TAGS the 30,000 unemployed fishermen and plant workers will be required to participate in a wide range of measures designed to get them back to work, that is if they are under 50 years of age. However, the fish plant older worker adjustment program and any subsequent early retirement package designed for fishermen are designed with the view that these workers are no longer employable. Age 50 and you are no longer employable, no

longer capable of being a productive employee, a human resource that is no longer needed to revitalize the economy of Atlantic Canada.

Reformers believe that these early retirement packages should not be an option that we consider for workers in the prime of their life. Workers between the ages of 50 and 65 have accumulated a lifetime of knowledge and experience that should not be lost by putting them out to pasture. For half of their adult life they will be on some kind of a pension. Can we in good conscience make this kind of a move? All workers should be asked to participate in the other innovative options provided in the Atlantic groundfish strategy.

Let us think about what we are doing here. If we are going to put these valuable workers out to pasture, and I am not saying we should, the federal government already pays for a program to do just that. It is called social assistance.

If the government has given up on these workers and if the workers want to give up on themselves and go on welfare, that is the option that is available to them. Not only is it available it is cheaper than the 70:30 cost sharing proposed in this bill.

The Canada assistance plan provides financial support through the provinces on a 50:50 cost sharing arrangement, plus the bureaucracy is already in place in each of the provinces. There is no need to set up another bureaucracy to establish yet another glorified welfare program administered by the feds.

This duplication of effort is reason enough for Reformers not to support this bill. We came to Ottawa to eliminate duplication of effort and to save money. That is why we cannot go along with this.

Here is a program that is a complete duplication of effort between the federal and provincial bureaucracies and it costs the federal government even more money. Reformers say: "How about taking all the money spent in the administration of this earlier retirement program and put it in the hands of fishermen and fish plant workers to help them get back to work?"

All the other programs put forward in the Atlantic groundfish strategy have been designed to get fishermen and fish plant workers back to work, but the fish plant older worker adjustment program is designed to do the exact opposite. This early retirement package will act as a disincentive to re-enter the workforce, a disincentive to retrain, a disincentive to start a small business and a disincentive to move to find work. This is another reason why Reformers do not support Bill C-30.

Reformers do not have such a defeatist attitude that they give up on 1,200 workers before even trying to get them back in the labour force.

Another reason not to support this bill is the discriminatory aspects of it. This bill is discriminatory in three ways. First of all it is discriminatory on the basis of age. It is discriminatory on the basis of industry. It is discriminatory on the basis of region. This bill discriminates on the basis of age by providing benefits for older fish plant workers between the ages of 50 and 65. What about worker who is 49 and in the same situation as the 50 year older worker? Could he not challenge his ineligibility because it discriminates on the basis of age?

This early retirement program also discriminates against older workers facing similar hardship but not working in that particular industry or some of those fish plants.

What about those older workers who work in other service companies who are indirectly dependent on the fish plants and the fisheries? They were thrown out of work. What about the older workers who have been laid off in thousands of small industries and businesses in hundreds of communities in Atlantic Canada because of the fisheries crisis? Could these older workers not challenge this program because it discriminates against them on the basis of industry?

The fish plant older worker adjustment program also discriminates because it is targeted only to the Atlantic provinces. What about older workers in the rest of Canada who read about the special treatment of older workers in the Atlantic region? Could older workers in the rest of Canada who are also in serious financial straits not challenge this program because it is not available to them?

The Reform Party believes in true equality and is opposed to the discriminatory aspects of this bill, the fish plant older worker adjustment program. In fact Reformers are opposed to all older worker adjustment programs implemented by the government over the last number of years. The Reform Party principles would have programs apply to all laid off workers equally regardless of age, place of residence, industry and targeted to those most in need. Let us not forget that key point: target the programs to those most in need.

Finally, the Reform Party is opposed to the bill because of its defeatist approach to the east coast fishery. Neither Bill C-30 nor the Atlantic groundfish strategy describes how these programs relate to the total restructuring of the Atlantic fisheries so that it is sustainable once the recovery has taken place.

Reformers believe that the east coast fishery can be revitalized by fundamentally restructuring the industry so that it is

market driven and competitively structured with individual harvesting rights which will lead to economically viable vessels and processing units.

In closing I would like to say that we have here a classic case, a clear demonstration of the calamity caused by government intervention. For over 300 years the east coast fishery has thrived. In the last 50 years the government got too involved in managing the fishery and look at it today. What a mess.

Thirty thousand people who used to be gainfully employed and paying taxes are now dependent on a $1.9 billion make work project. I find it ironic that throughout the whole of the 50 years of government intervention the only job security has been for the tinkering, meddling bureaucrats and politicians. Those are the ones who have been assured of a job. This program is another make work project for them.

Every time the government introduces a new program it seems to create more work for bureaucrats. If it is anything like agriculture there is one bureaucrat now for every 5.7 farmers who make a living off the land. That is unsustainable. That cannot work. We have to look at how much government we have and find ways to downsize.

This is where the Reform Party is strongly opposed to the direction the government is taking. Even in this the east coast fisheries darkest hour the bureaucrats and politicians are finding ways to employ even more bureaucrats. I am sure most people in Atlantic Canada appreciate the money, the support and the programs. I cannot help but wonder what kind of fishery we would have had if the bureaucrats and politicians had not stuck their noses in where they were not needed and let the people of Atlantic Canada run their industry, make the choices that needed to be made and not have it run from Ottawa.

What kind of fishery would we have had if we had put our faith in Atlantic Canadians, if we had depended on their ingenuity, their hard work, their creativity, their productivity and their competitive instincts? What kind of east coast fishery would we have had if we had relied on free markets, free enterprise and the entrepreneurial talent of Atlantic Canadians?

The free market and free enterprise system could not have done worse than what the government has done in this case. Reformers believe that the bureaucrats and politicians have had their chance. They have messed things up big time. I believe it is time to give easterners a chance to prove themselves. Let us use this fisheries crisis to rethink the way we have been doing business. Let us give Atlantic Canadians the freedom they need to restructure the east coast fishery the way they think it needs to be done, not the way some experts in Ottawa think it needs to be done.

Instead of more government let us demand less government. Instead of higher taxes let us demand lower taxes. Reformers would rather see the future of the east coast fishery in the hands of Atlantic Canadians than in the hands of government bureaucrats. Reformers trust Atlantic Canadians to make decisions that are in the best interests of the fishery, their families, their communities, their provinces and Atlantic Canada. We trust those people.

Finally, if Atlantic Canadians are given this freedom they will revitalize the east coast fishery. It will be good for the entire Canadian economy.

Reformers look forward to working with Atlantic Canadians in the years ahead to transform all four Atlantic provinces from have not provinces to have provinces. The Reform's approach is very different from that of the Liberals with regard to this strategy.

I would like to make one more comment as I close. Meaningful work enhances the quality of life. We are telling these people through this older worker fish plant adjustment program to go. They are 50 years old, in the prime of life, and will be given a cheque every month. This is unacceptable. We cannot go along with it.

The basic philosophy of the Reform Party is very different from that of the government.

Justice June 16th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that answer. If the meaning of the term sexual orientation is so clear-and he referred to jurisprudence previously as being the avenue by which he would have it defined-I believe the government should take over, should not shirk its responsibilities and should define the term. The minister said: "I do not think matters of public policy should be determined in the courts".

Why is the minister not willing to take that responsibility, let that be discussed here, and define it properly in the legislation?

Justice June 16th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.

On March 14 the minister said in the House: "I do not believe it is reasonable for anybody to interpret the term sexual orientation as it appears in the human rights legislation as including pedophiles".

Whether child molesters are homosexual or heterosexual in their orientation they certainly are not reasonable. Child abusers will find it entirely reasonable to launch a challenge to the Criminal Code on the basis of this sexual orientation if the term is not defined in the human rights act.

Why is the minister so reluctant to define the term sexual orientation?

Justice June 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in August 1992, 73-year old William Dove was lured from his cabin near Whitewood, Saskatchewan and brutally beaten to death by two men and a teenager. Unbelievably, Hubert Acoose, one of the two men convicted of manslaughter, was granted a day parole last week. This is less than two years in jail for killing a person. This is the kind of decision that many Canadians find incomprehensible.

What guarantees can the Solicitor General give Canadians that Mr. Acoose is not a threat to public safety? Are the Solicitor General and the members of the Parole Board who released Mr. Acoose willing to accept personal responsibility and liability for any crimes Mr. Acoose may commit while on day parole?

Are parole members willing to be personally responsible for their bad decisions? The government is running a huge social experiment and Canadian people are assuming all the risks. Canadians are demanding that the government make public safety its number one priority, and the government's response is to let killers out on our streets.

Excise Act, Customs Act, Tobacco Sales To Young Persons Act June 14th, 1994

What about the tobacco smuggling issue between provinces?

Excise Act, Customs Act, Tobacco Sales To Young Persons Act June 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I listened very closely to the what the member had to say. I appreciate the fact that the government can act decisively when it chooses and it can drag its feet when it chooses.

I have a couple of comments and I hope the member will respond to them. He described how tobacco products were being brought in and smuggled right through people's yards and so on. When the taxes were reduced, of course there were no more tobacco products being smuggled. Now the problem is alcohol and guns according to my understanding.

If organized crime is the problem, why was that not dealt with? We have simply given them something else to focus on because it is no longer profitable to deal with tobacco and cigarettes. The problem in Manitoba demonstrates that. This reduction in taxes only made organized crime turn to something else.

Enforcement could have been tried. We could have worked together with the American authorities. We could have had an export tax. There are other avenues that could have been pursued.

Now the smuggling goes on between provinces. We have only shifted the problem into other areas. The government did not get to the root of the problem with organized crime so it is now turning to other things. I am very curious to know what the decisive action of the government will be in this regard or whether it will drag its feet on this.

Excise Act, Customs Act, Tobacco Sales To Young Persons Act June 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I want to make a few remarks in the third reading of this bill.

It has been a number of months since Bill C-11 was first debated in the House. During second reading of Bill C-11 in February the Reform Party used the opportunity to discuss and debate all the changes proposed by the government as a part of our national action plan to combat smuggling, particularly our opposition to the tax reduction on cigarettes. That was our main concern.

I wish to make it clear that while Reformers support the changes to Bill C-11, we are still opposed to the tax reductions on cigarettes which were recently introduced in Bill C-32.

Yesterday we introduced an amendment that would make it more difficult for young people to obtain chewing tobacco. We have grave concerns in that regard. We appreciate very much that the government listened. At this time it is not going to implement the amendment, but we appreciate its openness and acceptance of the idea.

Bill C-11 will improve enforcement under the excise and customs acts by giving the government the authority to allow police forces other than the RCMP to enforce specific provisions. Provincial and municipal forces can be designated with the authority to seize alcohol or tobacco, to seize vehicles used

to transport contraband, and to seize equipment used in illicit activities. Reformers support these increased enforcement measures.

Bill C-11 provides for the immediate destruction of certain seized goods, primarily tobacco and alcohol. Currently these goods would have to be kept for one month. It is estimated the measure would save taxpayers $200,000 per year in storage costs. Bill C-11 also provides for compensation to be paid to a person who is entitled to have the seized goods returned but the goods have been sold or destroyed.

Reformers have some concerns about this provision because it is not completely clear to us whether the person would get the fair market value of the goods if the goods were sold. I am referring to subsection 9(3) which states that if it is not possible to return them "the person shall be paid (a) where the goods were sold the proceeds from the sale".

Our concern is that the proceeds from the sale may not be the fair market value for the goods, vehicles or equipment sold. While we have some reservations concerning compensation for seized goods that have been sold or destroyed, Reformers still support the new provision.

Bill C-11 will also amend the Excise Act in order to require individual cigarettes to be clearly stamped to indicate that excise duties have been paid. This will make it easier for everyone to identify those persons who are smoking contraband tobacco products.

The Canadian Cancer Society still believes that individual stamping of cigarettes may not be visible enough and has recommended that Bill C-11 be amended to make it possible to require tobacco manufacturers to produce cigarettes with different coloured paper. If individual stamping does not prove to be effective, certainly a different coloured cigarette would be more noticeable. While Reformers support the amendment proposed by the Canadian Cancer Society, we will still support Bill C-11.

Just as an aside, I think it would be an interesting research project to see what effect black paper would have on the outside of cigarettes rather than white paper. It would be an interesting research project for someone to do some time.

Bill C-11 also amends the Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act by raising the legal age of purchase to 18 years and prohibiting the sale of so-called kiddie packs. The amendment will make it illegal for tobacco vendors to sell kiddie packs and make it illegal for tobacco manufacturers to package cigarettes in packages containing fewer than 20 cigarettes.

There has been some concern by tobacco manufacturers about the cost and the timing of the implementation of the amendment, but Reformers believe it is not a major issue. The health of young people is more important and we support the government's amendment.

I wish to remind the government of the comments made by the hon. member for Wild Rose in the House on February 22. I should like to quote them at this time: "Stopping the so-called kiddie packs is one thing that is excellent about this bill. The only problem is that we will not have to worry about kiddie packs any more because now they can afford the 25 packs".

This statement illustrates a real concern about the government's national action plan to combat smuggling. The tax reduction on cigarettes has made cigarettes more affordable for everyone, especially young people. We just do not know how many thousands of people will start smoking or start smoking more as a result of the tax reduction on cigarettes. Consequently we do not know how much the government's action plan will cost taxpayers in increased health care costs. This is a major concern for us.

Our concerns were confirmed when the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Health appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance on June 7 and advised that the government's goal was "to reduce the demand for tobacco, the number one cause of preventable death in Canada. It is the number one cause of preventable death". She went on to say: "The government fully recognized that the action plan to combat smuggling and the tax measures associated with it would pose health risks".

It is inconceivable to me how the government could rationalize those two statements. It recognizes the problem and it recognizes that what it has done will compound the problem. I think this needs to be addressed.

In conclusion, once again I express our support for Bill C-11, as amended, even though we oppose the government's tax reduction on cigarettes. Reformers look forward to the real debate on the government's national action plan to combat smuggling when Bill C-32 comes back to the House from committee.

Excise Act June 13th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to concur with what the hon. member has just said and also to add a few remarks with regard to kiddie packs. The ban will be implemented.

The Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council denies that kiddie packs or 15s, as they are called, were designed for sale to young people. It said this recently in a written communication to the Minister of Health and again in its brief to the Standing Committee on Finance on June 7.

It is very clear. The statistics provided to us show the largest percentage of sales of kiddie packs were to young people. While the tobacco manufacturers may not have designed the 15 packs for kids, the end result is that the kids end up using them.

If the tobacco industry continues to make these kinds of claims that they are not designed for kids I think it brings into question its credibility and raises the whole issue of whether we can believe it on other issues as well.

It claims that $2 million of existing packaging supplies for kiddie packs will be wasted, resulting in a $2 million write-off that will cost taxpayers about $1 million. It also believes that selling existing stock effective September 12 is quite unfair and will lead to further write-offs. I am sure this has already been addressed and so I will not continue on that.

We have to balance the claims and the interests of the tobacco manufacturers, distributors and retailers with the interest of health of young people purchasing and smoking these kiddie packs. The Reform Party finds no difficulty in siding with the health of our young people.

Rather than support the Bloc motion which supports the claims of the tobacco industry we would rather support the claims of the Canadian Cancer Society and the committee for action on smoking and health and move to stop the sale of kiddie packs to young people as soon as possible.

If the tobacco industry claims that kiddie packs are designed to be sold to adults, we have an alternative proposal. Bundle them up in packs of two, put some cellophane or whatever around them, and sell them only to adults, which I think the law requires anyway, and we would no longer have kiddie packs. I think the solution is so simple the industry does not have to take this tremendous loss. We are saying simply sell them in packs of two and your problem is solved. I think it is very simple and only common sense.

Excise Act June 13th, 1994


That Bill C-11, in Clause 11, be amended: a ) by replacing lines 24 and 25, on page 5, with the following:

"way furnish a ) cigarettes except in packages containing at least 20 cigarettes per package; or b ) tobacco, other than cigarettes, in quantities of at least 20 grams.'' b ) by replacing lines 3 and 4, on page 6, with the following:

"package a ) cigarettes in a package containing fewer than 20 cigarettes; or b ) tobacco, other than cigarettes, in quantities of at less than 20 grams.''

Mr. Speaker, I would like to request support from the government and the Official Opposition for our proposed amendment to Bill C -11.

We have received representation from both the Canadian Cancer Society and the Action Committee on Smoking and Health. They have expressed concerns about the increase in the use of smokeless tobacco among young people.

Twenty-one per cent of grade seven students in Red Deer, Alberta, had tried smokeless tobacco and up to 11 per cent indicated they were currently using smokeless tobacco. It was also reported that the use of smokeless tobacco has more than doubled among males between the ages of 12 and 17 since 1987, more than doubled.

The main concern was again the smaller packaging targeted to younger persons. Our amendment would amend clause 11 to restrict the sale and packaging of tobacco other than cigarettes in quantities of at least 20 grams. This would make small packages of smokeless tobacco illegal, just like kiddie packs.

Smokeless tobacco includes oral moist snuff and chewing tobacco. Nicotine is released from the product and absorbed across the membranes of the mouth into the body. Long term use of spitting tobacco leads to significant damage to soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity. It causes leukopakia, white patches in the mouth, some of which are premalignant. Between 3 per cent and 6 per cent develop into cancer.

Oral snuff has high levels of cancer causing nitrosamines with levels 10,000 times greater than allowed in regulated products such as beer, 10,000 times greater. Other cancer-causing agents are also present. Long term snuff users have a fifty-fold increase in cancer of the gums and mouth. Spitting tobacco is implicated in cancer of the larynx, esophagus, nasal cavity, pancreas, kidney and bladder. Gum disease occurs in 60 per cent of the users.

According to a health and welfare report the more immediate effect of chewing tobacco and snuff is probably on the dental health of youth as smokeless tobacco may contain sweeteners such as sugar, honey, molasses, syrups and licorice.

In addition to the statistics I have provided for Red Deer, Alberta, a 1991 Arkansas study found that 21 per cent of male kindergarten students were regular users. Among male school-age children in Ontario grades 7 to 13, 13 per cent reported using smokeless tobacco and cigarettes.

The most disturbing finding was that many students felt the use of smokeless tobacco was not as addictive as cigarettes, that is what the students thought, and that using it was a good alternative to help quit smoking.

In 1988 the World Health Organization issued an urgent call on the part of all governments with no history of smokeless tobacco use to ban the product before its use became widespread. It is not manufactured in Canada. We have to import these small little packs. I hope that the government and the opposition will support us on this.

All the Reform Party is asking is that we take this one small step to ensure that we do not make smokeless tobacco products any easier for young people to obtain than a package of cigarettes. I sincerely hope the members and the government will support us in this amendment.

I believe it is common sense to include this amendment in our legislation. That is why I propose it.