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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was fact.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Cambridge (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Airports May 9th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, air travel is very important to Toronto and to Ontario. International carriers are still threatening to stop flying into Toronto. More than 95% of this so-called savings will not even come into effect until the year 2010, just like the government's budget, too little and way too late to help anyone.

Why was the GTA left out of the latest vote-buying, pre-election announcement?

Airports May 9th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I just observed the minister opposite puff up his chest, say absolutely nothing and get a standing ovation.

Pearson International Airport in Toronto will continue to be the second most expensive airport in the world. The government has announced yet another ineffective program to reduce airport rents that will have little to no effect on Toronto. This plan will not fly with the thousands of workers at Pearson and it will not fly with the millions of travellers.

Why does the government continue to ignore the needs of Ontario?

Citizen Engagement May 3rd, 2005

Mr. Chair, I would like to acknowledge that I do appreciate that the member is here trying to open dialogue with the citizens of Canada.

One of the issues that we have, and it has been mentioned before, is the issue of passports and how it seems that the immigration department is downloading its services to MPs' offices, which is clearly not their function. Not only does it render a huge burden on our budgets but it takes up valuable time when we could be helping constituents with other issues.

I have two issues I would ask the hon. member to address and ask him if there is a solution, or perhaps he could even carry it forward. One issue has to do with the crack between a provincial disability situation, and as I am the member for the Cambridge riding it would be the Ontario disability, and the Canada pension plan. It would seem that a number of constituents are falling through the cracks. They do not qualify for the Ontario disability pension under the provincial framework and they do not qualify for Canada pension.

The second issue of great concern in just about every riding in Canada is, for lack of a better word, the stealing of physicians from other ridings. Frankly, millions of dollars are being spent in recruiting physicians into, in my case, my riding. It is not millions of dollars in my riding of course but overall.

I would like the hon. member to comment on the fact that the government has failed to put in place an accreditation process. Despite its promises to do so, these have been delayed. We need to fill in the cracks for people who fall through them with pension issues and increase the number of doctors by putting in place an accreditation process immediately.

Petitions May 3rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the second petition calls on Parliament to maintain and uphold the current law which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others.

Petitions May 3rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, it is my honour today to present two petitions on behalf of constituents in my riding of Cambridge. The first petition calls on the Parliament of Canada to secure funding for juvenile type 1 diabetes to the amount of $25 million a year for the next five years.

Committees of the House May 3rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I find it unnerving to hear the member opposite talk about democracy when clearly he just stated that we should not interfere with the commissioner of the RCMP. I feel democracy should never be confused with interference, but I respect the member opposite has that confusion and I am sure it will live long in his heart.

I would like to ask the member opposite two questions. No one in his or her right mind would believe that no security at the border is better than what they have proposed. We see the impact at the border crossings. In fact, in one report it was noted that 1,300 cars crossed the borders unnoticed. I would like to ask the member opposite one question on that. Could he guarantee that those cars were not full of drugs and illegal weapons?

The second thing is this. The member brags about $9 billion in public safety. The member should be aware that fire departments across the country need $500,000, a simple half a million dollars, not $9 billion, but the government has failed to provide firefighters with proper training in chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear hazardous material strategies.

Maybe the member should stop with the rhetoric and let me know if he can guarantee that the cars were not full of guns and drugs, and what about protecting our firefighters?

Committees of the House May 3rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member for a comment. She spoke at length about why her party defended the Liberals. Of course we would like to remind Parliament that the NDP voted against the Liberal budget not very long ago. The Conservative Party members, I would like to correct the hon. member, did not support the budget by sitting on their hands. We acted responsibly, because we knew that the government could fall at that time.

I will ask the hon. member what exactly was in this budgetary deal the New Democrats speak so highly of. What was in it for workers and the agricultural community? In their effort to get foreign aid, they forgot to ensure that countries like Haiti received foreign aid. I ask the hon. member what exactly the New Democrats were thinking when they shook hands with a party that never fulfills its promises, so to speak. And what was in the agreement for Atlantic Canada?

Civil Marriage Act April 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I, like most of my colleagues on this side of the House and many others on the other side as well, believe that the traditional definition of marriage is 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 marriage have been told that to amend the bill to reflect the traditional definition of marriage, we would be in violation of human rights and committing an unconstitutional violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I believe this is an attempt by the government to shift the grounds of the debate. It is another famous Liberal distraction. Liberals do not want to debate the question of traditional marriage versus same sex marriage so they would rather focus on attacking their opponents as opposing human rights and the charter.

May I remind the members of the House that if not for the Conservative Party, we would not have a Charter of Rights and no other party in the House has a better record of success in fighting tooth and nail for human rights. This debate is not about human rights. It is a political, social policy decision and it 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 not violate the charter or require the use of the notwithstanding clause.

First, no internationally recognized human rights document has ever suggested that there is a right to same sex marriage. I have searched high and low and I challenge the government to produce such a document. For example, in the universal declaration of human rights, the foundational United Nations human rights charter, almost all the rights listed are worded purely as 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. As well, attempts to pursue same sex marriage as an international human right has 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 marriage despite the fact that New Zealand's bill of rights prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. When the New Zealand decision was challenged before the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the UN ruled 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 or state level courts in Canada and the United States.

If same sex is not a basic human right in the sense of internationally recognized human rights, is it a violation of Canadian charter rights? It is true that several provincial courts of appeal have said that it is. What is also true is we still have not heard from the highest court in the land.

In the same sex reference case the Supreme Court declined to rule on the constitutionality of the traditional definition of marriage, despite a clear request from the government to answer that particular question. No matter how the government twists and reorganizes the wording, the truth is that the court did not rule on it.

Furthermore, all the lower court decisions in favour of same sex marriage dealt with common law, judge made laws from over a century ago, not a recent statute passed by a democratically elected legislator. It is quite possible then that those lower courts may have found differently if there had in fact been a marriage act passed by Parliament defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

The whole discussion of the notwithstanding clause is completely irrelevant and is a distraction to 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 that would indicate that the traditional definition of marriage is somehow unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court has not done that. It is rhetoric and a cheap misinformation tactic by a desperate, self-interested Prime Minister.

Further, the Supreme Court has also said in various cases that state law requires greater deference than common law. Should legislation upholding the traditional definition of marriage be passed, there is a good argument that could be made that the Supreme Court would give it considerable deference.

I just happen to know that there are several examples of Parliament having passed statutes without using the notwithstanding clause that effectively reversed judicial decisions, including those of the Supreme Court.

The courts have accepted in the past parliamentary sovereignty. The Supreme Court's decision in the Daviault case, which allowed extreme intoxication to be used as a defence, was reversed when Parliament passed Bill C-72. I might add that was when the Liberal government was in power.

In 1996 Parliament passed Bill C-46 reversing another Supreme Court decision in O'Connor, which allowed the accused to access medical records of victims under sexual abuse. When this new law was challenged in a subsequent case, the Supreme Court wisely ruled in favour of Parliament. In a decision by Justices McLachlin and Iaccobucci, they said:

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.

Therefore there is good reason to believe that the Supreme Court, if it were eventually asked to rule on a new statutory definition of marriage, might well accept it.

The Conservative position that the use of the notwithstanding clause is not required to legislate a traditional definition is also supported by law professor, Alan Brudner, of the University of Toronto, who, by the way, is not a Conservative Party supporter. He says:

--the judicially declared unconstitutionality of the common law definition of marriage does not entail the unconstitutionality of parliamentary legislation affirming the same definition.

Citing the case of R. v. Swain, where the Supreme Court ruled that it did not have to subject a charter decision on common law to the same reasonable limits test as it would have to for a statute, Professor Brudner states:

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.

Professor Brudner argues against those who say that the notwithstanding clause is the only way to uphold the traditional definition.

He further states:

These arguments misconceive the role of a notwithstanding clause in a constitutional democracy. Rather, the legitimate role of a notwithstanding clause in a constitutional state is to provide a democratic veto over a judicial declaration of invalidity, where the court's reasoning discloses a failure to defer to the parliamentary body on a question of political discretion.

In closing, I would like to say that the notwithstanding clause should be invoked by Parliament only after the Supreme Court has ruled the constitutionality of a law. As yet there has been no such law for the Supreme Court to consider.

There is every reason to believe that if the House moved to bring a reasonable democratic compromise solution, one which 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 relationships and which fully protected freedom--

Justice April 14th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, despite the bafflegab from that side of the House, criminals are considered more important and are put in front of the safety of our children. A convicted pedophile was recently transferred from the United States to my riding of Cambridge after the brutal raping of two young boys. The police were not even informed. This left a violent offender to prey again, and he did.

My constituents are bloody well fed up with the lip service from that side of the House. We demand to know why the police were not informed.

Committees of the House April 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, frankly I find the member's conduct and indignation just frightening. I do not think that fighting for victims is petty at all. I can assure the House that the Conservative Party of Canada will come back to fight and fight again until what is right is done, regardless of how many stumbling blocks and concerns the member has about wording in a motion. It is appalling.

It seems convenient to me how the Liberals continue to funnel money into funds that are now outside the control of parliamentary decision making and the democratic process. How convenient.

The issue really is that enough money was set aside for 22,000 victims. There are 10,000. It does not matter if there is a surplus or not. The fact is that there is enough money for an apparent 22,000 victims. There are only 10,000.

We knew this problem existed in 1991, if not before. The government of the time took its time to discuss, review, have meetings and more discussions. As a result of that, there is a whole window of people who were infected which could have been prevented had the government acted fast. Now we are sitting in a situation where the democratic rule of the House said to pay the victims immediately. The member says no, let us wait, let us look at it, and let us ask some more questions while 1,400 victims could have been funded at the expense of the legal fees. Another five victims every month are piddled away on administration fees.

Does the member see any logic in ignoring the wishes of the House? -I guess if we wait long enough there will be no victims. What is the logic in waiting at all?