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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for South Shore—St. Margaret's (Nova Scotia)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Mi'Kmaq Education Act June 10th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the debate here this evening and I thought it was fairly even-handed, except perhaps for a few points which were made by a couple of members. I would certainly like to congratulate the government for introducing this bill and for steering it through the Parliament of Canada.

I agree with the bill. As the Progressive Conservative critic for the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, it has been a pleasure to support it.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize all of the members of parliament and the DIAND committee who worked on this bill and who participated in debate. I think most of them had valid points. Sometimes we do not always agree in committee, but hopefully instead of spending a lot of time trying to point out everyone else's mistakes in this House we can also recognize that because we do not agree it offers better debate and better answers at the end of the debate.

This bill, without question, will improve education on reserve in Nova Scotia. Without question there are a number of Mi'kmaq and First Nations people in Nova Scotia who should be recognized, but certainly above all Lindsay Marshall, the chief of Chapel Island, of Cape Breton Island, which is known in the Mi'kmaq language as Unama'ki. He certainly deserves recognition. He stands out in his field and deserves to be congratulated.

I have spoken several times on this issue. It is not my intent to stand here tonight and take the time of the House. I congratulate the Mi'kmaq people and the Mi'kmaq Nation in coming forth with this themselves, with pursuing this through parliament and with keeping the political pressure on the government and on all members of the opposition to support the bill. They deserve credit. It shows political leadership in the Mi'kmaq Nation in Nova Scotia. It shows their political leadership as citizens of this country.

The analogy that the hon. parliamentary secretary used when he was speaking tonight was interesting because I wrote down exactly the same analogy in my own words, except that I added a little more flavour to it than he did. He used the analogy of education being the key to success. I will read what I wrote down. I smiled when he was giving his analogy because I wrote: “If education is the key to the door of the future, then surely this 36th Parliament has helped to open that door for the Mi'kmaq people of Nova Scotia”. I think that is true.

Supply June 9th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I was listening to what the member for Wild Rose was saying and I have a question for him.

I think this is part of the problem with the total disrespect for the justice system and the lack of faith which Canadians have in the justice system.

We must understand when we deal with Bill C-68 and a lot of other legislation that we cannot keep drugs out of our prisons in Canada. We cannot keep heroin out, we cannot keep methadone out, we cannot keep marijuana out, we cannot keep LSD out, we cannot keep anything out of our prisons. They are not ordinary buildings. They are buildings that are surrounded by barbed wire and great big walls. That is relevant. That is part of the reason the Canadian public has no faith in the justice system. I would like the member's comments on that.

Supply June 9th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, there was a serious lack of direction on the government's part. There was a serious lack of alternatives, of new ideas. They came down an old, worn out path and they walked and walked back and forth on it.

Unfortunately, they are not accomplishing a lot. The justice minister and the government did not have any new ideas. They were not willing to listen to people. They were not willing to look at alternatives. Here we have this half-baked idea and a half-baked system with no hope of it ever working.

Personally, when I eat my apple pie, I like to have it completely baked, not half baked.

Supply June 9th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for this opportunity because in Nova Scotia the people of Canada spoke. There were 11 Liberals from Nova Scotia prior to the election. There are zero today.

As far as the fishing analogy goes, yes, quite often the tale does not get blurred, it gets longer. That is what I am hearing from the government side. It is getting longer.

The government has blurred Bill C-17 and Bill C-68 together. The hon. member does not even know the difference between the two bills.

I am willing to do anything in the name of responsible gun ownership and gun control that will actually help to correct the issues we are talking about and that will be a positive step toward preventing violence.

I have heard nothing, and I am willing to listen, to convince me that registration and the spending of millions of dollars of Canadians' money is going to make a difference.

Supply June 9th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I will continue with the little lesson in history. It is obvious a great many members of the government need to hear this history lesson.

It is quite simple. In 1993 we had a government elected with a huge majority. We did not have an effective opposition. We were in a situation where we had a government that got elected on a couple of items. I followed that election very closely and I can say with some authority that gun control was not one of those items. Gun registration was not even discussed. It was not an issue.

What were the issues in the federal election of 1993 that elected many of the members sitting opposite? The first issue was the GST. These guys were elected on the GST. They were elected on kicking free trade out of the country.

What did we get in return for that? In the first 11 months the government took power we discussed gun control in the House of Commons. We never discussed the GST. We never discussed getting rid of free trade. We never discussed any of the substantive issues they were elected on.

I want to go back to my fly fishing analogy. Someone who is fly fishing knows there is nothing like laying a nice dry fly out, letting the line go a couple of times, laying that fly on a little ripple and watching a fish come up and snap it.

That is what happened with gun control. A group of individuals could not believe this was to be rammed down their throats. They could not believe they would see this type of registration from honest citizens. They snapped that fly. The hon. minister of justice of the day played that fish for everything it was worth. He surely did.

Was it important? Was it substantive? Did it help the country? No, it did not. We ended up with 11 months of argument, 11 months of discussion. We did not gain one thing. We obtained a bill that was defective, to say the least. We have a major supreme court challenge against it. We have four provinces and two territories that have no intention of abiding by the rules.

We have gone further than that. We have made a totally separate set of rules under Bill C-68 for first nations. It is not a problem. We can do that. We can have a separate set of rules just by snapping our fingers.

I will back up because these guys lump everything together. They say that somehow if we are against registration we are against gun control. I separate the two. I am all for gun control. I am a gun owner. I am a hunter. I am a farmer. I am someone who actually uses a firearm in a safe and responsible manner. I have zero sympathy for everyone out there who abuses the rights and the privileges of owning and using a firearm. I have no sympathy for them at all. They should be slapped with the full force of the law.

However, we are not willing to do that. It is much easier to tell all law-abiding citizens of Canada that they have not broken the law or done anything wrong and if they register their guns somehow it will make things safer. It does not work like that. We have rules, laws and regulations for the people of the country and it is extremely important that they follow them.

The greatest insult was under a criminal bill. It was a criminal bill. Do members know what it is now? Now it is a safety bill. Excuse me if I cannot quite swallow that. I have swallowed a lot of stories in my life but I cannot quite swallow that one.

At the end of the day what will we have accomplished? What good will it do? Under Bill C-17 we had responsible gun control. We said to firearm owners, long gun owners, shotgunners and hunters that if they wanted to own firearms they had to store them in a responsible manner. They have to prove they are responsible enough to own them to begin with. We do want a lot of firearms sold to people with criminal records.

A number of issues were raise today such as domestic violence. Nobody in the House is so wrongheaded that they would somehow try to justify domestic violence. What have we actually done to avoid it? Will registration avoid it? I suggest that it will not. Is there a better way? Is there another way?

We had Bill C-17. We had responsible gun control. It was never given a chance to work. We had a justice minister who wanted to make a name for himself. We had a government that did not want to talk about what it was elected to talk about. It did not want to go down that road. It did not want to govern on what it was elected to do. It was elected to do a number of things and gun control was not in the equation. GST was in the equation. Free trade was in the equation. Somehow we got off track. If we want to talk about smoke and mirrors, there was never a better smoke and mirror act than this whole deal on gun control. That is exactly what it was. It was wrong-headed, it was ill thought out and it is not going to make any difference.

Now we are telling the people of Canada to register the guns themselves. They are being told to send their cards in. I thought it was Sunday morning and I was watching TV. Just send money. It does not work like that. There is a lot of confusion out there. There are a number of people who did not understand Bill C-17. They certainly do not have the first idea about Bill C-68. What we are going to have is a lot of people who will not register their guns. A lot of them will be taken into the black market.

I need some clarification. I will ask for assistance. How does that prevent crime? The government is forcing a bunch of people to do something when they do not understand the rules and regulations. It had a law that would have worked, but it did not give it a chance. It is mixing that up with registration and now it is saying it is kicking out registration, it is kicking out responsible storage and the safe handling of firearms. That is just not so.

That is not what was discussed to begin with. Registration is not going to change that one iota and members opposite know it. We cannot afford it. People will not do it. More guns will be put on the black market, which will end up in the hands of criminals. I cannot understand how government members can sit there and continue to mix up the two.

If government members want to talk about registration separately, fine. But tell me what they have done in their bill to prevent domestic violence and the use of firearms by irresponsible persons. That was in Bill C-17, but it is not in Bill C-68.

Supply June 9th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, it is certainly with much interest that I rise to speak to the motion to fund the continued business of the government in power today. I would specifically like to speak to gun control and to the justice issue which I think are interesting points.

I have been sitting here listening to the debate and have been extremely interested in a lot of the comments coming from the government benches. It is obvious that they have totally mixed up gun control. They do not understand the difference between Bill C-17 and Bill C-68.

It is time we had a little lesson in history. I am going to use an analogy. If anybody in the House happens to be a fly fisherman, I would like him to listen to this analogy. We had a situation in 1993 where we had just gone through a major debate in the country on gun control and an election. What ensued from that debate was Bill C-17 which at the time was a very responsible bill on gun control.

What happened? We ran a federal election and we elected, much to the chagrin of many Canadians, a disjointed and separated parliament. We did not have an opposition that was interested in being an opposition. We had a government with a huge majority. It was bereft of ideas—

Supply June 9th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, after listening to the hon. member speak on the merits of the government's gun control Bill C-68 I have a question. We are going to speak shortly on our own party's position so I do not want to get into that. It is obvious to me the hon. member has a certain amount of information in front of him but I do not think he understands any of the differences between Bill C-17 and Bill C-68.

The effective and important measures and the measures that will work in this country to prevent crime were all incorporated in Bill C-17. When this government brought in Bill C-68 it was simply a tax on ownership of firearms. It had nothing to do with gun control.

I would like to ask the hon. member how a responsible member of parliament can consider for a moment that registration of firearms of law-abiding owners of this country is going to prevent crime. I would like to know that.

There are literally thousands of guns on the streets. It is obvious that not one criminal in Canada is going to stand up to register their firearms, so how do we go to the people who are not abusing the firearm? Bill C-17 looked after anyone abusing firearms. There is no sympathy from the Canadian public for anyone abusing firearms. There is not one iota of sympathy for that person.

The only people who are going to pay the tax on ownership of firearms are the honest people who admit they have the firearms to begin with. How is that going to prevent crime?

Mi'Kmaq Education Act June 8th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, this is an historic piece of legislation that delegates jurisdiction over education to the Mi'kmaq people through the Mi'kmaq education corporation. Nine of the thirteen Mi'kmaq bands in Nova Scotia support this legislation. The others have the option of joining later and are waiting to see how well this process works.

The Progressive Conservative Party supports self-government. This is seen as a step in that direction.

However, on the amendment from the hon. member for Saint-Jean with whom I have the pleasure of sitting in committee and always listen very closely to his words and comments, all that aside, I would still like to say how it is very difficult for me to support his amendment. I understand it was put forth in good faith but the Conservative Party cannot support the amendment. The reason we cannot support the amendment is similar to that of the hon. member for Halifax West in the New Democratic Party who said we do not have to worry about the cost. We do have to worry about the cost. What is more important is the Mi'kmaq nation of Nova Scotia has to worry about the cost.

We have a framework agreement that was negotiated among the bands of the province of Nova Scotia. That framework agreement has precedence over the bill itself. Within the framework agreement it was agreed to try this process for a period of three to five years and then look at the process.

The problem with this specific amendment is that it would require the reserve's goals to provide education programs and services to those living off reserve. It cuts in on provincial jurisdiction as the hon. member on the opposite side has already mentioned. More important, it is not in the framework agreement. It would place an administrative and financial burden on the schools that have agreed to opt in to the agreement.

At the same time and the thing we should not forget in the House is that at the end of the five year agreement we will have the opportunity to review this. The other bands in Nova Scotia will have the opportunity for a review and to look at it. At that time if we can afford the cost, it is possible to include the on reserve Mi'kmaq along with the reserve natives.

If we try to do this unilaterally the problem is that no cost estimates have been done. In many instances it may only be a matter of a quarter of a mile or kilometre or less. In other instances it could be a matter of busing children 15, 20 or 30 kilometres and there may not be the amount of students to make that a cost saving or a responsible measure.

Although I recognize the reason the amendment was put forth, the Conservative Party cannot support that amendment.

Fishers Bill Of Rights June 4th, 1998

Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today to speak in the House to the motion of the hon. member for Charlotte on a fishers' bill of rights.

The state of the fishery in the country is far too often overlooked, specifically in Nova Scotia and certainly in the South Shore riding which I am honoured to represent and in my neighbouring riding of West Nova which is very aptly represented in the House of Commons.

We talk to the people in the fishery. We know the people in the fishery. I am not a fisherman. I do not contend to be a fisherman but I certainly have many constituents who are fishermen. The South Shore riding is the largest single fishery riding in Canada with 800 and some registered fishing boats in Shelburne county alone. Queens county has another 200 and some and Lunenburg county has 180. It is a tremendous resource.

That resource is no longer there. That resource has declined. As the member for Charlotte mentioned, it declined over the years because of bureaucratic intervention, because of government intervention. He did not want to point the finger at anyone. I do not think I am willing to do that either. Certainly all governments of all parties have made major mistakes in the fishery and I think to this very day they continue to make them.

One difficulty I have with something called a fishers' bill of rights and the public right to fish is that I am not sure we any longer have a public right to fish. We cannot simply buy a fishing licence today and go fishing. There is no fish to catch. There are ITQs. There are community quota groups. There are all kinds of restrictions against fishing. The public right to fish is something I am very much afraid we may have lost a long time ago.

Even in new fisheries I have a number of cases—and I am sure members opposite have a number of cases—where people in an experimental fishery were not even granted the first licence to be given out in that fishery, whether it was an experimental shrimp fishery in St. Margaret's Bay or a clam fishery in the midshore, the endshore or the offshore. The people who developed those fisheries, the people who did the experimental work, very often were overlooked when it came to licences in direct contravention and contradiction of the Fisheries Act.

The hon. member for Charlotte mentioned TAGS. I would like to talk for a moment about the failure of TAGS to address the problem. To begin with TAGS was designed for ice plugged ports in Newfoundland. As an afterthought it was thought that it could apply to diminishing groundfish stocks in Nova Scotia. They brought TAGS in combined with a licence buyout that did not take enough out of the fishery. The TAGS program only covered the first $26,000 of gross landings by any fishing boat. After that they had to buy it back.

Let us figure out what it takes to accumulate the first $26,000 gross of a fishing year. They pay for their steamboat licences. They pay for their crews. They pay for their provisions. They pay for their diesel. They pay for their onboard catch monitoring. They pay for any ITQ transferring they do. They have not made any money and they are over the $26,000 gross.

The people who tried to work were penalized. The people who benefited from TAGS were the people who decided to sit back and improve their golf game or to go trouting. For the fishermen who tried to continue to work and to feed their families it was a dismal failure. That is the best thing that can be said about it.

We move on to the situation these people are still in with diminishing fish stocks. The south shore of Nova Scotia and parts of southwest Nova are extremely lucky. We have a few fish left. We are a long way from having a successful fishery. There was quota by every community group in Nova Scotia left in the water last year, quota they were unable to catch or quota that was not there.

We are encouraging the shacking of small fish. Shacking is a term fishermen use for throwing fish overboard. If they have a quota and they are only allowed 4,000 pounds of haddock what are they to do with the small ones? They cannot afford to bring them ashore as little haddock are worth 40 cents per pounded compared to big haddock which are worth $1 a pound.

It is a very dismal situation these people find themselves in. They are environmentalists and conservationists and they understand. They also have families, mortgages and car payments and have to attempt to make a living. The fishermen of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I., Newfoundland and Quebec are in dire straits as a result of TAGS.

We can look at the effort out there on the ocean by dragger fleets, seiners and foreign fleets. They have caught our bait. They have caught our food fish, our cod, our haddock and our halibut. It goes on and on.

This year Atlantic salmon stocks are expected to be at an all time record low of returning winter salmon to the rivers of southwest Nova. These rivers are under stress. We know acid rain has stressed the ability of the spawn to survive in the rivers. This is not rocket science. We understand that pollution is a factor.

We are at an all time low and we have the most stringent conservation methods we have ever had. No longer are estuary fisheries allowed at the mouth of rivers. Mature salmon can no longer be kept. Fishermen are encouraged to keep only grilse and only male grilse.

The aboriginal fishery takes male grilse out of the fish way for its allotment. This is not a threat to the salmon going upriver to spawn and reproduce.

What is a threat has been the fact that the federal government has allowed a foreign fishery in St. Pierre and Miquelon to buy the gear of the Newfoundland fishermen who sold their salmon gear to St. Pierre and Miquelon fishermen and set that gear in a 10 mile swath 200 miles long out to the edge of the shelf. No one in the House or on the fisheries committee or in the department will convince me that this has not affected returning fish to Nova Scotia.

For a long time we had a moratorium on commercial salmon fishing, which is indicative of the state of the fishery. The real money in the fishery is made from haddock, cod and flounder. The sport fishery is important but the real money and the real livelihoods of the majority of the people are in the ground and lobster fishery.

We have more pressure now. We have complete devastation in the fishery. Now in the lobster fishery there are more lobster licences and more effort in the lobster fishery than there has been in the past 50 years.

The point is that the lobster fishery needs a much more serious, increased effort. It is the sole provider of many families in Nova Scotia, South Shore and southwest Nova. That fishery is under serious pressure. I suspect it is under serious pressure in P.E.I, Newfoundland and parts of Quebec. We have to be very careful how we treat that fishery if it is to survive.

In my closing remarks I would just like to say a bit about the inability of the government to come forth with a proper buyout program for active licences. The licences on the banks about which there is some discussion about buying, the licences that have not been used for five, ten, fifteen or twenty years, are not catching fish. We do not have to worry about those licences. We should buy the active licences and put a restriction on bringing an inactive licence back into the fishery.

Nunavut Act June 2nd, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Oxford for his question.

Very succinctly I would say it is an extremely progressive and very forward looking attitude. It is almost an ebullience of wanting to become a realistic part of Canadian society and an equal partner in Canadian society.

We have a group of people who have always paid taxes. They have always contributed to Canadian society. They have always been full-fledged members in Canadian society. Today I found some of the disparaging comments that have been made or tendencies leaning toward that direction a bit irritating and quite annoying.

We have an opportunity with aboriginal people in Canada with a land base that is sufficient for them to actually be responsible and in control of their own destiny. We have a larger land base over which they have political influence. We have a window of opportunity to be equal partners in our own land. That is an important statement they will be able to make when this is over.