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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

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act October 28th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the hon. member and I congratulate her on her remarks.

I want to comment on a couple of things in the bill in general and specifically on the devolution of power to the NWT. I would like her to comment on the government's position about the devolution of power. Is there a willingness on behalf of the government to follow up Bill C-6 with necessary bills and regulations which will eventually lead to some type of provincial recognition by the government of Canada, as many other provinces have evolved in the country? Is there a willingness on behalf of the government to follow that through?

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act October 28th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his questions. He raises some valid points. We in this House have to remember that these issues are not completely settled yet. It is second reading of the bill. We have a way to go yet. I was alluding to the general thrust and the point of the bill. Certainly we support that.

The hon. member commented on the size of the land claim agreement, the fact that it deals with surface rights and that the north is a polyglot of people and represents more than just the native peoples. Many people have moved to the north in the last couple of hundred years. The bill applies to everyone in the north. It is our belief that there is room for everyone and there is room in this bill to include everyone.

It is not the intent of this party to leave any group out and I do not believe it is the intent of the bill to leave any group in the north out. I think it is all-encompassing and reflects the rights of everyone.

Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act October 28th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to make a few remarks about the principle of Bill C-6. I believe in and will speak to the principle of the bill. I make these remarks as the Progressive Conservative critic of Indian affairs and northern development. I also make them as someone who has over the years watched from a distance. Frankly I have been amazed at the length of time it takes for the valid aspirations of aboriginal peoples to be satisfied by the Government of Canada.

I am most thankful that aboriginal leadership in the Mackenzie Valley has been so very patient over the decades with what I am willing to bet was an endless round of negotiation with government officials.

This is no ordinary bill. It represents a principle that is so laudable and so welcome Canadians should be thankful it has arrived after so many years of toing and froing.

Hon. members may know this bill represents a conclusion of sorts to the precedent setting litigation and negotiation of aboriginal title claims in the Northwest Territories. Perhaps some will remember that the native peoples up there were faced with what some saw as the stark reality of a huge development project showing up on their doorstep without any input from them.

Essentially there were and remain, of course, concerns about a disruption of a way of life, a disruption of the lands and the waters. For people in the Northwest Territories, life is the land and the water. One of the most remarkable features of this land is the great and powerful Mackenzie River, one of the world's longest at 4,241 kilometres. It and its huge valley need to be respected and protected.

I am only just learning the history of this land myself. Perhaps it would be useful to cite some of it respecting this matter so that other members might better understand this legislation.

On April 2, 1973, 24 years ago, some 16 bands filed a caveat in the land titles office in Yellowknife claiming aboriginal rights to almost half the land in the Northwest Territories. When they did that, they got the government's attention. The effect of that caveat would have been to make any further land grants in the area subject to the claim of the Indians if it were subsequently found that they had a valid legal interest in the land.

That may sound like legalese and I suppose it is, but it is very important legalese and it was very important to the eventual settlement of the land claims in the Northwest Territories and in Canada as a whole.

Hearings were held and an interim judgment was handed down from the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories which upheld the caveat saying “that there is enough doubt as to whether the full aboriginal title has been extinguished, certainly in the minds of the Indians, to justify the caveat or to protect the Indian position until a final adjudication can be obtained”.

This process has moved slowly and if you will pardon the pun it has moved glacially slowly. Of course, the federal government appealed. That hearing was to take place before the appellate division of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories in June 1975. Assuredly, this has been a slow process.

Meanwhile, tired of waiting but wanting to get on with the job, behind the scenes the aboriginal leadership negotiated successfully with the then minister of Indian affairs to engage in preliminary discussions to develop the groundwork for a comprehensive settlement of Indian claims in the Northwest Territories. Essentially the aboriginal leadership pushed the idea of fairness, not a radical idea. They were adamant that a settlement of native claims must precede the pipeline or any other major development projects.

This evolved slowly. Maybe for some it was terribly slow. Certainly a great many people got tired of waiting. Finally it evolved to the present date, until Bill C-6 is before us today.

This bill, I am told, was developed by a co-ordinating group comprised of representatives from DIAND, Northwest Territories government, representatives of the Gwich'in Tribal Council, the Sahtu Secretariat and the Department of Justice. We are all hopeful that their many years of dialogue have borne fruit.

The Progressive Conservative Party is in favour of transferring responsibilities and power to the local level and sharing management and development duties. We believe, as most Canadians believe, that this is an important step in empowering all residents of the Northwest Territories. In principle, the joint boards this bill will establish are a good idea. However, I am looking forward to the hearings before committee to give it closer examination.

This bill is intended to implement obligations under land claims signed five years ago, as well as in September 1993. In 1992, the Gwitch'in Tribal Council settled a comprehensive land claim that provided for 22,422 square kilometres of land in the northwestern portion of the Northwest Territories and 1,554 square kilometres of land in Yukon. It also provided for subsurface rights, a share in the resource royalties derived from the valley, tax free capital transfers, hunting rights, a greater role in the management of wildlife, land and the environment, and the right of first refusal on a variety of activities related to wildlife.

These are good things and surely we have made some headway since 1973. Yet if they represent one principle it would be one related to good government. I am sure the current minister would recognize the efforts and the success of the previous Conservative government in establishing this excellent partnership.

The bill before us provides for the establishment of management boards to co-ordinate environmental assessment and land and water regulation in the Mackenzie Valley. The valley is 4,241 kilometres long. This is a huge undertaking by the government of this country and I commend the government for it. People often think of the north or the Mackenzie Valley as a barren wasteland. On the contrary, it has been home to the Inuit and the Dene for 10,000 years. Martin Frobisher's expeditions back in the 1570s were the first recorded visits to the Northwest Territories by an outsider.

I hope this bill will go some way to ensure that with all the wealth and the potential to be found under the surface of the land and the water in the Mackenzie Valley that outsiders respect the land and water and that they show some respect for the people who are called the insiders of the Mackenzie Valley.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for allowing me as the representative for the Conservative Party to participate in this debate. The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada supports this bill. We support its goals and aspirations. Furthermore we support the goals and the aspirations of the people who live in the north and who have brought this bill forward.

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation Act October 28th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-8, the Canada-Yukon oil and gas accord implementation act. I will share my time with the hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester.

The administration and management of oil and gas is an important and highly visible province-like function which will allow the Yukon government and Yukon First Nations with land claim agreements to share oil and gas revenues. These revenues are currently valued at $2 million per year.

Platitudes of self-government are wasted if the government does not back those platitudes with some type of a management process, with some type of a source of income, making self-government affordable and therefore making self-government possible.

The bill transfers authority to the Yukon territorial government, providing and giving control over the exploration, development, conservation and management of onshore gas resources, oil and gas pipelines, the raising of money in respect of oil and gas resources in the territory and the export of oil and gas.

Onshore oil and gas resources apply to all of Yukon landward of the Beaufort Sea mean low water mark, including the two bays of Shoalwater and Phillips Bay.

It is important to understand that this bill allows the federal government to take back administration and control of oil and gas in Yukon lands in order to settle or implement aboriginal land claims.

There are a number of areas of concern in this bill. The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, which represents signatories to the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, a land claim agreement brought into force by legislation in 1984, objected to several aspects of the proposed legislation when it was Bill C-50 in the last Parliament.

This opposition relates to the transfer of management over the Yukon offshore, defined as the adjoining area in the bill, to the Yukon territorial government and the protection of those areas. The Inuvialuit argue the adjoining area defined in the legislation is part of the Yukon north slope which falls within a special conservation regime established under their final agreement. The Inuvialuit consider Phillips Bay, an area specifically included in the transfer, to be part of their national park, while Shoalwater Bay is a highly significant area of Inuvialuit traditional use.

Under the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, lands of the Yukon north slope are to be protected until a wildlife and conservation management plan is adopted. While such a plan has been developed, it has not been adopted. The Inuvialuit have argued the transfer of jurisdiction over the north slope is inconsistent with the obligations in their agreement.

Bill C-8 has been changed slightly from the former Bill C-50 of the 35th Parliament to address some of these concerns. Clauses 6 and 8 would amend the Yukon Act to permit the Government of Canada to protect certain areas of land and future land claim settlements or the implementation of a land claim.

The addition of the word implementation recognizes that out of the 14 bands that are signatories to the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, only six have made their land claim selections. This would allow the federal government to designate lands traditionally used by the bands that have not finalized their land claim selections as those where no oil and gas activity could occur.

That is a great concern to those First Nations groups that have not yet selected their land under the Inuvialuit Final Agreement. Clause 8 allows the federal government to take back the administration and control of oil and gas in any lands in Yukon to settle or implement land claims. It can be questioned whether or not the federal government will require the land to be returned to its original state by the oil and gas developers if such land is required for land claim settlement or implementation.

There are some questions to be asked but every individual in the House should understand that the bill is about jurisdiction, that the bill is about the transfer of power and that the bill is about giving the tools to a territory, to a region in Canada to become independent and self-sufficient.

The Conservative Party agrees and supports a greater devolution of political and especially economic power to the territories. Part of that transfer is regulatory power. It is time to move forward on this legislation which has been on the agenda since 1987.

We support the legislation. We think it is important. We think it is legislation that is perhaps a little too late but at least it is on the agenda. We agree that we should move forward with it.

Supply October 21st, 1997

Mr. Speaker, of course a tax cut to the GST and the combined HST would be a benefit but there are other ways to do the same thing. We can put more money back into the economy by cutting payroll taxes. We have said it. We have been preaching it. We will say it one more time.

As long as we put the money back so it is in the hands of the consumer, I do not care if it comes from cutting the GST and the HST, from cutting the EI payments, from cutting whatever payroll taxes we want to cut, if we give the money back to the consumers they will spend it. They have to. Times are too tough.

Supply October 21st, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of things to say about that.

First is his judicious use of numbers from 1990 versus 1997. Let us get to when we actually had an increase in the economy of the country when the Tories were still in power in 1992. Take a look at and spout those numbers because they do not wash quite as easily.

His party does not change economic policy or the bank rates in this country. That did not happen overnight. They rode on the Tory coattails and are sitting there because the economic policy was put in place before you ever won your seat.

Supply October 21st, 1997

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak on the NDP opposition day motion condemning the immediate human tragedy of 1.4 million unemployed Canadians.

Earlier the leader of the New Democratic Party alluded to the fact that it had been four years since her party had been able to present a motion in this House. I would like to congratulate her and remind her that the NDP is not alone in that predicament. We have also waited four years to participate in debate in this House. And truly thus have all Canadians waited from sea to sea to sea to participate, for surely the last Parliament was the least participatory of any Parliament in Canada's history. In that Parliament we had one party that wanted to break up the country, another party that wanted to help them and a third party called the government that did whatever it wanted.

I agree with the parts of the motion that state that we need to set targets to reduce unemployment but the flawed NDP notion that 1.8% inflation regulates the 9% unemployment rate is an oversimplification of a wrong-headed policy. How many times must we state that government is not the engine to drive job creation? Government creates the atmosphere so business has a climate it can thrive in, live in, breathe in, eat, drink and sleep in. Business is a living thing and we control it. From that climate industry will grow and industry will create jobs.

Today government members rose to their feet and applauded the fact that unemployment has only increased by 300,000 Canadians since 1990. I hesitate to call this good government.

In the area of infrastructure where government can actually help build a foundation for job creation, this government has a dismal record. Infrastructure is one path that leads to jobs. Highways, container piers, railroads, wharves, navigational aids, a well educated workforce all belong on that path. Make work projects do not belong on that path. If we ever in this nation choose to follow the path of make work projects, we will be lost.

Earlier the hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester spoke about the possible social and psychological costs of high unemployment. Food banks, poverty, hospital line-ups because of transfer cuts to health and education, these are real problems.

What in the world is the matter with this government? It credits itself with reducing unemployment from 11.4% to 9% as if that is some kind of a record. Instead of slapping themselves on the back, Liberals should be ashamed of themselves.

The minister stated earlier that actions taken today do not take effect until a year or so down the road. This will be the closest the government will ever come to crediting the previous Tory government for the unprecedented recovery and growth from 1992 to 1997.

There has been no discussion of the casualties of frolicking in the sunshine of this unprecedented growth without a bit of sunblock. Who has been burned?

Let us start with the youth of Canada. There has not been enough discussion in this Parliament about the fact that Canada's youth are the part of this equation that has been completely left out of the unemployment numbers. We have had a recovery in the 1990s. We have had a recovery for adult workers in the 1990s. We have not had a job recovery for youth. The adult unemployment rate is 9.4%. The unemployment rate for youth is 20%. This government is not prepared to do anything about the radical imbalance of the unemployment figures as they affect youth in this country.

Last week in the town of Bridgewater on the south shore of Nova Scotia in the riding I am fortunate enough to represent, I spoke to high school students at Parkview Educational Centre. It was a tough and difficult speech to deliver. They asked me to come as their MP and discuss their opportunities to participate in the future of this nation, their opportunities to continue their education and come out with the prospects for a job.

Job prospects for Canada's youth are terrible. Everyone in this House should go into a classroom filled with 150 high school kids and try to tell them that the best thing they can do is continue their education, get a post-secondary degree, spend $12,000 a year, run up a bill of $50,000 to $60,000 and that will increase their chances of getting a job. That does not guarantee them a job, but that will increase their chances of getting one and they should feel good.

I delivered that message because that is the truth but I did not feel good about delivering it. I did not offer them much promise and I did not offer them much hope. Somehow it is the job of the government of this nation to be able to offer them some promise and to be able to offer them some hope.

Yes we have business initiatives for youth. We have internships. We have co-operative education programs. We have mentor programs. But they are not putting numbers of youth back to work. It is too little, too late and there is not enough of it. Yes the federal public sector youth employment program has helped create 6,000 jobs for aboriginal youth. It is the tip of the iceberg. It is not enough.

Last is an issue that has not been touched upon while we have discussed unemployment in the House. That is the 60,000 people in the east coast fishery who are out of work. That is a very real problem.

If you would indulge me, Madam Speaker, I would like to relate a story to the House. It relates to this caring, sharing government. Hon. members opposite would have us believe that somehow they are a caring, sharing government.

At the height of the downturn in the fishery in the town of Shelburne, Nova Scotia when there were no jobs in the fishery sector and all the services were downloaded on the backs of these fishers, the government in its wisdom decided at that time, at a crucial moment in the history of Shelburne county, to pull out of the naval base in Shelburne. They lost 120-some armed forces personnel who contributed to the economy of that town. They lost 40 to 50 full time jobs supplying that base and all of the income generated from it. And this is a caring, sharing government? That is how it answers the east coast fishery problem?

While we are on the subject of fisheries, we have an interception fishery on both coasts of this country. We have done nothing about it in British Columbia. Those salmon under international agreement were headed for Canadian rivers. They were Canadian fish. We allowed the Americans to catch them. We did nothing about it. On the east coast of Canada we have an interception fishery off of Greenland. We have done nothing about it. We allow the Europeans to catch all the fish they want.

We cannot even as a government support the salmon hatcheries in Nova Scotia. There are three salmon hatcheries slated for divestiture in Nova Scotia. This government has chosen to allow them to go. There is a $400,000 cost of maintaining them. In return they create employment. They support singlehandedly a $10 million sport fishery in Nova Scotia.

Environment October 6th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the environment minister.

The $31 billion Canadian oil and gas industry has not been invited to the environment conference as part of the official delegation in Kyoto, Japan.

The government's fondness for spending taxpayers' money has incited fear that it may impose a carbon tax. The oil and gas sector will have to try to survive anything decided in Kyoto.

Could the environment minister tell us why the Canadian petroleum producers have not been invited to Kyoto?

Speech From The Throne October 3rd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the people of the constituency of South Shore in Nova Scotia to speak in reply to the throne speech which opened the 36th Parliament.

As is customary I wish to congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, on your appointment to the Chair. I would also like to extend congratulations to those who assist you in your job. They have an important job.

I would also like to congratulate my colleague on his remarks. I listened to his words carefully. I think everyone in this Chamber should also listen to those words and take note of them.

I offer hearty congratulations to the mover of the throne speech and to its seconder. They did their duty well. Personally I would have been a little embarrassed to have moved such a piece of literature. I suppose that is because I am a Progressive Conservative and I am not much for the type of empty rhetoric that this particular throne speech represents.

It is Parliament's responsibility to scrutinize, question, explain, criticize and improve. In other words, Parliament talks. I am here to talk plainly to you, Mr. Speaker, and through you to the members present. I have a few things to say.

First the people of South Shore deserve better than what this government is putting forward as its plan for the future. I am honoured to be their representative. I am charged with a solemn duty. My riding has been represented by good people in the past. I want to learn from their example.

One of my most distinguished predecessors from South Shore came to this Parliament in 1957. I hope to do the legacy of Mr. Lloyd Crouse justice. He represented for many years the people of South Shore and I owe him a debt of gratitude. South Shore is a beautiful place and he was a very fine caretaker.

I have much to learn about Mr. Crouse's record of persistence and fighting for his constituents. I have not had the opportunity to do that yet, but I have started my education by studying some of his replies to throne speeches over the years. Almost 35 years ago in a reply to the throne speech Mr. Crouse talked about trade and its importance. He is no doubt as perplexed as I am with the Liberals' about-face on this matter.

In any case, he talked about our riding's many exporting activities. In the South Shore of Nova Scotia, we export fish, Christmas trees, paper as well as other forest products, and manufactured goods. However as Canada's closest land access departure point to Europe, our potential is sadly underutilized.

Education. It is ironic that Mr. Crouse did not put much faith in the Liberals' sincerity on this matter of making education accessible, affordable and excellent. It is ironic because of the recently announced plan of this government to endow excellence. This after having gutted the federal funding transfers to the provinces for education. Does anyone on that side of the House remember the ill-conceived Canada health and social transfer?

Mr. Crouse emphasized in his reply the close economic connection the riding has with the New England states. In this era of free trade, Canadians would be foolish to allow their government to impose decisions upon them that would lessen the potential benefits of trade with the U.S.

Nova Scotia has a great competitive advantage in this regard and would be hurt by this government if it superimposes partisan politics on Nova Scotia trade matters. It would be foolish to deny the right to get us our innovations, our products, our resources and our gas to the appropriate markets.

In his reply Mr. Crouse talked about the people back home in the riding. He spoke of their independence, their indomitable will, their belief in earning their own keep. South Shore families have many farmers, lumbermen and fishers connected with them.

We of the South Shore make much of our living from primary industries. We work hard and we work long hours. We do this to provide for our families and for our future. Let no person in this House cast aspersions on the work ethic of the people of the South Shore.

Taxation. Mr. Crouse talked about taxation. He stated “In the opinion of my constituents, taxation, especially direct taxation, has the effect of choking off business recovery and stifling expansion”. No truer words need to be spoken. It is a simple proposition.

EI premiums. As well, the small business person needs a break but by the looks of things we should not expect too much in the way of growth and prosperity from this government.

I was completely exasperated by what I read in the debates of that other place in this Parliament, the red chamber. The leader of the government in the other place is a fellow Nova Scotian. I was intrigued to see his reply to a question about getting the government—I do not think I can say this—to rethink their insistence on burdening small business owners with unreasonably high EI premiums.

The leader in the other place, a fine but lonely federal Liberal Nova Scotian, was informed that according to the estimates of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the surplus in the EI fund will be at $16 billion this year.

He was asked to explain to members why the Minister of Finance is continuing to insist on burdening those who create jobs with unreasonably high EI premiums. He replied that this Liberal government was not reducing the surplus intake because they want “to ensure that there will be enough revenue over a business cycle to pay the amounts authorized to be charged to the employment insurance account”. Pardon me, but does this government expect a great influx of EI claimants? Is this government expecting a recession?

Spending. This government is being careful perhaps. I am not sure many would agree that this is totally out of character for them.

For instance in the last Parliament they allowed the former deputy prime minister to go on periodic spending sprees whenever she got the desire to be patriotic. As well there was the matter of cancelling the EH-101 helicopter contract and paying the enormous penalties, not to mention the flagrant disregard for human lives.

There was the cancellation of the Pearson airport privatization and the cost of putting that political quagmire to bed or at least partially tucking it in. And of course there was the prime minister's insistence on looking like a Chevy kind of guy while he still kept the Caddy.

The government is definitely a wolf in sheep's clothing when it comes to spending.

Natural resources. To be entirely honest, I did not think I read the throne speech correctly. I thought I had made a mistake because I did not see an iota of real substance about natural resources. I did not see anything that speaks to Canadians working hard to harvest, maintain and make a living by their wits and by their sweat the bounty of Canada's natural resources.

I heard nothing about sustainability. All I read was, and I quote “Canada's rich and diverse natural heritage is also a source of national pride and international acclaim. Canadians are both the beneficiary and the stewards of the land that holds 9 percent of the earth's fresh water, 10 percent of its forests and 25 percent of its wetlands”. I thought it was a postcard. I really did. I could not wrap my head around it.

Perhaps someone on the government side can pinpoint the inconsistency. The government has not assured Nova Scotia that the fishery in Nova Scotia will survive. What about the fishery off my shore? What about the woodlands and our forests? What did Nova Scotians get from their oil and gas? What assurance do we have that it will be our oil and gas? Will it be used to benefit our economy and our standard of living?

I will wrap up. I would like to finish on Indian affairs. I am the critic for the Progressive Conservative Party on Indian affairs and northern development and nature resources. I will bring it down to one quote which I think is very important. It was made by a famous Canadian and certainly a famous Nova Scotian. The government and all the members in the House would do well to remember the words of the Right Hon. Robert Stanfield, a fellow Nova Scotian. He said this while visiting Calgary 30 years ago:

The leadership within the Indian community has, for the most part, been responsible and moderate. Their methods have generally been the peaceful demonstration and the reasoned brief. But if we do not respond to the moderate spokesmen of Indian Canada, there is a danger they will be displaced by the less patient and more militant leaders.

Speech From The Throne October 2nd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, this is the first opportunity I have had to stand in the House. It is a bit of an intimidating experience. I congratulate you, Mr. Speaker, on your appointment and the minister on her new responsibilities.

The appointment as Conservative critic for Indian affairs and northern development is an appointment I take very seriously. I think we should all take a moment to reflect on the responsibilities of a critic.

The responsibility of a critic is not just to jump to their feet every time the government stands, or rather sits; the responsibility of a critic, number one, is to be positive and, number two, to look for defects in what the government is saying. Certainly a critic has an innate responsibility to be responsible in their comments. I am not sure that is always recognized in the House. It is something we would all look forward to seeing a bit more of.

There were a few comments made by the hon. minister about the royal commission on aboriginal peoples. There were many good points brought up by that commission. There were also some negative points. The fact that we are individuals gives us the ability to disagree with certain points and to agree with certain points.

There are a few things the minister referred to which bear reflecting on again.

We have a number of statistics. When we hear the word statistics we quite often lose sight of the fact that those statistics involve people, men, women and children. They are not just numbers in somebody's book. We are dealing with human lives and futures.

When they understand that they are dealing with over 600 First Nations' communities, that there are a lot of pressing problems, that there is rampant child poverty, that 30 percent of the aboriginal community is under the age of 15 years, as politicians, if they do not understand anything else about that, they will understand that many of them will vote in the next election. There is a long journey.

There are a couple of points we should not forget. We have to proceed on this and we have to proceed together. We have to keep the principles of accountability and transparency, which were mentioned in the throne speech.

We can do three things. We can stagnate. We can continue to do what we have done. We can stand still and not move forward or we can move forward together.