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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was veterans.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Conservative MP for New Brunswick Southwest (New Brunswick)

Won his last election, in 2008, with 58% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Aids October 1st, 1997

Mr. Speaker, this week is AIDS awareness week. Canadians from all parts of our country are volunteering their time, money and compassion to increase public awareness of this disease. I am extremely proud of the thousands of Canadians who have chosen to participate.

Almost every family in Canada has in some manner been touched by this disease. We all know people who have been infected with HIV through blood transfusions and who have since passed away. To their families I express not only my compassion for their grief, but also my assurance to do everything possible to guarantee that all future blood supplies are safe.

The red ribbon has become the symbol for AIDS, the commitment to end this tragic disease and a memorial to the children, women and men who have died from it.

Research and awareness are key in our fight for a cure. Let us all work together toward that end.

Speech From The Throne September 25th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, if I were a member from Ontario I think I could stand up here and boast about the economy of my home province, but unfortunately I am not from Ontario. Obviously that is one of the reasons why the Liberal Party won every seat, with the exception of one, that of my colleague just in front of me. It is because the people very seldom reject a government if the economy is moving well as evidenced in just about every election in the United States and Canada in the last 100 years.

If I were living in downtown Toronto or Oakville, Ontario I would agree 100 percent with what the member has stated. They are basically satisfied with the government.

This country as a whole is what I am worried about. That wealth and industrial prosperity has not spread across this country in the directions that we would like to see it spread. It has not spread north, east, or west in some areas. As I mentioned earlier in my speech, even places in British Columbia and Alberta have their problems, but in Atlantic Canada we have serious problems.

One of the things that the government does have to take a look at is a reduction in taxes. We are proposing a reduction in payroll taxes, those employment insurance taxes of which the government today is sitting on a bank roll of somewhere between $5 billion and $10 billion and using that for goodness sake to reduce the size of the national debt, which is ridiculous. The government is putting the problem right on the backs of the unemployed, the very people it should be helping.

Speech From The Throne September 25th, 1997

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

I believe that one of the best things the government could do for Canada—and obviously Canada in my eyes includes Quebec, a healthy Quebec, a Quebec that is as vibrant as we want to see the rest of Canada be—would be to get the economy moving in a way that brings everyone in.

As I mentioned before, the government is taking a lot of pleasure in the growth in the stock market and how well Bay Street and Wall Street are doing, but it has forgotten that consumer confidence in Canada is at an all-time low. The sustained rate of unemployment is hurting us. Ordinary Canadians have no confidence in the future. That includes the citizens of Quebec.

Anything we can do to help in creating a healthy, vibrant economy and anything that we can do to improve the lot of all citizens in the province of Quebec, English as well as French speaking, I am in favour of it and this party is in favour of it.

Speech From The Throne September 25th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, it is nice to be back here. I will be sharing my time with the member for Shefford. I want to congratulate you on your elevation to the Chair. Most if not all of us would agree that you are a learned student of this House. I would say you have mastered the rules of procedure and you are very diplomatic in your skills and in handling numbers. Congratulations.

I want to thank my constituents for sending me here and for placing their trust in me. I want to let them know back home that I will do the very best job I can to represent them in this House.

I want to mention my riding a little before I begin my address to the throne speech. My riding is called Charlotte but it contains seven counties either in whole or in part. The name Charlotte really does not do justice to the description of the riding. One of the things that we will be entertaining is the possible name change for the riding to reflect those folks who live in some of the other counties.

The throne speech was a big disappointment to me. It was filled with vague generalities and all kinds of platitudes with not a whole lot of meat or substance. I do not think many Canadians could find satisfaction in what they heard in that speech the other day, in particular when we note that Canada is going through a high rate of sustained unemployment. We have had 87 months of unemployment at a rate of over 9 percent which is absolutely unacceptable.

It is often said that the essence of life is hope. I do not think there was much hope in the document of the other day. Canadians, in particular Canadians from Atlantic Canada and some of the poorer parts of Canada, would not take a whole lot of comfort in it.

It is interesting that last week when the Leader of the Opposition was interviewed by a newspaper in Atlantic Canada he alluded to some of the poorer parts of his province which sometimes we do not understand.

I think that some of the hurt that is being experienced in the country knows no bounds. I can talk about Atlantic Canada but there are other parts of Canada that are also going through some pretty tough times.

It is often said that a real measure of a government should be how it deals with its poor, its elderly and its sick. After examining this government since 1993, I would add to that list the youth of Canada. The government has failed miserably. It cannot seem to grasp the reality that there are a lot of people hurting.

When we listen to the finance minister I believe he assumes that since everything is well on Wall Street and Bay Street, that everything is well in the rest of Canada. But let me tell the House it is not. That is one of the reasons the House did make some changes which were reflected during the election period.

As members have returned to the House there is a decrease in the size of the majority of the government which it enjoyed in its first mandate. I believe that was for a very particular reason. I believe it is because there are lot of very disillusioned people.

In the United States over the last 10 years there has been an 11 percent increase in real incomes. In the corresponding period in Canada there has been a 1.3 percent decrease in real incomes. There is something wrong when that happens and the government has yet to figure out what it is.

When we take a look at the unemployment rates in the country we are in the same situation. Our unemployment numbers are exactly double those of the United States. There are many reasons for that obviously. But I think one big reason we have had that sustained unemployment rate in Canada is a lack of vision on the part of the government.

The government has been blessed by many things, some of them completely beyond its control or which it had nothing whatsoever to do with. It has been blessed with a period of economic growth since it took office but that has not actually been translated into real jobs. It has been blessed with very low international interest rates, which has played well for the government in terms of debt reduction, which again has nothing to do with the government itself. It has been blessed with some financial measures which any government could have fared better with than what it has.

Immediately on taking office in 1993 it proceeded on the route it is famous for, downloading its problems on to another level of government. It certain did that. If we measure the reduction in spending in Ottawa since 1993, over 90 percent of that has been downloaded on to the backs of the provinces. The statistics will tell us that only 2 percent of the cuts came out of downtown Ottawa and its government departments. The rest was downloaded on to the backs of the provinces.

Health care is an example. A 40 percent cut in health care transfers to the provinces. That translates into a figure of approximately $8 billion. What the government and its finance minister and the prime minister forgot is that there is only one taxpayer. When they download on to the provinces they have to do one of two things, accept the download or download themselves on to the backs of the municipalities, again forgetting there is only one taxpayer. That has hurt us in Atlantic Canada. It has hurt us in a number of ways but particularly in health care.

I do not think there is anyone in any part of this country who could stand up today to say with any degree of confidence that our health care system can sustain those types of cuts. If we measure what we have today versus what we had 10 years ago, there are a lot of Canadians who are very worried.

The answers to some of these problems are not easy. There is no question about that. It requires some ingenuity on the part of the government to recognize that there are problems out there which must be dealt with.

In Atlantic Canada we are not talking about handouts; we are talking about strategic investment into the area of the country that has the greatest amount of unemployment. In some parts of Atlantic Canada the unemployment rate is over 30 p. cent. The government has to do something about it. Just downloading onto the backs of the provinces, particularly the poorer provinces, is not going to solve the problem.

We have the brain drain of Atlantic Canada. We educate our youth only to find that they have to move out to get a job. The old expression is that Atlantic Canada is a nice place to live, provided you can get a job. There is nothing in the throne speech which would give Atlantic Canadians, particularly young Atlantic Canadians, any degree of hope.

It is incumbent on this government to take the message which was given to it on June 2 and respond to the needs of Atlantic Canada.

Speech From The Throne September 25th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, that would be more than acceptable.

Speech From The Throne September 25th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the Reform member is mentioning pensions. In defence of the NDP member I simply want to say that he is working in this House for the Canadian people. He is not on pension. That is a ridiculous statement and is completely out of order.