House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was years.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Conservative MP for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 51% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Government Operations February 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Stormont--Dundas--South Glengarry is populated with honest hardworking taxpayers who have been ignored by the Liberal government for much too long.

Farmers have been waiting for 12 years to get an ethanol plant built in the riding and because of Liberal government dithering, the shovel is still not in the ground. Two major employers in Cornwall have recently announced layoffs totalling over 560 employees. One is relocating to the United States after trying to get help from the government for over two years.

My riding is within a stone's throw of Ottawa and we have a well educated, bilingual workforce and inexpensive office facilities. On two separate occasions I have urged the Minister of Public Works to show respect and compassion for my constituents by decentralizing some of the massive government operations located here in Ottawa to my riding.

Because my constituents have been such loyal Canadian citizens, I call on the minister yet again to immediately decentralize quality government jobs to my riding.

The Senate February 3rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the unilateral appointment of senators by the Prime Minister offends every conceivable principle of democracy.

The Senate now has 16 vacancies, from almost every province. Five more senators are due to retire in 2005. Conservatives believe those vacancies should be filled by senators democratically elected by the people of the provinces they represent. A recent survey of my riding showed that 88% of my constituents agree. Why will the Prime Minister not quit dithering on this issue, show leadership and name democratically elected senators to the Senate?

Cornwall Centennial Choir December 13th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank and congratulate the Centennial Choir from the city of Cornwall in my riding Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry for its excellent concert on the Hill, an event that took place earlier this afternoon. The event raised money for SOS Children's Villages Canada, a charity that provides permanent loving homes for children who have been left homeless due to war, natural disasters and other calamities.

The Centennial Choir takes its name from Canada's centennial year, 1967, the year the choir was founded. It has approximately 65 members from throughout the three united counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry. The choir produces annual spring and Christmas concerts and takes part in special events throughout the year in our community.

I encourage everyone to take any opportunity to attend a performance of the Cornwall Centennial Choir. I promise that people will not be disappointed.

Governor General December 9th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, six months ago during an election campaign the Prime Minister promised Canadians he would fix the democratic deficit.

The government's motion to restore the Governor General's budget is out of step with the Prime Minister's lip service to fixing the democratic deficit. Canadians do not believe the Governor General's budget should increase 50% in just five years. Members from all parties, including the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, voted in committee to rein in the Governor General's spending.

Why is the Prime Minister overriding the free and informed votes of committee members?

Parliament of Canada Act December 8th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the term he used about our salaries being balanced is a term with which I am very comfortable. What is most appropriate is that we have balanced compensation.

I agree with the hon. member that we should not be underpaid, but by the same token, we do not want to think that running for Parliament is the same as winning a lottery. Therefore, I am not suggesting that any of us should not be compensated. We should be fairly compensated. Our hours of work are extremely long and we should receive adequate compensation to reflect that. However, I do not think a 10% increase per year is appropriate in this case.

We should task the government with resolving this situation once and for all. We should come up with some kind of a formula that is appropriate to all concerned. As the member mentioned, let us quit government waste and maybe we can all be fairly compensated as a result.

Parliament of Canada Act December 8th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I am not particularly comfortable with the way the current government is dealing with this issue.

Just a case in point, I was elected to the House only five months ago. When I came to this place, one of the first things that was discussed was whether I should get a 10% raise. I know of no other position that I could have aspired to where within months of getting the job I would automatically get a 10% raise. As I mentioned in my comments, some of the raises proposed in the legislation are obscene. To propose a raise that is more than what some people earn in a year is obscene. I am not particularly comfortable that our wages should be tied.

I am an average Canadian. I would like to think that the people who elected me to the House feel that I am doing a good job and am working hard. If I am satisfying their needs, I should get the same average increase as they would. A fair salary increase for all members would be what the average Canadian receives.

We are very well paid. As I mentioned in my speech, some of our members do not take a salary from the House. They do this because they believe in the cause. I think most members elected to the House are here not for the money but because they feel they can contribute to Canadian society, and that is why I am here.

Parliament of Canada Act December 8th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the chance to speak to Bill C-30. The bill would implement the long-standing position of the Conservative Party, which is that members of Parliament should not be determining their own salaries.

The last attempt to create an impartial mechanism for determining MPs' pay led it to be indexed to the salary of the chief justice of the Supreme Court whose salary is determined by the Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission. However, when the commission recently recommended an 11% pay increase for the chief justice, the controversy was reopened.

Clearly, it would be inappropriate for members of Parliament to accept an increase that is so far beyond what most Canadians receive, especially when we are already making a salary that most Canadians can only dream of.

In fact, many people would question whether judges need and deserve an 11% pay raise either. It would have been nice if this legislation could have been accompanied by measures to reform the way judges get paid as well. It is a different issue in some ways because the job description and hiring and firing process for judges is very different than for MPs. It also comes down to preventing people in positions of authority and trust from lining their own pockets at the expense of overburdened Canadian taxpayers.

An 11% pay raise for a backbench or opposition MP would mean a raise bigger than the total annual salary of some Canadians. In fact, Canadians whose entire annual salary is only two-thirds as much as the raise proposed for members of Parliament, would be paying taxes to fund those raises. That would be simply obscene. Of course partly that is because the Liberal government has refused to enact the Conservative policy of increasing the amount low income Canadians can make before they pay taxes. However an 11% raise is difficult to justify in any circumstances.

Members of Parliament do not need exorbitant compensation. Those of us who work hard, stay honest and do our level best on behalf of our constituents and all Canadians, are certainly not in it for the money. Some MPs have already had highly successful careers in the private sector. My hon. colleague from Newmarket—Aurora is a case in point. Although she has worked hard and performed admirably as international trade critic for the government in waiting, she has not accepted a dime from Canadian taxpayers. Instead, she has chosen to donate her salary to a charitable foundation. I applaud her for that.

The Conservative Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, the hon. Danny Williams, is a formidable leader and advocate of his province and has worked extremely hard on issues that are vital to Atlantic Canada, yet he too has decided to forgo his entire salary. He has taken the fight of ordinary Newfoundlanders to heart. He knows they face incredible financial burdens as a result of the high taxes, oppressive business climate and patronage driven, market distorting, reallocation schemes of the federal government, and has placed the interests of Newfoundlanders far above his own personal interests.

Of course not all of us are in the position to work free of charge, and I would not suggest that anyone should do so, but the examples set by our colleagues I have mentioned prove that the best legislators care more about their constituents than about their own compensation.

Canadians are our bosses and I do not think they believe that we need or deserve double digit raises. In fact many Canadians probably feel that they were hoodwinked when they hired certain candidates to represent them in this place.

Government members were hired because they said they would enact democratic reform, make the equalization system more conducive to economic growth and make the federal government more fiscally responsible. I think most Canadians would say that we as a Parliament have not yet fulfilled these basis elements of our job and we should not expect a raise until we live up to our commitments.

I support the bill because I am hopeful that it will create a reasonable and impartial mechanism for determining compensation for members of the House so we can finally stop debating our own pay and start debating the things that matter to Canadians.

Petitions December 8th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the petitioners therefore call upon Parliament to urge the federal government to explicitly declare that supply management should be maintained.

Petitions December 8th, 2004

I was summarizing.

Petitions December 8th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the second petition concerns supply management, and it is signed by 794 concerned citizens of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry. It says, “much of the economy of this riding and of rural Ontario and Canada in general depends in large part on the profitability of dairy, egg, poultry and other types of farming, that candidates and representatives of the--