House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was concerned.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Independent MP for Nanaimo—Alberni (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 46% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Species at Risk Act June 10th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today on Bill C-5 and the Group No. 4 amendments to the proposed species at risk legislation.

As the member of parliament for Nanaimo--Alberni, I think most residents of and visitors to my riding would agree that it is truly one of the most beautiful places in Canada. I have travelled a lot internationally and it is no exaggeration to say Vancouver Island is one of the most picturesque places in the world.

The Deaf and Hearing Impaired June 7th, 2002

Madam Speaker, Motion No. 367 presented by the member for Longueuil states:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should: (a) take all measures necessary to encourage, facilitate and actively support the right to communications of the deaf and hearing impaired; (b) act without delay to set up a real program to fund the research and development of technologies relating to closed captioning; (c) draft a bill to amend the Broadcasting Act to oblige all broadcasters to carry visual programs with closed captioning.

I am very pleased to address the issue in the House for a number of reasons.

I am sure that every member in the House as a member of society comes across people who are hearing impaired. I remember one of my first personal experiences was with a friend who had grown to adulthood with a deaf parent. I was quite intrigued as I observed him using the American sign language as a communication tool. In his family that was the norm. He and his siblings all used sign language to communicate with their father .

The subject today is not about American sign language, it is about closed captioning on television. However it does bear considering the needs and the concerns of the deaf and being sensitive to those who are hearing impaired in our society.

I personally have been very impressed with the American sign language. If I may be allowed, I will go on for a moment about that.

The hearing impaired are able to communicate very well using sign language. On a ferry trip from Nanaimo to Vancouver I remember seeing a group of people who turned out to be constituents communicating using sign language.

I am quite keen to have someone do signing at our town hall meetings. We explored that possibility but were not successful in arranging it. We are still working on it. If there are people out there in my riding who have the skills to do that, I am looking for them.

Communication is a privilege that we enjoy as human beings. We like to think we are intelligent human beings, but even that can be the subject of debate in the House. It is a privilege to be able to paint a picture with words, to be able to discuss a subject such as the one we are debating today that does not involve those of us here who are not hearing impaired but we are able to identify with, that takes us into the lives, the hearts and the minds of people who have a disability that we do not have.

I wonder if we do not take our communication skills for granted sometimes. What a tremendous advantage it is for us to be able to communicate intimate thoughts, our thoughts about beauty and the wonderful world we see around us, to be able to describe what we see when travelling along the coast, a tide pool, a sunset or a wave breaking on the shore.

Communication is such a wonderful tool. It is such a wonderful opportunity that we have to express ourselves and to receive fulfillment in this world.

The issue the motion addresses is about access to information. It is about opportunity to engage in society and understand what is going on in the world. It is about inclusion. It is about personal development.

A few facts were presented by the hon. member for Longueuil and we appreciate that. She mentioned there are about three million people in Canada who are hearing impaired. I have some statistics that include the United States. Approximately 28 million people in the U.S. have some degree of reduced hearing sensitivity. That puts us at about the 10:1 ratio, which seems to be standard in so many issues between Canada and the United States relative to our populations.

Over one million children in the U.S. have a hearing loss. One in 1,000 infants born in the U.S. has a severe or profound hearing loss. In the first instance we are talking about the one in 1,000 infants born with a severe or profound hearing loss, but by the time they are school age children, a severe or profound hearing loss occurs in about nine children out of every 1,000.

Some of the information I was able to glean in trying to enter the world of the deaf and understand it a little better was information I received from Deaf and Mental Health Services in British Columbia. It did a survey recently. It gathered information by reviewing relevant literature on previous reports. It consulted with a community advisory committee and interviewed over 160 community members, family members and service providers individually and in small groups.

The statistics showed that of the target population of British Columbia, 8,000 children and adults from all ethnic and family backgrounds are deaf. I will quote a paragraph from its conclusions:

Although all Deaf people face tremendous communication barriers in a world designed for people who hear, this small population is very diverse in terms of pattern of deafness, communication preferences, signing skills, speaking skills, educational experiences, literacy, and abilities. About two-thirds of the Deaf population (about 5,000 BC residents) communicate primarily through American Sign Language (ASL) and are more or less oriented toward...the Deaf community.

It is important to recognize that it is not just the deaf person that is involved. Family members are also influenced. There are probably four people in an average household who are affected along with the deaf person.

I have just one more set of statistics to offer. About 90% of deaf children are born to parents who can hear and about 90% of children born to deaf parents can hear.

There is another segment of society that is very much influenced by this and it is those who suffer from adult onset hearing impairment. In my riding there are many people with this. There is a huge retirement community on Vancouver Island. Also affected are many of our World War II veterans, Korean war veterans, many of our mill workers who have been exposed to industrial noise, our bush workers, forestry workers and operators of heavy duty equipment.

I spoke with one audiologist in my riding. I was interested to find out that it takes between 80 decibels and 90 decibels for eight hours to create a hearing loss. I was surprised that something as innocuous as a hair blow dryer produces 90 decibels. We have to wonder about other noises we are exposed to in society. Perhaps we should consider having a debate on noise pollution.

I am concerned about the young people that I see driving down the street with boom boxes blaring in their cars that rattle not only their own vehicles but those across the street and perhaps even people in buildings across the street. I remember being in my office in Parksville, a small community on Vancouver Island, and actually feeling the building tremble. I went out to see what was causing it. It was a boom box in a young person's car out in the back lane. The noise was actually shaking the building. My receptionist and I were quite surprised to feel the impact of that.

I understand that the noise level from a boom box is about 140 decibels. At 140 decibels, that puts it right up there with what we might experience if we were standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier or if we were within 25 metres of a jet taking off, which is about 150 decibels. At those levels a person's eardrums can actually rupture.

This is a very serious issue that the member has raised. The issue is very important to members of our society.

I came across some information from the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association. It did a study in June 1999. It identified three main issues associated with closed captioning on television: accessibility; quality of programming available to the hearing impaired; and awareness. Regarding quality, there are still some technical difficulties with closed captioning. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. As far as awareness issues, one-third of the Canadian general public cannot describe what closed captioning is and therefore are unaware of the issue.

In closing, any day that we learn something new is a good day. I appreciate that the member has brought this motion forward to raise the awareness of the issues relating to the deaf. The member's motion is about learning and opportunities to learn. It is about inclusion. It is about development. It is about helping people achieve satisfaction in life. It is about relieving a sense of isolation.

If I may be allowed, just in a nutshell, there is another metaphor that I personally have found very fulfilling. It has to do with learning. Being an islander, I relate to this: “The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder”.

This is about sharing knowledge and communicating knowledge. It is about helping a segment of our population enter fully with the rest of us into this marvellous experience in life of learning and growing together.

I am pleased to support the motion. I encourage all other members of the House to raise awareness of the deaf and the hearing impaired in our society.

Petitions May 22nd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, my riding of Nanaimo--Alberni has been severely affected by the softwood lumber dispute which has languished now for more than a year since the tariffs went up. Thousands of mill workers are idle. Mills are idle and whole communities are getting desperate.

I have two petitions. One of them draws the attention of the House to this serious matter and calls for a ban on log exports to the United States while our mills are shut down. The other one calls on the government to take action to ban the export of logs to U.S. mills while our mills are shut down.

Assisted Human Reproduction Act May 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I want to raise a question that was raised by someone who appeared before committee on an issue that has not been discussed much. It has to do with donor anonymity.

A woman and her daughter, both of whom are from the city of Nanaimo, appeared before the health committee. They were involved in one of the first donor insemination projects. The daughter is 19 years old. They are involved in a support society related to the whole issue of reproductive technology. This young woman made quite an impassioned plea before the committee on the issue of knowing who her biological parent was.

The bill is about producing children. Would the member agree that children have a right to know? Would he agree that part of their health is knowing where they come from? Would he agree that in fact there is no justifiable reason for having anonymity when Sweden, Australia and other countries have implemented systems that requests disclosure when the offspring requires it?

My second question has to do with the very important issues he raises regarding the patent law. A human being has 30,000 genes and 46 chromosomes. If just one of those genes was changed, would that be patentable? Is the member articulating that we should make changes to the Patent Act to make sure that biological material is not patented?

Assisted Human Reproduction Act May 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, there was a general feeling in the committee, having listened to witnesses from the scientific community, that they were very keen to advance the issue of embryonic stem cells and for some reason were reticent to engage in discussion about the tremendous potential of adult stem cells. For that reason a preamble was proposed by the standing committee. It put the interests of children first, the interests of the adults participating in assisted human reproduction second, and finally the interests of researchers and physicians supported to the extent that they do not compromise the interests of the children and the adults. That commitment seems to be lacking in the bill.

There is a concern that although researchers say they would not allow research beyond 14 days with an embryo, once they splat that embryo and extract the stem cells it is no longer an embryo in form but they could continue to grow those tissues indefinitely. There is a great danger which some call the slippery slope to industrialization and commodification, that what they can extract from these tissues are products like chemicals, dopamine for Parkinson's, or neurotransmitters for Alzheimer's, or insulin for diabetes. This slippery slope may lead to human tissue factories, the commodification and industrialization of human tissue. That is certainly something the committee is not keen to entertain and as parliamentarians is something we should want to resist.

Assisted Human Reproduction Act May 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, the member is talking about therapeutic cloning. Indeed the bill would ban that and we certainly support that ban.

We are talking about actually taking cells from one's own blood, bone marrow or skin from one's own body, simply extracting a hair follicle. It has been found that there are skin cells available that can be grown in vitro in larger numbers and injected back into the body.

We heard testimony from Dr. Prentice of Indiana State University that stem cells are being extracted from blood. The bone marrow is chemically stimulated to release stem cells which can be extracted with a simple blood sample, grown in a Petri dish and injected back into the same body. These cells actually would find their way to the damaged tissue and begin to identify with the cell type that is involved in the repair response. There is tremendous promise available in this area.

I agree with the member that we are not interested in going to therapeutic cloning.

Assisted Human Reproduction Act May 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for North Vancouver.

Dr. Bernstein's answer was that yes, of course it is superior to use autologous transplant cells from one's own body. Dr. Ronald Worton from the University of Ottawa when asked the same question replied that of course if we can use cells from our own body that is the gold standard.

With respect to the comments by the hon. member for Winnipeg South who said just a few moments ago that he felt we had struck the middle of the road and we had found the best compromise here, sometimes the middle of the road is not the best place to be. Sometimes the middle of the road can be a very dangerous place. One can be killed in the middle of the road.

I heard one researcher say that in genetic research speed wins. However the slogan used by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is that speed kills. We are concerned that researchers may run past the most promising venue of restoration and healing in their search for knowledge. We are concerned it could lead to commodification and industrialization of human tissue.

Our party had encouraged a three year moratorium on the stem cell issue. I still feel that if the CIHR were to use its considerable resources to invest in adult stem cell research, Canada could be a leader rather than a follower in this very promising area of research.

Many other issues need to be addressed, such as the area of chimera, the area of anonymous donations and many other very significant aspects to the bill. I will leave those to my colleagues to bring out and we will be discussing them at committee.

Assisted Human Reproduction Act May 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate on this issue.

As a member of the Standing Committee on Health, I identify with the comments of the hon. member from Winnipeg who just spoke. Members of the committee wrestled with many of the issues surrounding human reproductive technology and came up with the proposals for the draft legislation which has come back in the form of Bill C-56.

Bill C-56 states it may be cited as the assisted human reproduction act. I would like to state for the record that I believe we need much more research on the causes of infertility, particularly in the western world on delayed child bearing. We need more scrutiny on the various practices that defer pregnancy including the birth control pill; the use of abortion and the effect it has on fertility; the accumulation of pesticides in the environment and the effect it may have on human reproduction; and recently, concerns about estrogens accumulating in the water supply which are affecting human fertility.

A lot more research is needed on what is actually causing this epidemic of infertility. Rather than trying to find other ways to produce babies, we should be looking at how we can accommodate successful human fertility in a natural way.

Looking at the bill, the opposition has been calling for legislation since 1993 when the royal commission on new reproductive technologies reported. The government introduced Bill C-47 eventually in June 1996 and it died on the order paper.

This subject has been debated for a long time. In this the 37th parliament the Standing Committee on Health received draft legislation on May 3, 2001, a little more than a year ago. We spent months deliberating and hearing from witnesses from all aspects of Canadian society who are concerned about the complex and varied issues associated with the bill. Finally the committee submitted its report in December to the minister. It is one year later and the bill has finally come to the House for consideration. It has been a long time coming.

There are many controversial aspects and complex issues related to the bill. Probably the most significant one is the issue of stem cell research. To enter into that subject, it was stressed at committee that we need to think of ourselves as cellular beings. An adult human being is some 80 trillion to 100 trillion cells; we are cellular beings.

We are talking about embryonic stem cells versus adult stem cells. We hear in discussions that embryonic stem cells are better because they can produce the entire array of tissue found in an adult human being, which is true. The early cells in an embryo are on their way to producing an 80 trillion to 100 trillion cell adult which will take some 20 years to accomplish. The embryonic cells can produce a whole human being; that is their destiny in the ordinary sense.

Recent research has found what early researchers used to suggest, that adult cells are no longer able to do that. However in the last year and a half we have seen tremendous breakthroughs in adult stem cell research.

It should not have been such a surprise to us. The blueprint for each one of us, including all of the 200 cell types that we have in our body, is found in each and every cell of the human body, except for the red blood cells which do not have a nucleus. Each of us has in each of our 80 trillion to 100 trillion cells a complete set of chromosomes with a complete blueprint to reproduce a whole human being.

Therefore the dialogue saying that the embryonic cells are better for this reason simply does not hold up with the current research. We are finding tremendous breakthroughs some of which have been cited already today.

We heard from researchers in committee, and even in the months since we concluded our report there has been further research reporting results with Parkinson's disease using adult stem cells. Also with multiple sclerosis, adult stem cells from the donor's body were introduced back into the same body with tremendous results.

From what we heard in the standing committee and in the past year, there have been tremendous gains in adult stem cell research in humans. We heard that after many years of embryo stem cell research with animal models the results have not provided the expected advances. Therefore, it was the conclusion of the standing committee to encourage research funding in the area of adult stem cells.

There are many problems with trying to introduce embryonic cells into another human being not the least of which is each one of our cells has a blueprint, our own genetic marker. An intact immune system checks licence plates. The immune system will reject foreign cells. If embryonic cells are used to produce a new cell source for a human being to try to solve a health problem those cells will be subject to rejection by the immune system of the receiving body unless the patient takes anti-rejection drugs for the rest of his or her life. That is a very significant problem in trying to use embryonic stem cells in another human being. It is a problem that is avoided entirely by the use of autologous cells, or cells from one's own body.

To quote a couple of other advances, recently University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute researchers showed that adult bone marrow stem cells can become blood vessels. Duke University Medical Center researchers turned adult stem cells from knee fat into cartilage, bone and fat cells. When the research of Dr. Freda Miller from our own McGill University was announced just a few months ago, the newspaper article said that the researchers had found gold with skin cells able to turn into neurons or muscle cells.

We should have known there were stem cells found in bone marrow because bone marrow regenerates itself. The average human being is replacing 25% of his or her blood every month. Skin cells replace themselves regularly. Therefore stem cells are found. Also we are finding that skin cells not only produce skin but they can be coaxed into forming other tissues, as Dr. Miller found, such as neurons or muscle cells.

If adult cells have the promise to produce tissue, why are researchers reluctant to go there? I posed that question to Dr. Alan Bernstein, the head of the CIHR, when he was at committee and I pose the question again to my colleagues in the House. If we can produce cells from our own bodies that would replace tissue, avoiding the need for anti-rejection drugs for life, if we could take stem cells from our own bodies, grow them in a Petri dish and reintroduce them to our bodies to repair damaged tissue, would that not in fact be superior? That is autologous.

Petitions May 1st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I have with me over 10,000 signatures on petitions from residents of Vancouver Island. At issue is the E & N Railway, about 181 miles of track on Vancouver Island and part of the agreement that brought British Columbia into Confederation. The residents, business people and politicians at all levels are calling on the government to take some action. At issue are safe transport, toxic materials being transported and a tremendous potential in development for rail service on the island for transportation alternatives for tourism and for community development.

These petitions were generated with a great deal of enthusiasm and have come from coffee shops and different sources and unfortunately are not all in the appropriate parliamentary format, but the theme is consistent. Petitioners are asking the Minister of Transport to ensure that rail continues on Vancouver Island.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you would give leave to ask my colleagues in the House if they would be willing to give unanimous consent to present these petitions representing more than 10,000 people on Vancouver Island.

The Middle East April 9th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, it has been an interesting evening as members on all sides of the House have entered into the debate to discuss a very difficult and tragic set of circumstances occurring in the Middle East in and around Jerusalem, the Holy City, the city cherished by three of the world's largest religions.

As I have I have entered into the debate rather late, I think we have heard just about everything already. I see the minister agrees with me. I compliment the minister for staying through all these long hours of debate.

It has been an evening to consider the terrible events that are happening: the conflict and bloodshed, the bombs, the rockets, the bullets and the tanks. These are not pleasant things to describe and they are certainly horrors to live through.

We heard members describe the history of the Middle East beginning in 1948. We heard members describe the war in 1948. As Israel announced its declaration of independence it was attacked simultaneously by at least five surrounding nations. We heard about war in 1956 and again in 1967, the so-called six day war. We heard about 1973 when Israel was attacked on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, the day of atonement, when Israeli's are at home, buses are not running and transportation is down. It is the day when Israelis consider their eternal relationship with God and their future in the coming year.

We heard about the war in 1982 relating to the invasion, as it was called, into south Lebanon. I did not hear it tonight but it may have gone back even further to 1917 with the Lord Balfour declaration which talked about a Jewish homeland. A modern miracle took place in 1948 when a people, a nation, which had not been a nation on its own terrain for many centuries, even millennia, re-appeared.

We heard horrors tonight about suicide bombers, about desperate people and about a young, beautiful Palestinian girl strapping a bomb to herself to blow people up. One might not be able contemplate the kind of horror that would drive a person to do such a thing to themselves and to others. We heard descriptions of the horrible event that happened in Netanya. While people were celebrating passover, the day on which Jewish people gather to celebrate their deliverance from bondage in Egypt, as we read in the Bible, a suicide bomber blew them up. These are horrible things to contemplate.

I did not hear it tonight but it was also shocking to hear on the news just recently that during passover the ancient blood libel was still being perpetrated by some haters of Israel. Some Jewish members in the House tonight talked how they gather in their homes with their families during passover to remember events and to celebrate the season. I find it outrageous that others would portray this celebration as one where Jewish people actually kill the children of Christians or Muslims and drink their blood. It is outrageous to think that this kind of blood libel is still being spread, as it has been recently in the press, by some who have chosen to make enemies and will not be placated. This kind of hatred is hard to understand.

We heard reference to many of the leaders involved in this dispute, which has gone on for so many years, and references to Mr. Sharon, the prime minister. We heard one member call Mr. Sharon an expansionist for his incursions going back to the 1982 experience and now with what is happening in the territories.

We heard descriptions of our fight against terrorism that the world engaged in after the shocking events of September 11 that affected everyone certainly in this country and I think around the world. We can only contemplate the kind of minds that would consider commandeering an aircraft and slamming it into a building occupied by thousands of people and leading to thousands of deaths including the deaths of those who perpetrated the crimes.

Canada's response to September 11, as the United States mobilized for a war against terrorism, was to stand alongside our American neighbours and British colleagues to combat terrorism on an international scale and to bring this scourge of terrorism to an end. After all the months since September 11 and the mobilization that followed thereafter, that operation is still underway, chasing al-Qaeda remnants in Afghanistan and even the contemplated actions against Iraq and Saddam Hussein. Yet when Israel responds to the terrorist and suicide bombings it is expected to deal with that in a matter of days and pull out. We heard some members equate that to a double standard but I think we can all agree that it is a horrible situation.

I do not think there are any easy answers. One of the solutions presented today was that Canada should call for everyone to just stop fighting, that Israel should pull out and that the Palestinians should stop bombing people. I also heard members suggest that we are respected internationally and that we have such respect on the international scene that some people actually think the fighting would stop if our Prime Minister would go over there. It is nice to contemplate these things and suggest it might be that way but I do not think the solutions will come that easily. This is a very complicated conflict that has gone on for a long time.

We heard reference to Oslo, to Mr. Rabin and to Mr. Arafat. We heard talk of 200,000 settlers since the Oslo process began. One member suggested that the solution would be for a multinational security force to go in and separate the parties. Another member suggested the solution would be to declare Jerusalem an international city. The member from Burnaby talked about his recent experiences in Ramallah as he tried to put himself between the fighting forces, somewhat naively thinking that might somehow bring about a resolution.

I want to share with members some of my own experiences over the last 20 years. It has been nearly 20 years since my first trip to Israel and the Middle East. I had the privilege of travelling numerous times to the Holy Land, to Egypt, to what we call Israel today. I have travelled through Jordan and into Lebanon. On one occasion I drove right through what some call the trouble areas of today in a rented Israeli car. I drove through Jenin, through Nablus, through Ramallah and up to Jerusalem from Galilee. I was glad to have had that experience in the early eighties. Although it was under Israeli control at the time, it was possible for me as a tourist in a rented car to drive safely through those cities.

I have been in Bethlehem many times with tour groups. I have led many tourists through the Middle East in my former life, another era when I lived back here in Ontario before moving to the west coast. I had time at that time in my career to take tourists to Israel and to the Middle East. We used to go regularly to Bethlehem. The shops were busy and people were employed. The shopkeepers were always trying to draw our members into their shops, and they were prosperous and drove Mercedes. The employees at the four and five star hotels we stayed in were mostly Arab people who came from the surrounding areas of Jerusalem, or what we would call today the West Bank area or Judea.

It was quite possible and peaceful to go to Bethlehem. Our tour buses loaded and unloaded around the Church of the Nativity in Manger Square where the bullets had been flying. We went through the very low door into that great and ancient church, probably one of the oldest surviving churches in the world. It survived the period of Suleiman the Magnificent and the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem. They did not destroy that one. Interestingly enough they found pictures of the Magi on the front of the church and it is believed that was the reason they did not destroy that church as were so many others during that period in history. This area of terrain has quite a history.

I come from Vancouver Island and the state we are talking about is smaller than the island I live on. It is hard to consider having enemies who would bomb, shoot or fly rockets living in such close proximity. It is one thing to sit in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver or the big cities in the west and talk about separating these people but it is another thing to realize the very close proximity, the small distances involved and the geographic challenges that presents.

The issue in the Middle East is very complicated. I can describe to members an experience I had in 1990 while visiting an Arab pastor whom I had met in North America. He invited me to share with his congregation on a Sunday evening. This was in 1990 during the period of the first intifada. While I was sharing with the congregation, which consisted of about 25 or 30 young people, in came three men wearing ski mask like hoods over their heads. One of them carried an olive branch, one carried the outlawed PLO flag at the time and the other one carried a picture of a slain man from the village who had been killed in an altercation with Israeli forces earlier that week.

They came in during the service while I was talking and the pastor was interpreting into Arabic. They placed these things in front of the pulpit, turned around, stood for a moment and then walked out. I waited and no one said anything so I went on with my remarks. Afterward I asked what this meant. It meant that if Israeli forces were to enter the church at that point and see the emblems placed there, they would assume it was a PLO meeting because PLO emblems were present. Since the soldiers would not know what was going on they could have shut the church down permanently. On the other hand, if the pastor had removed the emblems anyone in the church could have been an informer and the pastor would have been found later with his throat cut. I would say that this is the kind of difficulty and pressure that our Arab friends and brothers are under in this difficult conflict.

On another occasion I visited Jerusalem in 1996 during the bus bombings. One of the favourite targets at that time was the number 18 bus in Jerusalem. In Hebrew the numbers in the letters are also numbers. In Hebrew the number 18 spells chai , which is the word for life. The terrorists liked to target the number 18 bus as their depiction of what life should be for Israelis under those conditions.

During that time I was able to contact a teacher I had met on numerous occasions. She was very upset because one of the students in her class had lost family members in that bus bombing. I tried to arrange a meeting but because she was so upset she was not sure her and her husband could make it. A day or so later she invited me to speak to her class which I did shortly after the bombing. I did not know what I could say as a Canadian that would bring peace to these people except to say that we needed to see a change of heart on both sides as it was a spiritual conflict.

A lot has been said tonight. I do not believe that most Muslims are terrorists and I hope our friends and neighbours understand this. After the events of September 11 many members of the Muslim community have expressed their outrage and dismay at what some people who profess their religion have done. I do not believe most Muslims are terrorists and I do not believe most Israelis want to kill Arabs. I think most people really do want peace.

I heard one of my colleagues tonight describe the Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem, stations I visited on the Via Dolorosa with my tour groups on numerous occasions as I went through the Arab souk or market. I have also visited the Arab souk in Hebron.

I will share a word with hon. members because sometimes there is good advice in ancient writings. This is from the ancient prophet Zachariah. It was written about 500 years before Christ. It says:

The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

That is a sobering scripture. There are no easy solutions to the conflict but we might caution all nations to handle the issue carefully and delicately. We might consider an ancient scripture in Genesis 12:3 which says:

And I will bless those that bless thee, and I will curse those that curse thee--

There is another scripture I like to remember. Psalm 122 says “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. They shall prosper that love thee.”

The battle will not be easily solved by natural means or politics. It is a spiritual battle. It is a conflict. We will need to see a change in heart. Only a change in heart will allow people to put aside hatred and again reach out to find a prospect of peace.

All hon. members would do well in our political considerations to heed the advice of the scriptures. I heard others mention tonight that we should pray for Mr. Sharon and Mr. Arafat. We should pray for all those caught in the conflict. We should pray for the peace of Jerusalem.