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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was fact.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Conservative MP for Kootenay—Columbia (B.C.)

Won his last election, in 2008, with 60% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Canada Student Financial Assistance Act May 24th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I was very interested in the member's speech. I happen to be the father of three children who are now in their 20s and who ended up coming through the education process with a tremendous debt load.

I wonder if the member would agree that perhaps a constructive way to handle that situation would be to take a look at an income contingent repayment plan so that if they are in a very low paying job such as in a social working kind of situation or, as has been suggested, perhaps from an arts perspective versus someone who is on the higher end after a few years as a lawyer or a doctor, there is some real possibility of being able to overcome that by tying the repayment of the loan to the income that the student would have at the time.

Would she see this as a way of getting away from the number of defaults on student loans we are presently saddled with?

Supply May 12th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I think the minister knows that I and all the rest of us on this side of the House are very respectful of his approach to many of these issues and I wish to phrase a question in that spirit.

It has been said there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. When I use statistics I recognize that as being a problem. The statistics that I have which seem to be somewhat reflective of what the minister has used, although giving a different impression, are that in 1992 youth accounted for 13.7 per cent of all persons charged with violent crimes, up from 10.5 per cent in 1986. That represents a 30 per cent increase in that very short period of time.

Of the 135,348 youth charged in Criminal Code incidents in 1992, 15 per cent were charged with violent crimes and that figure was up from 10.5 per cent also in 1986 which represents a 50 per cent increase.

Even more shocking is that although there have been increases in terms of the percentage of violent crime charges by adults which was an increase of 8 per cent in that period of time the average annual increase has been 14 per cent among youth.

I feel that perhaps there has been a reflection today on the part of some Liberals and certainly many of the people from the Bloc who have spoken on this issue that perhaps, and the word has been used, the Reform Party is panicking or the Reform Party is not being reflective, or the Reform Party is exaggerating the issue. I suggest with the greatest of respect to the minister that the people in my constituency, and I believe all across Canada including the great province of Quebec, are deeply concerned about what is going on.

I ask the minister if there might not be some place in the way in which this Parliament of Canada works for there to be something such as we have suggested in our motion, at least one thing that this government, this Parliament, would go ahead with as a hard and fast solid indicator to the people of Canada of just how seriously we respect their opinion, that in fact there are changes coming.

I respect that there has to be a full look at it by the justice committee. I respect that and I would not want the full legislation to be anything other than well thought out. Is there not some way such as we have suggested that we could take at least one small step in good faith to the Canadian public and say we do see this as being serious and yes, we are going to do this and regain the confidence of the people of Canada as I am sure the minister and the government would like to have.

Supply May 12th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member is a member of the justice committee would she not agree that when this matter is referred to the committee there is a fairly high probability we will not see any recommendations from the justice committee at least until 1995?

There seemed to be some references earlier in this debate that everything is wonderful in Quebec according to the Bloc members and that we are talking about a regional matter. As the member comes from western Canada perhaps we do not have that communication barrier.

Would she not agree that on the basis of the representations she has had with her own constituents, is there not a real groundswell of concern on the part of her constituents as there are on the part of mine? This very simple thing of doing something that very logically is going to happen, would she not agree it would be a good strong indicator to the people of Canada and her constituents that the House really was serious about doing something?

Supply May 12th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in the original presentation of the motion my colleague from New Westminster-Burnaby came up with some excellent examples of how young people under 12 years of age had fallen through the cracks when they could have been helped by the process. A whole group of people are currently abusing that end of it. They are involving young children because they cannot be charged.

There has been a change in our society. Looking at the upper end, at the 16-year old end, on behalf of the people in high school I say the problem is that the straight kids need protection and the Young Offenders Act is not doing it.

Supply May 12th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, there is a consciousness on our part when 3,000 people turn up in Alberta on a sunny afternoon. I believe it was the member for Mississauga West who indicated that this was an issue. It is not a panic issue. It is just that Canadians are demanding changes.

The specific change we are proposing is an indicator that in fact there will be some momentum. With the greatest of respect to the member, to the Solicitor General and to the justice minister, I suggest when we get into this review we all know that Parliament moves at glacial age speed. We are going to be in a 12, 18 or 24 month process. The people who are talking to me are demanding change now. We are simply requesting that members of the House of Commons recognize that people are demanding change quickly, are demanding change now.

I am speaking on behalf of the students whose report I presented in the House of Commons today. In my judgement it is the young people in society who are the most severely inconvenienced and put under pressure by an inefficient, incompetent Young Offenders Act.

Supply May 12th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the whip of the Reform Party I would like to advise the House that pursuant to Standing Order 43(2) our speakers on this motion will be dividing their time.

When I came to Parliament I came with the belief that as a member of Parliament I should be reflecting my constituents' wishes to Ottawa, not the reverse. For far too long the people of Canada have had the impression, much of it correct, that when they elect politicians in their constituency somehow they come down here and take on a particular aura, that somehow Ottawa ends up engulfing them.

I am committed to representing the views of my people in my constituency and they are starting to know that and believe that.

I believe the future of Canada resides in our young people. The young people of Canada truly are the future of Canada because as great and as magnificent as this country is physically with all of the assets that we have from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic, we are still no more than the spirit of the people of Canada.

I have been going out and making presentations to schools throughout my entire constituency as a first priority. Every day that I have been in my constituency since January I have made it a priority to be in a school because this is where the future citizens of Canada are and our young people are our country's future greatness.

At Fernie Senior Secondary School, Mr. Randy Rae teaches Law 12. In addition to being a teacher he is a rancher and also a director on the regional district of East Kootenay. Randy understands democracy and believes in democracy. Coming to a consensus with his class that the Young Offenders Act is flawed, he directed them to construct a process to try and make some changes to the act. He also told them that it would not be a waste of time because he believes that he has a member of Parliament who will go into the House of Commons and represent his and his students' wishes to Ottawa. He is right.

The assignment identified the present Young Offenders Act, explained what it is and how it works. They got copies of various changes that have been proposed to the act and finally conducted interviews, had discussions and surveyed at least 10 different people each and then summarized their views.

It is interesting that the survey results reflect much of what the Reform Party has been proposing in terms of changes to the Young Offenders Act: stiffer penalties for young offenders, lowering the age at which a youth is considered to be a young offender, holding parents financially responsible for the actions of their children in some cases, and allowing the media to release the names of repeat young offenders.

Within the survey we came across two people who were talking about the inclusion of corporal punishment in the penalties of the Young Offenders Act. This is indicative of the responses that I have been getting on the street.

However, understand clearly this is not the Reform Party position nor is it necessarily my position. All I am saying is that because the present system of justice for young offenders is not working, my personal opinion is that we should be prepared to take a look at corporal punishment after a thorough objective review of all pertinent information gathered from around the world.

As I pointed out before, it was interesting to see that some of the points brought up in the survey were reflective of what the Reform Party has been promoting. This reminded me of something that took place in last year's federal election. The editor of one of our local newspapers slammed our belief that the Young Offenders Act should be amended so that parents and guardians of young criminals should have the legal responsibility to exercise parental control over youth. In fact a great deal of our media attacked the party for this view.

However, this survey conducted by the students supports this line of thinking.

I believe that society has responsibilities, responsibilities to the young people of our community and to their parents. Clearly there has been a fork in the path. The politicians who have come to Ottawa have been going down the fork of permissiveness, whereas society as reflected in the comments gathered by the young people in this survey and comments made by people I come across daily, whether it is at trade fairs I attend or clubs or organizations or in our schools, as people come up to me and communicate to me it is very clear that people who come to this House historically have been co-opted by the system. They have been co-opted by Ottawa and they have ended switching from the path that people in the constituency wanted to the path that was established by the Liberal Solicitor General, Jean-Pierre Goyer, 23 years ago in 1971.

My only question is will this government listen? It has promised and promised, but will it listen? Will it actually turn around and start to bring in what needs to happen or will it get engaged in a review of the justice system that is going to take

another 18 to 24 months? Will it meet the demand of the people of Kootenay East and indeed all Canadians?

No one can argue there is not a need for change to the Young Offenders Act. It is clear there is something wrong when we consider statistics from recent years as reported by Statistics Canada in January this year. In 1992 youths accounted for 13.7 per cent of all persons charged with violent crimes, up from 10.5 per cent in 1986. That is a jump of 3 per cent in just six years.

Of the 135,348 youths charged in Criminal Code incidents in 1992, 15 per cent were charged with violent crimes and that figure was up from 10.5 per cent also in 1986.

Even more shocking is the rate of increase in violent youth crime compared with that of adults. Since 1986 violent crime among our youth has risen at an average annual increase of 14 per cent compared with an adult increase of only 8 per cent over the same period of time.

Recently the Liberal member for London West who is also vice-chairman of the committee for justice and legal affairs told this House that when it comes to youth crime we should divorce perception from reality. She went on to say that Canadians would be able to tell their concerns to a committee when the legislation undergoes a thorough 10-year review. If that is going to take another 18 to 24 months that is not soon enough and that is what our motion is all about.

With respect to the vice-chairman of the justice committee and her attempts to dilute my party's thrust and concern about the Young Offenders Act there are many victims and families of victims hurting because of this inept legislation and quite frankly they are not interested in a 10-year review. There are problems we have to confront now.

I would like to read the following incident as was reported by Canadian press news wire this week. The vicious assault which I am about to relate took place in Oyama, a small community of about 500 homes located 30 kilometres north of Kelowna in the Okanagan:

A man whose head was caved in with an axe after he scolded a teenage driver for running a stop sign was in critical condition today and might be permanently paralysed.

Rodney Bell was hit in the head with the blunt edge of an axe in front of his horrified wife and children. Eight teenagers showed up to confront Bell at his secluded lakefront home on Friday just before midnight, a day after he chased them when they sped through an intersection, narrowly missing his car. Bell tried to reason with the teens, one of them grabbed an axe from a nearby woodpile and swung it full force at Bell's head. The gang then fled.

Police have arrested two 16-year olds in connection with the assault but they cannot be named under the provisions of the Young Offenders Act.

As Mr. Bell lies in a hospital clinging to life, and if he does survive with the possibility of some form of paralysis ahead of him, the greatest injustice is probably the last line of the story:

One teen was charged with aggravated assault and remains in custody while the other was charged with assault and released-

He has gone back to school:

-but of course they are too young to be named under the protection of the Young Offenders Act.

I am committed to the concept that the youth are the future of Canada, that they are Canada. The minimum they should expect is protection by law for themselves, their persons, their property and protection for their parents.

I commend the students in my constituency. I commend Randy Rae and the Fernie Senior Secondary School and I thank them for their diligence, for their project and for the effort they made to communicate with me. It is this kind of communication from my constituents that gives me confidence that I am speaking for them when I speak about the Young Offenders Act. It is this kind of communication that I want from people in my constituency. Your Reform MP truly is different, I am listening.

I want to represent the views of the people of my constituency in this House. I hope the Liberal government gets it through its head that is what we are doing and that is what we are here for. We might not be using the correct political words. We might even be doing things that are politically incorrect. We do not care about political correctness; we want results. Above all we care about representing the views of the people of Canada. In this particular case we demand that the government move immediately so that we protect our youth and our parents by force of law.

I implore all members of the House to support the motion to start the momentum toward changing the Young Offenders Act. Our young people, the future of Canada, demand our support and our protection.

Supply May 12th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I wonder if the word or the joining of the words "nostalgic fascism", particularly "fascism", with respect to the Reform Party is not unparliamentary language.

The Late Stephanie Graves May 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, last weekend on Saturday I, along with about 350 other people in my constituency, attended the funeral of eight-year old Stephanie Graves who was attacked and shot in the Kimberley area.

I would like to state my support for her parents and family. I was encouraged to see the way in which the residents of Kootenay East have banded together and circled the wagons to help them through the tough days ahead.

I would like to read the words of a song sung by members of Stephanie's class at her funeral:

I like your eyes I like your nose I like your mouth, your ears, your hands, your toes.

I like your face It's really you I like the things, you say and do.

There's not a single soul who sees the skies The way you see them, through your eyes

And aren't you glad? You should be glad There's no one, no one exactly like you.

Stephanie was unique and will be missed.

I am sure other members of the House would also offer their support to her parents, her family and her community.

Canada Wildlife Act May 4th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in speaking in support of Bill C-24 I am going to take a somewhat different angle or attack to it than has been taken to this point.

We have been speaking an awful lot about issues concerning enforcement, search and seizure and all of these things which of course have to be a part of an act if it is going to be workable.

I would like to talk about some of the people in my constituency and I believe all across Canada who presently are involved, not in the enforcement but in the enhancement of the whole issue of wildlife.

There is a network of people who belong to organizations like rod and gun clubs all across my province, indeed across Canada. In British Columbia some of the networking is interprovincial or international in scale. For example, there are the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, Canadian Wildlife Federation, and on and on.

Simply stated, networks are people talking to each other, sharing ideas, information and resources. These networks which are fundamentally informal exist to foster self help, to exchange information, to change society, to improve productivity and work life, and to share resources.

The hunters, trappers, guides and fishermen of Canada however are facing a crisis, a turning point in history. They have always been low key. Their way is not confrontational. Their way is to work in co-operation not confrontation. They not only value the privilege to carry out their sport, but also to work hard with real dollars to maintain healthy wildlife populations in British Columbia and across Canada.

For example, within British Columbia there are approximately one million homes. Of this number about 50 per cent or half of them contain a hunter or fisherman, based on licences sold. Of course, there are also thousands of homes that contain non-hunters and non-fishermen.

Then there is a number containing anti-hunters and anti-fishermen. The anti group is by far the smallest of the three categories, but you do get more publicity if you are anti. You do not necessarily have to know what you are talking about to get press. There is a feeling that only antis care about wild animals or fish. The so-called let them be group, they have a management by lobby philosophy. A lot of what they do has nothing to do with science. They are very simplistic and feel that if hunting and fishing cease, everything will be fine. They could not be further from the truth.

It is my experience that hunters, fishermen, trappers and guides are very poor at getting their conservation message out. So in my small part I am trying to do exactly that.

Most of the government wildlife agencies also have difficulty getting their message out. What we find is that the media seems to be mostly on the anti side of everything, particularly if it is spectacular and there is some kind of confrontation involved. Most of the material put forward by the media on the subject of wildlife management is so distorted that it is almost embarrassing when people take a look at what the real facts are.

There is a desperate need for government to understand and provide public support for wildlife management through organized sportsmen. It is a positive thing if done the right way. Because of course we are always concerned in the nineties about being gender neutral or gender specific or whatever it is to express ourselves correctly, let me say that I was in a home in my constituency just a couple of weeks ago and was admiring some of the beautiful trophy animals they had mounted there. I was about to compliment the husband on that when it turned out that indeed the wife was the person who had gone out and done such an excellent job. I recognize that it is a growing sport and a growing interest no matter what a person's gender. Across Canada the impact of a century of hunting, trapping and sports fishing is quite well documented. As a matter of fact most wildlife species are more abundant now than they were 75 years ago.

These species are all more abundant: the elk, the moose, the buffalo, antelope, mule deer, beaver, sea otter. As a matter of fact on Monday in this House when I was speaking on the migratory birds act I mentioned that in one part of my constituency they have very much an overabundance of grizzly bears. I suggest that probably the reason those bears are thriving as they are, even in an active logging operation area, is because many of

the loggers are hunters and fishers and support this kind of wildlife and outdoor activity.

Most rod and gun clubs stand for scientific resource management. They oppose management by lobby. Resource decisions rather than political ones should be made on the basis of scientific evidence. We must manage more intensely as population expands. Those who use the resource are the ones who really work for it on the grounds of purchasing and enhancing habitat for all species. Many funds are set up exactly for that purpose.

I stand in support of the principles of Bill C-24. I believe that it will be an important part of the infrastructure required to give us the regulations or the ability to bring forward regulations that will help these dedicated people, indeed all Canadians, to be able to protect wildlife.

There is an issue that keeps on coming up in this House and it is directly related to what we are talking about here. These rod and gun club people, these people who enjoy being out of doors, enhancing wildlife, indeed putting much of their own blood, sweat and tears into preserving and protecting wildlife also are hunters and they are under attack. They are very much under attack at this particular time.

These are people who join these wildlife organizations, pay their dues, not only as membership fees, but pay their dues in terms of their time and energy and effort.

These people currently are under attack by many different, probably well meaning people across Canada. I cite as an example one organization that purports to have "over 5,000 Canadians" count as individual supporters of this particular organization.

Let us compare this organization to the wildlife or rod and gun club organizations. I read from their bylaws where they say there shall be no membership fees or dues unless otherwise directed by the board of directors.

What kind of commitment is there on the part of these people when they will not even put up their membership fee to be part of this lobby group to go after people who are currently enjoying the out of doors and the whole area of recreation in the wild.

At the risk of perhaps putting too many things together, I also suggest that on the same page I read and I quote: "Members shall apply for admission as such by completing a membership application," this is important, "in such form as the board may from time to time approve or by otherwise representing to the corporation in a manner satisfactory to the directors that they are interested in furthering the objects of the corporation".

I am not a legal person. I have never been involved with the law but when I read this I say to myself that if I wanted to increase my membership list and I was not charging membership fees anyway, I would put out a petition in support of the objects of my corporation.

When I receive this back under these terms and conditions, obviously these people are interested in furthering the objects of the corporation which is the ban of all guns.

I suggest that when we compare the level of commitment of the people, the lobby, that is currently going after the law-abiding citizens who are members of rod and gun clubs who enjoy the out of doors to the commitment of the people who are spending time in the bush, who are going out and are enhancing our environment and protecting our environment, obviously they come down on one side and not the other.

Further to that, yesterday I took part in a meeting between our party and this coalition and other supporters of the coalition. I was absolutely astounded to find that one of the people there said that we needed gun control to prevent suicide. Really, if our society is currently toying with the idea of legalizing doctor assisted suicide, what in the world are we doing on the other side of the coin harassing legitimate gun owners all in the name of stopping or trying to prevent suicide?

I stand in support of Bill C-24. I restate that I stand in support of the principles of Bill C-24 because I stand in support of Canadians who are going out into the bush and making our environment better. I support them in every way. They are the people who make Canada Canada.

Supply May 3rd, 1994

Madam Speaker, my topic as it relates to the subject today is that Canada is an exporting nation. Our livelihood, our personal incomes depend on exports. Our present tax system must be altered to maintain our international competitiveness because our national economy depends on it.

On January 27 I rose and spoke in the House. If I may I would like to repeat a small part of what I said then. It was interesting that in a recent news article in the Kimberley Bulletin a headline read: Cominco irked at city tax rate''. The complaint of the mining company was that the major industrial tax rate in Kimberley was 69 per cent higher than the tax rate in Cranbrook. In justifying the position of the city, the mayor of Kimberley argued that Cominco taxes were high but said that the tax rate was justified. He said that the mining company has had it easy on taxes because it did not start paying taxes until 1968 when Cominco was incorporated into the city limits. The mayor said:That is when Cominco started shutting down plants and laying off people''.

I am not criticizing the mayor of Kimberley for his comments. I simply cite that quotation as an accurate representation of what happens when an industry is taxed. The fact is that when taxes go up jobs in an industry decrease.

Capital for mining is fleeing Canada. The country of Chile is one of the greatest beneficiaries of this flight. It has an effective tax rate of 15 per cent. Countries like Mexico and Papua, New Guinea have a mining tax rate of 35 per cent. The Philippines and even the United States have a tax rate on mining companies of 38 per cent, whereas the mining companies in the province of British Columbia suffer a mining income tax rate of 50 per cent for hard rock mining. In coal mining, although it is hard to believe, in four years between 1987 and 1991 the B.C. coal industry paid $454 million or almost half a billion in direct taxes while net returns to the industry were only $8 million. I say taxes kill jobs.

I am a member of the standing committee on the environment of the House of Commons. We are concerned, as we should be, about carbon dioxide emissions. The objective is to return CO2 emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000. I support that objective. However we must recognize doing that, particularly if we do it by taxation, will have a very detrimental effect on the electric power industry in Alberta.

I represent British Columbia and I have Canada's largest coal mine in my constituency. Therefore I am very concerned about the informal discussion there has been about green tax and about carbon tax. If we use taxation to alter behaviour then we kill our ability to be internationally competitive.

If we want to change behaviour I suggest we may choose to institute penalties. We may choose to institute levies. We may choose to institute fines but they should be considered to be as revenue neutral as possible. In other words taxation is for the purpose of raising revenue. If we manage through green taxes and carbon taxes to alter behaviour, having altered the behaviour we lose the revenue. It is totally contrary and totally counterproductive.

Most of my constituents and perhaps a lot of constituents of members of the House suffer from the same problem and the same concern about the overlapping of all the levies, the penalties, the fines and the permits.

I have a letter from a business in my constituency which was written to the Prime Minister, a company in the business of blacktop. In part it reads:

Over the past three years, we have kept a record of government permits, inspection and controls from different levels of bureaucracy. To everyone's astonishment, we were exposed to, hassled or intimidated by 35 different government officials all looking for their pound of flesh. Furthermore, if we don't take the time from our busy schedule to treat these people as "all important" we could face costly delays and problems.

Being in a smaller constituency businesses have to deal with many municipalities. When they do so they come up against city engineering which has material specifications, traffic control rules and regulations. They also have independent assessments with respect to fire department regulations and registration. They need a business licence and a municipal licence for registration of trucks. That is at the municipal level.

At the provincial level these firms have to deal with-and this is amazing-the pesticide branch for a permit, pollution control branch for a permit, gas inspection for inspection, electrical inspection, employment standard branch for an audit, gravel pit inspection, safety permit and bond. What is very interesting about the gravel pit inspection is that within the provincial jurisdiction they have to deal with the mines department and with workers' compensation. In certain situations with respect to the gravel pit they cannot comply with both sets of regulations. Within that single provincial jurisdiction they have to work with conflicting regulations: motor carrier inspection, dangerous goods inspection, safety inspection, weight restriction, over width permits, over height permits, provincial sales tax audit and licence, paving branch inspection and standards, material inspection branch, workers' compensation inspection, workers' compensation audit, pressure vessel inspection and permit, fire marshal inspection and regulation, and air use permit.

I should mention what struck me as terribly weird was that they actually pay for the amount of air they consume. It just goes on and on: air use permit, traffic control permit, ICBC licensing and regulation, and capital tax.

Then there is the overlap of many of these regulations into the federal jurisdiction: Canada pension plan rules, regulations and audit; UIC rules, regulations and audit; and Revenue Canada income tax and corporate tax. Included in that would be remission of taxes collected from employees; GST rules, regulation and audit; radio licensing and regulations; Public Works Canada material supply inspection, electrical inspection, mechanical inspection; and finally more inspection and regulation under work hazard training.

This is indicative of what we are doing to the people of Canada. Whether we are talking about individuals or about businesses, fundamentally we are regulating these people out of existence. We are fining. We are getting permits. We are finding all sorts of ways at various government levels to get more and more money from people.

I suggest as I started that Canada is an exporting nation. Our livelihood, our personal incomes depend on exports. Our present tax system must be altered to maintain our international competitiveness because our national economy depends on it.