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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

Foreign Affairs January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the point the member raises is a valid one. I hold in my hand some photocopies of an article in the Globe and Mail on the weekend in which our Minister of National Defence was quoted as saying that there was going to be some pretty stiff medicine. The headline was: ``Cuts are going to be deep''.

This is part of the measurement. This is part of the decision-making process the Canadian people must make. Is this something they are prepared to commit to? If so, in terms of dollars and cents they will have to commit those dollars and cents.

Foreign Affairs January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the member has suggested humanitarian problems. Obviously these things happen very quickly.

In terms of humanitarian activity, the situation in the former Yugoslavia is such that there are combatants creating serious difficulties for the humanitarian aid to come through. May I suggest there has to be a logical businesslike approach to see if we or any other peacekeeping nation or force is actually going to be able to accomplish the purpose.

There must be intervention in terms of the supplies and those kinds of things but the question always must be: Can we get it there? I believe that is measurable.

Foreign Affairs January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to reply by saying that I do believe our soldiers must receive all the training required without any question and at whatever cost. However I do not know there is any possible way that people can be trained for the emotional scars that occur in a theatre of war.

Foreign Affairs January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to make note of the fact that the Minister of National Defence is in the House and the fact that he has spent an inordinate amount of time considering his responsibilities in being in the House and listening personally to this debate. I think that it says something very positive about the direction in which the government is going in taking the views of the members of this House seriously when attempting to come to a broader consideration and determination of where it wants to be going. I thank him for being here.

I would like in my intervention to broaden the discussion just somewhat on the basis of the order of the government's business when it speaks of the possible future direction of Canadian peacekeeping policy and operations. In taking a look at a future approach, I would suggest that we have to be businesslike.

As I come from a business background that is an easy thing to say, but there are many things to be taken positively in the business environment. When we take a look at business and managing affairs we take a look at the fact for example that there must be measurements, yardsticks and goal posts that we can measure things by. We must have a plan. We must have objectives and goals.

We think often of the number of times when we have heard jokes made and sometimes we forget about the original purpose of when. Often we get drawn into these things as a nation when we forget what our original purpose is. Therefore, it is important that we take a look at the definition of what we are doing in terms of peacekeeping.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a briefing by the national defence department. I apologize to the House that I did not make accurate notes and so I do not know the time frame. However, my understanding is that the peacekeeping forces world-wide-not Canadian, but all of the peacekeeping forces-in a very short period of time have expanded from 10,000 to 80,000. This is rather a boy scout, altruistic approach on the part of the of the world community where the world community sees a problem and jumps into it. We have in the world a situation of increasing complexity and danger not only for our soldiers but indeed for the soldiers of all the world.

As has been noted in many interventions, Canadians have a very proud peacekeeping history. We have spoken about ourselves and I believe our interventions have been accurate that we have that history of being the originators of the idea and the actions of peacekeeping.

In this same briefing it was noted that two very valid reasons were because of our emphasis on multinational diplomacy and also in support of the United Nations. I believe as members of this House representing Canadians that Canadians too want Canada to support the United Nations.

However, going further with the criterion as to how decisions are made concerning whether we should be involved in a peacekeeping effort, we take a look at the three.

First, there is agreement by parties to a peaceful settlement. Coming from a constituency that happens to include the majority of the Canadian Rockies, I come from a very beautiful but remote area. We have all sorts of very large wildlife there and it makes me think of walking down a path with a 22 calibre rifle and coming across a grizzly bear in rutting season. I would really have to think twice about what I was going to do simply because I would be wondering what the bear was going to to.

Truly if we as a nation are going to become involved in these situations where we have 500, 1,000 or 1,500 people and we are up against an array of tens of thousands of combatants, is it not somewhat like walking down a trail and coming across a grizzly bear when I only have a 22 calibre rife in my hand?

Second, we must also know what clear mandate we have to be there.

Third, we must have a sound financial and logical basis for being there.

Narrowing the focus for just a second to specifically the situation in Bosnia, I must profess that I do not necessarily understand, and perhaps many Canadians do not understand, if we do in fact have a sound financial and logistical basis for being there.

If I may I would like to share a brief story about what happened on my first day in Parliament. The member for Fraser Valley East and I were on a tour with our wives and the four of us ended up in the Remembrance Chapel at the base of the Peace Tower. I recommend it to all members. It was a riveting experience. We were there at 11 o'clock. If one has the good fortune of being there at 11 o'clock one will be there when they turn the pages of the books of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the war. It was a very moving experience because it gave me a real feeling of what it is to be a Canadian and what price has been paid so that we have the freedom of speech we have here tonight in this House of Commons.

I thank those dead people, but what about the ones who are living? What about the ones who are currently facing danger and threat every single second that they are in these theatres of war? I personally cannot possibly imagine the fear that must grip an individual in those situations. They come back but they have emotional scars. This is a price they and their families pay when they come back. When these brave men and women of our Canadian forces come back their families have to deal with their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters or children who have been there and have been changed because of the experience. There is a tremendous price. There is a real cost to being involved in a war as we are.

Reflecting again on my experience in the Remembrance Chapel I wondered to myself how many of these brave men and women died as a result of quick decisions, forced decisions. As we are going forward and want to broaden the approach by taking a look at the future direction of peacekeeping in Canada I ask: Can we take the time? Can we take deliberate action? Can we set the goals for measurement? Can we plan? Can we gain an original purpose for why we are there?

My own feeling is that we must continue in peacekeeping. Our world needs our interventions in peacekeeping. In his intervention the member for Red Deer, my colleague in the Reform Party, suggested using some of the bases and some of our expertise to export peacekeeping understanding and peacekeeping lessons. It was an excellent suggestion but we must measure the cost.

The Reform Party probably for the last three or four days in the House has spoken only in terms of cost. Whenever we talk about that we talk about dollars and cents. I would like to reflect for a second on the emotional cost, the cost of those who will pay the ultimate sacrifice.

With respect to Bosnia in the short term I would agree with the other members who suggest that if we do something precipitous, if we do something quickly, we will create danger for the people in that theatre of war. Furthermore if we telegraph what we are going to be doing, in other words if we are too obvious with where we are coming from, we create self-fulfilling prophesy. Truly we are caught in a bind.

I believe we must not do something precipitous. We must be prepared to cut our loss but to do it intelligently and with planning. We must resist at all cost instant solutions. Far too often in our community we see instant solutions, the desire for instant solutions. We must take deliberate action.

As a very proud Canadian I sometimes feel that as a nation we end up with boy scout or altruistic actions, taking a reaction to world events. Rather than being pulled along by the world community into these peacekeeping situations I believe we must become more businesslike in our decision making so that we may manage our future direction.

Firearms January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice.

I noted in the House last week there is a torrent of inquiries regarding the new regulations for firearms acquisition certificates. There is mass confusion and frustration among firearms owners, RCMP and firearm safety instructors. As recently as last Thursday my assistant was getting two totally different answers to basic questions from the RCMP and safety instructors.

Is the minister aware of the problem and if so, what is his department doing about it?

Peacekeeping January 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in keeping with the new Reform tradition of constructive comments in the House, I would like to compliment the Liberal government for scheduling today's debate where members are free to express their own opinions and hopefully the opinions of their constituents.

I am optimistic this may set a precedent of the government listening to the people of Canada before bringing forward government action in future crafting of legislation. Because noisy, attention seeking, special interest groups frequently appear to set government agenda, it would be most helpful if the government continues this policy of listening to members of the House and ordinary citizens of Canada.

Reform MPs will be watching closely to see what action the government takes with respect to Canada's peacekeeping role, the future direction in Canadian peacekeeping policy and operations, and whether that action parallels the overriding consensus of members of the House today.

Environment Industry January 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I stand today in response to the statement by the Minister of the Environment.

Before commenting on her presentation I would like to express my sincere congratulations on your election, Mr. Speaker. The process with which you were elected provided an indication of the new, more innovative atmosphere of this House. Certainly the first days of this sitting have shown your fresh approach.

The Reform Party intends to approach all issues raised in this Chamber with a three-step process. First we express support for the positive, then concern about potential areas for improvement, and finally constructive alternatives.

It has been instructive in reviewing the Reform Party blue sheet of principles, policies and election platform that there is in fact a strong parallel to the direction and intent expressed by the Liberals in their red book.

Of course we support public consultations in that we believe concerned Canadians are very intelligent and have already thought out many of the issues of concern with respect to the environment.

We also wish to commend the government on the speed with which it is initiating this process. It is unfortunate that with the arrangements which have been made, we received official notice of this yesterday. I received the details at about 9.30 this morning. Unfortunately therefore, the Reform Party will be unable to respond to the very kind invitation of the minister to take part in this process.

We do have some areas of concern when the minister uses the terms such as increased funding and increased support.

Where the Reform Party differs significantly from the policies outlined in the Liberal red book is that we note on pages 67 and 68 of their red book they speak of funding research and development for green technologies, commitment of new government funding and consultation of incentive and support programs.

We have learned from history with boondoggles like the scientific research tax credit program introduced by a prior Liberal government and ongoing regional development grants and special tax incentives that there is frequently abuse, pork barrelling and outright waste of resources that Canada no longer has.

The Reform Party will therefore be watching very carefully what impact this initiative will have on the government's out of control overspending. We will also be interested to see what economies it will put into effect even on its country-wide tour next week. What new thrift style will the government bring to the actual public consultation process? For example, will its members be travelling by regularly scheduled airlines?

We put the government on notice. We will be looking for a statement of expenses incurred for this process and would expect a cost benefit analysis on the expenditure.

In summary, the Reform Party stands committed to ensuring that all Canadians and their descendants dwell in a clean and healthy environment and supports the federal government taking leadership in developing a new discipline integrating economics and the environment.

We also commend the minister on the speedy implementation of this process early in this government's life.

Firearms January 19th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, there has been a growing torrent of inquiries regarding the new regulations under Bill C-17 restricting accessibility of firearms acquisition certificates.

I have information that while the new regulations were originally to go into effect June 30, 1993 they were deferred to January 1 of this year so that the program could be implemented. Yet well into the third week of January there is mass confusion and frustration among firearms owners, RCMP and firearm

safety education training. It would appear that there has been inadequate consultation and instruction among the federal justice department, the chief provincial firearms officers and the RCMP.

While the Canadian public supports firearms regulations and gun owners are the first to agree with the necessity of safety, if the confusion and misinformation currently being distributed causes law-abiding citizens who own firearms to decide not to register, what has the law achieved?