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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was manitoba.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as NDP MP for Elmwood—Transcona (Manitoba)

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

Statements in the House

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 March 23rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, those are very good comments as well. In many respects, the Conservatives in some ways do not realize they do not have a majority government. They think they do, but they do not. They have to deal with all the parties in the House and on a proper basis.

We have had a third reading procedure in Parliament for many years now. An hon. member who is new here, as I am, will recognize at some point that the bill must get through all the stages. One does not get it to second reading and demand that a vote be taken because one sat on a committee for a few days and heard a bunch of presenters.

There are numerous people across the country who do not know about this bill at all. As a matter of fact, we have dealt with another bill dealing with charities and 90% of the charities do not even know this bill exists. It has now gone through at least three parliaments in six or seven years.

For the hon. member to think that somehow the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers and its members know about this bill, I think she is sadly mistaken. I am sure they do not and there are many others who are going to wake up one day and find out this bill is in effect and they were not even aware of it. There is no harm in taking a little more time to hear more people's concerns and do more study on this bill.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 March 23rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I would encourage the member for Portage—Lisgar to reconsider those comments. This legislation not only has to make it through third reading in this House but also has to go to the Senate to be dealt with before it becomes a law of the country. I have already mentioned that if we develop legislation that is simply going to be challenged by the courts and end up being ruled out of order at the end of the day anyway, we have not really accomplished much.

As the member said, we have spent a lot of time on this bill. However, the fact of the matter is that we are just asking for a little bit more consideration here. That is why we moved the amendment at third reading.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 March 23rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, that is certainly a very good observation. We have an economic slowdown at the moment. We are looking at putting a lot more restrictions on workers when all they are trying to do is their jobs.

We have a government which for a number of years now has been attempting to repeal the long-gun registry on the basis that it is going to make criminals out of farmers and duck hunters. The argument it makes is that the criminals are still going to get the guns.

I see a parallel here, because the same government that is trying to eliminate the gun registry is now attempting to put in regulations that possibly could put big restrictions on people. We just had a letter given to us by the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers, who are very concerned that their compliance costs with this legislation are going to be very high. They are going to have a lot of difficulty with this type of legislation. We should be listening to these people and trying to work around the problems rather than trying to ram this bill through.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 March 23rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, the member has made an important observation. I am quite familiar with the ability in some jurisdictions of ministers to be a little bit independent in their actions and their thoughts and to make good amendments and even cooperate with the members of the opposition to arrive at a successful conclusion.

The parliamentary secretary seems to be a little bit different from some of the members opposite in that regard. I think there is potential here. I believe he has expressed some interest and concern that perhaps one or two of the NDP amendments could be worked upon at the third reading stage. Perhaps we could come up with a compromise that the member for Western Arctic could support and the NDP caucus could support in support of this bill in an effort to get it through.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 March 23rd, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be speaking to this bill at third reading.

I want to comment at the outset that the member for Portage—Lisgar asked a question a few minutes ago and I want to assure her that she should not be personally affronted by comments made on this side of the House. We want to assure her and all members opposite that we are very serious in trying to make this legislation good legislation. We want to do it right, and we want to do it right the first time. There is no advantage to the government in having legislation that will be attacked in the courts or that may not be workable in the long run.

We are doing our job. We were elected as opposition members. If our constituents had wanted us to come here and rubber-stamp everything the government wanted to do, they would have elected Conservatives or, as my colleague said, Liberals, but they would not have elected NDP members. However, they did elect NDP members and have done so for years. They will continue to do so in the future.

It is our job to point out mistakes that the government is possibly making, to try to make improvements before bad legislation gets on the books, or gets on the books and is knocked down or thrown out by the courts.

The member from Vancouver had mentioned a very gaping area of security in the fact that 99% of containers coming into this country are not inspected. News organizations have done investigations in the past in Canada and in the United States and they have found a lot of illegal substances coming in in containers. It is very easy to load drugs into containers and get them through the borders. If the government wants to look at very serious breaches of security, that is certainly one area it should be looking at. We would encourage the Conservatives to do that.

We also think there are some improvements that can be made. We have made amendments at second reading and at committee, and so far, the government has chosen to ignore them, although there are signs, and the parliamentary secretary was telling us recently that he would be willing to talk about an amendment that needed to be made. I think that if we were to give ourselves a little bit more time here, we could possibly get this resolved to the betterment of the bill and a better situation for Canadians.

Therefore, I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words following “That”, and replacing them with “Bill C-9, An Act to amend the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992, be not now read a third time, but be referred back to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities for the purpose of reviewing clause 5.2 with a view to reviewing the procedures on security clearances”.

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 March 23rd, 2009

Madam Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for getting back to me so quickly after I had asked the question about whether the military would be covered under the bill. He did say that the military would be exempt, but would comply voluntarily to the provisions of the bill.

I want to make a comment about how the current government, when it was in opposition, complained about making criminals of duck hunters and farmers who did not register their long guns. It also said that the registry did not prevent criminals from getting guns if they really wanted them. That has certainly been true.

Now, under this legislation, the government wants to make criminals of farmers who do not register to transport fertilizer, but criminals will still get fertilizer if they want. In the United States, we had an example of domestic terrorism where that happened. No amount of registration will stop criminals from getting sufficient quantities of fertilizer if they want it.

The member has talked about having restrictions. We are happy with the bill, except for a few minor concerns that the member has, and we hope we can get this resolved this afternoon. He mentioned restrictions on the minister. Could he explain the amendments he has in the past suggested and how we might be able to work out a solution today on this matter?

Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, 1992 March 23rd, 2009

Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary whether or not the bill would apply to the military and its transportation of chemicals across the country?

We have known over the years that the military has used agent orange and other chemicals in experiments. We found out only much later that these chemicals were being used. I would think that any application of the bill that would apply to farmers, for example, in Manitoba and across the country, should also apply to the military as well.

Could the member enlighten me as to whether it does or not?

Canada-EFTA Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act March 13th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, I would like to observe that the United States has shown a lot of common sense in past history by protecting its shipbuilding industry through the Jones Act of 1920. Why would the members opposite have such a lack of common sense and not follow the United States? They seem to want to follow the United States in every other field of endeavour. Why would they not follow them in this one?

Airline Industry March 6th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, Ryanair president, Michael O'Leary wants passengers to pay for the right to use bathrooms aboard his planes. He is asking Boeing to reconfigure its fleet to install a mechanism for a credit card reader.

We know these are tough economic times, but to charge people to use a washroom during a flight is just ridiculous. Are airlines not gouging passengers enough with fuel surcharges and airport taxes? What about those thousands of passengers who do not have credit cards? Are they supposed to wear diapers? Could this issue become a health risk?

Will the government support a passengers' bill of rights to ensure that this kind of nonsense does not happen here?

Disraeli Freeway and Bridge March 6th, 2009

Mr. Speaker, this past Friday, February 27, I had the distinct pleasure to present some 5,800 Disraeli Freeway responses to Mayor Sam Katz's office at Winnipeg City Hall.

My office has received these responses from Manitobans with definite opinions on the planned 16 month closure of the Disraeli Freeway and bridge between downtown Winnipeg and the northeast quadrant of the city.

Since this issue came into public focus in May of last year, I took a position opposing the proposed 16 month closure. First my MLA office and now my MP office have been swamped by people who agree that some alternative closure must be found.

We need to stop the closure of the Disraeli by building a new two lane span on the east side, and only when that is open to traffic, then refurbish the old four lane bridge. When done, we would have six lanes, three each way, the same number as on Henderson Highway.

Of the 5,800 responses, only 161 support the mayor's planned closure, just 2.81%.