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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

Business of Supply February 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the Liberals for introducing their motion today. It would appear it has already achieved some results. The government has provided us with some of the information for which we have asked.

As our party, through the member for Windsor—Tecumseh, has pointed out, the information that we have is certainly not as complete as we would expect it to be, but it is a good step.

The fact is we should never have to resort to opposition day motions and other forms of legislative action to force the government to do the right thing. It should be an automatic common sense approach when the government brings forward a legislative agenda.

For example, when we are in an election period in the next month or so, the reporters will hold all parties accountable, particularly the government, to every promise they make in the election. The Prime Minister will have microphones in his face and he will have to cost out each of his proposals for the election campaign, as will all the other leaders. What is the difference here? As members, we expect to get proper information from the government. Why do we have to fight for that information?

Does the member have any further comments about that?

Business of Supply February 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, the fact is we should not have to fight the government for every piece of information. It should be automatic. My understanding is that in the United States legislative proposals are costed out and presented that way to the legislators.

Why would a government think that somehow 308 members of Parliament are supposed to make a decision without knowing the costs? The government does not provide the information until we have to go to great lengths, such as bringing in opposition day motions, and, as with the Afghan detainee issue, conducting a virtual war against it to get this information. Even then it is given very reluctantly. Now it is giving just partial information that does not really give us all the bases that we need to make a decision. That, unfortunately, is the relationship we have with the government.

There are many examples. I mentioned I ran into Gary Filmon, the former premier of Manitoba, over Christmas. He said that he sent the government a long email about how to make minority government work. He did a great job of making a minority government work, with Senator Carstairs and Gary Doer. A lot of things were done in that two-year period. It has been five years and the government has not even responded to his email. That is how it treats the advice of a former premier who knows how to work with a minority government.

The government needs some counselling because it simply does not seem to get it.

Business of Supply February 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the parliamentary secretary's speech, which was full of very good information, but not one word of it had to do with the Liberal opposition day motion we are talking about today.

The fact of the matter is that the government has been hiding information from the House on a consistent basis for a long time. Last year, it argued about the release of Afghan detainee documents on the basis of national security. The government had to be dragged kicking and screaming and we had to have a Speaker's ruling on the issue before the government would comply. Now it would like us to believe that somehow the cost of tax credits and of a public safety bill is a national security issue as well.

The question is why is the government trying to hide this information? The government clearly has it, because Mary Campbell, the director general of the Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate, Public Safety Canada, at the committee hearings just two nights ago on Bill C-59, indicated that she had the information but that the government would not let her give it out.

The question is, why is the government afraid of letting this information out? Does it think it is going to be embarrassing? Does it think it is going to change people's minds against the crime bill?

Is its strategy to make certain that the information does not get out until after an election? Is that what its strategy really is all about?

Business of Supply February 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, each one of the government speakers is trying to change the channel and change the topic to get away from the Liberal opposition day motion content that is before us in the House and not give us the answer as to why the government will not provide these documents.

A year ago, the government was arguing that the Afghan detainee issue was an issue of national security and that was why it could not give us the documents. I do not know how it can argue now that the cost of providing corporate tax cuts is supposed to be a national security issue, or how providing the cost for a crime bill could possibly be a national security issue.

I do not know what the Conservatives are trying to do. They clearly lost the detainee issue with the Speaker and they will clearly lose this one. It seems to me that they are just trying to do is to buy some time so that the information on the crime bill comes in after an election.

Business of Supply February 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, two days ago we had a committee hearing regarding Bill C-59, Abolition of Early Parole Act. The member for Brampton West asked Mary Campbell, the director general of Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate, Public Safety Canada a question about information regarding the crime bill in terms of what it was going to cost. She said, “I have most of that information. It's part of my responsibility in terms of developing legislation to consider costs. Yes, I have most of that information or access to it“.

The problem is the government refuses to allow her to give the information. She went on to say in response to a second question from the member, “I said that I have the information or access to it. I really can't talk about what I've provided the government in any detail because I think that is cabinet confidence...”.

The final question by the member was, “So if the government asked you, in theory, to provide it, you would be able to answer that question for them”?

Mary Campbell said, “I think I'm able to answer almost all questions that I'm asked about legislative proposals”.

There we have it. The government is caught deliberately hiding when we know it has the information because the director general of Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate said so three times at a committee two nights ago.

Transcona February 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, Transcona is a railway town that was founded in 1909 by Lord Strathcona and incorporated as the town of Transcona in 1912. The name derives from a combination of “Transcontinental” and “Lord Strathcona”.

A local business group is working with city councillor Russ Wyatt and MLAs Daryl Reid and Bidhu Jha on a plan to revitalize the downtown commercial district.

The group has committed to retain the connection to the hometown feel that has always made Transcona unique. Some of the already completed improvements include a new archway welcoming visitors to Transcona, a new centre median on Regent, new sidewalks, and solar-powered lighting fixtures.

The Regent Avenue area has attracted Universal Studios, which began working on a new movie, Beethoven Saves Christmas, on February 15.

This revitalization project is expected to be completed in 2012 in time for the community's centennial celebrations.

Business of Supply February 17th, 2011

Madam Speaker, everyone knows that the government had to be dragged kicking and screaming last year over the Afghan detainee issue when it refused to provide the information on the basis that it was national security. In his speech, the member clearly compared the situation last year regarding the national security argument with the issue this year, which is the cost of the tax cuts and the cost of the public safety bills, neither of which could be considered in any way to be a question of national security.

The question really comes down to what the Conservatives are hiding and why they are hiding it. What could they possibly be giving away? What sort of state secrets could they be giving away by giving this information on the cost of the corporate tax cuts? What possible information could they be giving away on the cost of crime bills that would be related to national security?

Clearly, this one is another issue that the Conservatives will lose if they keep fighting the way they were last year. What does the member think they are hiding and why are they trying to hide it?

Business of Supply February 17th, 2011

Madam Speaker, last night we had a take note debate on the promotion of democracy in Iran. The government members spoke all night long about how important it was for the Canadian government to take an active interest in promoting democracy in Iran. Two weeks ago we had a take note debate on democracy in Egypt. Perhaps we should have a take note debate on democracy here in Canada.

We have a Conservative government that is deliberately hiding information from members of Parliament, information that we as members of Parliament have a right to know, because we are tasked with making decisions that affect the entire country. We cannot find out the information that the government already knows on crime bills like C-59.

We had the deputy minister at committee admitting, when questioned by a Liberal member about the cost of the bill, that she had most of the information and would like to tell members the cost of the bill but could not.

The government had muzzled her and would not allow her to provide the information. That is absolutely unfair and not acceptable.

Business of Supply February 17th, 2011

Madam Speaker, the government members who are speaking are simply trying to change the channel and hide from what they know is certainly wrong. They want to hide from what they actually criticized the previous government for.

In fact, I was at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security hearing two nights ago, on February 15, when we were discussing Bill C-59, the abolition of early parole act. The member for Brampton West specifically asked the deputy minister of public safety about the costing of the bill. He asked her specifically if she had that information and to provide it to the committee. The deputy minister's response was: “I have most of that information. It's part of my responsibility in terms of developing legislation to consider costs. Yes, I have most of that information or access to it”.

The question is, why can she not give out the information to the committee members in the House? It is because the government will not let her.

Business of Supply February 17th, 2011

Madam Speaker, to prove the government is hiding crime bill cost information and muzzling its own deputy minister, we only have to look at the committee hearings of two days ago

On Tuesday, February 15, we dealt with Bill C-59, Abolition of Early Parole Act. The member for Brampton West asked the deputy minister a question about the costs of the crime bill. He asked if she had that information and if she could provide it. The deputy minister said that she had most of that information, that it was part of her responsibility in terms of developing legislation to consider costs. She said that she had most of that information or access to it, but the issue was the disclosure of it because the government had indicated it was a cabinet confidence.

The member for Brampton West went further, asking if she had provided the costing information to the government about what it would cost for these changes. In response she said that she had the information or access to it, but she could not talk about what she provided the government in any detail because she thought it was cabinet confidence of advice.

We clearly have a government that knows what the information is but is deliberately hiding the information from members of the committee and members of the House.