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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was aboriginal.

Last in Parliament November 2010, as Conservative MP for Calgary Centre-North (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2008, with 57% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply November 4th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, let us deal with what my friend has said. Let us talk about the election and the leader of the Conservative Party in the election.

The leader of the Conservative Party campaigned the length and the breadth of the country, including in Atlantic Canada. He has stood by his word on every matter on which he campaigned, whether it be health care, the Canadian Forces or whether it be a new and fair deal for Atlantic Canadians. On each and every one of these issues, the leader of our party has stood and been counted. He has put out his ideas and he has been prepared to be judged accordingly.

With respect to a new deal for Atlantic Canadians, the leader of our party has been on record for some time pointing out very clearly that we are in favour of 100% of the oil and gas revenues from the offshore resources accruing to the benefit of the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador. That has been our position. It was our position before the election. It was our position during the election and it is our position today. We are unwavering. We will continue to be unwavering.

This party has never brought forward a concept of a cap, that in some way the economic prosperity of Newfoundland and Labrador should be capped or tied to the prosperity of another region. Who else in Canada faces that circumstance, where their way forward, their future is tied to the economic capacity of another region of Canada? That is not the way forward. That was not the way forward for Albertans and it is not the way forward for Newfoundland and Labrador.

In the province in which I live, many people who have made their way to Alberta, who are succeeding in Alberta, have come from Atlantic Canada. We are proud to count them among us. What we need in the country is to create more opportunity in Atlantic Canada so that those people can succeed, so that their friends and neighbours can succeed in Atlantic Canada and so that some of them, if they so choose, can go back and take part in a thriving, dynamic economy.

The way to do that is to give people access to their resources. I cannot imagine anything in the country that is more unfair than the people of Newfoundland and Labrador being forced to come before the Government of Canada and plead for access to their own resources. They are resources which those people brought to Confederation when they joined this country. They belong to them and they should be benefiting from them.

They should not face the hypocrisy of my friends opposite standing up and saying that they will be capped, that they will be time limited, that they will be limited in any respect in the development of those resources. That is not the Canada we believe in on this side of the House.

Supply November 4th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time.

We have before us a motion which deplores the attitude of the Prime Minister of Canada toward the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. This motion calls upon the Prime Minister and the government to keep their word and allow these provinces to keep 100% of their provincial offshore oil and gas revenues.

This is an important motion not only for the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador, but for all Canadians. I rise in this debate because I think it is important that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador understand that they have the support of other Canadians. While I am a member of this House from the riding of Calgary Centre-North, I am also a proud Canadian and I wish to bring to this debate the perspective of Calgarians and Albertans on this important issue.

Two years ago while visiting Newfoundland and Labrador, I had the opportunity to speak on a local radio talk show. As it turned out, the hon. member who is now sitting as the Prime Minister of Canada was also visiting the province. I challenged him. I called on him then to commit to the people of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador that they would truly, fully benefit from their oil and gas resources, as is the case in my home province of Alberta. I am proud as an Albertan to stand once again to call on the Prime Minister to do the right thing. He did not do it that night on that talk show and he is not doing it now.

Let me be clear. The position of our leader and our party on this issue is unequivocal and unwavering. Our commitment is to ensure that Atlantic Canadians enjoy 100% of their non-renewable resource royalties. This was our position before the election, during the election and it has been our position since the election. It will remain our position until these provinces are dealt with fairly and honestly.

We have been clear, we have been consistent, and we have been steadfast, but clarity, consistency and steadfastness are not what we have seen from the Prime Minister and his government and those who will speak for him tonight. The prevarications, the perambulations and the peregrinations of the Prime Minister have been chronicled today by our leader. I will not reiterate that sad and troubling record.

Suffice it to say that Premier Williams thought he had the Prime Minister's word on June 5, 2004. In fact the premier was asked at that time whether and how he would be able to ensure that the Prime Minister of Canada would keep his word. Premier Williams, who is himself an experienced and successful businessman, a lawyer and a Rhodes scholar, thought then that the word of the Prime Minister of Canada was sufficient. He said, “It is by word of mouth. I am taking him at his word and that is good enough for me”. Woe is the premier, woe are the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and woe are we as a nation, because the word of the Prime Minister of Canada is good enough for none of us, as it turns out.

It turns out that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are not entitled to unrestricted access to the resources after all. There are caveats that restrict the time, and caveats which tie the prosperity of the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador to the fiscal capacity of another region, Ontario. That was not the deal. It was not the deal which the Prime Minister promised to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Why should the people of one province be limited by or tied to the fiscal capacity of another province? Why would we want to limit the economic potential of any region of this country? Why cap the potential of one province to become a new economic engine of our country? Why deny a province the full and unfettered benefit of the resources which it brought into Confederation? Why could the people of Newfoundland and Labrador not depend on the word of their Prime Minister? Because it was during the election.

Thirty years ago Alberta was in a battle with another Liberal federal government over resource revenue. The then Premier of Alberta, Peter Lougheed, wrote to the Liberal Prime Minister and said this: “The point that must be emphasized is that we are concerned about a depleting--a rapidly depleting--resource. We view the proceeds from this resource as a capital asset, the proceeds of which must be reinvested if this province”--Alberta--“is to maintain its economic stability”.

Today, because Alberta fought to receive the full benefit of its resources, it is one of the driving economic engines of this country. One hundred per cent was the right thing for Alberta and it is the right thing for Newfoundland and Labrador. It is the right thing for Nova Scotia and it is the right thing for Canada.

These resources will not last forever. The opportunity for these provinces to reinvest these assets into their own economies is now. It will not wait while the Prime Minister dithers.

Who then will stand up for Newfoundlanders? We on the opposition side have heeded Premier Williams' call. Who will join us in the fight for Newfoundland and Labrador? Where are the Haultains and the Lougheeds of Newfoundland's future?

I say unequivocally that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador can rest assured that there are such men among the Conservatives in the House, in addition to Premier Danny Williams and other Conservatives, such as the leader of our party. We have the hon. member for St. John's South—Mount Pearl, the hon. member for St. John's East, and yes, Rex Barnes, formerly the member for Gander—Grand Falls.

These people are leaders who will protect the future of Newfoundland and Labrador. Their voices resonate in the House. They are admired and respected for their resilience and determination which they have shown in the House. Unlike others, they will not be cowed. Unlike others, they will not be muzzled. Unlike others, they will not turn their backs on their history, their birthright and their fellow citizens.

The Liberals toy with the hopes and aspirations of Atlantic Canadians. They came this past June bearing false promises and there are members opposite who directly benefited from those false promises. Now it is time to stand up and be counted for their promises and their country. The Prime Minister was not forthright with Atlantic Canadians and this is an undeniable truth.

I would like the Prime Minister to reflect on the following words:

Here lies a great and mighty king,Whose promise none relies on;He never said a foolish thing,Nor ever did a wise one.

Many people from Newfoundland and Labrador have contributed to the economic success by working in Alberta. Now Newfoundland and Labrador deserves the chance to enjoy its own economic success. Like Alberta, people will succeed and future generations will count them as the architects of the new deal for Newfoundland and Labrador.

Aboriginal Affairs November 1st, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I did not actually hear a response to the question. The answer is very clear. The constitution of the Tlicho First Nation is the Tlicho First Nation's highest law, not the charter.

My question for the minister concerns the Tlicho constitution. The Tlicho nation has two languages: English and Tlicho.

Can the minister explain the government's policy on language rights for French-speaking first nations people?

Aboriginal Affairs November 1st, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is intended to protect all Canadians. However, with Bill C-14, the Tlicho act, the government is asking the House to adopt an agreement with language that is unclear with respect to the supremacy of the charter.

Notwithstanding the many contradictions between the Tlicho constitution and the charter, will the minister tell the House whether the highest law in Tlicho is the Canadian charter or the Tlicho constitution?

Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Act October 29th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I listened as my hon. friend from Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca spoke with respect to this matter and I was surprised with respect to some of his comments because, looking at some of the other things which the hon. member has said in the House, he seems to have undergone quite an epiphany.

Specifically, on June 9, 1994, in respect of the land claim relating to Yukon which was then before the House, my friend said:

Bill C-34 gives special rights and special privileges to some of the native peoples of the Yukon Territory. As a representative here of all Canadians I have some problems with this. This bill is divisive. It will define the citizens of the First Nations as a separate group of citizens. Therefore what we would have in this land are two citizenships, citizens with different rules and regulations pertaining to each group.

As a result of this we are setting up separate governments for separate nations within the borders of this country, new governments with broad legislative powers, independent legislative powers of the rest of the country.

Native peoples see themselves as separate nations and not part of Canada. This I recognize. It is obviously a philosophical point of contention. To see oneself as a nation that is separate from another within the borders of this country may sound good to some, but I think that it is only divisive.

The hon. member carried on to say a number of other things which were significantly less moderate and which I do not want to have come out of my mouth in this chamber. On June 5, 1995, in relation to the Nisga'a agreement, the hon. member opposite said:

In closing, I would strongly urge the government to invest in policies that will enable native people to take care of themselves in a sustainable way in the future. Land claims are not the answer.

I wonder if my hon. friend would be good enough to explain for the benefit of the citizens in his constituency and other Canadians how he has undergone such an epiphany or are these merely chunterings from the other side of the House?

My hon. friend referenced chapter 7.7.2 of the agreement here in the House stating that it effectively had a concept of federal paramountcy. Leaving aside the other provisions of the agreement, I wonder if my learned friend would assist the House by explaining how chapter 7.7.2 operates and if he could describe for the House what is the difference between federal legislation of general application and other federal legislation?

Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Act October 27th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I might just ask the hon. member, whom my friend has referred to as the hon. socialist, this. If we are to elevate the debate in the House, we have to be somewhat respectful and listen to each other. My friend has raised questions which clearly indicate that he was not listening to what I had to say in the House.

Therefore, let us deal with this document as it relates to international agreements. The point that I made, to which he clearly did not follow or listen, was to take the Kyoto Protocol for example. If the Government of Canada is going to sign the Kyoto Protocol, article 7.13.2 of the agreement obligates the Government of Canada to consult with the Tlicho people before it signs the Kyoto Protocol. Read it. It says, “Prior to consenting to be bound by an international treaty”, it will consult. That is the implication of the agreement. Has my friend considered that?

With respect to other matters such as women's rights, the rights of indigenous women in Canadian society, I challenge my friend to read this agreement, to read the Tlicho constitution and to read the Canadian Constitution and tell the House that the rights of women will be protected, that a Tlicho woman will have the same rights as a woman anywhere else in Canadian society. That is not the way this legislative framework reads. That is the point we are making. This has not been fully considered from the perspective of the best interests of Canada.

Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Act October 27th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I will try to address the hon. member's question.

This agreement is really two things. It is a comprehensive claim settlement and it is a self-government agreement.

I think the member will see that the comments that I have addressed to the House relate in the main to the self-government aspects of the agreement.

I think my friend and I are on common ground that agreements such as these have to be negotiated in a climate of respect and that it takes some time to build that. At the end of the day, first nations must have a future in this country which is based upon access to a resource base and opportunities that they can move forward as active and full members of the Canadian federation.

The point I raise is that if we implement in the self-government aspects of the Tlicho agreement provisions which are not workable for the nation as a whole in terms of the functioning of our federal system, we will not advance the interests of either aboriginal Canadians or non-aboriginal Canadians.

Once again, the way in which this proposed legislation has been brought before the House precludes the House, and the combined wisdom that we have in the House, from making improvements to the self-government structure in a way that would result in a superior product for the ongoing governance of Canada. We are losing the opportunity to do that because it has been presented to us as a notice of ways and means motion. It is all or nothing; either take the entire agreement or leave it. I do not think that is in the interests of Canada nor in the interests of democracy.

Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Act October 27th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to take up the speaking time of my hon. friend. I am prepared to answer the question, as long as it does not cut into my friend's speaking time.

Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Act October 27th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, we are a nation that is governed by the Constitution Act. Under that act all of the rights of Canadian citizens, wherever they live, whether they are aboriginal Canadians or non-aboriginal Canadians, are advanced and protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Our future together as a nation must be built upon the universal application of that framework; otherwise we will have a country in which citizens have disparate rights, different kinds of rights, different rights one from the other, which will not result in a universal protection of those rights which are fundamental to Canadian society and set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

All aboriginal rights are also recognized under section 35 of the Constitution. It is our position that those rights must be conferred within the four square corners of the Constitution Act and the charter and that this will result in full protection of equality rights, such as women's rights, for both aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians.

With respect to the operation of our federal-provincial system of government, the concept upon which this self-government agreement is based is one of concurrency. There is nothing inherently wrong with concurrent legislative authority in the hands of the Government of Canada and the Tlicho First Nation. There is no problem with that.

The difficulty is that any federal state will only operate in an efficient way if there is a manner in which conflicts can be resolved. It is fine to have concurrent jurisdictions, but if one is going to have concurrent jurisdictions, one has to have clear rules of paramountcy. One of the points I am making today about this agreement is that it lacks that. It has several different definitions of paramountcy. It is very difficult to look at this agreement and to understand whose laws are going to be paramount.

In the case of a situation involving women's rights, for example, which law will govern? If there is an inconsistency between a Tlicho law relating to the rights of a woman in a Tlicho community and what the interpretation of the charter says relative to the rights of women, or what a federal statute says relative to the rights of women, what governs?

What in heaven's name is the solution? The solution has to be to have clear authority dealing with how to resolve the paramountcy. That is what is missing, among other things, from this agreement.

Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Act October 27th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I respect my colleague's offer for briefings. I have been taking advantage of the opportunity to receive briefings with respect to this.

One of the most surprising things to me which I believe this House needs to be aware of is that the key principles of the federal government in respect of self-government could not be clearer, that powers relating to Canadian sovereignty and external relations are non-negotiable jurisdictions.

It is easy to see why the government has adopted that position over the last generation. If every first nation in Canada as part of our vibrant federation is to have some degree of international autonomy and each of those represents an incursion upon the authority of the federal crown, it is very easy to see what will happen to our nation.

In this particular agreement it could not be clearer that some element of international authority has been conferred upon the Tlicho. In fact, the agreement contemplates arbitration of those disputes. It clearly mandates or requires consultation by the Government of Canada prior to entering into an international obligation that will in any way affect the right of the Tlicho.

This may seem to be a good thing for the Tlicho leadership, the Tlicho community, but is it a good thing for the governance of the country as a whole? That is fundamentally the question.

I stand to be corrected, but I specifically have asked the principals who were involved in the negotiation of this document if there is any other precedent for this in any other self-government agreement or comprehensive claim. I understand that there is not.