House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was aboriginal.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Vancouver Island North (B.C.)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Greenpeace Canada April 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I misunderstood the intent. The answer is that I do not wish to make a statement at this time.

Greenpeace Canada April 11th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, if I understood the minister's statement there is a difference between the international Greenpeace organization and Greenpeace Canada. If I understood the context, is it allowable to transfer funds from the one organization to the other?

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension Act March 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, there will be objections whenever boundaries are redrawn. I appreciate that.

British Columbians have had knowledge of these changes for nine days. Discussions were going on in this parliamentary atmosphere on the Hill wanting to kill this process before British Columbians were even made aware of what the provincial boundary redistribution was.

What we are saying is that once again Ontario is controlling the agenda. In order to represent properly the area of the country where I come from and my views on the long term of what is good for the country, I am suggesting that we must continue with this process as has been done every decade since Confederation.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension Act March 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the collective memory on the Charlottetown accord in British Columbia is still very much there. The province voted two-thirds against the provisions of the Charlottetown accord. The collective memory on the promise and guarantees concerning redistribution is very much in the forefront.

If in the long term the process could be brought around where this distribution is put to bed-the promises were made, let us fulfil those promises-if we could then go to a circumstance where for the greater good we either cap or even reduce the number of sitting members of Parliament for the next redistribution, then most Canadians would accept that with glee, particularly those in British Columbia.

Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Suspension Act March 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise today to speak to and to oppose the provisions of the legislation before us in Bill C-18.

One has to ask what precipitated the government's decision to attempt to suspend the legitimate work of the federal electoral boundaries commission. Was the government responding to public concern and opinion or merely trying to circumvent for whatever reason the prescribed process? Or, heaven forbid, is the government responding to disgruntled politicians?

To British Columbians, we once again have the example of central Canada controlling the outcome before the polls have even closed on the west coast. On election night the Leader of the Official Opposition made his acceptance speech at seven o'clock Alberta time, six o'clock B.C. time, before the polls had even closed. In the case of this electoral boundary review we in B.C. had not even received our report when Ontario MPs were crying foul and wanting to throw out the process.

This process has been in effect in Canada, every decade since 1867, tied to the census. In this case the redistribution is tied to the 1991 census. One can legitimately ask how the House of Commons can cancel this mandate. I am very disappointed that apparently the government can do exactly that.

There is no precedent for this attempted action. It was not an issue in the campaign. It was not an issue after the campaign. It certainly was not in the Liberal red book.

I am led to the inescapable conclusion that some government MPs are not pleased with lines on a map as a part of the redistribution process and therefore want to throw out the whole process.

I am not 100 per cent satisfied with lines on a map either, but a part of the process is public hearings. I am already scheduled for May 26 in Nanaimo, B.C. and I am actively seeking support for my proposals. This is all part of the process. Where is the public outcry? I suggest it does not exist and that self-interest is the issue here. This is an attempt to politicize a process which should be depoliticized and tied to the census as much as possible.

We have received no commitment from the government that three party agreement will be necessary to approve a new boundaries review process. As well, there is no contingency plan to save the work done by the current commission if the procedures and House affairs committee should fail to put forward a new proposal for consideration by the House.

Ultimately this could mean $5 million worth of wasted work, the start of another commission and the appointment of new members. This could even kill any chance of redistribution before the next federal election-so much for redistribution every 10 years based on population shifts in the census.

The government would have us believe that it wants the procedures committee to examine the growth in the number of seats from the current 295 to the proposed 301, capping the total number as a reason to suspend the committee's work.

The government has failed to convince me that its intentions are credible. The government wants the committee to examine the merits of adding 10 new seats in Ontario, which means Toronto, three new seats for B.C. and two for Alberta. The way it is right now is for Toronto to get four new seats and B.C. two new seats.

During the negotiations for the Charlottetown accord the three old parties brought the Premier of British Columbia into the fold by assuring British Columbians that we would obtain two additional seats in the next redistribution, contrary to early negotiations. British Columbians remember this commitment. As a matter of fact, British Columbians cannot believe that Parliament is even entertaining throwing out the process this week.

Just who is upset here? I am unaware, as is the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, of any hue and cry from the public. It is another example of politically motivated interference. In this instance we have not even allowed public hearings to unfold and determine the degree of reception or opposition to the proposals. Instead, we have the government jumping to thwart the process.

I represent a riding that includes half the coastline of Vancouver Island and half the coastline of mainland B.C. As is the case in Toronto, my riding is a fast growing region and consequently would be affected in a major way by redistribution.

Currently my riding includes the northern half of Vancouver Island, the Powell River district on the mainland of the province, territories south to the sunshine coast and the Gibsons area and north to Bella Coola and Ocean Falls. It is a vast area of territory with no logical connection at times between different parts of the riding.

With redistribution I would lose all mainland portions of the riding on the one hand and make it a pure island riding to include the top half of Vancouver Island and some islands in the northern part of Johnstone Strait.

On the other hand, it would be the coastal mainland from north of Powell River to Cape Caution, which is a land of mountains, glaciers, fiords, logging and fishing camps and Indian reserves. Their natural lines of communication are to points on Vancouver Island. Not many people are involved but this mainland coastal area should remain a part of this newly designated Vancouver Island North riding.

That is what people think and that is the subject of my presentation to the electoral boundaries commission.

Adding this area to a redistribution population of 96,302 would mean a population of about 98,000 for Vancouver Island north. Half the population of the current North Island-Powell River riding on the mainland would predominantly amalgamate with west Vancouver to form the west Vancouver sunshine coast riding with a redistribution population of 100,265.

The north mainland coast area around Bella Coola would join the Cariboo-Chilcotin riding with a population of over 85,000. Bella Coola on the coast has a road link to the Chilcotin. It is the only road link from the mainland to the central B.C. area and the only road link between Gibsons and Kitimat.

I can assure members that my constituents have little opposition to the changes. As I said earlier the riding is a little bit of everything right now. The proposed changes represent some form of continuity. Most of all the process allows for public input at hearings to be conducted upon the receipt of representation by interested parties in this process. What could be more democratic than that?

The only time we as politicians should get involved in this process would be to ensure that seats do not increase capriciously at the whim of government and cost to the taxpayer.

The government's attempt to circumvent the legitimate redistribution process is transparent and unacceptable. What is needed is a long term look at the parliamentary requirements for sitting members. Everyone knows Canada has too many politicians. Let us put this expensive and time consuming redistribution to bed first. Then we can deal with Canada's long term parliamentary needs without the red herring of someone's ox being gored in the current process and therefore attempting to subvert the process.

The Budget March 10th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise to participate in the debate following the first budget presentation in this, the 35th Parliament. My constituents expect me to bring some new perspective and sanity to how government spends the taxpayers' dollars and to what effect and purpose.

My west coast riding covers one half of Vancouver Island's coastline as well as one half of the mainland coastline of British Columbia.

My riding generates major wealth. Its contribution to our gross domestic product is one of the country's highest, if not the highest. It is a resource based economy. We have five pulp mills with the two fastest papermaking machines in Canada, logging, three major mines, sawmills, fisheries and a highly developed tourism industry.

My constituents contribute in a big way to the wealth of this country but do not enjoy the level of services provided in other parts of this country. It is not a question of more government employees. We already average 8,000 federal, provincial and municipal government employees per riding in Canada. What is required is downsizing, better deployment of employees and priorizing of services.

The federal government has cut jobs such as lighthouse keepers and federal fisheries officers, the very people and institutions which deliver services in the field in an irreplaceable way. We all know that reductions in services and employees should be in middle and upper management, not in the field.

There are indications that the federal government is considering closing the fisheries offices in small coastline communities in my riding. This policy is totally contradictory to the government's pledge for example to maintain rural post offices in Canada and is detrimental to hands-on enforcement and habitat measures. These policy decisions send a strong negative signal to these rural communities. It also sends a signal to the people who ask if the federal government has the competence to manage this resource".

It is the only resource managed by the feds and they cannot even get it right. The sports and commercial fisheries ask: "Where are the enforcement, habitat and budgetary priorities of fisheries and oceans going?" The demise of the east coast fishery is on the minds of everyone.

Let me now turn to the budget document. It is very disappointing to me and my constituents to deal with the fisheries issues I have just articulated in the face of increased federal spending.

At the same time the government projects 8 per cent growth in revenue after a drop in revenue last year. This is absurd.

Allow me to put the national debt into a constituency perspective. The Powell River area's cost of servicing national debt allocated on a pro rata basis is $17 million per year. This money is blown out the window. The entire cost of local services provided by the Powell River area for police, fire, garbage, water, sewer, sidewalks, streets and all those other valued local services also runs at $17 million per year. If this does not point out the profligacy and penalty of federal spending, I do not know what does.

Incidentally, similar national debt comparisons can be made for other local governments in my riding such as Campbell River. Our local B.C. governments do not run deficits by legislation. The debt and deficit are weakening confederation and the federal government is in danger of becoming impotent. This government had better get its act together on spending decreases. No tax increase during the life of this Parliament is essential.

Allow me to turn to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Most government departments had a 3 per cent cap in the growth rate of departmental budgets in the last Parliament. The department of Indian affairs has enjoyed exclusivity from this policy. The budget of this department should be frozen at 1993-94 levels at the very least.

Since the 1988-89 fiscal year, the departmental budget of Indian affairs has increased $1.6 billion, averaging a $275 million increase every year. This fiscal year departmental spending is projected to increase $396 million over fiscal 1993-94, representing an increase of 8.6 per cent. Compare this with the Environment Canada total operating budget of $737 million. The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development increase is almost half of its total budget.

Is there anyone who believes that these spending increases are sustainable or can be attributed to demographics? According to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, there are 997,000 people in the aboriginal population in Canada. Total federal aboriginal spending now exceeds $7 billion or $28,000 per family of four. I ask if this spending has brought our aboriginal peoples any closer to self-sufficiency.

The myriad of programs and services provided by other government departments for Indian affairs confuses an already complex situation regarding programs and their delivery.

One does not have to look far to find examples of a lack of accountability within the Indian affairs department. For over 20 years the Auditor General has been raising concerns over the management of programs and delivery of services by Indian affairs. In his 1993 report, the Canadian aboriginal economic development strategy is cited as a function where lack of appropriate performance and evaluation information impedes the necessary accountability within the aboriginal communities and between the government and Parliament. This has cost the taxpayer approximately $1 billion since 1989.

The Auditor General went on to say that the department could not demonstrate that it was meeting the strategy's objectives.

As another example in 1992-93 Canada's status Indians and Inuit received non-insured health benefits totalling $422 million administered by the Department of National Health and Welfare. The Auditor General's 1993 report states that the cost of this program could have been reduced by $85 million or 20 per cent if the benefits had been provided in accordance with national program directives and principles.

The Auditor General concludes that the information provided to him on the program continues to fall far short of reasonable and adequate disclosure.

It is evident that reforms must be initiated. A Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development budget freeze at 1993-94 levels would stimulate activity in priority setting in a long overdue way. The current situation stifles creativity.

Indian Affairs February 23rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my statement concerns questions raised in this House yesterday.

I am the spokesperson for my party on aboriginal affairs and I am deeply and personally offended by comments made inside and outside the House about my colleagues in caucus by other hon. members regarding our attitudes toward our native brothers and sisters.

There are philosophical differences between members of parties in this House. Let us not slur each other. Instead, let us hope for light to shine in and assist members in arriving at a reasonable and acceptable conclusion.

I will not rest nor will I be satisfied until one hon. member opposite apologizes for remarks made about me and my colleagues.

Forestry February 22nd, 1994

I have a supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. Mexico is running a budget surplus while we are struggling with a large deficit. Does the minister agree that this government should not be funding forestry projects outside Canada?

Forestry February 22nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources.

The Canadian government recently funded a multimillion dollar model forest in Mexico. Can the minister assure the House that at the upcoming month-end bilateral conference in

Mexico City the government will not commit further forest research or other forestry funding to our new NAFTA partner?

The Environment February 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the Commission on Resources and the Environment is a B.C. government project to review and recommend solutions to land use conflicts on Vancouver Island. These talks fell apart.

A community report was submitted which recommended 12 per cent of Vancouver Island be protected with minimal loss of employment, the creation of nine new parks and a continuation of community planning initiatives.

The commissioner's report was released last week. Virtually every community within the North Island is opposing the recommendations which will displace workers and create major unemployment.

This report is top down decision making and the affected communities want to send a strong message to government that it is unacceptable and to listen to the people.