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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was riding.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Conservative MP for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 47% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Child Care February 18th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Social Development insulted families by saying that “as parents we are all ambivalent about child care because we feel guilty about not spending more time with our kids”. This is demeaning to all parents who choose home care over day care. The minister is telling stay at home parents that if they want any government support for child care, go get a job.

Twenty-eight years ago, my wife and I made the decision to stay at home and raise our three sons. Today one of my sons and his wife are expecting my first grandchild. Will the minister commit to giving my son and his wife that choice but with the same financial benefit as working mothers?

Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound February 9th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, this week Sean Edward Sprague, a 15 year old young man from Meaford, Ontario, received the Governor General's Medal of Bravery.

Sean helped rescue a teenager trapped under a wall that had collapsed in a house by digging the rubble with his bare hands for 40 minutes. I would like to commend Sean for his selfless act while putting himself in danger. Sean is a fine example of the youth of the country and the leadership of the future.

I would also like to pay tribute to the city of Owen Sound and the Owen Sound Police Services for securing the bid to host the 2007 Ontario Special Olympics Provincial Winter Games. More than 450 people will come to Owen Sound to compete in six sporting events from February 1 to February 4, 2007.

This is the first time a provincial games has been awarded to a community in the Bruce-Grey area and the first time a community the size of Owen Sound has been awarded the Ontario provincial games.

On behalf of my constituents, I would like to congratulate everyone involved in bringing the Ontario Special Olympic Winter Games to our community.

Veterans Affairs February 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, when a country goes to war, it is a big undertaking. From troops on land, sea and air, to the supply ships and crews who provide troops with a means to carry out their mission.

After much urging from the opposition, this government reluctantly spent $1,000 per veteran to supplement their return to Europe for the 60th anniversary of Normandy.

Will the minister confirm that members of the Merchant Navy, who participated in the 60th anniversary ceremonies in May in Murmansk, Russia, will also receive the same $1,000 travel subsidy?

Budget Implementation Act, 2004, No. 2 February 4th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, usually when somebody swears in the House you correct them. I heard the hon. member across the way use the words “rural Canada”. Normally, coming from that side of the House they are swear words. Rural Canada has been ignored by the government for so long.

I have heard some members today talk about high taxes. High taxes affect everyone in this country, but they affect rural Canada more than any other place because of the different obstacles. Even the minister pointed that out.

Judging by the lack of spending in rural Canada over the years, it has been totally ignored. One thing that really hurt rural Canada and me specifically was the announcement by the government that when it came to infrastructure, the definition of small communities was 250,000. That is totally ridiculous. It is a blatant mockery. At first I thought it was just a sick joke. It is the same as taking a rural Canadian out to his barnyard, knocking him down in the manure pile and then stepping on his shoulders to make sure he gets good and dirty.

Rural Canada is short of funding for roads and bridges. On health care, there are doctor shortages. We hand over our cheques. For a long time the government reduced the funding that went to health care which hurt rural Canada a lot. After a lot of pressure from this side of the House the government finally agreed to put some of that money back in. That is good, but it hands the cheque over to the province without any direction.

I want to know what the government will do to address that rural Canada which the member across the way mentioned. Frankly, rural Canada is sick and tired of being used, bruised and abused.

Supply February 3rd, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague for her comments and for her support of the beef producers in her riding. She spoke about something that we are all aware of in our ridings, especially in rural Canada, and that is the number of bankruptcies. Farm families have lost everything because of the ongoing BSE issue.

Before I ask her a question, I want to remind her that it is not only happening in Quebec or in her riding. It is happening across the country.

Getting back to the CAIS debate, we have all heard in our ridings from farmers that the CAIS program is not working. We have heard about the difficulties with it. I know the minister has been working on it, but it is never fast enough.

I attended a chamber of commerce meeting last night at which there were a number of accountants. Not only have we heard a lot of farmers speak to the difficulties of it, but I had two or three accountants tell me that it was a nightmare. They asked what I could do to fix it.

Does my colleague from the Bloc have a recommendation or suggestion on how we could fix some of the problems with the CAIS so it would make it easier for even accountants and professionals to deal with it?

Foreign Affairs December 14th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, a 47 year old man, who is the father of two and a graduate of Queen's University, is being held in a Libyan prison after receiving a life sentence in 1998 for helping a group that works toward democratic change in Libya, which is under military dictatorship. According to Amnesty International, Libya's human rights record is horrendous, with reports of torture, death in custody and other punishments on political grounds.

Will the Prime Minister be raising this issue with Moammar Gadhafi when he visits Tripoli later this month?

Main Estimates, 2004-05 December 9th, 2004

Madam Speaker, there are two issues here tonight. First, there is an erosion of democracy. Something that has been running rampant here a way too long and a way too fast, and the Liberals do not seem to care or recognize that at all. By not accepting the committee's recommendation, it is totally unacceptable. This is the way democracy is set up. We have the committee structure. It is meant to work. I do not think the minister should do anything but accept that.

Second, it is a continued waste of large volumes of Canadian taxpayer dollars, $400,000 alone by the Governor General. This is not an argument tonight about whether the Governor General should exist or not, although that is an argument that a lot of people in Canada are talking about, it is a waste of dollars that we are talking about.

I relate back to a comment from my colleague across the floor on the gun registry. There has never been a bigger financial lie told to the country than the gun law. My question to the hon. member from the Bloc is on the value and quantities of these dollars, and how we could have spent them. It is a figure that is fast approaching $2 billion, and as my colleague said earlier, we have not saved any lives.

We have taken the dollars and wasted them. There are items about which I would like to ask my Bloc colleague. How many MRIs does she think the dollars, between the Governor General and the money wasted in the gun registry, could have bought? How many nurses salaries could it have paid for? How many students could have had their tuitions paid?

I know that doctor shortages in my riding of Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound are atrocious, as bad as any place in the country. Just think how many doctors could have been hired for rural Canada. Dare I say, rural Canada? After all, we know that rural Canada means nothing to this government.

Does the hon. member think that the money we could save here, the $400,000 and the money wasted in the gun registry, could have been spent in much better ways?

Iraq December 6th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, Canada has ignored the situation in Iraq and abandoned its obligations to the Iraqi people in order that they might enjoy the same democracy as Canadians do. Now the government has decided to send unarmed Canadian men and women to oversee elections in a place that is constantly under fire by insurgents.

My question is for the Prime Minister. What is the government going to do to guarantee the safety of the Canadians he is sending into this international hotbed?

Supply November 25th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, that will be more than sufficient time.

As I was saying, there was no good reason for expropriating the land in the first place and now there is no good reason for the government not to sell it to those who wish to buy it back. This airport is closed to passenger traffic and it is highly unlikely that the situation will change in the foreseeable future. Stubbornness and arrogance on the part of the Liberal government and the transport ministry toward farmers is insulting to everyone in the farming community across this country.

Whether one lives in the west, in southern Ontario, or in the east, the situation is the same. Farmers live off their land. It is their home. It is their livelihood. The government had no business taking it away from them. Nor does it have any business keeping it today after having proven to everyone, with the possible exception of itself, that this was a foolish and expensive mistake by a federal Liberal government. It will go down in history as one of the worst human tragedies orchestrated by any Canadian government.

Out of the 97,000 acres expropriated, only 5% of the land has been used for the airport. Eleven thousand acres are still unused and will never be used. Mirabel airport is a white elephant and yet another testament to Liberal arrogance, waste and mismanagement. The Liberals have evaded their responsibilities on the Mirabel file for years, especially when it comes to farmers.

A story in the Montreal Gazette in June 2002 said that the government realized in 1970 that it had expropriated far more land than it needed for the airport but went ahead with the expropriation anyway because of worries about lawsuits by residents and fears of giving the Quebec government political ammunition.

This information, which was contained in 1971 cabinet documents, also shows that 22,000 acres of land to the west of the airport were not really needed. It was not until Brian Mulroney was in government when he agreed to sell some of the surplus airport land back to residents that any real agreements were reached.

In Canada and around the world, acres and acres of prime agricultural land are being paved over every day while people all over the globe go hungry. This land sits there needlessly unoccupied. What a terrible waste of land and opportunity. It would be ludicrous for any of us in the House to allow this great travesty to continue.

I speak on behalf of my constituents in Bruce--Grey--Owen Sound when I say I sympathize with the farmers who would like to turn the page on this unhappy chapter of their lives.

Now that Mirabel airport is closed to passenger traffic and no extension is planned now, nor will it ever be, the unused farmlands in the area should be given back to the farmers, no questions asked.

Supply November 25th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate being able to speak to the House on this issue.

Although Montreal, Quebec is a long way from my riding of Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, the issue is one which is very close to my heart for a number of reasons. First, it is about farmers and how they continue to be left behind, ignored and shoved aside by the Liberal government. Second, it is just another example of how the government is thumbing its nose at rural Canada.

There are a number of facts that tell the big picture in this case. That picture is one of men, women and children who are displaced from the land they and their families called home for generations. More than 3,100 farm families, or 10,000 to 12,000 people, were affected by this expropriation. Many farmers over the age of 50 could not find a new job. In one community 80 homes were destroyed and many businesses disappeared. The Department of Transport effectively wiped out the economic life of 10 villages.

It was the largest displacement of people since the deportation of the Acadians. When the land was expropriated, many people fell into depression and suicide was common. This is not just about land. It is about these people, the people who live there and make their living off of it. It is about Canadian farmers who put the food on our tables. If the Liberal government understood that and saw the human side of the situation instead of just the financial side, it would give the land back.

To add insult to injury, people felt they were cheated by the government because it paid them $210 per acre in 1969. That may have sounded like a reasonable figure at the time, but if one looks at 1970, the very next year, the same government paid $2,000 an acre to expropriate land for the airport it planned to build in Pickering.

This land was expropriated 35 years ago. This land still has agricultural value and is part of the cultural identity of the region.

There was no good reason for expropriating the land in the first place and now there is no good reason for the government not to sell it to those who wish to buy it back. This airport is closed to passenger traffic and it is highly unlikely that the situation will change in the foreseeable future.