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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was tax.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Mississauga South (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply November 22nd, 1994

Madam Speaker, the previous speaker from Fraser Valley East talked about a number of issues on which I want to comment. I also have a question for him.

The hon. member commented briefly on the opting out issue. Canadians should understand that the opting out provision he is talking about has nothing to do with the question that has been raised by this government in its policy or in fact by the proposals the government intends to bring forward.

The opting out was a ploy by the Reform Party simply to get press attention. It had absolutely nothing to do with a legitimate option. The Prime Minister did say if members want to opt out of the pension plan he would allow it. It is not being proposed for members of Parliament.

Second, the member says we should lead by example and that we should have no special privileges. I think that is a fair statement to have made. However, members of Parliament on all sides were elected knowing what the compensation package was and knowing that the Liberal Party had proposed two changes to the current government pension program. The first change was to end double dipping. The second change was to reconsider the age at which members of Parliament would qualify to receive benefits.

Members of Parliament knew that. They ran for public office knowing what the compensation was specified to be.

Now members are saying there should not be special privileges. I wonder if the member would agree that in fact it is not a special privilege but a right of any member of Parliament to know what their compensation is, what they are running for, and what they are going to have to plan for. I wonder if the member of Parliament, the previous speaker, would care to say what exactly he feels members of Parliament should be paid and if in fact, as he suggests, there should be no pension plan or something comparable to what is offered in corporate life.

It is only fair that Canadians understand that there is a compensation requirement.

Supply November 22nd, 1994

Time.

Supply November 22nd, 1994

Madam Speaker, I wanted to address a couple of the points the member raised. It is extremely important because it has painted a picture which is quite slanted and biased on behalf of the member.

First, throughout his statements he commented about his 10 per cent salary cut. If the member was going to give all the facts he would also report that as has been reported in the press Reform members are now reconsidering their 10 per cent cut because they are not getting enough publicity or benefit from it by the voters.

Second, the member seems to suggest that members of Parliament when they leave this place whether by choice or they are defeated in an election, can somehow simply integrate into the workforce.

The member knows very well that 82 per cent of the members who did not return from the last House do not have employment today. They have nothing to go to. As the member well knows, when members of Parliament leave here, having been defeated in an election, they are a nobody. They are lower than a nobody because they no longer have the influence to speak with people and to have those contacts.

There are many members of Parliament and many others who have served in public life who have given so much that have nothing to go to when they leave public life.

On that basis the member probably should consider that the so-called gold-plated pension plan is in fact not just a pension plan for the future retirement of that member once that career ends but is also to provide some modicum of income protection or salary continuance because of the difficulty that members of Parliament have had to get back into the work force.

The member asks for a reasonable compensation package but you will note, Madam Speaker, that the member was not full and clear with the Canadian public because he did not mention a dollar figure. He is unprepared to say what a fair and reasonable compensation package would be.

Finally, the member made reference to a tax free allowance. The member said if you take this tax free allowance and convert it into an effective salary, the member of Parliament makes much more.

What the member failed to point out to Canadians is that members of Parliament received these allowances to take care of real legitimate expenses. As one example, as a member of Parliament I am here four or five days a week for nine months of the year. I must have a place here to live. That place costs me $1,000 a month. That does not come out of some magical bin. It comes out of the tax free allowance.

The member should really consider whether or not he has told the Canadians the full truth.

Supply November 22nd, 1994

They get it for life but the calculations that have been provided as examples really go up to age 75 as an average mortality rate.

Would it not be fair simply to put all of the facts on the table? Most members are not here just to be here for six years. They are here to serve, as the member said; they are here to do a job. In many cases as we can see in this House that job goes on for 20 to 25 years. Those members of Parliament who serve their country, which presently is at a salary of $64,400, have forgone the opportunity of their best earning potential during their career lifespan to serve in this House.

I wonder if the member would like to comment on whether or not the facts really are on the table and whether or not the full compensation of the members of Parliament ought not to be considered.

I personally agree there should be changes to eliminate the double dipping scenario. There should be changes to the date at which a member would qualify. I know the government has committed to making those changes and that those changes will be forthcoming at Christmastime. That is the undertaking this government has made to Canadians. We have listened and we are going to make those changes.

However let us never forget that members of Parliament are also family members. They have children. They have mortgages to pay. They have the ordinary costs of anyone else and they are entitled to a fair and reasonable compensation. As the member well knows all of the recent third party studies show that the contribution of members of Parliament in comparison with the corporate sector make their jobs worth at least $100,000.

Would the member not agree that certain facts have not been put on the table? If he wanted to be fair with all Canadians he would make sure they had all these facts.

Supply November 22nd, 1994

Madam Speaker, on this matter of MP pensions, there is no question that the members have raised an issue which has been raised to all of us by our constituents. However, I note that throughout the debate the members continue to provide figures but they have not explained how those figures were arrived at.

Would the member not agree it is somewhat misleading not to let the Canadian public know that members of Parliament must contribute to their pension plan? In fact that contribution is 11 per cent of their $64,400 salary. That means they are contributing over $7,000 a year. The calculations members are putting forward also assume the member takes early retirement after six years and then receives that pension until age 75 or later.

Petitions November 17th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise under Standing Order 36 to present a petition to the House. The petitioners are from my riding of Mississauga South. They pray that Parliament ensure that the present provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada prohibiting assisted suicide be enforced vigorously and that Parliament make no changes in the law which would sanction or allow the aiding or abetting of suicide or active or passive euthanasia.

Petitions November 14th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition on behalf of a number of residents of the Toronto and Mississauga area.

The petitioners call on the members of Parliament to request that Parliament not amend the Canadian Human Rights Act or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in any way that would tend to indicate societal approval of same sex relationships or of homosexuality, including amending the Canadian Human Rights Act to include the prohibited grounds of discrimination the undefined phrase sexual orientation.

Petitions November 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, my third petition has to do with the rights of unborn human beings.

The petitioners of Mississauga South and the surrounding area pray that Parliament act immediately to extend protection to the unborn child by amending the Criminal Code to extend the same protection enjoyed by born human beings to unborn human beings. I concur with this petition.

Petitions November 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the second petition has to do with the issue of sexual orientation.

The petitioners pray that Parliament not amend the Canadian Human Rights Act or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in any way which would tend to indicate societal approval of same sex relationships or of homosexuality, including amending the Canadian Human Rights Act to include in the prohibited grounds of discrimination the undefined phrase sexual orientation. I concur with this petition.

Petitions November 2nd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise to present three petitions to the House.

In the first one the petitioners pray that Parliament ensures that the present provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada prohibiting assisted suicide be enforced vigorously and that Parliament make no changes in the law which would sanction or allow the aiding or abetting of suicide or active or passive euthanasia. I concur with this petition.