House of Commons photo

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

Income Tax Act June 7th, 1994

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-256, an act to amend the Income Tax Act (transfer of income to spouse).

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to present my first private member's bill in the House of Commons. I would like to thank the member for Madawaska-Victoria for seconding my bill.

The bill would amend the Income Tax Act to allow one spouse to split or to pay up to $25,000 to the other spouse who is managing the family home and caring for at least one dependent child who has not commenced full time attendance at school.

The initiative would recognize the value of work in the family home and would give parents the option of providing direct parental care to their children. It would allow the spouse in the home to be eligible to purchase RRSPs and therefore provide a more equitable retirement income opportunity. Both jobs and day care spaces would be freed up by the initiative by those who could now afford to leave the workforce and remain at home to care for their children.

It is a great honour to present the bill to the House. I look forward to discussing it with my colleagues to garner support for what I believe is an important initiative.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed.)

Huntington's Disease May 27th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to advise the House that May has been proclaimed as Huntington's Disease Awareness Month by the Huntington Society of Canada.

Huntington's disease is an inherited neurological disorder. The symptoms include uncontrollable jerking movements, unsteady gait and slurred speech. Because of these symptoms persons with Huntington's disease are often mistakenly thought to be intoxicated.

The Huntington Society of Canada is a national network of volunteers and health professionals. They work together to provide public information, to find a cure and treatment for Huntington's disease, and to improve the quality of life for people with the disease and their families.

I encourage members of the House and indeed all Canadians to be sensitive to the needs of those who suffer from disabilities caused by Huntington's disease and to support the work of the Huntington Society of Canada.

National Library Act May 27th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

With all due respect to the hon. member, she has made liberal references to this side of the House and how it feels. I would like to bring to the attention of the Chair and to the hon. member that this side of the House does indeed include 26 members of the government.

Pearson International Airport Agreements Act May 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, finally I am rising after many months on a point of order that has to do with references made by hon. members in the Bloc Quebecois to Canada and to Quebec as separate entities.

In fairness, I do understand the wish of the Bloc to separate from Canada. However it is also not permitted in the House for members to indicate any information which they know is not true or is somehow misleading.

I would therefore simply ask the Chair if it would please rule on whether Canada in fact includes Quebec today and whether the language the member has used is in fact inappropriate in the House.

International Year Of The Family May 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 1994 as the International Year of the Family. However this is not as much a celebration as it is a warning.

Over the last 20 years the percentage of families with both spouses working has increased from 34 per cent to 62 per cent, thereby reducing the amount of direct parental care. In addition each year over 20,000 unmarried women aged 12 to 19 give birth with the majority choosing to raise the children themselves. As a result most do not finish their education and are likely to become dependent on subsidized housing and welfare. Their offspring are at a higher risk of being premature or a low birth weight, more likely to experience difficulty in school, and more likely to become single parents themselves.

Accordingly policies and legislation for strengthening the traditional family should be a primary concern to our government. As well employers and parents must also realize they have increased responsibilities to ensure that the family remains the basic unit of society.

Pearson International Airport Agreements Act April 26th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I want to respond to a comment made by the member who basically imputed motives. I know the Speaker has often said to members to take due care in terms of imputing motives.

The member indicated the reason the Liberals cancelled the deal was so that they could deal with their own pockets. I find that statement very unsavoury. I would invite the member to read the report of Mr. Nixon to determine whether there was a flawed process, and to make his own decision if it was appropriate to cancel the deal. Do not impute motives to the Liberal Party but rather make a decision on your own. It is a bad deal. It has been cancelled, and the government is acting responsibly.

Pearson International Airport Agreements Act April 26th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I understand the member's concern and his questions.

He dealt with two issues, one being the issue of lobbyists. He also commented with regard to the propriety of the amendment proposed by his leader.

First, the issue of lobbyists is important and it must be dealt with. The government has indicated it will be dealing with the total question of lobbyists. I believe it probably would be appropriate to call a public inquiry, to investigate what happened and why with regard to lobbyist activities, whether it be Pearson or otherwise, just to ensure that we know what happened.

The amendment proposed by the leader of the Bloc Quebecois is basically to frustrate the passing of the legislation. The member has not really addressed the real question of whether the legislation which has been proposed should go forward. It is not to say that if this goes forward we cannot look into the aspects of lobby registrations.

The member is asking questions about the bill, whether there is agreement or not, and what we are trying to do. Clearly the government assessed whether it was necessary to bring in the legislation. It made the determination based on the best legal advice it had and counsel it obtained that it was necessary to come forward with legislation to put a stop to the agreements, to declare that they have not come into force. It deems they did not come into force and they have no legal effect. It bars certain actions against the government.

This requires legislation and the government has brought forward the legislation to ensure that the matter can be dealt with finally by the Government of Canada.

Pearson International Airport Agreements Act April 26th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise to speak in favour of Bill C-22. I will start by identifying what we are talking about, specifically looking at Toronto area airport issues.

Pearson International Airport is Canada's premier airport. Thirty per cent of all air passengers in Canada go through Pearson; 20 million passengers in 1992. It is among the top 30 airports internationally, the third largest gateway to North America after JFK airport and the Miami airport. It is a critical hub for many smaller cities in Ontario and indeed Canada.

It has 15,000 employees on site. It creates 56,000 jobs in Ontario and accounts for over $4 billion of annual economic activity. That is the reason why the Pearson airport issue is so important.

We have before us Bill C-22 to deal specifically with matters pertaining to Pearson. I would like to give some background events leading up to the legal agreements which Bill C-22 deals with.

In 1989 the Matthews Group of companies submitted an unsolicited proposal to the federal government to privatize terminals 1 and 2 at Pearson. The government did not accept that proposal, but the following year it did announce that it would proceed with a request for proposals to obtain private sector participation in the modernization of the two terminals at Pearson.

The request for proposals for the privatization and the redevelopment of terminals 1 and 2 was issued by the federal government in March 1992 and the bidders were given 90 days to respond. Two bids were submitted: one by Paxport Inc., controlled by the Matthews Group, and the other by Claridge Holdings Inc.

In December 1992 the Paxport proposal was declared to be more acceptable and the company was given until mid-February 1993 to satisfy the government that it was a financially viable proposal. When Paxport could not demonstrate this or raise the necessary capital, it sought assistance from Claridge. The private sector participants then formed the Pearson Development Corporation, referred to as PDC, and T1 T2 Limited Partnership for the purposes of carrying out the project.

In August 1993 the federal government and PDC announced that they had reached an agreement to redevelop and operate terminals 1 and 2. Legal agreements were to be finalized in the autumn of 1993.

A federal election was called on September 8, 1993. During the election campaign the Leader of the Opposition, now the Prime Minister, declared that the new government under his leadership would cancel any deal to privatize terminals 1 and 2 if the transaction was deemed not to be in the public interest. The chief negotiator for the government sought written instructions on whether to complete the transactions and on October 7, 1993 received written direction that it was Prime Minister Campbell's wish to complete the deal on that date. The legal agreements were therefore finalized on October 7.

Subsequent to the election one of the first actions of the government was to review the Pearson deal. As many members have alluded to, the government engaged Mr. Robert Nixon to do an independent review. I would like to read the conclusion from his report: "My review has left me with but one conclusion, to leave in place an inadequate contract, arrived at with such a flawed process and under the shadow of possible political manipulation, is unacceptable. I recommend to you that the contract be cancelled".

I then went on to look further because obviously a bald statement like that does require some substantive support to be able to indicate the so-called flawed process. In looking at Mr. Nixon's report, page 8, subparagraph 3, I would like to read into the record some extracts to give Canadians an idea of some of the things that were of concern to Mr. Nixon in preparing his report:

"The request for proposals having as it did only a single stage and requiring proponents to engage in project definition as well as proposal submission and all within a 90 day timeframe created in my view an enormous advantage to a proponent that had previously submitted a proposal for privatizing and developing T1 and T2. Other management and construction firms not having been involved in the manoeuvring preceding the RFP had no chance to come up to speed and submit a bid in a short time period".

At this point Mr. Nixon noted that there are some timing irregularities and probably some improprieties, at least in appearance:

"With little construction and developing occurring others should have been sought out and given reasonable time to participate. Further, it is significant that no financial prequalification was required in this competition. For a project of this magnitude the selection of the best overall acceptable proposal without complete assurance of financial viability seems to me to have been highly unusual and unwise".

Finally Mr. Nixon states: "The concluding of this transaction at Prime Ministerial direction in the midst of an election campaign where this issue was controversial in my view flies in the face of normal and honourable democratic practice. It is a well known and carefully observed tradition that when governments dissolve Parliament they must accept a restricted power of decision during the election period. Certainly the closing of a transaction of significant financial importance sealing for 57 years the privatization of a major public asset should not have been entered into during an election campaign".

I have to reiterate that the government said very clearly during the election campaign that the Pearson agreement should not proceed and that if it did the government's intention was to review the deal and to cancel the deal if indeed it was not deemed to be in the public interest. It chose to proceed and in fact the government did honour its promise to the Canadian people.

We have heard a lot of speakers today discussing the process and how it is seriously flawed, that the substance was similarly flawed and that we really need a transportation vision for Canada, a comprehensive strategy for our transportation system.

During the election campaign it was very clear to me that Canadians were saying political credibility is zero. I think one of the things that all members know and have learned very well is that political credibility demands fiscal responsibility. That fiscal responsibility will result in hopefully the restored confidence of Canadians in our legislative process and indeed in the integrity and credibility of people in political life. The Pearson deal, as many have suggested, did not do justice to the Canadian people. It was the right thing to do.

I would like to turn now specifically to Bill C-22, an act respecting certain agreements concerning the redevelopment and operations of terminals 1 and 2 at Lester B. Pearson International Airport, which received first reading on April 13, 1994. I would like to read for the House the explanatory note:

The enactment concerns agreements arising out of the Request for Proposals for the Terminal Development Project at Lester B. Pearson International Airport or the negotiations following that Request. It declares the agreements not to have come into force and to have no legal effect, and bars certain actions or other proceedings against Her Majesty in the right of Canada in relation to the agreements.

The enactment also authorizes the Minister of Transport, with the approval of the Governor in Council, to enter into agreements for the payment of amounts in connection with the coming into force of the enactment.

The bill was presented to the House by the Minister of Industry on behalf of the Minister of Transport. In summary of the legislation it indicates that the proposed legislation-this is for the benefit of those who have not followed the debate so far-will cancel those agreements that were entered into. It will make clear that government is not obligated to compensate the developer and allow the minister to make some payments but not for specifically lobbyist fees or lost profits.

The government's policy has been and remains that it would consider reimbursing out of pocket expenses with the exception of the lobby fees but would not make payments for lost profits.

As I went through many of the documents that were available to us, I found with some interest rhetorical questions which I think probably many Canadians and maybe members have been considering. The first question one might ask is: Are not private sector companies now going to be afraid to do business with the government? I think that is a very fair question and I think the answer is not at all. The government takes its contractual obligations seriously, but this is a different and special case unlikely to arise again.

The Liberal Party made it very clear that we were concerned that the agreement might be contrary to the public interest but the parties risked signed that anyway. It is extremely important that the government gave notice and put the participants on notice. In spite of the clear message that was sent they took the public risk to proceed in any event.

The new government subsequently reviewed the agreement in detail and determined that it was indeed contrary to the public interest and that is precisely what we expect elected officials of governments to do.

The second question of note was why is the government being so hard on Pearson Development Corporation. It sounds like Pearson Development Corporation is going to lose a lot of money for the sin of negotiating a contract with the government of the day. Again that is a very relevant and good question, but we also have to understand that the people who entered into these agreements are responsible and professional business people and that the government wishes to negotiate with them in a fair and reasonable manner.

During the campaign our party made it very clear that we were concerned that the agreement was contrary to the public interest but the parties proceeded anyway. This is extremely important to the essence of the bill.

The government subsequently reviewed the agreement in detail and determined it was indeed contrary to the public interest. However the government stands by its commitments and there will be no payments for the lost profits or lobbying costs.

The final question that was stated was what are the government's future plans for Pearson International Airport. This is probably as important a question as any. I stated earlier in my speech some of the dimensions of the Pearson contribution to Canada, to jobs and to the economy. The Minister of Transport said that he intends to make a decision on airport administrative structure and potential expansion before the end of the year. He is seeking input from a large variety of sources, including his own caucus which will be giving him input with regard to the decisions.

I have a special interest in the Pearson airport issue because it is just north of my riding, a mere 10-minute drive from the east end of my riding. We have had a number of public meetings over the years on many controversial issues, many relating to privatization, some relating to the expansion of the airport, and recently a very emotional debate with regard to expansion of runways, the new north-south runways which were already subject to a major environmental assessment review.

Having had two public meetings, I think the last one was just two weeks ago, the people who have participated in this debate over these many long months have said one thing, that they agree Pearson is an extremely important economic unit to Canada and that the future of Pearson has to be handled in a comprehensive but careful manner to ensure that they will be able to maintain Pearson as the focal airport of Canada.

At this point I do not intend to debate the merits of expansion of the airport, of privatization. All I can say is that the people I represent and who have attended these public meetings are calling out and asking the government to provide the leadership with regard to this important economic unit.

I believe the bill is the next step in the process. Any time is a good time to cancel a bad agreement and to get on with the future of Pearson, which is the undertaking of the government today.

I would like to conclude my comments simply by making a reference to the amendment proposed by the leader of the Bloc Quebecois. It basically calls for a public inquiry. It has a lot to do with the fact that the bill does not deal sufficiently with the transparency of activities of Canadian lobbyists, which was the amendment from the Reform.

I have some difficulty understanding why that issue is relevant to this particular bill. There is no question the government has put everyone on notice that the activities of lobbyists are an important issue to this government and that it will be addressing specifically matters related to the lobbyist activity in our country.

Lobbyist activity does not directly relate to the bill. The bill deals with legal agreements and how we have a point of departure to get on with the business of the day to ensure that the future of Pearson is dealt with in a timely fashion.

The amendment appears to be quite inappropriate. I do not understand it. Pearson will continue to be the major airport for Canada. It is my pleasure to have spoken today in favour of Bill C-22.


Taxation April 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, fairness and equity within our tax system are not optional but necessary characteristics which we must strive to achieve. Accordingly, when inequities are identified Canadians should expect prompt attention from their elected representatives.

One such inequity has to do with child care expenses. Under the present income tax law one spouse cannot pay another spouse to provide direct parental care and receive a deduction for the expense. However, in the case of same sex couples who have custody of a child, one can pay the other for child care expenses and deduct the cost on their income tax return. This

effectively provides for income splitting not available to married couples.

In the full spirit of fairness and equity, we should extend the same tax benefit to mothers and fathers as is given to same sex couples. This serious inequity demands prompt attention.

Foreign Affairs April 21st, 1994

Madam Speaker, tonight members of Parliament have been asked to comment on a very important and sensitive matter affecting the entire world.

The aggressions in Bosnia-Hercegovina continue to escalate and now the Secretary-General of the UN, Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, has asked Canada and others to consider, and the operative word according to the minister is consider, the advisability of further air strikes.

I think all members are very grateful that the government has reserved this decision until it consulted with the House. Tomorrow decisions will be made.

Why are we doing this? An Ottawa Citizen headline reads: ``Make Serbs Pay Price Says U.S.''. We have read these headlines for months and months and the issues here are issues of credibility in terms of making our decision, credibility of the UN and whether it has taken appropriate action on a timely basis; credibility of NATO and our NATO allies and whether peacekeeping versus peacemaking has been properly addressed here.

Many members have said often in this House that we have no peace in Bosnia and therefore how can we be peacekeepers. Our Canadian troops are trained and equipped as peacekeepers, not peacemakers.

As the minister mentioned earlier in the House, on April 18 the UN Secretary-General wrote to Manfred Woerner, the Secretary General of NATO, requesting that the arrangement to protect Sarajevo, a safe area, be extended to five additional areas, being Gorazde, Srebrenica, Zepa, Tuzla and Bihac.

Gorazde, which is the area in which this aggression is now taking place, is very close to the Serbian border, only a matter of 15 or 20 kilometres. Where are the Canadian troops? I want to raise this because the previous speaker possibly raised some concerns beyond the level which they should be at this time.

Canadian troops are near the Croatian town of Gradacac. The Princess Patricia Calgary Light Infantry is there. We also have troops in the Bosnian town of Visoko, some 30 kilometres northwest of Sarajevo. Right now our Canadian troops are not in grave danger as a result of the present aggressions in and around Gorazde. We do however have one officer, Major Stogran, in the Gorazde area. His movements at this time are restricted.

Canadians have serious fears. Those fears have been growing over the weeks and months. We all remember when some of our Canadian peacekeepers were lined up in a mock firing squad fashion. We also know the Serbs took some of our brave Canadian peacekeepers hostage.

The Bosnian Serbs have not shown any signs of good faith at any point during this period of aggression, despite the international efforts to stop these atrocities against innocent people. The Serbs have in fact demonstrated solely a thirst to kill.

Before I came into the House this evening I asked for the latest reports and they indicate that the Serbs have taken Gorazde. Gorazde has fallen. There is house to house combat. I am sorry to say that tomorrow we will likely read more statistics about the carnage, atrocities and death of innocent people in that Bosnian city.

Our fears as Canadians are also prompted by the fact that we know what air strikes can do. There were air strikes in Sarajevo, but the difference there was that there were ground troops to support the air strikes. The situation in Gorazde is not as secure. There is not the same kind of protection of ground troops, of those people.

There have been many estimates of how many people have died in this conflict. Now I am told that the number is somewhere over 100,000 people who have lost their lives.

Tonight I asked defence officials how many people were in Gorazde, how many Muslims were there in this so-called safe area? We do not know how many people are there. All we know is people have been going to safe areas in droves and no one can possibly keep track. Estimates have been that in the range of 45,000 Muslims may be in Gorazde, but nobody knows.

What now? The UN, the Americans and most other partners in the UN coalition have basically said that we need the right to go forward with these strikes. How would they happen? They have the ability. There are over 100 fighter aircraft ready to take part in these strikes. They are in Italy. They are on aircraft carriers, et cetera.

I have taken the time to consult with as many of my colleagues as I could to find out what the sense was. There was unanimity among all members and all parties, a serious concern for the safety of our courageous troops in Bosnia.

I asked the minister's staff if I could have a copy of his speech. I want to repeat the minister's concern about Canadian troops because it is very important. Earlier today when he commenced his speech he said: "We have known from the start that deploying forces in the former Yugoslavia meant exposing our personnel to some risk. This concern has been with us since the beginning of the mission. The situation in Srebrenica, as well as the incident last week when 16 members of the Canadian forces were detained by Bosnian Serbs, reminded us that the risks were real". He also said: "As the UN and NATO contemplate more vigorous action the safety of our troops will continue to be a key consideration for the Canadian government".

It is critically important for Canadians to understand that the government, the Official Opposition and the Reform Party have all stated a sincere interest in protecting the interests of our Canadian troops.

It is time to stop the senseless slaughter and the atrocities. We do not need another Vietnam in our world. We need peace and stability. We need international co-operation. We need Canada to stand together with pride and with resolve with its UN partners. We need to support our allies and accept the resolution of the Secretary-General to consider air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs.