House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was military.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Sackville—Eastern Shore (Nova Scotia)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 34% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Telecommunications Act November 21st, 1997

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. When you read the numbers off, I assumed it was with regard to a previous bill. I do apologize. I do give unanimous consent.

Telecommunications Act November 21st, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I listened to the comments from the hon. member from the Liberal party. The unfortunate aspect of it is that in Nova Scotia we saw recently the provincial government giving $12 million to AT&T to compete head on with our local phone company, MT&T.

I know my colleagues in the Reform Party do not like the idea of people on welfare and people collecting EI, but I am sure they would be quite adamant that huge rich multinational companies come into areas of the maritimes and literally coerce the provincial government into giving them money in order to set up shop to the detriment of workers and the company and management already there.

Can she give assurances to this House today that this bill, or the agreements to these bills after the OECD, will not add to the detriment of working people already in those communities? As well, at the same time she talks about education for children, need I remind this House that it was this government that cut education funding to the Atlantic provinces and across this country to the tune of billions of dollars.

On one hand she says this is good for the future of people and children. On the other hand they are taking money away that aids the children of our future.

Canada Post November 20th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, now a question from the only party in the House that sees the workers of CUPW as Canadians.

The current crisis facing Canadians and Canadian businesses is because the Minister of Public Works and Government Services has turned Canada Post into a cash cow with excessive dividends and demands for the government instead of quality postal service for all Canadians.

Will the minister advise the House that the government will get its greedy little fingers out of the coffers of Canada Post so that bargaining between the management and CUPW will begin in earnest in an atmosphere of openness and fairness?

Canada Post November 19th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House the minister of public Works passionately said that he wanted a negotiated settlement between Canada Post and CUPW. Last night the parties were that close to a collective agreement.

Also last night Eda Irwin, the spokesperson for Canada Post, then revealed to the press that she does not have a mandate to negotiate with this union. What is going on?

For the sake of all Canadians and Canadian business, when will this minister get off his chair and negotiate properly and give Canada Post the mandate it requires to negotiate?

Customs Tariff November 18th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to hear my esteemed colleague from St. John's West, from the island of Newfoundland, talking about the free trade deal and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it has created. I wonder how many people in Newfoundland are listening to his comments today. That province probably has one of the highest unemployment rates in North America if we break it down to a per capita ratio.

He said that the NDP is against free trade deals. What we are against are deals that hurt Canadian workers. He, coming from the province of Newfoundland, should know that better than anybody else.

The fact of the matter is it has driven labour standards, health standards and safety standards down to match third world country standards.

Let me remind him of what happened in Mexico. We were told when the Tories introduced free trade that Mexican workers' standards would rise. We were told that their standard of living would rise. It is 1997 now and if we visit Mexico, as I have recently, we will notice that the standards for workers are lower than they have ever been.

Those are the types of deals which we are against.

Canada Post November 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the threat of back to work legislation is the reason the parties are no longer talking. We are in this fix because the government refuses to confirm or deny that it is going to introduce back to work legislation.

For the sake of all Canadians, will the minister withdraw the threat of back to work legislation and allow the union and management to sit down and seriously negotiate the collective agreement that he seriously talks about?

Canada Post November 17th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, according to a leaked memo by the President of the Canadian Direct Marketing Association last August, the Minister of Public Works indicated to the CDMA that a national postal stoppage would be very short and back to work legislation would be quickly introduced.

My question for the minister is what will the position of the government be if Canada Post locks out its CUPW employees this evening?

Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park Act November 4th, 1997

Madam Speaker, again I echo the comments of my colleague from Quebec. I reiterate that Bill C-7 is an example of what can happen when federal and provincial jurisdictions get together to work with a co-operative nature, not just for the marine park for the Saguenay—St. Lawrence but also in areas off the coasts of Nova Scotia, Îles de la Madeleine, British Columbia and in our various Great Lakes. It is an example of what we can do when we have a vision of the future, of what we can do not only to protect other species but to protect ourselves as well.

A true testament of man is not what we have left for our children in terms of finances and the type of homes they live in. If we see species in our realm today will our children be able to witness them as well? I know my great grandparents read about things like the passenger pigeon which is no longer available. We in our lifetimes in this House will never get to see such a beautiful creature.

We are hoping that this bill will protect the beluga whale so that our children may go to the shores of the St. Lawrence and one day witness those belugas.

Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park Act November 4th, 1997

Madam Speaker, I am very proud today to rise on behalf of my constituents of Sackville—Eastern Shore to declare the New Democratic Party's support in principle for Bill C-7, an act to establish the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park.

In my riding the significance of our natural surroundings affects our very lives and livelihood. Our streams, rivers, lakes, forests and agricultural lands provide sustenance to all who reside there. Whether it is the citizens in the north or the citizens in the south, the need to maintain and preserve the ecosystem is a belief shared by everyone.

I commend the Liberal government's effort to fulfil at least one election promise made to Canadians. I am pleased that the proposed legislation will enable all Canadians the opportunity to visit and enjoy another jewel in our country's natural heritage.

Bill C-7 is the reincarnation of Bill C-78 tabled late in the 35th Parliament which died on the Order Paper with the dissolution of Parliament. Its reintroduction is a continuation of the effort which began in the 1970s when the need for marine life protection along the St. Lawrence achieved national attention.

The disgraceful state of the river at the time was best signified by the dead and dying St. Lawrence beluga whales washing ashore. Toxic contaminants from upriver sources have been identified as the primary culprit. The establishment of a marine park it is hoped will assist in the recovery of this endangered species.

The rich diversity of marine life found at the confluence of the Saguenay fjord and the St. Lawrence River supports many species and is visited each summer by blue whales, fin whales, minke whales and on occasion by humpback and sperm whales. The whales represent the top of the park's marine food chain and efforts to correct the damage to this area inflicted by man deserve our support.

There is another fact which may be overlooked. Millions of people depend upon the waters of the St. Lawrence for drinking water, recreational and employment purposes. Given the endangered state of the St. Lawrence beluga, a victim of outdated practices and environmental impacts, the risk to people is acknowledged. The requirement for the protection of this ecosystem becomes an absolute necessity.

The significance of the establishment of the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park goes beyond the benefits of this ecosystem. It is a hallmark in intergovernmental co-operation. The process to guarantee the conversion of an acknowledged jewel involved the active participation and conciliation between the governments of Canada and Quebec. Both levels agreed upon a need to correct the errors of the past and to proceed with a common purpose to achieve a noble end, the protection and preservation of this marine ecosystem.

Both levels agreed to honour their respective jurisdictions. Throughout the years which followed, they discussed, consulted and overcame adversity. On June 5, 1997 the proposed legislation received Quebec legislature assent.

The degree of public participation and input must also be recognized. The communities were consulted. Aboriginal participation was ensured. We hope that the co-ordinating committee, a key component toward the park's success, will continue the spirit of goodwill to provide input and direction that is both productive and proactive.

A fine example of how the public consultation principle can be incorporated into a decision making process occurred when all parties agreed to expand the park boundaries from 746 square kilometres to 1,138 square kilometres. Environmental groups and marine scientists for the most part were acknowledged and listened to beyond political agendas or preferences of the day.

The process will not end with Parliament's assent. A new stage begins: the definition and implementation of the management plan. The management plan will define the ability for the ecosystem to survive, to thrive and to provide a sustainable use of the natural resources. There are several concerns that various stakeholders have expressed on proposed management plans, parameters and restrictions. I look forward to raising these important considerations at committee.

I am confident that the co-operation shown throughout the years can continue at committee and the matters related to a successful, sustainable marine park management plan specific to the Saguenay—St. Lawrence area will be included for final reading.

There is agreement between all proponents that it is imperative to establish the park for the belugas, for the hundreds of marine species, for the preservation and enjoyment of future generations. There is agreement between many proponents that to ensure this principle's success, several basic standards are absent from the proposed legislation as written today.

There is very little language in Bill C-7 referring to the conservation mandate of the park and Parks Canada. A suggestion from the World Wildlife Fund, active proponents and contributors to this process, is the strengthening of the language in the preamble and the purpose of the bill. The park is being created not just to protect but to conserve and maintain the integrity of the natural ecosystems within the park's boundaries.

As I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, the initial impetus to establish the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park came out of the efforts to protect and recover the beluga whale population living in that region. Perhaps we should ask why there is no mention of species at risk. Through the years this can be interpreted as a basic oversight easily corrected by committee.

I believe that a second sentence can be added to the purpose of the bill or to the preamble to the effect that “this will be done by preserving and maintaining the natural ecosystems within the park boundaries, and in particular by protecting and aiding the recovery of species and populations designated as at risk”. Fine words written by our friends and a principal tenet I am proud to refer to the House.

Proponents have requested that the bill should include the Parks Canada guiding principles to be used as the definitive reference to guide park operations. Proponents have requested that some of the zone one areas, those areas deemed as vital for integral preservation, be expanded. Concerns on a complete ban on bottom trawling to prevent the disturbance of contaminated sediments which will cause further ecological damage is proposed also.

The cornerstone to this park's sustainable success will be restrictions on recreational and commercial impacts upon breeding areas and other areas in this region deemed as critical for marine life preservation. We believe a balance can be struck to ensure the economic benefits gained by the surrounding communities through ecotourism initiatives. We believe that the environment and jobs are not inconsistent when managed wisely in a sustainable manner.

This process has evolved over many years. I am confident that any conflicts or differing views in management plan procedures can be addressed at committee. A national marine conservation areas policy is in its infancy. Although a national marine parks policy was produced over a decade ago, a lack of practical experience has led to a continuing study and consultation period.

Parks Canada is recognized internationally for its professional standards, its high degree of determination to ensure the conservation and preservation of Canada's national parks. It is truly to be congratulated.

The protection of our wilderness areas is often thought of in terrestrial terms, semi-closed ecosystems which have defined components based on specific locations and limited outside impacts. There are Jasper, Gros Morne, Wood Buffalo, Fundy, Kluane, La Mauricie, Grasslands, Prince Albert, Cape Breton Highlands and over 20 other national parks in this fine country. Banff, the original jewel, was established in 1885.

Today we refer to committee another effort to preserve a part of our national heritage for future generations. There is a significant difference between the proposed Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park and this country's efforts across the past century. However, I must explain to my colleagues the responsibilities we accept today are on behalf of all Canadians.

The proposed legislation recognizes the respect for alternate jurisdictions and I join my colleagues to commend the fine degree of co-operation demonstrated by the federal and Quebec governments toward this noble cause.

The federal government's responsibilities will include the overlying water column and exercising its legislative jurisdiction over marine resources and maritime transportation activities in this territory. The Quebec government retains administration for the seabed and subsoil resources.

The water column is the fundamental component for this park's success. The water column is a transportation medium for the pollutants which contribute to the near demise of the St. Lawrence belugas. The water column is a fluid highway that delivers the outfalls and ecosystem degradation from a distant point to impact upon our best intentions and efforts which will determine a recovery or loss.

The establishment of the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park will require close co-operation and collaboration across many jurisdictional boundaries. There will be a new era of scientific and educational unity which cannot be destroyed by political interference or self-serving agendas of the day.

The water column has the capacity to transport the nutrients and support requirements for the regeneration of this area. Through conscious efforts to conserve and maintain the integrity of the marine ecosystems within the park's boundaries we have the opportunity to improve and contribute to the betterment of adjacent and distant regions.

The protection of the proposed park will require an effective management plan and I agree with the concerns raised by my colleagues on behalf of concerned Canadians and international organizations. In addition to the aforementioned concerns and comments we must accept the responsibility which is this and future governments' duty to ensure.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans must commit to a comprehensive monitoring program in the park. The department must commit to acting in a responsible and co-operative manner. This responsibility will include the budget allocation for adequate personnel and sufficient equipment to fulfil jurisdiction requirements. This responsibility will include a comprehensive emergency spill contingency plan and a capability for effective implementation. This responsibility will include swift response and acceptable enforcement measures on those occasions when deleterious and detrimental impacts from beyond park boundaries are identified. This responsibility will include first and foremost the capacity and sincerity to act within park boundaries to ensure the park's success to maintain and preserve the marine ecosystem.

I believe a balance can be struck to ensure the economic benefits which can be attained through ecotourism initiatives. I believe that jobs and the environment are not inconsistent when managed in a wise and sustainable manner. However, the pursuit of one must not damage the effort of another.

Parks Canada has stated that an integral component for the success and sustainability of the Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park is the expected tourist income from whale watching operations. The first test of this government's sincerity for marine protection will arise during the definition and restriction phase of management plan parameters.

Again, a balance can be struck to affirm long term recovery and park viability. However, the concerns raised by the scientific community cannot be ignored or misrepresented as has been done in the recent past.

The Saguenay—St. Lawrence marine park can succeed if it is memories and photographs which are harvested, not the marine inhabitants. Without conscientious efforts to balance tourism and the protection and perhaps the expansion of zone 1 areas within the park we will end up without marine inhabitants to present to tourists.

In the words of one marine scientist we must avoid the project becoming “Disney does Beluga”. I am confident that such concerns will be presented at committee and acted upon with foresight and objective considerations. I am pleased to join my colleagues across both sides of the House in support to refer this bill in principle to committee for final review.

For our children's future I encourage all my colleagues on both sides of this House and in the Quebec legislature to support not only this bill but other environmental initiatives that protect the future for our children. On behalf of the New Democratic caucus I am pleased to offer my support to referring this bill to committee for final review.

The Economy November 3rd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

The government has finally learned what Canadians have known for some time. While the gross domestic product may be rising, the social health of Canadians has actually declined. The government's index on social health shows that unemployment, falling real wages and increases in child poverty continue to plague our country.

Will the Minister of Finance commit today to improving the social health of Canadians? Will he and his government set targets and timetables to reduce unemployment and pursue them with the same determination and vigour that he pursued targets for deficit reduction?