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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

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act October 6th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I have one question for the hon. member with regard to the speech made earlier today by the leader of the Conservative Party. He would increase the pension plan and contributions to the plan but at the same time he must give tax breaks in other forms.

Will the Conservative Party, of which 13 members are from Atlantic Canada, help us, the New Democratic Party, in pushing the government for a reduction of the HST? The Liberals thought we were not bad enough off with the GST so they threw the HST on us as well. Will they assist us to get a reduction in the HST to help the pensioners and those with low incomes in Atlantic Canada?

Speech From The Throne October 3rd, 1997

He did not say that. Open your ears and listen to him.

Speech From The Throne October 3rd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I wish to express to my hon. colleague from Longueuil that when it comes to issues such as the environment, suicide and pay equity she can be assured that I and my colleagues will assist her in any way we can in order to get the necessary funding and the help required in order to meet those needs.

Canada Post October 3rd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. post office handles 40 percent of the world's mail and its Postmaster General, Marvin Runyon, makes $205,000 Canadian per year.

Canada Post, which handles 3 percent of the world's mail, just renewed President Georges Clermont's obscene salary and benefits package to $380,000 Canadian per year, which by the way is not for public information.

My question is for the minister responsible for Canada Post. If the government is so willing to quickly settle a contract for Georges Clermont why will he and Canada Post management not apply the same attitude toward the current concerns of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers?

Speech From The Throne October 3rd, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. My hon. colleague from Churchill River would not stand up, because it is unparliamentary, to ask the member to take back the remark he just made. I ask, Mr. Speaker, that he take back that remark, which borders on racism toward this man's heritage. I ask that he—

Supply September 30th, 1997

Madam Speaker, I would like to speak on and on. Yes, we have another agenda. Perhaps he would like to have a copy of it. It is just one example of our agenda. By all means, the member may come down and talk to us at any time. We are at Room 368 of the Confederation Building. I would be more than happy to have dinner with the member. I will pay and we can discuss our agenda with him.

Supply September 30th, 1997

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question. Yes, indeed, I will be holding townhall meetings. My goal is to hold at least 50 townhall meetings throughout the next four to five years. Because I have such a large rural and urban riding, I think it is my responsibility and that of my staff to go out to the communities and speak to them on these issues.

I want to have the hon. member understand why I am sitting in this House and what gave me the push to get in here. It was the last townhall meeting, the very famous one, where the prime minister spoke to a woman from Quebec. She told the prime minister that she had three degrees and was finding it very difficult to get a job. His response was “Well, Madam, you know in life some people are lucky, some are not”.

The second he said that I phoned my provincial secretary and asked him to tell me what I had to do to become a candidate in the next election so that I could face the prime minister and his party and question him on the fact that we do not base our society on luck. We base it on hard work, compassion and fairness.

Supply September 30th, 1997

There is more to it than that. We in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia pay more for postage stamps than anywhere else in the country because this government introduced the HST. It bribed, cajoled and did everything it could to the Atlantic provinces, and this is what we got stuck with.

The most dreaded tax of all time was the GST. That was not good enough for the Liberals. They had to throw the HST on people. There is HST on children's clothing. There is HST on electricity. There is HST on home heating oil. There is HST on gasoline. How the heck do the Liberals expect low income earners and those on fixed incomes like pensioners to pay for the basic necessities of the day to day lifestyle in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland?

It is simply scandalous that the hon. member for Durham, with the cheerleading crowd from Ontario, and Reform members can stand and say that there should be more tax cuts. Why do they not stand in the House and tell the people of Atlantic Canada “Yes, we will give you a tax cut. We will give you a major tax cut on the HST”.

We now have a premier who is unelected, Mr. Russell MacLellan. He was appointed by the Liberal Party. He was here in the House and signed the agreement implementing the HST. Now he is back there saying to the people, because he may be coming up for a byelection soon, that they will re-think the HST. We are encouraging him to re-think it all the way back to the federal party.

Of course, the finance minister is saying “Mr. MacLellan, before you can say anything like that you have to come to speak to us first”. His hands will be completely tied because of the Liberal agenda, a Liberal agenda which has been pushed and controlled by the Reformers. To us it is simply scandalous that this goes on and on.

The member for Durham was talking about giving money to these programs. Exactly. Total tax reform means that we can get enough taxes from profitable businesses and corporations that can afford to pay their fair share and spread the money around.

An elderly gentleman in Cape Breton told me a year ago “Peter, money is like manure. It is only good when it is spread around. When it concentrates in one pile you know exactly what it does”.

I could go on and on with this, folks, but I can assure the House that Atlantic Canadians will not stand for it any longer. Come May the original TAGS program, which was supposed to go to May 1999, is going to expire.

May I remind the House that in the last year we have had people in New Brunswick tear-gassed by the Frank McKenna government. They were fighting to keep their schools open. We have had Cape Breton unionized workers burn down an apartment building because they were in distress trying to find jobs. We had people rocking a media bus in Newfoundland because of their desperation for the TAGS program and supplement programs of that nature.

I encourage members of the House to work together to help those people in Atlantic Canada because if we do not, come May it is going to be a very sorry picture indeed.

Supply September 30th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak today against the Reform motion and that of the Liberal Party. I also wish to thank the constituents and the people of Sackville—Eastern Shore, a new riding in Nova Scotia, who elected me and gave me their trust and honour and privilege to represent them in this House of Commons.

It is amazing when we hear the Reform and the Liberal Party go on and on with their rhetoric. I want to inform them that the people of Sackville—Eastern Shore, Nova Scotia elected me to come to the House of Commons for political solutions, not political interference.

They wanted me to come and not only hold the government accountable and hold other opposition parties accountable for their actions and their responsibilities, but also to work with them to find the solutions of today.

When the hon. member for Durham talks about the NDP and our policies, I should inform this House that we are the only federal party whose parliamentary and constituency staff are organized under a collective agreement. We do not hear anything coming from their side on that aspect of it.

Where are the Reform and Liberal backbenchers to help us eliminate the immigration head tax?

If I may digress a little, I wish to inform the House that I am an immigrant. My mother and father and six of us moved to this country in 1956. We went from Halifax at pier 21 by train all the way to Vancouver. I want to tell members what my parents told me. At the time I was only eight months old.

My father was in the Dutch resistance during the war of 1939 to 1945. The first person who rescued him out of a POW camp was a Canadian. Because of that, he had a lifelong dream to come to Canada. Because of the closure of the coal mines in the south of Holland in 1952, 25,000 families in the south of Holland had to literally evacuate the country because there were no opportunities at that time.

We came to Canada in 1956. My father got off the boat at pier 21 and the first question he asked in his broken English to a woman from the Salvation Army who was there to help, along with the Red Cross, was where he could get food for eight people for a two day journey. She asked where he was headed. He said Vancouver. She laughed and laughed and of course it was contagious and my father started to laugh and laugh as well, not knowing what he was laughing about. He did not realize that it was a six day journey from Halifax to Vancouver by train.

Anyway, we got to Vancouver and that Christmas my mother received a turkey from her local church group. She had never seen a 20 pound turkey before. Not knowing what to do with it, she cut it up in little pieces and fried it up in two huge cast iron skillets. The woman next door who happened to be from Quebec and was living in Delta walked in to see how the turkey was coming along. She noticed that this turkey was cut up in tiny little pieces and she laughed and laughed. Of course my mother started to laugh as well. It was quite contagious. This woman then took my mother down to the store and got another turkey for her and showed her how to cook it properly.

My parents, in return, invested in Canada by running a group home for over 25 years. For over 25 years I grew up in a group home with over 400 children from across the country who were runaways, who were abused, from every aspect of life. My parents did that to repay Canada for their lovely entry to this country.

The reason I say that is because I spoke with my parents the other day. My father is under palliative care. One of his closest friends passed away two months ago waiting for a transplant operation. The hon. member for Durham should understand that my parents' laughter is now gone. The cuts to health care have taken away their humour.

Where are the political parties when it comes to health and education?

Our most valuable resource is our children, and yet we turn around and say to people that children with disabilities cannot receive proper education because we do not have the money. We have the money to give huge tax breaks to profitable banks and corporations. It is simply scandalous that this rhetoric can go on and on.

I wish to say a few things about the deficit and the debt and what we should do about them.

Average Canadians are the real heroes in the war against the deficit. They are the ones who should benefit from their struggles.

The interests of big business and Canada's elite cannot be put ahead of ordinary Canadians. The Reform Party and lobby groups, such as the Business Council on National Issues, are pressuring the government to give further tax breaks to Canada's highest income earners and the most successful corporations.

Unprecedented government cuts to programs, such as Canada's health care and education systems, might have improved the government's bottom line, but they have increasingly threatened the average Canadian; not only average Canadians who use the public services of health and education, but all Canadians who have a job; those who are said, from the government lines, lucky to have a job.

The current trend is that Reformers are pushing the Liberals into their agenda, away from the previous Tory agenda. During the campaign I liked to say that the Liberals have reformed the Tory agenda.

People who have worked for 20 or 30 years are now insecure in their jobs. They do not know if they will have a job tomorrow. They do not know if they will be able to meet their payments. They do not know if they will be able to send their kids to college.

Today I asked the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans if he would re-commit to a signed, written contract with the 40,000 fishers of Atlantic Canada and Quebec to maintain the income supplement program known as TAGS, for the fishers of those areas. His response was that he consulted with those people, in order to eliminate the program, for an entire year. Can I honestly believe that he would ask 40,000 fishers “Do you want to lose your income for a year?”

It is simply scandalous that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans would stand here and tell us that is what he did. It is an absolute scandalous mistruth.

Fisheries September 30th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, it is quite obvious that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has difficulty with this question. The question once again is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. Will he recommit to this House today the contractual agreement that this government signed with the fishers of Atlantic Canada and Quebec to maintain the TAGS program until May 1999?