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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was children.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Conservative MP for Lethbridge (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2008, with 67% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply February 5th, 1998

I would like to start now, Mr. Speaker.

Ice Storm 1998 February 4th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, it is with a great deal of pleasure that I join the debate tonight.

The winter of 1997-98 is not one we will easily forget. Mother nature has reminded us of her tremendous power and of the importance of men and women reaching out to each other on an individual, community and national basis as we struggle to rectify what nature has done to us.

The winter of 1997-98 has shown in its wrath extreme conditions, from the out of control prairie fires in Alberta to the severe ice storms in Ontario, Quebec and the maritimes. It is somewhat of a story of fire and ice.

To what do we owe these natural disasters? Some say it is El Nino. Some say it is man made, something we are doing to our ecology, that the equilibrium is out of whack. Whatever it is, one thing we must all agree on is that we showed once again what Canadians can do together in the face of diversity.

We witnessed courageous acts in the last couple of years during the floods in Manitoba and Quebec. People were helping people with time, food, shelter, medical help, supplies, money, the list goes on and on.

When the ice storms of 1998 hit, the courage and determination of our fellow Canadians shone brightly against the vast blackness in powerless towns and cities. The ice storms of 1998 reminded all Canadians of how dependent we have become on the comforts of modern day living but, more important, of how much we have come to depend on each other.

I would like to talk a bit about what happened in southern Alberta in my neighbouring constituency of Macleod. A fire came raging out of the foothills, swept out across the prairies and devastated over 100 square kilometres of ranch land. It took out homes and buildings, it destroyed livestock and wildlife, it destroyed the feed supplies of all the ranchers in the area for the entire winter and for the years to come. It destroyed miles and miles of fence. It did this with a fury that few people have ever remembered. It burned to a black ash an area that was once green and vital. There were no feed supplies. There were no homes for some. Buildings were gone. There was livestock lost. Wildlife was gone. There was a bleak and disturbing sight left.

The next day as I toured the area the dust had already started to blow off this fragile environment. The wind continued to blow, the dust blew and it looked very much like the 1930s. One day the air was black, the next day it was brown. This reminds us how fragile this world is.

After the shock had worn off and the people had started to pull together, it was amazing to look back and see what had happened, all the municipalities that had pulled together, the neighbours who had come in to fight the fires. Strangers came from miles to help. That continued from the day of the fire on and on. I am sure many of these stories have been repeated in this area during the ice storms of this winter.

There are pictures of a gymnasium in Grantham full of clothes and food and supplies donated from all over the country. People like Joey Hurlburt from Fort Macleod organized relief measures. The community of Claresholm raised over $100,000 in one day by sponsoring a dance and an auction in a community event. I know many of these stories will be repeated again and again in this part of the country when the ice storm of 1998 is remembered.

Just this week we toured an area of some sugar bush out at McDonalds Corners. It was shocking to see the devastation of the maple trees and the rest of the forest and the economic impact this is going to have on the woodlot operators, the farmers in the area and certainly the maple syrup industry.

I would like to thank the room full of Wheelers for hosting us, the room full of tired people who have been working steady during the storm and since to try to replace their lives and their way of life.

In Canada we are kind of spoiled by the bountiful fruits of our land. In the maple syrup industry every year there is a harvest which seems to just flow and is always there. But unlike other crops, it is going to take many years to rejuvenate, as it probably will for the scarred landscape in southern Alberta. Given some time and some loving care, this can be replaced.

I have been encouraged by the support I saw when we were out at McDonalds Corners and I have been encouraged by the support that has been shown in southern Alberta, private industry, governments of all levels, municipal, provincial, federal, coming together to help.

The minister of agriculture told a rather stirring story earlier when he saw 100 trucks lined up after the ice storm to help repair the damage here, and they were all from across the line in America. This truly was an international effort to help out what has happened here. To those people who continue to suffer our thoughts and our prayers certainly go out to them.

The immediate life threatening crisis is over and one of my colleagues compared it to a funeral in a family where everybody comes around to be with you at the time of crisis. A few days later you are left alone to deal with your own thoughts and your own problems.

This is one thing that we have to guard against, that we do not forget that this has happened. We have to continue to help these people with the right amount of supply and effort going to them to help restore their lives and to help them cope with this terrible situation.

At this time I would like to extend heartfelt praise to our military, to the troops who worked so hard and so unselfishly to help out the people. The hydro workers worked day and night, seven days a week until they just dropped in their tracks, along with the people who came from across the border. It was an incredible sight to witness. It certainly shows what people can do when they get together and put forth effort.

Once the extent of the damage was realized, action was taken and the donations started pouring in. There were emergency shelters, food, donations of time and effort. There were people delivering generators.

In our area of southern Alberta I know people would be leaving the next day after the fire to go out to try to take care of their livestock and to assess the damage. They would come home and there would be a truckload of feed there for the livestock. They never knew where it came from. It was not asked. No one wanted to be recognized.

These are the kinds of stories that Canadians are famous for. Canadians can support one another in times of need and never ask for anything in return.

It is with deep empathy that I say to Ontarians, Quebeckers, maritimers and those in southern Alberta that throughout their ordeals we in western Canada watched the dread of the storm and of the fire as they ran their course. As always, our prayers and our thoughts were with them.

Our prayers are with the families as they try to cope with lost loved ones. We can heal the wounds of broken power poles and destroyed homes and grow new trees but we cannot replace the people we love who were lost. Our hearts go out to them.

It is moments like these when the generosity and kindness of Canadians helping Canadians from coast to coast to coast knows no bounds that leave me feeling very proud to live in this great nation and very proud to be a Canadian.

Candu Reactors December 4th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, in the 1980s the prime minister was energy minister. Back then he tried to sell Candus to Turkey, but concerns about the use of nuclear weapons scrubbed that deal.

My question is to the prime minister again. What would his friends at the land mines conference say if they knew he was selling Candus to countries that want them to make bombs?

Candu Reactors December 4th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, just yesterday the top story in the New York Times slammed Canadian officials for selling unsafe Candu reactors to countries with despicable human rights records. The reactor we sold to India was used to explode a nuclear device. The reactor we sold to Argentina is frequently shut down for leaks. The reactor we sold to South Korea leaks heavy water.

Given these embarrassing revelations front and centre in the New York Times , will the prime minister reconsider his shady deals to China and Turkey and say “no Candu”?

Committees Of The House December 4th, 1997

Madam Speaker, I would like to make a few comments on the report which was just tabled and note that our minority report is attached to it.

The Reform Party members on the committee support the establishment of clear federal-provincial jurisdiction over environmental matters while upholding national standards.

We would like to emphasize that it is crucial to eliminate unnecessary duplication and overlap in the most cost effective manner. The more money saved by streamlining the system, the more money left to protect the environment.

The Environment November 26th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I just want to make a comment and question the hon. member across.

I am on the standing committee of environment and sustainable development. Over the last while we have had numerous scientists come to us as witnesses. One of the people who came to us was a scientist from Newfoundland, an oceanographer. He had quite a different view of what was going on. He studies the oceans and he did not think that there was quite the reaction occuring in the world that others did.

One question I tried to ask most of the scientists who came to us was with today's technology and computerization and the methods we have of measuring things, if you had five or ten more years of accurate data added on to the data you already have, would this help narrow down the projections that scientists are coming up with? Would you be able to be more accurate?

The Environment November 26th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, some of the ideas we have heard tonight from the government side of the House are the kinds of things we have been asking for during the past three or four months. What are the types of programs we are going to have in place? What are we going to do? What is the government proposing to be done to meet these emissions reductions?

Any voluntary action that can be made to reduce emissions would be tremendous. My comparison of spending $4 billion to solve a $1 million problem was just a comparison. It was not right. Let us not spend a huge amount of money to solve a small problem unless we can prove that the problem needs those kinds of funds to take care of it.

The Environment November 26th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, we have to keep in context the size of the problem. Canada puts out 2% of the world's emissions. Since 1990 that has grown only by 8%. It was thought it would be 13% but it has been reduced. There have been programs implemented and voluntary moves by industry.

I would like to see municipal governments more involved to get down to the grassroots people and education of our young people. We only have to look at what we are doing with recycling. The hon. member referred earlier to a couple of r s. What happened there? Everybody in this country recycles because we trained our children. If we start education with voluntary programs there is lots that can be done.

The thing we are worried about and the thing we wish would have been put to rest a long time ago by this government is the fact that we do not have a $4 billion solution to a $1 million problem. We have to make sure the reaction we come up with to this problem is somewhere close to the problem that it is intended to solve.

The Environment November 26th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, we should note that it is now November 27, Thursday, and there are only nine days left between now and Kyoto.

This government has once again withheld vital information and refused to be held accountable for the position going into Kyoto. Industrialists and environmentalists alike are puzzled by this government's lack of leadership, openness and lack of consultation as it crams together a last minute position for Kyoto.

I can hardly believe, with Kyoto just a few days away, and one less now, that we are still in the dark about Canada's position. It is no wonder that public skepticism about government accountability is at an all time high.

This government reminds me somewhat of a disinterested student who rarely attends class and even when he is there, he never bothers to listen to what is being discussed until the night before the final exam when he begins to panic, wishing he had paid attention and desperately crams, trying to understand principles in the hope of scraping together a passing grade.

This government has had years to formally consult the public, environmentalists, industrialists and their provincial and municipal counterparts. But no, they decided to sit on their legally binding protocol and do nothing. From the onset, this process or lack thereof has been marred by the absence of leadership, a lack of meaningful dialogue and, most importantly, an infuriating lack of openness and consultation.

The government's refusal to get together and develop workable targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions leads me to several conclusions. It never took its responsibility seriously or the government shuns accountability and it has something to hide.

Really, to present a position at an international forum without having reached consensus in the domestic arena is a recipe for conflict. It is an affront to Canadians that the government was not confident enough to sell this agreement at home, but is willing to take a secret agreement to Kyoto for the rest of the world to see.

Perhaps it would fare the government well to brush up on environmental diplomacy and maybe start relearning what it means to negotiate effective global agreements. Strategies to deal with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions must be developed with input from representatives of all levels of government, while balancing public, environmental and industrial concerns.

This government is hypocritical in its approach to environmental strategies. Why even bother to entertain the concept of environmental harmonization if in reality there is no intention of using provincial consensus for the really big issues like signing international agreements?

This government had ample opportunity in the last four years of governing to learn from the mistakes made by the Mulroney government when it signed a deal in Rio without even thinking through the method of implementation.

Those targets have come and gone with absolutely no progress being made and still the same mistakes are repeated. Evidently, issues such as consensus and feedback are not priorities with this government. If the government has not yet even hammered out realistic and achievable targets, I will presume that it has failed to work out an implementation strategy.

The tremendous responsibility associated with signing a legally binding protocol in an international forum necessitates an incredible amount of consultation, research and planning. If the government had done its homework, it would have been able to answer such crucial questions as how much the implementation of said targets will cost.

The Conference Board of Canada in its comparative review of the economic impact of greenhouse gas reductions on Canada estimates that reducing CO2 to 1990 levels will cost the average Canadian family of four between $2,000 and $3,200 each year and those estimates will be much higher in Alberta.

The Minister of the Environment has already told Canadians that this agreement will cost them money. However, Canadians still do not know what form these costs will take.

For the past eight years J. Allen Coombs, now retired chief of International Energy Markets and Environmental Emissions of Natural Resources Canada, worked on the stabilization of emissions to 1990 levels, stating that it would be virtually impossible. Canadians deserved answers months and months ago. Now, as time runs out, Canadians are more concerned than ever that this government has refused to protect their pocketbooks from arbitrary and Liberal closed door decision making.

Weeks ago President Bill Clinton put the American position out for all to see. The American government is firm on the fact that it will not participate in an agreement unless developing countries sign on, but the Liberal government remains silent. Canadian provinces have agreed that Canada should not sign on unless the majority of countries responsible for greenhouse gas emissions sign on. But the government's silence continues.

If developing countries that are responsible for 40% of the world's emissions are not participating, will the Canadian government still take part despite the lack of a level playing field?

Let me remind the government that in the next 15 years it is estimated that developing countries will be responsible for 60% of the world's emissions. Without the participation of the main players, global benefits of pollution reduction will not be achieved.

Canadians deserve to know what means of pollution reduction have been studied, whether or not voluntary incentives will be utilized or if a tax increase is the only option this government will consider.

I strongly urge the government to consider voluntary industrial incentives and for it to encourage Canadian companies to make environmental modifications within their companies.

Canadians are desperate to know just what the government has considered, what it intends to present and what it is willing to sign and under what preconditions.

The Liberal government has had ample opportunity to promote responsible energy development principles and maximize voluntary efforts within industry but chooses instead to do nothing.

Has the government decided that the co-operation and support of Canadians upon entering a legally binding protocol is no longer an issue? Has this government even got support from its own cabinet? Over the last few months contradiction after contradiction has emerged from the government side of the House.

For instance on November 12 in a last minute effort to appear diplomatic, the Minister of the Environment met with her provincial counterparts and a provincial accord was reached targeting 1990 levels by the year 2010. At first this seemed like a breakthrough until of course the Prime Minister hastily brushed it aside and made it clear he is more interested in beating out the American position and that he feels no obligation to stick to the provincial agreement.

This government refuses to co-operate with Canadians on all fronts. It has refused to engage in an open and meaningful democratic dialogue.

In conclusion, the position to be tabled in Kyoto on December 1 will be the product of closed backroom politics. Unfortunately Canadians will likely pay the price for this government's lack of democratic consultation.

Supply November 25th, 1997

Mr. Speaker, I will tell the member that my background is in municipal politics. I came through that route to this House. That level of government is closest to the people. We are with them every day. We are not removed from them.

I have always had the feeling that the government which is closest to the people should be the government to deal with them. The government that is most able to deliver whatever service it is, whether it be a social service or a matter having to do with interprovincial trade, should be the government to handle it. I agree with the member that barriers to interprovincial trade is another debate entirely.

There should be a strong central government in Canada to handle national issues, such as defence. However, services should be moved down the line into the provincial realm and even into the municipal realm.

We have municipal councils and governments in this country which can handle a lot of the services which are required. They know the people, they—