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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was actually.

Last in Parliament September 2014, as Conservative MP for Yellowhead (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 77% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Health Care December 7th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, the upcoming budget must be about priorities. If it is going to reflect the real priorities of Canadians, then there must be some real increase in health care transfer money. The budget leak suggests that the government will not announce one penny more for health care.

Will the Prime Minister reverse his government's dismal record on health care cuts and get his priorities straight?

Auditor General's Report December 6th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, the minister may defend his actions on Health Canada but health care continues to suffer.

Let us take a look at another couple of examples from the auditor's report.

Six large national projects were approved. They were not eligible for the funding under the branch's own program guidelines.

Another one is that projects were eligible for one year of funding but were approved for five years of funding. We are not talking small change. We are talking $1.2 billion a year.

When will the waste stop in this minister's department?

Auditor General's Report December 6th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general has revealed that Health Canada is another hotbed of waste and mismanagement. One example is the HIV-AIDS strategy.

A reviewer rejects a submission for an $84,000 study. Two external reviewers recommend major revisions. What happens? In spite of the negative assessment, the project gets the go-ahead, not for $84,000 but for $130,000.

How can that be?

Science and Technology November 27th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the minister should poll the committee to see where it stands on the issue. The opposition has been warning the government for three months about the need for this legislation and all we get are more delays. The government can ram through its contentious anti-terrorist bill but it refuses to deal with legislation that every one of us agrees on.

Will the minister take this window of opportunity and ban human cloning now?

Science and Technology November 27th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, the cloning of a human embryo in the United States only highlights the lack of legislation in Canada. The government has been dragging its feet on this issue since the royal commission in 1993. It allowed Bill C-47 to die on the order paper. What do we get in the current legislation? More delay.

Will the minister commit today to an immediate ban on human cloning?

Health November 26th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, the health minister cannot seem to get his health act together. In 1999 the provinces were assured of the creation of a fair and effective panel that would help resolve the disputes of the federal government over the Canada Health Act.

The provinces want a panel with the ability to make those recommendations, but this health minister only wants a weak fact finding body. The provinces have the mandate to deliver health care. The provinces are by far the greatest contributors to health care costs in this country.

The provinces are responsible for putting the provisions of the Canada Health Act into practice. They are simply asking for a panel that will be able to make recommendations over disputes on the Canada Health Act. The minister should lay down his sword and start working with the provinces, his counterparts.

Pensions November 21st, 2001

Mr. Speaker, the arrival of the first Canada pension cheque should be a joyous occasion. After years of hard work it is time to sit back and enjoy the rewards of retirement.

Last week one of my constituents reached that milestone, but instead of joy he felt shock and disgust. Those were the emotions he experienced. I am not referring to the size of the cheque but to the letter that was enclosed soliciting donations for charities.

Most of us avoid telemarketers like the plague. We especially dislike those who target vulnerable seniors. Enclosed was a letter saying just sign and $18, $16 or $14 will be automatically deducted monthly from his cheque, or if a little extra money was needed for groceries, perhaps he could afford $12.

Who would victimize our seniors like that? Who is the fox in the hen house? Members have guessed it; it is our own Canadian government. Pensioners are already victimized by the size of the cheque and when it comes to solicitation it should be done another way.

Softwood Lumber November 6th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, softwood lumber duties are hurting the people of Yellowhead. Thousands of people in my riding work in lumber mills, logging, trucking and supportive industries. They live in places like Edson, Hinton, Whitecourt and Drayton Valley, just to name a few.

As Jeffrey Simpson put it today, softwood lumber is the spine of dozens of communities. They very seldom get on the evening news or the front pages of urban papers.

The federal government should have been more forward looking and aggressive on this issue. If it had been a central Canadian industry like the automobile industry or the aerospace industry, we would have witnessed a much stronger response by the government.

Winter is coming and thousands of workers in my riding are facing the prospect of unemployment. Their families and the communities in which they live will also suffer. The government needs to show the softwood lumber industry the same interest, care and intensity as it has for other Canadian industries.

Hepatitis C October 30th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to Motion No. 303 and I thank my colleague for bringing it forward. I also wish to salute the hard work of the Hepatitis C Society of Canada and the Canadian Hemophilia Society in recommending the motion. They have done a lot of work to promote awareness of this disease and to support the victims of hepatitis C.

We all need to understand a little more about the disease and the problems that are caused because of it. I understand there was a conference in Montreal on hepatitis C this past spring with 72 speakers and 900 participants. That is a great example of federal-provincial co-operation coming together to bring awareness to this issue. I would like to congratulate the organizers of that conference and both levels of government for bringing together a conference to address the plight of those who are victimized by hepatitis C.

I remind the House of the individual who was in the gallery here last spring, Joey Haché. Joey, as a young boy of 12 or 14 years of age, was victimized by hepatitis C between the compensation years of 1986 to 1990. He was asking for compensation that was due to him after a three year plight of trying to get compensation. He brought awareness to his plight when he was here and before he got home that day there was a phone call that his settlement had come through. It is absolutely amazing that a government would work so slowly in this case.

There are many facts that need to be known about hepatitis C. We have talked about it many times in the House over the years. I will dismiss with going through some of the actual problems of hepatitis C because I think we all understand it needs further attention. The idea of an awareness month is something that would help in that vein.

We must help those who are living with this terrible disease on a daily basis and we must do whatever we can to prevent any further spread of it. It is worthwhile noting that hepatitis C is much easier to contract than HIV and that some of the strategies used to prevent HIV are not helping to reduce the rates of hepatitis C.

It is something that has been brought up in the health committee, which I vice chair. As deputy health critic I am concerned with prevention in this area, with the idea that we should do whatever we can to keep our blood in this country as safe as possible. The safety of our blood system is being challenged as we speak. We learned a lesson with what happened with hepatitis C and we dare not ignore it.

The idea of an awareness month is very important. The way the Liberal government dealt with hepatitis C and tainted blood has left a shameful legacy. The tainted blood scandal was a dark chapter in the nation's recent history. Thousands of victims contracted hepatitis C out of no fault of their own when they were most in need. They contracted this disease from a blood system that they were depending upon when they were ill and needed blood transfusions.

I have a problem with that situation because not only were they let down in their time of most desperate need, but when compensation finally came it was restricted to a four year period between 1986 and 1990. Many Canadians contracted hepatitis C through the blood system outside that four year period. Thousands of victims were let down by the federal government. Many who did qualify, like Joey Haché, had to wait years before they were compensated. That is a terrible legacy for the government.

Thankfully there were some bright spots. Some of the provincial governments rose to the occasion, such as Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. Again, there was co-operation among levels of government. They said they would compensate regardless and they had their own compensation programs. They are to be commended. However, many victims still continue to wait for justice.

The Canadian hepatitis C health consortium filed a class action complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against the federal government and eight provinces. It claimed that victims infected with hepatitis C through tainted blood were treated differently from those with HIV-AIDS.

According to Vicky Boddy, the group's president, HIV-AIDS victims were receiving close to a quarter of a million dollars in compensation. Their drugs were covered and they could access disability insurance under the Canada pension plan, whereas victims of hepatitis C got very little compensation, if at all, and were denied drug coverage and disability pensions.

Boddy contracted hepatitis C through tainted blood when she received multiple transfusions in 1994. She says that everyone should be treated the same. There should not be a distinction when it comes to hepatitis C and HIV-AIDS. Both diseases are killers. She says that their stories are just as horrifying as the stories we hear from people with HIV-AIDS. The disease has changed many aspects of her life as she used to know it.

She noted that thousands of Canadians were dying from hepatitis C every year. The government still has an opportunity to partially right some of the wrongs it inflicted on some of those outside that four year period from 1986 to 1990.

It was brought out in the health committee that there is still a surplus of some $900 million in the federal-provincial compensation fund that was set aside to deal with this issue. The money was to be used to help those excluded from the plan. According to Mike McCarthy, a policy adviser to the Ontario health ministry:

The numbers reflect that they grossly overstated the numbers of victims that would qualify from 1986 to 1990 in the package and grossly overpredicted the number of people who were excluded.

What a gesture it would be if the federal government used the occasion of this motion to compensate all hepatitis C victims who were infected through tainted blood outside the four year period.

I reiterate my support for the motion. This gesture however will be tainted if it is not accompanied by actual deeds. Unless the government acts hon. members can be sure that we will use the opportunity of hepatitis awareness month each and every May because we are prepared to bring awareness to this issue every year.

I look forward to next spring if the motion is not agreed to. I will bring it forward each and every year and as long as it takes until the Liberal government gets on its knees and apologizes for the way it has treated hepatitis C victims who contracted the disease outside the four year period between 1986 and 1990. I appreciate the idea of having an awareness month. Justice needs to be served and we need to have the political will to make sure it happens.

Health October 22nd, 2001

Mr. Speaker, the company that was given the illegal contract said that it began production and that it will sue if the minister backs out. Will Canadians now end up paying twice for the same stockpile of medicine?