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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was fact.

Last in Parliament February 2019, as Liberal MP for Kings—Hants (Nova Scotia)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 71% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Millennium Scholarship Fund March 25th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general is the Canadian taxpayer's watchdog in Ottawa. The millennium scholarship fund is to be funded with $2.5 billion worth of Canadian taxpayer money, yet the budget implementation legislation does not give the auditor general any right of access to the books of the foundation. Could the Minister of Finance explain why the auditor general will not have access to the foundation's books?

The Economy March 19th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised the minister did not mention the Canadian dollar, which has shown some upward movement recently. The fact is that the only upward movement in the dollar is due to leadership, but not the leadership on that side of the House.

The Prime Minister's idea of leadership is to place blame on the provinces for the health care system this government destroyed and to place blame on the currency traders for the government's financial ineptitude. He sounds more like President Suharto than he does the prime minister.

When will the Prime Minister start taking some responsibility? When will he recognize that the dollar remains weak because the fundamentals of this economy are wrong?

The Economy March 19th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, Moody's, the firm that sets international credit ratings, has expressed fear that the government will start indiscriminate Liberal spending yet again.

Despite the claim of a balanced budget, Canada's credit rating is two levels below that of our international trading partners. When will the Prime Minister admit that the financial markets do not have confidence in his policies because they know he will choose spending over giving Canadians the meaningful tax relief they need?

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board March 17th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, the other chamber is currently holding hearings on Bill C-2 and the appointment process to the CPP investment board. The appearance of non-political appointments to this investment board is paramount to the integrity of the board itself and to Canadians' trust and confidence that their money will be invested properly.

What steps has the Minister of Finance taken to ensure that the board will not simply become another pit of patronage for this government?

Pensions March 17th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, the CPP fund is predicted to grow from $6 billion to $26 billion by 2007. Raising the foreign content rule will increase investment returns on this fund and benefit all Canadians. Even the Conference Board of Canada feels that the foreign property rules will make Canadians poorer.

Why does the finance minister not trust his own investment board and give them the freedom to make investments with the greatest possible return for all Canadians?

Supply March 12th, 1998

Madam Speaker, I always enjoy listening to the erudite and lucid remarks of the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra. Coming from Nova Scotia, the cradle of higher education in Canada, education is very important to me and to my constituents.

I would like to ask the hon. member about his feelings relative to national testing. It is an issue, especially with each province investing differently in education. The investment in education in given communities is largely based on the municipal tax base. Thus a poor municipality, like the one I grew up in, for instance, has significantly less money in its education system than one in a wealthier area. The quality of opportunities for young people are not equal.

I would appreciate the member's feedback on that.

Health March 11th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, I would like the Minister of Health to listen to the words of an innocent hepatitis C victim, a constituent of mine, Connie Lake.

Connie told me: “I just wish they would put an end to the games they are playing with the compensation. I am so disappointed in this Liberal government”.

On what date can Connie Lake expect compensation or will she be forced to sign on to a class action suit as her last resort?

The Budget March 10th, 1998

Madam Speaker, the hon. member brings an interesting perspective on the issue of fiscal policy to this House. As he mentioned, he was elected in 1972, I believe.

The process of deficit reduction has taken 15 years. Those are not my words. Those are the words of the Leader of the Opposition in the budget debate, that it has taken 15 years of policies, including the GST, free trade, deregulation of financial services, transportation and, I would add, the elimination of the national energy program.

The Conservative government was able to reduce the deficit as a percentage of GDP from 8% in 1984 to 5% in 1993 and reduce program spending growth per year from 14% to 0% growth when the Conservative government left office in 1993. I think the hon. member should look back with some pride at his contribution at that time and having contributed to deficit reduction and policies that contributed to it and that were continued under this government.

During the 1970s and 1980s, we saw significant debt growth, in fact debt growth from zero in 1970 in Canada and in many industrialized countries, including the U.S. Public opinion was not in favour of reduction in social spending. Public opinion ran contrary to the whole notion of attacking debts and deficits during the late 1960s through to the early 1990s.

My question for the hon. member: As a member of a party that professes to be focused on grassroots populism and on effectively listening to the public and responding to whatever the public wants, representing via a poll or whatever means that it has at that time, as a Reformer, if he or if his party had had access to the levers in the 1970s and 1980s when the public clearly did not want reductions in social spending and when the public clearly was not focused on deficit reduction, would he not, as a corollary of that argument, have focused on and supported public opinion at that time and would he not have perpetuated policies effectively representative of the public at that time?

The Budget February 26th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that seven provinces will be receiving less in cash transfers for health care and education according to the finance minister's own staff.

Every maritime government has spoken out against this except for one. That is the Prime Minister's gofer in Nova Scotia, Premier Russell MacLellan. Will the finance minister commit today to ensure that the provincial CHST floors are established on a provincial level or does the minister believe that just because Nova Scotians have a weak premier they should have a weak health care system?

The Budget February 26th, 1998

Mr. Speaker, when the government talks about establishing floors for health care I would like it to understand that health care in Nova Scotia is subterranean. It has not reached the floor. It is still in the basement.

The fact is that this government continues to cut cash transfers to seven of the ten provinces, including Nova Scotia which will receive $14 million less in cash transfers from this government over the next four years.

Health care cuts have not stopped. In fact there will be less cash transfers from this government for health care for Nova Scotia and for health care for Prince Edward Island and for health care for New Brunswick.

I would urge the hon. member opposite, who comes from Prince Edward Island, to join with us and stand up for his province to ensure that these cuts do not continue. There is an immediate price to be paid for the health care system in Prince Edward Island. If he is unwilling to do so, we will fight on this side of the House for his constituents in Prince Edward Island because we need a commitment for health care in Atlantic Canada and it will come from this caucus and from other members opposite.