House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was report.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Charlottetown (P.E.I.)

Won his last election, in 2008, with 50% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Junior A Hockey May 12th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate all those involved in organizing and participating in the Royal Bank Tier II Junior Hockey Tournament which was held in Charlottetown throughout the past week.

First of all, I want to sincerely congratulate and thank the hundreds of volunteers under the chairmanship of Wayne MacDougall, who put so much time, energy and enthusiasm into organizing this great event. The whole thing went off without a hitch.

I want to congratulate the management, coaches and players from the five participating teams from Charlottetown, P.E.I.; Humboldt, Saskatchewan; Camrose, Alberta; Wellington, Ontario; and Lennoxville, Quebec. Each of these teams were champions in their own regions.

The hockey was terrific, the games were competitive and the fans enjoyed each and every game.

Finally, on behalf of everyone in the House I want to congratulate the Humboldt, Saskatchewan Broncos, the winners of the 2003 Royal Bank Cup.

Fisheries April 30th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. The fourth national fisheries awards and the Roméo LeBlanc medal presentation will take place this evening in the Parliament Buildings. The former Governor General, the Right Hon. Roméo LeBlanc, and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans will attend the ceremonies hosted by Senator Comeau, the chair of the fisheries committee in the other place.

These awards recognize the positive contributions of Canadian fishermen for putting in place the Canadian code of conduct for responsible fishing operations. Could the minister elaborate on the importance of this award to fishermen in particular and to Canadians in general?

Elections in P.E.I. April 7th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Robert Ghiz on his election as leader of the Liberal Party of Prince Edward Island. The massive leadership convention was held in Charlottetown last Saturday. In excess of 4,000 members attended this well organized event.

In the leadership race were Robert and Allan Buchanan, a former cabinet minister in a previous government led by Robert's father, the late Joseph Ghiz. The results were extremely close, as party members had to choose between two excellent candidates.

At 29, Robert is the youngest person ever to be elected as a leader of a political party in Prince Edward Island. A little trivia for the House, my wife Yvette was Robert's grade two teacher which sort of dates me.

The campaign was exciting, enthusiastic and full of energy. I can report to the House and to all Canadians that the Liberal Party is very much alive and well in Prince Edward Island.

Both candidates are to be congratulated on the manner in which their campaigns were conducted. On behalf of all Prince Edward Islanders, I wish both Robert and Allan well as they continue to work as a team in leading the Liberal Party into the next provincial election.

Health Research March 25th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate two professors at the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island.

Dr. Alastair Cribb, professor of Clinical pharmacology and Dr. Laurie McDuffee, professor of equine surgery, are the latest recipients of a federal government investment in health research from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Between the two individuals, these professors received over $758,000 to fund their research projects.

Dr. McDuffee will use this money to continue her research in a cell based strategy to promote proper bone healing in horses. The outcome of her research will, hopefully, be applicable to human beings as well.

Dr. Cribb, who is also a Canadian research chair, will investigate why certain animals and people have adverse reactions to various drugs and chemicals. He hopes to help discover how safer drugs can be developed in addition to assessing the risk of chemical exposure. Much like his colleague, the results of this research will also be a benefit to human beings.

The recent support of the CIHR, coupled with the money set aside for the veterinary colleges in last week's budget, means that the Atlantic Veterinary College will be able to move forward with this kind of top notch, highly valuable research.

The Budget March 17th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I am amazed that a member of the Progressive Conservative Party would even participate in this debate. I know the member has heard it before that in 1993 inflation was 11%, unemployment was 11%, the deficit was $42 billion and debt to GDP ratio was 71%. I have done my own calculation. If that party had been in power for another 20 minutes, we would have gone broke.

Going back to my learned friend's question, the $5.2 billion was announced. It is an excellent announcement for the farmers of our country.

The Budget March 17th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, as my learned friend is aware, recently the Prime Minister announced that $5.2 billion in additional funding would be made available for the agricultural industry across Canada. The agricultural policy framework followed an across-Canada consultation. It will provide additional funding for technology, for support for farmers, for environmental and for technology issues. This is a good development. It will lay the foundation for our agriculture industry into the future.

The Budget March 17th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what to say to my learned friend about the Coast Guard but the budget that I have read very clearly states that the Canadian Coast Guard will receive, and I may stand to be corrected, either $75 million or $90 million for additional capital requirements which I think is a very important announcement. That was in the budget. That is to start to replace the fleet, which hon. members have pointed out is needed. I read it. I am certainly pleased that it is there. I point out to my learned friend that it is there and that he should read it and applaud the government for doing that.

I want to applaud the government for the initiative on the national parks. While it was not in the budget, in the Speech from the Throne, the Prime Minister announced 10 new national parks for Canada, which is a tremendous initiative. These parks would be in remote areas of the country which I think would expand the infrastructure of our park system which is a tremendous development.

Again, I applaud the government for both the increase in the funding for the Coast Guard and for the announcement that we will be creating 10 additional national parks.

The Budget March 17th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I first want to inform the House that I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Saint-Lambert.

I am very pleased to rise today to participate in the budget debate. I agree fully with the overriding thrust and objectives of the budget. I would refer to this budget as a threshold budget.

As everyone in the House is aware, when this government came to power we inherited a mess left by the previous Progressive Conservative government. Tough decisions had to be made and the correct programs and policies had to be implemented. It is only now that we are in a real position to make some of the additional investments in the social fabric of society.

I will focus my remarks to a certain extent on how the budget will benefit business, especially small business. Since the budget was tabled, I have spoken to a lot of ordinary Canadians, Canadians who go to work everyday, pay their taxes and who want the government to spend their money on the priorities of Canadians.

After having those conversations I was left with two very distinct and clear messages. First, people told me that they liked the budget, that they liked the additional investments in social spending and that they liked the fact that we were going to continue a record of balanced budgets. They also told me that they were getting sick and tired of the interest groups and the provincial premiers whining about everything. We heard that over the last two or three weeks.

I have also heard the argument that the level of spending far exceeds, in this particular budget, the level of growth in our gross domestic product. This is correct, and increases of this magnitude are certainly not sustainable.

However we have to bear in mind that approximately 50% of the increased spending comes from the health accord which is a threshold, non-recurring item and certainly a priority of all Canadians.

Dealing with the health care debate, which to a certain extent preceded the budget debate, I found it somewhat amusing. The Romanow commission crossed Canada, heard from Canadians and came forward with what I thought were excellent recommendations. The report was tabled in the House and the government responded to those recommendations. One of the responses, of course, was monetary. We have a package containing approximately $35 billion over five years. This will facilitate changes in the way health care is delivered in this country. It offers limited home care, catastrophic drug coverage and changes in accountability. This was the biggest investment in health care ever in the country.

What was the reaction of the premiers? It was total rejection. Why? I would suggest it is because the day they stop whining is the day they will have to start delivering. Right now the ball is in their court. They have to deliver and Canadians, certainly the Canadians that I talked to, are quite prepared to hold them to account.

I realize I am a little off topic but the points I want to make today go to how this budget is good for business, especially small business. Before getting into the specific provisions of how this budget will help small business, I want to say that the budget continues in the same basic direction that the government has been heading in the last nine years. The evidence is overwhelming. The fundamentals are correct. The monetary and fiscal stabilizers of low inflation, low interest rates, wholesale tax cuts and modest increases in government spending have led to a very healthy Canadian economy.

We have some right wing interest groups. The Canadian Alliance Party and the Progressive Conservative Party come forward saying that the tax cuts are not deep enough, that we have no business involving ourselves in the Kyoto accord and the environment, that everyone in Canada has a God given right to own a gun, and that we should cut government spending.

I say to them, let us forget rhetoric for a few minutes and talk about the numbers. Let us have what I would call a 30 minute lucid interval here. Let us deal with the facts.

Whatever ratio, or test or indices people want to use, I am willing to have a chat about it. If they want to talk about the debt to GDP ratio, or debt reduction, or the cumulative surplus, or the gross domestic product, or the projected gross domestic product, or jobs created, or the unemployment rate, or the interest, or the inflation rate or the consumer confidence rate, they can pick whatever indices they want and we can have a chat about it.

However the bottom line is the economy is performing healthily. The reason is that the fundamentals are correct, the programs are there, the fiscal and monetary stabilizers are in place and they are working.

Dealing specifically with the provisions of the budget that have a direct effect on small business, I am very pleased to talk about some them.

The first one I want to mention is the increase in the small business deduction from $200,000 to $300,000. This is a very healthy development. In a lot of cases we have small start-up businesses. They make some money. All of a sudden they get beyond the $200,000 threshold and they get into a higher tax bracket. That $200,000 threshold has been moved to $300,000 which will have a very positive effect in our business community.

The second item which I am very pleased with is the elimination of the capital tax. The capital tax does not tax profit but it taxes the goods that make the profit, the capital. It was a regressive tax. I am a member of the finance committee. Three years in a row we have recommended the elimination of the capital tax. I am very pleased the government has followed up on that recommendation and the capital tax will be eliminated over the next four years.

I am also very pleased that the government has seen fit to decrease the air traveller's security fee from $12 to $7, which is a healthy development, especially for the short haul routes in the smaller regional airports.

I am very pleased the government is continuing with the innovation agenda. We have the increases to the granting councils, the increases in government funding to the universities for indirect costs of research and the scholarship fund. All these items add to the continuing of the innovation agenda which I submit will be very healthy for the Canadian economy.

I was very pleased the government announced an increase in the RRSP limits. This allows Canadians to plan for their retirement. It also provides a pool of capital for Canadian business. This will go to $18,000 over the next four years.

I am also very pleased the government announced that it will continue with the skills and training agenda. This is so important for the future or our economy.

I am also very pleased the government has announced a $30 million expenditure to increase investor confidence in the area of securities regulation.

The employment insurance premiums have been decreased. I believe that is 10 years in a row.

The government has also announced a decrease in taxes for income from resource revenue, decreasing 21% over the next five years.

Most important, I believe the message is there by virtue of a balanced budget. This sends a very clear message to all Canadians that the trends will be there in the future.

The government has also made very significant strategic investments in child care, environment, cities, child poverty and health care which very clearly define the link between social spending and economic policy.

I realize my time is up. I want to say to the House and to all Canadians that I support the budget. I urge my colleagues in the House to support the budget. We are laying the foundation for the future of the country. It asks us to all move forward with commitment, with confidence and with courage.

Scott Tournament of Hearts February 26th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, last Saturday night Prince Edward Islanders watched with great pride the semi-final game in the Canadian women's curling championship, the Scott Tournament of Hearts.

Prince Edward Island's rookie team, comprised of Suzanne Gaudet and her teammates, Rebecca Jean MacPhee, Robyn MacPhee and Susan MacInnis, played a great game, but unfortunately lost to the Cunningham team from Newfoundland and Labrador.

Although they narrowly missed capturing the semi-final game, they certainly did not fail to capture our hearts. Their presence at the tournament and their record during round robin play was definitely the talk of the province. Gaudet and her team did extremely well in their first year at this level and we will all be watching this team in the future with great interest.

I would ask that everyone join me in congratulating Suzanne, Rebecca Jean, Robyn and Susan, as well as fifth Donna Butler and coach Paul Power for a tremendous effort.

Supply February 24th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I was curious about the remarks from my learned friend. He talked about the Mulroney government and how great things were. He sort of went through a period of selective revisionism.

I want to remind the member that in 1993 unemployment was between 11% and 12%. That now has been reduced to around 7%. Interest rates were around 12%. That now has been reduced to around 6%. Debt to GDP was around 71%. That now has been reduced to 46.5%. The deficit was $42 billion. Now we have had six straight years of surplus. When he talked about the programs and policies that were enacted then, I do not believe what he said.

First, how can we assure all members of the House and, through this House, all Canadians that these same policies and programs will never be visited on them? Second, how can we assure the House and all Canadians that the people, who were affiliated with those policies and programs, will never be near the levers of power again?