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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

Intoxication of Migratory Birds June 13th, 2002

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to address the House today in connection with the motion of the hon. member for Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert concerning the regulation of lead sinkers and jigs for fishing.

The motion proposes that the government should, in compliance with the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, amend its regulations to replace the use of lead fishing weights and baits by any other non-toxic matter that would end the intoxication of migratory birds, including the loon, caused by the swallowing of lead.

I would like to echo the comments of the other members who spoke here today and tell the House that I too support the intent of the member's initiative. In particular I want to associate myself with the comments from the hon. member for Davenport. Obviously he has spent a good part of his career studying this issue and I agree with him that this issue, whether or not the lead causes harm to human beings and animals, does not need at this point in our history further research. It does not need further study. It does not need further debate by the House.

Lead has been acknowledged as an environmental and health problem for humans and wildlife. As everyone in the House is aware, it is listed as a toxic substance under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The federal government, along with other levels of government, has been extremely active in removing the hazard of lead from our environment by getting lead out of gasoline and household products like paint.

We have also required manufacturers such as base metal smelters and steel manufacturers, which release lead during their processes, to implement control measures to reduce releases of lead into the environment.

Lead is a naturally occurring metal found throughout our environment. While concentrations of lead in the environment increased significantly following the industrial revolution, the most dramatic increase of course has occurred since 1920--

Fisheries and Oceans June 7th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, this country is surrounded by oceans. About 10 years, June 8 was declared oceans day at the earth summit in Rio. Tomorrow Canadians in their activities will be celebrating our oceans.

Could the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans inform this House and all Canadians what progress the government is making in its oceans agenda?

Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture June 4th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak to the motion of the hon. member for Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, proposing that the government take the necessary measures for Canada to ratify the inter-American convention to prevent and punish torture.

While it has been already explained that Canada is not a party to this convention, I would like to reiterate that Canada is very involved in the protection and promotion of human rights in the Americas through its membership in the Organization of American States and through various other hemispheric bodies and bilateral activities.

As host of the summit of the Americas in Quebec City last year, Canada played a leading role in developing the plan of action, the summit process agenda for the coming years. A full third of the summit plan of action was devoted to human rights and democracy. The countries of the Americas have accepted that human rights and democracy are very much linked. The democracy clause in the Quebec City summit declaration and the inter-American democratic charter adopted by foreign ministers on September 11, 2001, allude to as much.

All Canadians are concerned about the promotion and protection of human rights, both here in Canada and abroad. The Government of Canada and Canadian non-governmental organizations are actively engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights in the Americas. The Canadian International Development Agency alone has budgeted expenditures of $56 million for this fiscal year on human rights and good governance programming in the Americas.

I will take a few minutes to illustrate to this House some of Canada's participation around the world.

In Argentina, Canada continues to work with local human rights organizations to promote human rights through a variety of activities. For example, the Canadian International Development Agency programs in Argentina include the ongoing development of programs in support of police reform. Through our embassy in Buenos Aires, we provide support for a number of human rights initiatives.

In December 2000 our embassy hosted a very large public event on women's human rights and violence against women. A year after that, in collaboration with UNESCO, our embassy hosted an event focusing on human rights and gender discrimination. Discussions are currently under way regarding possibilities for co-operation between our Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and its Argentine counterpart.

Canada has provided significant support for Bolivia's national ombudsman's office, which monitors government activities to ensure that they are carried out in accordance with the laws and constitution of that country. Created in 1998, the office is increasingly effective as both an auditor of public administration and a defender of human rights. Canada also played an important co-ordinating role in the donor community during consultations on the Bolivia poverty reduction strategy in the years 2000 and 2001.

In Brazil, Canada is also very active in promoting and protecting human rights and in fostering democratic development. Last year, with the aim of contributing to improve human rights programming and judicial reform in Brazil, members of Brazil's federal district public ministry were exposed to the Canadian experience of links and alliances being formed between the judiciary and non-governmental organizations.

Also last year, Canada provided witness protection training to Brazilian civil society groups and police officers. Canada has also supported various skill development and reintegration programs for marginalized Brazilian children who are involved in drug trafficking and prostitution and who are victims of sexual abuse.

In the country of Chile, Canada has supported projects in the areas of judicial reform, the participation of civil society in public processes, discussions on national reconciliation and human rights, the formation of networks of both indigenous and non-indigenous women and the prevention of violence within communities.

Canada also funds small projects which support economic, technical, educational and social development, with a particular focus on the challenges faced by women, children, native people and other traditionally marginalized groups.

We know Colombia's internal conflict has made its human rights situation one of the worst in the hemisphere and thus it is of particular concern to Canada and Canadians. When their safety is not at risk, our ambassador to Colombia and his staff travel to conflict zones to gain firsthand knowledge of the situation, monitor progress of investigations and show international solidarity with targeted communities.

Our embassy in Bogota consistently urges Colombian authorities to protect threatened groups, to undertake thorough investigations when human rights violations occur and bring those responsible to justice.

Canada actively participated in the peace process between the Colombian government and the FARC until President Pastrana ended the talks in February this year. Canada supports the invaluable work of the UN secretary general's special adviser on Colombia.

The work includes the facilitation of talks between the government and ELN forces and will also likely include the facilitation of talks between FARC forces and the government should talks resume once a new government takes office.

Every year in a country statement at the UN general assembly, Canada raises the issue of the status of Colombia's human rights situation. We do the same at the annual UN Commission on human rights in geneva where we also support a strong statement made by the chair on the situation in Colombia.

Canada will contribute more than $60 million over the next five years through CIDA's development assistance program to increase Colombian capacity to meet basic human needs and to protect the human rights of those affected by armed conflict, to support equitable participation in establishing foundation for peace and to improve Colombian capacity to address some of the key issues and intensifiers of violence.

Canada also has disbursed $1.6 million in the last four years to support the activities of the Bogota office of the UN high commissioner for human rights. It also supports ongoing support to the UN commission for refugees, the international committee of the Red Cross, the Colombian Red Cross and a range of Colombian non-governmental and humanitarian organizations.

Canada supports Peace Brigades International, an NG organization that provides accompaniment to threatened human rights workers as well as Doctors Without Borders and UNICEF. Canada also supports the delivery of distance education training in human rights and international humanitarian law to the Colombian armed forces.

In February this year, after several months of hearings in Colombia, the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and International Development paid a nine day visit to learn firsthand about the situation there. The subcommittee met with a wide range of Colombian government officials, police and army commanders, UN agencies, trade unions, municipal leaders and human rights organizations. The Canadian government is currently examining the recommendations outlined in the report of the subcommittee which was tabled last month.

As in Colombia, Canada remains among the most active countries in the promotion of and support for human rights and democratic development in Guatemala.

For a period of time last year, Canada chaired the G-13 dialogue group, a group of major donors and international organizations that have developed a structural dialogue with the government, private sector and civil society to express concerns with respect to human rights issues. Canada is one of the most vocal members of the group and regularly raises human rights issues during meetings with the Guatemalan government.

The human rights situation in Haiti remains a key concern to the government. We have used every available opportunity to indicate our concern to the Haitian government. We remain in regular contact with local human rights organizations. When deemed necessary, our ambassador to that country issues local press statements reiterating Canada's position on the protection and promotion of human rights in that country.

At the Quebec City summit of the Americas last year our Prime Minister emphasized the need for the government of Haiti to respect human rights.

If I had the time I could go on to outline the activities, programs and initiatives that our country is conducting in other countries, such as Jamaica , Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru to Venezuela. However, in summary, as pointed out--

Communications Canada May 3rd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for Communications Canada. I, like I believe most Canadians, am very proud of the federal government website and the capability that website affords all Canadians to communicate with the government.

What plans does the government have to ensure that this website remains ahead of all competition?

Excise Act, 2001 April 30th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, like the other speakers I greatly appreciate the opportunity to speak to third reading of Bill C-47 which would introduce a modern legislative and administrative framework for the taxation of spirits, wine and tobacco products under the new excise act.

As a member of the finance committee I have followed Bill C-47 closely. It has gone through considerable review at committee. We have heard from witnesses. It is good legislation and should be adopted by the House. I urge all members on both sides to support it.

Bill C-47 deals with commodity taxes. As all speakers have indicated today, commodity taxes are an important and vital part of the Canadian taxation system. In the year 2000-01 duties and taxes on alcohol and tobacco products raised approximately $3.4 billion in federal revenues.

The Excise Tax Act is an antiquated piece of legislation. Many of its provisions date back to the 1800s. It cries out for reform. It is cumbersome and burdensome for manufacturers and wholesalers to fill out the forms and all the duplication that is required. That is the basis on which Bill C-47 came forward to the House.

Intertwined with this legislation we have had two wars going on at the same time. First, we have had the ongoing war on tobacco which is not only a federal issue. All provincial governments are engaged in it. A growing number of municipalities across the country including the city of Ottawa have come forward with strict regulations and bylaws on the sale, consumption and use of tobacco. I believe all members are in favour of this.

Second, there is the issue of the illegal importation, sale and distribution of spirits to avoid the Excise Tax Act. This issue is covered to a certain extent in Bill C-47.

Bill C-47 is an example of legislation that did not go through the House quickly. The discussion paper has a five year history in the House. There has been a lot of stakeholder consultation. Because of that the final product is good legislation. As other speakers have alluded to, the bill started with a draft discussion paper circulated by the Department of Finance in 1997. This was followed by draft legislation which was circulated in 1999 and followed by extensive public consultations mainly with the major stakeholders.

Bill C-47 proposes a modern, legislative and administrative framework which would generate stable and secure revenues while at the same time addressing contraband pressures. An important component of the bill is that it could be implemented without imposing unrealistic and unnecessary costs and administrative burdens on the industry.

There has been an issue at the finance committee and in the House with respect to microbreweries. Bill C-47 is not the legislation to deal with that issue. Having said that, I have heard a lot of arguments from members of the House about the excise tax paid by microbreweries. I agree with the arguments. The excise tax ought to be reduced.

The microbrewery industry throughout Canada is under stress and the excise tax should be reduced so that these breweries can become more competitive. It is interesting that the Brewers Association of Canada supports this and has indicated that in writing to the finance committee. I support it but this legislation is not the place to bring forward this initiative.

We have received assurances that the Department of Finance will study the issue, and I hope it will follow through with this. I hope the study is done sooner rather than later and that the Department of Finance will see the competitive pressures that the microbrewery industry is under. I hope the government will see fit to lower the excise tax on beer brewed by microbreweries.

It is interesting that the Brewers Association of Canada, which I assume is controlled to a certain extent by the major brewers, supports the reduction of the excise tax for microbreweries. At the same time, it clearly has indicated to the finance committee, the government and the House that the act is not the place in which to deal with the issue.

The act also deals with the issue of penalties for persons and companies convicted of illegally importing, possessing, distributing and selling spirits which is an important part of the act and which should be dealt with sooner rather than later.

Under the new excise framework, the current excise duty and tax on tobacco products, other than cigars, will be merged into one production levy. According to my reading of the act and to the evidence I heard, this will be very beneficial from the industry point of view because it will reduce compliance costs for the industry.

This is an important part of the whole government strategy on tobacco use. It levels the tax right across Canada. This is not the answer to the problem but it is one additional issue that has to be dealt with and it will help in our ongoing war against tobacco use.

Yesterday I heard the excellent speech on this whole issue by the member for Esquimalt--Juan de Fuca, a medical doctor. He concentrated his talk on the legislation to deal with the whole issue of tobacco use. It was an excellent presentation, and I agree wholeheartedly with what he said.

The act introduces modern collection tools and helps address the government's ongoing concern about the smuggling and possession of alcohol and tobacco use.

I will summarize the benefits. First, it provides a simpler and more certain taxation structure. Second, it provides equal treatment for all parties. Third, it improves and lowers the administrative costs for industry. Fourth, it provides business greater flexibility and enhances the protection of excise revenues. Those are some of the benefits in addition to the whole issue of illegal contraband spirits and the ongoing war on tobacco.

I urge everyone on both sides of the House to give full support to the bill. The new excise tax act introduces a modern administrative framework for the taxation of spirits, wine and tobacco products and addresses a longstanding need of both the industry and the government.

Arts and Culture April 18th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the performers, organizers, leaders and adjudicators who participated recently in the maritime music festival which was held last week in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Many choirs and bands from all maritime provinces came to Charlottetown to perform in this concert. The Confederation Centre of the Arts hosted performances of more than 40 bands. The Delta Prince Edward had over 20 jazz groups and there were many choral performances at the First Baptist Church.

After each performance each band or choir, as the case may be, met with a nationally recognized adjudicator to be assisted with their individual performance. It is opportunities like this that truly showcases maritime music and encourages local talent.

In addition to being a showcase, it was also an educational opportunity for regional musicians to interact with each other.

Harry MacLauchlan April 15th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Harry MacLauchlan, a prominent member of Prince Edward Island's business community who passed away on Wednesday, March 27.

From very modest beginnings Harry, through hard work, commitment, teamwork and a very positive attitude, built one of the province's largest business empires. His interests over the years spanned construction, hotels, retail, the local cable television company, real estate and other business developments.

Throughout his life Harry had three distinct traits: No matter what the weather was outside he greeted everyone with “It's a great day”; he generally did business with a handshake; and he always exhibited a contagious sense of optimism.

In addition to his many business interests Harry MacLauchlan was very much involved in the community. He served on many community organizations and fundraising initiatives. Several years ago he was appointed to the Prince Edward Island Business Hall of Fame.

On behalf of all Canadians I pay tribute to this great Canadian and extend our sympathies to his wife Marjorie, his five children and their families.

Verbal Abuse Prevention Week Act March 12th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, just to conclude the debate, as I indicated in my opening remarks, I believe this is a very important and significant issue in Canadian society. I urge all parliamentarians and all Canadians to reflect and consider this issue in their daily lives.

It could be there are other means or methods at our disposal to raise public awareness on this very important issue. The bill of course was never intended to eliminate verbal abuse. It was a very small step to raise the public awareness bar on this issue. Naturally I am very disappointed that it was deemed non-votable by our procedure and House affairs committee. I am disappointed that it did not receive unanimous consent in the House.

In closing, I do want to thank very much all colleagues in the House for supporting the bill. Perhaps in our own small way through this debate we have raised public awareness on this very important issue. Perhaps at some point in time it will make its way back to the floor of the House. Perhaps other legislators in Canada will seize the initiative and run with it. Perhaps the amount and the extent of verbal abuse will decrease in society in the days, months and years to come.

Verbal Abuse Prevention Week Act March 12th, 2002

moved that Bill C-414, an act to establish Verbal Abuse Prevention Week, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am standing before you today to present my private member's bill, Bill C-414.As the record indicates, Bill C-414 is an act that would designate the first week in the month of October each year as verbal abuse prevention week in Canada.

Verbal abuse is often a large component of emotional abuse and includes, but is not limited to, blaming, ridiculing, insulting, swearing, yelling, humiliating and labelling.

My reason for putting forward the bill is to raise awareness of the impact that words have in our society.

What we must recognize is that verbal abuse has emotional, educational and health costs and is often a precursor to other forms of abuse.

With the recent suicides and school shootings of young people in Canada and abroad being directly connected to verbal abuse and bullying, we as parliamentarians are compelled to raise awareness and develop prevention and educational efforts on this issue with the communities of the country.

The creation of a national verbal abuse prevention week would address the first part of this necessary sequence of events, that is raising awareness about the fierce power of words.

Much of the national interest in this issue began as a result of initiatives in Prince Edward Island, my home province. In 1998, Tami Martell from Milltown Cross, Prince Edward Island, and founder of Walk for Talk, received provincial and national attention through her decision to walk across the province to raise awareness about the seriousness of verbal abuse. By the fall of 1999, P.E.I. had its first verbal abuse prevention week in schools across the province and since then it has become an annual event.

When I initially undertook this issue as a private member's bill I received many letters of support from organizations, legislators and citizens.

If I could summarize the whole intent of the bill, it goes go back to a nursery rhyme that we all heard in the playground, “sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you”. Since then there has been a lot of research, knowledge and wisdom on the whole issue, and sticks and stones will still break our bones but names can also hurt us.

Verbal aggression often has no outside witnesses. There are no black eyes and no broken bones. Private behaviour can be very different from public behaviour which makes verbal abuse easy to deny and very difficult to prosecute.

Verbal abuse leaves invisible scars and is often used as a form of control to make the victim dependent on the aggressor, such as in parental or other social relationships.

Some researchers argue that physical abuse is not as prevalent as other types of abuse in abusive teenage relationships and that abusers usually begin with demeaning verbal abuse that then may proceed to unwanted physical advances, date rape and other physical violence.

While there may be no bruises, broken bones or black eyes, verbal abuse still has an impact on physical health.

Terry Kinney, a professor at the University of Minnesota, has researched the effects of verbal aggression on people and found that the stress caused by verbal aggression can make a person physically ill as stress can weaken a person's immune system.

A recent study reported in Psychology Today showed that emotionally abused women were more likely to report poor physical health than other women and that these medical problems were remarkably similar to those affecting women who were physically abused.

One research scientist at the Institute for Work and Health has argued that health care workers call in sick more often and stay away longer than people in other jobs partly because of the high levels of verbal abuse that health care workers experience on the job.

The result of verbal abuse of children is especially devastating. Children depend on those closest to them for their own self-image. If they are told at an early age that they are worthless they will believe it to be true. These negative feelings can be very difficult to discard later in life. Children who experience verbal abuse may develop an impaired ability to perceive, feel, understand and express emotion.

Research indicates that abused children are more likely to become victims of abuse later in life, become abusive themselves, and/or become depressed and self-destructive. A 1991 study on the effects of verbal abuse on children indicated that more frequent rates of verbal aggression by a parent result in a greater probability of physical, aggressive or delinquent behaviour by the child. That study also revealed that these problems affect all age groups, both sexes, and all families regardless of socioeconomic status.

One Maine research project reported that children at age eight who were identified as frequently bullying others are six times more likely to be convicted of crimes by the age of 24. Furthermore, these same children are five times more likely than non-bullies to end up with serious criminal records by the age of 30.

Last night on CTV there was an excellent program on bullying. It gave an excellent perspective on the whole problem, which is being experienced right across the country. This private member's bill relates very much to that issue. Exposure to bullying by peers has also been linked to increased dropout rates, lower self-esteem, fewer friends, declining grades and increased illnesses, and these were some of the issues that were being discussed last night.

This issue also affects the workplace and may cause increased stress and anxiety, loss of self-esteem and of belief in one's professional competence, avoidance behaviour, which may negatively effect performance of duties, including increased absences from work, a negative effect on interpersonal relationships and loss of job satisfaction.

Verbal abuse does not only affect its direct victims; it also causes pain to those who silently see their loved ones suffer in pain. We have to realize that belittling and criticizing is part of verbal abuse. Children and adults alike need to learn to communicate without degradation and domination.

I want to emphasize that verbal abuse is unique in that it is the only form of abuse that has not been the subject of an intense public education or awareness program. Other forms of abuse and violence, such as date rape, family violence, senior violence and abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse and spousal abuse are already well recognized in our society as unacceptable behaviours and have various mechanisms to change the behaviour of perpetrators and also to assist victims. It is crucial that verbal abuse be brought to the forefront of people's minds, that we are all made aware of its devastating and long term effects and educated as to how quickly and regularly it transforms into physical violence.

Sadly, the seriousness of this issue is slowly coming to the public's attention. There have been a number of dramatic cases involving verbal abuse covered by the national and international media. In January of this year Thomas Junta was convicted for the beating death of Michael Costin at their children's hockey practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which began, as everyone in this House is aware, after a hostile exchange between the two fathers.

Another sports related incident that captured the attention of Canadians was an altercation at a girls' softball game in Albany, Georgia in 1979, when Ray Knight, a former Cincinnati Reds third baseman and manager, engaged in an agitated and profane dispute with the father of another girl. It led to Mr. Knight hitting the other parent and being charged, but it started with verbal abuse.

This is a very serious issue in our minor hockey system right across Canada. We see situations where parents of both genders, people who outside the rink do not engage in that type of behaviour, verbally abuse 12 year old and 13 year old referees.

Verbal abuse has also become an increasing problem in our schools, resulting in fear among teachers and students alike. Recent suicides and school shootings of young people in Canada and abroad are connected directly to verbal abuse and bullying. The horrifying incident that occurred at Columbine High School, where 12 students and one teacher died as a result of teenage shooters who subsequently turned their guns on themselves, was attributed largely to verbal abuse that the two boys had suffered at the hands of their peers.

What we now consider to be almost commonplace in school, violence, suicides and shootings, can, I submit, be prevented. With increased education we can better understand how to better prevent verbal abuse and, consequently, its negative long term effects.

The timing of this verbal abuse prevention week, to be held in the first week of the month of October, would allow administrators, teachers and personnel in the education system to develop curriculum based programs and encourage the participation of students in verbal abuse prevention activities that would help educate our youth to treat others as we would want to be treated, that is, with kindness and respect.

Recent developments in the campaign to raise awareness of verbal abuse are exemplified through an American organization called Words Can Heal, a national effort that began in September 2001, shortly after a national poll showed that 90% of Americans agreed that verbal violence and gossip are a problem in schools, in homes and in the workplace. Words Can Heal is a media and educational campaign to eliminate verbal violence, curb gossip and promote the healing power of words to enhance relationships at every level. There is a board comprised of top politicians, leading diplomats, Wall Street's most influential CEOs, clergy, Hollywood celebrities and community leaders.

This American campaign is one good example of the necessity for public action and education. While there are some good examples in Canada of programs aimed at preventing verbal aggression, a national week of awareness would go that much further in co-ordinating awareness raising programs across Canada and publicizing this very important issue.

There is a great deal of support for the bill from constituents and from organizations in my province and across Canada. This private member's bill can help raise awareness of the effects of verbal abuse by increasing the amount of education people have access to about the impact of words, which may then cause people to reflect on what they say and do to others.

The bill can also help promote better conflict resolution skills. I submit there is no time when better and greater conflict resolution skills are needed than right now in the troubled world in which we live.

Finally, the bill may result in improved access to information for victims and perpetrators of verbal abuse and better education as to where Canadians can seek professional help.

Clearly this issue is a growing concern among Canadians and in the entire world. I have sponsored the bill in the hope that it will succeed in capturing the attention and concern of my fellow parliamentarians about the seriousness of verbal abuse in our communities, in our homes and in our schools and about the importance of raising people's awareness of this very important topic.

While this bill has been deemed non-votable, I urge my colleagues here today to reflect on the magnitude of this issue and ensure that in the future perpetrators and victims of verbal abuse will be taken seriously by our society.

Supply February 28th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat my earlier remarks. It is surprising that the hon. member is involved in a debate to save Canada. That is not where he is coming from.

He made the point that I said things were going well. I said I was pleased with the balanced approach being followed by the government. Many issues were raised by the mover of the motion. More can be done and more should be done. However I am pleased with the balanced approach being followed by the government.