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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

Verbal Abuse June 5th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring awareness to the devastating and negative effects verbal abuse can have on our community, particularly among our youth.

It is a precursor to other forms of abuse and violence. It can severely damage a person's sense of self-worth and perception. It destroys self-esteem and in some cases can be life threatening. It can also affect a child's social development and may result in an impaired ability to perceive, feel, understand and express emotion.

In September of last year the province of Prince Edward Island, as a result of the work of many organizations, declared that Verbal Abuse Prevention Week would become an annual event recognized during the first full week of October. This event has led to a growing awareness about the seriousness of verbal abuse.

I commend the government of P.E.I. and encourage other provinces to hold similar events. As well, I urge the Minister of Health to seriously consider expanding this initiative to become a national program. It would be an important step toward reducing abuse and violence.

The Environment June 4th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment. Recently we have been reading more and more articles in the media concerning high levels of sulphur in fuels, air pollution and health problems that result from these high levels.

On this issue could the minister tell the House what actions are being taken to deal with the issue of high sulphur levels in fuels in Canada?

Education Merit Awards May 9th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the hard work, talent and innovation of seven professors and researchers from the University of Prince Edward Island.

Dr. Raymond Doiron, Dr. Paula McLean, Dr. Kay Diviney and Professor Lawrence LeClair were each awarded the UPEI Faculty Association Teaching Merit Award for their commitment to success and outstanding dedication in teaching.

Dr. Alastair Cribb, Dr. Gordon MacDonald and Dr. Henry Srebrnik were each awarded the UPEI Faculty Association Research and Scholarly Achievement Award for their accomplishments and innovation in research.

The faculty and students at the university identified and honoured them as being exceptional teachers and researchers. The merit awards for excellence have been designed to acknowledge individuals whose work has contributed to the instructional excellence at this university.

On behalf of all residents of Prince Edward Island, I am proud to pay tribute to these seven individuals. Their commitment and devotion has enriched the education and lives of many students at this university.

It is my belief that our future depends on the skills, knowledge and innovation of such dedicated Canadians.

Atlantic Journalism Awards May 4th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour the hard work and dedication of five journalists from CBC in Charlottetown.

Last week they each received Atlantic Journalism Awards for their outstanding achievements in their profession.

Roger Younker was the unanimous choice of the judges for a special journalistic achievement award honouring Roger's many years as host of our evening television news program CBC Compass , a show that is rarely missed by any Islander.

Sally Pitt, a CBC television reporter, received a gold award for her report concerning a local couple's struggle with Alzheimer's.

Sheila Taylor, a CBC radio reporter, along with her producer, Donna Allen, also won a gold award for their story involving a dispute among 54 P.E.I. shell fishers and Revenue Canada.

John Jeffery, one of Atlantic Canada's better known television reporters, received a silver award for his coverage of our Prime Minister's tour while in Prince Edward Island last summer.

On behalf of all residents of Prince Edward Island, I am proud to pay tribute to those five journalists. Thanks to their commitment and dedication, the history and culture of our province continues to be recorded.

Taxation March 16th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue. Whether or not we like it, the time has now come for some 23 million Canadians to prepare and file their income tax returns for the 2000 taxation year.

What has the new Canada Customs and Revenue Agency done to make this annual obligation easier to fulfil?

Lorie Kane February 20th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize and salute the accomplishments of a resident of the constituency of Hillsborough, Canada's premier female golfer, Lorie Kane.

During the past 12 months Lorie has been on a real hot streak on the ladies professional golf tour. In August of last year she won the Michelob Light Classic, played in St. Louis, Missouri. In September of last year she won the New Albony Classic, played in New Albony. In October of last year she won the Mizuno Classic, played in the country of Japan. Two weeks ago she won the TACA-Fugi Tournament, played in Hawaii.

In the year 2000 her earnings exceeded $800,000, placing her fifth on the LPGA money earnings list. This year she has earned in excess of $250,000, placing her second on the LPGA money earnings list. I should point out to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the Minister of Finance that we are talking about American dollars here. Recently she received the honour of being named Canada's Female Athlete of the Year for the year 2000.

Financial Consumer Agency Of Canada Act February 12th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I assume the member is speaking about the merger issue. Everything has to go through OSFI. It has to go to the competition bureau.

Any merger has to go through a lot of steps, but it has to go back to government. We cannot have mergers being approved by some other agency. They have to come to the government and the Minister of Finance.

Financial Consumer Agency Of Canada Act February 12th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, the learned member raises two issues. The first issue was with regard to bank closures and communities. My response to him is that banks have a fiduciary duty not only to their depositors who in many instances are low income and disabled Canadians but to their shareholders. They cannot be legislated to keep banks open when they are not making a profit.

Regarding accountability, banks will be required to file annually an accountability statement so that Canadians from coast to coast will be able to judge how banks are contributing to the economy and to society generally from a regional basis, from a provincial basis and from a national basis.

Financial Consumer Agency Of Canada Act February 12th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to Bill C-8 which would implement the new policy framework for Canada's financial services sector.

At the outset I wish to reaffirm the government's commitment to provide a fair and balanced framework that preserves the health and strength of the sector, while at the same time allowing its evolution to proceed to the benefit of all Canadians.

The new policy framework is guided by four overriding principles. The principles are: First, the financial institutions must have the flexibility to adopt to the changing marketplace to compete here and abroad.

Second, there must be vibrant competition. This is necessary to ensure a dynamic and innovative sector.

Third, consumers, and I am talking about personal consumers and small businesses, regardless of income, regardless of whether the consumers be big or small or whether they reside in rural or urban areas, must receive the highest possible standard of quality and service.

Last, the regulatory burden should be lightened wherever possible, consistent with sound, prudential and public interest objectives.

Although each of these fundamental principles that guide the new framework is equally important, I have chosen to focus my remarks here today on the issue of consumer protection.

As we all know, the financial services sector plays a very important and vital role in the everyday lives of Canadian consumers. Financial institutions take consumers' deposits, supply access to payment services, such as cheques and point of sale debits, and provide mortgages and car loans. In short, financial institutions permeate every aspect of our financial lives.

While having regard to everyone, I am talking today about consumers and businesses who are all dependent on financial institutions. It is vital in Canadian society that consumers have protection when dealing with financial institutions.

The dramatic changes brought about by globalization and technological innovation, which other speakers have indicated here today, have contributed to a much more complex business environment. While consumers benefit from a far greater choice of products and services, these choices at the same time are being made more difficult by the greater complexity of products offered by financial institutions. Consumers often lack information to enable them to make the wisest choice. This lack of information may leave them exposed to unfair or abusive commercial practices.

To promote a better balance in the delicate relationship between consumers and financial institutions, it is important that the legislation, Bill C-8, ensure that consumer rights are protected adequately. The legislation, which was introduced here last week, would address the situation and better protect and empower all consumers of financial services.

Bill C-8 would implement a number of measures that go further to protect consumers than any previous legislation and, at the same time, and this is important, would address the need to provide financial institutions with an environment that is conducive to their continued growth and success.

We believe that in order to be effective any consumer protection legislation must include the following criteria: an assurance that all Canadians have fair access to Canadian banking services; accessible oversight and redress mechanisms; and strong consumer safeguards including an accountability framework.

With respect to access, I would note that many Canadians, for a variety of reasons, do not have access to basic financial services or are unable to access services in a way that fully meets their needs.

As members may recall, an agreement on access was reached in February 1997 between the major banks and the federal government. In that agreement the major banks committed to improving access to basic services for low income individuals by establishing minimum identification requirements for opening accounts and for cashing government cheques.

Bill C-8 would legislate key elements of that agreement. Banks would be required to open an account for anyone who has basic identification, and neither employment nor a minimum deposit will be a condition of opening such an account.

The legislation includes regulation making authority regarding the provision of such a low cost account. The government has agreed however to hold off introducing regulations for the time being. Instead, it has recently concluded a memorandum of understanding with individual banks regarding the provision of the low cost account.

While the low cost account offers a range of choices to consumers, it adheres to certain standards that will ensure that all Canadians have access to a bank account at an affordable price. This will help ensure that all Canadians have access to basic banking services and will address the concerns of consumers who do not feel comfortable with the new technology of automated banking services.

The financial consumer agency of Canada would monitor the banks' compliance with these undertakings and would consult with consumer groups representing low income Canadians as to how the self-regulatory approach is working.

Should the FCAC find at any point in time that the banks are not respecting the terms of the agreements, the government at that time will not hesitate to exercise its regulation making authority to require banks to offer a standard, low cost account with specified features.

Another area that merits government attention is branch closures. The legislation calls for a four month notice period to provide consumers, especially low income and disabled consumers, with the ability to make alternate arrangements. It also consults with community leaders, to bring everyone into the picture for a proper consultation. This issue was recognized in the MacKay task force and it is being legislated.

The financial consumer agency of Canada would be a regulatory agency, an information gathering and public advocacy agency, with the ability to regulate a whole milieu of consumer interests that are now dispersed throughout other government departments.

In summary, I state that the framework of Bill C-8 ensures that consumer protection will be at the forefront of Canada's financial services sector for the 21st century.

East Coast Music Awards February 8th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that this weekend the city of Charlottetown will be hosting the East Coast Music Awards. More than 1,200 delegates representing every facet of the music industry will be in Charlottetown for talent showcases, jam sessions, workshops and the nationally televised awards show.

The festival recognizes the finest singers, songwriters and musicians in the region. Since its creation in Halifax more than 10 years ago, the East Coast Music Awards has grown into one of the biggest entertainment events in the country. The highlight of the weekend shall be the presentation of the director's special achievement award, being awarded this year to Anne Murray.

I congratulate the organizers of this event and I wish all participants, organizers and fans a most enjoyable and rewarding weekend.