House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was senate.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia (Manitoba)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply November 18th, 2004

Madam Speaker, unlike other political parties, the Conservative Party believes that members are here because they were elected by the people and they should represent the people who elected them. The Conservative Party will do what is in the best interests of Canadians and ensure that Canadians remain healthy.

The goals are the same but how we get there is different. The market forces are very powerful and industry has to be sensitive to that. It will play a major role in how this issue is finally resolved. Labelling and other methods will help people in making their decision.

Supply November 18th, 2004

Madam Speaker, the government already plays a role in the safety of food, provincially and federally. There are inspections to make sure foods are prepared properly and to make sure we do not find arsenic in our water supply, things of that nature. The government does play a role, or has in the past, to ensure that products are safe for consumption.

Having said that, governments are the ones which allowed trans fats to be introduced in the first place, with good intentions I think. They wanted to get rid of the saturated fats and so on, but little did we know at the time the problems that trans fats would cause.

Governments, sometimes with the best intentions, screw things up. In many cases the marketplace is able to do a better job in regulating the industries which produce the products for the market. The product manufacturers that come up with trans fat free products will encounter significant advantages over their competition. That should not be overlooked. There is definitely a role for the government and industry to play in this debate and debates of a similar nature.

I can say that the Conservative Party supports healthy living for Canadians and that its MPs represent the views of their constituents. When the Conservative Party is approached with the vote next week, its members will carefully consider the views of their constituents and will vote according to the will of the people. We are here to represent the constituents in Ottawa, not represent Ottawa to the constituents.

Supply November 18th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I would like to share my time with the member for Saskatoon—Wanuskewin.

As some members may be aware, I am the senior health critic for the Conservative Party. Obviously the health care of Canadians is number one on my priority list, as it is for the Conservative Party of Canada.

I congratulate the member for Winnipeg Centre for bringing this motion before Parliament. He has helped increase public awareness about the harm that trans fats do to Canadians. Certainly I have learned a lot since this was brought to the fore.

It has been proven that trans fats are detrimental to human health. It is indisputable. With all the scientists I have come across it is not debated. Even much of the food industry does not debate the negative health effects that trans fats have on people. Many premature deaths could be averted by decreasing trans fats in the food system.

Therefore, I endorse the spirit of the motion. Although I may not agree with the proceedings afterward in the legislation, I think the intent of bringing together the stakeholders, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation, is important. We need to work as a government and as a people to reduce heart disease that trans fats cause. However, there are other diseases that trans fats lead to.

In other countries, such as Denmark, trans fats have essentially been banned. The United States of America has taken regulatory action against trans fats by limiting the upper and lower levels allowed in food products. People who consume products need to take some additional responsibility in how and what they consume.

Certainly the Conservative Party of Canada supports Canadians taking responsibility for their own health. We also recognize that sometimes the government has a role in providing a safe and healthy environment for the public.

Industry must also play a major role in developing new alternatives to the consumption of trans fats. It is very important that we include industry in the multi-stakeholder task force. After all, there could be some economic and practical implications if we are not responsible in the process by which we eliminate trans fats.

Some companies have been successful in this area. New York Fries has eliminated trans fats. Voortman cookies, Pepperidge Farm, High Liner Foods, Dare Foods and Kraft Foods have all endeavoured either to have trans fat free food or have declared their intention to become trans fat free in a reasonable amount of time.

There are products being developed or which apparently exist that can help eliminate trans fats. In the future we will have very minimal trans fats in the food supply. The question is how fast will this happen and how much of a role should government play?

Some people will argue that people have a choice and if they want to have trans fats, they should be able to have trans fats. This is similar to alcohol and tobacco. There are obviously major health effects with those products. I would like to point out to members that those products are restricted to people over the age of 18. Trans fats are very easily accessible by our children. They are found everywhere. The onus is on parents and the government to ensure that children are protected, which is another reason I support the intention of this motion.

At the end of the day if we need to make a choice between the health of people or the shelf life of people versus the shelf life of doughnuts, the Conservative Party of Canada will always support the shelf life of people. That also goes to long term strategy.

The health minister talks about the sustainability of our health care system. It is only sustainable if we make proper decisions right now for the long term health of Canadians. Certainly by reducing trans fats I think there would be significant cost savings to the health care system in the future, combined with other preventive and proactive measures that we could undertake to make sure that the health care system will deal with things that are not preventable. Certainly trans fats cause a lot of existing diseases, and they could cause more diseases in the future.

The Conservative Party is supportive of the health of Canadians. Provided that the implementation of something of this nature is done with the consent of industry, members will be supportive of at least the intent. There is some ambiguity about what the legislation may hold and therefore there would be some reservations on that. Again it has to be done responsibly.

In conclusion, again I would like to thank the member for Winnipeg Centre. He and I worked quite closely on the wording of the motion. I am very thankful for the opportunity for members of parties who do not often see eye to eye to work together for the betterment of all Canadians.

I look forward to a day when I can eat my favourite foods without worrying about the trans fats in them. I should tell the House that I am guilty of eating a lot of trans fats, knowingly and unknowingly. The problem is that all too often we eat these things without knowing it. Proper labelling can help that but it does not exist in every case.

There are going to be diverse points of view in the House. We all want the same end but how do we get there? Should government play a role or should it not? The spirit of the motion is something which I can support. As long as the stakeholders include industry and Health Canada, and that their recommendations are taken seriously, we can all look forward to a healthier Canada as we move forward into the future.

Health November 15th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, perhaps we should have sold the minister to the United States. Goodness knows the candidate his party supported in the presidential election could have used some more votes.

Again, we see the Prime Minister corrected. The first correction was with privatizing the health care system, the next was with opening the hepatitis C fund, and now this.

When will the health minister get his act together and stop delivering contradictory messages to Canadians and Americans alike?

Health November 15th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, there is more evidence that the health minister and the Prime Minister are not on the same page.

Last week the health minister told an American audience in Boston that Internet pharmacies in Canada would not be a drugstore for the United States. Later in the week the Prime Minister said that his government had no plans or intentions to shut down Internet pharmacies.

This is a very important issue. Who should Canadians believe, the Prime Minister or the health minister?

Family Doctor Week November 15th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I am very honoured today to be given the opportunity to announce Canada's Family Doctor Week. As we do so, we celebrate the important roles that family doctors play in our health care system and in the 50th anniversary of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

I would like to highlight the important role that my family doctor played in my recovery after my accident, which left me a quadriplegic.

Dr. Rick Ross, from the Parkwest Medical Clinic in the Charleswood portion of my constituency, has been my doctor and my family's doctor for 27 years. It was nine years ago when Dr. Ross helped my family and I the most. He visited me in the hospital and, after discharge, he came to my home for house calls. He helped my parents and my siblings deal with the major psychological and emotional issues that we faced. Not only did he treat my injuries, but he helped treat my entire family, as he does to this day.

Dr. Rick Ross has played a critical role in my life and I know family doctors from across Canada also play a significant role in the lives of individuals and their families. I would like to thank Dr. Ross and all family doctors throughout Canada.

Health November 4th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I am finding it difficult to convey, in a parliamentary manner, my disappointment in the Liberal government.

Yesterday the Liberals talked out a motion to compensate the victims of hepatitis C from tainted blood. The Liberals claim they are compassionate and that they are looking out for the best interests of these people.

The Liberal government is wrong. It is not compassionate. When it is presented with opportunities to do the right thing, it does the opposite.

The fact is that if the government wanted those victims of tainted blood to be compensated, they would be. However the government blocks every attempt to compensate these victims.

The government can act immediately and begin compensating victims who have been left out. It is what yesterday's motion called for and everyone but the Liberal government agreed on.

This issue is a tragedy of massive proportions. I still cannot grasp the reasoning of the government as to why all the victims are not compensated.

I urge the minister to do the right thing and begin the compensation process. It is only fair and the victims deserve it.

Committees of the House November 3rd, 2004

Madam Speaker, what we have heard tonight from the government side has been profoundly disappointing. There was an opportunity earlier tonight to support the health committee's unanimous recommendation to compensate hepatitis C victims. Yet, when the opportunity came up, members of the government denied that motion.

The health minister, the chair of the health committee, and other health committee members prevented an extension of this very important debate. That is another example of the two-faced nature of the way this government has approached this issue.

The reason why this issue is on the table is because opposition parties have not allowed it to die. We have kept moving it forward. We have kept it on the radar screen. If it were not for the minority government situation, I doubt the Liberal government would even be considering opening up the compensation window.

The fact is that the Liberal government is on the wrong side of the issue. Those members are on the wrong side of public opinion. They are denying mitigation to those people that blood services harmed. The government needs to take responsibility for that.

My question for the member is: Why not do the right thing? If moneys are due to these people, they should receive it, surplus or no surplus. Why not do the right thing and compensate them regardless of the fund involved? The government could create a new fund if necessary.

Committees of the House November 3rd, 2004

Madam Speaker, the victims of hepatitis C suffer painful physical symptoms, fatigue, cirrhosis of the liver, nausea, and many other ailments. Their pain is increased particularly for those who are in the pre-1996, post-1990 window. These people were infected by tainted blood and their pain and suffering has not been recognized by the Government of Canada. They deserve compensation, yet the government refuses to broaden it. We know the money is available. A surplus exists, yet these people are being denied the adequate financial resources to mitigate their suffering.

Today in question period we had an accusation from the Minister of Health that somehow the opposition parties were politicizing this issue. I would like to remind the government side that in 1998 there was a motion brought forward by the opposition parties to compensate these victims of hepatitis C from tainted blood, but the prime minister of the day made it into a confidence motion on the government. The prime minister of the day politicized the motion that would have opened the door to compensate the victims of hepatitis C from tainted blood.

It is the Liberal government that has politicized this issue. It is the Liberal government that has refused to do the right thing. However at the health committee a few weeks ago, members from all parties, including the Liberal Party, agreed that compensating hepatitis C victims from tainted blood was the right thing to do. Hence we are discussing that motion today.

It is really interesting that four members of the Liberal government have decided to side with the opposition parties. They have done it because they are people of conscience and people who want to do the right thing and compensate the victims of hepatitis C.

We have an opportunity here. The money is there, but more important, the principle is that these people need to be dealt with fairly. Even if there was not a surplus we should compensate these people, but there is, so there is absolutely no excuse. I think, and I believe the opposition parties agree and at least four members of the Liberal Party agree, that compensation should be made.

I therefore move:

That this question be now put.

Health November 3rd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, this is about the victims. If the government would compensate them it would be over.

I know the Prime Minister also has a vested interest in what happens on this file. He was on the board of directors of the Canadian Development Corporation, which was implicated in the tainted blood scandal, but conveniently he remembers nothing about importing blood from the United States prisons.

Since the Prime Minister was a decision maker at the CDC during that period, will he remove himself from the discussions relating to opening the compensation fund, because--