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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was opposition.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Conservative MP for Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 71% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Credit Cards December 7th, 2004

Mr. Chair, the hon. member is quite correct that there is a possibility that an individual found in possession of 500 credit cards could be charged with a crime, but not with identity theft. That much we know.

We also know the possession of multiple pieces of identification right now is not a crime. Charges can be laid, but it cannot be for identity theft. Let us not kid around. That is what the person is planning to do, so let us not try and pony up a charge because we do not have the legislation or a law in place to deal with it. We know there is going to be a wrong. One does not have to be Einstein to figure out that if a guy has 500 pieces of false identification, he is not out there for a joyride. He is not going to make a bonfire with all these identifications. He is doing it for a reason. He wants to commit a crime.

Yes, the police can perhaps charge those people, but they cannot charge them with the crime they should be charged with, which is identity theft, and we need to deal with that.

Credit Cards December 7th, 2004

Mr. Chair, yes, basically I agree with everything the hon. member has said. I referred to most of those points in my presentation. I think we can put a dent in identity theft, particularly credit card fraud, by taking the steps I have outlined. Once again. I will summarize in case the member did not hear it the first two times.

First, we have to clearly define personal information in identity theft in the Criminal Code of Canada. That has not been done yet. Second, we need to make it a crime for someone to possess someone else's personal information. It is that simple. Can we do it? Yes, we can. Will the government enact legislation? I am not sure. I want to introduce a private member's bill. If the government came forward with legislation dealing with this issue before I introduced a private member's bill, I would gladly support it because it needs to be done.

We are all lawmakers. I go back to the fact that we are all on the same side with a lot of issues. We know intuitively, if not empirically, the difference between right and wrong. We know that people are getting away with identity theft. We can deal with it. We can put a stop to it, and we need to do that.

Credit Cards December 7th, 2004

Mr. Chair, I want to pick up a bit on what we have just discussed. I know that it is not perhaps right on topic with some of the discussion pertaining to capping interest rates and things like that, but I want to talk about identity theft and the relationship credit cards have to identity theft.

My first couple of comments relate to a few comments made by the hon. member across the floor a few moments ago with respect to identity theft and credit cards. My colleague was quite correct in one thing. Right now, and I believe this is a tragedy, if someone is in possession of multiple pieces of personal identification that belong to someone else, it is not a crime. It is not a crime until that identification is used.

My hon. colleague suggested that is the way it should be because someone could stand outside a Kresge's or a department store with someone else's ID but we cannot charge the person because it is a free country until that person uses it. He suggests that we cannot really do anything about that.

I suggest the opposite. I think we can do something about it. I think the first thing we have to do is identify what personal information is and get a definition for it and identity theft in the Criminal Code of Canada.

The second thing we need to do is take action. We need to make it a crime for anyone to carry personal information that is not his or hers without the lawful consent of the individual whose identity that person is carrying, or without a lawful excuse. That is how we do it. My hon. colleague said that we cannot really do anything about it. Sure we can. There are recommendations upon recommendations from institutions like the Canadian Bankers Association on how to deal with this specific issue.

As a matter of fact, I plan to introduce, hopefully as early as next spring, a private member's bill dealing with identity theft. That is how we do it.

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in North America. In 2002, the latest statistics I have available to me suggest that there were over 160,000 victims of identity theft in Canada. I would suggest that in 2004 we probably have closer to 250,000 or 300,000 victims of identity theft. That number is growing by leaps and bounds.

The relationship between identity theft and credit cards is simply this. Out of all the various ways in which identity theft can be perpetrated upon the public, and I am talking about phone fraud and bank fraud, the largest single aspect of identity theft is through credit card fraud. Over 42% of all identity theft violations deal with credit card fraud. Of that, over half is with new credit cards.

There are two ways in which one could perpetrate a crime with credit cards. One would be to steal a credit card. For example, someone walking down the street lifts somebody's wallet. The credit card is taken and the thief whips down to the nearest convenience store, supermarket, grocery store or Sears, forges the person's signature, uses the credit card, charges up a whole bunch of bills and then walks away from the crime.

The most serious aspect and the fastest growing component of credit card fraud is how people are getting new credit cards. This is very difficult to police.

How is it done? Here is how it works. It is pretty simple. In this day and age, there are over 600 credit cards or charge cards available in the marketplace. I think that number is increasing. Many times, credit card companies send out pre-authorized credit letters to some of their good clients. In other words, they send out a letter saying that the client is a valued customer of theirs and because the client has performed admirably with the responsibility the client has shown with respect to paying off the current account, the company says it pre-authorizes the client for a new credit card with a $20,000 limit.

Here is what happens. Many people who receive these letters are not in the market for a new credit card so they just chuck the letter in the garbage. What the identity thieves do then is literally go through people's garbage, pick out these letters and respond to them. They respond to the credit card company by saying, “I am John Doe and I am pre-authorized for a $20,000 limit on a new credit card”. They put the person's address on it or, more than likely, what they say is, ”My name is John Doe and I am accepting the offer for a $20,000 limit on a new credit card, but my address has changed. I do not live at 123 Elm Drive anymore. I have just moved”. Then they give the credit card company their own address.

What happens? A couple of weeks later in the mail comes a new credit card made out to John Doe and the new address. This person will take that credit card and start making charges. That is identity theft. Where do the charges ultimately go? The charges go back to John Doe, not the person who has committed the theft. This is the fastest growing crime in North America.

We are all victims of this. The other thing that happens is that this is a great cost to our economy. Again, statistics show that in 2002, with about 160,000 victims of credit card fraud or identity theft, there was about a $2.5 billion cost to the economy. I would suggest that in this day and age, two years later, the cost to the economy is closer to $5 billion.

We have to do something about this. It is a very serious crime. If we do not deal with it through legislation, we will not deal with it at all. That is what I am suggesting. We need legislation to deal with this problem.

Again, my hon. colleague across the floor suggested that there is nothing we can do. We can do something about it. That is why we are in this assembly. We are lawmakers. We see a problem, we identify a problem, we create a solution and we deal with it. That is what we need to do here.

There is a great proliferation of credit cards in Canada and throughout the world. We know that. That will not abate. That will not be something that causes people to ask for less credit. The credit card companies themselves clearly will increase the number of products and cards they offer. Knowing this and knowing that identity theft is the fastest growing crime in North America, recognizing that credit card fraud is the largest proponent of identity theft, why do we not just do something about it.

Yes, we can talk about insurance caps on credit cards. In my opinion the real problem is theft. Whether we self-regulate, self-police or cap credit cards, that does not solve the problem of what we do with people who steal our identities, use our credit cards and go on spending binges

Do members know that it takes over a thousand hours and costs over $675 per person for Canadians who has been victimized by identity theft. This is what it costs to try to rectify the situation. That is an inordinate amount of time and money that innocent victims have to deal with because they have been victimized.

We have an opportunity to fix the problem. All we need to do is pay some attention to the problem itself. I do not think we have a problem with capping expenses or the interest level charged by credit card companies. It goes far beyond that. I think we have a problem with people stealing identities. They are using credit cards for illicit purposes. That is the problem we should be talking about tonight, and that is what I want to address.

I am not going to talk about whether the government should be taking money from the gun registry and putting it into credit card fraud. We have to make a law because no law exists right now. We can do it. Why Parliament has waited this long to deal with a problem that is growing faster than any other crime in North America is beyond me.

Part of the reason I am speaking here tonight is that hopefully I will get some support from members opposite and on this side of the House next year when I introduce a private member's bill. I think it is a fairly simple fix to a very serious problem.

Once again, in my opinion, all we need to do to deal with the problem is this. First, clearly define personal information and identity theft in the Criminal Code of Canada. Second, make it a crime for individuals to possess someone else's personal information unless they have express consent from that individual or if there is a lawful excuse.

Let me give one final example of how ridiculous the situation is right now. A police officer can stop a car and with legitimate cause and purpose get the individual to open the trunk of the car. The police could find 500 credit cards made out to individuals across Canada, but that person cannot be charged with identity theft. It is very simple to say that the person did nothing wrong. We all know the difference between right and wrong. Believe me, if a person has 500 credit cards in his or her possession, he or she is about to commit a crime.

We cannot deal with it now because we have no legislation to do so. Let us ensure that we enact legislation to deal with the problem. Let us fix it.

Supply December 2nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, first, I want to congratulate the Bloc for initiating the debate today on this very serious crisis, and I will make a couple of comments.

I think all of us in this assembly can agree on a couple of points. First, the impact of the BSE crisis on all our producers across Canada has been devastating. Second, although perhaps some of the government members do not agree with this, most members would agree that the CAIS program is at best fundamentally flawed, and perhaps more accurately, fatally flawed.

The problem is money is required by producers, but money is not reaching the farm gate. I do not want to oversimplify things because I know on many levels this is a complex problem. The question of opening the border will take perhaps months and months to come. However, there is a separate element, which is delivering cash to the farm gate as quickly as possible.

I have found, as in most things in life, that answers to complex problems many times are very simple. The answer to the question of getting money to the farm gate is simple, and it boils down to two words: political will. I believe if the government had the political will to deal with this problem, to properly get money to the farmers, those who are desperately in need of cash, it would be done.

We have seen the choices the government has made when it comes down to that. We have seen the choice it made with the national gun registry, where it pumped $2 billion into a program, which is the biggest waste of taxpayer dollars that we have seen in the last 30 or 40 years.

Does the hon. member agree with me that the solution can be simple if the government had the political will to get the money to the farmers when they need it? That time is now.

Points of Order November 25th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I wish to table documents in relation to a question I raised in question period today, and I ask for unanimous consent from the House to do so.

Citizenship and Immigration November 25th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, that is what I am talking about. They were posted and then changed after I asked a question in this assembly.

There is more. Her former chief of staff, while on a trip last April to Washington, was also claiming expenses in Ottawa. We know he cannot be in two places at one time. Clearly, these were bogus expenses.

My question for the minister: Minister, why did you approve these bogus claims?

Citizenship and Immigration November 25th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, last week I asked the immigration minister why her former chief of staff was charging meals in Ottawa while really on a trip to Toronto. This week I checked the immigration department's website and found that the website had been altered and there was no reference to any trip to Toronto.

Why did the minister order this cover-up?

Supply November 25th, 2004

Just do what is right.

Supply November 25th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, my question for the member opposite deals with a statement she made in trying to draw an analogy between the recent Ukraine election and the lease agreement signed by the government.

Being a Ukrainian Canadian, number one, I take a little bit of offence to that, but I also want to suggest that the hon. member has it a little backward. The member opposite and her party were the ones who stood in the House yesterday with every one of us and said that we will reject the results of that Ukrainian election. Why? Because we knew it was wrong.

This is the same. This deal was wrong. We need to right a wrong. Why the double standard? Why does that member say that we can right a wrong in Ukraine, but we cannot right a wrong for farmers in Quebec?

Ukraine November 24th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I do not have any prepared notes. I am just going to speak from my heart and say what I feel.

I also want to say to all hon. members that I believe this is one of the first times, if not the only time, on which all of us in this chamber tonight are in agreement on an issue. It is undeniable that there has been some egregious behaviour. Some things that have been done in Ukraine need to be undone. I think for the first time we can count on all members of this chamber to stand and speak the truth because we all believe that we know the truth.

In this case it is undeniable. The truth is that there was an election in Ukraine that was not held fairly or equally. It did not represent the voters' will. It did not represent those people in Ukraine who wanted to see a true democracy and a true democratic election.

I should say that I come from Ukrainian stock. My grandfather immigrated to Canada in the early 1900s. My father and I were born in this country. I am proud to say that I am Ukrainian but I do not really have any knowledge of what it is like to be a citizen of the Ukraine. I am starting to get a sense of that now because I see what has happened in the homeland of my grandfather, a part of the world for which I still feel very strongly and to which I feel connected in some manner.

I must say that this is one of the most egregious and blatant manipulations of the electoral process that I have seen in recent democratic history. We have seen actions taken by those in power currently in the Ukraine that defy description. If the actions that we have seen taken in Ukraine to manipulate the results of its election were taken in any other western country or any other democratic country, the outrage would be worldwide. I think we will see that outrage eventually.

Let me try to recapture some of the things that we know happened during the recent Ukraine elections. If one lives in a western civilization or in a country, a province or a state that is used to having elections, whether or not we like the results we trust the election officials. We know that from time to time there may be a slight irregularity but we trust the results.

I only have to look back to the recent U.S. elections where so many people were disappointed with the election results. Did the people say that the election was rigged? Did they rebel on the streets? Did they take to arms? No, because they know that inherently the electoral system in most democracies, certainly within the western world, is inherently fair. Just because we do not like the results does not mean that the elections were not conducted fairly, honestly and above board.

However that was not the case in the latest Ukraine elections. Let us take a look at some of the things that happened. For anyone who sits in this assembly and who has been through elections on many different levels for years and years, it is almost unfathomable, almost unbelievable that some of these things could happen but they did.

We have reports, as one example, that when the results of one poll were tallied the results were 3,000 to 0 for one of the candidates. That cannot happen. That is undeniably fraudulent because in no election in any corner of the world will we ever find, in any poll in a democratic election, a result like that, yet it happened in Ukraine. The government in power is saying that it was legitimate, fair and honest. It is saying that it does not want the results overturned and certainly does not want any kind of an independent review because that poll result might be questioned.

A review may also question things such as military police at polling stations questioning potential voters and turning away potential voters. A review may question things like military police and other officials talking to students and offering them bribes, such as free tuition or money in exchange for their vote for the right candidate. Those are but a few examples of what happened in this election.

My hon. colleague across the floor has just come back from observing what happened in Ukraine. One of our colleagues, the hon. member for Edmonton East, is currently there. It does not matter from which political ideology we come. Every member from every party from whom I have heard, whether it be in this country, south of the border or in European countries, has come back with the same stories. This election was a sham.

I believe there is only one thing that can force the current administration into accepting and agreeing to an independent review. That is with unanimity worldwide. We need all leaders, not only of the free world but in every country, small or large, to stand up and say that they are offended by the blatant abuse of power to try to overturn the democratic will of a people who want to elect a democratic government.

I was truly proud of the Prime Minister's words today. I do not see eye to eye with the Prime Minister or members opposite on many issues, and that is fair. However, I was proud of the words of the Prime Minister, even though he could not be here today, that we, the Canadian people, would not accept the results of this election.

I was proud of not only the members opposite but every member of the House regardless of political affiliation who stood up as one and applauded the Prime Minister's words. I believe that across this great country of ours we all agree with one thing: the democratic right to elect governments is something we should never take lightly and it is something that should be enshrined, as it is, in our Constitution.

When we see abuses throughout the world, we must stand as one and say no, that we will not accept the results. Not that it is for us to say who should be the winner, because it is not. It is the right of the Ukraine people to determine the winner. However, we should stand up when we see obvious and blatant attempts to overturn the democratic principles of an election. That is what this assembly has done and that is why I am so proud of every member of this assembly, because we spoke in unison. We said that we would not accept this. Quite frankly, I hope the Prime Minister and members opposite do not say this because it is topical, relevant and timely.

If this matter continues to carry on over weeks, months and close to a year and there is still no resolve with appointing an independent judicial review or independent review to determine whether this election in Ukraine was held in a proper manner, I hope the members opposite and their leader will continue to press the Ukraine government and every other leader of the free world and every industrialized nation to stand up and say no, that they will not accept what happened in the Ukraine. If that happens, then I truly will be one of the happiest Ukrainian Canadians in the world.

I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Saskatoon—Humboldt. I should have said that at the outset.

In conclusion, everyone in a democracy should understand that the right to vote is one of the most inalienable rights people have and a right that we should take seriously. I am very concerned that in Canada the level of voter turnout in federal, provincial and municipal elections has gone down because people think for one reason or another it does not matter. It does matter.

We only need to look at what has happened in Ukraine to understand that the right to vote in a democracy is one of the greatest rights and responsibilities of every citizen of every country. We must stand up as one and protect the rights of the people in Ukraine to exercise their democratic right and their democratic will.