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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was farmers.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Liberal MP for Malpeque (P.E.I.)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Agriculture March 25th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the standing committee on agriculture has just completed hearings on whether to allow the use of BST in Canada. The entire committee process was conducted in public and open session, including the work on the recommendations and final report.

The work of the committee has confirmed the new role of parliamentary committees promised by our party during the last election. The decision to examine the BST issue, which one witness described as unprecedented attention to a veterinarian drug, was taken collectively by the committee.

Throughout the process members of the committee worked in a spirit of co-operation and commitment toward achieving a consensus report which will soon be tabled in the House.

Once the committee report is tabled it will be up to the government to respond with the appropriate legislation to implement the moratorium called for by that committee. I would hope that same spirit continues.

In that sense of co-operation, with a name like mine, I want to wish everyone in the House and everyone associated with it a very happy Easter.

Forum For Young Canadians March 21st, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I and many other MPs had the opportunity to have a dinner with a group of youths visiting Parliament last week. The group was here under the Forum for Young Canadians program.

In my opinion the Forum for Young Canadians is a valuable educational program that brings young people from all parts of this great nation together to learn about our political process. The forum allows young people to learn about our political system through participation and workshops, presentations and a mock Parliament. It gives students real, hands-on experience. It is also valuable because it allows friendships to form between the participants from all provinces of Canada, friendships that last a lifetime.

It is programs like the Forum for Young Canadians that we as members of Parliament must continue to support and expand because their benefits are enormous. These youths are the leaders of tomorrow and their individual and collective experience will lead to the development of a greater nation.

Questions On The Order Paper March 18th, 1994

Who were the members of the Canadian government's GATT negotiating team from June 1992 through to January 1994, what are their backgrounds and the positions they held prior to becoming members of the team and the dates of their appointments?

Fisheries February 18th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I would like to welcome the announcement made yesterday in Brussels by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization that a moratorium on cod fishing in international waters off Newfoundland will take place immediately.

This ban was called for by our party during the last election and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has worked hard for its implementation.

As a member from Atlantic Canada where so many fishermen and the fishery itself are affected by foreign overfishing, this moratorium is welcome news. A small ray of hope now glimmers at the end of the tunnel for the fishery off the east coast.

I appreciate as well that the Canadian proposal to extend until the end of 1994 the pilot on board program that places observers on vessels to ensure the moratorium is maintained has been implemented. The minister should be complimented for his efforts.

However we must continue to be vigilant in everything we do nationally and internationally to ensure that the Atlantic cod fishery survives to be a viable economic industry in the future.

Prince Edward Island Fixed Link February 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I will just make a comment on that. Certainly we are familiar with the ice delays to ferries these days. As I mentioned earlier this afternoon, truckers at the moment are having anywhere from a three-hour to five-hour extra wait due to a slowdown in ferry movement because of ice congestion at the terminal and so many trucks moving. Under the current scenario with the ferries and the ice it becomes an extremely difficult situation in terms of getting product to market on time and in an efficient way.

Prince Edward Island Fixed Link February 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, in Prince Edward Island we look at the investment and economic activity of this link project in the very short term.

The minister outlined creating jobs this morning. He talked about 70 per cent procurement expenditures in the Atlantic area. Ninety-six per cent of the jobs will go to that area so there will be an economic boost in the initial stages of the project as a result of the expenditure of funds.

Our concern in the study on ice was what ice could do to the bridge. We were assured by all the experts that the bridge will be able to withstand the pressure of that ice.

The fishermen have another real concern: if the bridge delays the ice moving out of the strait it would have an impact on the lobster fishery in terms of the waters remaining cooler and the lobsters therefore remaining dormant for a longer period of time. It would have an impact on lobsters.

Studies have clearly shown that the ice delay would be very limited and would have minimal effect, if any, on the lobster fishery.

Prince Edward Island Fixed Link February 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I rise to speak in favour of this constitutional amendment which allows the federal government to live up to the terms of the constitutional agreement with Prince Edward Island with a mode of transportation infrastructure that is geared to the year 2000 and beyond.

I want to make it clear at the beginning that the legislative assembly in Prince Edward Island unanimously adopted the necessary constitutional amendment in June of last year with the full understanding the Parliament of Canada would proceed with an amendment as soon as possible. Parliament is living up to its commitment and I am pleased by the amount of support from both sides of the House.

Part of the reason for the support is that a lot of Canadians off-island want to link up with us rather than the other way around. I encourage all members of Parliament to come to Prince Edward Island before and after the fixed link is in place, spend a few of their hard earned dollars, have some of the best potatoes grown in Canada; see some of scenery and have some of our lobster. I am getting a little off track blowing up the merits of our wonderful isle. We certainly want it to remain that.

This new bridge enters my riding at the community of Borden. I am well aware of the controversy past and present that surrounds the project. The impact of the construction and the completion of the fixed link will be felt first by the people in my riding and most directly by the people in the community of Borden.

The issue of the fixed link connecting P.E.I. has been under consideration at one time or another since 1885 when the possibility of a tunnel connecting the island was first considered. I do not mind admitting up front that first I favoured a tunnel and I had to be convinced to favour a bridge. I will say that the evidence and public opinion now in Prince Edward Island is very strongly supportive of the bridge.

I have had a considerable amount of indirect involvement with the Borden-Cape Tormentine ferry crossing. My father worked for CN Rail, later Marine Atlantic, as a deck hand and eventually a quartermaster for 32 years on that crossing. From age 12, as many youth did, we would drive back and forth on the car ferries. I have had first hand experience of the delays, of being stuck in the ice for as long as 18 hours. As a result of that experience I recognize the uniqueness of that particular area. Nowhere else in the world will one find the combination of wind, tides and ice there is where this bridge is going to be built.

It is for those reasons that I had to be convinced and looked so seriously at this project with a very critical eye. I have looked at the studies concerning the environment, the ice conditions, the fisheries, the socioeconomic impact and so on. This morning the minister outlined the number and breadth of the studies. I can tell the House of the very extensive public consultations on Prince Edward Island of those studies and of the bridge.

During the election campaign I found a sense of optimism as a result of the project, due to the fact that there would be an expected increase in economic activity during construction and improved transportation infrastructure following construction. There were concerns, and I do not think we can sweep those under the rug, from the ferry workers, from the fishermen and from the people of Borden. We cannot brush them off. They are very real concerns in the minds of those people and must be addressed. As a result of the studies, government has moved to address them in a number of areas. I want to put on the record the way they will be addressed.

As a result of the environmental review the government determined that the construction and the presence of the bridge will result in no significant impact on the environment and the fishery. In order to overcome the difficulty the developer has been required to set aside $10 million as a compensation fund. This fund will be administered according to the terms and process currently being developed by a fisheries liaison committee composed of a majority of fishermen.

Quite a number of Marine Atlantic ferry workers will lose their jobs. That is reality. The government has made the commitment that these employees will be treated fairly and equitably. They will have first right of refusal for the bridge operation and maintenance jobs. A fair severance package will be negotiated between the workers union and Marine Atlantic. The government will provide opportunities for retraining, and relocation assistance will be made available if necessary. A joint consultative committee has been set up to co-ordinate the activities dealing with the ferry workers.

As well, we have to address the concerns of the community of Borden. That is happening on an ongoing basis. One of the last studies done looked at the specifics of the project relating to SCI's bridge proposal and it passed the test. Justice Cullen of the Federal Court stated the following in his ruling with respect to the efforts of Friends of the Island to prevent the project from proceeding with respect to scientific studies and I think it is important to put that statement on the record: "The scientific evidence relied on by Public Works Canada declared all environmental impacts or potential environmental impacts were insignificant.

The respondent SCI and Public Works accepted those findings, were correct in doing so and thus the decision of Public Works was correct in law and certainly not made in a vacuum".

Other members have spoken of the economic impact and spin-off so I will not repeat those facts and figures. However in the long term after 1997 completion there should be economic benefits, savings to transportation costs in the trucking industry and more reliable product delivery for our agriculture, fisheries and manufacturing products. After all transportation is necessary in the delivery of goods to market. We have four years to go. I mentioned in a question to a speaker earlier this afternoon there are major concerns at the moment and major delays in getting our products to the marketplace.

The government has committed itself to ensuring that the risks to the environment and the fishery are minimized. It has committed itself to ensuring that any of Marine Atlantic's work force displaced by the completion of the bridge will be assisted through retraining, relocation assistance and early retirement programs.

I want to touch on one final point. It is the growing sense among some islanders that the link, combined with the possible loss of air traffic control service on the island, could lead progressively toward a diminishing sense of full provincial status. We may need at some point a full review of the transportation infrastucture throughout the Atlantic region, one that will allow all the stakeholders to participate in developing a system that will benefit the region going into the next century.

In conclusion, this project is an investment in our future. This amendment is part of the process to allow that to happen.

Prince Edward Island Fixed Link February 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, the member mentioned that maybe it is time to move to a first class ferry service. I do not know if he is familiar with Prince Edward Island and the amount of physical goods and products we move off the island. Our experience with the ferry service in recent years has been fairly poor.

In fact, talking about economic efficiency, I spoke with some truckers today. The wait at the ferry for truckers is anywhere from three to five hours. As many as 50 to 80 trucks at a time are sometimes waiting in line for the car ferries. One can only handle 13 and the other at maximum can handle 45. The hon. member has to understand that that is just not good enough. We believe a link will change that.

When we look at the truckers, the fuel they are burning, the hours, taking a day longer to get to market in terms of scheduling and so on, it is a disaster for them and for the agricultural industry as well.

What does the hon. member mean by first class ferry service? I hope this is not an example.

Trade February 8th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I rise to raise concerns with respect to the free trade agreement with the United States. That is the continued use by the United States of its export enhancement program, specifically with respect to agricultural exports impacting on Canadian farmers and Canadian markets.

The U.S. is currently providing an export subsidy under the EEP of $3 to $40 per tonne into Mexico and of $65 per tonne into China.

Article 701(4) of the CUSFTA states the United States is obligated to take into consideration the negative impact its export subsidies will have upon Canadian exporters of agricultural products into a third country.

The United States is failing now and has failed repeatedly to respect this provision. This is unacceptable.

It is time for the federal government to call for a formal binational dispute settlement panel to examine the issue and determine the extent of the injury caused to Canadian farmers and force the U.S. to cease the use of EEP.

Social Security System February 3rd, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I happened to be in New Zealand when the value added tax was brought in and I saw first hand the destruction of many of the rural communities as a result of doing away with the subsidies to the farm community.

The subsidy question has become a misnomer in that during the GATT talks the whole thrust of the negotiations was how to do away with subsidies. Subsidies became the issue when really subsidies are the symptom of a greater problem globally, low farm income, which is causing the destruction and the deterioration of rural communities and a loss of farms world wide.

Instead of just targeting subsidies we must look at the real problem which is a global agricultural policy creating lots of profits for the global corporations in terms of trade issues as they try and have farmers in one nation compete against another in order to access cheap supply to undermine producers in another area and profit in the process.

Therefore we have to look at this much differently globally in terms of looking at actually returning the cost of production to farmers for the products they produce wherever they produce them around the world. Certainly there are lots of hungry people around the world.

The other point the hon. member makes is with regard to farmers marketing their products. We have some great examples of that in this country. In fact farmers are doing that.

One of the best examples is the Canadian Wheat Board. Canagrex was a good agency which would use market intelligence and go out to sell farm products in the interests of the country and producers, but the previous administration canned it.

The Canadian Wheat Board is a tremendous agency in terms of pooling the resources of producers, acting as a single seller of export wheat and barley, accessing the marketplace in other countries, setting the delivery system in place and returning to producers the best return for the product available in that international marketplace.