Raymond John SKELLY

SKELLY, Raymond John, B.A.

Personal Data

Party
New Democratic Party
Constituency
North Island--Powell River (British Columbia)
Birth Date
July 1, 1941
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Skelly
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=0662e97c-31c7-492e-ba34-622d26c31084&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
teacher

Parliamentary Career

May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
NDP
  Comox--Powell River (British Columbia)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
NDP
  Comox--Powell River (British Columbia)
September 4, 1984 - October 1, 1988
NDP
  Comox--Powell River (British Columbia)
November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
NDP
  North Island--Powell River (British Columbia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 354)


June 14, 1993

Mr. Skelly (North Island -Powell River)):

Time? We have just started. There is just a minute left, Mr. Speaker? Okay, we will get to the salient points.

My colleagues and I have heard many, many arguments made in this House that were cogent and intelligent. However, there is the argument by the proponent of this particular motion to vote for this bill because its origin starts in the riding of her leader, the member for Beausejour, who does not have enough guts to go back and run in his own native province because he will not be re-elected.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT CROSSING ACT
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June 14, 1993

Mr. Raymond Skelly (North Island -Powell River):

Mr. Speaker, I could not resist getting up on the heels of the statement by the previous member for Fundy-Royal in New Brunswick.

It is an amazing distortion of reality, whether we are dealing with the Oldman dam project, the Rafferty-Ala-meda or Kemano II. I would like to speak to Kemano II in British Columbia as a comparison when he says this government has done incredible works with the environmental issues and it would not consider creating damage in an area of environmental sensitivity. I wish he was going to stay here because his information is so incorrect.

The Kemano II completion project has lowered the flow of the Nechako River to 14 per cent of its original level and damaged the salmon stocks in that river; salmon stocks that would go on forever. This was not done through an environmental assessment or review process. This was done by the hon. member from Richmond when he was Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. He simply went behind closed doors with a proponent and signed off approval for this disgusting project that has cut the level of the Fraser River by three feet at Hell's Gate. This has created enormous damage to one of the strongest producers of salmon in the world.

It is one of the most destructive things that has been done environmentally by any government and it happens to have been done by the Conservative government. There should be no more of this absolute rubbish of standing up and saying the green plan and our environmental record stand for anything over there.

The Conservative government has probably the worst record in Canada in terms of environmental abuse and that is really saying something when we consider what has been done in the past by the Liberal Party.

The hon. member who has put the present amendment forward, as my colleague from Skeena characterizes it, supports too little, too late. It is kind of interesting. She justifies this project. One of its main reasons to recommend it is that the tail of the bridge is in the riding of her leader, the member for Beausejour. He is the former member from Quebec who did not have the guts to run in his own home province. He had to run in

Government Orders

one of the strongest Liberal ridings in New Brunswick to guarantee that he might get back into this House of Commons. This is her rationale for why this bridge should be built.

She did go into many of the problems that brought this project before the courts such as the improper process that was used to assess it and review it environmentally. Again my colleague from Fundy-Royal says that there has been an enormous and tremendous evaluation. Certainly the courts have not adjudicated that way. Again my friend from Skeena characterizes this kind of behaviour where the House of Commons is now considering a government bill to approve it even though it has not gone through a process that is acceptable to the court in following the laws of Canada and following the Constitution.

It is ironic the rubbish that has been placed before this House by the Liberal speaker who has proposed this amendment. She says that the reason we should vote for this as members of the House is because the bridge goes into her leader's riding in Beausejour. This is absolute rubbish.

There are a couple of other points that are important. The previous speaker from Fundy-Royal says this will be a tremendous boost for the economy of Prince Edward Island. There is absolutely no evidence of that. The clear evidence is that if they remove the ferry then 600 jobs are going to be lost. They talk about 1,000 mythological jobs that may or may not arise on the Island but on the other side of the coin there have been as many good arguments that in fact business will go off the Island and there will be a job loss associated with it. The economic studies are inconclusive at best and certainly point to some concrete job losses as certainties. Those are the 600 jobs associated with the ferries.

My colleague from Skeena brought forward the issue of the toll provisions in the bill. We know what user-pay means to a Conservative. It is gouge and gouge again. There is the constitutional provision of providing a ferry and of assisting the province of Prince Edward Island because of the Island location and the terms of union. Certainly the user-pay approach is going to cost that province dearly. If the example pertains to where they

June 14, 1993

Government Orders

have used the approach of fee for service in other areas of the economy, it is going to be very harmful.

It is interesting when one goes through Prince Edward Island to see the GST impact on the economy of that province. It has really devastated it. Tourism is way down. Unemployment is way up and the economy basically because of the Tory GST is way down. Wait until every single thing that is brought to Prince Edward Island to be sold or every tourist going there has an additional $10 or $20 toll across a toll bridge. This is going to have another negative, regressive and harmful effect on Prince Edward Island.

All things considered I think that my colleague from Skeena has done an admirable job in summarizing the real complaints that we have with the amendment before the House and indeed the bill that has been proposed by the government. He points out that in his opinion and in the opinion of many others, that bill is illegal.

We should not be dealing with this legislation until the concerns of the courts are met, until the environmental review and assessment process has been completed to the satisfaction and requirements of the law of this country so that we do not wind up back in the courts again.

The hon. member for Skeena points out that the Constitution and laws of Canada have been violated. I do not think this House can countenance that kind of thing and certainly we will be voting against this bill.

They speak of this as being an environmental disaster with the complicated environment around a 13-kilometre bridge. There will be enormous winds in the winter and scouring ice. There are definitely going to be major engineering problems with it.

There is the environmental problem of the effect on the fishery in the Northumberland Strait area. This is again something that is wide open and could easily be damaged. He talks about a $10 million environmental trust fund. My colleague from Skeena was speaking the other day on the oil pollution funds that were put forward by governments to protect against oil spills. It has been completely pillaged by the government in its scouring of funds put there for the purpose of protecting Canadians against oil spills and providing them with some financial assistance for the clean up. The government has stolen those moneys from that fund. It will

undoubtedly steal moneys from this pittance that is put into the environmental fund in Prince Edward Island.

We are looking at guaranteed job losses. Some 600 jobs associated with the ferry service are gone. There is the promise of a mythical 1,000 jobs that may be created. Believe me, if it is like any other Conservative promise then there are not going to be 1,000 jobs for those people in P.E.I. who are looking for this.

Again we have the other problem of the harsh government policies that the Conservative government has already inflicted on Newfoundland, not the least of which is the GST. They complain bitterly in that province that it has harmed tourism; that GST at 7 per cent cleans out the entire economy and is going to be coupled with who knows what. Will it be a $10 toll or a $20 toll to drive a car across or to drive freight across, so that anything going in or out of that province is going to be taxed again?

The economic benefits that are preached by this government are certainly serious problems.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT CROSSING ACT
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June 14, 1993

Mr. Raymond Skelly (North Island -Powell River):

Madam Speaker, we in this caucus also wish to congratulate the new Socred Prime Minister of Canada.

In this political leadership contest the new Socred Prime Minister narrowly defeated the tortoise from Sherbrooke. However in another leadership contest a number of years ago this Socred Prime Minister of Canada was judged by her peers as less competent and less capable than another well-known Socred, Bill Vand-er Zalm.

The Prime Minister is also the first woman Prime Minister of Canada. However she has failed the women of Canada on the Court Challenges Program, on the choice issue, on the national child care program and on pay equity.

The women of Canada will suffer under this new Prime Minister as will Canadians in general. The fact she is a Socred is more important than the fact she is a woman.

At least we can all be thankful that this new captain of the Titanic and this old Tory government will shortly have an appointment with an iceberg.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   HON. KIM CAMPBELL
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June 7, 1993

Mr. Skelly (North Island-Powell River):

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask one more question. Another enormous difficulty that Joe Davey faces is that once he is put off on medical leave he winds up having to wait a year for it to go through the process. It is so slow. It is almost deliberately held up.

Of course the Public Service Alliance has dealt with this. It has looked at the human rights commission and a variety of other things. It feels he would actually be successful there, but it will take forever to do. In the meantime he has been seriously harmed. He has children and he has a family to take care of. Enormous damage is inflicted on them.

Government Orders

This is not a matter of disability insurance. This man has been told by his doctors and by specialists in the areas that he can go back to work. The positions that he is entitled to have by seniority and whatnot have been assigned to other people with less skill and less seniority than he has. It almost looks like this is a deliberate attempt to harm his health even further by having him digging in a ditch with a bad back and other problems.

He is entitled to work as a machine operator. Yet the employer has exerted tremendous discrimination. The terrible problem is the extended period of time that they are hung up.

I know the hon. member has worked very hard to try to make the system fair. Hopefully when we send the material over to the Minister of Labour he will take some time to have a look at this very important case as an example of what is happening in the Public Service and in the federal jurisdiction to employees who are under the purview of the minister.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA LABOUR CODE
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June 7, 1993

Mr. Raymond Skelly (North Island-Powell River):

Mr. Speaker, I share the concerns expressed by my colleague from Mission-Coquitlam about the inadequacies of the legislation. I would like to ask her if she could respond to this particular problem which is a general difficulty with the Canada Labour Code.

There is a long-term employee at the Port Hardy airport who has been there since 1975, a gentleman by the name of Joe Davey. As time goes on, he is at an age where we all begin to slow down. He was ordered to take on fire-fighting duties apart from his normal job as machine operator. It was not in his job description. They

June 7, 1993

Government Orders

then decided he was not fit to do that and arbitrarily placed him on medical leave.

Joe Davey wound up on welfare, could not get back into the job and was off for about a year. Then they got rid of that fire-fighting requirement. He came back to work. He has a degenerative disc problem in his back. Physicians have said that he can go back to work but he cannot spend eight hours a day digging in a ditch-he is a machine operator-as his back will not handle it. He is off again. The manager has said he is on leave.

The personnel services are looking at this and they refuse to deal with it. He is a long-term employee who can go back to work, yet they have placed him in this tenuous situation. The occupational health and safety people have taken a much broader look at it and have said that there is lots of room for him in there. In fact they are putting people into lighter duties who have lower seniority and are less qualified than he is.

However, the two arms of Transport Canada do not deal with each other. It looks as if this individual is going to spend a minimum of two years out of work, probably on social assistance before he gets his job back, if ever.

Maybe the Minister of Labour might consider responding to this as well. What can be done when an organization such as the Government of Canada treats its employees with such contempt? It has farmed the whole problem back to the airport manager who says: "I am just going to get rid of the guy. He is on medical leave of absence until he quits". Each time he has come back.

What kind of relief can be obtained for an individual like Joe Davey who has been absolutely shafted by an employer who seems to hold him in complete contempt? He is the victim of nepotism at the local airport level. The top level of the system would just as soon be rid of him because aging employees are not desired in the organization. They have no intent to show this as an example of what good employee-employer relations are. They would rather treat them with contempt.

Are there any suggestions as to what might be done regarding the possibilities or what the Minister of Labour might do to help Joe Davey and others in that spot?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADA LABOUR CODE
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