HERRON, John, B.A.

Personal Data

Fundy--Royal (New Brunswick)
Birth Date
October 21, 1964
businessman, manager, sales and distribution manager

Parliamentary Career

June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
  Fundy--Royal (New Brunswick)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
  Fundy--Royal (New Brunswick)
February 2, 2004 - May 23, 2004
  Fundy--Royal (New Brunswick)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 106)

February 4, 2004

Mr. John Herron (Fundy—Royal, PC)

Mr. Speaker, the throne speech on Monday stated the government's desire to strengthen drinking water guidelines.

I am sure that the Minister of Health is aware that over two years ago, in the wake of the North Battleford tragedy, the House passed a motion calling on the Government of Canada to establish a safe drinking water act. Of course that legislation would have to respect provincial jurisdiction.

Building on the throne speech, is the Minister of Health planning on moving forward by introducing a safe drinking water act?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Health
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November 5, 2003

Mr. John Herron

With respect to Canada's vote on April 22, 2002, during a meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, can the government explain why Canada voted “no” to the question about whether it should be a human right to have access to clean drinking water, and how the decision was arrived at?

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   *Question No. 259
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October 28, 2003

Mr. John Herron

Mr. Speaker, I came into the chamber late, after the question was put, so my vote should be disallowed as well.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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October 27, 2003

Mr. John Herron (Fundy—Royal, PC)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have a chance to participate in today's debate. Before I begin my remarks, I would like to read the motion before us into the record. It states:

That the House acknowledge that Quebec constitutes a nation, and accordingly, as it is not a signatory to the social union framework agreement of 1999, the said nation of Quebec has the right to opt out of any federal initiative encroaching upon Quebec jurisdictions, with full financial compensation.

I acknowledge and support both points of the motion. What I mean by that is this: that clearly when we speak to the point of the province of Quebec, the majority of population that resides in that province is in fact a people. They are in fact a nation. That is beyond doubt within the framework of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and throughout our history in terms of how we have acknowledged the majority of the population in the nation of Quebec itself that resides in the province.

We do believe that provinces have the right to opt out of programs with full compensation. It is a principle that we followed when we were in government, on numerous occasions. Having said that, let me say that the province of Quebec has the right to opt out of a program.

I would say to the hon. member that of course he would want all provinces to have that capacity to opt out with full compensation if those provinces had the capacity to deliver a program in a better way as well.

It is my pleasure to take part in this debate. I wish to congratulate the BQ member for Trois-Rivières for putting before the House the issue of federal-provincial relations.

Let me say from the outset there are many definitions of the word “nation”, but that said and putting that aside, it is important to clarify that the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada has long recognized Quebec for what it is: a nation, a people, with the majority of population that resides in that province.

In fact, in 1991, when many of the Bloc members, some of them even in this chamber today, were still members of the Progressive Conservative Party, motions were passed to recognize the right to self-determination, which meant that Quebec constituted a nation, a unique and in fact a distinct society. Quebec is a nation. It has been an historical fact since the Quebec Act of 1774.

Therefore, Meech was a natural extension of this historical legislation that is now more than two centuries old. This characteristic of the nation of Quebec must be recognized and celebrated, and we must have a flexible federalism.

Unlike some of our friends from the Bloc Quebecois, we in the Progressive Conservative Party believe that the values and aspirations of the people of Quebec can be served within this larger country, Canada.

I remember the phrase that we see quite often about Quebec: “Je me souviens”.

However, as you know, the full sentence reads, “Je me souviens que je suis né sous le lys, mais je croîs sous la rose”.

We can remember the historical origins of a people of a nation but we can grow within a larger country. That is the principle that has been embraced for well over two centuries.

Let us be clear, then. A majority of Quebeckers identify first and foremost with Quebec. This is their country and, for them, even young people, this country remains the most distinctive feature of their existence, the central focus of any social interaction.

That nation is seen by young people, by young and old alike in the province of Quebec, as their springboard of their existence and their interaction with the rest of the world itself.

Theologian Gregory Baum has written that because Quebeckers are forced to stick together to ensure the maintenance of their culture in North America and assert their collective existence, they have developed a sense of community that, here more than anywhere else, favours the deployment of innovative social community models.

Quebec nationalism, far from being the type of primal ethnic tribalism that it has been accused of, is in fact a hive of social innovation. Let us take as an example its young offenders program, which consistently produces better outcomes and results. Quebec is often at the forefront of social policy development, particularly on policies related to women and children's issues and on environmental protection. There are many lessons we can learn from each other.

Having said that, let me say that we have to be more flexible in that regard. Although predominantly justice issues are exclusively in the domain of the federal government, if the Quebec system or another province's system provides better results, better returns on the objectives of that particular program, we need to have a flexible federalism which would recognize that. Testament to that is the young offenders aspect itself.

I would also like to raise the various circumstances under which we are able to build our institutions together. Health care, for instance, in Quebec, was an idea borrowed from Saskatchewan and implemented right across Canada.

We can borrow from each other innovative ideas and be innovators and incubators of sound public policy on social issues which we have borrowed from the Saskatchewan health care and from the Province of Quebec with respect to its system for young offenders.

Now we come to the motion before us today.

It is clear that the social union agreement in 1999 lacked acknowledgement of what the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada has always recognized: the right to opt out, to seek alternatives.

The social union agreement was an opportunity for the federal government to grab powers and a few more jurisdictions by increasing centralization.

The crux of the agreement and the problem with the agreement is that no province will be authorized to opt out with financial compensation if it turns down a federal program and wants to establish its own. The concept of opting out or seeking an alternative is not a thing within this federation.

In the 1960s, Quebec opted out of 22 federal programs, and had seven tax points transferred. This is one way of looking at the country and conducting business in a living and evolving federation.

We need to look at how Canada works in terms of its components and its partners. In my party, the Progressive Conservative Party, we believe in a balanced relationship between partners in the federation and in a flexible Constitution.

With the provincial premiers meeting to change the dynamic of federal-provincial relations, the issue is very apropos. In an election year, with the new leader of the Liberal Party, the matter of relations between the partners of the federation, I believe, is categorically critical.

We need a federal government that makes federalism work well, is respectful of and sensitive to all the regions and provinces of this country.

The nation of Quebec is a vibrant nation, and it will not disappear. It has been building for several centuries, and particularly since the 1960s.

Since the quiet revolution of Jean Lesage in 1960, the Quebec state has been evolving in a very progressive way and it has been doing that in the context of a grander country, that of Canada.

We will support the two principles of the motion itself, that the Province of Quebec and the people in that province do form a nation. The majority of the population are people whose values and aspirations need to be recognized for what they are as a nation. Doing so would recognize the historical fact that it is two centuries old, since the Quebec Act of 1774.

Having said that, together, in a grander country, we can build a better nation where the aspirations and values of all the residents in Canada can be obtained.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Encroachment upon Quebec Jurisdictions
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October 21, 2003

Mr. John Herron (Fundy—Royal, PC)

Mr. Speaker, last year when I called for the elimination the parental contribution standard, the Liberal government said that its loan system was already sufficient. Yet earlier this month Statistics Canada proved that the door to post-secondary education is shut to students of middle-income families.

Students simply cannot get the loans they need to go to university because many parents cannot or will not give what the government expects. It is unreasonable that parents are expected to fill the void after the prime minister is waiting repeatedly sliced into post-secondary education funding.

Despite swelling tuitions, the maximum weekly amount paid by the government student loan program has not increased since 1994. It is almost 10 years that the program has been lying stagnant.

Three principles must be instituted so students are no longer punished. We need stable and consistent funding to the provinces. We need to modernize student aid programs, we need effective student debt reduction programs and we need excellence and accessibility. We need leadership not neglect from the Liberal government.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Post-Secondary Education
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