Brent ST. DENIS

ST. DENIS, Brent, BASc.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Algoma--Manitoulin--Kapuskasing (Ontario)
Birth Date
May 27, 1950
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brent_St._Denis
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=1a7c426f-aaf9-41a4-b356-93e67ec08f64&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
executive assistant, industrial engineer, teacher

Parliamentary Career

October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
LIB
  Algoma (Ontario)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
LIB
  Algoma--Manitoulin (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources (September 1, 1999 - August 31, 2000)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport (September 1, 2000 - September 12, 2001)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
LIB
  Algoma--Manitoulin (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport (September 1, 2000 - September 12, 2001)
June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
LIB
  Algoma--Manitoulin--Kapuskasing (Ontario)
January 23, 2006 - September 7, 2008
LIB
  Algoma--Manitoulin--Kapuskasing (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 80 of 81)


February 2, 1994

Mr. Brent St. Denis (Algoma)

Mr. Speaker, the fact I am likely the last speaker today I think you will find the best has been left for last. Since there are relatively few members here to witness this just keep it to yourselves.

I want to thank the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra. I always appreciate hearing his interventions. They are well thought out. Although I would add to his comments about the relevance of debate in this place vis-à-vis the relevance of compromise and discussion in committees.

He will agree with me that it is the debate in this place that really focuses one's attention and really focuses the thinking that needs to surround the very important subjects that we must deal with.

The member for Lévis was talking about the relationship of youth, employment and the social safety nets. It really struck home that this whole discussion and exercise is about the relationship between jobs and the social safety nets.

If everybody were working we would not have need for a social safety net. If there were nobody working we could not afford to have a social safety net. It is really impossible to participate in this discussion without linking at all times jobs and the strength of the economy, which defines the level of our employment, with our ability to provide those social safety nets, those supports for those who for various reasons cannot work, whether they are too young, disabled, too old or they are just not in a position to find employment because of the economy of their area.

In linking jobs to the whole question of social safety nets, I doubt there is really anyone here who has a full grasp of what our social safety net situation is like in this country right now. It is a huge monster in many ways. I feel it is madness to suggest that we should not completely review our social safety net programs. They have evolved over the years by piecemeal additions of one program or another, changes here and changes there, some good and some bad. If we do not take the opportunity now to totally review these programs we are just going to make the problems more difficult to tackle later on.

Many of these programs were instituted by previous Liberal governments, and wisely so, but times have changed and we are the first ones to recognize it. I really pay tribute to our Minister of Human Resources Development who has demonstrated tre-

mendous leadership. As I review the consultation plan that he has put forward I marvel at the breadth of the program.

If you look closely it is a three pronged approach involving the standing committee and members of Parliament, as members of the committee and as representatives of their ridings. It involves consultations with the provincial and territorial governments as a second attack. Third, the minister will have a special task force of non-partisan professionals who have been dealing with these issues for years to also provide advice.

This three pronged approach will conclude roughly the end of March and will tie into the government's action plan which will be the subject of scrutiny until this coming September and then the parliamentary debate and review later this fall and into next year which involves the two years that the minister talked about.

This is such a comprehensive set of consultations but it really bespeaks the kind of government that we are putting in front of the people, a transparent government, a government willing to listen to people and the fact that we are having this debate here.

We really are putting a new face to the people of Canada and giving Canadians a chance to have confidence again in their government.

The first 100 days of the Liberal government have demonstrated that we are serious. There will be some mistakes, no question about it. With due respect to opposition members when the score is counted at the end of another four or five years we will be judged well in our efforts to listen to the people and try to develop programs that make a lot of sense.

Our social safety net is full of holes, unfortunately. Imagine being a trapeze artist with a safety net below you that had holes in it. One would not feel too excited about taking that next swing under the circus tent.

There are young people, seniors and people with families in this country who are very fearful about those holes in the safety net. Like most of us, I am not fully aware of all the elements of our safety net programs.

It really behoves us to look at it all so that we can identify those holes. I will talk about a few as part of my intervention.

In my riding of Algoma we have a single industry town, Elliot Lake, which has virtually lost all of its uranium mining. It is now struggling, struggling valiantly, and doing well to diversify its economy to take advantage of the beautiful natural resources in the area along with the tourism and so on.

The neighbouring communities along the north shore are struggling with the problems that face single industry communities and areas. The problems that come with major shutdowns require a certain kind of response from federal, provincial and local governments.

Those kinds of responses are different than what is required in other areas of the country like the Manitoulin and north shore areas of my riding where we have systemic unemployment and seasonal employment, or seasonal unemployment to look at the reverse.

Tourism is wonderful but unfortunately until we can expand our tourism to all four seasons we will end up with seasonal employment. We have tended over the years to look at joblessness as one kind of problem. Past governments with all due respect have tried to deal with this on a piecemeal basis.

I would like to pick out a few of the holes that have crept into the system. A few years ago in 1985 the previous government made changes to the Unemployment Insurance Act which changed the application of severance pay as it related to unemployment insurance.

Severance pay was intended when it was first designed to allow laid off workers a bit of breathing space while they moved, retrained or made the necessary adjustments in their families to deal with being laid off.

Lo and behold, about seven or eight years ago the previous government changed the definition or the application of severance pay so that it had to be used up as income. There in one fell swoop severance pay was changed from an insurance against loss of employment to simply another form of income that the government took advantage of.

That was a tremendous problem for laid off workers in Elliot Lake and other parts of the riding of Algoma. There was a tremendous hue and cry. That is a major hole in the safety net that we have to deal with as part of our overall review.

How many of us have met people who have been laid off from a certain type of industry and are being retrained in another field for which there is absolutely no prospect of employment. There are cases in which major industries have shut down in the community and we retrain people as welders. However, there is no chance of there ever being employment in any major way for welders in that community again.

We really have to do a better job of matching the jobs aspect of our economy and the safety nets aspect of our economy. When we allow some people on UI to be retrained and others not to be retrained because some are in this part of the country or have faced a designated lay off, when we discriminate between one kind of unemployment and another, then we have problems.

If one is not working, one is not working. It does not really matter in the long run how one became unemployed. We really have to be more fair to our workforce, to individual workers.

The holes in our safety net often leave our seniors behind. How many poor seniors do we have in our economy? There are far too many people facing retirement with little prospect of any kind of comfort in their twilight years. We owe them much more than that, having really counted on them to build the country. We really owe them much more than pushing them off and leaving them to try to survive on limited incomes.

Throughout the campaign last fall I met many young people. It hit me so graphically that unlike when I went to university back in the late sixties and early seventies, believe it or not, young people who are now looking at going to university or college in the next year or two may face a situation where they are competing for fewer seats. Our support programs have withdrawn seats from our post-secondary education institutions.

When I think back to when I was in high school the fact is that I could enjoy high school. I could do a reasonable amount of homework and at the same time prepare for the future socially and scholastically. I look at these young people now and they are under so much pressure to get high marks to go to university that they are almost losing their teen years. When those years are gone, they are gone. The economy has deprived them of that.

Our social safety nets have yet to respond to the big problem, the total problem. I do not believe the debate here is necessarily the place in which to put forward solutions, although many of us have. I have been quite impressed with the level of debate, but I point out that there must be a linkage between jobs and the safety net. We cannot divorce the two. We cannot discuss one in isolation from the other.

As we look forward with some anticipation to great challenge, the most valuable attitude we can have toward our future planning is that of being creative. We must do some lateral thinking: think about things that perhaps we would not have thought about before, think about solutions that maybe we would not have considered five or ten years ago. Now we have to put everything on the table. We have to consider seriously, maybe for the first time in our history, where we are going.

I will conclude my remarks by suggesting to the House that the government was elected fundamentally on its ability to project hope. I suggest we can build on that hope by building on the people who make up the country. It is the people who have jobs. It is the people who fall into the safety net. That is the common denominator. We would not be here if it were not for the people.

It boils down to some very simple points. I believe more members should take the opportunity to share their views and to share in rebuilding the country.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Social Security System
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January 25, 1994

Mr. Brent St. Denis (Algoma)

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to say a few words today on this very important and historic debate. I think we owe a great credit to our Prime Minister for showing leadership in reforming the House. Not only are we dealing with an historic tragedy in Europe. I think we are dealing with some history in this very Parliament. I appreciate the chance to participate in this new openness.

As I prepared for this brief intervention I attempted to boil down the situation as much as I could. I doubt that very many of us are experts in international affairs, but nonetheless we have a responsibility to our fellow citizens to make intelligent and well considered decisions.

It is a particular privilege for me to say a few words because the late Right Hon. Lester B. Pearson was the former member for Algoma. By the end of today all members will know that Mr. Pearson was instrumental in the very formation of peacekeeping missions by the UN. He won the Noble prize in 1957 for his leadership in the Suez Canal crisis. That kind of leadership exhibited by Canada and Mr. Pearson then requires that we show leadership at this time. Canada's stature in the world as a peacemaker goes unquestioned.

This crisis I believe provides us with an opportunity. The tragedy that is occurring in the former Yugoslavia can at the same time, like Suez, be an opportunity for us to find new solutions. We certainly do not want to see this kind of thing happening over and over around the world. We cannot co-ordinate conflict but we can certainly co-ordinate and plan our response to conflict.

The situation in the world is such that the nature of conflict is changing. Unfortunately we are seeing much more ethnic fight-

ing and religious fighting. Because of the nature of the general change in conflict it requires we change our approach to solving these kinds of problems. I would not dare presume to speak for Mr. Pearson, but I would suggest that if he were here he would say we have to reinvent our approach to peacekeeping given the situation we face.

I would recommend to my colleagues a report published in February 1993 by the other place. It was a report of the standing Senate committee on foreign affairs entitled "Meeting New Challenges: Canada's response to a new generation of peacekeeping". It is excellent reading and contains some very forward thinking ideas. I make a suggestion to the House. We recognize that in April there is a decision point for our country in terms of whether we stay or not stay. The rotation involved in Srebenica is really not directly involved in our decision with respect to April.

We also have a decision to make or delay until November. Our commitment in the former Yugoslavia is in six-month increments. This is the negotiated arrangement that all member nations have with the UN.

I suggest that because the government has made a commitment to review our foreign affairs policies and our defence policies, which will likely come to a conclusion by this fall, and because we want to involve Canadians in those consultations, as we are doing with the budget and the efforts by the finance minister to involve Canadians, I believe we will see public consultations.

We need to have a partial moratorium on Canada's involvement in the former Yugoslavia. I am not suggesting a withdrawal from the region. I am only suggesting that a decision be made by our minister to withdraw our troops from Bosnia to Croatia from this spring until this fall.

Our commitment to the NATO forces there is in six-month increments. I believe we need to give Canadians a little bit of breathing room when it comes to our involvement not only in Bosnia but in peacekeeping in general.

It is my recommendation to the House that even though there are four options, one being to withdraw entirely from the region, another to simply withdraw from Bosnia but stay in Croatia, we could keep the status quo stable at our base in Bosnia and in Croatia, or we could augment our forces.

I believe that only the second and third are options for us right now and that the second is the one we should opt for which is to withdraw our troops into Croatia.

The review we will be holding in Canada over this next six to eight months is very important for the long term. I would not want to see our troops in a situation that could blow up when we do not have a thoughtfully considered place in the peacekeeping or peacemaking efforts of the world. When you consider that we are the third largest contingent over there, I really have to question how much say we have in what is going on.

I recognize that there is a serious humanitarian element to this if we remove troops from Bosnia. There is a lot of important work that needs to be done in Croatia in support of the humanitarian effort and there are other nations that need to take their turn at this very important task.

By withdrawing our troops from Bosnia and moving them to Croatia we can send a subtle but important message to our allies and to the UN that our own role as a peacekeeping nation is under review. It recognizes there is very little effort being made by the protagonists to come to a peaceful compromise. Canada can show its leadership by sending a strong message that we are looking seriously at our role as peacemakers in this world.

We want to give Canadians through this next six to eight months an honest opportunity to see how our troops are deployed, how we commit our Canadian tax dollars to peacemaking around the world because Canada has never shirked its responsibility. However, maybe it is time for others to come forward. We are all grateful to our troops for their efforts in all peacekeeping theatres, especially in the former Yugoslavia, but we do not want to see them in a situation that may blow up and soon be out of control.

I remind the House that we had great leadership with Mr. Pearson back in the late fifties. If Canada wishes to maintain that role-and I am sure our new Minister of Foreign Affairs is up to the task as is our entire government-it does not mean that we have to endanger our troops in a very volatile situation while we review our place as peacekeepers in the world.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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January 21, 1994

Mr. Brent St. Denis (Algoma)

Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues in this place to imagine life without the ability to read. Books, magazines and newspapers become mysterious puzzles rather than open doors to the world. Try to imagine the frustration and sense of hopelessness.

In the speech from the throne our government made a commitment to improving the literacy skills of Canadians by restoring funding to the national literacy program. I applaud this decision.

Inadequate literacy skills can have devastating effects. Thousands of Canadians find themselves unable to fully participate in society and Canada's ability to train its work force to compete internationally is compromised.

An effort must be made to adapt all of the workforce to the changing workplace. This includes those who have been left behind.

In my riding of Algoma, literacy offices have been successfully established in Blind River, Espanola and Elliot Lake. The staff and volunteers who work in these communities understand the frustration felt by our fellow citizens who cannot read and I commend their efforts.

During my life I have had an opportunity to work in adult education. It is too easy to forget that thousands of adult Canadians cannot take full advantage of basic retraining and upgrading because they cannot read.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Literacy
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January 21, 1994

Mr. St. Denis

I would like to thank the hon. member for Anjou-Rivière-des-Prairies for his question and offer my good wishes on his first intervention.

It is because we are putting people first that we have included in the throne speech a number of initiatives. It is because we put people first that we need to look at the social safety net so that it better serves Canadians. Maybe all of us, certainly I did during my campaign, have people approach us and talk to us about what they perceive as abuses to the system and ways to improve it and make it serve the public better. I am not saying that we have to make cuts to improve it, but we have to look at what we do. We always have to renew our contract with each other and consider the terms of our contracts with the public. If we do not constantly update and reflect the current situation in our relationships with others we will lose track of where we are going.

I have great confidence in the minister of human resources who is, as members know, now undertaking a review along with the provinces in consultation with people across this country. I am very confident. I have faith that changes will be proposed that will be constructive, acceptable, fiscally responsible and reflect the realities of today.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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January 21, 1994

Mr. Brent St. Denis (Algoma)

Mr. Speaker, it is truly a pleasure and an honour for me to participate in the throne speech debate. We heard earlier today that one of the Telesat Anik satellites is out of commission. I will ask you to decide in 15 or 20 minutes whether it is good or bad that this is not on live television across the country.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate you and your colleagues on your appointment to the Chair. It is my firm belief that you will be presiding over one of the best Parliaments that this country has seen in a long, long time.

I do not agree with the media pundits who refer to this as a potentially fractious Parliament. I do not agree with those who think we are going to be faced with problems day in and day out. I am not naive but from what I have seen so far and in talking to colleagues in my own party and colleagues from other parties everyone I have spoken to has agreed that we have the potential to have a truly great and productive Parliament. No doubt that will be partly due to the great contribution you and your colleagues in the Chair will make.

I would also like to pay tribute to my colleagues, the member for Victoria-Madawaska and the member for Bruce-Grey who moved and seconded this debate. Like the speakers we have heard from our ministry and from other private members, they have given me great confidence that this place will truly reflect the views of Canadians in a way we have not seen in at least 10 years. I dare say that we will be very proud of that in the years to come.

We have this honoured section to your left that at times has been disparagingly referred to as the rump. I would like to disabuse members of this House of that name. I am pleased and proud to take my turn over here. When the others have their turn here I am sure they will be pleased with the view and the chance to see what is going on. They will have a chance to speak directly to our fellow members in the government. Maybe we can come up with a more creative description for this area. Take note that three of the Speaker's team are part of this area.

We should look at this section of the House as evidence that Canadians have put great trust in our party. It is impossible to reflect that confidence any other way except to have some of us over here because of our great numbers. If things work out there will be government members over here for a long time to come. Therefore we may as well look at this area as an honoured place to be. I feel very proud to be here, for now.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the voters of Algoma riding. I will talk a little about my riding in a moment before getting to the thrust of my comments on the throne speech.

The confidence my constituents placed in me has made me very proud. I have assured them at every opportunity and do so again now that I will work very hard for them. We talk about serving the country and individual Canadians. There is no greater honour than to have a chance to serve our fellow Canadians in this place. There are many callings in life where service is the thrust of an individual's activities. I cannot imagine a better way to serve our fellow man than as a parlia-

mentarian. I am sure we all feel that way regardless of the ideological differences we might have.

I truly look forward to getting to know better all the members of this House in all parties. Whenever I am in this place I want it to encourage me in the work I do. I want it to strengthen me in my work here and in the riding.

For a while we are going to feel a little bit schizophrenic. It seems that the work here is different from the work in the riding. The nature of the day is obviously very different. Over time we will find that these two different lives will come closer and closer together. I would certainly defer to the opinion of those who have served in this place for a long time to confirm that. However it is my belief that our work here and our work in the riding is really one. It is only a matter of time before we actually feel that in our experiences. I look forward to that.

I would like to thank my family, particularly Julie. Those of us with families know the great sacrifices they have had to endure to allow us to serve in this way. It goes unnoticed by Canadians in general and it is important that we say in this public place that our families also serve the country. I am truly grateful to mine and to all our families who in some ways are forced to contribute. We appreciate that.

We all had many volunteers working for us in our campaigns and we would not be here without them. The whole exercise of democracy is built on the building blocks of volunteers. The volunteers that work in the political process are as valuable as any volunteer raising funds for heart research or the kidney foundation. All those activities are important and the volunteers that work in the political realm are equally important. They make this country run. They are the lifeblood of democracy, in my view.

Of course we all depend on staff and I can assure you that the staff I have working for me are among the best.

I have the honour of representing the riding of Algoma which for the last 25 years was represented by a colleague of many of the returning members, Dr. Maurice Foster. I had the pleasure of working closely with him as his parliamentary assistant for a number of years. It was an experience I will never forget. He will be my adviser, at $1 a year shall we say, for quite some time whether he likes it or not. He distinguished himself as a committee chair, as chairman of Ontario caucus for a number of years, as a parliamentary secretary, and as a representative of this country in several international delegations. He was the kind of parliamentarian who was truly Canadian and truly motivated by service. There is not an ounce of self-serving in Maurice Foster's attitude toward service and I could not let this chance go by without paying tribute to him and his work on behalf of Canada and Algoma.

Dr. Foster followed in the footsteps of Lester Pearson who represented Algoma East. I dare say I feel humbled to follow in the footsteps of such great Canadians as Lester Pearson and Maurice Foster.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to invite you as well as the other members of this House to visit Algoma riding. We all claim to have the greatest riding in the country and if there is such a thing as the greatest among equals then I will claim that title for Algoma.

Algoma riding is situated in the northern area of Lake Huron. It includes Manitoulin Island and the north shore of Lake Huron approximately from Georgian Bay to the eastern shore of Lake Superior. Like some other ridings it is very large. It takes over seven hours to drive from one end to the other. It is a spectacularly beautiful riding with many unique features, but like many ridings it is suffering difficult economic times.

We have a mining sector in Elliot Lake that has suffered tremendous downsizing. In the months ahead you will hear me make numerous interventions on behalf of Elliot Lake where thousands of jobs in the mining industry have been lost, but where tremendous effort is being made to revitalize the economy.

We have a substantial tourism industry. Our proximity to Michigan is helpful but the tourism industry needs revitalization too.

Forestry is a major industry for us but the constant badgering by the U.S. of our softwood lumber industry has had an impact.

I certainly appreciate the attitude of our government, of our leader and Prime Minister that he will take a firm businesslike stand with the Americans. We can no longer tolerate being pushed around. The Americans are our friends on a personal basis but I believe when it comes to country to country relations those have to be conducted in a businesslike manner. In fact during the campaign I asked the then leader if he would commit not ever to go fishing with the U.S. President. His response was that he did not think he would but it certainly seemed to me that the relationship between our previous Prime Minister and the U.S. President was too cosy.

We also have some farming. Believe it or not in northern Ontario there is a substantial farming sector. We have dairy farmers. Like many members who have dairy farmers or other supply managed sectors in their ridings, the GATT has been a tremendous exercise in frustration. I believe though that our government took up the challenge after October 25 and has produced for us a result that was the very best that could be obtained under the circumstances.

In Algoma riding we are blessed with over 40 small communities including over a dozen First Nation communities. I will not dare start listing them for fear of forgetting or leaving one out. One has to visit.

I would like to come to the point of this exercise. I hope I did not leave myself too short on time. I am thinking back to the campaign where one was required to speak longer than one should too many times. I would like to make reference to a comment made by the member for Broadview-Greenwood yesterday. He made an intervention in response to the speech by a member from the Reform Party. That member from the Reform Party talked about the bottom line and generally the need to run Canada like a business.

I was very proud to hear the member for Broadview-Greenwood say that this country is not just a bottom line, this country is people. After all if there is any vision of this country that we should have front and foremost it is that of its people. When I look at the commitments made in the throne speech, the comments made by the member for Broadview-Greenwood and our famous red book, line after line after line, it is people first.

We cannot have a vision about a technological revolution or a vision about being a major trading country without first having a vision about the people who make up this country. I dare say, and with all due respect, the agenda of the Reform and Bloc parties really misses the mark. The deficit is important. The issues that the Bloc bring forward on behalf of their particular constituency are important, but they really ignore the fact that above all it is people and people want to have dignity. People want to have jobs. People want to be able to put food on the table using money that they have earned, not money that was given to them because they could not find a job.

The whole thing goes back to mobilizing and energizing the creativity of our people, mobilizing the capital resources, coupled with creativity to get this country moving again, get it out of the starting blocks.

I do not want to blame all our ills on the last 10 years, but let us blame some of the ills. Members will seldom hear the right hon. Prime Minister blame the last government for the predicament we are in, but those are the facts.

It really requires of us now that we always put people first. If I go through the list of the throne speech initiatives I do not see one that does not put people first, even something like the Rural Residential Assistance Program, the housing program. I can say that in my riding of Algoma where there are a lot of older people who are trying to stay in their homes longer so that they do not have to go into nursing homes that it is important to have access to funds to improve their homes so they can stay in them. That is a program about people.

Let us look at municipal infrastructure. That is a program about people. It gets people, I do not want to say at the bottom of the economic ladder as I do not mean that, but labourers, contractors and equipment operators, working. It gets money into the economy at the local level and gets it there quickly. We are talking about putting people back to work.

When I was preparing for my earlier S. O. 31 statement today on literacy I was reminded of how many of our adult population have difficulty functioning in our modern society because they cannot read. I just beamed with pride when our government's commitment to literacy, not only in the red book and not only by the appointment of a minister responsible for literacy, was given major mention in the throne speech.

If we do not have strong building blocks and if we do not have strong people, how can we have a strong country.

As I mentioned earlier in the statements, literacy is an important issue in my riding of Algoma. We have people who spent years working in the resource sectors of mining, forestry and so on. When times were good it was easy to get a job. Maybe they did not get the education that was required or for economic reasons they had to go to work. Now with our country having to restructure itself economically these people are being left out. I think it is important that we do not leave anybody behind.

When we talk about the social safety net we are talking about people again. The social safety net without a doubt has become frayed over the years. There may be a few holes in the safety net. We would not want any trapeze artist falling into that safety net and hitting the wrong spot. That is what happens too often unfortunately.

I believe we have to honestly look at our social safety net programs to make them better. It does not mean that it is going to cost more. I really appreciated the comment in the speech by the member for Madawaska-Victoria, the seconder of the reply to the throne speech, that we can have a leaner government without a meaner government. We can do things better.

I am prepared and I am sure that my constituents are prepared to look honestly at changing constructively our social safety net program. We want it to do a better job. I campaigned openly, saying that there were abuses and that I was prepared to look honestly at making changes. I look forward to working with other members in this House to that end.

Even our initiative on crime talks about people. Who is it that is worried about getting mugged? It is people. Whatever we can do to make people feel safer on their streets, to make people feel that the justice system serves not only the victim but the community and deals effectively and constructively with the criminal will be moving this country forward.

Why is it that this country is singly the most desired country in the world in which to live? As long as we do not tell people how cold it can get here sometimes, I am sure everybody in this world would like to move here.

We have a community of peoples. Just imagine, this country was really built on three founding nations.

When one considers that we have such a desirable country, what better chance do we have than to serve together to move this country forward into the next century.

I would like to conclude my remarks by saying that we as a group certainly have many tough decisions to make in the months and years ahead. I think if we continue to be transparent in our dealings with the public they will look at us with confidence. If we try hard and we listen to the people I believe we will be successful. Fortunately for us and unfortunately for the other parties in this House, we will be here for a long time.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Speech From The Throne
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