Leonard Donald HOPKINS

HOPKINS, Leonard Donald, B.A. (Hons.)

Personal Data

Renfrew--Nipissing--Pembroke (Ontario)
Birth Date
June 12, 1930
Deceased Date
February 6, 2007
school principal, teacher

Parliamentary Career

November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
  Renfrew North (Ontario)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
  Renfrew North (Ontario)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
  Renfrew North--Nipissing East (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence (December 22, 1972 - December 21, 1973)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence (January 1, 1974 - May 9, 1974)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
  Renfrew North--Nipissing East (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence (September 15, 1974 - September 14, 1975)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
  Renfrew--Nipissing--Pembroke (Ontario)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
  Renfrew--Nipissing--Pembroke (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources (March 1, 1984 - June 29, 1984)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources (June 30, 1984 - July 9, 1984)
September 4, 1984 - October 1, 1988
  Renfrew--Nipissing--Pembroke (Ontario)
November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
  Renfrew (Ontario)
October 25, 1993 - April 27, 1997
  Renfrew--Nipissing--Pembroke (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 305)

March 18, 1996

Mr. Leonard Hopkins (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Edmonton Southwest because probably unknowingly in his speech he gave credit to 40 Liberal MPs who sat in the House between 1984 and 1988 for scaring the blazes out of 212 Tories in the House. Then he gave credit to some 80 Liberal members who sat here between 1988 and 1993 for polishing them off and putting the government in place to run the country.

No matter when budgets are delivered in a parliamentary session and regardless of the fiscal issues surrounding a budget, each budget in turn has its impact on various segments of society.

The last two budgets have been aimed at getting federal finances in order. This budget is no exception to recent fiscal policies because there are benefactors and then there are others who get hit negatively.

The Minister of Finance does not have an easy role. Unlike his predecessors in the Tory days, when he sets a target he has every intention of meeting it. With all this scenario, it behoves us not to lose sight of those things in our economic structure that have served us well in the past and which will build a good future in the days ahead.

Sometimes there is a very thin line between cost cutting to save money and cost cutting which in the long run does not serve as well as hoped.

These are the challenges that face the Minister of Finance and the government today. There are a host of positive things in this budget and there are other items that lay the groundwork for difficulties to come.

We are ensuring a secure, stable and growing system of federal support for medicare, post-secondary education and social assistance through the Canada health and social transfer to the provinces. There will be no further cuts in the transfer to the provinces. We have announced a firm funding commitment for a five-year period beginning in 1998-99.

For the first two years the Canada health and social transfer will remain constant at $25.1 billion and for the next three years it will increase each year. For the first time the federal government has set a cash floor for transfers. The cash component of the Canada health and social transfer will never be lower than $11 billion a year during this period.

We are acting to restore confidence in the old age security system by creating a new seniors benefit to take effect in 2001 designed to help those who need help the most. That is the way it was when I first came into the House.

As promised, current seniors will continue to receive the benefits they receive now. The changes will ensure the sustainability of the system for years to come. Canada's future depends on our ability to show innovative technology leadership, and the government's commitment to jobs and growth was reinforced in both the speech from the throne and the budget.

The budget outlined priorities for investing in our future in three strategic areas: creating better ways to get young Canadians into the job market, expanding our efforts to increase international trade, and accelerating the development and use of technology. Technology is a priority because it is fundamental to increased economic growth in this country or any other modern day country.

In his budget speech the finance minister spoke about investing in the future, about providing hope for jobs and for growth. He

said: "If our future is to be brighter, we must invest in it". Clearly this is good business and it is also good government.

Although not specifically mentioned in the budget speech, one outcome of the prebudget program review has been a 42 per cent cut in the annual allocation to Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. The cut, to be administered over two years, was apparently the result of a purely business assessment, by government and by a firm brought in, of the short term needs of that crown corporation. It was based on bottom line logic from a consulting firm, not the vision for the future.

The government, through the Minister of Natural Resources, is attempting to find a new home for this one-half century of proven basic research that was started at Chalk River, Ontario about 50 years ago. What has only now become clear is that this 42 per cent cut in the business support spread out over two years has been transformed by AECL into the complete removal of all its basic research activities, some immediately and the rest within a year. It is cashing in on the very investment on which the future depends.

Basic or fundamental research is the search for scientific knowledge without a specific application in mind. This generalized search for knowledge is essential if real innovation is ever to occur because tomorrow's application of today's research usually cannot even be imagined today; we cannot command what we do not know.

A good example is about 170 years ago an accomplished British scientist was asked by the Royal Society to improve optical glass, a task which he felt he could not refuse. After 10 years of fruitless labour he wrote in 1831 to ask permission, "to set aside the glass work for a while that I may enjoy the pleasure of working out my own thoughts on other subjects". In other words, he wanted to do some pure research.

Within two months Michael Faraday had discovered electromagnetic induction and built the first prototype dynamo in world history. From those two months of basic research have come today's mammoth electricity generators that supply our industry and give us lights in the House.

There are two important questions that arise from this story. First, would the world today have been a better place if the Royal Society had insisted that Michael Faraday continue his efforts on the more practical application of glass? Second, is it likely that any government committee or task force in 1831 would have arrived at electromagnetic induction as a strategic technology worthy of public support?

The answer to both these questions is a resounding no. This historical observation is not lost on the G-7 countries today. For example, a document entitled "Science in the National Interest", issued and signed by President Clinton in late 1994, states: "We understand that the fruit of fundamental research initiatives may not ripen for some time. The time scale can be long and success may hinge on facilities and interdisciplinary research teams that take years to assemble. Even in the face of current budgetary pressures, considerations about fundamental science must remain integral to the agency planning activities. We cannot allow a short term mission focus to compromise the development of the intellectual capital vital to our nation's future".

Even more emphatic is the example of Japan. Its response to the recent downturn in its economy has been to double its spending on basic research.

In light of these facts, it is astonishing that we are now threatened in Canada with the dismantling of one of the best examples we have of a marriage of basic research and economically successful applications.

Basic research in nuclear science has been an essential part of the country's nuclear program since the mid-1940s when it was started under the National Research Council. It has supplied the fundamental knowledge required by the industry, provided many of its leaders and given lustre to the national effort by its international reputation for excellence.

As a result AECL and its partners have produced the best performing and most versatile reactor system in the world. They have done so at a fraction of the research and development cost of any of their competitors. The industry now employs 30,000 Canadians, contributes more than $3 billion per year to the gross domestic product and generates over $500 million in federal tax revenue.

In addition to its role in launching and sustaining this industry, the basic research components of AECL are also serving as national laboratories for university researchers and Canada around the world. They foster research in nuclear science and other related fields throughout the country. They offer facilities no one university could operate and maintain on its own. They give many university professors access to the frontiers of world science they could not otherwise find without going abroad. They train students who form the next generation of Canadian researchers.

These labs at Chalk River perfected the O ring for the U.S. shuttle when the previous shuttle had blown up. They manufactured and developed radio isotopes which are used in hospitals around the world today. I emphasize that at Chalk River our scientists and researchers handle radioactive wastes from hospitals across the country.

These national laboratories for basic research at Chalk River have been centres of excellence for decades. They have been examples of a partnership among government, industry and the universities. In short, they are exactly what the Canadian government seeks to create as we prepare for the next century.

I am hoping, and so are many others, that the Minister of Natural Resources will find a new home for such physics organizations as TASCC and Neutron Scattering and that environmental research will not be scaled back at Chalk River at this time.

These are the 260 letters that have been received from top scientists from across Canada and from approximately 30 countries around the world who respect the basic research that is going on in Canada today. I lay this before the House today because it is an important matter for the future of Canada.

The stress testing of aircraft parts of the aircraft we fly in has been done in these labs. The aerospace industry has benefited greatly. Bertram Brockhouse, our 1994 Nobel laureate, worked in the physics labs at Chalk River. His award was granted because of the work he did in the 1950s and 1960s.

My message today is: Let us find a new home for these facilities so that they are not lost, so that Canada's science community does not have a brain drain and that we continue to lay the excellent groundwork for years to come for basic research and development in Canada.

Subtopic:   The Budget
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March 18, 1996

Mr. Hopkins

Mr. Speaker, I do not go along with the scenario the hon. member just outlined. Everyone in this House who can add, subtract and divide knows full well that if we allow things to continue to escalate and get out of control, then interest rates will rise and there will be greater unemployment. The Minister of Finance is trying under very difficult circumstances to put a solid base on the financial structure of the country so that we will not have higher unemployment or high interest rates. Interest rates now are the lowest they have been in three decades. This alone will help businesses to grow. It is up to government to lay some firm foundations on which private enterprise can grow, bloom and hire people. Over the years governments have done this.

In the early 1980s the Liberal government, and I sat here with it, brought in deficit budgets. However I point out to the hon. member that unemployment was extremely high. Canadians across the country were having a very difficult time. World inflation was sky high. People said that never again would we see one digit interest rates in this country. That was in the early eighties and look where we are now. Interest rates are the lowest they have been in three decades. We have a solid financial plan.

The Minister of Finance is not delivering a powerful speech and then running away to hide and then give in to everything like the Tories did. As a result, the debt continued to grow under the Tories because there was no will in the Prime Minister and other members of the cabinet to back up their own finance minister. That is why the Tories are not in the House today. Canadians know the difference.

I remember when we sat across the way and criticized the Tory government on its many weaknesses. God knows, we did not have to look very far for those. I say to the hon. member that I too know how easy it is to get up and deliver a speech from that side of the House and try to attack the solid foundation which is being built for the financial structure of the country on this side of the House.

Subtopic:   The Budget
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March 8, 1996

Mr. Leonard Hopkins (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, yesterday it was announced that non-commissioned members of the Canadian forces will receive a 2.2 per cent pay catch-up to bring them in line with federal public salaries. This is welcome news to the men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving of our country.

Will the Minister of National Defence tell the House when these truly deserving members of the Canadian forces can expect this measure to take effect? This is another good news story to follow up on his clarification of the purchase of equipment which he made just a few minutes ago.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Canadian Armed Forces
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February 28, 1996

Mr. Leonard Hopkins (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this very important debate on Canada's role with the United Nations in Haiti. Haiti has had a very tumultuous past.

Canada has an immense national interest in the Caribbean area. That is why it is very important for Canada to be associated with the United Nations in the very important task of helping to establish a permanent democracy in Haiti. The national interests of Canada are served by what the Canadian Armed Forces are doing in that region because we have a tremendous relationship with the countries throughout the Caribbean and in South America.

I want to give an example of the respect with which Canada is held in the eyes of countries in the Caribbean. I remember a number of years ago when Lincoln Alexander, a former member of this House and former Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, and I went to the Caribbean to a meeting as Canadian observers.

There were about 64 delegates from around the Caribbean at that meeting. At the beginning, one of the Prime Ministers who was chairing the meeting said that he wanted Canadians to know that not only were they welcome, but even though they were observers, he wanted them to feel free to participate in the discussions at any time they wished to do so.

The Prime Minister of one of the countries went on to say that it was because Canada was its greatest friend in the world. Britain came second and after that, he did not even enumerate them.

It is very important that Canada look after her interests in the Caribbean. As we know, Canada is really synonymous with peacekeeping excellence. Over the past 50 years, our peacekeepers have served throughout the world and their experience and expertise remain unsurpassed.

The Canadian forces are always combat ready. They are peacekeeping ready. They are also diplomats when they go abroad because they do so much good work while there on a volunteer basis. They are well trained. They get along well with the people wherever they are. They help those people out.

As we debate this issue, let us remember that every time a peacekeeper goes abroad on duty there is a family back home. I want to pay tribute tonight to the families that remain at home and the challenges they face while a spouse, a father or mother, is abroad with a peacekeeping force. Let us remember them as well in this debate.

It comes as no surprise to any of us that the international community is looking to Canada to assume a significant role in the ongoing work in Haiti. Our peacekeepers have already shown that they are well suited for this mission. They may now have an opportunity to go a step further in assisting Haiti and its people during a difficult period of transition.

My purpose today is to review Canada's peacekeeping record and remind members of the superb qualifications that Canadian forces personnel bring to this job. They have the skills necessary to meet the demands of modern operations.

Peacekeeping began modestly for Canada. In the late 1940s the UN began deploying unarmed military personnel to observe peace agreements in some of the world's conflict ridden regions. Canada's participation in two of these early missions continues to this day. I am referring to the UN truce supervision organization in the Middle East and the UN military observer group in India and Pakistan.

Peacekeeping moved beyond observing and took on a more demanding role with the Suez crisis of 1956. Lester B. Pearson, Canada's Secretary of State for External Affairs at the time, recommended placing a UN force between the warring parties once a ceasefire had been signed. The multinational force would then police the ceasefire, setting the stage for a negotiated settlement. Mr. Pearson argued his case with skill and determination, overcoming the scepticism of some of the UN members. The United Nations Emergency Force was thus born and Mr. Pearson was awarded the Nobel peace prize.

The first commander of the United Nations emergency force was a Canadian, Lieutenant-General E. L. M. Burns. General Burns, operating in unfamiliar territory, was often forced to chart his own course as he carried out the difficult job of keeping the peace between Arab and Israeli. In the end he excelled in this delicate task. Why? Because he was well trained for the job in the Canadian military community.

Suez was an important precedent for the United Nations. Over the next three decades most peacekeeping missions rested on the principles established by the United Nations Emergency Force.

Peacekeeping forces were expected to be lightly armed and impartial, and enjoy the consent of the warring parties. During this period Canada established herself as a leader in the peacekeeping field. We participated in virtually every UN mission and some outside the UN as well.

By the end of the cold war more than 80,000 Canadian forces' personnel had served in peacekeeping operations: from the Congo and West New Guinea to Cyprus and the Golan Heights. Canada's peacekeeping excellence did not disappear with the end of the cold war. Indeed, in recent years our expertise has been more in demand than ever.

Since 1989 the United Nations has become a much more active and interventionist organization. It has become more involved in interstate disputes and it has tackled human rights and humanitarian issues on a greater scale than ever before. As well, it has played a larger role in helping states embrace democracy and recover from the ravages of war.

Our soldiers, while serving on UN duty, quite often on a volunteer basis build bridges, roads, schools, homes. They teach people trades and occupations. They teach people how to farm, how to grow their food. This is all done on a voluntary basis. These are the things for which our forces very seldom get credit in the public media.

As a result, the number of UN peacekeeping missions has increased dramatically because of all the ravages of war in the hot spots that exist around the world in recent times. What is more,

these missions have become more complex and even more demanding.

Modern peace support operations, as they might more accurately be labelled, include preventive deployment, the delivery of humanitarian assistance, peace enforcement and peace building in addition to traditional peacekeeping.

These operations are multi-functional and multi-disciplinary, encompassing both military and civilian activities. Whether it is police officers, election observers, humanitarian workers or engineers, civilians are playing an increasing role in peace support operations. They are part of the new peacekeeping partnership.

Canada and in particular the Pearson International Peacekeeping Training Centre at Cornwallis are helping pave the way for greater co-operation between military and civilians working together in support of peace.

Canada has taken other steps to help improve peace support operations. Our study looking into ways to enhance the UN's capability to respond rapidly to a crisis stands out. But our greatest contribution remains our people in the field.

Modern peace support operations demand a full range of military capabilities on the ground, in the air and at sea. Canada, with its combat capable, multi-purpose forces, has been able to respond to this demand and play an important role in many of these new missions whether in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia or Central America.

In the former Yugoslavia, for example, Canadian ground troops performed a wide range of humanitarian tasks while the conflict raged. Currently we have nearly 1,000 troops in Bosnia, many of whom come from Petawawa, my home community. They are serving there with the NATO-led peace implementation force.

In Cambodia we have personnel serving with the Cambodian Mine Action Centre which is responsible for mine clearance operations.

At sea, Canadian naval forces have participated in operations off the coast of the former Yugoslavia, enforcing economic sanctions and arms embargoes.

We also have had Canadian personnel involved in naval peacekeeping operations in Cambodia, the Middle East and Central America. In the air we have had personnel serving aboard NATO airborne warning and control system aircraft, AWACS, enforcing the no-fly zone in the former Yugoslavia.

At present there are about 2,000 Canadian forces personnel participating in peace support operations worldwide. They continue to carry out a broad range of activities.

In all these operations, Canadians carry out their tasks with skill and professionalism, proving once again that fully trained soldiers are the best peacekeepers. Combined with specialized instruction in such areas as cultural sensitivity, combat training gives Canadian forces all the tools required to meet new challenges.

Given this impressive record, there should be no doubt that Canada can make a significant contribution to a mission in Haiti operating under a new mandate. We have been an active participant in attempts to restore Haitian democracy since 1991. Canadian ships helped enforce economic sanctions in an effort to convince Haiti's illegal regime to step down and Canadian forces personnel have been participating in the United Nations Mission in Haiti since March 1995.

Canada's participation in the United Nations Mission in Haiti currently includes about 500 Canadian forces personnel with helicopter transport and engineering support, and almost 100 civilian police to help establish a professional Haitian police force.

Canadians know the country, they know the people, they know the challenges that must be faced. Canada is also no stranger to commanding multilateral military forces. Finally, Canadians know a great deal about being a civil, democratic society.

We could play a critical role as part of the international community in helping maintain a secure and stable environment and pave the way for the full restoration of democracy in Haiti.

Since 1947, more than 100,000 Canadians have participated in over 30 peacekeeping and related missions, a contribution which remains unmatched.

Over 100 Canadians have lost their lives in the line of duty and many more have been wounded. Canada, in short, understands peacekeeping like few other countries. We understand its effectiveness in promoting international peace and security. We understand its ability to help lay the groundwork for democracy. Perhaps most important of all, we understand how it works.

The world has always looked to Canada for peacekeeping experience and know how. In the case of Haiti it is doing so again. We can help Haiti build a better future and in doing so continue a long and proud peacekeeping tradition.

Tonight as this debate goes on, Canada's name has been carried around the world in much of the good work that has been done by the Canadian Armed Forces. Whatever the decision is we wish its members well with the United Nations. I know they will do a good job for Canada.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Foreign Affairs
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February 27, 1996

Mr. Hopkins

This is the very point.

Every member in the House has a right to take a responsible position but never in the history of Parliament or ever in the history of Parliaments to come should the Chair be condemned because of a personal battle. It has become that today. I heard one member go on at great length about how the member for Madawaska-Victoria handled the chair in a committee. When it comes to the chair of the House of Commons no member in this House should be thinking

about carrying personal grudges or old debts against the person sitting in the chair of the House of Commons.

I am very sorry this has been made a personal matter by the House leader of the Reform Party and others. They came into the House saying that they were going to lay down new conduct in the House of Commons. They cannot do that if they are going to attack people personally. We are here to debate but this chair here must have the confidence of all members in the House when a person is put in it.

Mr. Speaker, I say to you that we should let the vote go forward as long as we do not have a whole batch of other speakers to hold the House up today. Let us elect this person to the position of chair in a democratic fashion on the floor of this House.

The conduct of the Reform Party today has been to accuse others of hypocrisy. They have spent a lot of time talking about new ideas of being civil in the House of Commons and so on. One cannot accuse an individual of not being capable of taking the chair when one has the background the hon. member for Madawaska-Victoria has.

Today when the hon. member for Madawaska-Victoria is elected by a vote in the House of Commons as one of the chairpersons, it is up to the Reform Party to respect her when she is in the chair on future occasions and not carry the old grudges from Parliament or committees into the House. Let us run this in a civilized manner. However, the House can run in a civilized manner only if the people who say they came here to change the House run it in a civilized manner themselves. It is not up to just a few people to be civil; everybody must be civil.

In fairness, let us get on with the democratic vote and let the chips fall where they may. However, after this person is elected let us respect the Chair of the House of Commons of Canada.

Topic:   Second Session-35Th Parliament-Opening
Subtopic:   Committee Of The Whole
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