Robert Carman COATES

COATES, The Hon. Robert Carman, P.C., Q.C., B.A., LL.B., LL.D.

Personal Data

Party
Progressive Conservative
Constituency
Cumberland--Colchester (Nova Scotia)
Birth Date
March 10, 1928
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Coates_(politician)
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=f8c074be-3032-4ab6-af4f-11618169c92a&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
author, barrister, lawyer

Parliamentary Career

June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
PC
  Cumberland (Nova Scotia)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
PC
  Cumberland (Nova Scotia)
June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
PC
  Cumberland (Nova Scotia)
April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
PC
  Cumberland (Nova Scotia)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
PC
  Cumberland (Nova Scotia)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
PC
  Cumberland--Colchester North (Nova Scotia)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
PC
  Cumberland--Colchester North (Nova Scotia)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
PC
  Cumberland--Colchester North (Nova Scotia)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
PC
  Cumberland--Colchester (Nova Scotia)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
PC
  Cumberland--Colchester (Nova Scotia)
September 4, 1984 - October 1, 1988
PC
  Cumberland--Colchester (Nova Scotia)
  • Minister of National Defence (September 17, 1984 - February 12, 1985)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 505)


June 8, 1988

Mr. Coates:

It therefore pleases me that today that I have had the only blot on my reputation as a Member of Parliament removed by The Ottawa Citizen.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
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June 8, 1988

Mr. Coates:

This has never been a partisan political issue. It has been a personal battle between myself and The Ottawa Citizen over the offensive words contained in a February 12th, 1985, article in that paper which states that by visiting a bar in Lahr, West Germany, I had posed a risk to my security and thus the nation's security. Those statements and others relating to security caused me to resign my portfolio for, in my opinion, I could not perform my responsibilities as Minister of National Defence with that cloud, through those words, hanging over my head.

In my view, then and today, that story severely damaged my reputation and libelled me. The fact it has taken three years and four months and many thousands of dollars on my part, and over $1 million on the part of The Ottawa Citizen by its own admission, to remove those offensive words indicates the awesome power of the media when they determine they are not going to admit to an obvious libel. The fact they would spend over $1 million to stay out of court on the main issue of the libel makes it absolutely obvious that they knew that by going to court they would have been found guilty of that libel.

However, what it has told me, and tells all Members of this House, is that the media, playing fast and loose with the reputations of Members of Parliament, can with their great wealth and awesome power prevent justice from being done. It is often said that justice delayed is justice denied. In my case that is certainly the fact.

If it had not been for my friends I could not have seen this matter through to this satisfactory conclusion. Without friends I would not have cleared my name. The Ottawa Citizen was prepared to use legal tactics to prolong the case by a further two years. That is the reason for the settlement. However, with the removal of the security implications, there is and was no story to write. I must thank Gerald Doucet for his assistance in putting forward an arrangement that allowed individual Canadians to contribute to my defence fund. The Government of Canada made no contribution to that fund.

Point of Order-Mr. Wilson

The Ottawa Citizen makes a point of stating there was no payment made by them to me in the settlement. I never sought financial gain from this libel action. I sought only to have my name cleared, and this has finally happened.

I must thank the Members of all Parties in this House, for they have been both kind and supportive of my efforts to clear my name. I must thank my family for their commitment throughout this ordeal, and it was an ordeal. I also must thank the many lawyers who gave me assistance in this libel action.

What we as Members of Parliament must now face is a concern for the ordinary Canadian who is libelled by the media. If I, with my friends, could not secure my day in court, what chance is there for the ordinary Canadian, if libelled, to secure his or her day in court? There cannot be two levels of justice in this nation, one for the rich and one for the not so rich. However, that in my view is what this libel action has been all about. It is not libel chill but the chilling impact of the awesome power of the media to do what they wish and, because of their wealth, prevent justice from being done.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ronald Mitton, the lawyer who handled my case in Nova Scotia from the beginning to the end. I am very relieved and pleased today to be standing in this House and being able to say to you, Sir, that I have cleared my name.

Thank you very much.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
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June 8, 1988

Hon. Robert C. Coates (Cumberland-Colchester):

Mr. Speaker, on Friday of this week I will celebrate my 31st anniversary as a Member of Parliament.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
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March 6, 1986

Mr. Coates:

Mr. Speaker, I want to say that one of the leaders in producing a new confidence in Atlantic Canada has been the Minister of Regional Industrial Expansion. He has been aggressive. He has gone into Cape Breton, which fed off the former Minister of everything from Cape Breton High-lands-Canso who managed to spend taxpayers' money on producing runways at Port Hawkesbury so his private jet could land, where no one had anything other than a six or eight-week job at one time.

What we have now are long-term favourable programs that have excited the business community and have, from all of the applications that are coming in, produced in that business community a new confidence about Nova Scotia and about Cape Breton. I know that with the Minister of Regional Industrial Expansion's leadership we will continue to see new plants and new jobs being produced, not just in Cape Breton but in all of Atlantic Canada.

I want to speak about my province of Nova Scotia and indicate what has been happening there since the Government was elected and what will continue to happen in the future. In the past 12 months, 11,000 jobs have been created, including

3,000 in January of this year. The value of building permits in the first 11 months of 1985 was up $94 million, or 18.2 per cent compared to the same period in 1984. Bankruptcies were down 6 per cent in 1985 compared with 1984. Total housing starts in 1985 rose 51 per cent, to their highest level in eight years. Retail sales have increased by 8 per cent between December, 1984 and December, 1985 and have increased by 11 per cent since the September, 1984 election. The value of fish landing in the first 11 months of 1985 were up by $26 million or 11 per cent over the same period in 1984. The former Government left the fishery in a total shambles after years of disinterest and disrespect for the people involved in the fishing industry. Last year, the rate of closures of small and medium sized businesses in Atlantic Canada was 6.3 per cent, down from 8.9 per cent in 1984. The January inflation rate of 4 per cent in Halifax was below the national average of 4.4 per cent. That is the situation in Nova Scotia.

I want to talk about my constituency because during the Trudeau years I was a virtual undertaker, burying one industry after another as a result of bankruptcies. We did not have any good news in Atlantic Canada. However, in the years since 1984 we have seen the establishment or expansion of 21 industries directly related to assistance through DRIE. They are not the only industries that have been established but they had direct federal involvement.

On Monday I will be attending a press conference with the Minister of Agriculture for Nova Scotia and the Mayor of the town of Amherst, participating in the establishment of another industry in Amherst. Furthermore, I can advise the House that there are new plant possibilities under active consideration for Truro, Springhill and Oxford. I have also been personally involved in the establishment of a new luggage factory, with

Korean participants, in the town of Amherst. Those are some examples of what is happening because the business sector in this country has confidence in the Government and the Minister of Finance.

Let me say a few words about national defence. We have seen much progress in national defence since the Government took office. Nowhere is that more apparent than in Atlantic Canada. One of my first acts as Minister of Defence was the re-establishment of Chatham as an air base. It is almost a cornerstone industry of northern New Brunswick and, if it had been left to the former Government, that base would have been dismantled completely. We have re-established it as an air base and we have reconfirmed the employment possibilities for those people of the north shore who are associated with that base. I want to congratulate Members from the north shore who worked closely with me in re-establishing that base.

There are many new developments at Goose Bay that will be of tremendous benefit to Newfoundland and Labrador. The Department of National Defence has re-established itself as the lead Department in handling that base. There are many activities associated with NATO in relation to major utilization of that base which will be of tremendous benefit to the people of Happy Valley, in particular, and the people of Newfoundland, Labrador and Atlantic Canada generally.

I am absolutely committed to major improvements in the naval element of the Armed Forces. We must take major steps to ensure that our navy is properly constituted and that it has the ships it requires. Currently, Saint John shipyard is the lead yard in building six new frigates,. While I was Minister, 1 began the definition program for the second batch of six frigates and I say to the Government that we must move forward quickly in getting that second batch of six frigates on line in order to benefit from the volume buying associated with the construction of those frigates.

I compliment the Saint John shipyard for establishing a centre of excellence with the recruitment of 600 to 700 top qualified people in the construction of warships. We have not been involved in this activity for many years. I have great confidence in their ability to manage the second batch of six frigates that should be constructed. We need new submarines quickly for our navy as well as new helicopters.

We must re-establish the navy which Prime Minister Trudeau and his Government let deteriorate almost to the point of oblivion. The Government must take the necessary steps to establish the navy as a significant part of our Armed Forces if we are to meet our commitments as a partner in NATO.

I want to repeat that our Government has been progressive, with new and positive programs of benefit to all Canadians combined with a reduction in our involvement in their lives. We are moving forward with positive programs that will have long-term benefit for all Canadians. They can look forward to a Government that recognizes the social justice system and is sensitive to the just society. We will not forget those in need while providing a Government that is aggressive and sensitive but much smaller than its present size.

March 6, 1986

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
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March 6, 1986

Mr. Coates:

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Hon. Member for that question. 1 want to say that the type of programs the Hon. Member has outlined, and the type of new innovative thinking of a new and strong Government with its special attitude towards Atlantic Canada, will ensure the future for that region. The Minister of Agriculture just signed a new agreement with the three provinces on red meat which indicates this new type of aggressiveness. The youth in Atlantic Canada, because of programs such as the Hon. Member pointed out, have a new sense of confidence about their future in our part of Canada. They are thinking about living, getting educated and working there rather than going elsewhere in Canada looking for jobs.

There is tremendous co-operation coming from the provincial Government of Nova Scotia, the Buchanan Government, and it is that kind of co-operation that has produced the type of new plant establishments which are giving new hope to young people, not only in my province but in our region. The Government has to be complimented for its aggressive and innovative approaches to the problems we face.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   THE BUDGET
Full View Permalink