Mr. Speaker, I do not know if I am happy or not to be rising today on a very serious issue regarding the member for Vancouver Centre, the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism. As we all know, she made some unfortunate remarks in the House which left a bad taste in the mouths of everybody who lives in Prince George, and for that matter everybody in British Columbia.
I wish to start out by saying that I have honestly seen the minister from Vancouver Centre in other forums in Halifax and in my own riding. I have seen her do some very good work on the promotion of multiculturalism. I have always respected her for her efforts in bringing that issue to the forefront.
Regardless of the good work she has done in the past, she made a very serious error in judgment. Although she has apologized in the House, an apology is not accepted until the people to whom the slanderous remarks were made against accept the apology. So far the people of Prince George have not yet accepted that apology.
I spoke today to his worship, Mayor Kinsley of Prince George, and asked him what we could do in the House or what could the minister do to remedy the situation. I suggested and he agreed that it would be a good idea if she got out of Ottawa or out of Vancouver and personally flew to Prince George, met with the mayor and the council, sat down and resolved the issue once and for all.
A lot of people think of Prince George now in a negative light. The fact is that last Monday the British Columbia government gave an award to the city of Prince George for its work in fighting against racism.
I come from a riding where we have Cole Harbour High School. A few years ago it was involved in a very serious issue. Those people got together with the efforts of Department of Multiculturalism and some dollars from the federal government and worked to resolve the issue. I know the good work that the minister's department can do.
It is still left hanging out there. Many people in British Columbia are still very angry with the minister. Many editorials and newspaper accounts have said that she should resign to restore some dignity to that department.
If the minister is not willing to resign or the Prime Minister is not willing for her to resign, what she must do to resolve this issue once and for all is to go to Prince George, sit down and talk with the mayor and resolve this issue. If she did that I believe we would find a conclusion to this resolve. Then maybe the minister would learn by her mistake and move forward in the future.
On behalf of the people of Prince George, I thank the House for the opportunity to speak. I hope the minister takes that advice and goes very quickly to Prince George to resolve this important issue.