Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was terms.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as NDP MP for Regina—Qu'Appelle (Saskatchewan)

Lost his last election, in 2006, with 32% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act April 20th, 2004

The Conservative member across the way says to explain the Westbank agreement. The Westbank agreement is very clear. I happen to know a fair amount about the charter. I spent 10 years working on constitutional issues in all the committees and I have already explained to him that the charter applies to every Canadian citizen. No act of this Parliament can trump the Charter of Rights and Freedoms unless the notwithstanding clause is invoked or unless there is a constitutional amendment.

Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act April 20th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, we in the NDP also intend to vote against the amendment put forth by the Conservative Party, a party that is constantly trying to deny the rights of aboriginal people in this country. Negotiations went on over a long period of time regarding the Westbank bill. A very good agreement was reached and we intend to support the agreement in the House.

I do not want to go into details about this particular agreement except to say that we see many aboriginal people living in third world conditions in this country. The member for Yukon knows that. I have 12 first nations in my own riding as well. One of the big failures of Canadian society over the years has been not making sure that the first nations people, the Métis people, the aboriginal peoples in general, have a better standard of living and have the opportunities that are provided to many other people in the Canadian mainstream.

What we hear is the Conservative Party saying in a very misleading way that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms would not apply to people of the Westbank First Nation.

I spent 10 years as the NDP's constitutional spokesperson during the patriation debate in the formulation of a Canadian Charter of Rights. My friend from Yellowknife was part of two of those five or six committees over the years. She will remember the constant debates. She will also remember her disappointment with the Trudeau government when it first tabled the patriation package in the House of Commons. There was no reference at all to treaty rights or aboriginal rights in the original package tabled by the Government of Canada.

It was because of the NDP and our negotiations that treaty rights were put in the Constitution of Canada. That took a long time. It was a long struggle. Treaty rights in the Constitution of Canada were one thing that our party negotiated at all party committees and elsewhere. We made sure they were provided in the Constitution of Canada. Today there are treaty rights and recognition of the royal proclamation in Canada's Constitution. We have begun a long, long process of trying to evolve treaty rights in this country.

The Conservative Party member from Vancouver has suggested in his amendment that the charter would not apply to the people of the Westbank First Nation because of the agreement. I want to assure the House that this is totally and absolutely untrue. The charter applies to every Canadian citizen. This is really ironic coming from the same party that kept the House going day and night for several days a few years ago, forcing the House to vote hundreds of times on amendments to stop the Nisga'a treaty. It was one of the most disgusting performances I have seen in the House of Commons since I was elected in 1968.

The Conservative Party is really the alliance party, which was the reform party, which was the social credit party. In my province it is called the Saskatchewan Party. At one time it was the progressive conservative party, now minus the progressive side, so it is now the regressive conservative party. It was also the conservative-reform-alliance party, or CRAP. That party goes on and on as it changes its name, trying to hide from its true values of conservatism, which is a very unpopular ideology in Canada.

Once again that party is moving an amendment that is striking away at aboriginal rights, striking away at aboriginal people. That is the same party that wanted to lead our country into Iraq, to have Canadian troops go into Iraq following George Bush very blindly. That is the Conservative Party of Canada, on the extreme right, the republican party north in this country. That party is at it once again.

I do not know if those members know anything about the charter, but section 25 states, and I quote:

The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any aboriginal, treaty or other rights or freedoms that pertain to the aboriginal peoples of Canada including

(a) any rights or freedoms that have been recognized by the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763; and

(b) any rights or freedoms that now exist by way of land claims agreements or may be so acquired.

We are very proud to have some aboriginal rights and aboriginal guarantees in our Constitution. We are also very proud that the charter applies to aboriginal people, to all Canadians, to every Canadian. It is very important that we do this.

I should also point out that some of these more extreme Conservatives say we should not just rely on the charter being interpreted but we should use the notwithstanding clause on certain issues where a problem overrides the charter and overrides the fundamental freedoms of this country. We have heard them say that before on a number of issues. Some raise it on abortion. Some raise it on same sex marriage. That is the history of the Conservative Party, not the Progressive Conservative Party but the alliance-conservative-reform party. That is its history: extreme conservative positions that do not stand up for minority rights. These are not the values of the Canadian people.

The Canadian people want aboriginal rights in this country. The Canadian people want aboriginal self-government. The aboriginal people certainly want--

Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act April 2nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I just want to say very briefly that the member should check the record. I was complimenting the member for Wild Rose. I said that he was cabinet material and an esteemed member of the Conservative Party.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act April 2nd, 2004

You can talk about our history any time you want in the House of Commons.

Could the member across the way explain to the House why this person should not report to the House of Commons? Why should this person report to a cabinet minister and to the government?

They want to reform Parliament and they want reform democracy and here is the opportunity to do so.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act April 2nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the member for Yukon must not have been listening because it is on topic. We are talking about accountability, a democratic process and making this place more relevant. When candidates are appointed for nominations, we do not expand democracy and we do not make this place more accountable.

What we need to have is a democratic process of electing members to the House of Commons. We should not be appointing people to the other House. That is totally undemocratic. We should have the person responsible for whistleblowing report to the House of Commons, not to a minister of the crown, a minister of the executive or the government of the day. That is not the way to go.

Not too many years ago the government of the day said that we could not have the Chief Electoral Officer report to the House. That now has been changed. We have several other people who report to the House now: the Auditor General, the Commissioner of Official Languages, the privacy commissioner and a number of others.

We have made very slow progress in making this place more accountable to all Canadians and this is the way we should have gone in terms of whistleblowing as well.

I would like to see a Liberal get up in the House before the debate ends and defend the decision that was made that the person responsible for whistleblowing should report to a minister of the crown.

I will tell members across the way that the Liberals will not stay in power forever. For the member for Hull—Aylmer and the member for Ottawa—Vanier, who are listening very attentively to what I am saying, I want to say that they will not be in power forever.

Let us suppose, horror of horrors, that the Conservatives win and the new minister is the member for Wild Rose, Alberta. Would we feel comfortable with him as the minister? The member for Wild Rose is a very esteemed member of the Conservative Party, who is in the inner circle and represents the values of the Conservative Party. We see him thundering in this House. He is certainly at the head of the list as cabinet material, and this is a possibility.

I do not think the Canadian people would ever elect a far right-wing, radical, George Bush republican style Conservative Party. Those guys make Brian Mulroney look like a kitten.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act April 2nd, 2004

My friend from Nova Scotia, who truly is a good friend of mine, is a good example because he did it differently. The Prime Minister did not appoint him as a Liberal candidate. He had to go out there and fight for a Liberal nomination against somebody else, if I understand it correctly, and he won the nomination on his own merits.

What happened in British Columbia was that they have three people in a three-ring circus, where he had Liberals competing for nominations and they parachuted in these three people.

I see the member from Nova Scotia is getting to his feet. I am sure he is embarrassed and wants to explain this. He wants to do a mea culpa about what is happening. I will cede the floor to him, Mr. Speaker, because I see he wants to interject on a point of order. No, he is embarrassed and he is leaving the House.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act April 2nd, 2004

Somebody mentioned big tents, and I guess they really are for three-ring circuses: three candidates in British Columbia, a three-ring circus in British Columbia, and every one of them nominated.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act April 2nd, 2004

As my friend from Winnipeg says, that is ridiculous, especially when it comes from a Prime Minister who is talking about a democratic deficit in the country and that he wants to do politics differently.

I was just reading an article in the Vancouver Sun a moment ago where the Prime Minister, who is in British Columbia, is talking about going to Kamloops today to talk about doing politics differently, to talk about accountability and to talk about a more democratic governing process just hours after he appointed three candidates for the Liberal Party to run in ridings. This practice of appointing candidates was used by the former prime minister, Jean Chrétien, as well. If there is anything that is undemocratic, it is appointing a candidate to run in a riding.

It is no wonder some Liberals are embarrassed about this. The former solicitor general from Prince Edward Island is hanging his head in shame, pretending he is reading a newspaper. His esteemed leader, who talks from one side of his mouth about democracy, is appointing people in British Columbia to run in certain ridings because they are afraid to stand for a nomination.

Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act April 2nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I too want to say a few words on the whistleblowing legislation that is before the House. I was not a member of the committee that studied it in detail but from my quick reading of the legislation, my understanding is that it is not very adequate and does not go very far at all.

Someone called our office a few days ago suggesting that he was with the RCMP, although I am not sure of his position, but he was concerned that the legislation was not strong enough to protect a whistleblower from the federal public service or indeed from the RCMP. He made the suggestion that a number of things in the RCMP were not going properly. I think he used the words that there was some corruption at certain levels. That was his allegation or his suggestion. However, he was suggesting that the legislation before the House would not be strong enough to protect a whistleblower coming forth and making this information public to the people.

My reading of the legislation suggests that he is probably right when he says that the legislation is not strong enough. We should have stronger legislation to protect public servants who come forward and blow the whistle on any wrongdoings. We had the case last summer where the privacy commissioner had the whistle blown on him, which was what really brought this legislation to the forefront.

It is just part of government accountability to make sure that if public servants realize there is some wrongdoing, be it criminal or otherwise, they should be protected to come forward and provide that information to the appropriate authorities and then, at the appropriate time, make that information public.

That leads me to another concern about the legislation. The person in charge of the whistleblowing information, if the bill goes through the House and through the Senate and gets royal assent, will be responsible, not to the Parliament of Canada but to the appropriate minister, in other words to the government of the day.

Points of Order April 2nd, 2004

Mr. Speaker, in question period today I referred to a memo. Members across the way asked me to table the memo. I ask for unanimous consent now to table the memo I referred to during my question about the activities regarding the former minister of finance and current Prime Minister.