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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was agreement.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as Liberal MP for Provencher (Manitoba)

Lost his last election, in 2000, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply November 22nd, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to be part of this vigorous, very historical and important debate.

I would like to ask the member to comment on what I think is the central question concerning the referendum. The Reform Party has argued that we, Canada and British Columbia, ought to have a referendum because there is a constitutional amendment. The member for Burnaby, I believe, was a member of parliament throughout 1980 to 1983 when we were amending the constitution and bringing in the charter. He is very familiar with sections 25 and 35(1). If I recall, he played a role in the standing committee that was drafting some of those provisions.

I think it is particularly important not only because he is a lawyer and has participated in the House on those kinds of discussions, but because he is a member of parliament from British Columbia and represents the people that the other party purports to.

Does he in his view believe at all that there is a constitutional change here in recognition of the Nisga'a treaty? If there is one, would that not necessitate a Canadian referendum?

Nisga'A Final Agreement Act November 1st, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I certainly wish to allow the member to continue, but on a technical point with reference to his debate the member has raised with me on several occasions, both inside and outside the House, questions about people having difficulties. I have asked for a letter in writing from the member on these matters and I have yet to receive it.

Aboriginal Affairs October 29th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, we are always very concerned about financial management of the bands. That is why we have in place a number of features within the department. We are actively pursuing a number of them.

We are working very closely with a number of bands in Saskatchewan and Ontario, and indeed in the Atlantic region, to address these issues. I will take this case under advisement and report back to the member on the particulars of this matter.

Agriculture October 28th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, Canadian farmers are not being left alone to face the current income crisis.

The government has moved to the aid of Canadian farmers by providing $1.5 billion over two years through the agricultural income disaster assistance program, or AIDA.

So far 16,000 farmers across the country have received over $200 million in aid. This amounts to an average of $15,000 per farmer. However, we need to do a lot more.

Today Liberal MPs from Manitoba met an all-party delegation where we discussed changes to the AIDA program with the intention of getting urgently needed resources to the family farms. Over the next few weeks, we will be working closely with that same delegation to ensure that urgent resources move quickly to those farms in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Nisga'A Final Agreement Act October 27th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be here tonight in the final closing hours of an exciting day to respond to the questions and concerns raised by the member from British Columbia.

I will just repeat a number of things that I think are important with respect to clarification on this matter and some of the concerns that he has raised in the House today and on other occasions.

First, it is very important to recognize that section 15 of the charter, the equality sections of the charter of rights and freedoms, apply here to all people. There is no distinction based on race or gender. Those sections are very clear.

Second, with respect to the Nisga'a legislation, section 28 of the charter provides even further clarification on those equalities. If that were not enough, in the 1983 amending conference on the charter of rights and freedoms, section 35(4) was put in the constitution to guarantee that wherever we have aboriginal rights in Canada they would not detract from men or women in any unequal way.

I commend my colleagues, the Liberal members from British Columbia, who have been working on the bill. We debated Bill C-9 in the House this afternoon and we will continue to debate it in the days to come. The opening section of the legislation states quite emphatically that the Nisga'a agreement is subject to the charter of rights and freedoms. This is not a distinction between people based on race and creating inequalities. This is an opportunity for Canadians and all of us to do the right thing, to embrace the Nisga'a people and to welcome them into Canada.

I would remind the hon. member of those first nations people in northern Quebec in 1995 when we had a referendum. They filed into the polls at 40-below to support Canada and Canadians because they wanted to be part of the country. I can tell the House with certainty that the Nisga'a people want to be part of the country as well.

Nisga'A Final Agreement Act October 27th, 1999

We have not fulfilled the treaty. That is what we are trying to do.

Nisga'A Final Agreement Act October 27th, 1999

Stick to the facts.

Nisga'A Final Agreement Act October 27th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I know we want to keep the debate in line and civilized. I know the member, as a former member of parliament under the Tory government, does not want to get into an unhelpful debate. I ask him to continue a proper and civil debate for Canadians.

Nisga'A Final Agreement Act October 27th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his interventions today. I think those people watching his dissertation would agree with me that he has spoken very well.

For those Canadians who are watching the debate, I welcome the member's participation. I have talked to him about this on several occasions. I was quite delighted to see him speaking in the House today. He is a veteran member of parliament from British Columbia and a member of the New Democratic Party. He provides some insights and a different angle with respect to British Columbia.

Many members from rural British Columbia have repeatedly spoken against the deal in the House. I want to ask the member why he thinks, feels, or believes that the Reform members, even those next door to him in his riding in British Columbia, have so strongly opposed what he and I both agree is a great deal for the people of British Columbia? Could he elaborate on that complexity and misunderstanding with the Canadian people?

Nisga'A Final Agreement Act October 26th, 1999

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her intervention and her ongoing intelligent and clear thinking on this matter and her study of the issue. She is representing an alternative view in British Columbia from the one that we have heard repeatedly from the Reform Party on this bill and a number of other bills relating to aboriginal and first nations people.

As a woman from British Columbia and a member of parliament, she is addressing issues generally from her constituents but more broadly for people from British Columbia as well. I say this to her because the Reform Party keeps alluding to the fact that it is concerned about women, that it speaks for women's issues and wants to protect women's rights. I would like to quote from some sections of the treaty with respect to women's rights and ask her if she agrees with the provisions of the charter and the treaty or the Reform Party.

The preamble of the bill states:

Whereas the Nisga'a Final Agreement states that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to Nisga'a Government in respect of all matters within its authority, bearing in mind the free and democratic nature of Nisga'a Government as set out in the Agreement;

Section 28 of the charter provides that notwithstanding anything in the charter, the rights and freedoms referred to are guaranteed equally to male and female persons. Likewise in section 35 of the constitution there is a provision on aboriginal treaty rights. Section 35(4) in contemplating concerns over the protection of aboriginal women's rights states:

Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the aboriginal and treaty rights referred to in subsection (1) are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.

Does the member believe these provisions to protect women, or does she believe the Reform Party which seems to be trying to scare aboriginal women and women in general in British Columbia?