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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was process.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Reform MP for Surrey North (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 1993, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply December 7th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, my comment expresses my concern about the situation in relation to unity. There is a unity debate going on between one province and Canada. However, there is the possibility of future unity debates happening with various aboriginal groups if we pursue this course without some clarification of what it means.

Those persons who are well informed on the process and the ultimate resolution may not share the same concerns I do. They may not see the aboriginal negotiation process as possibly leading us to another unity difficulty in the future. If that is not so, please share it with the rest of us in order to allay this concern.

My main message is that in Canada we have two different processes happening which could lead to similar debates in the future.

The second question concerned public information. I agree that there has been an effort made in the last year with respect to providing the public with more information. That stemmed from outspoken people expressing their concerns in the proper circles. However, a lot of the information, if not all of it, is after the fact. We still do not know the conditions we are negotiating. Basically what we are seeing are great claims for land. We do not actually know what is going to happen.

I am suggesting that if we follow our democratic process of electing representatives, we do have those representatives there, but we have absolutely no idea what they are doing until after it has been done. If they looked at the process they certainly could allay a lot of the public's concern by being a little more informative of what their objectives are.

With respect to the delaying of the process, that remark may have been related to political strategy concerning the election. Be that as it may, what I am addressing here is the fact that the delay should be to review what is actually happening because of these concerns. A stitch in time might save nine. The problem will not go away unless we see a concerted effort by those persons involved

and the government to come out with an outline of the objectives they are trying to achieve.

Supply December 7th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in this debate today. I will address the actual decision or policy to negotiate treaties.

This government policy is more advanced in British Columbia than elsewhere across the country. A growing amount of concern is arising in British Columbia as this process takes place. The concern is not only in British Columbia but is starting to spread across the country. There is input today from grassroots aboriginals. Their concern is that this negotiation progress may lead to a situation in which there is just a transfer of power to a more local level where they still would not have any say as to what is going to happen in their lives. On the non-aboriginal side there is a growing concern that we do not know what is being negotiated.

When we look at the concerns arising we tend to think an approach was taken to negotiate versus going to the courts. By negotiating it stays within the parliamentary jurisdiction whereas if it were taken into the legal field it would be within the court jurisdiction. It is still here in the House. This negotiation process is seen to be the route to go.

When we get a good idea we have to market it for it to catch on and be accepted. There was not that communication for this policy and this approach to the situation. The concerns are mounting to a point that the concerns are being expressed in the provincial legislature in British Columbia by the opposition sides.

There have been statements that they may not recognize the existing agreements. I believe the Nisga'a band is the one most advanced and used as the example.

I do not wish to debate all the examples occurring within the negotiation process. I would like to address my remarks to the concerns. They are not only communication concerns from both sides of the table and the public. There is also the whole process of negotiation. If we put negotiation into a management-labour context, the membership knows what is on the table and what is being negotiated. The doors may be closed to the negotiation rooms when that is actually taking place but we still know the types of topics on the table.

The municipalities are suggesting they are not represented at the table. Another comeback to that is the municipalities are repre-

sented by the provincial representatives we elect. However, the problem is the information from the negotiation is not coming back to the people or is not even put to the people beforehand so that we know what is on the table, what is being discussed and what the possible parameters are for a subsequent decision. That is one aspect of the negotiation process that is very faulty.

Another problem occurring and giving rise to concern is the various definitions. For example, there are a great number of Canadians who thought this negotiation process would be addressed to existing treaties or the historical treaties. I believe the government approach was to negotiate those treaties and come up with an extinguishment thereof, then satisfy that commitment made in our history and then get on to building life as Canadians in unity. What we are hearing now are things like modern treaties, living treaties, aboriginal rights, extinguishment. We do not really know what these terms mean. This again is causing concern.

When the Hamilton report came out it tried to address the extinguishment and aboriginal rights. One of the things identified in the Hamilton report, or before that, is that when the aboriginals go in to negotiate a treaty they leave all their rights at the door. They go in trying to see what they can get. That is not cricket in negotiations. When a negotiation is entered into, one does have rights somewhere which should be identified. Even between management and labour the previous contract is a starting point.

One of the things that is happening is the concept of rights. What does that mean? The Hamilton report tries to address it with the following point of view. When a treaty is negotiated, the decisions reached by all parties become the rights of all parties and the next time a treaty is negotiated it commences with those rights. The report also suggests we address the extinguishment aspect of this. Once the topic has been addressed and agreed on it is extinguished and no longer comes up. I believe there is an opening clause. If not, there should be an opening clause so that when society changes that can come back to the table.

There is some sort of finality which could address the extinguishment. That tends to give rise to where this modern treaty or the living treaty comes into play. I do not believe this concept was apparent when the original policy was established. Unless we hear more information as to where this kind of thing can lead us, that in itself will provide concern.

To get back to the process and concern aspect of it, there is concern from a parliamentary point of view of actually getting to the point. I do not wish to address the contents of the bill on the B.C. commission at this point. My point is we had a bill come into the House for debate that was actually established by an agreement between three parties that had representatives there. The House was actually debating something that had already been established.

I can understand that the possibility of defeating that bill creates a horrendous amount of work. We would have to backtrack to all that was done before that. However, because these are our representatives, it could possibly have been debated in the House before the parties went into agreement and that there were some parameters set so that we knew what was going to be on that table when the negotiations were undertaken.

Another thing that comes out of this when we are talking about cultural groups again is the process taking place. This concern arises when we hear such things as aboriginals referring to themselves as nations. The obvious conclusion to that would be nations within a nation. The perception of how that would work is unknown. That is a concern to us.

We also must look at the unity point of view. We have on the one hand a negotiation process that could feasibly terminate in this nations within nation concept or be the first step toward that in our future. On the other hand we have a parliamentary kind of process going on with the Quebec situation, which is again a divisiveness kind of thing. I should restrict my remarks to the aboriginal process. But are we creating through this process another possibility to be debating unity somewhere down the line? I have some concerns on that.

What we have to look at in this whole thing-and British Columbia is trying to get the message across to Canadians-is that a lack of information is getting out to the people. We do not know what is being discussed at the table. We are sitting here wondering with what we will be left.

The counter argument to that is we do have representatives there. My point is that they have not come out and discussed things with whoever they are representing and then taken that information back to the table.

To give my comments more clarity, think of management and union negotiations. We know what these people are talking about behind closed doors. We know all the parameters of it, but we know that their discussions will eventually lead to something. We may not get all we want, but we might get part of what we want.

I suggest very strongly to the government that it can no longer negotiate behind closed doors. It has to be up front. B.C. is in a position that it is much further ahead than the rest of the country on this negotiation situation. If we are having problems in British Columbia, then it is going to transfer all across this country as we go along, unless we change some of the things we are doing in the process right now. Municipal governments have to be informed of

how their concerns get represented at that table and there has to be a mechanism for that to occur, et cetera.

The other item that has to be put out in general terms is what is this self-government thing we are talking about. Is it a municipal kind of situation? Is it a provincial kind of situation? Will it lead to individual territories within our country, or will it lead to the possibility of future negotiations in relation to unity? These are some of the concerns I have about the whole process.

We should be looking at the British Columbia situation, not only with what is happening today, but where this will lead us in our future, 10, 15, 100 years from now.

Is the Hamilton report strictly based on negotiations and setting the parameters? I would assume it is not far afield from being incorporated into this process as it was commissioned by the minister.

The modern treaty, the living treaty, has to be identified. There has to be some kind of indication to the public, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal, that this negotiation process can be speeded up, that we are not looking at another 20 or 30 years to negotiate individual contracts.

There is concern for the situation in British Columbia and it has reached the ears of the political components in that province. They are also expressing concerns about aspects of this process. I sincerely hope and recommend that the government stop and have a look at what is actually occurring here and coming up with some sort of options, if they choose to follow this policy, in which they can address some of these concerns.

There is one other point I would like to make before I close. A great number of these negotiations are based on the fact that the self-government component of the band will be democratic. Yet for the band to establish that democratic process and hold elections, they really do not have an appeal process to a Canadian election officer, other than an appeal to the minister. This should be addressed as well and bring them into the Canadian process of elections.

Petitions November 27th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, another petition prays for better recognition for witnesses in any witness protection program.

Petitions November 27th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, a third petition asks that recognition by the crown of same sex relationships be withheld.

Petitions November 27th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, another petition requests that Parliament enact provisions to protect human life before birth.

Petitions November 27th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I have several petitions to present today. One is asking that the current prohibitions against euthanasia or assisted suicide of any kind be upheld.

Department Of Health Act November 6th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I would like the hon. member to expand in other areas the act covers besides the medicare or health insurance component.

One concern I have is in relation to section 4(2)(a) where it actually says that the department will be responsible for the promotion and preservation of the physical, mental and social well-being of the people of Canada. What I am thinking about here is the social well-being component of the statement. With the removal of welfare from the health and welfare department making it strictly health, does the hon. member not think that addressing the social well-being aspect is being inhibited now by having to deal and collaborate with other departments? Following on that, the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs was deleted and a lot of that mandate when to industry.

I feel that the department is being diluted in its ability to address the actual social component.

Department Of Health Act November 6th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, it might be the chicken and egg syndrome, but the concern first came to me with the EAGLE program. To my understanding that program is being done with the involvement of an aboriginal group. There is probably a specific group around the Great Lakes. The program is studying the effects on aboriginals of the Great Lakes environment. I believe it is being done in collaboration with Indian affairs.

This collaboration is ongoing. We are studying the effects on aboriginals of the Great Lakes environment. I am sure it is affecting other people as well but because it was done in collaboration with one department we have zeroed in on a specific group. This is the trend I am seeing. Instead of the effects on Canadians, we studying the effects on aboriginals because of the ongoing collaboration. That could get out of hand eventually.

Department Of Health Act November 6th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's comments. I also appreciate that progress can be achieved much more quickly if we work together.

I recognize the validity of ministries getting together and talking to avoid duplication and channelling their energies in the correct direction. This just does not apply to health; it can also be applied to the environment. Environment affects all the ministries as well.

My concern is that somebody somewhere has to have the authority to take leadership in these situations. When one starts collaborating to that point, is it a committee decision, a health decision, or a ministry decision that we are talking about? How does the priority for recognizing the problem which has been identified actually come into being?

The authority of the department is diminishing because its role is becoming more of an associate role or an advisory role to the other ministries. It is picking up the gauntlet and running with the program out of its own budget or this type of thing. That is where my concern is. I have no problem with collaborating. That is excellent and it is time we got to it.

I do not see any authority in this paper. If we have a health problem what authority does the department have to put it on the front burner? That is what I am concerned about.

Department Of Health Act November 6th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I would like to address a couple of things in the bill. One is that there is a tendency to think of it as a housekeeping bill because it is a change of name. There are a couple of reasons for changing name. First, it can be done because we do not like the present name. Second, the mandate or the content of the department can be changed. I would like to suggest that the bill represents a little more than just changing the name of the department.

I find it a little amusing that we are discussing the creation of the health department two years into our mandate. I believe we are going to be doing human resources a little later. Also, through Bill C-107 we have created the B.C. Treaty Commission approximately two years after it began functioning.

Getting back to the health department, the fact that it has been up and running under this mandate for two years gives me a little concern as to what its mandate actually is. Whether its mandate has been increased or decreased is the focus of what I am looking at here.

The Department of Health is a product of the phasing out of the Department of Health and Welfare and the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs. It is my understanding that most of the mandate that was the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs went to the Ministry of Industry. I am assuming that a lot of the welfare aspect of the Department of Health and Welfare went to the Department of Human Resources Development.

I am wondering what is left for the Department of Health. When we talk in our debates about health we tend to zero in on the health insurance or the medicare component of this department. I would think there is a lot more to health than that particular aspect. That is one component of what a good and functioning health department should be.

If we look at clause 4 of the bill itself, it states that the health department will promote and preserve the preservation of health for the people of Canada. I might add that it states it will do that where it has not been otherwise delegated to other jurisdictions within the government structure.

The second part expands on that a little more. Paragraph 4.2(a) refers to the promotion and preservation of the physical, mental, and social well-being of the people of Canada. I would argue that the social well-being, as we heard earlier in the debate, involves such things as housing, jobs, et cetera. It goes into great parameters from that point of view as to our individual well-being. I would suggest that possibly that aspect is being removed with the removal of the welfare component. Consequently, the health department is in a position of having to collaborate with a number of other industries in actually addressing some of these concerns.

The physical-mental component of that statement is relatively easy to address from a health point of view, because one can certainly look at that within this mandate. However, with the removal of the welfare component that mandate for health has been diminished to a point that now we are in more collaboration and co-operation with the other departments. There is not the same authority there the department once had.

When we move further down the list as to what the mandate of this new department will be, in paragraph 4.2(b) it talks about the protection of the people of Canada against risks to health and the spreading of diseases. One would tend to think immediately in that component of communicable diseases and such other diseases that do not necessarily meet the definition of communicable diseases such as HIV-AIDS and possibly hepatitis B and C. These are pandemic kinds of situations. I would hope that a health department would have a major role in addressing these types of things that affect the Canadian people.

We have had some experience in the past two years with both these issues. In my opinion, the response of the government has been reactive. I am wondering if this is a sign of some weakening in the department's ability to pick up the reins and lead when these situations occur.

We go down to paragraph (c), which is "investigation and research into public health, including the monitoring of diseases". I am not sure if it is the only reference, but I believe it is the only reference made in the act to research.

In this context, one tends to think of investigation and research, more studies. We are going to research this, study it. As we all know, we have done a lot of studies. In some areas the feeling is that we have done enough studies over the years and it is time to get into some action.

I also would like to suggest that the research component of health is very important. It not only should be addressing diseases that are out there, but we should be looking at where we are going in the future from a technological point of view and how these things will affect our health.

I am a little concerned that this is the only reference made to research. It tends to imply that we would be looking at diseases.

Paragraph (d) states that the health department will establish and control the safety standards and safety information requirements for consumer products and safety information requirements for the products intended for use in the workplace. That is a program called WHIMS, which is being carried out by the provincial governments. The federal role in that now tends to deal with a problem within a company in which they feel the giving out of that information on their product may violate the marketing aspects of their product, put them in jeopardy of being duplicated or whatever. I would suggest that the federal government's role in WHIMS is minimal now that it has actually been established and implemented.

Paragraph (e) refers to the protection of public health on railways, ships, aircraft and other methods of transportation. Here is a situation I made reference to earlier. The health department is in a position of not having necessarily authority in these areas but having to collaborate with other ministries. I suggest that this will weaken the leadership of this department.

Paragraph (f) moves into the promotion and preservation of health in public servants and other employees. That stands on its own. The health department definitely is a major player there.

Then we move into an environmental type of clause, international, dealing with the United States and others. Now we have another situation in which I am suggesting health is again in collaboration with another department, in this case environment, which means that there has to be a meeting of minds between the two departments for leadership to evolve in whatever situation has to be there.

Paragraph (h) refers to the Statistics Act and the collection, analysis, interpretation, publication, and distribution of information relating to public health. I would like to say that this aspect is being well done and has been well done in the past. We have had experience in our past in which people have been able to get information about specific things. Having worked in the health care field before, I know that if one put the effort into obtaining information one certainly could get it. I suggest that the various departments in Health Canada, the bureaucratic component, have been the major bonus in this aspect of things.

We are gathering information and correlating it and then disseminating it to the people. I have dealt with the health programs and services branch with Kay Stanley, specifically in relation to cardiac situations. I must say it has been excellent.

Two positive mandates of the health department have come up in my dialogue so far. One is the education and correlation of information and the other is public servants' health care.

The last item is the co-operation with provincial authorities with a view to the co-ordination of efforts made or proposals for preserving and improving public health. My interpretation of that is it is the one which addresses medicare or health insurance. Again, the role has been delegated to the provinces to provide the service. The federal role is the Canada Health Act and the five principles thereof which ensure that the provinces meet those five standards.

Through the amalgamation of departments we have weakened our health department with respect to giving it the necessary authority to address a great number of issues. Many other aspects of the health department, other than the health insurance aspect which has been transferred to the provinces, are tied up with other departments. One really does not know who has jurisdiction.

Being the critic for aboriginal concerns I have seen many studies. We just heard a member speak about programs. There are numerous studies, such as the EAGLE study which is being done in collaboration with the environment department. There is a drinking water study in progress on which the department of health is collaborating with the department of Indian affairs. As a matter of fact, with respect to the drinking water project, I believe an education program has been established.

All of these things are necessary. There is a great concern regarding the health of our aboriginal people which we should be addressing. We know that breast cancer is another problem which we should be addressing. There are many problems which need to be identified and addressed.

The authority to address these health problems within other jurisdictions, for example, aboriginal people falling under the department of Indian affairs, tends to weaken the authority of the health department. We can get caught up with money, priorities or other things. My point is that I think it is a weakness.

There is an abundance of money in the health care budget. There is a tendency to think of that money in relation to the health care insurance plan. We hear all kinds of dialogue about withholding transfers to the provinces and cutbacks in services. I realize there is a formula which is based on a dollar amount per head.

I might suggest that when we start looking at all of the areas in which health is involved, such as the studies and the various programs in collaboration with other ministries, possibly some of that money might be better used on the other side of the health department which is health insurance and medicare. I realize that entails changing the formula.

The moneys available in health care for health insurance-and I do not know what the percentages would be on that through the whole budget-should be revisited in relation to all the other things the health department should or could be doing with the dollars it has but has allocated elsewhere into studies and various individual programs.

Returning to the reference I made earlier that this bill is creating the health department, this department has been functioning for two years. It may support my argument that the department has been weakened. I hope there is a little more activity coming from the health department. We have had no legislation to date other than this bill. Bill C-7 was referred to the health committee but it was not introduced by the health department to this House.

We had the tobacco situation early last year which again had a negative effect on the health situation. We have had the blood tainting and HIV-AIDS situations. We have had the comments about the transfer payments to the provinces in the west. We have had TB in the women's prisons and also the assisted suicide issue arise. There was not really any leadership from the health department. The medical profession actually expressed the pros and cons and the ethics of this and the other House undertook the study on palliative care issues.

I have concerns. We are not just dealing with a name change. I have concerns about the role of the government. I have great concerns that it is being diffused.

I have had some discussions with the Canadian Nurses Association. The association expressed the concern that with the removal of welfare the department would be restricted in its ability to address the whole human being which is important. The approach of health care workers in Canada has changed from an illness approach to a wellness approach where they must look at the whole body. There are concerns from the Canadian Nurses Association on that.

The association is also concerned that the national standards coming from the department relate specifically, from what we have heard so far, to the Canada Health Act and the five principles which relate to the health insurance program.

Those are some of my concerns. I will certainly be supporting this bill when the vote comes. I am concerned that it is being diffused. The team leader, the Prime Minister, calls the shots when

it comes to setting up the ministries. I do have concerns that this department has been extremely weakened.