House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was aboriginal.

Last in Parliament November 2010, as Conservative MP for Calgary Centre-North (Alberta)

Won his last election, in 2008, with 57% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Parliament of Canada Act December 8th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the provincial judges in Alberta did proceed to court. Although, I think the eventual decision of the courts in that case was subsumed within the P.E.I. reference decision of the appellate court eventually and then eventually of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The only comment I would make on a lesson learned is, as my hon. friend has said, we have to be careful about the constitutional relationship of the distribution of powers and the balance of powers between this hon. House and the judiciary. The Supreme Court decision sets out the way in which to deal with that and the way to achieve an independent setting of the salaries of judges in the country. However, it does not mandate or require that excessive salary increases be approved or that we adopt a system which results in increases which are a departure from what other Canadians are receiving.

Parliament of Canada Act December 8th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my learned friend for his compliment about the coherency of my presentation. I appreciate that.

The question which he asks is a difficult one. The government House leader has spoken about this and about the government House leader's position with respect to judge's salaries. I have followed suit with similar comments.

The hon. member is correct, I did practise law in this country for some 22 years, and I hold the judiciary in our country in the highest of regard. I have also read the Prince Edward Island reference case, as it is called, which deals with this issue and the entire question of judicial independence in the setting of judicial salaries.

I think it will depend very much on the legislation which the government brings forward on this matter. Today, I agree that the de-linkage of judges' salaries and parliamentary salaries is a very good thing. It is a step forward. Clearly, the government will have to be careful about the judicial authorities on point.

I would point out, based on the judicial compensation and benefits commission work which has been done today, that judges are being paid extraordinarily well compared to members of the legal profession who are in private practice. This is something upon which I think most members of the legal profession would agree. We do not wish to trench upon a constitutional issue in dealing with judges' salaries, but judges should be compensated fairly but not excessively.

Parliament of Canada Act December 8th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in support of Bill C-30. In doing so, I support our House leader and the comments which he has just made. He has been good enough to share his time with me and I thank him. I also speak in support of the position of the leader of our party who has spoken adamantly against this 10% salary increase.

I have listened very carefully to the government House leader, as he spoke in relation to Bill C-30. It would seem to me that we are in agreement as to what needs to be done. I would add that it seems as though the government has been forced on this issue by the other parties in the House of Commons and by editorial comment in the media of this country to eventually adopt this position.

As a new member of Parliament I struggled to understand this issue. I examined some of the previous commissions which have studied this issue in the context of our parliamentary history in the last 25 years. I speak of the Hales commission of 1979, the Lapointe Commission of 1994, and the Blais commission of 1998.

These commissions all seem to eventually seize upon five principles by which the remuneration of MPs should be judged. I would like to reference these in my opening comments.

First, it is important, since Parliament is such a valuable institution in this country, that we elect and retain competent and qualified people, and that good pay is essential to do that.

Second, MPs should not be expected to cover the expenses which they incur as a result of their lives as an MP out of their own pocket.

Third, and this is very important, MPs should not become wealthy or profit excessively as a result of their public service, nor should they see pay increases when other Canadians are suffering from financial hardship or not experiencing similar pay increases.

Fourth, MPs should not vote for their own pay increases since this constitutes a conflict of interest.

Finally, regardless of any determination of what constitutes fair compensation for the value of the work that they do, MP remuneration must be consistent with public expectations. Public expectations may in fact require MPs to be paid less than an amount which is properly what they should receive.

Public service is a choice. No one is forced to seek elected office and all of us in the House have done so willingly.

I will now turn to the legislation and judge it against those principles. Although the legislation is reasonably complicated, Canadians need to understand that this is essentially how it works.

In clause 55.1 of the bill, the salary of members of the House of Commons is set at $141,200 plus an annual amount that will be added to that in each year thereafter.

Canadians need to understand the way in which that will work is set forth in clause 67.1 of the bill which defines an index. Essentially, parliamentarians will now receive the same salary which they have received in the previous year plus an increase which is calculated with respect to the cost of living. The actual formula is indexed to the bargaining units of 500 or more employees in the private sector. MP salary increases will be commensurate with other Canadians.

In terms of whether MPs are to receive a pay increase at this time or not, it is worth noting, as the government House leader has pointed out, that the effect of this formula applied today, parliamentarians will receive a salary increase of only $200 in the coming year. That is a very important point to make in this debate.

With respect to the principles of which I have spoken, that MPs should not become wealthy or profit excessively, it is the position of our party and has been the position of our party that the 10% salary increase which was to be proposed by the commission, and which I gather was leaked publicly, was outrageous and unnecessary. It was excessive. Our party has not supported it. Our leader has not supported it. I do not support it.

We have been opposed to the 10% salary increase from the very outset. I am proud to say that it is our leader who was the very first person to say so publicly. I would note in that respect that a salary of $141,000 effectively places members of Parliament in the top 2% of Canadians in terms of what they earn. That should be sufficient. We do not need salary increases beyond that.

In recognizing the public policy discussion that has led to this conclusion, not only did our party reach this conclusion but respected commentators such as the Calgary Herald in this country on March 3, 2004, spoke eloquently about this in an editorial. It pointed out that the approach which the government had been following, the commission approach, was not working and that any approach which would result in a 10% salary increase was clearly flawed. I recognize the leadership that many people in this country have taken, including the Calgary Herald , in speaking on this issue.

To that I would add that the second principle of relevance in this is the delinkage from the salaries of judges. As has been said earlier today, I understand that the whole issue of the Judges Act and the salary increases to which judges are entitled will be brought before the House in a separate debate at a separate time.

As the our House leader has said, there will be very close scrutiny at that time of the proposed increases for judges because they are being paid very well in our society at this point in time. Further increases along the lines of what has been indicated, 11% over 4 years plus cost of living increases on top of that in addition to the salaries they receive, are not warranted at this time. This is not good policy. It is our hope that the House will not proceed in that direction at that time.

The approach which is contained in this legislation has in fact been applied with success elsewhere in Canada. I speak in terms of my own province of Alberta. In Alberta, since 1999, the annual pay raises for members of the legislative assembly have been tied to percentage increases, or for that matter decreases, in the average weekly earnings for Albertans in the prior year depending on Statistics Canada information. That pay hike amounted to a modest increase in 2002 of 2.81%; in 2003, 2.25%; and in 2004, 1.36%.

This has resulted in a system in Alberta where members of the legislative assembly have been able to secure wage and salary increases which are fair and commensurate with inflation and cost of living increases, but which are not excessive along the lines of the 10% which was being proposed by the commission in this Parliament at some time earlier this year. This is a system which can work. It is a system which has worked elsewhere in this country, and it is a system which we support.

This brings me to the third principle of which I spoke, namely, conflict of interest and the process by which MP salaries are set. MPs should not be voting for their own salary increases or decreases, for that matter. It is a demeaning process. It is demeaning to the House and to the fine men and women who serve here with the best of intentions. I do not believe anyone comes to the House of Commons for the money. To have MPs voting on their own compensation year after year is not a wise process and does not advance democracy in this country.

One of the real benefits of what is being proposed in this legislation is the indexing. We will take care of that and it will not be necessary to have this debate on an annual basis. For these reasons, I support Bill C-30. I am against the 10% pay increase which otherwise would have fallen.

Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Act December 6th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I also found the memorandum to cabinet entitled, A Framework for the Implementation of the Inherent Right and Negotiation of Self-Government, dated May 11, 1995, to be a very illuminating document. I should also point out that it was presented to cabinet by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Developed, the Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-status Indians and the Minister of Justice.

In terms of why this document has not been followed, it seems to me that there has been an absence of vision on the part of the government in the negotiation of this agreement. It is a complicated agreement. No one disagrees with that. It is a precedent setting agreement. However, if ever there was a time for the Government of Canada to have had, through its executive branch, a vision of where they are taking Canada in this difficult area, this was the time.

We have not seen that. We will not see public government institutions in the north. Instead, we have an agreement which, I suggest, in the long term will make parts of the Canadian government system unworkable.

Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Act December 6th, 2004

Madam Speaker, I want to say at the outset that I have great respect for my colleague. He has considerable experience and is well respected in this House.

The concern our party has raised with respect to the Tlicho agreement and the Tlicho legislation is not directed at the Tlicho people. The Tlicho people have been doing what any other group or any other first nation would do. They have been trying to negotiate the best deal possible for them.

The concerns we have raised concern the failure of the Government of Canada to invent institutions and make government arrangements that protect and advance the interests of Canada. That is the government's responsibility, not the responsibility of the Tlicho people at the negotiating table. It should be the responsibility of the Government of Canada through the executive branch to advance the interests of the government.

Specifically, in response to my learned colleague's comments, this entire debate about public government versus racially based self-government, these are not just concerns of the Conservative Party of Canada. These find their expression in the executive approval under which these negotiations were started in 1995.

What the cabinet was told and agreed with at that time was that because of the demographic mix in the Northwest Territories, like Nunavut, it was possible, if it were done correctly, to create public government institutions that would advance the interests of all Canadians without regard to race.

I fear that where we are headed with all of this is to a system where Canadian citizens have different status depending upon whether they are Caucasian or a Métis citizen on the one hand, or a registered Indian citizen in the north on the other.

That is not the framework upon which our success as a country has been founded. That is clearly where this agreement is taking us. Mark my words, this will prove in time to have been in error.

Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Act December 6th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-14, the Tlicho land claims and self-government act.

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I would like at the outset to join my colleagues in welcoming the Tlicho dignitaries to the House today. This is indeed a strong community, one with strong leadership. The Tlicho elders, their negotiators and council members under the leadership of Grand Chief Rabesca deserve our recognition today.

The questions which our party has spoken to with respect to this agreement concern themselves less with the future direction of the Tlicho people and more with the failure on the part of the Government of Canada to achieve with this treaty something which will be endurable and in the best interests of Canada.

I intend to place on the record particular concerns which we have, having recently come into possession of a copy of the cabinet framework within which this very agreement was negotiated. It is quite evident that the agreement as negotiated does not accord with the directions and approvals that were given by cabinet to the negotiators.

I intend to place some of that on the record in the course of my comments today. Members will see that in a number of very important respects, specifically the issues that our party has raised in the House of Commons previously, the cabinet which authorized the conduct of these negotiations was itself concerned about these very issues.

I think everyone is aware that I have had a lengthy history in this country as an outspoken advocate on fairness in the resolution of claims, both as a negotiator on the Sturgeon Lake tripartite settlement and also as a commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission where I served for some 10 years and assisted as a co-chair of that commission.

I have felt throughout that time that it is in Canada's best interests to resolve comprehensive claims and to achieve certainty through the negotiation of self-government agreements. I have also, however, for nearly 20 years been very outspoken about the need to resolve these issues and claims in a way that is in the best interests of Canada, and which ensures that Canada's international sovereignty is protected, and that our Constitution and charter are respected and that we have workable systems of government. Those are the very concerns which we have raised in the House and which I will speak to today.

Ultimately, we anticipate that the Tlicho legislation will clear Parliament because the Liberals, NDP and Bloc Québécois are supportive of this legislation. Our party is the only party that has spoken in terms of the long term governability of this country and concerns that we have with the agreement.

It warrants emphasis that this may be the most significant Indian treaty negotiated in the past 100 years. It is the first modern treaty which combines both a comprehensive claim settlement and a self-government agreement. It will create a Tlicho government in the Northwest Territories. That government will have greater jurisdiction than a municipality. It will have greater jurisdiction than a province.

The lands now owned by the Tlicho under this agreement, assuming it is approved by the House, will be the largest aboriginal land holding in North America, consisting of lands approximately half the size of New Brunswick. The Tlicho people will receive approximately $150 million. The agreement also will define a precedent for negotiations with the other Dene first nations in the Northwest Territories, specifically the Sahtu, the Gwich'in, the Akaitcho, the Deh Cho and the Inuvialuit.

The Conservative Party's opposition to the Tlicho legislation, as I say, relates not to our concerns about the Tlicho themselves, but rather to Canada's failure in the negotiating process to protect Canada's best interests on these four points: first, incursions upon Canada's sovereignty and external relations; second, concerns regarding the failure to achieve public government in the Northwest Territories; third, the absence of finality; and fourth, jurisdictional overlap and confusion.

We have consistently voiced our concerns in a principled way, but last week I came into possession of a supporting document from an unexpected source, the 1995 cabinet approval which authorized the Tlicho negotiations. This document warrants emphasis because it speaks to the very concerns which the Conservative Party has raised about this agreement.

Let me first address the matter of Canadian sovereignty. The 1995 cabinet document, which authorized the commencement of the Tlicho negotiations and other inherent self-government negotiations, could not possibly be clearer. Item number 14, on matters not for negotiation, states that there are a number of subject matters that the federal government is not prepared to negotiate with aboriginal groups in the context of implementing the inherent right of self-government. These subject matters fall into two categories: first, powers relating to Canadian sovereignty, defence and external relations; and second, other national interest powers. It states that In these areas exclusive jurisdiction must remain with the federal government.

Moreover, it states that there are no compelling reasons for aboriginal governments of institutions to exercise powers in these areas which cannot be characterized as either integral to aboriginal culture or internal to aboriginal groups. Subject matters in this category would include international diplomatic relations and foreign policy.

This is a remarkable document. We have the very cabinet approval which initiated the negotiation of this agreement. It is a substantial document, 60 to 70 pages in length, well thought out and well crafted. It recommended that Canada not compromise its external relations or its international sovereignty in any way in any of these negotiations.

One thing is perfectly clear about this agreement; and that is, in item 7.13, Canada has negotiated very specifically with respect to international legal obligations. Included in the agreement is item 7.13.2, which has been spoken to earlier. It states:

Prior to consenting to be bound by an international treaty that may affect a right of the Tlicho Government, the Tlicho First Nation or a Tlicho Citizen, flowing from the Agreement, the Government of Canada shall provide an opportunity for the Tlicho Government to make its views known with respect to the international treaty either separately or through a forum.

The minister has spoken publicly about this provision. My understanding of what he has said is not to worry about the provision because in effect Canada can do what it wants anyway. That is very interesting. However, that is not what the agreement says. Moreover, the agreement contains an arbitration provision.

If Canada can do whatever it wants at the end of the day, why does this complicated agreement entrench in the Canadian Constitution an arbitration provision that governs the relationship between the Tlicho people and the Government of Canada in respect of international matters?

Clearly what has happened is that the executive branch of the government has failed to adhere to the very terms of reference under which these negotiations were authorized, and it leads to undeniable questions. Will these benefits be extended to other aboriginal groups with which self-government negotiations are undertaken? It is worth recognizing that there will be self-government tables in 631 other situation. Are all these other communities to be accorded the same right? Are other Canadians to be accorded the same right? Will this country be governable in terms of its foreign relations and external relations and its international sovereignty in 100 years if this pattern is replicated? That is the first issue that this agreement raises.

The second matter which I wish to address relates to the very difficult question of public governance. Once again, the cabinet approval of 1995 is remarkable in its clarity. It states that in the federal government's view, the creation of separate aboriginal governments in the Northwest Territories is neither practical nor feasible, although the creation of an aboriginal institutional capacity to exercise certain authorities or govern its participation in public government may be negotiated. However, the primary approach should focus on providing aboriginal people with specific guarantees within public government institutions.

What the cabinet recommended and approved in 1995 was that the negotiations in the Northwest Territories should be conducted on the same basis as Nunavut. In Nunavut we have a public government. The different between a public government and what we have here is the difference between a government in which all citizens have the right to participate and have equal democratic status, on the one hand being a public government and a situation in which governance is based upon race and upon registration.

What happened in 1995 is the cabinet said not to go there, because the consequences were clear. We will not now have public government in the Northwest Territories in the way that cabinet recommended in 1995. Instead we will have a series of racially based states up the Mackenzie Valley in which the democratic status of individual Canadians depends upon their categorization under the Indian Act.

It is not only the Conservative Party that has recommended against this, it is the cabinet of the government in 1995 that said not to get into this kind of arrangement.

In other words, in the future in the Northwest Territories, as the government sees it, Canadian citizens will not enjoy the same democratic rights, depending upon whether they are an aboriginal person or a non-aboriginal person. In fact, an aboriginal person, such as a Métis, will not have the same democratic position as a citizen who is an Indian registered under the Indian Act.

The Tlicho government is exactly the kind of aboriginal government that the cabinet recommended against in 1995 and the difference is profound, as one can see in comparing what will happen in the Northwest Territories to what has happened in Nunavut.

Last week in the National Post the minister published a letter to the editor addressing this issue. He put forward the most remarkable proposition which I have heard in some time. He said that we should not worry about this issue because 90% of the people who comprised the local population were registered Indian citizens anyway”. That is a remarkable proposition. If that is the policy of the government with respect to democratic franchise and the advancement of the rights of Canadian citizens under the charter, then Canadians need to know. It is an incredible proposition. If it applied in this country reciprocally, we will have the sort of country in which I do not believe Canadians are interested.

All this gives rise to important charter issues. The government states that the charter applies to all Canadians and it applies to the Tlicho. Unfortunately, that response is superficial and it does not reflect a close analysis of the documents which are being approved by the House of Commons.

It ignores, firstly, the possible ramifications of section 25 of the Constitution which specifically says that the provisions of the charter do not apply to aboriginal self-government and to aboriginal Canadians in the same way that they apply to other citizens. There are differences. It also ignores the Tlicho people's own constitution, which has been created under this legislative framework, that establishes two official languages, for example, neither of which is the French language.

Most interestingly, if one examines the Tlicho constitution, one will see that decisions of the Tlicho government are not open to question or challenge in any judicial form. If the Canadian Charter does apply, that is a very remarkable application which has no other parallels in Canada of which I am aware. It is a prohibitive clause that says that government decisions cannot be taken to court.

That is what we are creating with this legislative framework. In response the government says that on a superficial basis the charter is respected because all Canadians live under the charter. The government is not looking specifically at what it is doing in this document.

The next matter in respect of which our party has spoken is the whole question of finality. I have said that the Tlicho people and the Tlicho negotiators deserve our admiration. They are credible people. They are conscientious. They have done a remarkable job in their negotiations. They have achieved a comprehensive claims settlement which is generous, and we make no criticism of the generosity of it. However, it is decidedly less final than other modern settlements. It can be, for example, compared with the Nisga'a treaty.

The Nisga'a agreement is a fair comparison because it was negotiated several years ago. The Nisga'a people signed off on their rights and entitlements under section 35 of the Constitution. They executed releases and indemnities. They ceded and surrendered their wider aboriginal title. They agreed after a transitional period to be subject to Canada income taxation.

None of those matters form part of the Tlicho agreement. One should examine other agreements such as the Labrador Inuit comprehensive claim settlement, which will be before the House after Christmas. It is an agreement that provides finality and certainty. Why does this one not? That is the question which we have raised in the House of Commons and at committee, and in respect of which we have not received an answer. There is in addition the clause contained in the agreement which allows matters of tax power, tax exemption, royalties and the like to be opened up in the future as well.

The fourth issue is the question of constitutional workability. No one need take my word on this. They need only refer to the independent examiner retained by the federal government who published the smart regulation report. This is a report of which the government is proud and of which it speaks often.

The smart regulation report says that the Northwest Territories at this point in terms of regulation is a spiderweb of complexity that it is essentially stands to threaten the Mackenzie Valley pipeline because there is a myriad of governments and legislation, federal, territorial, and aboriginal, and a myriad of boards and agencies. In that case it is will take the proponents of the pipeline over 2,000 approvals to build the Mackenzie Valley pipeline.

Now this agreement does absolutely nothing to simplify or clarify the complexity which the government has made out of the Northwest Territories. In fact, it adopts a model of federal aboriginal concurrence with Tlicho paramountcy, which will make the situation even more confusing. The provisions of this agreement are extraordinarily complex. They are sometimes inconsistent and they are extremely ambiguous in terms of the paramountcy provisions.

What is most concerning is we are taking a 208 page legal document and incorporating it into the Canadian Constitution as a treaty. The entire Canadian Constitution is only 50 pages in length. We are adopting a 208 page document, constitutionally entrenching it and doing it in a way that the Parliament of Canada can never amend it because it becomes a section 35 constitutionally entrenched document.

Other jurisdictions, such as British Columbia, have wisely said that this is not a prudent strategy. The point that I will make again is the 1995 cabinet approval says “don't do this” because we will be effectively be incorporating all the nuts and bolts of government into a constitutional document that cannot be amended.

Those are the reasons that our party has spoken against the agreement and the legislation. It is an important agreement and a precedent setting agreement for which we have grave concerns.

Oil and Gas Industry November 30th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, the government's refusal to act on northern deregulation threatens the Mackenzie Valley pipeline.

The current scheme in the north has been called both complex and unpredictable. As a result, confusing regulations imperil the pipeline along with progress for aboriginals and the environment.

In September the government's own smart regulation adviser lambasted the government. The regulatory framework in the north is broken. That is the fault of the government.

Why is the government threatening the Mackenzie Valley pipeline and the health of the environment by refusing to respond?

Ukraine November 24th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, Ukraine is on the verge of a revolution this evening. It is important that we, as Canadians, stand in support of democracy and in opposition to tyranny and the repression of the free will of the Ukrainian people.

The relationship between Canada and Ukraine is a close one and an historic one. Several members this evening have spoken to this. The hon. member for Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre has spoken eloquently of that relationship, as has the hon. member for Provencher.

Let us not forget at the outset that Ukrainian Canadians have contributed enormously to the construction of this country. Ukrainian Canadians have been important to Canada, not only in terms of their absolute numbers, but also in the immense contribution they have made to the cultural, economic and social fabric of Canada. In many respects they have helped define this country into what it is today.

This, then, is not a dispute in a far off land which is unrelated to us as Canadians. It is very much our dispute for we stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people tonight in this emergency debate. Their fight is our fight and I am proud this evening to stand as the member of Parliament for Calgary Centre-North to speak on behalf of the constituents in my riding.

The situation appears to worsen in Ukraine by the hour. The recent news reports from the New York Times , and other newswire services only hours ago, note that the anointed Kuchma, the outgoing president of the Ukraine, has now certified the election of Viktor Yanukovich. He has done so in the face of massive public unrest, to which many hon. members from both sides of the House have spoken this evening, and he has done so in the face of opposition from western democracies.

The White House, for instance, had publicly called for Mr. Kuchma to refrain from certifying the election, which he has done, and he has done so in the face of the opposition of Viktor Yushchenko, who some have described as a pro-western liberal who was left on the streets of Kiev with somewhere in excess of 500,000 citizens of his country.

The condemnation from the world community at this point in response to the certification has been very clear. Colin Powell, the United States secretary of state, is quoted as saying:

We cannot accept this result as legitimate because it does not meet international standards and because there has not been an investigation of the numerous and credible reports of fraud and abuse.

The foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, Jack Straw, is quoted as saying:

As far as we can see, EU monitors can see, these elections have been flawed. We will continue to take a very close interest indeed in the process and we will certainly not accept this as the final result, at least until all the legal processes and challenges are through.

Yesterday I was proud to hear our own Prime Minister's say “...we feel that an investigation has to take place to determine what the facts are.

Earlier today we heard the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada state that Canada had rejected the results of the Ukrainian election, called it serious and significant electoral fraud and warned that Canadian relations with Ukraine could be cut off if authorities there did not produce non-fraudulent election results.

As we look at the situation in Ukraine, the first question that we must ask ourselves is: What is the evidence of persistent electoral fraud? What is the evidence of fraud, intimidation and detriment in the electoral process, because it is a significant step for us as Canadians to intercede in the democratic process in another country?

First, it is worth noting that all international monitors, including those with the Canadian teams, have substantiated the electoral fraud that has taken place.

I have also listened intently during this debate as other members of this honourable House have documented their own observations and personal experiences. We have as well the record of the personal observations of a member of our own caucus who has personally observed ballot fraud.

Essentially, when the evidence is considered it appears to go this far. There are documented incidents of intimidation in the polls. The Washington Post has recounted how thugs have been mobilized to harass voters. In the Sumy region, members of the electoral commission were attacked and beaten by thugs. In the Chertovy region at a single polling site, an inspector was in fact murdered.

There have also been incidents of double-counting, documented by observers. As well, there have been documented incidents of faulty voter lists that have disenfranchised certain citizens in Ukraine. There have been documented incidents of government resources being dedicated to candidates considered to be favourable to the state, and there are recorded incidents of the use of absentee ballot boxes in a fraudulent manner.

Equally disturbing, there has been criminal disruption of voting stations and destruction of ballot boxes by fire, by acid and by destruction with baseball bats, and there has been an abuse of the mobile ballot box system, which has been documented by other observers.

There has been state control of the media through the election process. It seems that there can be no doubt at this point that in the final analysis the election results were falsified, and indeed blatantly falsified, and that in fact there has been computer manipulation of the vote count itself.

Finally, in terms of the documentation of the incidents of electoral fraud and intimidation, in several provinces there have been observed incidents of mobile buses of voters who have been moved from one polling station to another. All of this in the interests of procuring an electoral outcome secured by fraud. Senator Richard Luger of the United States senate, the chair of the senate foreign relations committee, described this as a concerted and forceful program of election day fraud and abuse.

The condemnation of this has been universal. Leading officials in Europe have criticized and announced the results as fraudulent. I point out first that in respect of the European Union the new president of the European Commission has warned Ukraine of unspecified consequences unless a serious and objective review of this electoral fraud is undertaken. Also, Poland has called for a recount of the electoral results.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has concluded that massive electoral fraud took place. The chancellor of Germany has himself spoken to the German parliament and endorsed this position. As I noted, the United States secretary of state has called upon the Ukrainian government to act immediately and responsibly, indicating that there will be consequences if it does not.

In the face of all of this, and I have not recounted a second time the position of our Government of Canada, there has really been only one voice which has been supportive of this fraudulent election and that has been the voice of President Putin of Russia, who has called the election open and honest. President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, whom some describe as the last dictator in Europe, has said quite straightforwardly that the Belarusians do not want western values imposed upon them.

The condemnation, then, has been universal. Canada has been part of that. Our own country has rejected the results of the Ukrainian election and we have termed those results “serious and significant electoral fraud”.

What, then, is to be done in these circumstances? Clearly we must stand up for freedom and democracy. All Canadians, our Prime Minister, our government and members of this House must stand up in unison. I am proud tonight to be a member of the House of Commons and to be speaking in concert with members from other parties in the House of Commons on this issue in respect of which we seem to agree for the most part.

It is worth reflecting that 1946 was the year in which Winston Churchill gave his celebrated speech describing the Iron Curtain, the Iron Curtain which had descended across Europe. That year, 1946, really marked the onset of the cold war.

We must be cautious to ensure that a new Iron Curtain does not descend across the European continent at this point. We must not be silent. We must not be complicit through our silence. We must stand up and be counted in support of the citizens of the Ukraine.

There is every prospect that there will be a new barrier in Europe dividing the continent along the eastern Polish border, to the west consisting of the democracies of western and central Europe as stable members of the European Union and NATO and contributing members of western democratic forces. To the east, Russia, which attempts to manage the democracies of the former U.S.S.R. with allegations of constrained and state-controlled media, manipulated elections and oligopolistic economies marked by corruption.

At issue in this election and in the days ahead is the place of Ukraine in the future and the right of the Ukrainian people to define their own future as we move forward.

On the one hand, there is a presidential candidate who has been described as a democratic reformer seeking to reform the political and economic structure of Ukrainian society, eager over the course of the campaign to break the power of the state.

On the other hand, there is a campaign which really is part of what is taking place in Belarus, in Ukraine and in Kazakhstan, because these have not been isolated occurrences of electoral manipulation. There have been three such situations within the Russian sphere of influence over the last several years, not only in Ukraine but also in the separate province of Abkhazia and thirdly in the state of Belarus.

Therefore, this is a situation that has connotations and implications which go well beyond the Ukraine itself and really deal with the onset of a new regime in the world, the amassing of a new world order of which we are not supportive.

There is, however, hope, because freedom will not be constrained. In the modern world of telecommunications and instantaneous communication, the idea of freedom cannot be constrained. Freedom and democracy once unfurled are not easily cabined.

The position of the House and the voices of all members of the House will resonate across the Atlantic. They will resonate in the Ukraine tonight and tomorrow and in the days after. As elected houses of parliament, as the representatives of western democracies across the world, we must stand up in unison to support the Ukrainian people.

As Mr. Yushchenko said in Independence Square yesterday, I believe, “A wall had been torn down. It was the wall between dictatorship and democracy”. In the days ahead, the issue will be whether that wall is resurrected or whether the wall is broken down and the Ukrainian people are able to embrace the benefits of western democracy and the freedom that will bring in terms of their marketplace and their society.

In all of this Canadians must stand for democracy. It is best that this issue not be resolved on the streets of Kiev in a violent way. As Canadians, we must speak loudly to that effect. As Canadians we have distinguished ourselves with faith in international law, in the power of diplomacy, in the strength of the United Nations and in the importance of multilateralism. These are values which we have taken to the world stage and values which we will continue to endorse as a nation.

We must bring to the table and bring to bear those very thoughts and those very values at this very difficult time in the Ukraine. We must stand for democracy. We must reject as undemocratic the certification of this election.

Every observer who has examined this election or has observed or has been involved in it has decried the fraud by which the electoral result was procured. It is an undemocratic result and it is a result which is unworthy of certification by the president of the Ukrainian state.

We must press for a new election, one with proper independent monitoring. We must stand with the Ukrainian people. They must know that we share their resolve and determination to ensure that there is a new election and that it is an election which is conducted in a democratic manner, in which the world community participates and ensures that there is compliance with democratic norms and values.

We must ensure that this happens. That must be our position. We must have resolve as we go forward to ensure that this is the result. This is something in respect of which we need to be steadfast and in which we need to be cautious, because we must ensure that the situation does not deteriorate further into bloodshed and anarchy on the streets of Kiev.

Once again let me say that I am proud to be a member of the House of Commons at this time. I am proud to participate in this emergency debate and, like the other Canadians here tonight, I am proud to stand in favour of the Ukrainian people, in favour of democracy and in favour of freedom.

Indian Affairs and Northern Development November 24th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Auditor General again reported discrepancies between the information provided by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to the Treasury Board. The auditor reported that the department lacked procedures to ensure accountability of proper spending contrary to what it told Treasury Board.

The report also criticized the department for not providing Parliament with the complete picture on $1.4 billion of expenditures on aboriginal education programs.

Why has the department misled Treasury Board? Why has the department not been forthright with Parliament and when will the minister come clean?

First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act November 19th, 2004

Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today, as the critic for my party with respect to aboriginal matters, to speak to Bill C-20, a bill described as the First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management bill.

I am pleased to indicate to the House that I am speaking in favour of the legislation.

Earlier this week, one of Canada's national newspapers published an opinion piece prepared by Mr. Phil Fontaine, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. While I do not agree with everything that my friend and colleague Grand Chief Fontaine said in the article, there are a number of matters upon which he and I agree which he has stated and which all Canadians should consider.

Canada is a modern federal democracy in which all citizens must bear equally the responsibilities and the privileges of citizenship. Aboriginal Canadians are entitled, indeed expected, to share in the governance of Canada.

If aboriginal Canadians are to be equal citizens, also bearing the hopes and dreams of this country upon their shoulders, then they must bear equally the responsibilities of governing this land and, concurrently, they must enjoy the full benefits of Canadian citizenship, including the protection of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As Chief Fontaine has observed, aboriginal people will only be self-sufficient and free and able to rely upon themselves, if they are free and able to make their own choices. For reliance upon the choices that others make for any of us, is a denial of the status of citizenship.

Over the past many years in Canada, the meaning and the scope and content of aboriginal self-government has been much debated. The debate has for the most part been a civil one, even as it has been marked by a decided lack of consensus on many fundamental matters. However, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians need be reminded that although we may not always agree upon the scope and content of governance rights, virtually all Canadians share a desire to see aboriginal Canadians as equal partners in this marvellous country.

The Indian Act is both archaic and anachronistic. Frankly, it has no place in the Canada of tomorrow. It has not yet been replaced by a modern legislative framework only because we have struggled as a nation in our attempts to define a replacement.

The issues to be sure are complex, involving questions which strike to the heart of our polity, issues pertaining to the application of the charter, the distribution of government jurisdiction within our federal system, the incidence of citizenship, the correlative rights and expectations, which we demand of one another as fellow citizens, and the distribution of resources. These would be difficult questions among citizens who share common values and histories and origins. They are all the more difficult when one factors in the rich and diverse mosaic of Canada's aboriginal people; Inuit, Métis and over 600 distinct Indian first nations.

As Grand Chief Fontaine observed this week, people need control over their own lives and the chance to reap the benefits of their own labours. They do not flourish when denied the right to decide for themselves how they will live.

In this respect, Grand Chief Fontaine's comments echo those that one would find, for example, of the economist and philosopher F.A. Hayek in The Road to Serfdom . I have long held the view that the modern struggle of Canada's aboriginal people has been less a struggle with other Canadians than it has been a struggle against the collectivist tyranny of the Indian Act.

My position in respect of self-government and that of our party is clear. The Indian Act and related legislation must be replaced by a modern legislative framework which provides for the devolution of full legal and democratic responsibility to aboriginal Canadians for their own affairs within the overall constitutional framework of our federal state. Such legislative reform should be pursued following full consultation with first nations, with the objective of achieving a full and complete devolution of democratic authority that is consistent with the devolution of other decision making responsibility within our federal state.

Aboriginal Canadians, like other Canadians, are entitled to enjoy democratic control over their own affairs within a legislative context that ensures certainty, stability, respect for the rule of law and which balances individual and collective responsibility.

Aboriginal communities must have the flexibility to determine for themselves whether and how free market principles, including individual property ownership, should apply on reserves. This devolution should be accomplished in a manner which takes into account the cultural and linguistic diversity of Canada's first nations. Within the context of the Canadian Constitution, we should be prepared to make flexible accommodations for the protection of language and culture within self-government agreements.

I return then to the legislation before the House. It must be noted at the outset that this legislation originates not with the government, but rather with a group of visionary aboriginal Canadians who have fought for their vision of self-government and who have persisted in the face of considerable difficulty.

I make reference today to Manny Jules of the Kamloops First Nation, Chief Strater Crowfoot of the Siksika First Nation, Chief Tom Bresette of the Kettle and Stoney Point First Nation, Deanna Hamilton of the Westbank First Nation, and Harold Calla of the Squamish First Nation.

These men and women and the extraordinary team of people who have worked with them are fighting to ensure that their first nation communities have access to practical levers of self-government. Their vision is one of economic progress, of prosperity, of infrastructure development, of economic development, economic opportunity and social progress. The self-government which they fight for is predicated upon the hard work associated with citizenship: the installation, for example, of community infrastructure, the responsibilities of debt service, the administration of a property tax system and the building of fiscal, managerial and financial capacity.

The legislation would provide concurrently and balances the interests of the federal Crown, and contains provisions which would provide protections for the position of taxpayers commensurate with that of other taxpayers in our federal system.

The legislation would allow for all of these things, and it would do so without derogating from the debates which we will have in the years ahead regarding the full scope and meaning of self-government, or the scope and content of section 35 rights under the Constitution. The legislation would allow each first nation in Canada to decide themselves whether they wish to undertake this responsibility.

For my part, I fear the endless opacity surrounding the self-government debate. The many issues surrounding self-government and the meaning, the scope and content of that term will be resolved in the same way that we have resolved other difficult Canadian problems, in an evolutionary manner such as this, building upon success and responding to the distinctive needs of our diverse community. We will progress cautiously and with full regard to the intended and unintended consequences of our journey. It has always been this way in Canada and it will likely always be this way.

In closing, let us move forward. The legislation may not be the panacea for all the difficult questions surrounding self-government, but it is this. It is start and if we adopt it, some of the first nations in this country will be closer to the economic independence and the self-sufficiency of which Grand Chief Fontaine has spoken.