Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the other day I voted in favour of a motion to appeal the Friends of Democracy decision. Of course, that debate was not televised in the House that night and I was not interviewed as to why I had made that decision although other constitutional experts from the south were. I just saw a paper which says Roy Erasmus votes for appeal, but, of course, again, does not explain why. Mr. Speaker, a while back I voted in favour of more seats for Yellowknife and I still believe that it probably should receive more seats, but this issue goes well beyond how many seats Yellowknife or Hay River or any community gets. It is about how aboriginal and treaty rights, indeed, how the rights of every citizen in the NWT are supposed to be interpreted. Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court of Canada is very clear. It has ruled that the constitution is to be read as a whole, that various provisions of the Charter must be read together, not in isolation of each other. In this case, Justice de Weerdt said: he was
Unpersuaded that section 3 of the Charter is in any sense to be understood as qualified as section 25 of the Charter or section 35 of the Constitutional Act, 1982, at least in the present case.
Mr. Speaker, this is tantamount to reading sections 25 and 35 out of the Charter altogether. On Wednesday I tabled a 50-page paper that I had researched and wrote in law school and it describes how sections 25 and 35 are supposed to work. You simply cannot read any individual rights provided in section 3 in isolation from section 25 or 35. In other words, to me this is not about his final decision, but how he arrived at it. I indicated at the time that I know some people will see this as a vote against Yellowknife, but it was not. It was about getting rights interpreted in a proper manner. Not just Treaty and aboriginal rights, but the individual rights emanating from section 3 also. Mr. Speaker, I also indicated that I will be seeking re-election and I knew how I voted on this issue would likely hurt me. I also knew that my constituents expect me to live up to the oath that I swore November, 1995, when I vowed to execute the trust reposed in me to the best of my skill and knowledge, not to do what is easy to try to reassure my re-election. Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.