Last in the Legislative Assembly September 1995, as MLA for Yellowknife Centre
Won his last election, in 1991, with 32% of the vote.
Statements in the House
Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery April 11th, 1995
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to recognize in the gallery a distinguished medical person, Dr. George Gibson, who has been here for many, many years. He's not so heavily involved in medicine as he once was and it's nice to see he's still in Yellowknife, very heavily involved in the community, and I know he has no plans to leave. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Impact Of Last Federal Election On Former Mps April 11th, 1995
Thank you, colleagues and thank you, Mr. Speaker. The survey noted, Mr. Speaker, that those Members with between six and 10 years of service were now living on between $25,000 and $30,000 a year. Many of them were in their 30s and 40s and, although to many people that's a good salary, the fact that after one year they were still desperately trying to find something to do didn't give them much prospect of finding a meaningful place in the workforce.
Mr. Dobell noted that politicians are no longer considered to have the marketable skills that for many, many years it was assumed they had. They are no longer viewed positively by employers as they had once been. The lesson from the survey, Mr. Speaker, is that the most contented politicians were those who had left of their own accord and had not risked being rejected by their voters. That is a lesson that all of us, I'm sure, are going to have to consider over the next six months or so. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Impact Of Last Federal Election On Former Mps April 11th, 1995
I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement, Mr. Speaker.
Impact Of Last Federal Election On Former Mps April 11th, 1995
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I listened to a program called "As It Happens" last night. It deals with current events right across the country and there was an interview with a man called Peter Dobell who runs the Parliamentary Centre in Ottawa.
Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Centre did a survey of Members of Parliament who served in the last federal Parliament. They waited a year after the defeat of the Tory government of Mr. Mulroney before contacting Members because they wanted to measure the impact of the federal election on Members of Parliament a year after the event. Some interesting facts have emerged from surveying all of these Members.
The first one, Mr. Speaker, is those Members who retired and did not seek re-election were, for the most part, happy, contented and had adjusted to life outside of politics. Many decided to pursue other options, people like Mr. Clark, for example; Mr. Don Mazankowski; and, John Crosby, who is now the chancellor of Memorial University. The second point is that of those who ran but were defeated, only 50 per cent after one year have found employment. They were not very happy people because they had not been able to adjust to life outside of politics.
Many of the people who were surveyed noted that in the rejection letters they received for employment, the fact that they had been in politics had been given as a major reason for turning them down for employment. It was no longer seen as an advantage of having served the public because the public no longer felt, at least employers no longer felt, that whatever had been learned there had any relevance to the kind of work they were seeking to do. This particularly applied, Mr. Speaker, to Tory and NDP Members whose parties had been rejected quite thoroughly by the electorate in quite large numbers.
Mr. Speaker, those who did find work, examples like Mr. Perrin Beatty, were very rare. His appointment as the head of CBC was an exception. The vast majority of defeated Members who had served as backbenchers, and these were the vast majority of people in that Parliament, were now living on their pensions with little prospect of entering the workforce.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The comments that I have to make begin with the fact that at the very beginning of our committee discussion this afternoon, several Members of the Standing Committee on Finance wanted to make comments, and I wasn't sure whether they were personal comments or whether they were comments that came from the committee.
One of the advantages of being on SCOF, of course -- and I was there for four years and certainly appreciated a deep insight into all kinds of things in government -- is you are exposed to so much of the detail of the ongoing operations of the government. So I am not quite sure whether I am hearing the full recommendation of the committee or whether I am hearing individual personal opinions or subjective ideas, and so on, about the ways things should go when Members speak in committee of the whole.
However, I did hear some things, and I certainly respect all our committees and the recommendations that they make. But just a few observations; I was in Ottawa when the referendum took place in 1981, and I ate a lot of left-over food and other things, at various celebrations around the city which weren't held, simply because the referendum lost. There were all kinds of events planned for the night, I remember going to one with an old friend of mine who was the only person we had in Ottawa at that time. He went to everything; everything you wanted him to do, he showed up, went there, briefed people back home as to what should happen. So I have a bit of a bias about all the kinds of things that should be going on in Ottawa. In the nearly 30 years that I have been involved in government, in one shape or form, I've been trying to get as much stuff out of Ottawa, for the north, as we could; trying to get as many things done back home as we could.
And we have seen various developments in the south that have replaced things that one time we depended upon the government to look after. They have been referred to this afternoon; the Circumpolar Commission, the Inuit Tapirisat that was evolved, and all kinds of other groups in Ottawa that have a watching...(inaudible)...if you like, on many of the things that go on in Ottawa.
Anything that we do there has to be focused on the issues of the day. We have done that in the past, on the Meech and Charlottetown accords; we've made sure that we had good constitutional people, because we could be very, very deeply affected if some of the proposals that were being thrown around at that time went into effect.
So I do have concerns about -- unless you have far more information than the rest of us do -- what we should be doing, because there are huge gaps there, or because there are huge problems that are not being addressed. Maybe SCOF has information that we don't have about why we should be doing something. I would have to be convinced that there is a tremendous workload that suddenly evolved that wasn't there before. I thought the busy time for us was when we were doing Meech Lake and Charlottetown. I remember it because it was very active. Lots of people were going back and forth.
What I want to know now is what has suddenly caused the need to have a new dynamic? I'm hearing a bit about the Quebec referendum and that was going to cause the dynamic to change; that we would really have to get involved and do all kinds of things. I have never heard that before. I didn't know the Quebec issue was going to be a huge thing that would have the kind of impact that we saw potentially arising out of the national concern for the Constitution. I recognize that it's an important event, but I can't see how this is a huge thing in the way it is being played up to be.
Neither can I see a lot of things, as well. You can build an argument for doing almost anything. If it is a little flat fish called a turbot which is suddenly a big issue we have to deal with, well okay, let's hear all the arguments about what we can do about the little fish. Maybe we can adopt it as our territorial fish, we can make it our symbol or maybe we could ask Newfoundland to adopt it temporarily as a symbol so it could be a symbol that will gather everyone around for a fight.
I'm not downplaying the importance of economics, I'm not downplaying the importance of the Quebec question. What I'm asking is, really, how are we going to build up a case for building up Ottawa when for the last 30-odd years, we've been trying to get as much done here as we can. Every time we see something, we say this makes sense and we'll do it now, have a go at it. That's just one comment that came to mind when I heard about this big chase for building up Ottawa. We really have to do something there.
I'm not against doing anything that makes sense. If it makes sense, you can see it's a priority, it matters, if you get value for money and so on, I have no problem. But I haven't heard the big argument why this is suddenly a big, huge earth-shattering thing where suddenly we are forced and pressed to do something.
It struck me very soon that our government is going to be very much criticized if it did more than simply play its part. To his credit, Mr. Kakfwi recognized that early on too. It is not our government that should decide, it is the people of the west who would decide the way we would go. We would play our appropriate role, but to criticize someone for not showing leadership when you're told that's not something people want you to lead, it seems to me to make sense that you don't do it. If that's something people don't want you to do, then you should say, okay, we'll play our role, like everybody has asked us to do.
I hear the same comments also about the kind of involvement this government should have in the whole issue of land claims and so on. People have told us to stay away from it. How can you show leadership when you're told that this isn't a role that people would like you to play, that this is what they want to see done. If you go and show leadership, say this is what I think, you get dumped on because that's not what people think you should be saying. They don't agree with you.
I've heard this statement before from Mr. Kakfwi about the way he sees things. He's made it quite clear that this is a vision that he feels will sell, could be funded, and is "doable", if you like. Then people make statements and say no, you're showing leadership in the wrong way, that's not what we mean by leadership. Leadership means doing just exactly what people tell you to do. He's demonstrated that he can do both. He can do what he's told, to just stay out unless he feels what is right is to show some leadership in the overall direction we should go as a western territory.
That's the end of my statement, Mr. Chairman, and thank you very much for recognizing me.
Item 5: Recognition Of Visitors In The Gallery April 10th, 1995
I don't know if our rules permit this, Mr. Speaker, but I also would like to recognize Mr. Ben McDonald in the gallery. He is sitting opposite me. He has lived in my constituency for many, many years. He has been a colleague in different community things. I would like to commend him for his dedication, endurance and patience in attending our Legislature as part of his work. I do this, Mr. Speaker, because it takes a special individual to sit through all this without any opportunity to participate. Thank you.
Springtime Safety Concerns April 10th, 1995
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the past, I have risen in this House during certain seasons of the year to remind Members that now that summer has come back and young children, who have been indoors for much of the winter, are now out on the streets playing with their bikes. Many of them
have been deprived of all kinds of wonderful outdoor activities throughout the winter. I have noticed, over the last several days, that many young children are out on their bicycles and many of them have forgotten what it felt like since last summer when they had to be aware of traffic, dangers and so on. So I would like to remind Members that as leaders in our community we have to be extra vigilant because all these young children out on the streets again on their bikes are sometimes not as aware as adults are of the dangers that are close to them. Perhaps the press will also play their part in making sure that the public is made aware that we are in a new season and there are all kinds of dangers out there and if we're not vigilant, then we could have young children involved in accidents which perhaps could be avoided. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Since the House has already declared it's will and the principle is dead, what does the Premier expect to achieve by bringing forward this action paper, as requested by the committee, by that date?
Is it the intention of the Premier to get that bill completed so that Members of this Assembly will have a chance to look at it if we meet in June?
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Premier. I've already said many times that I'm a democrat and the will of the House was expressed yesterday in defeating the principle of recall. But since this issue was referred to the Premier through a motion in this House as a result of the work of the Standing Committee on Rules, Procedures and Privileges, the government developed an action paper. Is it still the intent of the government to proceed with that bill?
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