Roles

Elsewhere

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

Question 421-12(7): Status Of Bill C-68 In House Of Commons April 6th, 1995

I would like to seek unanimous consent to extend question period.

Question 421-12(7): Status Of Bill C-68 In House Of Commons April 6th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My final supplementary is this, Mr. Speaker. Now that this bill has been given second reading, will there still be the possibility to address some of the changes that people in the Northwest Territories would like to see in that bill now that it has been referred to committee?

Question 421-12(7): Status Of Bill C-68 In House Of Commons April 6th, 1995

What form, Mr. Speaker -- since we have been lobbied so heavily by people in the Northwest Territories -- will the government intervention take in trying to make sure that the views of northern people will be heard by this committee?

Question 421-12(7): Status Of Bill C-68 In House Of Commons April 6th, 1995

Thank you. I thought I heard, Mr. Speaker, that there are only three Liberal Members who broke party ranks and decided to support this particular bill, so I appreciate the confirmation. I would like to ask the Minister, what opportunities will the public, who have been lobbying us, have to make presentations to whatever committee is established to deal with it?

Question 421-12(7): Status Of Bill C-68 In House Of Commons April 6th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Justice. Mr. Speaker, over the last month, Members have really been lobbied by people interested in the gun control legislation, in front of the House of Commons. It's the best organized lobby I can remember since becoming a Member of this House, so it's obviously a major issue for all people of the territories.

I would like to ask the Minister, could he indicate to the House at what stage this legislation is at right now in the House of Commons, because I know he's keeping a very close watch on what's going on with this legislation.

Proposed Recall Legislation April 6th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We've been talking about accountability for a long time, Mr. Speaker, and the only way of improving accountability in this Assembly is to give the Premier power to choose Members of Cabinet and to fire Members of Cabinet. The principle would remain the same then because whoever gives the power would then have the right to take it away. You would still have the principle but at least you would know exactly what the principle is. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

---Applause

Proposed Recall Legislation April 6th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, it is very unusual that I ask for the indulgence of Members but I would like to have permission to finish my statement.

Proposed Recall Legislation April 6th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I hear many muted mutterings about the dangers of the Recall Act. Some people are talking as though it is an outlandish idea, even though it has been considered seriously as a contribution to the accountability of politicians.

I find it especially unusual that some of the mutterings are coming from Cabinet Ministers, not ordinary Members. I find this very unusual. The only people who are not subject to recall in this House, at the moment, are ordinary Members. I found general support among ordinary Members for the principle of the bill.

Every day when we are sitting in this Chamber, Mr. Speaker, Cabinet Ministers are subject to recall. On any one day, a Member of Cabinet could be removed by a simple majority of Members in this Chamber. That is a form of recall. And I don't think it is unconstitutional, but maybe the government wants to look at that too. It is very simple, very transparent, all Members in the House can vote, there is no secret ballot. If the majority of Members want a Cabinet Minister to join the ranks of the ordinary Members, all Members have to do is to stick up their hands in support of the motion to remove a Minister and that Minister is history -- at least for the moment.

No one seems to question this practice. It seems to be accepted as an entrenched part of our system. Even in the various proposals to legislate more powers for the Premier, recall, unfortunately, would still exist. Even if she wanted to keep a Minister, there is nothing planned in the legislation to remove the power of the Members to still recall if they wanted to. We already have recall, at least the principle of it, Mr. Speaker, so I wonder why we're muttering about it.

Even in the legislation to give powers to the Premier to remove a Member, the House would still have to be brought together to choose a new Member and there would be nothing stopping Members from putting the same Member back into the Cabinet that the Premier just removed.

The only real power in this House is the will of the majority of the Members and that's the basic principle behind recall. Whoever gives you power has the right to take it away. The only way to be accountable in this Assembly would be to...

Item 13: Tabling Of Documents April 5th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a document to table today. Tabled Document 82-12(7) is a letter addressed to me as the Member for Yellowknife Centre. It is entitled legislative action paper on recall, and is dated April 5th, today's date. It is signed by the Principal Secretary, George Braden, who, I believe, is a political advisor to the Premier. There has been a mistake here, the person referred to on page 2 is Dr. Elton, not Mr. Elton, and he is a professor at the University of Lethbridge. Thank you.

Question 403-12(7): Free Vote For Ministers On Recall Legislation April 5th, 1995

Have the Premier and her colleagues developed any kind of protocol or conventions so that you can be guided on which votes could be considered matters of conscience? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.