Lorne Edmund NYSTROM

NYSTROM, The Hon. Lorne Edmund, P.C., B.A.

Personal Data

Party
New Democratic Party
Constituency
Regina--Qu'Appelle (Saskatchewan)
Birth Date
April 26, 1946
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorne_Nystrom
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=3aa665bd-9be3-4142-bf3c-cb3fa717b0cb&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
consultant, teacher

Parliamentary Career

June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
NDP
  Yorkton--Melville (Saskatchewan)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
NDP
  Yorkton--Melville (Saskatchewan)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
NDP
  Yorkton--Melville (Saskatchewan)
  • Whip of the N.D.P. (June 1, 1974 - January 1, 1981)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
NDP
  Yorkton--Melville (Saskatchewan)
  • Whip of the N.D.P. (June 1, 1974 - January 1, 1981)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
NDP
  Yorkton--Melville (Saskatchewan)
  • Whip of the N.D.P. (June 1, 1974 - January 1, 1981)
September 4, 1984 - October 1, 1988
NDP
  Yorkton--Melville (Saskatchewan)
  • N.D.P. Deputy House Leader (September 5, 1986 - December 1, 1988)
November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
NDP
  Yorkton--Melville (Saskatchewan)
  • N.D.P. Deputy House Leader (September 5, 1986 - December 1, 1988)
June 2, 1997 - October 22, 2000
NDP
  Qu'Appelle (Saskatchewan)
  • N.D.P. Deputy House Leader (June 25, 1997 - February 5, 2003)
November 27, 2000 - May 23, 2004
NDP
  Regina--Qu'Appelle (Saskatchewan)
  • N.D.P. Deputy House Leader (June 25, 1997 - February 5, 2003)
  • Deputy Whip of the N.D.P. (February 6, 2003 - July 21, 2004)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 1315)


April 30, 2004

Hon. Lorne Nystrom (Regina—Qu'Appelle, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I think the House is back next week, but I am not sure the member for Souris--Moose Mountain will be speaking then. I want to take this opportunity to wish him well when he retires from this place and to say publicly that he is a very decent human being. He has become a very good friend over the last number of years, and is one of those people we can learn a lot from.

Sometimes there are those of us in politics who are very partisan and let that partisanship affect our friendships. The member for Souris--Moose Mountain is a partisan Conservative politician, but that has never affected his friendships. He has become a very good friend over the years. I wish him all the best. I will miss him around this place.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Canada National Parks Act
Full View Permalink

April 27, 2004

Hon. Lorne Nystrom (Regina—Qu'Appelle, NDP)

Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Windsor—St. Clair.

I welcome the debate before the House today and welcome the Conservative Party for catching up on one of my ideas. I tabled a motion in the House on February 11, 2004, calling for a fixed election date. Then, on the Order Paper on April 1, 2004, on April Fool's Day, the Leader of the Opposition, the leader of the Conservative Party tabled a motion regarding a fixed election date. I am very glad that the Conservative Party is doing the same thing that we in the New Democratic Party initiated before.

Our party passed a resolution at our convention, which happened to have been held in Ottawa in 1999, calling for a fixed election and fixed budget dates. I also wrote an article in the National Post calling for a fixed election date and I think the date of that was November 12, 2000.

Our party has been on record now for quite awhile, including having had the first motion in the House on a fixed election date in support of the idea. I welcome the Conservatives onboard the train and therefore we will be supporting the motion before the House today.

The idea behind a fixed date is to take the power away from the Prime Minister, or indeed the premiers at the provincial level, to establish a date that is best to his or her liking in terms of the chances of being re-elected. In other words, we are trying to democratize the system to make it more fair, to create a level playing field, and to ensure things are more in balance for every point of view in the country.

Now we have a Prime Minister who talks about the democratic deficit. One way of alleviating part of that democratic deficit is by ensuring we have a fixed election date so the power of setting the date is out of the hands of the Liberal Party pollsters and the Liberal Prime Minister's advisers, and the Prime Minister himself. It would be put in statute so that we would all be on a level playing field and we would all have a fair chance at the date, whenever it is.

Currently, a prime minister or premier can set the date. If the government knows there is a financial crisis coming, there could be an election ahead of time. If there is a sponsorship scandal or some other scandal, one could delay the election from what was being planned, May 10. I do not think that is a closely guarded secret. The government could delay the election to what the Prime Minister's inclination is now, which is to announce the election a week Sunday for June 14. Some of his advisers are saying that maybe we should wait about a year and have it in May or June 2005.

These are all the games that are being played. These are also played at every provincial level as premiers and prime ministers set the date to find a window when they can win their respective election campaigns.

If we were serious about democratic reform, the democratic deficit in the country, we could start with a fixed election date so that no matter what happened, the date would occur every, say third Monday in June or October, or whatever date we fixed, unless the government fell in a confidence vote.

I think our party and the Alliance Party, now the Conservative Party, had made that very clear. I think the Bloc Quebecois said the same thing. If the government were to fall in a confidence vote then of course an election would take place. But, without that, there should be a fixed date. Many countries have fixed dates around the world and they work very well.

We have had the first steps toward a fixed date in our country. Premier Campbell of British Columbia, a couple of years ago, brought in a law and set the election date in B.C. four years hence. Everybody knows when the election in British Columbia will take place. I think it is sometime in 2005. I fully endorse the idea. It is put in statute so that the Premier of British Columbia, if he has a very major problem, cannot delay it or if he has a sudden jump in the polls cannot pull the election out of the hat six or seven months ahead of time. I think that is a wonderful idea.

I also want to place on the record something that is not very well known because it happened quite a few years ago in Saskatchewan. I know that the Conservative Party member for Brandon—Souris is fully aware of this. Tommy Douglas, who was the premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 until 1961, was elected in June 1944.

At the time he was elected there were a few conservative minded people, because it was the first democratic socialist government anywhere in North America that said there might not be any more elections. What Tommy Douglas said as premier was that there would be elections held every four years in the month of June. Therefore, we had elections in June 1944 when he was elected, June 1948, June 1952, June 1956 and June 1960. In 1961 he became leader of the federal New Democratic Party and his successor broke that pattern with an election in April 1964. After that elections have been held all over the map.

One of the things Tommy told me a few months before he died was that his one regret was that he did not put in statute that there had to be an election every four years in the month of June in Saskatchewan. As soon as he left, the convention he created disappeared with the premiers of our party, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party. Elections were then announced whenever the premier thought it was best for him in terms of electoral prospects.

That is why we support the motion before the House today. It is a move toward democratic reform. It is a move toward taking power away from the executive and the Prime Minister, and putting it into the hands of the people so that all parties and all competing points of view have an equal chance of an equal start in terms of a general election campaign.

I cannot imagine that happening in a sporting event. I see the member for Wild Rose here, who was a great baseball catcher years ago, if I am not mistaken. He knows that in sport everybody has to have an equal start and a fair chance, and play by the same rules. If one is in a foot race, everyone starts at the same place when the starter gun goes off and everyone hears the starter pistol. However, in this country and in every province, except British Columbia, the starter pistol is the hand of the premier or the hand of the prime minister. I think that is wrong.

I appeal to the Prime Minister if he is serious about democratic reform and democratic deficit. He should be announcing in Parliament, as soon as possible, that the next election date will be June 14, June 21, October, November or whatever. Every four years thereafter there would be an election campaign. If he were serious about democratic reform that is what he would do.

If he wants to do politics differently, that is what the Prime Minister should do. He should tell us the date ahead of time. All the law requires now is that there be a minimum notice. I believe it is 36 days. He could announce the election campaign 37 days ahead, or 47 days ahead, or a year ahead. The Premier of British Columbia announced it four years ahead. If the Prime Minister were a true reformer in terms of democratic deficit, that is what he would do.

What I have seen this new Prime Minister do has not been very democratic in many cases. He has actually appointed candidates to run in certain ridings in British Columbia. That is not democratic at all. I saw a Canadian citizen from Burnaby--Douglas, from the Liberal Party, crying on television because he campaigned for a nomination for months and sold hundreds of memberships for months, and now he is being denied an opportunity to run because the Prime Minister is going to appoint a friend, who is the president of the British Columbia Liberal Party, as the candidate in Burnaby--Douglas. The Prime Minister has already done that in two or three other British Columbia ridings.

There is an old saying that we should be careful when we criticize others too because it is not only the Liberal Party where these types of anti-democratic activities occur. There is probably no other Canadian politician I disagree with more than the former Conservative Premier of Saskatchewan, Grant Devine, who ran our province into huge debt and saw 16 members of his government convicted criminally.

I have a lot of criticism of him. He wanted to run for the new Conservative Party in the riding of Souris--Moose Mountain. He went out and campaigned for a nomination and sold memberships for nominations and the Conservative Party in Ottawa, from on high, denied him the right to seek the nomination. That is not right either. Every Canadian citizen, when they buy a party membership should have the right to seek a nomination: my party, the Bloc, the Conservatives, the Liberals, the Green Party and every party in this country.

The party that has abused that the most has been the Liberal Party of Canada and former Prime Minister Chrétien. The current Prime Minister is following the policy of Jean Chrétien by appointing people to run in various ridings. If members cannot meet the test of membership in their own riding, then they should not deserve to have the nomination for that riding.

I encourage all members to support the motion before the House.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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April 27, 2004

Hon. Lorne Nystrom (Regina—Qu'Appelle, NDP)

Madam Speaker, I want to endorse some of the things said by my friend from the Bloc Quebecois in terms of being concerned that we do not step on individual freedoms, that we have a national security policy and the like.

I want to say from the outset that what I see in the paper from the briefing this morning is that it looks good on paper. It is a matter of how it is implemented and how much money is committed to it to make sure that we have a security policy that will protect the safety of Canadian people. That is paramount.

We need money, for example, for community policing around the country. We need enough money for emergency response. The SARs issue is a good example of that. That is very key in terms of how this policy is actually implemented.

We already have the new Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. Now there will be a government operations centre, a national security council and then a parliamentary committee that will be advising on national security. I hope all these things come together and they provide a top-notch security system.

I also want to make the point that I do think in general our security in the country is on par with anywhere in the world. I really wonder sometimes when I hear Conservatives who quote their friends in the United States talking about how superior the security system is in the United States. I am not sure there is any evidence of that except for the odd quote from the odd person in the United States of America.

I want to make one or two other points that I think are important. I have long believed that the best defence against terrorism is peace and dialogue. When we have war, strife and conflict, I think that is when terrorism really thrives.

The Dalai Lama was just here talking about some of the issues and about dialogue. We have to do as a nation whatever we can to promote peace and dialogue in the world and try to bring people together.

I have tried to take a balanced view, for example, of the Middle East in bringing people together in that very complex part of the world. I would say to the minister that we should maintain an independent foreign policy and independent security policy. Yes, we should cooperate with the United States but it is extremely important that we maintain our independence and our sovereignty. I get the message loudly and clearly as I travel across the country.

I am sure the minister is aware of this from any polls she has read that there is a great deal of skepticism in our country about George Bush's administration in terms of its foreign policy. George Bush was wrong in Iraq. He lied to congress, to the American people and to the world about weapons of mass destruction. When there is this kind of unilateral foreign policy by the American president without the consent of the United Nations, it invites and provokes more terrorism around the world.

I think what George Bush has done has been very dangerous for world peace and security. One thing that we did correctly in this country was to stay out of Iraq.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   National Security
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April 27, 2004

Hon. Lorne Nystrom (Regina—Qu'Appelle, NDP)

Madam Speaker, I do not know if I heard correctly, but I think my friend across the way said that the member for Saint John was launching a direct attack on the Crown. I remember the days when we used to be crusaders for radical change in this country. I hope he has not changed his mind on replacing the other place with something that is a bit more contemporary. I hope he does not also see that as an attack on the Crown.

On February 11 of this year I introduced a motion in the House of Commons for a fixed election date. The Conservatives, always being slow, copied my idea when the leader of the party introduced a motion on April 1, 2004. It is on the Order Paper, Madam Speaker, and I can see from your wide smile that you have read the Order Paper and you know that has happened.

I want to say to the member across the way that we do have a precedent on fixed election dates. That is not an attack on the Crown. His good friend, the premier of British Columbia, has fixed an election date. He fixed it a couple of years ago for four years hence.

I see a big smile on the member for Souris—Moose Mountain, my good Conservative friend. In our province one of our political icons, Tommy Douglas, had a fixed election date. He was elected in June 1944, June 1948, June 1952, June 1956 and June 1960. That date was set not by statute, but was announced publicly by the premier in 1944 that there would be elections every four years in the month of June. Tommy told me shortly before he passed away that the only regret he had was that he should have put it in a statute to make it mandatory because after he left as the premier of Saskatchewan, the election dates bounced all over the place.

I do not think it is an attack on the Crown. It is just good common sense to take power away from the premiers and the Prime Minister's Office and put it in the hands of the people by setting a fixed date, unless in a motion of confidence the government falls. We have always talked about that being the only exception.

I would like the member to respond to the common sense idea of Tommy Douglas and his good friend in British Columbia. I want him to explain how it is an attack on the Crown.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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April 27, 2004

Hon. Lorne Nystrom

Like always, Madam Speaker, the member across the way makes a very valid point. Sometimes there is a situation like today where there is a new prime minister in the same or governing party. Should the government have the right to seek a mandate? That is something we should look at as a parliamentary committee.

Sometimes it is close to the end of the term where I do not think it is that important that a new mandate be sought. If there was a four year term and this happens well into the third year, the government should go the full four years. However, often it happens in the middle of the term. The member makes a strong argument that we should look at an exception where there should be an election campaign to seek a mandate.

I can think of a number of cases and I recall when Lucien Bouchard went back to be Premier of Quebec. He went back after about a year or so into Premier Parizeau's term. Maybe there should have been an election campaign there where he had to seek a fresh mandate.

This is why there should be a parliamentary committee looking into the fixed date idea. When should the election be? What exceptions might there be? A motion of confidence is certainly one of those exceptions. If the government were to fall on a motion of confidence, under an allotted day, there would not necessarily have to be an election, as the member knows. However, the Governor General could decide to call in someone else to be the prime minister and form a brand new government. That power now exists with the Crown. In all likelihood if the government were to fall, there would be an election, but these are things we should look at.

We should have a fixed election date every four years and parties could even plan their leadership conventions a bit more in accordance with the four year term. The former Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, did want to stay much longer. He was pushed out of office and even after he was pushed out of office, he wanted to stay until February of this year, but there were people in the current Prime Minister's entourage who were salivating, wanting the Prime Minister to take over before Christmas. Now they might be wishing he had not because of the sponsorship scandal. But they pushed Jean Chrétien out of office anyways. Jean Chrétien had a mandate and if the Liberal Party would have planned in accordance with that mandate, we would not have to be considering a special election because of a new leader of the Liberal Party.

Some of this is common sense and proper planning. I do not want to speculate on the member's feelings about the current Prime Minister and the former one, but I think his advice to the Liberal Party would have been to have a leadership convention toward the end of its mandate and have a new prime minister within months of the new election campaign. Now, of course, that did not happen and I assume the Liberal Party did not take his advice because I am sure that is the advice he would have given to his party if he were to tell us publicly what he actually did say.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Supply
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