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 5 of 1315)


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 26, 2004

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

Mr. Speaker, I want to say a few words on Bill C-15, the international transfer of offenders act.

I will give the House a bit of the background of the bill. The bill would allow Canada to implement treaties and administrative arrangements with other nations for the international transfer of offenders. The purpose of the act is to allow Canadians convicted abroad to serve their sentences here in Canada.

This legislation would close the identified gaps in the existing Transfer of Offenders Act and aims to ensure consistency with other legislative provisions. By allowing offenders to serve their sentences in Canada, we would ensure that the public's interest is also served, because offenders are gradually released into the community in accordance with an overall Canadian rehabilitation strategy rather than simply having offenders arrive in Canada at the end of their sentences without any checks on their reintegration into society.

The bill would permit Canadian offenders who face incarceration in foreign prisons, which may include unfamiliar and difficult situations, to serve their sentences in Canada, and vice versa. This function is crucial for Canadian nationals where foreign states do not accommodate Canadian standards of rights and rehabilitation. In a case where no transfer agreement exists between Canada and a foreign entity, the countries could nevertheless enter into an administrative arrangement and provide for the transfer of an offender.

The provisions of the act would apply to criminal offenders, including young offenders and mentally incompetent offenders. Consent to be transferred must be given by the offender, the foreign state and Canada. All three must consent before transfer is made. The act and the consent thereunder are governed by the Solicitor General of Canada.

This bill, which we are dealing with at third reading, has made some progress in the committee. An amendment presented by our NDP caucus passed in the committee by a seven to six vote when, before Christmas, the chair of the committee, who is now in cabinet, broke the tie in our favour.

The amendment adds the following to the list of factors the minister should consider when determining whether to accept the transfer of a Canadian offender:

(c) whether the offender has social or family ties in Canada; and

(d) whether the foreign entity or its prison system presents a serious threat to the offender's security or human rights.

Hopefully this will help guide the decision of the minister and create a more explicit link between the threat a foreign state or prison poses to an offender and the need to repatriate our own. It simply creates an explicit link where one is obviously implied in the spirit of the bill. It becomes explicit rather than just implied.

There are some additional arguments in favour of the bill. The NDP amendment passed by the committee will ensure that the minister would consider the humanitarian circumstances of an offender incarcerated in a foreign state. It would help to ensure that our citizens who are incarcerated abroad are going to have their safety and human rights taken into consideration when asking for a transfer.

The act maintains the integrity and values of the Canadian justice system and correctional system by transferring offenders back to Canada where these values prevail. Foreign nations often have different standards in their prison systems, which may be considered a violation of rights in Canada, or may do nothing, on the other hand, to rehabilitate the offender.

The act would give Canada custody of Canadian offenders abroad and would make Canada responsible for the enforcement of its own values. The act is also humanitarian in the fact that it would allow for foreign offenders to serve their sentences in their countries of origin if they wish and consent to do so.

Our main concern was addressed at committee, where an amendment was passed. The humanitarian spirit of the act should be applauded. These proposals would permit Canadian offenders abroad to be transported back to Canada where they can be detained and rehabilitated in accordance with the standards and principles of Canadian justice. It also would allow foreign nationals to serve their time in their home countries.

Since this proposed act is based on treaty negotiations, its benefits are mutual. The treaty negotiations and administrative arrangements contemplated by the bill would give equal protection and advantage to Canada and foreign states alike. This reciprocity has the added benefit of enhancing certainty and good faith in international relations and negotiations.

Bill C-15 should be supported for its humanitarian purpose, but we should not assume that the transfer of prisoners back to Canada necessarily results in humane treatment. We should not allow the government to pat itself on the back for too long, because we have our own major problems in our own Canadian correctional system. One need only think of the lack of correctional services and facilities for women or the lack of services and facilities for aboriginal people to realize that there is a great need for development of our own prison system in Canada.

Moreover, cases like that of Maher Arar--and of course there is going to be an inquiry into that case--demonstrate that we have serious problems not only in how we treat offenders but also in how we go about investigating and deciding who is an offender and who is not. Let us not rest on our laurels for too long. There is still a great deal more progress to be made.

Bill C-15 is a step in the right direction and, because of that, we will certainly be supporting the bill on third reading. We hope that it does have some real impact in terms of being a step along the road toward the reform of our correctional system.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   International Transfer of Offenders Act
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April 26, 2004

Hon. Lorne Nystrom

Mr. Speaker, the Maher Arar case is a very good case in point for why we have to be concerned about human rights. In that case, a Canadian citizen was deported from the U.S., not to Canada but to Syria. He languished in a Syrian prison and was tortured in that prison. Now we have a national public inquiry.

I just want to underline that this is why these treaties are important. We must have treaties that respect human rights for every single Canadian citizen or any citizen of the world, regardless of who that citizen is.

For the transfer of prisoners, for someone who may be watching, as I said earlier, under this bill there has to be an agreement by three parties: the prisoner himself or herself, the country in which the prisoner is in prison, and Canada. There has to be agreement by all three parties before that can occur.

We know that some of the conditions in some of the world's prisons are exceedingly bad and that some of the justice systems are very archaic in many prisons around the world. About 10 years ago today, I was in South Africa as part of a United Nations group that was observing the election in South Africa in the region of KwaZulu-Natal. One polling station was in a South African prison. Let me say that I would not want to wish that anybody spend any time in that kind of prison. We spent an hour or so in there observing that the voting practice was proper and so on. Some of those prison conditions are pretty deplorable and South Africa is by no means the worst of different countries in the world. Many years ago, I had a chance to visit a Chinese prison. Again, those were not exactly the kind of prisons that would be a model for the world.

I think this is a good bill. It is a step in the right direction. We must have a tough criminal justice system, but we also must have a system that respects basic human rights and basic decency in how we treat human beings.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   International Transfer of Offenders Act
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April 26, 2004

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

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry.

The Competition Bureau charges a flat fee of $50,000 to review a merger. It is the same $50,000 fee for reviewing a big bank merger worth billions of dollars in assets or two small credit unions that might be worth only a few million dollars.

Would the minister now review this unfair practice of a flat fee that discriminates against small credit unions, such as Dysart in my riding, and come up with a progressive fee scaled on ability to pay?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Industry Canada
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April 20, 2004

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

Mr. Speaker, I have just a few words to say on the bill before the House today, Bill C-31. It is an agreement with the Tlicho people of the Northwest Territories, the former Dogrib people, and was signed some time ago. The prime minister of the country at the time, Jean Chrétien, was in the Northwest Territories on August 25, 2003. In his speech, he remarked that this was a very historic agreement of great importance to the aboriginal people of that part of our country.

I just wanted to say in a very few words that we support this bill. It is a recognition of aboriginal rights, of the inherent rights that the aboriginal people have in the Constitution of Canada.

I remember the constitutional process of 1982. I remember the negotiating that we in the New Democratic Party did--I was the constitutional critic at the time--to make sure that treaty rights and the royal proclamation were both included in the patriation package.

In the first package that came from the Trudeau government, there was no reference to the aboriginal people, to treaty rights, or to the royal proclamation. As we tried to develop a national consensus for a constitution with a charter of rights, that was part of what was put into the package. That was a very controversial time.

At that particular time, I had a great many problems with the initial package brought out by the then prime minister. It did not have an amending formula that treated all provinces equally. It had no reference to aboriginal rights and so on. Throughout the process, there were some improvements in the constitutional package, and one that was made was for first nations people, so now there is a constitutional recognition of the reality of first nations people. There is also a reference to Métis people in our Constitution. It does give them some recognition that they are peoples.

I also agreed with former Quebec premier René Lévesque, who signed the agreement with the native groups, 11 nations in the province of Quebec, if I remember correctly. This recognition of them by the province was something very important.

This kind of recognition has been happening over the last number of years, and what we are seeing now are the fruits of some of what was done about 20 years ago. There are many land entitlement agreements that are yet to be fully negotiated. This is also happening. I hope that this is just another example of a positive thing for aboriginal first nations people in our country.

I think that most of us want to see the full negotiation of self-government and a third order of government in our country. We have the federal government, the provinces, and then we have first nations governments. Those negotiations are under way.

I want to conclude by saying that this is a step in the right direction. First nations people in general have a living standard that is a lot lower than that of any other Canadians. Infant mortality rates are very high. Crime rates are high. Alcoholism rates are high.

Few first nations people have access to education and job opportunities, but recently there has been some improvement in terms of the access to education. I remember back about a year and a half ago going to the law school in Saskatoon and being very pleasantly surprised that about 15% of the law students were from aboriginal backgrounds, which is a very positive thing in the province of Saskatchewan.

With that, I want to endorse the bill before the House today and say that we are moving in the right direction with this bill, plus the Westbank bill, which we have dealt with already. I hope we will have more successful negotiations with our first nations people, our Métis people and the Inuit people of this country.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Act
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