Hon. David Anderson (Victoria, Lib.)
Madam Speaker, I listened with interest to my colleague from Vancouver Island as he rambled over a number of issues, but I really wonder whether he has thought through some of the issues that he raised. There are a number, but I will take up one for this comment and question, which is it is his criticism that any person who happens to have served in the House of Commons should therefore and thereafter not be considered for any appointment or public office. He made that abundantly clear in his references to David Dingwall that because that person had served here, somehow he should not be considered for any public appointment.
I point out to him that his predecessor, the Reform member of the House of Commons, Group Captain Fraser, was appointed by the Liberal government of the day, the Chrétien government, to the Veterans Appeal Board. In fact, the member would not be here if it had not been for the appointment of that gentleman to another position. Why was he appointed? Because he was qualified.
The government and Mr. Chrétien recognized that Group Captain Fraser had many qualities. I absolutely agreed as minister for British Columbia that this person was fully entitled to be considered for the appointment and in fact he got it, and so he should have. That is the predecessor of the member who got up in the House and said that those of us who have served in the House have no abilities and therefore should not be considered afterward. That is an insult to 308 members of the House of Commons who certainly should be considered for appointments, if they wish to put their names forward, following their time in the House.
It is a criticism I level also at the NDP. In fact the member for Ottawa Centre, when he ceased to be a member for a certain period, was appointed by the federal government to the Institute of Race Relations in Montreal. The leader of the NDP in Ontario was appointed ambassador to the United Nations by the federal government, an NDP politician. He is now, of course, the UN special envoy for HIV-AIDS in Africa, Stephen Lewis. There is Mike Harcourt, an NDP premier of B.C. In fact there is even an NDP premier of B.C. who happened to be appointed the Minister of Health of the Government of Canada.
I am saying that the hypocrisy of the Conservatives and the NDP on this issue of appointments needs to be challenged. The fact is there are people in the House who have come here with abilities. The hon. member can speak for himself as to whether or not he has them. I will leave that up to him and the people who have watched his performance on television. The fact is that people come here with abilities, and if they have abilities, they should not be barred from serving the Canadian people in some other capacity in the future simply because of public service here in the House.
It is time to stop this constant denigration of members of the House of Commons of all parties, but particularly the type of speech we just heard which boradcast criticisms on everyone who happens to have been elected for the majority party, in fact, still the party that has the largest number in the House and therefore is the government. That is the type of behaviour which casts aspersions on every member of the House. It criticizes every person who takes up public office, whether federally or provincially. It is a shame and should not be countenanced in this chamber.
It is fair enough to criticize on the issue of the sponsorship program, on the issue of the funds that went into the hands of people who did not earn the money. That is absolutely correct and positive. However, to broadcast criticism of that type is quite outrageous.
If we wished to broadcast criticisms of the Conservatives for what went on before, we would find that there was plenty, particularly when we think of the helicopter contracts of the Mulroney government.
Why does the member get up here and insult all 308 members of the House in the manner that he does? Why does he not get up here and be specific? Why does he not recognize that Group Captain Jack Fraser was a worthwhile member of the House, a worthy person for appointment, and people of other parties are also worthy of appointment when they get appointed, if that happens subsequent to their time in public life?
Topic: Government Orders