Thursday, November 2, 1995
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF MANITOBA
Thursday, November 2, 1995
The House met at 1:30 p.m.
Madam Speaker: Yesterday at 6 p.m. I did not hear the comments made by the official opposition and government House leaders immediately before adjournment indicating that comments on the matter of privilege would continue today. Consequently, I inadvertently stated that I would take the matter of privilege under advisement.
Therefore, I will recognize the government House leader now to conclude his advice to the Chair on the matter of privilege. When he has concluded his remarks, I will recognize any other members who wish to advise the Chair on this matter before taking it under advisement.
Hon. Jim Ernst (Government House Leader): Madam Speaker, I had concluded my remarks as of last evening. I offered that advice to you and I suspect that should end the matter as far as advice is concerned.
Madam Speaker: In the absence of any other members wishing to speak, I am therefore taking the matter under advisement.
MATTER OF PRIVILEGE
Members' Freedom of Speech
Mr. Gary Doer (Leader of the Opposition): Madam Speaker, on a new point of privilege.
Madam Speaker, this is the first time in my nine years that I have felt I have had to rise on a point of privilege in this Chamber, but I feel it is important that the members of this side of the House, the members of the opposition have the right to represent their constituents and the people of this province who have elected us to this Chamber. I feel it is important that we are able to have the tools in our democratic society at our disposal to represent those concerns.
The most important tool we have in a democracy and in this Chamber is the language we bring to this House and the freedom to use language in a way that is absolutely consistent with the priorities of Manitobans and the priorities that reflect our democracy in a free and democratic society.
Madam Speaker, we do not feel that the decision made and the precedent set will allow us, as opposition and as members of this House, to represent our constituents on the concerns that we might have.
Madam Speaker, we have heard the issue of racist policies raised in this Chamber before. Last June, the question of racist policies was raised by the member for Broadway (Mr. Santos) in dealing with immigration policies, which is shared jurisdiction between the provinces and the federal government, and, of course, that was not ruled out of order.
Just last week, Madam Speaker, after your ruling on the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin)--or your intervention on October 11 for the member for The Pas--on October 16, I believe the question was asked about the past racist policies in legal systems dealing with Helen Betty Osborne, and at the point, you did not intervene.
Madam Speaker, we, in Manitoba, have had a tremendous and rich history of tolerance and of freedom of speech. We can be proud over the years of the accomplishments that have been made by people that have been elected to this Chamber for generation after generation after generation in providing a society of tolerance and a society of community.
But, Madam Speaker, it has not always been a perfect record. It has not always been perfect in terms of Manitoba's history. The policies have not been practised by governments of the past that would be deemed by us to be of a racist policy.
Madam Speaker, your ruling now means that we cannot speak about history with an honest and true way because we cannot comment on past incidents of governments, present instances, or future instances under your ruling, only in the province of Manitoba in terms of governments.
Madam Speaker, this Legislature has expunged the rights of French-speaking people to practise education in their school systems, a decision that was overruled by courts later on. Under the Oxford definition of racism and discriminatory practices that would not be allowed to be debated in this House by your ruling.
This Legislature has had governments in office where Jewish people were not allowed in certain faculties at the University of Manitoba, not something that is practised obviously today, but something that, unfortunately, would have to be debated in this Chamber, and history must record that as a racist action. You cannot expunge the facts of those incidents.
We have raised issues under The Employment Standards Act and The Labour Relations Act dealing with Filipino consumers at the SuperValu stores, practices of employment standards that we have to deal with as a provincial government inside Manitoba that may discriminate against people. That, too, must be considered by government and government policies.
We could, tomorrow, have a future government that had discriminatory practices towards certain people in Manitoba. Under your ruling we could not raise that as a policy issue in this Legislature.
Madam Speaker, tomorrow, and I do not expect this will happen, the minister responsible for immigration could enter into a federal-provincial agreement with Ottawa that would be discriminatory, and we could only raise the federal part of that agreement, not the provincial part, and, of course, the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin) has raised other matters that deal with First Nations people in our communities--
Madam Speaker: Order, please.
Point of Order
Hon. Jim Ernst (Government House Leader): On a point of order, Madam Speaker, and I apologize, but it did take me a few minutes to ascertain what the Leader of the Opposition was concluding with respect to a new point of privilege.
Madam Speaker, I refer you to Beauchesne Citation 114.(1): For questions of privilege, a member must give notice to the Speaker at least one hour prior to raising the question. A question of privilege arising out of proceedings in the Chamber during the course of the sitting may be raised without notice, so yesterday the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) in raising his point of privilege did so because of events that arose during the session yesterday.
I would ask, Madam Speaker, if the Leader of the official opposition has given you notice with respect to this issue of a question of privilege.
Mr. Steve Ashton (Opposition House Leader): On the same point of order, Madam Speaker, I think the government House leader is perhaps not looking at the rules of this House and the procedures followed in this House.
It has been always the practice in this House that matters are raised at the first opportunity. This is the first opportunity the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer) has had to raise this particular matter. It will, I can assure the government House leader, be followed by a motion which is also required in terms of our rules of privilege.
I would therefore suggest, Madam Speaker, that the government House leader is not only out of order, but that we should hear the remainder of the comments by the Leader of Opposition which will be followed by this substantive motion.
Madam Speaker: Order, please. On the government House leader's point of order, I have been advised that indeed this rule is according to the standing orders in the House of Commons and has never been applied in this province.
* * *
Mr. Doer: I tried to raise a few examples where government policies of the Province of Manitoba throughout our great history of tolerance have been intolerant, through our great history of nondiscrimination have been discriminatory, through our great period of racial tolerance have sometimes been racially intolerant.
Madam Speaker, your ruling yesterday really means that members of the opposition, no matter who is in government, or individual members who may feel aggrieved on a policy of government cannot state it in a way that is forceful and represents their concern.
Madam Speaker, we have had the Premier (Mr. Filmon) of this province withdraw the word "racist" as it applies to individuals. We have had the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin) withdraw the word "racist" as it applied to individuals, but the issue of racist policies of government past, current or future we think is appropriate language in this Legislature and is a freedom that we must have and are responsible to have in this Chamber.
Madam Speaker, we would remind you that under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, this freedom of expression is guaranteed, and we would also remind you that the Charter of Rights applies to the Legislature and governments of each province in respect of matters within the authority of the Legislature. You cannot have a right to speak on racist policies for the federal government or the Saskatchewan government or the Ontario government and not be able to speak about those issues here in the province of Manitoba. We do not have a zone in terms of freedom of speech that disallows us to speak strongly on behalf of our constituents.
Madam Speaker, Beauchesne says that privileges of Parliaments are a right which are absolutely necessary for the due execution of its powers. They are enjoyed by individuals because the House cannot perform its functions without unimpeded use of the services of its members.
Madam Speaker, we regretfully have concluded that your decision has affected our right to represent our constituents and, regretfully, I resolve that this House no longer has any confidence. I would move that this House no longer has confidence in the presiding officer. That is duly moved and seconded by the member for Wolseley (Ms. Friesen).
Mr. Ernst: Madam Speaker, while the substantive motion that the member has moved is significantly different than that of the matter of privilege raised yesterday by the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton), the substance is not. The substance, of course, is the question, is there a restriction of freedom of speech by your ruling of yesterday?
Madam Speaker, my submission yesterday, and it is again today, is that there is no restriction of freedom of speech by the restriction of the use of certain words in the Chamber. We have under Beauchesne's Sections 488, 489 and 490 dozens and dozens and dozens of words and phrases that are or have been considered inappropriate and out of order with respect to debates in this Legislature, in the House of Commons and in other Legislatures. Those words do not curtail anyone's freedom of speech, but we all labour in this Chamber under certain restrictions.
Parliamentary privilege and freedom of speech is not a licence to say anything at any time. There are rules, there are conventions, there are precedents from other Houses of Parliament and other Legislatures and this Legislature, where rulings of Speakers have determined that certain words and certain phrases are inappropriate and ought not to be used, and therefore have been included under either those citations or other precedent rulings, Madam Speaker.
The question of the use of language or the use of certain words in this House does not constitute a restriction of freedom of speech at all. Madam Speaker, we are free within those words that are considered to be parliamentary, able to criticize government policies, government members. In fact, it occurs daily in this House. It occurs daily in Question Period. It occurs daily in the debates on bills that are put forward before this House. It occurs daily in private members' hour with respect to certain government policies, certain members' actions, certain programs and a variety of other things that are the purview of the Manitoba Legislature, but that does not constitute a restriction on our freedom of speech.
Members may say--as I said earlier, within the words to be permitted under Beauchesne or other precedents, are quite free to say anything they wish, but from time to time certain words, certain phrases are restricted out of convention, out of common practice, out of civility, out of not offending the proprieties of the House. They are there to preserve decorum in the House.
From time to time those words and phrases are brought to the attention of the House; sometimes they are not. Sometimes out of inadvertence or not wishing to prolong or disrupt something that was occurring at the time, sometimes they are not always brought to the order or the attention of the Speaker, and sometimes the Speaker, Madam Speaker, has not been able to determine exactly what was said because of the debates that are going on. That does not excuse the fact that if a word or a phrase is brought forward as being unparliamentary, just because it happens to have occurred at one time or another without question does not excuse the fact that the word or phrase is used in an unparliamentary manner, and at any time that it is questioned, it ought to be ruled upon, and so you have done.
So, Madam Speaker, I understand the concern of the member for Concordia (Mr. Doer). I understand the sensitivities surrounding this particular issue, but, nonetheless, the fact is the matter has been ruled. The House has adopted your ruling, has supported your ruling, and, quite frankly, I do not, and I suspect my colleagues do not, think that this in any way constitutes the question of restriction of the member's freedom of speech. That freedom of speech is easily done with another word.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Inkster): Madam Speaker, it is indeed a very serious issue which the Leader of the New Democratic Party has brought forward. When he made his presentation, it made me reflect in terms of shortly after the last provincial election where the Liberal Party got approximately 24 percent of the vote in Manitoba; shortly after that we were reconvened inside this Chamber.
I remember the first day in which I attempted to stand and get the attention of the Speaker. I stood, question after question from the New Democratic caucus, attempted to catch the eye of the Speaker, Madam Speaker, with all due respect.
I felt then that I was not necessarily being treated appropriately or fairly. As in the past, when I was a House leader, when I felt that my party was not being treated fairly, I would take the time to speak with the former Speaker, and we would sit down and try to resolve the issue.
Madam Speaker, you and I sat down as independent, representing three members of this Chamber, sat down to try to resolve that particular issue. Ultimately, in the frustration, in the heat of the moment, I could have just as easily moved a motion of this nature, but I believe that ultimately your decision was in an attempt to try to bring decorum to this particular Chamber, and I respected that then, your decision, your ultimate decision in what you decided to do with the Liberal members of this Chamber.
I would ultimately like to be able to ask the third question and so forth, but I respect the decision which you have made, even though to a certain degree I might disagree with it in part.
Yesterday, I spent a great deal of time, as did the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) and the government House leader, talking on the issue which specifically the Leader has brought up. Instead of repeating everything, and I notice, in fact, Hansard is already out from yesterday, so any member can read at length in terms of what it is that was said, and all members of this Chamber said quite a bit, or not all members. A few members had quite a bit to say about what actually took place yesterday.
But, Madam Speaker, I am going to be a bit more brief this time. I want to concentrate on Beauchesne's 489, and I want to emphasize the importance of Beauchesne's. Almost on a daily basis, I see the member for Thompson, at times the government House leader--in fact, earlier today the government House leader, members stand up and they cite Beauchesne's.
Madam Speaker, you cite Beauchesne's, the former Speaker cited Beauchesne's. If we take a look at Beauchesne's Clause 489, it reads: "Since 1958, it has been ruled unparliamentary to use the following expressions:", and then it goes on to list a number of different expressions, the words deceive, deceived, deliberate, devoid of any honour, dictatorial attitude, false, fabrication, false statement, illegal, irresponsible members.
Well, Madam Speaker, these are all words and the collection of words which are used or stated in Beauchesne's that under that clause says that they are unparliamentary. I would challenge virtually any member in this Chamber who can honestly stand up and say they have never used any of those words. What is the difference? The difference is if you take a look at Clause 491 of Beauchesne's. In Beauchesne's, it says, 491: "The Speaker has consistently ruled that language used in the House should be temperate and worthy of the place in which it is spoken. No language is, by virtue of any list, acceptable or unacceptable. A word which is parliamentary in one context may cause disorder in another context, and therefore be unparliamentary."
Madam Speaker, I think that has to be taken into consideration whenever you make a ruling on a word that is parliamentary or unparliamentary. If in fact that clause was not taken into consideration, there would be a lot of points of order raised.
In my seven-plus years of serving inside this Chamber I have witnessed, as many of you, all sorts and different types of speeches. My best guess is I could have stood up if we were operating according to the unparliamentary words on numerous occasions and said that this particular individual is in violation of that rule. Madam Speaker, I do not stand up for the simple reason that I have to watch the context in which it is said.
If you talk about the context in which the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin) expressed the whole idea of racism--and that has been a very controversial word; the Leader of the New Democratic Party made reference to it in his opening remarks--last June, I believe it was June, we had the Premier (Mr. Filmon) plus the member for The Pas withdraw remarks because they used the word "racism" because of the context in which it was said.
I have the luxury in this case of sitting between both the member for The Pas and government benches. I might not necessarily be able to recall verbatim everything that occurred on that particular Question Period, but I can indicate that the feeling was very tense, and it has to be taken into consideration, the manner in which you say things. It is not a question of freedom of speech, as I indicated yesterday.
Madam Speaker, albeit in cases in the past I have disagreed with some of the things that you have said and no doubt in the future I will disagree with some of the things you are going to say, but those negotiations on behalf of me, the member for St. Boniface (Mr. Gaudry) and the member for The Maples (Mr. Kowalski) will continue.
This, in my opinion, is an issue which would have been better addressed had the opposition House leader brought it to your attention afterwards. After all, the matter of privilege which the member for Thompson (Mr. Ashton) brought forward yesterday, we supported. We supported the matter of privilege he was suggesting, that the issue of unparliamentary language go before a standing committee. Madam Speaker, that might be an appropriate thing for us to do, to have a standing committee deal with unparliamentary language or decorum inside this Chamber.
Many members in this Chamber talk about decorum. Madam Speaker, you have the responsibility to ensure that there is a certain element of decorum, and when in fact that decorum is not there, it is expected that members would in fact withdraw, even though they do not necessarily agree with what the Speaker has ruled. That is in fact what has happened previously, and I would anticipate that is what is going to happen in the future. With my somewhat limited experience in the Chamber, that is what I have witnessed over the seven years and that is what I am hoping will continue to be in the years ahead.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Mr. Ashton: Madam Speaker, I wish to put a few comments on the record.
I, first of all, want to assure the member for Inkster that the position of our caucus is that freedom of speech is not negotiable, and I reject that suggestion, nor, Madam Speaker, are we willing to negotiate history, and the history shows that racism exists. History shows that governments have enacted racist policies. History shows that political parties have enacted racist policies.
Madam Speaker, our concern on this side of the House is very clear. We believe that we have to have the one probably most important privilege, some would call it probably even the most fundamental privilege of this House, and that is the ability to exercise freedom of speech.
Madam Speaker, I went into some detail yesterday. I do not intend to do that today, but I believe that members opposite and the Liberal members in this House have fundamentally misunderstood the concerns that have been raised today by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Doer).
The question of unparliamentary language deals with decorum, Madam Speaker. No one is disputing the fact that we should not in this Chamber engage in personal attacks, and, in fact, that is the essential root of the references that the government House leader referred to in terms of unparliamentary language, that one should not make charges against members.
But it has always been clear that members of this Legislature and of Legislatures across the world have had the ability to make such comments as are reasonable within the rules of the House in regard to the actions of political parties, policies and programs of political parties and in terms of political parties themselves. In fact, I referred yesterday to a recent ruling in 1986, the British House of Commons, that made that very, very clear. There are many rulings in this House I referred to yesterday, a ruling by Speaker Rocan in 1992, Madam Speaker.
If we cannot call a policy racist, we are seriously hampered in our roles as members of this Legislature. I want to remind members of this House and I want to remind the public through you, Madam Speaker, of the key issue that we are dealing with here. We are in opposition. We are a collection of 23 members who were elected to this Chamber to represent our constituents and the broader good of the public of Manitoba, and when we come into this House, I think all of us fully anticipate that we have the right of freedom of speech and, indeed, that the role of the Speaker throughout the centuries of development of parliamentary tradition has been to maintain that freedom of speech.
Indeed, Speakers have been placed under arrest in other eras for doing nothing less than that, but, you know, this reference to Beauchesne--and I just want to read the first reference which talks about the principles of Canadian parliamentary law. The first, Madam Speaker, is to protect the minority and restrain the improvidence or tyranny of a majority.
From time immemorial, free Legislatures, whether it be under the parliamentary system or any system, have played that role. If we cannot speak out in this Legislature, protected by the office of Speaker, and call policies that are racist, racist, call programs that are racist, racist, and, indeed, perhaps on occasions there may be times when we have to make that accusation against political parties, we cannot protect not only our rights as members of this Legislature, a minority of members of this House, members of the opposition, but how can we speak out for the many people in this province who continue to face racism and the relics of racist policies, as the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin) pointed out yesterday, the many racist policies, clearly racist policies, that First Nations peoples have been subject to. The Aboriginal Justice Inquiry, for example, talked about racist policies, and I know the member for Rupertsland (Mr. Robinson) has raised this issue in the House.
If we cannot speak out about immigration policies, and, indeed, in this country we have had racist immigration policies, if we cannot speak out in the way that the member for Broadway (Mr. Santos) did, how can we speak out on behalf of many people who are concerned that we have an open, nonracist immigration policy?
I could continue, Madam Speaker. I mean, there was a time, as I mentioned yesterday, when First Nations people were not entitled to vote in this province, not until 1954, and, federally, until 1960 were they able to vote. Would members of the Legislature at that time not have been able to call that a racist policy?
I can think of nothing, Madam Speaker, more racist than denying the vote to one segment of society, and, by the way, that is why I used the analogy of South Africa, because under the current restrictions that we are faced with now, following the ruling yesterday, if we were in South Africa and this was 1949 and apartheid was being brought in, a racist policy brought in by a racist political party, we could not have called either the party or the policy racist.
Madam Speaker, this is not a club. It is not a debating club. It is not a debating society. The politeness that we extend to each other is a courtesy I think that all members of the public expect, but there are times when there will be strong words said in this Legislature. There are times when strong language will be used, and I say there are times when such terms as racism or sexism and other terms that describe government policies and political party policies not only will be said, they have to be said if this Legislature is to have any role in the democratic system in Manitoba.
Madam Speaker, the motion is not without precedent in this House. A similar motion was moved in 1982. The precedent at that time was to put this matter to a vote, and I want to stress that it is with regret that I am speaking on this particular matter, and it is with regret that we have moved this motion. As you are no doubt aware, and all members of this House are aware, it is only through a substantive motion that we can express the concern, the grave concern, that we have not only about this issue but other issues related to protecting our rights for freedom of speech.
I would suggest that we follow the precedent of 1982 and put this to a vote, but I just want to finish with one final comment, Madam Speaker, and it is something that I said yesterday. You know, I quoted fairly extensively Development of Parliamentary Tradition, but I hope that we will also in this province at some point in time recognize the many other traditions that form a part of our democratic society, particularly the tradition of our First Nations and the very unique political character and traditions that I personally have been fortunate to experience.
Madam Speaker, if there is one word that I could use to describe the First Nations political process, it is the amount of respect that is shown to all members of a community. In fact, whether it be the elders who provide their wisdom or the youngest member of a community, everyone is listened to. But, you know, that respect never stops First Nations people from speaking their minds, and I hope we can learn from that very basic democratic tradition that our First Nations probably experience more directly than even the parliamentary system which has filtered through hundreds of years.
I hope that we will, as we make a decision on this matter and other similar matters, recognize that it is important in particular for First Nations Manitobans to be able to come to this Legislature and talk, yes, about such issues as racism and racist policies. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Point of Order
Mr. Ernst: Madam Speaker, on a point of order, I believe there may be a will of the House to consider the motion before the House.
Madam Speaker: I thank the honourable government House leader for that advice. I was about to read my comments relative to the issue as well.
I would think that the subject matter of this particular motion is sufficient that the House would want to deal with it at the first possible opportunity and it would not serve the purpose of this House to have this particular motion hanging over the proceedings for the next little while.
I will therefore leave the motion to the House.
Is the House ready for the question?
Madam Speaker: The question before the House is, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this House no longer has any confidence in its presiding officer.
All those in favour of the motion, please indicate by saying yea.
Some Honourable Members: Yea.
Madam Speaker: All those opposed, please say nay.
Some Honourable Members: Nay.
Madam Speaker: In my opinion, the Nays have it.
Mr. Ashton: I would request a recorded vote, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker: A recorded vote has been requested. Call in the members.
A RECORDED VOTE was taken, the result being as follows:
Ashton, Chomiak, Dewar, Doer, Evans (Interlake), Evans (Brandon East), Friesen, Hickes, Jennissen, Lathlin, Mackintosh, Maloway, Martindale, McGifford, Mihychuk, Reid, Robinson, Sale, Santos, Struthers.
Cummings, Derkach, Downey, Driedger, Dyck, Enns, Ernst, Findlay, Gaudry, Gilleshammer, Helwer, Kowalski, Lamoureux, Laurendeau, McAlpine, McCrae, McIntosh, Newman, Pallister, Penner, Pitura, Praznik, Radcliffe, Reimer, Render, Rocan, Sveinson, Toews, Tweed, Vodrey.
Mr. Clerk (William Remnant): Yeas 20, Nays 30.
Madam Speaker: The motion is accordingly defeated.
Ms. Becky Barrett (Wellington): Madam Speaker, I was paired with the Premier (Mr. Filmon). Had I not been paired, I would have voted in favour of the motion.
Ms. Rosann Wowchuk (Swan River): Madam Speaker, I was paired with the Minister of Family Services (Mrs. Mitchelson). Had I not been paired, I would have voted in favour of the motion.
Ms. Marianne Cerilli (Radisson): Madam Speaker, I was paired with the Minister of Finance (Mr. Stefanson). Had I not been paired, I would have voted in favour of the motion.
Point of Order
Mr. Gord Mackintosh (St. Johns): Madam Speaker, on a point of order. Yesterday I rose on a point of order regarding remarks that I heard from the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Pallister) in this House. I heard something I did not want to hear.
While the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin) was sharing with this House, at a most difficult moment, his experience suffering racist policies, the minister--
Madam Speaker: Order, please. The honourable member for St. Johns raised this point of order and with the greatest respect I listened intently. I allowed him to speak and put his point of order on the record. I made a ruling at that point in time. I advised the House I had not heard the comment, I would indeed listen to the tape and peruse Hansard and report back to the House.
Mr. Mackintosh: Madam Speaker, if I may, on that. According to Hansard--I have just read that when I came into the House--there was no undertaking to check the recording, but the main import of what I have to say may preempt your need to make a ruling. I think it is in the interests of both the members of the Chamber and Manitobans that you hear me out on my point of order.
Madam Speaker: Order, please. I will reiterate for the benefit of all members that indeed I did listen to the point of order yesterday. Indeed, I have taken it under advisement and, with the greatest respect, given the undertakings of the last few hours, it was physically impossible to report back to the House today. I indeed intend to do that before the end of the current session.
MATTER OF PRIVILEGE
Mr. Gord Mackintosh (St. Johns): On a matter of personal privilege. Madam Speaker, yesterday when the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin) was sharing with this House his experience and his suffering under racist policies, the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Pallister) was heard by me to say from his seat that this is bullshit. He appeared to be sharing his remarks with the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship (Mr. Gilleshammer) and the Minister of Labour (Mr. Toews).
Given that the minister yesterday would not speak to the point of order, I now ask him to do what he must do, that he immediately apologize for his remarks. They are inherently offensive, and in the context they were made they are so fundamentally repugnant and disturbing, I think reflecting an attitude undeserving of any government, that this must be dealt with now. I think the disrespect shown reflects and shames us all.
This Chamber has had to wait for over a century to hear first-hand from First Nations peoples and their representatives of the racism that they have had to suffer. It is now important that we know that people who can effect change in a positive way do not treat racism or talk about it as BS.
I would ask the minister to apologize and withdraw his comments, Madam Speaker.
I also move, seconded by the member for The Pas (Mr. Lathlin), that the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Pallister) apologize to the House and particularly to First Nations representatives and the member for The Pas for his remarks yesterday.
Hon. Brian Pallister (Minister of Government Services): Respecting the member's so-called point of privilege, Madam Speaker, may I speak?
Madam Speaker: The honourable Minister of Government Services.
Mr. Pallister: I would like the record to show that I have nothing but respect for all Manitobans of all races, creeds and colours and that if the member believes that what he heard was inappropriate, then that is his responsibility to believe what he must believe.
The fact of the matter is there has never been any comment made by me in this House in respect to any other member of this House that was indicative of any belief that a member was not an honourable member. Every member here is honourable regardless of race, creed or colour. I firmly believe that and I will stand for that, and I respect the members on the other side of the House and this side of the House who stand for that principle and on that principle, and I will continue to do just that. Thank you.
Madam Speaker: I will take the matter under advisement and report back to the House later.