25 Dec

AIDS in Africa

International Aid

Tuesday October 28, 2003

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the House seems preoccupied with gifts over $200 and the role of the member for LaSalle—Émard. Perhaps I could combine the two in a serious question to the Prime Minister by asking him to imagine what a $200 gift of generic drugs would do for a person with AIDS in Africa.

When will the Prime Minister make that happen? When will that legislation come forward? Is it the member for LaSalle—Émard who is holding up this process? Whatever it is, we want it addressed and soon.

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious question that needs attention. We have decided that we want to proceed with a change in legislation to ensure that the medication is made available to the people who are suffering from AIDS and other similar types of disease in Africa and elsewhere.

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We have been working on this file for a long time. We have been helping, for example, the foundation of former President Clinton on this matter. We have been at the forefront.

I am happy the member from the NDP knows that there are other problems rather than trying to destroy the reputation of members of Parliament.

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, no one knows better than the Prime Minister that time is running out for various political agendas. To the extent that this is on his political agenda, I wonder if he could tell the House that he will ensure this kind of change in legislation, which would provide generic drugs for people with AIDS and malaria and other diseases in Africa, will happen before the House adjourns or prorogues?

Right Hon. Jean Chrétien (Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is a complicated file. There is some work to be done and if it can be done before we adjourn, it will be done. If not, it will be done early in the next year.

12 Nov

Bill and the ND

“MP Bill Blaikie spoke for many is saying he was sick of being told the NDP was too mainstream. Most party members feel they’re branded in their own communities as radical enough already. Another irony is that the NPI may have been defeated by its own anarchist tendencies. There was no evidence of organization on their floor fight. MP Svend Robinson led off saying the NDP has drifted to the mushy middle, which had the effect of sending Blaikie – longtime champion of unpopular causes such as disarmament – rushing to the mike with his blistering – and popular – response.”
November 26, 2001 Straight Goods – In Spite of Themselves NDP and NPI win – Ish Theilheimer

“Blaikie, who on one level is in the mold of Tommy Douglas – a United Church minister who used to work at Winnipeg’s Stella Mission – has called for the NDP to move beyond its role as the country’s social conscience. On the other hand, he would be celebrating the party’s roots of struggle for social justice for ordinary Canadians, as well as warning against the dangers of the marketplace.”
July 3, 2002 Uptown Magazine – Nick Ternette

“Winnipeg MP Bill Blaikie angrily challenged Mr. Robinson’s argument in favour of a new party, provoking thunderous applause by declaring “this is not a mushy middle party and I’m tired of hearing it.” He said there was nothing mushy about opposing the war in Afghanistan. He was drowned out by applause and chants of “NDP, NDP!” as he urged pride in the party’s record and asked his colleagues to “stop beating up on ourselves.””
November 25, 2001 Ottawa Citizen – NDP Delegates Vote against new party – Juliet O’Neill

“Many say Bill Blaikie could be the person to turn the party’s fortunes around.”
August 23, 2001 Global News – Bill Blaikie will run for leadership position – Richard Madan

“The New Democratic Party, and its predecessor the CCF, had its roots in the social gospel: many of its key figures, like J.S. Woodsworth, T.C. Douglas and Stanley Knowles were ministers, and New Democrat MP Bill Blaikie is part of this tradition”
June 3, 2001 Toronto Star – Religious undercurrents shape our political culture – Graham Fraser

“Sitting in his West Block office the imposing and bearded MP sums up the three criticisms of the party … Not everyone accepts the argument that the party is too close to the centre “Show me!” demanded Blaikie.”
February 20, 2001 Ottawa Citizen – The three faces of the left – Charles Gordon

“Alan Whitehorn, a political science professor who has written two books on the NDP, said Blaikie is a sharp wit who commands respect in the caucus.
Trevor Harrison, a political sociologist at the University of Lethbridge, said Blaikie has the potential to draw support from both NDP traditionalists and typically younger activists.”
June 17, 2002 Canadian Press – Manitoba MP Blaikie first in the race for leadership of federal NDP

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20 Aug

Equalization Payments

Bill C-18 – Second Reading

Thursday, March 22, 2001

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I would have been tempted to ask a question of the member for Elk Island but I was not sure whether or not I had the floor. As I do, perhaps I will respond briefly to some of what the member had to say, because it seems to me there was a thread throughout some of what he had to say which was critical of the equalization payment scheme we have in this country.

I would remind the member of two things. Equalization is part of the Constitution of Canada. This was constitutionalized in 1982. It is a critical element of Canadian social and economic policy that all citizens, no matter where they live, be served by provincial governments that, because of equalization payments, are able to provide comparable levels of services to all citizens.

The fact that Canadian citizens who live in so-called have provinces have to contribute to that through the federal transfer payments is not something that I think the member would want to be seen criticizing, because I know that his party has been in trouble in the past for sounding like it would like to do away with equalization.

I would caution the hon. member that unless he wants to revive that debate he should be careful as to what he says, because it sure sounded to me as though there was an undercurrent of opposition to equalization payments.

It always strikes me as odd when we hear that coming from a province that is doing as well as the province of Alberta is doing. We do not want to have a situation in the country where the gap between rich and poor provinces grows any greater than it already is. That is the situation that we find ourselves on the edge of now, given some of the economic circumstances that prevail.

We in the NDP rise to speak against this particular bill because of the fact that even though it lifts the ceiling or the cap on equalization payments for one year, it then goes on to restore that ceiling or that cap in a way that we find objectionable. It seems to me that equalization is not just a constitutional principle. It is a moral principle that there should be this kind of comparable equality among all Canadians. However, if it is a constitutional principle, this is something that should not be capped. There should not be a ceiling put on this particular constitutional principle.

I wonder if the members of the Alliance Party could have their meeting outside the House. That is what the curtains are here for. Mr. Speaker, I am talking to you. I wonder whether those members could have their meeting outside the House so that—

The Speaker: I am having no trouble hearing the hon. member. That is why I had not intervened. The hon. member does have a strong voice. Although he is a long way away, I was still hearing him quite well. The meeting was not as disturbing to me as it apparently was to him, in the sense that I guess the sound was going that way.

I am certainly happy to intervene on behalf of the hon. member and urge hon. members to show proper restraint in controlling their conversations in the House.

Mr. Bill Blaikie: Mr. Speaker, I was saying that if this is a constitutional principle and one grounded as a certain normative or moral view of what constitutes Canadian society and the relationship that all Canadians have with each other through their federal government so that Canadians, no matter where they live, can have a comparable level of public services, then this is not something that there should be a cap on.

What we have seen too often in this last decade or so is the federal government moving to cap, to limit, its commitment to certain social programs. It is not just equalization. I think of a former program called the Canada assistance program, which was sometimes called CAP for short, which itself was capped by a Conservative government. It was sometimes called the cap on CAP. To compound matters, the Liberal government did away with CAP altogether and brought in the Canada health and social transfer, sometimes called the CHST.

The federal government wonders why there is not the strong sense of country that it would sometimes like to see. No wonder, when we have federal governments that have been progressively withdrawing from its commitments to social and economic equality in the country, starting with the Conservatives with the cap on CAP, or actually starting with the Liberals back in the early 1980s when they were responsible for the first unilateral reduction in federal transfer payments to the provinces.

Over the course of a long time, the federal government has been withdrawing from fiscal commitments it made to the provinces in the course of designing specific national social programs and in the course of living up to specific national arrangements like equalization. We in the NDP say here today that a cap on equalization is wrong and that it should be lifted entirely. However, if it cannot be lifted entirely, then at the very least, when the ceiling is put back, as this bill also does, it should be put back at a base that is higher than where the ceiling was before it was lifted for this one particular year.

My understanding is that that was the understanding the provinces had. They understood that when the ceiling was lifted and the equalization payments rose as a result, that new level would become the new base. Instead, what this bill does is return the base to a lower figure and put many provinces, particularly my home province of Manitoba, in a position in which they are not as well off as a result of the CHST increases as the federal government would like to make out. They lose, through equalization and the restoration of the ceiling next year at this lower base, what they gained through the increase in the Canada health and social transfer.

What happens is, despite all the smoke and mirrors and despite the Liberal campaign promises and the Liberal spin around the great increase in federal funding to the provinces for health care that came with the increase in the CHST with the so-called health accord, provinces like Manitoba are in effect no better off because they are losing on equalization through the equalization cap what they gained on CHST. The only provinces that actually come out of this better are the have provinces because they do not lose through equalization. They just gain through CHST.

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Where in the heck is the logic of that? Is this what the government intended, that after all was said and done it would be the have provinces that have more and the have not provinces that have less, because that is the result? I do not know if that was the intended result. I do not know if the government is just stupid or vicious when it comes to this sort of thing. We can take our pick. In any event, this is the result of what the government has done, and what it is doing through this particular bill.

We say two things. First, lift the cap on equalization. Get rid of that ceiling that will cost some of the have not provinces more and more as the years go by, depending on economic circumstances. Certainly current projections would indicate that the cap will cost Manitoba for instance something like $100 million. That is a lot of money in Manitoba. It may not seem like much to a federal government that is projecting a surplus of $15 billion or whatever. However, $100 million can buy a lot of public services, health care and post-secondary education in a province like Manitoba.

What we are seeing is a further downloading on the part of the federal government. The federal government is building up its surplus and fighting its deficit on the backs of the provinces, which in many cases have to deliver those very important services that Canadians really care about in terms of health care and education, for instance. The provinces have to take the heat for the lack of MRIs, or the lack of other diagnostic services, or crowded classrooms or whatever the case may be.

What we see is a very disturbing trend. The federal government over the course of many years now, accelerated in a remarkable way by the Liberals since they came to power in 1993, has been withdrawing from all these commitments. I think it is part of the national unity crisis to the extent that there is one. Liberals spend their time scratching their heads and wondering why Canadians do not have a stronger attachment to their country, and how they can get more federal visibility?

Who has done more to destroy federal visibility and participation than the Liberal Party since it came to power in 1993. It did this through the systematic sell off and privatization of many of our national institutions and infrastructure, eliminating post offices, getting rid of our publicly owned national railway and privatizing Air Canada. The list goes on of ways in which the federal government has taken the federal presence, both symbolically and practically, out of the lives of Canadians. Then the Liberals wonder why Canadians do not have a strong sense of being Canadian. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out. On top of that it withdraws its fiscal commitment from so many of these programs and leaves the provinces to pick up the slack. There is a lot of slack because most of the areas that the federal government is withdrawing from are growing areas of expenditure, not diminishing areas of expenditure.

We see the Minister of Finance piling up his surplus, taking credit for his fiscal management of the country, and yet in many respects this has been done on the backs of the provinces or the unemployed through the use of the EI surplus.

What is going to happen if worse comes to worse, we do have a recession and we have all these ceilings? Is it not nice for the federal government? It does not have to worry. Recession can come. All the ways in which it will deal with the social consequences of a recession are all capped. It does not matter how bad it gets, the government’s commitment is capped: capped on equalization, capped on CHST at a level that is still lower than what it was in 1993 when the Liberals became the government, capped here, capped there, capped everywhere.

It is the provinces that will have to fight the recession, if there is one, all by themselves. They will have to pick up the people who do not qualify for EI anymore and go on provincial welfare. They will have to pick up the increased use of the health care system as people are stressed out by economic conditions et cetera. They will have to do that with declining revenues because the recession itself will affect their revenues.

Meanwhile the federal government will sit back and say, “Oh, we signed a health accord in August 2000 which solved everything, even though it didn’t put back what we took out in 1995. We’ve got an equalization scheme. It’s even in our constitution. It’s a great Canadian principle”. However it only goes so far. It does not go far enough to address the needs of the have not provinces. It only goes as far as we like it to go without endangering the federal government’s fiscal health.

There are a lot of reasons to be concerned about the bill. I know most people I think probably regarded this as a bit of care taking legislation and probably in the end it will not receive the kind of debate in the House that it deserves. However I would implore other members of parliament and opposition parties to take a good look at the bill and take a good look at the principles and the values that underline it and the way in which the bill is a repudiation of our constitution. It is a repudiation of the principle of equalization which is enshrined in our constitution. It is a danger to the long term health of have not provinces which are continually and increasingly being put at a disadvantage in respect of wealthier provinces.

Again I use my own province as an example. However, I certainly know members from the maritimes have similar concerns about equalization and have asked for special arrangements whereby some of the revenues that accrue to those provinces through oil and gas revenues might not receive such a serious clawback as they do now in the equalization formula. This is one of the ways in which this might be addressed, although I do not think there is unanimity among the provinces with respect to that because not all provinces that have all oil and gas revenues are asking for that.

Clearly we need to do something either by way of increasing equalization for all provinces that require it or coming to some special arrangements with certain provinces with respect to certain kinds of revenue. Whatever the case may be, the system that is put in place by this particular bill is inadequate and creates a situation in which more and more have not provinces have their treasuries and ministers of finance put in a position where they do not know really what to do.

In order to maintain services, in the face of the lack of the kind of money they feel they should be getting from the federal government, they have to maintain a certain tax base. If there is a province next door, or two or three over, that does not have to maintain that kind of tax base because it is a have province and it has the revenues, then we have a growing gap between the so-called tax competitiveness of various provinces.

We get a situation in which provincial governments have no policy room to manoeuvre. They basically have to imitate some of the richest provinces. When they do that, they not only lose their ability to make their own decisions, they are sometimes forced into making bad or regrettable decisions. That is not what people had in mind when they came up with the idea of equalization. That is not what we had in mind in this chamber. I was here when we constitutionalized the equalization principle.

I would ask the government members to consider whether they want this to be their legacy. When they had an opportunity to do something about equalization, when they had a surplus, when they could have done something to strengthen this constitutional principle, they did not. Do they want that to be their legacy or do they want it to be said of them that the Liberals were the party who finally brought equalization back up to where it should have been and created the kind of equality in the country that they like to talk about, but which this bill in its details and in its principles betrays?

29 Mar

Youth Criminal Justice Act

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Bill C-7. Third reading

Youth Criminal Justice Act

Tuesday, May 29, 2001

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Madam Speaker, I have just a few comments as the end of a long process winds down, not only in the context of time allocation but also in the context of a bill that has received a great deal of attention by this parliament and the previous parliament.

We regret to say that we cannot support Bill C-7 because we all started from the proposition, with perhaps the exception of the Bloc Quebecois because the Young Offender’s Act seems to be working in Quebec in a way that it does not seem to be working in the rest of the country, that the Young Offender’s Act did not live up to expectations. I say that as someone who was here in 1983-84 when we passed the Young Offender’s Act. There was a great sense of progress in that we had finally shed the juvenile delinquent’s act and that a new day in youth criminal justice was ahead of us. Some 15 years later we do not have that feeling at all.
We have the feeling that the Young Offender’s Act does not work, that it has many unintended consequences and that it does not have enough discretion built into it. Too many young people are being forced into and clogging up the court system. We feel that that kind of discretion should be available to the system, which is not available in the Young Offender’s Act. So we have before us the youth criminal justice act.

Unfortunately, we can also say today that, given the unwillingness of the government to consider many of the criticisms that have been levelled at the bill, to consider the need for more resources if this bill is to be implemented properly, a point that has been made over and over again by various provincial governments and to consider the complexity of the bill and the fact that it might actually extend rather than shorten the distance in time between the offence and consequences, one has the ominous feeling that 15 years from now, and some of us may still be here, we will be discussing the failure of the youth criminal justice act.

That might be something in the nature of this kind of legislation or it might be something peculiar to this legislation. It is probably a little bit of both. In the end no amount of youth criminal justice legislation, whether it is the Young Offender’s Act or the juvenile delinquent’s act or the youth criminal justice act, is going to be enough to solve our problems.

Our problems are fundamentally social, economic and moral. They have a lot to do with the kind of values young people are picking up in the media, on television, from the popular culture and even from our economic system. We have an economic culture that more than ever before holds up self-interest as the guiding light, that everything works well if we all pursue our own self-interest in an extremely competitive way. The language of co-operation that we might find in older notions of how we should relate to each other or that might be found on Sesame Street, soon evaporates for many youths when they see how the world unfortunately sometimes really works. We have a much larger task ahead of us than anything we could accomplish through the youth criminal justice system.
I want to re-emphasize some of the things we said at second reading and which have not really been addressed in committee. We find ourselves in much the same position as we were at second reading. I already mentioned the fact that the complexity in the bill was a problem in of itself. However it could also lengthen the time between the actions and the consequences.

One thing we know, at least it seems so to me, is that there is a great deal of agreement that for justice to be effective, particularly with young people, it should be swift. People should be able to make the connection between what they have done and what the punishment is or what the consequences are and not have it so delayed as to be remote in the connection in the young person’s mind.

The question of the changing the reverse onus provisions, changing the existing situation whereby the state now has to argue for youth between the ages of 14 and 17 to be brought before adult court, will change. What is this going to mean? This will mean a bigger role for lawyers in the system. This in itself will delay things. Anything lawyers have something to do with is a source of delay, sometimes legitimate and sometimes not.

This will further complicate the system, given the fact that many young people who find themselves in trouble are not always from families of means. This will mean an increased burden on legal aid. We are very concerned about the chain reaction involved. This is all part of a downloading of costs onto the provinces, legal aid et cetera without the corresponding resources being devolved to people who will have to deal with the complexities of this new system.

The province of Manitoba has a concern with this legislation. We do not want this new act to apply to children under 12. However, at the same time we need a strategy for dealing with children under 12. In the inner city of Winnipeg and many other places we know that children under 12 are being employed by gangs to effect their criminal intentions. We need a strategy to deal with that which is effective and at the same time respects the fact that we do not want children under 12 to be brought, strictly speaking, within the rubric of the youth criminal justice act.

There are a lot of things that need to be done. This bill does not do them in terms of resources. It does not do them in terms of its own stated objectives. For the record, for this reason and many others which I do not intend to go into at the moment, the NDP will be voting against the bill at third reading stage.

28 Dec

Respect From Others

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“Parliament re-opened October 27, and Bill Blaikie, my NDP counterpart, immediately launched a guerrilla attack to force me to act. I stalled him to gain a little time, but I was backed into a corner.”
Monique Begin, P. 91, Medicare – Canada’s Right to Health, referring to the lead up to the inroduction of the Canada Health Act.

“Bill Blaikie was quite impressive in these hearings. He came to epitomize for me some of the best traditions of Canadian public discourse. He gave every evidence of genuinely seeking to determine the truth in these complex matters … His questions were usually the most challenging. He was a more effective partisan for the very dispassionate tenor of his interventions.
Wrestling with the Elephant> Page 161, – The Inside Story of the Canada-US Trade Wars, by Gordon Ritchie.

“I believe it healthy for the Canadian political system that an experienced politician who has worked long and hard at his craft seeks the leadership of his party at a time when it needs rebuilding. Bill and I were both elected to the House of Commons in the spring of 1979; thus I have seen him in action for a long time. He has weathered a lot of political storms that give him a very good understanding of the way Ottawa works and the special character of our federal parliamentary system. Too often there is a tendency for parties in a time of crisis to choose a newcomer, a fresh face, to be a saviour, only to have inexperience and lack of understanding of the customs of Parliament result in the outsider falling on their face — witness the spectacular crash of Stockwell Day.

As a United Church minister, Bill grew up in the tradition of the prairie social gospel movement that spawned other community-conscious religious figures such as Stanley Knowles and Tommy Douglas to serve their faith through political action. He also inherits a tradition of pragmatic social democratic governance practised over the years by the provincial New Democrats — Saul Miller and Saul Cherniack of the Schreyer government, Howard Pawley and now Gary Doer.

In recent times, Bill Blaikie has been posing questions relating to trade, global governance, continental integration and resource management in the House of Commons. I haven’t always agreed with his proposed answers, but he is certainly raising pertinent questions”.
June 23, 2002 Winnipeg Free Press – An Old Foe Backs Blaikie – Lloyd Axworthy

“Bill Blaikie: The long-time Winnipeg-Transcona MP is not only one of the biggest men on Parliament Hill, but also one of the most respected. The United Church minister-turned-politician serves as the party’s House leader and is one of the NDP’s best performers.”
May 21, 2002 Winnipeg Free Press – Who is waiting in the wings? – Paul Samyn

“First-class,” is how former Tory MP James McGrath describes Mr. Blaikie. “He’s an excellent man to work with, he’s a consensus builder and a very reasonable man,” said Mr. McGrath from his home in St. John’s yesterday. “He’s informed … he’s the kind of leader a country needs.”
June 6, 2002 National Post – Casual but respected – Francine Dube

“Liberal MPs, who have loudly heckled the opposition in the past, sat silently in the Commons yesterday when Bill Blaikie, the respected NDP House Leader who avoids partisanship, rose in the House to plead for an end to the controversy.”
March 24, 2001 National Post – PM Should Stand Down – Andrew McIntosh, Robert Fife

University of Manitoba political scientist Paul Thomas said he believes Blaikie may have the best chance to not only win the leadership but also move the party forward.

“His combined parliamentary experience and links with social movements of various kinds make him someone more capable of bridging the gap between the traditional party apparatus and the non-governmental groups,” Thomas said.

“He emphasizes substance and doesn’t play many of the theatrical games you see in the Commons,” Thomas said. “When Bill stands up to speak you will hear something substantive.”
June 15, 2002 Winnipeg Free Press – Blaikie revs up campaign – Paul Samyn

“Bill Blaikie has been in Parliament for two decades and respect for his wisdom and sense of fairness has only grown. As a bonus, by choosing him, the NDP would severely undercut Stephen Harper’s competitive advantage even though the two parties hardly compete for the same votes. Mr. Harper presents himself as Parliament’s plain talker and relative intellectual. Mr. Blaikie can give him a run for his money on both grounds. And Mr. Blaikie offers more fire and more humour.
Do not take any of this as an endorsement. An endorsement from the pages of the National Post is a crueller burden than any New Democrat would want.”
June 9, 2002 National Post – McDonough resigns a thankless task – Paul Wells

8 Sep

Medical Marijuana


Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the decision of the U.S. supreme court yesterday to criminalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes and strike down state laws, which permitted the same, reveals the tragic dogmatism at the heart of the official American attitude toward drugs. They are committed to a prohibitionist, universally criminalizing strategy that is ineffective and particularly unfair to Americans in need of cannabis for therapeutic purposes.

Canada fortunately seems tentatively headed in a more intelligent and compassionate direction. Not only have our courts ruled differently on medical marijuana and our government responded accordingly but there is a growing chorus of established opinion for a different approach to the possession of marijuana for personal use.

The Canadian Medical Association has joined the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs in asking that such an approach be seriously considered. These voices should be seriously listened to. Canadians and their government should continue to seek a superior alternative to the failed approach entrenched in the United States of America.

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1 Jul

Standing up for Canada

“In part because he’s normally more mild-mannered, and in part because he actually seemed genuinely upset rather than theatrical, Blaikie’s anger seemed much less out of place than the endless bluster of the other parties in recent weeks. On Friday, meanwhile Blaikie continued his good work by urging the government to condemn George W. Bush’s abandonment of the Kyoto accord on greenhouse gases – another serious issue that could have otherwise gone ignored. We’ve been asking MPs to focus on some actual issues of public policy, and Blaikie has done just that … which means that, unlike most of his colleagues, he deserves some positive recognition right now”
March 30, 2001 Pundit Magazine – Rising Stars and Sinking Ships

“Such talk of inevitable globalization, and the insatiable hunger for competitiveness and downsizing makes New Democrat Bill Blaikie bristle. “ These things aren’t like the weather – they are the product of human organization,” said Blaikie, a hulking MP from Winnipeg who is given to an articulate bluntness. “Does a smaller planet have to be a cattle auction where social standards of countries are auctioned off in a bidding war to produce sweatshops worldwide.””
June 8, 1995 Montreal Gazette – Parliament is flying with one wing – Terrance Wills

“Check Hansard and you will find some excellent interventions, literally dozens on the MAI but on many other issues as well. Bill Blaikie, Svend Robinson and Libby Davies, are first-rate parliamentary activists.”
December 1999 Canadian Dimension – Building a Social Movement in Canada – Murray Dobbin

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“Parliamentarians from around the world formed a jury at the massive Methodist church, where under its domed roof, several thousand people roared approval at NDP MP Bill Blaikie’s denunciation of the current world order.”
Spring 2000 Sierra Club Activist News – The Score in Seattle: Democracy 1, WTO 0 – Elizabeth May

“Apart from New Democrat Bill Blaikie, no one in Ottawa appears to be paying attention to this developing disaster.”
May 2, 2001 Ottawa Citizen – Jean Chretien is too eager to pump gas for the Americans – Susan Riley

“Bill Blaikie, the federal NDP House Leader and a fervent opponent of bulk exports.”
May 15, 2001 The Telegram – Ottawa Still opposed to bulk water exports, Anderson says – Jim Brown

20 May

Lockheed Martin & the Census

Government Contracts

Thursday October 9, 2003

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Industry.

We have heard a troubling rumour that Statistics Canada has awarded a multi-million dollar contract to an American corporation to do the dress rehearsal for the census in 2005 and subsequently the census itself. That corporation, we have heard, is Lockheed Martin, one of the biggest munitions companies in the world.

I wonder if the minister could tell us whether or not this is in fact true and, if it is true, why the Liberal government has decided to award such a contract.

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, one thing I can assure the House is that Statistics Canada will continue to do its job according to the worldclass standards that it has always achieved. We will make certain of that. It has a well deserved reputation for excellence and it will continue to work to deserve that reputation.

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, let the House take note that the Minister of Industry did not answer my question and did not deny that such a contract has been offered.

We base a lot of our environmental ministry choices on what Australia is doing. They do a lot of things really well, including offering pokies for Australians.

Given that this is an American munitions corporation that is actually all wound up with the star wars thing, I wonder if the minister could explain to us the connection between star wars and Statistics Canada and tell us whether or not the government is involved in the letting of a contract of this kind to an American corporation. Would he answer the question? Surely he knows what is going on in his own department.

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is working himself into an agitated state when he should focus instead on the real purpose of all this, which is to make sure we get statistics numbers and a census that we can rely upon. Statistics Canada will continue to do what is necessary to achieve just that.

Later in the same question period…

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, my question is again to the Minister of Industry.

I will allow for the fact that perhaps his first answer to my question might have been based on not knowing what the situation was. Some time has passed.

Could the minister tell us whether or not such a contract has been awarded to Lockheed-Martin for the census. If it has, could he tell us in which wing of the Pentagon all this information on Canadians will be stored?

Hon. Allan Rock (Minister of Industry, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as with any other such crown agency, contracts awarded by Statistics Canada are awarded after a full bidding process where value for money and the contract price is evaluated.

I have every confidence Statistics Canada used that process in its entirety in this and every other case

9 Jan

Civil Harmonization Act, No. 1

The environment will always be a concern to those in today’s world. In between your environmental endeavors, go check out the games at http://australiancasinoadvisor.com/sydney.

ill S-4 Second Reading

Federal Law – Civil Harmonization Act, No. 1

Monday, May 7, 2001

Mr. Bill Blaikie (Winnipeg—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker, this debate promises to be probably one of the shortest second reading debates in history.

I do not have much more to add to the extensive contributions of my colleagues from the Alliance and the Bloc in the debate on Bill S-4. We all know the merits of the bill. I do not want to assume anything on behalf of the Progressive Conservative Party, but all of us assume its speedy passage. Having listened to the Minister of Justice and having familiarized myself with the legislation it seems to me that the sooner we accomplish this, the better.

14 Aug

For the ‘Little Guy’

“Bill Blaikie is a big man who likes to watch out for the little guy. Global trade deals. Corporate profits at the expense of jobs. The sell off of Canadian institutions like the CNR. All have incurred the wrath of the burly, bearded House Leader of the NDP.”
May 24, 1998 Winnipeg Free Press -NDP hopes to cash in on merger backlash – Paul Samyn

“He’s my MP, we worked together on campaigns before. He’s got electoral success, he’s won through thick and thin since 1979 and I think he is uniquely qualified because he is an individual who goes to the plant gate, to the coffee shops and he represents a community of working people.” Gary Doer, Premier of Manitoba
June 18, 2002 Globe and Mail – NDP Leadership Candidate aims to heal party wounds – Krista Foss

“Bill is the widely respected New Democrat MP who has long represented a working-class Winnipeg neighbourhood “One of my goals is to persuade people who protest that real change also comes from the long, hard work of the political process,” the lunch-bucket leftie says from his office at the House of Commons. “When you are out there with people, one on one, talking on their doorsteps, there is no teargas, there are no dogs. There are only citizens interacting”
June 23, 2002 Calgary Sun – Left behind MP knows marchers’ message – Rick Bell

“It’s at the United Church where he used to preach and fight for Winnipeg’s downtrodden that Bill Blaikie chose to announce his next mission in life, to run for the NDP’s top job and make the federal party and electable force.”
June 17, 2002 The National – NDP leadership officially got underway today – Christina Lawand.

“Blaikie, a lunch bucket social democrat from a working class Winnipeg riding.”
One Hundred Monkeys Page 58– The Triumph of Popular Wisdom in Canadian Politics, By Robert Mason Lee.

In his spare time, Blaikie enjoys a number of different activities, including hiking, playing sports, and getting on his mobile device and playing blackjack.

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