Judy Klassen stands to challenge the Tory approach to First Nation's people - on a Matter of Privilege
Judy Klassen spoke on a Matter of Privilege to end stereotypical depictions of First Nation people as criminals. Her remarks in the Manitoba Legislature on June 7 are below [from Hansard].
Madam Speaker: The honourable member for Kewatinook, on a matter of privilege.
Ms. Judy Klassen (Kewatinook): A prima facie case of a matter of privilege requires that it be raised at the earliest possible opportunity and that it concerns a matter which is considered a privilege by this Legislature.
With regard to the timing of this matter, I speak to remarks of the MLA for Morris, made during his member's statement yesterday. I needed to consult Hansard to be sure of what the MLA for Morris said, and now that I have done that, I am raising this matter of privilege at the earliest possible time.
With regard to the MLA for Morris's statement, I will not repeat it because that would only continue the injustice.
I will indicate to the Speaker and to the Chamber that I'm raising this matter of privilege based on the description of privilege found on page 83 of Marleau and Montpetit. I quote: Members are entitled to go about their parliamentary business undisturbed. The assaulting, menacing or insulting of any member of the floor of the House while he or she is coming or going from the House, or on account of his behaviour during a proceeding of Parliament, is a violation of the rights of Parliament. Any form of intimidation–it is a crime to commit an act of violence in order to intimidate the Parliament of Canada–of a person for or on account of his behaviour during a proceeding in Parliament could amount to contempt.
Yesterday, during members' statements, the member of Morris alluded to a member's past issues with the law that occurred prior to their tenure as a member of this House. This has happened several times before by the Premier (Mr. Pallister) and even the Minister of Justice (Mrs. Stefanson), but I had hoped that it would end with them and that I'd be able to fix that damage.
These statements are not to be taken lightly. Due to these thoughtless remarks, my ability to do my job as an MLA is being impeded.
I am trying to build my people up. Madam Speaker, there are many within our communities who do have criminal backgrounds but have worked hard to turn their lives around.
To repeatedly bring up a person's past issues with the legal system serves no end. It only tears someone down.
This is a really big issue for my people. We know how many of my people are incarcerated. How can I encourage my people to change their lives, turn them around, when we all work with someone we know has demonstrated that it can be done through hard work and is–but is continuously slapped in the face with his past?
This place does not practise indigenous law. It practises Western law, and according to the Western–according to Western justice, the member has paid his price and that should be the end of it. If this place practised indigenous law, then that's an entirely different matter.
The member for Morris's (Mr. Martin) statements against a member of this House do not serve to advance any intelligent discussion or debate in this House. His comments only act as a personal attack against one's character. The member's remarks can also serve to perpetuate negative stereotypes against indigenous people as criminals in this province and country, stereotypes that many in this seat, I'm hoping, are trying to disprove.
Miigwech, Madam Speaker.
Madam Speaker: Does the member have that motion in writing and does the member have a seconder for the motion?
Ms. Klassen: We'll get it in writing and it'll be seconded by the member from River Heights.
Madam Speaker: Okay. We need the motion first before we can proceed. We'll just wait a few seconds until it's written and then we will ask the member to read the motion so that everybody's clear what the motion is.
The member will need to read her motion.
Ms. Klassen: I move, seconded by the MLA for River Heights, that this matter be referred to a committee of this Legislature.