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David Kilgour, 2008

David Kilgour, PC (born February 18, 1941 in Winnipeg, Manitoba) is a former Canadian politician.

Kilgour graduated from the University of Manitoba in economics in 1962 and the University of Toronto law school in 1966. From crown attorney in northern Alberta to Canadian Cabinet minister, Kilgour ended his 27 year tenure in the Canadian House of Commons as an Independent MP. Upon retirement, he was one of the longest current serving Members of Parliament and one of the very few who had been elected as both under the Progressive Conservative and Liberal banner.

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Member of Parliament

Kilgour was originally elected as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party in 1979. However, his first attempt at election, in the 1968 federal election in the riding of Vancouver Centre as a Progressive Conservative was unsuccessful. He ran again as a Tory in the 1979 election in Edmonton, and was a Member of Parliament for about 27 years. In October 1990, he, along with Pat Nowlan of Nova Scotia and Alex Kindy of Calgary, were expelled from the Tory national caucus in protest over their vote against the Goods and Services Tax. He sat as an independent for several months before joining the Liberals.

In the Liberal government, he served as the Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons, Secretary of State Latin America and Africa (1997-2002), and Secretary of State, Asia-Pacific (2002-2003). In the Conservative governments of Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney he served as Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council, the Minister for CIDA, the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, and the Minister of Transport.

In April 2005, he received media attention when he speculated about quitting the Liberal Party because of his disgust with the sponsorship scandal, saying that the issue made Canada look like "a northern banana republic". On April 12, 2005, he announced that he was crossing the floor to sit as an independent MP. He also cited the Canada's lack of action on the crisis in Darfur, Sudan, as reasons for quitting. He asserted that he has no plans to move back to the Conservatives, and stated that he had no plans to run for re-election.

From 1979 to 1988, he represented the riding of Edmonton—Strathcona, but with shifting constituency lines moved to the Edmonton Southeast in 1988, and then again to Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont in 2004 which he represented until he retired from politics at the 2006 election.

Because of the unusual structure of the 38th House of Commons, in May 2005, David Kilgour's lone vote had the power to bring down or support the government. He used this influence to urge the Martin government to send peacekeepers to Darfur. He is an endorser of the Genocide Intervention Network. Then-Prime Minister Paul Martin agreed to send humanitarian support but in the end, no peacekeepers were sent.

Involvement with the Falun Gong

In July 2006 with co-participant David Matas he released report entitled "Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China."[1] The report alleged that the Chinese authorities were executing a "large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience" and removing their internal organs including corneas, hearts, kidneys and livers for sale to foreign nationals in need of healthy organs for transplant. His allegations have not been independently verified.

Recognition

In May 2006, he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity (D.D.(Hon)) degree, from Knox College, University of Toronto. Kilgour, a Presbyterian was recognized for his commitment to human rights in Canada and abroad and particularly his challenge to the international community to respond to the plight of Darfur, as well as in Burma, and Zimbabwe.

On March 31, 2006, the Globe and Mail's Neil Reynolds wrote a column titled "Morality, not economics, is what matters" basing the piece on Kilgour's continual commitment towards the issues affecting the world's poor. Kilgour is again quoted saying Canada must support military intervention in Darfur. Reynolds concludes that "in the past 25 years, no Canadian could take this kind of moral time-test and pass with such flying colours as David Kilgour, the MP who changed parties twice but who walked away without changing principles once."

References

  1. ^ Kilgour, David; David Matas (31 January 2007). "BLOODY HARVEST Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China" (in English, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, French, German, ...). pp. 243. http://www.organharvestinvestigation.net/. Retrieved 2009-09-25.  

External links

26th Ministry - Government of Jean Chrétien
Sub-Cabinet Posts (2)
Predecessor Title Successor
Rey Pagtakhan Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific)
(2002–2003)
Christine Stewart Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa)
(1997–2002)
Denis Paradis
Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Douglas Roche
Member of Parliament for Edmonton—Strathcona
1979 – 1988
Succeeded by
Scott Thorkelson
New district Member of Parliament for Edmonton Southeast
1988 – 2003
District abolished
Member of Parliament for Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont
2003 – 2006
Succeeded by
Mike Lake
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