Monday, April 23, 2007

 

Chuck Cadman

Chuck Cadman


Charles "Chuck" Cadman, (February 21, 1948 – July 9, 2005) was a Canadian politician and Member of Parliament from 1997 to 2005, representing the riding of Surrey North in Surrey, British Columbia.

He was born in Kitchener, Ontario and grew up in North Bay, Ontario. He was a guitarist with a band called The Fringe, which toured Canada. He also played backup to The Guess Who on CBC Television. He eventually settled in British Columbia, where he attended the British Columbia Institute of Technology and became a certified electrical and electronics engineering technician. He worked for ten years as a microfiche camera technician for the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.

On October 18, 1992, Cadman's 16-year-old son Jesse was stabbed to death in a random street attack by a group of young people. In response to Jesse's death, Cadman and his wife Dona created the group CRY -- Crime Responsibility and Youth -- and counselled teens likely to become violent. He also campaigned for a tougher Young Offenders Act. His activism against youth violence propelled him into politics, first to carry on his fight against youth violence and for victims' rights. He was first elected to Parliament for Surrey North in the 1997 election as a member of the Reform Party of Canada. He introduced a private members bill which proposed to raise the maximum jail term for parents whose children commit crimes while under their supervision. This bill would later be incorporated into Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act in November 2000. He was also known for wearing a ponytail and blue jeans in Parliament.

He was re-elected under the banner of the Canadian Alliance in the 2000 election, and was appointed Justice Critic. However, prior to the 2004 election Cadman lost the nomination for the Conservative Party to Jasbir Singh Cheema, a former television news anchor and associate of Gurmant Grewal who brought a very large number of "new party members" to the vote. Cadman was also diagnosed with cancer in early May 2004 and underwent surgery to remove a tumour from his groin. He then ran as an independent in that election and was elected. He heard about the election call from his hospital bed.

He was the only candidate not affiliated with a party to win a seat in the 2004 election, and remained an independent, refusing offers to rejoin the Conservatives. Originally sitting as the only independent in a minority government, Cadman held considerable power. (Carolyn Parrish, David Kilgour, and Pat O'Brien all previously Liberals, sat as independents as well.)

On May 19, 2005, Cadman flew to Ottawa for a confidence vote not long after undergoing chemotherapy treatment for malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Cadman voted with the government on the 2005 budget, which had incorporated amendments proposed by the NDP, and forced a tie in the House of Commons. The tie was broken by the Speaker of the House, who voted in favour of the Liberal budget. The budget was later passed in Cadman's absence on June 23, 2005. In an interview after the budget vote, Cadman said he voted in favour of the budget simply because he was obeying the wishes of constituents who did not want to face another election a year after giving the minority Liberals their shaky mandate.
Independent MP Chuck Cadman votes during confidence vote on the federal budget in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, May 19, 2005. As a result of Cadman's decision to support the budget, Paul Martin's fragile Liberal minority government twice averted an election, narrowly winning confidence votes in the House of Commons. It would be one of his final votes
Independent MP Chuck Cadman votes during confidence vote on the federal budget in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, May 19, 2005. As a result of Cadman's decision to support the budget, Paul Martin's fragile Liberal minority government twice averted an election, narrowly winning confidence votes in the House of Commons. It would be one of his final votes

On July 9, 2005, Cadman died at his home after a two year long bout of malignant melanoma. Cadman's memorial service was held on July 16, 2005 at Johnston Heights Church, Surrey BC. Over 1500 people were in attendance: in addition to family, friends, and politicians of all parties in the church itself, Cadman's constituents packed the neighboring assembly hall and courtyard to pay their last respects by watching the service on television screens. Speeches honoring Cadman as a family man, parliamentarian, and advocate for victim's rights were made by Cadman's daughter, Jodi, Prime Minister Paul Martin, BC MLA Kevin Falcon, BC MLA Dave Hayer, Surrey Councillor Penny Priddy and several others. His wife, Dona, will be running for the Conservative Party of Canada in Surrey--North in the next election. She was elected as the Conservative candidate on December 20th, 2006.
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