David Iftody (June 15, 1956—February 5, 2001) was a Romanian Canadian politician. He served in the Canadian House of Commons from 1993 to 2000, representing the Manitoba riding of Provencher. Iftody was a member of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Early life and career
Iftody was born in Winnipeg, with family roots in Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba. He worked at the Manitoba Youth Care Centre from 1977 to 1982, and subsequently received Bachelor of Social Work (1985) and Master of Public Administration (1987) degrees from the University of Manitoba. He later moved to Ottawa, Ontario, where he worked as a management consultant and was owner and president of the firm Animus Research. He also lectured at Carleton University in the Faculty of Law.
Member of Parliament
Iftody returned to Manitoba to stand as the Liberal candidate for Provencher in the 1993 federal election, and was elected over Reform Party candidate Dean Whiteway. The Liberals won a majority government under Jean Chrétien, and Iftody entered parliament as a government backbencher. He was re-elected in the 1997 election against a strong challenge from the Reform Party, and served as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development from July 1998 until 2000. He was defeated in the 2000 election, losing to Canadian Alliance candidate Vic Toews.
Iftody was appointed to the House of Commons Finance Committee shortly after his election. In this capacity, he called for the creation of a federal ombudsman with the authority to levy fines against major banks that cut off credit to small businesses without due cause. In 1996, he proposed an amendment to Canada's Bank Act that would prevent major Canadian banks from acquiring each other via hostile takeovers. The following year, he argued that the government acted with undue haste in approving the Bank of Nova Scotia's takeover of National Trust. He served on a Liberal caucus task force on financial institutions in 1998, and supported its conclusion that two proposed major bank mergers would be against the interests of Canadians.
- Social issues and firearms registry
Iftody was a committed Roman Catholic, and was part of the socially conservative wing of the Liberal Party. In late 1994, he opposed his government's plans to add sexual orientation as a protected category under Canada's hate crimes legislation. He later opposed similar legislation protecting homosexuals under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and was one of 17 Liberal MPs to vote against legislation expanding the benefits of same-sex couples in 2000. Iftody said that he did not support discrimination and denied being part of a parliamentary "God squad", but nonetheless expressed a personal view that homosexuality was "spiritually unhealthy".
He also opposed the Chrétien government's plan to create a national firearms registry, and voted against the bill enabling the registry on its final reading. Some believed that he would be barred from sitting on a Commons standing committee for this decision, but he escaped punishment. Iftody's opposition to the gun registry was popular in his mostly rural riding.
- International relations
Iftody was of Romanian background, and was chairman of the Canada-Romanian Parliamentary Group in the 1990s. In 1997, he helped convince the Romanian government to support an international treaty banning land mines. He also criticized Shell Oil for its human rights record in Nigeria, claiming that the company had violated "the elementary standards of the international code of conduct for business" by failing to intervene against government abuses. He supported increased trade between Canada and the Republic of China (Taiwan).
- Nuclear energy
In late 1997, Iftody intervened to rescue a woman from a potential sexual assault in an Ottawa boarding house. Hearing a struggle in a room near his own, he discovered an intruder holding the female owner of the establishment against a wall. He stopped the attack, and detained the attacker until the police arrived.
Iftody died unexpectedly on February 5, 2001, after suffering internal bleeding in his liver following a snowmobile accident. The House of Commons paid tribute to him the following day. In 2003, Providence College and Theological Seminary in Otterburne began an annual series called the David Iftody Memorial Lectures.
- David Iftody – Parliament of Canada biography
- Edited Hansard, 6 February 2001 (includes tributes to Iftody)
Table of offices held
|Parliament of Canada|
|Member of Parliament for Provencher
|Canadian federal election, 2000: Provencher|
|Progressive Conservative||Henry C. Dyck||2,726||6.73||−9.59||$7,780.05|
|New Democratic||Peter Hiebert||1,980||4.89||−3.71||$210.45|
|Total valid votes||40,483||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||148||0.36||−0.10|
|Electors on the lists||58,020|
|Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.|
|Canadian federal election, 1997: Provencher|
|Progressive Conservative||Clare Braun||5,955||16.32||+5.43||$60,432|
|New Democratic||Martha Wiebe Owen||3,137||8.60||+1.62||$1,793|
|Total valid votes||36,485||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||170||0.46||+0.13|
|Electors on the lists||56,442|
|Percentage change figures are factored for redistribution.|
|Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.|
|Canadian federal election, 1993: Provencher|
|Progressive Conservative||Kelly Clark||3,765||10.29||−45.2||$48,359|
|New Democratic||Martha Wiebe Owen||1,818||4.97||−2.3||$7,277|
|Natural Law||Corrine Ayotte||157||0.43||+0.1||$12|
|Canada Party||Ted Bezan||69||0.19||–||$0|
|Total valid votes||36,603||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||126||0.34||+0.0|
|Electors on the lists||52,835|
|Source: Thirty-fifth General Election, 1993: Official Voting Results, Published by the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada. Financial figures taken from official contributions and expenses provided by Elections Canada.|
All electoral information is taken from Elections Canada.
- David Roberts, "Reform's prospects brighten", Winnipeg Free Press, 12 January 1993, A4.
- The Liberal Party lost all of its other rural Manitoba seats in this election. The election coincided with a major flood in southern Manitoba, and Iftody argued that Chrétien should have waited until the waters receded before going to the polls. See Dan Lett, "MPs want vote delayed", Winnipeg Free Press, 25 April 1997, A10.
- Linda Rosborough, "Local Grits get nod", Winnipeg Free Press, 17 July 1998, A8. He had previously endorsed funding for a solvent abuse center on the Sagkeeng First Nation in 1998. See Kevin Rollason, "Solvent treatment centre gets funds", Winnipeg Free Press, 21 February 1998, A5.
- Toews, ironically, was one of Iftody's instructors at the University of Manitoba. See Vic Toews, remarks on David Iftody, Edited Hansard, 6 February 2001, accessed 7 August 2008.
- John Douglas, "Big banks facing shakeup Small business neglected", Winnipeg Free Press, 18 October 1994. See also Tony Davis, "MPs have message for banks", Winnipeg Free Press, 4 March 1995.
- "MP's bill would limit banking mergers", Winnipeg Free Press, 9 April 1987, B4.
- Gord McIntosh, "National Trust takeover irritates Liberal MPs", Winnipeg Free Press, 7 August 1997, B11.
- Paul Samyn, "Bank mergers get thumbs down", Winnipeg Free Press, 31 October 1998, A18.
- Paul Samyn, "Difficult decision for a man of faith: Provencher MP Iftody wrestles with Grits' same-sex bill", Winnipeg Free Press, 5 March 2000l, A1.
- Edward Greenspon & Tu Thanh Ha, "Dissident Liberals balk over hate bill", Globe and Mail, 27 September 1994, A1. Iftody abstained on the final vote. See Dan Lett, "Iftody to rebel again This time he plans to skip vote on bill to protect gays", Winnipeg Free Press, 15 June 1995, A1.
- Anne McIlroy, "Free vote doesn't stop gay bill", Globe and Mail, 2 May 1996, A1; Paul Samyn, "Same-sex bill passes; 17 Grits opposed", Winnipeg Free Press, 12 April 2000, A4.
- Dan Lett, "Iftody to rebel again: This time he plans to skip vote on bill to protect gays", Winnipeg Free Press, 15 June 1995, A1; Paul Samyn, "Difficult decision for a man of faith: Provencher MP Iftody wrestles with Grits' same-sex bill", Winnipeg Free Press, 5 March 2000l, A1. In 1995, Iftody stated "It's not that I am a right-wing, callous person who wants to condone this kind of thing (hatred against homosexuals), because I really don't. On an emotional and personal level, I know it's wrong to discriminate against anyone for any reason. However, viewed in the larger context, I have to say respectfully, gently ... not now, not at this time."
- Tu Thanh Ha, "Firearms registry Ottawa's next project", Globe and Mail, 14 June 1995, A1. Iftody had previously abstained on the bill's second reading. See Dan Lett, "Outlaw Grits say no to party's gun bill", Winnipeg Free Press, 6 April 1995.
- Dan Lett, "Iftody escapes retaliation", Winnipeg Free Press, 20 September 1995, B1.
- Bill Redekop, "Rebel Iftody a hero in riding", Winnipeg Free Press, 15 June 1995, A2.
- Paul Samyn, "Romania joins effort on landmines: Arm-twisting by Manitoba Liberal snags first eastern European nation", Winnipeg Free Press, 12 November 1997, A3.
- "MPs accuse Shell executives of ignoring Nigerian abuses", Globe and Mail, 19 June 1996, N8. At a meeting of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, Iftody said to Shell executives, "I'm insulted by your lame presentation. You've violated even the elementary standards of the international code of conduct for business."
- Dan Lett, "Trade with Taipei eyed", Winnipeg Free Press, 27 March 1996, B6.
- Paul Samyn, "Iftody dies of apparent stroke at 44", Winnipeg Free Press, 6 February 2001, A1.
- Paul Samyn, "MP Iftody a brave crime fighter, too", Winnipeg Free Press, 15 December 1997, A3.
- Paul Samyn, "Injuries from snowmobile accident killed Iftody", Winnipeg Free Press, 7 February 2001, A3.
- "College holds lectures in memory of MP Iftody", Winnipeg Free Press, 18 February 2003, B4.