Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Western Arctic (Northwest Territories)

Lost her last election, in 2006, with 34.98% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Aboriginal Affairs October 20th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada is very concerned about the quality of education for first nations children and all aboriginal children across Canada. We invest millions and millions of dollars across the country. The first ministers will be meeting in November to plan along with the government the results that are desired by the first nations on education for their children.

Aboriginal Affairs October 19th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, as I speak, the minister is on his way to Kashechewan to engage with the people of that community on the priority of their health and the safety of their water. Last week we dispatched certified water treatment operators. They arrived on Sunday. They have been successful in stabilizing the disinfection system and eliminating the risk of bacteria in the treated water supply.

To date, at the request of the chief, we have shipped 26,000 litres of bottled water because we are very concerned about the health of those people. The minister is there to engage with them.

First Nations Oil and Gas and Moneys Management Act October 6th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I would never claim to be an expert on Quebec, but I do appreciate that Quebec has forged a unique relationship with first nations. Agreements have been struck that relate to resource development revenues and that help to empower the Cree of James Bay and work with all first nations in Quebec.

Quebec has its strengths. It is known for the work that it does on the social agenda, for all of its social programs: child care, housing, and looking at the needs of the civil society in terms of how community development happens, how people live within a community and what their needs are.

The first nations are very indicative of those needs. Quebec has been very skilled at being able to integrate the first nations into this. Not only that, but Quebec has been very skilled at developing a very good relationship with the first nations leadership like Matthew Coon Come, Bill Namagoose, Albert “Billy” Diamond and many of the other leaders, all those people who are from the Quebec aboriginal leadership community. A good leadership relationship was forged. That is the unique part of it. Also, the work plan set together to achieve those milestones is pretty significant.

I think Quebec does set a good example, but every province has its own story to tell, not just one province. All the different communities have that story to tell as well. It is not one partisan issue. Successive governments replace one another and basically do a good job with the first nations. We have to look at those examples.

For me it is not a partisan issue; it is what each different government does well, what are the best practices and what we learn from them. I understand that. To be fair, we have to look at what different provinces and municipalities have achieved. Some people will say that a province is weak in one area but strong in another. Forging that relationship with the leadership and setting an agenda with the first nations has been pretty significant. That is hard to deny.

First Nations Oil and Gas and Moneys Management Act October 6th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to this legislation.

Serving the public here in the House of Commons is a wild and wonderful experience. I have just come from the Commonwealth Room where I met with the Métis of Alberta. If there ever was a group that was impacted by resources in their region it is that group. They felt such empowerment from the legislation they put together in terms of the Métis settlement. It will enable them to create wealth and opportunities for employment for themselves. This speaks loudly in support of Bill C-54. This legislation is necessary, empowering and definitive.

The Métis were here today to announce the opening of an office in Ottawa. This will further empower them to achieve and enact the provisions of their settlement.

Bill C-54, the first nations oil and gas and moneys management act, will equip first nations that choose to participate with vital tools to create good jobs, stimulate economic activity and improve the quality of life in their communities.

I would also like to share some of the successes of my first nations constituents in oil and gas development north of 60. It is not doom and gloom. People have different interpretations on how expropriation works. The reality is that every democratic government does not have expropriation as the first step. It is something that is done after having exhausted every other possibility.

I like to be positive about these things. I think this is a wonderful piece of legislation. I am really into empowering our people to create their own wealth and to be self-sustaining. Bill C-54 does that. It makes the rules quite clear, which is a good thing.

First and foremost, this legislation was designed to respond to the specific needs of the three sponsoring first nations, the White Bear First Nation, the Blood Tribe and the Siksika First Nation, which were directly involved with the first nations oil and gas pilot project launched in 1994. Not every pilot project ends in legislation. Obviously a lot of success was gleaned from that pilot project.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the efforts of the sponsoring first nations and the great success that has already been achieved over the past decade. Their commitment to working in partnership with Canada to develop this legislation is honoured as we help them to reach their goals.

Bill C-54 builds on the excellent progress the government has made through several recent initiatives, including the Canada-aboriginal peoples round table, the policy retreat, and the upcoming historic first ministers meeting. It builds on the commitments made in recent Speeches from the Throne, budgets, land claims and self-government agreements. We have achieved some major milestones with our partners in the aboriginal community across the country.

This legislation provides two related but distinct authorities for first nations. First, it provides communities that opt in with the authority to gain complete control and management over their oil and gas resources, creating jobs in the expanding oil and gas sector. Second, it provides these communities with the authority to gain complete control over the management of their moneys held by Canada on their behalf, allowing them to respond to emerging economic opportunities. Therein lies the challenge. First nations are not always in a situation to do that, but in this case we are heading in the right direction. I believe this will be very helpful.

A first nation that chooses to opt for the legislation can opt in to either the oil and gas provisions or the money provisions or both.

Economic development on reserve and strengthening communities continue to be priorities of the government. I am pleased to note that first nations communities both north and south of 60 will be able to take advantage of the opportunities afforded under the moneys management provisions of the legislation.

However, the oil and gas provisions do not apply in the north because oil and gas development is presently governed by a distinct legislative and regulatory framework. South of 60, FNOGMMA as Bill C-54 is known, would remove several levels of federal oversight and offer to first nations the same benefits that many northern communities are already enjoying in managing their own resources. In fact equity participation is a huge part of that. That is something I just gleaned from a recent trip to St. Petersburg, Russia to attend an oil and gas symposium. All circumpolar indigenous peoples have the aspiration to be involved in managing the resources that are in their region, and any of the resource development activity that takes place.

Extensive efforts have been made and continue to be made in the north to negotiate land claim and self-government agreements to respond to first nations' and Inuit people's desire to manage their political and social affairs and to advance economic development and self-sufficiency. That is the goal of every government at all levels.

Regarding oil and gas development and management, the land claim and self-government agreements enable resource development in the north. They clarify land and resource ownership rights, which are of vital importance to investors. These agreements have created conditions for sustainable economic and social development, providing a land base, opportunities for economic development and modern institutions of government to secure a higher standard of living and quality of life for all northern and first nations people.

Consider for instance the Inuvialuit whose land claim was finalized more than two decades ago. Since then the Inuvialuit have secured valuable partnerships with several companies and have launched dozens of businesses. These partnerships and businesses generate revenues that help pay for physical and social infrastructure in Inuvialuit communities and create jobs and training opportunities. They create hope and a vision of prosperity for the people in that region, or at least participating in the wealth that is being created in that area.

By facilitating the success of resource projects, land claim and self-government agreements also have a significant impact on Canada's economy. The economic benefits of large scale resource development projects are felt across the country. Never let it be said that people are not trying to achieve important milestones in going ahead with these projects. Anyone who says to the contrary is wrong.

Land claim settlements and self-government agreements are just one way to ensure first nations and Inuit peoples have the tools needed to assist in fostering business partnerships between industry and aboriginal groups. FNOGMMA provides first nations with similar tools and will also be of tremendous benefit, as we have seen from the northern experience.

Although Bill C-54 describes a somewhat different path than the land claims settlement or self-government approach, it is designed to enable first nations to achieve many of the same goals, such as fostering prosperity and strengthening communities. With the passage of this legislation, first nations that vote to come under its provisions will have more tools available to them as they seek to be more self-sufficient and better able to take charge of their economies. What more could we want for people of any part of this country?

The management authority that this legislation provides will help create jobs in the oil and gas sector, as well as in the many spinoff businesses and all of the value added that result, helping first nations improve their members' quality of life and standard of living. This is a goal shared by all members of this House, I am sure, and all Canadians.

Every community has the right to decide for itself whether it wants to take advantage of this legislation. It simply provides the three sponsoring first nations, and any other first nations in similar situations that choose to opt in, with the authority to assume control of their oil and gas and related revenues, and to assume control of moneys held on their behalf by the Crown.

In effect, Bill C-54 will enable first nations communities to participate in the oil and gas sector and to access moneys held in trust. With these powers, first nations will become more engaged in the economy and better able to implement projects that will improve social and economic infrastructure in their communities, as we have witnessed in land claim settlements and self-government agreements.

If we consider the example of the Inuvialuit or, more recently, the Tlicho, the Labrador Inuit, the Westbank First Nation and even the Kwanlin Dün self-government agreement signed in February of this year, we can see where Bill C-54 might lead. We can see improvements in the transportation networks and in health care and educational facilities. We can see post-secondary scholarships, youth centres and assisted living residences for seniors. For the first time in generations, we can see young people looking forward to bright futures.

In the end, this is what Bill C-54 is all about: enabling first nations to assume greater control of their social and economic destinies. It is about ensuring that first nations have the access to the tools they need to improve the quality of life in their communities.

It is through these types of arrangements, whether they are land claim settlements, self-government agreements or initiatives such as FNOGMMA that ways are found to forge a lasting partnership between first nations and Canada which will set us on a new path toward prosperity.

In my area, we are proposing to build a pipeline that is 1,200 miles long, all along the Mackenzie route. We have achieved significant milestones to move that along. These are not easy things. It is this type of legislation south of 60 that will enable our friends, relatives, people in the south and neighbours to be part of what is happening in their backyard. That is so important. For too long, aboriginal people have been sitting back and waiting for arrangements to evolve. That is not going to happen.

This bill will help that. This is the work of first nations people. They did the pilot project that actually enabled them to come up with this legislation. They are responsible for this. This is a very good piece of legislation. We should support it.

We believe the empowerment of our people is a singular objective of every first nation in Canada. I want to appeal to the members of the House to support this wholeheartedly.

Aboriginal Affairs June 21st, 2005

Mr. Speaker, National Aboriginal Day is the day of recognition for Canada's aboriginal people, and to acknowledge their contributions to Canada, their cultures, their traditions and their spirit as the first people of this country.

The past year has seen significant achievements. Last month the Government of Canada signed five accords with national organizations which reflect the renewed and strengthened relationship with first nations, Inuit and Métis people, and ensure a full partnership on issues that matter most to aboriginal people like health, education and housing.

Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board June 17th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, the board has had no delays in determining the applications that have come forward, absolutely none. It is business as usual.

The latest information we had yesterday is that the board has made a decision to move toward coordinating and synchronizing all the information, by-laws and procedures to come up with an integrated resource management strategy which would meet the challenge of the Mackenzie Valley gas project.

Further to that, the chair of the board has the technical knowledge, the expertise, the experience and all of the qualifications--

Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board June 17th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Burlingame has a proven track record of professionalism throughout his tenure as chair of the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board. The Auditor General's report states that this board has taken the initiative. The work of Mr. Burlingame has proven that the board has set standards for all boards to follow.

I am confident that Mr. Burlingame is ensuring that the board is operating in its usual professional capacity and that all business is being addressed in a timely and expeditious manner.

I believe and I have been assured that there are no--

Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, I would have assumed a much higher level of professionalism from the member opposite.

I am confident that Mr. Burlingame is ensuring that the board is operating in its usual professional capacity and that all business is being addressed in a timely and expeditious manner. There are no delays to ongoing development projects.

Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board June 16th, 2005

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Burlingame's appointment is based on merit. He is absolutely the right person for the job. Reports today say that the board has had unanimous approval from its members to go forward with an integrated resource management strategy which will be needed for the Mackenzie Valley pipeline.

Further to that, no approvals on permitting and licensing have been delayed as the member opposite indicated. Everything is going--

Bank Act June 6th, 2005

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-57, an act to amend certain acts in relation to financial institutions.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)