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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was aboriginal.

Last in Parliament September 2008, as Liberal MP for Churchill (Manitoba)

Lost her last election, in 2008, with 28.74% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act June 18th, 2008

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-569, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased and proud to introduce this legislation entitled, “An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”. This declaration was passed at the United Nations General Assembly on September 13, 2007, by an overwhelming majority of 144 to 4, with 11 abstentions.

Canadians join human rights supporters from across the globe in their disappointment that, for the first time ever, Canada has sought exemption from a human rights standard adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

Canada's national aboriginal and political leaders, including President Mary Simon of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, National Chief Phil Fontaine and President Clem Chartier of the Métis National Council, have joined in their support. President Chartier said:

By ignoring Indigenous rights to self-determination, Canada is sending a negative message to the world. Despite this, by standing united Aboriginal peoples are clearly determined to secure our right to self-determination as defined in international law....

It is, however, never too late for Canada to embrace the rights of indigenous peoples at home and around the world and support the UN declaration.

With this in mind, I encourage all parliamentarians to join me in this battle to help return Canada as a human rights champion and ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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

First Nations Children's Health Protection Act June 13th, 2008

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-563, An Act to ensure that appropriate health care services are provided to First Nations children in a timely manner.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce this piece of legislation, an act to ensure that appropriate health care services are provided to first nations children in a timely manner. This bill was inspired by the very short life of a boy named Jordan Anderson from the Norway House Cree Nation in my riding of Churchill and the courageous battle waged by his family and the community.

Jordan's principle is to ensure a child's health is prioritized and appropriate services are provided. This enactment implements Jordan's principle to provide that if the Government of Canada has an obligation to pay for health care services for a first nations child whose ordinary residence is on a reserve, the first department of that government requested to pay shall do so in a timely manner. With this legislation, the aim is that Canada will provide first nations children the same health care services in a comparable timeframe as all other Canadian children receive.

I encourage all members of the House to work together to ensure no child in our country is left behind when it comes to health care.

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

Aboriginal Affairs June 13th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister said the apology to Indian residential school survivors marked “a positive step in forging a new relationship between aboriginal peoples and other Canadians”.

This new relationship must lead to greater opportunity for the current generation of first nations children.

Recently I met with Chief Flett of St. Theresa Point and Chief Colon of Oxford House in the Churchill riding. They spoke of their longstanding struggle to attain cooperation and funding for new schools.

Provinces and territories benefit from transfer payments for such provisions, but not first nations. These schools face severe overcrowding in their classrooms, deteriorating buildings and widespread mould. As well, the school in Oxford House is situated on contaminated soil.

First nations students across Manitoba's north are determined to learn, advance their education and achieve the same hopes and dreams as all other Canadians.

Aboriginal Affairs June 10th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, there has not been ample consultation, but there is ample precedent for people other than members of Parliament to make remarks in the House of Commons. It does not detract from the dignity of the occasion; it adds to it. It is about the history of this country. It is an integral part of the official record, the apology and the response together.

In the interests of reconciliation, surely the House can afford the extra half hour tomorrow to hear a response from aboriginal representatives.

Aboriginal Affairs June 10th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, for many aboriginal people the apology tomorrow will be one of the most emotional moments of their lives, but they must not be voiceless. They will listen carefully to the four national politicians who will speak on Wednesday. Surely the House owes survivors the courtesy of listening to them in return right here, and recorded in the official Hansard.

Will the government commit to doing that?

Aboriginal Affairs June 10th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow's apology to the victims of Indian residential schools will be important, and equally important will be a response from those victims. The comments of the leaders of Canada's political parties will be recorded and preserved for all time in the official Hansard of the House of Commons for June 11, 2008.

Will the government change its decision so that aboriginal representatives who will be with us in this chamber tomorrow can respond directly to the apology, on the record in this House?

Aboriginal Affairs June 5th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, it is fundamental to the residential school apology process that an opportunity to be given to the survivors to respond. There is a precedent for non-parliamentarians to address the House. The government could introduce a motion to the House to allow victims an opportunity to immediately speak to the apology on the floor of the House.

Out of respect, will the government introduce such a motion?

Petitions June 4th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition on behalf of concerned Canadians from Calgary, Alberta, Akwesasne, Ontario, and Cornwall, Ontario. The petitioners recognize that health care for Canadian children should be universal. They recognize that first nations children residing on reserve do not have the same access to health care services that all other Canadian children do. They recognize that critical health services continue to be delayed and denied to first nations children as a result of interdepartmental and interjurisdictional conflicts.

The petitioners therefore call upon the Government of Canada to address this ongoing travesty of justice and adopt Jordan's principle, which would ensure that health services would be provided to all Canadian children.

Petitions May 30th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present two petitions from people in the Winnipeg region and Edmonton. They are calling on the government to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Health May 30th, 2008

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health is trying to play both sides of the Insite issue. Yesterday he claimed at committee that he supports needle exchanges and yet he refuses to secure Canada's safe injection site. The minister pretends to have no control over Insite's future as he fights tooth and nail to shut it down.

Why is he using taxpayer money for the court case against Insite's future when the science, the province, the city and the police all say that it works? Why does he insist on ideology over evidence?