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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was treaty.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Kenora—Rainy River (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2000, with 45.21% of the vote.

Statements in the House

The Patent Act November 7th, 2003

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I would like to put the question based on unanimous consent that Bill C-57, an act to give effect to the Westbank First Nation self-government agreement, be deemed to have been read a second time, referred to and reported from a committee, without amendment, concurred in at report stage and read a third time and passed. I seek consent of the House for that.

Patent Act November 7th, 2003

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I think you would find unanimous consent that Bill C-57, an act to give effect to the Westbank first nation self-government agreement, be deemed to have been read a second time, referred to and reported from a committee without amendment, concurred in at report stage, and read a third time and passed.

Aboriginal Affairs November 7th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, first of all, there is no court case.

Second, we are meeting on a regular basis with the Deh Cho. We have been at the table for a number of years and we continue to negotiate with that group.

The pipeline and the process in the cooperation agreement are not at risk. If, through the process, first nations decide that they want to intervene either through the environmental assessment process or through the courts, nothing that I say here can stop them from doing that.

Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act November 6th, 2003

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-57, an act to give effect to the Westbank First Nation Self-Government Agreement.

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

Yukon Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement November 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I also have the honour of tabling copies of the 2000-01 annual report on the implementation of the Yukon Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement.

Indian Specific Claims Commission November 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, under the provisions of Standing Order 32(2), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, copies of the 2002-03 annual report of the Indian Specific Claims Commission.

Specific Claims Resolution Act November 4th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, this is an optional process for first nations; they have choices to make.

One of the concerns, and the reason we had the joint task force in the first place, was that over the last number of years it was suggested many times by the leadership that both the government, through the Department of Justice and the ministers of Indian affairs, through the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, were too slow in accommodating the needs of first nations in their grievances and their legitimate concerns of the issues that transpired in places like Saskatchewan where we have the most specific claims waiting in the wings.

The objective of this tribunal and commission--and I want to emphasize that the tribunal is supposed to be a place of last resort--is to have the modern mediation tools that all negotiators need to work in partnership on joint research. This will save us money and time, and allow for independence by the commission itself on funding a first nation in its claim and research. All those matters have been longstanding and this particular bill will resolve them.

Specific Claims Resolution Act November 4th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, the joint task force made recommendations; however, it did not make recommendations vis-à-vis the Financial Administration Act nor the machinery of government issues which we must look at when we create legislation.

When I look at the recommendations of the joint task force and the bill itself, the vast majority of the principles of that joint task force are intact. Yes, there are some differences and because of that we have built in the three year review. If, in fact, over a period of time, first nations raise concerns regarding the diminishing ability of the commission and tribunal to do their job, then, a review will be undertaken with first nations and the government in partnership, and their recommendations will be reviewed by the standing committees of both Houses.

I am sure that we have put in place the checks and balances to assure ourselves that if we have made errors in this legislation, which is always possible, we will have a way to go back and take a look. I think that is a fair way to proceed with legislation. It shows respect for first nations and it assures the government that it has a functional tribunal and commission.

Specific Claims Resolution Act November 4th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, if the member believes that, then it is a sad day in the House of Commons. I can tell members that since day one, one of the objectives of this minister has been to improve the lives of first nations people, to develop policies and legislation, and modern tools that will make a difference in their lives.

If the member is correct in her statements, this commission and tribunal, after the bill is passed, will be an abject failure over the next year. I can assure members, as I stand here, that I will stand in Parliament somewhere down the line and make that member eat her words because she is so far wrong in what she is saying.

I do not mind the rhetoric in this place, but when the Tories brought in the Indian Claims Commission, we had the same debate. It was said that the commission had no tools, no teeth; however, today it is considered by first nations to be one of the effective tools in working on relationships.

I do not need to be lectured by that member about what first nations think. This is a good piece of legislation and we will prove it as time goes on.

Specific Claims Resolution Act November 4th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I cannot predict anyone's future, mine nor the member's. We will see how he makes out when he is up for nomination in his own riding or when he is up for re-election.

However, the objective of what we are proposing today is to put forward modern institutions of governance and the ability of the Government of Canada, through an independent specific claims commission and tribunal, to work with first nations outside of the courts to fast track and bring forward outstanding grievances of the past.

I do not understand this rhetoric from across the floor that somehow this diminishes the respect of aboriginal people. If they choose not to use the tool, that is their right; however, the fact is that we do not have the mechanism now to improve the abilities to work with first nations on resolving these claims. That is why Bill C-6 is so important to the long term resolution of grievances of the past.

What we set out to do in this mandate was very simple. We wanted Parliament to enter into a debate for the first time about the important modern institutions necessary for first nations to be part of our country, not sitting on the sidelines, living in poverty, and waiting for us to find some political will to work with them.

That is what Bill C-7, Bill C-19 and Bill C-6 are all about. And I dare say, later on this week, we will see another piece of legislation that also signals the same need for first nations people.