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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word is process.

NDP MP for Nanaimo—Cowichan (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 48.90% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Access to Information January 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are just poor managers. They are paying private consultants over $200 an hour to process access to information requests, when public servants could do the work at a fraction of the cost. It would be one thing if the consultants were getting the job done, but they are not. The system is slower and less functional than ever before.

Could the minister explain why so much money is being wasted, with such poor results?

Jordan's Principle January 30th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, February 2 will be the 10th anniversary of the death of Jordan River Anderson. Jordan never got to live in a family home, spending his whole life in hospital because governments could not agree on who should pay for his care.

His story inspired Jordan's principle, the simple idea that when a first nations child needs services, the government will provide them as needed and figure out who should pay for them later. In the 10 years since his death, the House voted unanimously to support Jordan's principle. We all agree that the most vulnerable children should not be left waiting while someone argues over the bill.

However, implementation proves elusive. Policy decisions by the Conservative government have narrowed the principle until only a few circumstances qualify. In April 2013, the Federal Court decision found the federal government narrowing Jordan's principle to apply only to children with complex medical needs and multiple service providers to be unlawful.

Internal federal documents show that children on reserve continue to be routinely denied or delayed receipt of vital health, education, and social services available to all other children. When will the federal government ensure that Jordan's principle applies to all first nations children and all government services?

Status of Women December 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, rates of violence against women are going up, not down. That is the evidence needed that the government's policies are simply not working, especially for indigenous women, who experience rates of violence that are three times higher than they are for non-aboriginal women. Most shockingly, indigenous women and girls are seven times more likely to be killed than non-indigenous women. That is completely unacceptable.

Why will the current government not call a national inquiry and propose a real action plan to end the violence?

Status of Women December 5th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, prevention is one of the keys to ending violence against women, but a 2013 study from the Canadian Network of Women's Shelters & Transition Houses found that many prevention initiatives are short term and short lived, and a special committee report on violence against indigenous women found that first nations, Inuit, and Métis people lack access to prevention programs.

What actions are the Conservatives taking to improve prevention programs and increase access to them?

The Environment December 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the first nations that I cited are not alone. The Peace Valley Landowners Association and first nations in Alberta have also recently joined the fight on Site C. These communities are expecting more from the government than the empty rhetoric we are hearing. They want their voices heard and their rights respected. Unfortunately, with the environmental assessment process in shambles, the only way they can get results is to resort to our judicial system. Instead of wasting resources fighting them in court, why is the government simply not addressing their concerns?

The Environment December 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, our nation-to-nation relationship with first nations means respect and dialogue, but what we have seen so far from the Conservatives is only more of the same confrontational approach. Too many communities have had to resort to the courts to get their voices heard and their rights respected.

Recently, four first nations from Treaty 8 filed a judicial review with the Federal Court against the federal government with respect Site C. When will the government learn to respect and work in collaboration with first nations?

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act December 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to touch for one moment on the issue around accommodation. The member cited the Haida case from a number of years ago. However, we also had a recent court decision, the Tsilhqot'in decision, which talked about not only consultation but consent. Consent is missing in Bill S-6. There is no consent to the changes that would be made.

With regard to the environment, there are mining companies that have raised objections, environmental organizations, and tourism organizations. It sounds to me as if there are a number of Yukoners who are really concerned about protecting the wonderful, amazing environment up in the Yukon. People want economic development, but they want it done responsibly and sustainably.

What the bill would do is create more uncertainty. It would not protect the environment and it would create uncertainty for some of these projects.

First nations have already indicated that, if the government is not willing to sit down with them and talk about accommodation and consent, this will end up in court, and that would not provide certainty in terms of development of a variety of projects.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act December 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe I used the words “knuckle under”. What I did say was that, in a respectful relationship, one tries to work toward a solution.

In my speech, I talked about the parts that are the sticking points that are not part of that five-year review process. From the Yukon first nations' perspective, some of their members were not even provided with copies of the documents that were under review at a meeting back in February 2014.

If we are going to have a fulsome consultation process, we have to allow enough time and provide people with the documentation to allow them to review it.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act December 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, for the last many years, from 2006 actually, we have continually seen legislation come forward that does not reflect, in many of our views, at least on the New Democrat side of the House, the duty to consult.

The government loves to trot out the fact that it has had eight meetings talking to people. What it fails to address is the fact that consultation actually should be a circular process. We provide information, we provide resources, we sit down with people, we hear what they have to say, and then we actually include them in working toward a solution where there were differences. It is the part where we include people toward working toward solutions where there are differences that the government consistently fails, whether it is on matrimonial real property, water, or education. Whatever legislation has come before the House to which first nations have objected, the government has failed to work to resolve those objections.

I would agree with the member for Hochelaga that it is a very paternalistic approach to working with first nations.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act December 4th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I did address that in my speech and acknowledge that the minister had quoted that. He did not quote a specific section, but he indicated that the Umbrella Final Agreement talked about the Government of Canada and Yukon.

I do not believe we can just brush away the spirit and intent. If we are to move toward reconciliation in this country, then first nations must be recognized as an order of government. When we are putting forward legislation that would have a profound impact on first nations' ability to manage their territories, then we need to have them at the table and not just brush them aside, which the government is attempting to do.

The parliamentary secretary can say that it is not about spirit and intent but about what is written right here, but the Conservatives are the ones who signed on to the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which acknowledges that first nations have a right to make decisions about matters, legislative decisions and other matters, that directly affect their ability to govern their communities.

I would argue that Bill S-6 directly affects their ability to govern their communities.