House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was yukon.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Yukon (Yukon)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 32.90% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Susan Audrey Van Bibber March 24th, 2011

On February 28, the Yukon lost one of its great matriarchs, Susan Audrey Van Bibber (Chambers), née Dickson, at 99 years of age.

We could not possibly write a history of the Yukon without mentioning her legendary contributions and those of her 154 descendants and the many others she took under her wing.

She was a hard-working, tough, gritty Yukon woman, trapping, wrangling and chasing horses well into her eighties.

She was a wonderful cook, making incredible moose stew, and her cinnamon buns were gone as soon as they came out of the oven.

Sue was entertaining storyteller, and her family and friends could see the world through her eyes as she wittily shared her endless stories of people and places spanning a century.

Sue's pride and joy was her family. She was loved and will be sadly missed by her husband of 67 years, Alex Van Bibber, and those remaining of her 9 children, 46 grandchildren, 73 great-grandchildren and 26 great-great-grandchildren.

We all miss Sue. May God bless her. Massi.

The Budget March 24th, 2011

Madam Speaker, the government has cancelled and closed the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences. For a number of scientists studying climate across Quebec and the north, it is very important. Does the member think that is a terrible loss to Canada?

The Budget March 24th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I would like the member to comment, if he wants to, on any of these things. He made a good point about housing missing from this, as well as shelters, which is very important in my riding.

I asked the Minister of Finance to increase the mineral exploration tax credit to make it longer and more permanent. The good news is he did for one year, and I am glad he did that, but the mining associations wanted it for more years to give a longer certainty. Would the member support me on that?

Also, there was embarrassingly little for aboriginal Canadians. Museum programs were cut, including the MAP program for small museums. Fifteen arts programs were cut, including the travelling museum exhibits, which are very important for the Yukon. The Conservatives also closed the dental therapy school, the only one in Canada.

The Canadian Environmental Network, which does great work across Canada, will now have to close. The friendship centres have not received a cost of living increase during the entire term of the government. There was nothing for the great CAIRS Yukon project or for search and rescue for the north, which the Senate just said had to be put in, as I have said for five years now.

There were cuts made to the Canadian Tourism Commission. There is nothing for child care, addictions, mental health and, as the member said, there is very little for students and seniors.

The Budget March 24th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's speech. I want to take this opportunity to mention some things that I believe are missing from the budget, and the member should feel free to comment on any of them.

We want the northern health accord, which is very important to the north, extended for five years. Last year it was only extended for two years. There is nothing new this year.

One of our biggest needs is affordable housing and shelter. There is virtually nothing substantial for seniors or students, as the member mentioned. There is embarrassingly little in the budget for aboriginal people. The MAP program has not been restored, the money that was cut from museums. The 15 arts programs that were cut have not been restored, including travelling museum exhibits, which are very important for the north.

The dental therapy school has been closed, which is very important for the north. The Canadian Environmental Network is not funded again. It does great work across Canada. The friendship centres have not received a cost of living increase. Also missing is the great CAIRS project in the Yukon for healing. There is nothing for and search and rescue for the north, which I have been pushing for five years. Apparently the Senate has just confirmed its support for me on that. There are tourism cuts to the Canadian Tourism Commission. Of course there is nothing for child care.

Democratic Representation Act March 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, as the critic for Arctic issues, I want to reiterate the point that 40% of the country has three out of 308 MPs. If more MPs are added it will of course dilute that small representation for that huge area of the country.

There are fewer members of the Green Party, the NDP and aboriginal people in Quebec than the number of votes would warrant by population. Does the member have any suggestion on how to improve that?

Democratic Representation Act March 22nd, 2011

Madam Speaker, the Yukon's representation would also be watered down by increasing the number of seats. Forty per cent of Canada is north of 60 and yet only 3 of 308 MPs are in this place.

I appreciate the Senate's role in representing under-represented regions and demographics.

The leader of the Green Party will be running in Saanich—Gulf Islands. I do not know whether she will win or not, but she will get a considerable number of votes. If that party does not get any seats in Parliament, the number of votes will not have contributed to this Parliament.

Aboriginal people are under-represented as well compared to their proportion of the population.

I wonder if the member has a comment on that.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, I congratulate and commend the UN Security Council for its tremendous action. Some people do not realize how far some countries that sit on the Security Council had to go to allow the Libyan motion to go through. Those countries deserve the utmost commendation and congratulations. This is a great step for the world, a great step for humanity and a great step to show that the United Nations can work.

I want to make a point about what will happen post-Libya. If a similar crisis arises in the future, and I hope it never does, countries of the world, like Canada, that are involved in this great endeavour must be consistent. We have crossed the Rubicon. People will no longer be subject to frivolous, autocratic and irrational dictators who slaughter their own people. If this were ever to happen again, the world needs to be consistent. The world cannot back down from people in a similar situation who think the world is watching, who think the world will support humanitarianism and who think the world will support harmless people. The world cannot be inconsistent with this great exercise it is involved in today.

United Nations Security Council Resolution Concerning Libya March 21st, 2011

Mr. Chair, I would like to make two comments.

First, on the responsibility to protect, I applaud, as the member did, the Security Council. I think it was Paul Martin who brought this in. It was a great move by the United Nations, but it had to be put into practice. I applaud the members of the Security Council who let this go through. It is a beginning for the world.

I thought today that this could give hope to other people who are downtrodden and think they may be run over by brutal dictatorships. The free world is watching. People of all races and religions are watching and will no longer let a government totally abuse its citizens.

My second comment is to thank a journalist, Kate Heartfield, who on March 3 in the Ottawa Citizen said, “The Burmese situation then was very similar to Libya's last Saturday–a popular uprising crushed by violence”.

I want to remind people in Canada and around the world that a very similar thing happened in 2007 when a cruel dictatorship mowed down innocent monks, perhaps even more harmless and helpless than in this situation. We should not forget the world has a responsibility in that situation as well.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns March 21st, 2011

With regard to the government's current negotiation of Comprehensive Land Claims Agreements and Self-Government Agreements with Canada’s First Nations: (a) for each negotiation, (i) with which First Nation is the government negotiating, (ii) what is the status of the negotiation, (iii) how does the First Nation claim compare with the government's position, including both parties' positions on land mass, boundary outlines and monetary requests, (iv) to date, how much time has been spent on the claim negotiation, (v) to date, what is the total cost of the negotiations of the claim, (vi) when are negotiations expected to be concluded; (b) how many of these claims are Canada's negotiators currently negotiating, and which ones are temporarily on hold and for what reasons; (c) in failed negotiations, will court settlements be necessary to resolve the claim and, if so, which claims are expected to end up in court or are already before the courts; (d) what has the government budgeted for comprehensive land claim negotiations; and (e) what has the government budgeted for comprehensive land claim settlement payments to First Nation communities with which they are now negotiating?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns March 21st, 2011

With regard to Aboriginal Healing Foundation projects, since the end of government funding: (a) what new programs were put in place by Health Canada to ensure the continuation of services to victims of residential schools; (b) from new programs identified in (a), what are the Aboriginal Healing Foundation projects and, for each project, what is the approximate number of clients it serves; (c) which Health Canada project is now serving each of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation clients by (i) territory and province, (ii) reserve or designated client target group, (iii) funds budgeted for each project and targeted completion date, (iv) total budget for each territory and province; (d) what programs administered by Health Canada ended and who were their clients served, in which territory or province and how much was spent; and (e) if programs have not been developed by Health Canada for some former Aboriginal Healing Fund projects' clients, as per the government mandate, why have they not been developed and when will they be developed and implemented?