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  • His favourite word is important.

NDP MP for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2011, with 44.80% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Aboriginal Affairs October 30th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's apology in 2008 was to be the start of a reconciliation process. For that to happen, the survivors need to have access to the programs and credits owed to them so that they can continue to learn and pursue their healing process.

I will repeat the question: will the minister work with the courts and the other signatories to the agreement and get the deadline extended, and can he confirm that in writing today?

Aboriginal Affairs October 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, Cindy Blackstock's lengthy battle is coming to an end this week, as she is giving her closing arguments before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Child welfare agencies on reserves receive 22% less money from the federal government than agencies off reserve. Ms. Blackstock has been fighting for some time to correct this injustice.

Does the government plan to listen to her arguments and adjust its funding accordingly?

Aboriginal Affairs October 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about children like the four-year-old girl with a heart condition who needed a raised hospital bed so that fluid did not accumulate in her lungs.

If she had lived anywhere other than on a reserve, she would have had that bed in a few days, but she is aboriginal. As a result, she waited nearly seven months.

How does the minister plan to ensure that children living on reserves receive the health care that they are entitled to and they need?

Rouge National Urban Park Act October 8th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Halifax for her speech. This member has an excellent understanding of her file, and I thank her for that.

This bill proposes to create the first urban park. If there is something we should be the best in the world at, it is creating parks. I would even say that this is in our DNA as Canadians. This bill presents an incredible opportunity.

Aside from the challenges that my colleague mentioned in her speech, what other challenges could we expect to encounter with this bill?

Aboriginal Affairs September 29th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, today Amnesty International is marking the 10th anniversary of its “Stolen Sisters” report. It is a sorry anniversary that reminds us of yet another decade of inaction by the government, another decade of frustration for the families of the 1,200 missing or murdered women.

Will the government finally launch a national public inquiry into the fate of these women?

Aboriginal Affairs September 24th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the minister's so-called action plan cannot be trusted. We are talking about 1,200 missing and murdered aboriginal women, and the problem continues. This evening, my colleagues opposite will have the opportunity to take meaningful action in memory of these women who were victims of violence.

They can vote against a report that symbolizes 30 years of indifference and 30 years of inaction, and they can finally acknowledge the need for a national public inquiry. Will they take action?

Committees of the House September 23rd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for her presentation.

She started her speech by talking about what was said in committee. I myself sat on that special committee. One of the things I heard from the witnesses who talked about a national public inquiry being held was that they supported that idea. Why has she not taken that into consideration? Right now, I do not understand that, but I feel that those who testified about the need for such an inquiry have been ignored.

My question is very simple. The member is praising the Conservative action plan. One of Canada's fundamental principles when it comes to aboriginal people is that we must always work in partnership with them. That is the promise made in section 35 of the Constitution.

I would like to know whether this plan was designed in partnership with the aboriginal peoples and particularly aboriginal women. If so, who specifically was a partner, and if not, why not?

Status of Women September 22nd, 2014

Mr. Speaker, on Friday, my NDP colleagues and I managed to force the House to hold a debate on the fate of nearly 1,200 missing aboriginal women and girls. This is a tragedy that the Liberals and the Conservatives would like to sweep under the rug.

Will the government finally listen and launch a national public inquiry into the murders and disappearances of these women?

Committees of the House September 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the hon. member opposite was not really listening or did not understand what I said. Beyond everything she just mentioned, the issue before us concerns a national public inquiry to determine why this is still happening today.

Despite all the reports that the hon. members opposite are citing and despite all the plans the government might come up with, I think we must get to the bottom of this. That has not been done. No plan will work if we do not understand the real reasons behind what is still happening today. What is more, I am pretty sure this plan was not drawn up in partnership with those whom it is meant to benefit.

Committees of the House September 19th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I believe I mentioned in my speech the importance of giving these families closure, and that is why it is important to go ahead with this national inquiry.

One of the reasons why this inquiry is necessary is that many if not most of these families did not have the opportunity to say goodbye to their children, to their daughters.

I am certain that a national public inquiry would bring at least some closure to these families for the loss they have experienced in their lives.

My mother's story is a perfect example of how we can bring closure to these horrible experiences that many of us have gone through. For 140 years, children were sent to residential schools. We really have to get to the bottom of things, and that can only be achieved with a public inquiry.