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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was aboriginal.

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

Won her last election, in 2006, with 40% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Aboriginal Affairs June 1st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, Canada is well known for its willingness to help other countries and extend a helping hand to people in need.

Northerners are well known too for their generosity. Northern Youth Abroad is a well-respected organization which, for years, has taken northern youth to other parts of Canada and Africa to volunteer their help. NYA has just been told by DFAIT that funding will be cut this year, six weeks before the students travel.

When will DFAIT reinstate funding for this important organization? What does the government have against its northern youth?

Annie Pootoogook May 18th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this time to congratulate Annie Pootoogook of Cape Dorset.

Annie is a well-known artist in Nunavut having worked with the West Baffin Cooperative since 1997. Last November Annie was awarded the 2006 Sobey Art Award for outstanding new artists in Canada.

The Sobey Art Award is Canada's top art award for young artists under 40. This is a tremendous honour for her as she is a third generation artist, as both her mother and grandmother are master graphic artists.

Annie has a distinct artistic approach. Her compelling drawings portray life in today's Arctic in a very realistic way.

Annie is becoming well known internationally as she will participate in the Documenta show in Germany this summer and was part of the Glenfiddich artist residency in Scotland last year.

I congratulate Annie on behalf of my constituents of Nunavut and myself.

Canada Winter Games May 11th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, for the first time in Canada Winter Games history Nunavut won a medal. Our very own Nunavutian, Eugene Dederick, age 15 became the first athlete to win a medal as a judo competitor and therefore made history.

It was very fitting and very northern as the Canada Winter Games were held in the north for the first time when Whitehorse, Yukon hosted the games and did a fabulous job.

I congratulate Eugene and his coach for their hard work and dedication along with the rest of their team and Sport Nunavut . I also acknowledge Eugene's family who have supported him along the way.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the other participants, the artists, the athletes and the volunteers who made these games so special.

Not only did Eugene win a bronze medal, he is the very first to participate in judo at the Canada Winter Games from my territory. He has made all of Nunavut very proud.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms April 17th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, while the 25th anniversary of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a happy and proud occasion for all Canadians, it is unfortunate that the Conservative government does not share in the enthusiasm for a document which enshrines our rights and protects all Canadians.

Time after time the charter has come under attack by Conservative members of Parliament who view this vital document as a roadblock rather than an expression of the values that place Canada among the most progressive nations in the world.

It is sad when the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is forced to publicly defend the charter since the current Minister of Justice and his government seem unwilling to stand against those who attack our judiciary and scrap the vital programs which provide necessary accessibility to our justice system.

The official opposition reaffirms its support for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and looks forward to the day when the Government of Canada respects the rights of all Canadians as enshrined in the charter.

Aboriginal Affairs March 30th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, aboriginal groups across the country are wondering why the Conservative budget did nothing for aboriginal people and did nothing to replace the Kelowna accord.

In a letter to the Winnipeg Free Press, the Minister of Indian Affairs threatened the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs if they participate in a national protest. It is deplorable for the minister to threaten their core funding because they disagree with him.

Does the minister plan to follow through with his threat or was he just embarrassed that there was no new money in the budget for us?

Aboriginal Affairs March 21st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, all aboriginal people lost when the Conservative government refused to implement the Kelowna accord, but perhaps the greatest loss was felt by all aboriginal women.

For the first time ever, aboriginal women were at the negotiating table to develop a plan of action that would have closed the gap in education, health, housing and economic opportunities. The Kelowna accord provided women with an opportunity to gain more equality in their lives.

The list of initiatives under the accord was impressive: strengthened social foundations, better education opportunities, housing and health care. Most important of all was that women would be included in any future policy development. Women's voices finally would have been heard.

The Conservative government's refusal to implement the accord speaks volumes about how it really feels about aboriginal women and their role in building a stronger Canada. To add insult to injury, our people were forgotten in the recent budget.

The Environment March 1st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, today marks the beginning of the International Polar Year. Thanks to the Liberal budget of 2005, there are $150 million this year for Canadian research projects in the north. However, the Conservatives have done nothing. They have abandoned Canada's polar regions. They eliminated the Arctic ambassador. They failed to invest in icebreakers and a deepwater port, as promised.

With global warming harming the north, why should Canadians trust the government to help northerners?

Nunavut Youth Sports Fund February 20th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank one of Nunavut's busiest volunteers, Marge Lalonde, for all her efforts to enhance the lives of her fellow Nunavummiut.

In her eighties, the incredibly energetic Marge decided she would ensure that eligible Nunavut youth would be able to attend the 20th Arctic Winter Games taking place in Yellowknife in 2008 by setting up the Nunavut youth sports fund with other generous volunteers. This is just one of the many projects Marge has undertaken to make life better for Nunavummiut.

A food bank volunteer, Marge has also been an air cadet officer and is very active in the Iqualuit branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. Currently a resident of Iqualuit, Marge has been in the north since 1967.

A World War II veteran, Marge joined up at the young age of 17 as part of the Canadian women's army corps attached to the signal corps.

Marge truly has made a significant contribution to life, not only in Nunavut but in Canada. I thank her for all she has done.

Canadian Human Rights Act February 19th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, this does not affect my riding directly because we are not covered under the Indian Act, but I can understand what the communities will be facing if they are not given the resources to deal with this change.

Any change is difficult for all of us. In order to implement changes the proper resources are needed to make sure people understand exactly what it is that is changing, what opportunities are being opened up to them. People will be trying to understand what this means for them and their communities.

As I said in my speech, not everyone is going to realize what they can do to improve their lives if they feel that they have been discriminated against. Unfortunately, some people have lived with that situation for so long that they accept it as a way of life.

We are going to have to teach the people how to embrace this new freedom, for lack of a better word. We need to do it also in the language that people can understand. Not everyone in aboriginal communities speaks English or French, so it has to be explained in the language that they work with and live with and that takes a lot of resources.

There is going to have to be capacity building. There is obviously going to be paperwork involved. Some bands are already having great difficulty with all the administrative challenges, so resources will be needed with respect to this legislation.

Canadian Human Rights Act February 19th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, that is the crux of the interventions on our side. I thank other opposition members for also speaking to this issue.

Lack of consultation is a great worry for all of us on every file, but especially on aboriginal files. The former Liberal government encouraged real relationship building between aboriginal peoples of Canada and the Government of Canada. Not only were cabinet ministers engaged in consultations with our people, but our former prime minister took it upon himself to make it a personal mission. He told every cabinet minister that they would not be making legislation without people's input. We were very comfortable with the steps that we were going through in our consultations on different files with the former government.

It is hard not to mention the Kelowna accord. That process engaged many aboriginal people in this country. We were right at the national table speaking with the people who had the ability to change legislation or policies. I do not think we will ever stop regretting that lost opportunity.

The lack of consultation was also very painful for communities that were given the hope that they could be engaged. It is a sad situation when hope is taken away. Hope is one thing that is needed in our aboriginal communities, hope for a better future, hope for better opportunities in education and economic development. I just do not see that right now in the discussions the Conservative government is having with aboriginal people. Even to say that they are having discussions is pushing it. This legislation was introduced obviously without any input from the aboriginal communities. Otherwise there would have been an interpretive clause and more of a phase-in period that would have been realistic to bringing in such a change to communities.