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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was saskatchewan.

Last in Parliament March 2008, as Liberal MP for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River (Saskatchewan)

Won his last election, in 2006, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply May 16th, 2007

Mr. Chair, maybe I could repeat that question again. Has the minister actually paid any attention to aboriginal languages in cabinet?

Business of Supply May 16th, 2007

Mr. Chair, does the minister understand the impact of the loss of these languages to aboriginal cultures and to Canada's proud cultural traditions?

Business of Supply May 16th, 2007

Does the minister know how many aboriginal languages are near extinction?

Business of Supply May 16th, 2007

Mr. Chair, does the minister believe that the residential school experience nearly destroyed aboriginal languages?

Athabasca Basin May 11th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, last September, the Athabasca Economic Development Training Corporation met with the Saskatchewan Conservative caucus, spelling out their case for an all season road in the Athabasca region.

The province had agreed to fund half of the construction costs and a previous Liberal government had announced it would fund one-third of the costs.

The Saskatchewan Conservative caucus suggested its strong support for this project, but with the arrival of the construction season in the north, we see no movement from the federal government on this important initiative.

This is a quality of life issue. Northerners are paying outrageous prices for basic food necessities, $12 for four litres of milk, $4 for a loaf of bread and so on. This road would inject significant business and economic development opportunities for Saskatchewan and improve the quality of life of all northern people in the Athabasca basin.

Some of us have tried to bring attention to this important issue, and it appears as though the Saskatchewan Conservative MPs are not among this group. I ask the Minister of Indian Affairs to commit to this project and help the people of the Athabasca basin.

Meadow Lake Fire May 7th, 2007

Mr. Speaker, in the middle of the night on May 1 in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, flames engulfed several small businesses right across the street from my constituency office.

The Lumber House, a renowned local eatery, which would have been celebrating its 30th anniversary shortly, and the Thrift Mission were lost to the flames. Several other nearby businesses sustained smoke and water damage as well. Our thoughts and prayers are with the community at this trying time.

There was the potential for much greater damage. The fire could have spread easily to many other buildings were it not for the courage and bravery of the emergency personnel.

On behalf of all the people of Meadow Lake and across northern Saskatchewan, I would like to acknowledge the heroic efforts of the Meadow Lake Fire Department, specifically the actions of Chief Russell Nelson and firefighters Brian Ritco and Louis Hiebert.

This was not a typical fire. Injuries were sustained during those difficult hours in the middle of the night, but the job was completed. I encourage all my colleagues in the House to join me in praising their tremendous efforts.

Business of Supply May 1st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from the New Democratic Party for supporting my motion this morning. I want to applaud her on the content of her speech. It is indeed sad when we revisit many of these stories.

My motion definitely talks about an apology from the House, but I am hoping as well, and the minister said, that perhaps eventually the government and the Prime Minister will apologize, although I am not so sure if I am optimistic myself.

He did speak about the truth and reconciliation process. I am just wondering if you have any thoughts on the truth and reconciliation process itself and how it can be better adapted in this instance.

Business of Supply May 1st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his great speech. I think he did an outstanding job highlighting some of the experiences back in his era and talking about the people he met.

He also heard the minister speak. I am wondering what his opinion was of that speech.

The House will hopefully express its support for the motion. Does he feel also that perhaps the government, somewhat separate from the House, the executive arm, would also proceed with an apology?

Business of Supply May 1st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I guess it is difficult to hear this sometimes, and people will argue that it is revisionist. It has to be understood that for the most part of written history in the country aboriginal people did not control the pen. The statements I talk about are statements from survivors, from past victims. If it is indeed an accusation of revisionism, then I guess so be it.

The question I have is the minister made a curious comment of “until all the facts are known”. The facts are known. The facts are in black and white. They are written in some cases in blood by many of those people who appeared before these various bodies to talk about their experiences.

I would ask the government to proceed with an apology and still proceed with the truth and reconciliation. The government should take lessons from the truth and reconciliation process in Africa and other countries and improve upon it in our country. I distinctly and truly believe the facts are there.

Business of Supply May 1st, 2007

Mr. Speaker, it is an interesting question in that it speaks to the lack of understanding and lack of knowledge about the real history of this country. It suggests that perhaps the members across have never had the opportunity to truly learn about what occurred at the residential schools. That is unfortunate.

Yes, I was worried about crossing the line, but the small sampling of what I talked about was nothing compared to the pain and suffering that those people went through.

In May 2005 the Assembly of First Nations and the Government of Canada signed an accord to reach an agreement and to move forward. Six months later they reached a settlement that called for a national apology, but it was not ratified because of an election.

I am trying to make this issue as non-political as possible. It has taken way too long for us to get to this point. As I said, the Conservatives across the way can take all the credit in the world for ratifying the residential schools agreement. I bow before them and thank them. However, the government has not apologized. It was clearly called for. Whether it is this government or a future government I will ensure that I keep the pressure on. That is the simple reality.