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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was peterborough.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Peterborough (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2004, with 44% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Sahtu Dene And Metis Land Claim Settlement Act April 25th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I have to say I am not familiar with all the legal precedents, but it does seem to me that one of the bases of these claims negotiations is that there are groups of people who have variously occupied very large areas. It seems to

me logical that when the settlement is made there is some agreement or jurisdiction over a very large area which reflects the fact that over long periods of time they have occupied those areas in a particular way. There are much tighter agreements over other areas in which, particularly in recent decades, people have lived in a much more non-migratory way.

Therefore it seems to me the fee simple part of these agreements has to do with that. There are rights to wildlife management over large areas and more controlled rights the closer we get to the areas presently occupied by the native people.

Sahtu Dene And Metis Land Claim Settlement Act April 25th, 1994

Madam Speaker, although I have an opinion on the status of treaty 11 and the outcomes which have not appeared from that treaty, in this case I would like to take the question under advisement.

Sahtu Dene And Metis Land Claim Settlement Act April 25th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his interest and his questions. I listened with great interest to his remarks.

I made it clear that the government was very keen to move forward with claims settlements. I am afraid I cannot comment on the details of the budget. Unlike the hon. member this is not one of my specialty areas. However I would be glad to find out the relationship between our plans to speed up negotiations and the budget, if he so wishes.

With regard to the question of involvement of the provinces, in my speech I specifically mentioned that the case of the Northwest Territories was quite special. In that area the federal government still has a great deal of control. Nevertheless, despite that, the federal government involved the NWT government in these negotiations because it was the proper thing to do.

As I also pointed out, if that is proper in the case of the NWT government, where I suppose it could be argued that the federal government need not have involved that level of government, it is even more true in the case of the provinces. The federal government will involve the provinces in equivalent negotiations in the future.

Sahtu Dene And Metis Land Claim Settlement Act April 25th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I rise in support of Bill C-16, the Sahtu Dene and Metis Land Claim Settlement act.

As previous members have described, this is a claim which deals with that part of the Mackenzie Valley which involves Great Bear Lake and the area to the west and the bands that live in those areas.

I am extremely pleased to speak in support of this legislation. It is another example of the government's commitment to build partnerships with aboriginal peoples, partnerships based on mutual respect.

The resolution of native land claims is a major part of that commitment. The federal government is committed to significantly increasing the rate of land claims settlement. It has been seeking new ways to resolve impediments that slow that process down.

I would like to give members of this House some background to the Sahtu land claim agreement as an example of the claims negotiation process. I would like to describe what comprehensive claims are and provide some details of the process that is followed to successfully conclude them.

First, I will give a few highlights of the evolution of the concept of aboriginal rights in the context of land claims. Protecting lands occupied by aboriginal peoples from outside acquisition can be traced to the royal proclamation of 1763. With Confederation, Canada assumed responsibility for applying this principle.

The common law concept of aboriginal rights was addressed in 1973 in a Supreme Court case which acknowledged the existence of aboriginal title in Canadian law. Six years later in 1979 a common law test for continuing aboriginal rights was established in another federal court decision.

These two groundbreaking decisions were followed by the recognition of the central importance of the concept of aboriginal rights to aboriginal peoples in the Canadian Constitution, specifically section 35(1). In 1990 the Sparrow case tried before the Supreme Court provided the first analysis of the implication of this recognition.

All these decisions established that the exercise of aboriginal rights could be regulated by government. The court also set out strict tests which were to be applied to determine if government interference with section 35 rights was justified in specific cases. The court has also concluded that rights are unique to each aboriginal group. Given that the rights are common law and not written down their extent and nature have been the subject of considerable debate.

Before these court decisions were enacted defining the special rights of aboriginal groups within treaties had long been an important aspect of the relationship between aboriginal peoples and the crown. As well the evolution and development of the federal government's land claims policy has been closely linked to court decisions, particularly the decisions that I mentioned earlier.

To address any uncertainty created by the decisions the federal government announced that it was willing to negotiate land claims settlements with native peoples. As the policy developed, claims were divided into two broad categories, comprehensive and specific.

Comprehensive claims are based on the concept of continuing aboriginal rights and title which have not been dealt with by treaty or other legal means. The courts have emphasized that the proper way to resolve outstanding land claims is through agreements negotiated fairly by the affected parties.

Specific claims, on the other hand, arise from the alleged non-fulfilment of Indian treaties and other lawful obligations or the improper administration of lands and other assets under the Indian Act.

All these court decisions and constitutional guarantees provided the background within which the Sahtu agreement was negotiated.

To further describe this process I would like to list the objectives of comprehensive claims settlements, of which this is an extremely important example.

The primary purpose is to conclude agreements with aboriginal groups that will resolve the debates and legal ambiguities associated with the common law concept of aboriginal rights and title.

Uncertainty with respect to the legal status of lands and resources created by a lack of political agreement with aboriginal groups has been a barrier to economic development for all Canadians and has hindered the full participation of aboriginal peoples in land and resource management.

The comprehensive claims process is intended to lead to agreement on special rights aboriginal peoples will have in the future with respect to lands and resources. It is not an attempt to define what rights they may have had in the past.

The process of comprehensive claims settlement has five stages. The first is initial negotiation when issues are identified for discussion. The second is substantive negotiation when issues are discussed to produce the agreement in principle that contains all the features of the eventual settlement. The third is finalization when all parties formalize decisions needed in the agreement in principle to produce a final agreement. The fourth stage is enactment of settlement legislation which brings the agreement into force. The fifth stage is the implementation of settlement legislation when the terms of the agreement are carried out by all parties.

During the initial and substantive stages, the first two stages I mentioned of the settlement process, aboriginal groups may obtain loans from the government to hire professional and technical staff to help them prepare and negotiate their claims.

Most of the lands and resources that are subject of negotiations and that are required for the settlement of comprehensive claims are owned by a province. Because of this the federal government feels that provincial governments must participate in the often complex negotiations and must contribute to the provision of claims benefits to aboriginal groups.

In Yukon and Northwest Territories most lands and resources fall under federal jurisdiction. Nevertheless, territorial governments participate fully in claims negotiations and have made commitments to aboriginal groups through claims settlements. This was certainly the case of the Sahtu agreement. The Northwest Territories government was an active participant in all deliberations.

As in all deliberations, including those leading up to Bill C-16, the scope of discussions was defined so as to arrive at a fair and just resolution of the outstanding claim in a manner that would uphold the honour of the crown.

As well, settlements including the one before us today are designed to ensure that the interests of aboriginal groups in resource management and environmental protection are recognized and that claimants share in the benefits of development. A number of these points were mentioned in previous speeches.

To achieve these objectives settlement agreements must define a wide range of rights and benefits to be exercised and enjoyed by claimant groups. These rights and benefits usually include full ownership of certain lands in the area covered by the settlement, guaranteed wildlife harvesting rights, guaranteed participation in land, water, wildlife and environmental management throughout the settlement area, financial compensation, resource revenue sharing and specific measures to stimulate economic development and a role in the management of heritage resources and parks in the settlement area.

The rights and benefits of the Sahtu Dene and Metis in this particular case have been described by the minister and other speakers today.

Members should know that settlement rights are constitutionally protected and cannot be altered without the concurrence of claimant groups. A claimant group may retain any aboriginal rights that it may have had with respect to the lands it will hold following the settlement so long as such rights are consistent with the final agreement. As well those aboriginal rights that are not related to land and resources, or to other subjects under negotiation, will not be affected by the exchange of rights in the negotiated settlement.

Resource revenue sharing is negotiated so that the group can share federal royalties derived from resource extraction throughout the area covered by the group's settlement agreement.

Enhanced aboriginal involvement in environmental management is also provided for. Such arrangements, however, recognize that government has an overriding obligation to ensure resource conservation, to protect the interests of all users, to respect international agreements and to manage renewable resources within its jurisdiction.

If an aboriginal group's traditional activities have extended to offshore areas, their claim settlement may include offshore wildlife harvesting rights.

The House should be aware that in its efforts to clarify the rights of aboriginal people the federal government does not intend to diminish the rights of others. Public and third party interests will be respected in the negotiation of claim settlements and if affected they will be dealt with equitably.

I hope my colleagues appreciate the long and complex process that has brought us to second reading of Bill C-16. I urge members to support the bill. Its passage will benefit all Canadians as well as help First Nations become strong and prosperous. I hope all bands associated with the Sahtu Tribal Council will have a happy and prosperous future as a result of this legislation.

Petitions April 20th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from more than 100 residents of Peterborough and surrounding areas. It is on behalf of long service employees who lose their jobs and have locked in pensions.

These petitioners request changes to the Pension Benefits Act, 1985, which was revised in 1990 to bring that act they say in line with the economy of the 1990s and to improve the situation of displaced long term employees.

The petitioners suggest that consideration be given to releasing such pension funds in cases such as financial hardship, the loss of a job, where someone is starting a new business, or where there is no job available. They also suggest that the eligibility age should be reviewed and lowered. I have signed these petitions.

National Volunteer Week April 20th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, the other day I helped launch National Volunteer Week by attending a celebration breakfast of the Association of Managers of Volunteer Services in Peterborough.

During this week in Peterborough riding and across Canada recognition events are being held to honour volunteers who do so much to maintain our standard and quality of life.

Volunteerism is one of the unwritten secrets of democracy. Healthy democracy demands the full and free participation of all citizens. That is why during in this particular volunteer week, while remembering all Canadian volunteers, we should save a special thought for Canadians helping with the election in South Africa. These people, including members of the House, people from my riding and many others, are a special reminder to us all of the importance of volunteerism in 1994. They are an example to us all.

Petitions April 15th, 1994

Madam Speaker, I have two petitions from citizens of Peterborough riding.

The first which is signed by 25 people urges that Parliament enact legislation to request effective tax paid markings on legal tobacco products. These citizens believe it is important to clearly distinguish legal, domestic product from contraband product and they believe that these markings will make enforcement of federal regulations easier. I have also signed this petition.

The second petition is also signed by 25 citizens of Peterborough. The petitioners point out that we export Canadian tobacco but there is virtually no market for this tobacco in the United States and so that tobacco is simply reimported. They urge that quotas be imposed on tobacco exports to ensure that only legitimate export markets are met by our exports. I have also signed this petition.

Peterborough Paper Converters April 15th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, time was when things like world-wide trading, industrial R and D, and innovation in management-worker relations were entirely in the hands of large multinational corporations.

Today increasingly we have the extraordinary phenomenon of tiny local companies working in the global marketplace living off their own technological innovations and developing creative and productive worker relations programs.

Peterborough Paper Converters is one of those. It has made great technological contributions to the coating of paper used for labels and postage stamps. Its employees are fully involved in company affairs and have developed their own systems software. Their products are exported around the world.

I know members of the House join me in congratulating the 100 or so employees of Peterborough Paper Converters on their 10th anniversary on 10 difficult but productive years. We wish these fine Canadians all the success they have earned in the years ahead.

National Infrastructure April 13th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, in shorthand this government's mandate is job creation. In longhand the mandate is to modernize, streamline and stimulate the national economy and deal with the deficit and the debt by generating jobs.

The national infrastructure program is a good illustration of this. It is thought of as a job creation program and will create thousands of jobs but it will also improve the efficiency of our economy by modernizing and improving our national infrastructure.

In addition, it is an attempt to stimulate the economy directly by encouraging responsible and productive spending all across the country.

That is why it is so important that the decisions on the thousands of construction projects are being made by local municipalities like Asphodel, Belmont-Methuen, Douro, Dummer, Ennismore, Havelock, Lakefield, North and South Monaghan, Norwood, Otonabee and Smith, all in Peterborough county.

Names like these have not been heard in this House for many years. This government is reaching out to the grassroots of our economy because it knows that is where the economy can be stimulated most effectively and where most jobs can be created.

Elders Conference April 12th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, Trent University has the oldest native studies program in Canada.

It recently hosted its 11th annual Elders Conference with 2,000 participants from all over Canada, from the west coast to the east and as far north as Igloolik. The conference was run by more than 200 Trent students. It included exciting workshops and a wide variety of social events. A play by the children from the Kawartha First Nations, a large powwow at Curve Lake and games highlighted the weekend.

The Elders Conference once again received considerable support from the greater Peterborough area. This is gratefully acknowledged by the organizers.

It is truly national events like this one, bringing together native and non-native people, young and old, that demonstrate Canada's strengths. They are evidence that our future lies within the vision of the current Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development of this country rather than within the tunnel vision of some members of the House.