Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was environment.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Churchill River (Saskatchewan)

Lost his last election, in 2004, with 10% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Points of Order June 3rd, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wish to offer a copy of the Indian treaties that created this country. This is a treaty nation that we call Canada. When we created this country, we negotiated with the Crown by treaty negotiation.

This is a copy of treaties I would like to bring forward to the House so that when the relationship of the aboriginal people, the first nations of Canada, is being debated in the House this body of evidence, the true relationship between the Crown and the original nations of the country, is reflected upon.

I present this to you, Mr. Speaker, for your deliberation on where these treaties can be placed in this debate.

2005 Canada Summer Games April 7th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to extend my congratulations to the 2005 Canada Summer Games Host Society, the Canada Games Council, the city of Regina and the province of Saskatchewan which along with the Government Canada signed today in Regina the 2005 Canada Summer Games multiparty agreement.

The Government of Canada is pleased to work with these partners to ensure that the games are a tremendous success. The 2005 Canada Summer Games will create social, cultural and economic benefits to the citizens of Regina and Saskatchewan.

The community pride generated by the many volunteers who will become involved in the staging of the games yet to come is another example of the richness that the Canada games will bring to a host region.

Please join me in extending my best wishes to the host society and all our partners as we prepare for the 2005 Canada Summer Games in Saskatchewan in Regina.

Queen's Golden Jubilee Medals February 6th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to announce the recipients of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for northern Saskatchewan.

They are Adam Charles from Stanley Mission; Carol Janvier from La Loche; Jason Robillard from Stoney Rapids; Francis P. Hankey from Goodsoil; Lloyd Yew from Dillon; Rachel Jobb from Southend; Leonard Adam from Fond Du Lac; Robert H. Gardiner from Île à La Crosse; Sheldon Natawayes from Sandy Bay; Marcia Merasty from Flying Dust; Robert Augier Jr. from Uranium City; Ovid Campbell from Beauval; Alice Tataryn from Anglin Lake; Oscar Beatty from Deschambault Lake; John Carriere from Cumberland House; Tammy Cook Searson from Lac La Ronge; Carol Gillis from Buffalo Narrows; Ron Michel from Pelican Narrows; Terri Daniels from Wollaston Lake; and George Smith from Pine House.

The honourees were equally recognized as elders, youth, women and men. I ask members to join me in congratulating these very special individuals.

Specific Claims Resolution Act February 4th, 2003

Mr. Speaker, I would like to be recorded as voting against the motion.

Canadian Space Agency December 12th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the presence of Canadian Space Agency astronaut Dr. Dafydd Williams in Ottawa today. It gives me great pleasure to announce that Dave Williams has been selected for a mission to the International Space Station in November 2003, which will closely follow Steve MacLean's mission in May.

Dr. Williams will perform a series of space walks, assisting in the construction of the station and positioning of solar panels critical to powering the microgravity science laboratory.

Canadians are proud of Canada's continued excellence and leadership in space science and technology and innovation.

The selection of Dr. Dave Williams is recognition of his dedication and contributions to the space station program and of his achievements as the first non-American to hold a senior position at NASA in Houston.

It is also recognition of the work of our astronauts, engineers, scientists and researchers of over 250 companies throughout Canada who are contributing to enhancing global recognition of our vibrant Canadian space program.

During their space walks and space adventure, let us think of them as dancers with our northern lights.

Kyoto Protocol December 9th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, this gives me an opportunity to speak about the Kyoto protocol which I was fortunate to see at its inception in Kyoto in 1997. The debate has come a long way. It has taken five years of consultation which according to the opposition has been fruitless with the provinces.

It is time for Canadians to stand behind our leader, the Prime Minister. He has taken this opportunity to point us in the right direction. This is a global matter and an issue for us to address on the state of how much energy we are selfishly using when compared to a global perspective.

In terms of the science that has been presented before us, such as climate change, the United Nations has worked on it. The scientific debate took place for many decades before it came to fruition in 1997. Scientists did not all of a sudden flick on the light in 1997 and say here is the situation in the world. Scientists, over numerous decades, have been pointing out to us that we are selfishly using energies that are limited on the planet.

My riding is in the wilderness and I want to speak from that perspective. In my region we have huge opportunities for resource development. I am talking about northern Saskatchewan which is a relatively untouched region of Canada. My region straddles the border with Alberta and the tar sands. I am sure there is an equal amount of opportunity and resources in my region as in the province of Alberta. We must raise the issue of sharing resources which was done in the Canadian debate at Kyoto. When I addressed the issue at the provincial level I always viewed Canada as being able to deal with climate change and the Kyoto protocol, and to be put in a bubble. The European Union addressed and symbolically put its emissions in a bubble so it could look at its calculations, emissions and commitments within the European bubble.

This is the way I view Canada as well, in a bubble, from the east coast and the west coast, right up to the northern coast. We have huge responsibilities but also huge benefits. It is not only the burdens of Kyoto that fall upon our shoulders. We also have an ample amount of benefits.

We can look at the carbon sinks as part of the Kyoto protocol. Carbon sinks are now being recognized and counted as part of our Kyoto emissions and the sequestering of carbon.

In terms of looking at the opportunities for the forest industry and the people that occupy and live in the forest, here is an opportunity to start measuring what kind of carbon sinks and sequestration takes place in our regions. We know when new growth happens with saplings, trees, grass or grains or any kind of agricultural practices that take place there is a sequestration of carbon.

There are huge tracts of bog and muskeg in northern Canada that is an important life source for our planet. We must be careful on how we deal with and use these important regions of our country. The boreal forest that stretches from Labrador all the way across the northern half of all the provinces and into Yukon is a vital part of the equation.

The other part I wish to speak about is the present day resource extraction and the benefits that would take place within those regions, and how the regions are not sharing those benefits. We know the debate in Alberta has been quite selfish. However, I would like to see some national vision of what the impacts would be for our energy and the proper sharing of our resources within those regions.

I come from a region that has huge deposits of uranium. Uranium has been used for the generation of power in many parts of the world.

We must also be conscious. The word conscious is an incredible word because science is a part of the word conscious. When I was in Kyoto I had an opportunity to attend a gathering of all the scientists who declared climate change as an opportunity for humans to correct their mistakes. They said that before the industrial age was off and running the scientists were connected to the spiritual community of the world.

When the industrial age came about, the scientists and the moral, spiritual community split. Ever since then scientists have been on their own without necessarily the consciousness, the moral questions of their discoveries, and the repercussions of the science they are working on. The scientist who addressed the Kyoto convention said that it was time that the planet began bringing consciousness back to science. That is what I am talking about.

Today we talk about investments. We are concerned about investments that would not come our way. I am sure that in the whole global picture of investments there are people who have a consciousness of their money and where it goes. In the whole global picture of science, there are scientists who have consciousness. This is what I am saying. It is time for Canadians, and with great recognition to our leader the Prime Minister, to recognize that there is consciousness in this country. We are aware that we are disrupting the climate of future generations. This climate that we call sacred, that we call life, is a life preserver for us. The atmosphere holds all our oxygen and life space. If we are not cognizant that we are damaging this life space, we must make corrections.

Scientists have told us that we are making mistakes. We have made mistakes and it is time we made corrections. The Kyoto protocol is a small measure toward addressing climate change. Canada, as a huge emitter, is small compared to the global emissions. If we can start being a role model to people who dream of being citizens of Canada, people from all over the word, the overpopulated regions, the underprivileged regions, and the people who do not have food and basics of water who want to be in our society, let us have the decency as a society to give them a role model that is worthy of generations to come. The generations to come are the children and their children who we will never know. They will be our descendants. Our ancestors before us may have made mistakes, but the consciousness that we carry tell us that we can correct those mistakes.

This is a great opportunity for us. One of the greatest opportunities I had was revisiting how our communities function. I always thought, living in the bush in a northern aboriginal village, that the ideal situation was an urban centre having: a remote control left and right; SUVs and 4X4s parked outside; the biggest outboard engine; and the biggest Ski-Doo engine. That is what we aspired to. However we have hit a caution sign, a stop sign. Let us not dream of these high tech, high powered, and high energy units that we are using.

I became aware that maybe the solution is back where we came from. Just a few years ago there was a village opened in Quebec called Ouje-Bougoumou. The village was designed for low energy use where one stove heated the whole town, the whole community. The cost savings from which they benefited and the savings on emissions by utilizing a district energy system for an entire village brought them to an international exposition in Germany as the village of the future.

I live in northern Canada. I used to think that my village was a village of the past. However now the latest world expo is pointing to our northern villages as being villages of the future. Why is that? Let me use our clotheslines as an example. Why are we abandoning our clotheslines? When I grew up there were clotheslines in everyone's backyard. Today people use heavy duty washers and dryers that have a heating elements that suck power to dry our clothes. Maybe it would be better to use a low tech clothesline in the basement or if allowed in backyards.

Maybe this debate should started five years ago when we came back from Kyoto. Individuals who are now five years old and entering school maybe can realize that we did make a mistake with our industrial age and with our heavy use of energy.

Maybe it is time for the Americans to be given an opportunity to see that there is a better way of living. Canada probably is the worst example of a country taking on climate change. Canada has the harshest climates. Canada has the highest cost of energy than any other area in North America. We have the highest cost of living compared to anywhere else in North America. However we are willing to take on this challenge and that should be a message to our neighbours, the United States.

Maybe we can show that Canada can take the full benefits of Kyoto, that we can take our technologies to and challenge our young people with our innovation agenda. Let us take it to our young people who are now going into universities. Maybe they can find technologies to correct our housing use, our energy use and our manufacturing.

All this is about efficiency and a healthier and productive future for our country. We are looking at the betterment in terms of savings from our mining industry and our oil and gas industry. I do not mean to preach to the converted over there. We do care about what happens in Alberta. Canada with its Kyoto commitments should be viewed like a bubble. This is an opportunity for the whole country to take an issue that is global and show that we can excel and improve our social structure.

If we are willing to share the burden of Kyoto, we must show that we are also willing to share the benefits. We must share the benefits throughout the country. I am speaking as a person who comes from the bush, from the forestry industry, where we do not have high economic opportunities. Maybe Kyoto will afford us these opportunities. Maybe this is an opportune time for us to put research centres along the mid-Canada corridor of the northern half of each province so we can look at what is happening in northern Alberta and northern Saskatchewan and see if the same thing is happening in northern Manitoba. We can share opportunities. We can find better ways to build our houses and our villages. Maybe we can find better ways to improve our travel.

I come from a region where we do not have public transportation. There is no bus service available to service the northwest region of my province. We are faced with a very big challenge in terms of development. Speaking as someone from an undeveloped region of Canada, this is an opportunity that will allow us to look at our basic society and challenge ourselves so we can live in a better and healthier environment by improving our carbon dioxide emissions.

All races of the world were in Japan representing many different countries. We listened to the debates that took place there. The United Nations had its fullest representation there. We heard the rhetoric that there was no need for Kyoto and no need to act on it while there.

It was suppressed because then vice president Gore had a strong view on the environment and spoke soundly for the White House and its administration. However we heard the strong rhetoric from the right wing, the Republicans, in protection of oil and gas. That still permeates today.

I ask Canadians to take a serious look at our climate change plan is for Canada. Let us look at what we can do in our own communities. Let us look at what we can do for our homes, for our provinces and for our country. Most of all, let us look at what can we do for our planet because our future generations are at stake.

Regional Development October 23rd, 2002

Mr. Speaker, recently the Canada-Saskatchewan Northern Development Accord and Agreement were signed with our northern Saskatchewan leadership, which includes first nations, Métis and municipal councils.

Could the Secretary of State for Western Economic Diversification please tell the House why this accord and agreement are important for Canada?

Veterans Affairs June 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Veteran Affairs has stated in the House that finding a resolution for first nations veterans is a top priority for the government. The government has been very optimistic that this resolution could come to a close.

Could the minister tell us now, before the summer recess, is there a more definitive answer on how we can address the first nations veterans issue?

First Nations Governance Act June 17th, 2002

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to rise in the House today to debate an issue that is critical to our country. The preamble of Bill C-61 states:

Whereas governments in Canada have certain capacities and powers facilitating good governance, accountability and economic development--

The opening statements of the preamble should exemplify how the country was created. The crown of England negotiated by treaty with the aboriginal nations of Canada to create a country. Why is that preamble not in the bill? Immigrants or anyone else who declares themselves to be Canadian must realize that the country was created by negotiation and treaty, a sacred covenant. It was sacred because it was held in high regard. It was held with the sacred pipes of our nations to secure a nation which shared the land among all Canadians. That preamble is missing from Bill C-61.

When immigrants become Canadians they must learn the country's history. They must realize that the aboriginal nations willingly shared the land to live a peaceful and harmonious existence. It started as a colonial relationship but we must now throw the colonial cloaks away, as the minister has said.

How do we travel forth? This morning an hon. member across the way brought up the issue of the two row wampum. I commend his perspective. However the two vessels he spoke about are here on Parliament Hill. This vessel, created under the British parliamentary structure, has a Senate and a House of Commons. The other vessel, the Library of Parliament, is round and shaped like a teepee. An aboriginal council could take its place there and we could collectively govern the country.

There are three Houses. They are like mind, body and spirit. We could stand together in security for the certainty of the country. The senators could be our sober second thought. They could be our elders, our wisdom. They could make their decisions on journeys such as this law.

The House of Commons represents all jurisdictions and constituents of Canada, but our aboriginal nations have been missed in governing the country. The crown has been selfish in governing the country on its own. The crown must recognize the original nations and come together with them. We must create a united Canada made up of all our nations. We are a river of nations and a nation of rivers.

When we speak of a nation of rivers we need only look at the river maps. The river basins are based on treaties. In the region I come from, Saskatchewan Treaty 6 includes the entire North Saskatchewan River. Treaty 10 includes the entire Churchill River system. Treaties 8 and 11 include the entire Mackenzie River basin system. It was through treaty that Canada acquired the lands to govern the country. Let us go back and respect those treaties. If we visit any first nations community that has signed a treaty the elders will say time and time again that our relationship flows from the treaties signed by their people. Chiefs such as Mistawasis, John Iron of Canoe Lake, and Chief Apisis from English River all signed treaties. Canada cannot forget its own history.

Everyone here is afforded a treaty right. It is by treaty that Canadians have a country to govern. I have a treaty right to be here as a member of parliament. Without a country called Canada I would not be the member of parliament for Churchill River. Treaty rights flow both ways. Aboriginal nations are not the only ones with treaty rights. It is through treaty rights that we as Canadians have a land to live on and call home. That preamble is required in the governance bill.

The other challenge I will make is to our aboriginal nations. Madam Speaker, I hope you will allow me to express myself in my language because that is how I must address them.

[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Cree]

We have been given a great responsibility as aboriginal people. The aboriginal nations have inherited the gifts of mother earth that we call Canada. The creator has given us gifts that are so immense we must share them with the world. Many nations have come from many directions: from the east, the south, the west and the north. The nations have converged and call Canada home. Their children have come here. We all want to raise our children together. Let us raise our children in peace and harmony. Peace and harmony can be found if we gather as nations and represent ourselves as one country.

It is time to take this debate to the aboriginal nations. I beg the aboriginal nations to gather as nations. If they gather as nations in this country we call Canada we will find peace and a harmonious relationship with our country. The country is too beautiful to neglect. Our responsibility as nations is critical at this point.

The bill is a default bill. If we do not get our self-government models in place to rectify our inherent and aboriginal rights we will have two years before the default comes into play. The debate needs to take place now. The call for the gathering of nations should be made now for the benefit of the country and of the world, because the world is on a slippery slope to war. We see atrocities happening worldwide.

Here on mother earth we have been given a sacred gift that we call North America or Turtle Island. The aboriginal nations of the island have been given a gift called peace. It is called the great law of peace. It is based on the Iroquois confederacy, a union of five original nations which now includes six. When the United States needed a model of democracy it took a Xerox copy of the great law of peace to create its own constitution. The U.S. constitution is only a replica of that law. Canada has a chance to bring the real law of peace here and nurture it for the world. That is where we will find true world peace.

Ladies and gentlemen, hon. members:

[Editor's Note: The member spoke in Cree]

Let us rise to our responsibilities. Aboriginal peoples and their leaders have a responsibility to gather, and the crown has a responsibility to recognize first nations when they come together. Let us find a meaningful relationship so we can journey on this river we call Canada together as nations, united to create one beautiful country.

Species at Risk Act June 10th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, it would be appropriate if I first expressed myself in my first language, otherwise it is hard to say what I have to say.

I beg forgiveness from the species that we have threatened by our large egos as human beings, by our greed to sustain ourselves and to sustain ourselves beyond what we really need to sustain life on the planet. I beg forgiveness from the mammals, the four-leggeds, the ones that have wings, the ones that swim and the ones that crawl. I beg forgiveness from all plants and life on the planet Earth. I beg forgiveness because without consciousness the bill would not be. If we had not done what we have done until now, we would not require Bill C-5. We have done great damage to ourselves.

This beautiful planet comes under the jurisdiction of the law in Canada. If we were to measure the history of Canada on a yardstick, there is a measured history here of 35,000 years and even beyond. Our extirpation of animals has occurred in the last few decades. The impact has been done by ourselves and we have to correct it somehow.

I look at Bill C-5 as a vessel for future decisions to be made on the inevitable problems we will have. In the journey we have as a young country, Bill C-5 is finally a commitment that our country has made to the world.

The United Nations convention on biodiversity challenged Canada to come up with legislation that says we will protect endangered species at risk. This is what we have done.

We are debating a group of amendments on stewardship action plans. The main crux of it is clause 10, how to do it. The Canadian conservation council is created by the bill. Thirteen territorial ministers and three federal ministers, they being heritage, fisheries and environment, would make up the Canadian conservation council. These decision makers will be making recovery strategies and action plans. They will be implementing them in many regions, in the provinces and under federal jurisdiction.

Thanks to the work of the standing committee and the work in large part by ourselves in the House of Commons, we have included the aboriginal people. We have created a national aboriginal council on endangered species. It completes the circle because we will have to work at this together. It calls on all of us to exercise our responsibilities to take care of the species.

Sure, our rights have to be protected but we have to exercise our responsibilities. We must exercise our responsibilities in a co-operative manner. It has been highlighted that the provinces, the federal ministries and the aboriginal jurisdiction are all very much part of the discussion.

The landowners, land users, farmers, trappers, ranchers, hunters, fishermen, people who live off the land, tourists, outfitters, miners and loggers, all these people will have to look at a proper way of dealing with endangered species.

We have a framework and vessel that we can use. Our children will be able to use this legislation to protect themselves in the future. A proper dialogue is being created. Federal-provincial disputes can be clarified at the Canadian conservation council. If there are disputes involving aboriginal, federal and provincial jurisdictions, the aboriginal council will speak to these issues and sort them out before legal challenges take place.

This is what I speak about regarding Bill C-5, that this co-operative manner will succeed. I have faith that the bill will proceed to an honourable end. We will have opportunities to correct it. We are a young country as was mentioned. This is the first time this law will come into place. Once it passes, there will be opportunities to review it and change it in the future.

The other challenge I would like to put forward is not necessarily to the House. The bill will create a national aboriginal council. I beg that when the six representatives are chosen for the national aboriginal council that they be chosen by region. We must protect all regions of the country. If we were to do it by political jurisdiction and demographics, the cities and the southern jurisdiction would make the decisions on strategies and action plans for the country.

Let us dissect our country into six regions which could represent the river regions. The St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes and the Atlantic coast could be represented. The Hudson Bay watershed, the old romanticized Rupert's Land region, could be represented. The Mackenzie River that flows to the north, and the north and south Saskatchewan rivers that flow into Lake Winnipeg could be represented. The Pacific watershed that flows into the west and the Arctic waters in the coastal region of the north could be represented. Those are the regions that could be represented on the national aboriginal council.

Not only would aboriginal people take their grievances to the council, but any landowners such as farmers and ranchers could take their grievances to the council as well. The council could be a consciousness of our people and of our species.

The relationship we have is very critical because we are bound by consciousness. We can make the changes here as human beings. We as parliamentarians, as decision makers, can make the decisions when it comes to law, but when it comes to action plans and strategies, let us depend upon the Canadian endangered species conservation council. The 13 provincial and territorial ministers, the three federal ministers and the six aboriginal representatives can sort out how we make our decisions in the future.

A very scary comment was made by one of the members opposite. It was in the context of hoping that one species would be gone. I would say let us humble ourselves from having the power to say let us wipe out a species off the planet. All of these gifts we have been given on mother earth are for a purpose. They are tests. If we do not pass these tests, we will fail and the generations to come will pay. Sure, a deer mouse tests us because of the illness it gives us, but it may wake us up to a bigger mistake that we are making. Let us humbly respect all species on the planet.

I close by giving thanks to the aboriginal working group and its co-chairs for their foresight in bringing these issues forward. I thank the Minister of the Environment and his staff for making this possible. I also thank all the leaders of the national aboriginal organizations who contributed toward making the necessary amendments that I had put forward.

I thank the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. It has done well. Also, all the members opposite and on the government side have done well in bringing these issues forward. For making this debate possible, I thank our leader the Prime Minister for seeing the bill as a priority for us to deal with before we rise. It is very appropriate that we handle it now.