Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was aboriginal.

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

Petitions April 29th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to present this petition. Residents of northern Canada are calling upon the Government of Canada and the government of Northwest Territories to immediately announce their timetable for the completion of the Mackenzie Valley pipeline and the highway that is required for development in northern Canada. The petitioners call upon Parliament that a timely plan be related to the long term development of the Mackenzie highway in Canada.

Species at Risk Act March 21st, 2002

It is an honour and a privilege to speak on the proposed Group No. 4 report stage motions. I bring to the House the serious concern that has been raised by the United aboriginal leadership of Canada in relation to government Motions Nos. 6, 16 and 17.

The government motions diminish the standing committee's work to recognize the crucial role and important contribution that aboriginal peoples would make toward protecting species at risk. The standing committee acknowledged, by a unanimous all party vote, that a national aboriginal council on species at risk was a necessary component for bringing all jurisdictions of all peoples of Canada together to protect the life and species that were under threat.

The aboriginal peoples of Canada, the Inuit, the first nations and the Metis, all have stood united for inclusion in the decision making process that would reverse the losses of our species.

Since 1998 the leaderships have asked to be included at the decision making table to meet face to face with the federal and provincial ministers, the Canadian Endangered Conservation Council, a decision making body established under the federal-provincial species at risk accord, as action plans and recovery strategies for protecting species at risk are discussed, formulated and implemented.

This desire to be a partner in a co-operative manner between governments and peoples is nothing new. In matters related to the constitution and the charter of rights, and the repeated supreme court decisions, a requirement of our federal government in matters related to aboriginal rights should create models of inclusion. In fact the six representatives of the aboriginals peoples were involved in the ministers meeting in Iqaluit. They were invited by the environment minister himself to the surprise and gratitude of the aboriginal leadership. This was a huge step forward as a meeting of the minds and a clear signal that Canada would move forward in aboriginal relations, and it was a new step forward in the new millennium.

The government Motions Nos. 6, 16 and 17 were a huge disappointment to the aboriginal leadership. For the information of the House, the wording accepted by committee to create a necessary link to protect species between aboriginal peoples in Canada, to seek and consider advice and recommendations from aboriginal peoples, which the committee clarified to be the counsel in language specifically found in the federal-provincial accord, was based on the successful Iqaluit model.

The aboriginal working group successfully consulted with the government and its leadership to create the support required for this representation and inclusion. Representation from the east, south, west and north was very critical to having the inclusion of a unique biodiversity and eco-regions of Canada.

I call attention to Motion No. 25 as well. It changes the mechanisms and methods necessary to ensure intellectual property rights inherent for the successful implementation of SARA are respected and protected and are shared and used in an honourable manner.

In these new wording changes, I would propose that following two amendments to the report stage amendments, Motions Nos. 20 and 25, be accepted:

That Report Stage Motion No. 20 to amend Bill C-5 be amended by replacing all the words after “The Minister” with “shall establish a Council, to be known as the National Aboriginal Council on Species at Risk, consisting of six representatives of the aboriginal peoples of Canada selected by the Minister based upon recommendations from aboriginal organizations that the Minister considers appropriate. The role of the Council is to:

(1) advise the Minister on the administration of this Act;

(2) provide advice and recommendations to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council.”

That Report Stage Motion No. 25 to amend Bill C-5 be amended by replacing paragraph 10.2(c) with the following:

“(c) methods for sharing information about species at risk, including community and aboriginal traditional knowledge, that respect, preserve and maintain knowledge and promote their wider application with the approval of the holders of such knowledge, with other governments and persons.”

I also bring to the attention of the House that aboriginal leaderships have explicitly stated that the removal of the council in the act, if not corrected and an honourable compromise is not reached on Motion No. 25, there may not be aboriginal support for SARA. Canada needs the support of the aboriginal peoples and their nations to ensure the successful implementation of this act and of preservation of the threatened and endangered species of this country.

I offer this honourable compromise.

Aboriginal Affairs February 21st, 2002

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the minister responsible for children and youth.

Canadians are well aware that learning and skills are crucial for their success in the prosperity of our nation in this knowledge based economy.

[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Cree]

A growing aboriginal population is facing a number of challenges in skills development. We know that an increasing number of aboriginal people are entering the workforce.

Could the minister inform the House as to what the government is doing to ensure aboriginal people have the opportunities to get the skills they need for success?

The Environment November 21st, 2001

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of the Environment.

Sumas is an American company that applied for a natural gas fired power plant in the state of Washington. This is very close to Abbotsford, B.C. On February 16 this year the application was denied. However, the company filed a revised application on June 29.

Many British Columbians are still concerned about the potential effects on air quality by the plant. Could the minister tell the House the position of the Sumas 2 power plant?

Business of the House November 20th, 2001

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for raising the issue and bringing about debate on the parliamentary structure and the different roles the houses play for our country and our government.

He indicated that the history of debates which have accumulated up to now, especially those surrounding the Charlottetown accord, spoke about the role of aboriginal peoples and the intention of inclusion of aboriginal peoples.

There is a debate to abolish the other house and make a single house. I would like to share the idea of three houses of parliament. When the country was created the crown negotiated with aboriginal nations through treaties. It was not aboriginal peoples; it was aboriginal nations. Those nations are alive and vibrant in Canada. The Neheyo which is part of the Cree, the Dene, Mohawk, Musqueam, Squamish, Huron and Algonquin are vibrant nations.

It would be very advantageous and crucial at this time in our debate to include these nations as part of the governing structure of Canada. I offer as a third house an accumulation of aboriginal nations of the country.

This third house actually exists in a building called the parliamentary library. The parliamentary library was a gift given to us in 1916 because it survived the fire of 1916. The square building on Parliament Hill burned but the round one did not. The symbol of the circle is very sacred because it is a symbol of the medicine wheel. If we look at the floor plan of the parliamentary library it symbolizes the medicine wheel with all directions pointed on it.

I want the hon. member to put this point into context because looking at only an elected Senate is a narrow perspective. I would like to broaden the member's perspective in this regard.

I would like to take an holistic view of how the country is evolving. We are a very young country. We are barely shaking off the cloaks of colonialism. They are not even freshly off our shoulders yet. We are trying to rejuvenate a country and a governing structure that can serve the best interests of the country with pride, confidence and certainty. That will not take place unless we see a rightful place where aboriginal nations are recognized. That would be a fine example.

We had an honourable citizen recognized yesterday, Nelson Mandela. His people chose the rainbow coalition as a means to include all the peoples in South Africa to create a country. It is time for Canada to look into this debate.

I look at the symbolism of this room. The room is rectangular in nature and designed for us to fight in. Opposition and government members are two sword lengths away so we do not hurt ourselves. I look at the parliamentary structures in Europe where the symbolism of this parliament was adopted. The European parliament and the German Bundesrat are both in circular form. The Swedish parliament is in a semi-circular form.

Canada is begging for the symbol of unity. It is not only the debate between Quebec and the rest of Canada or between the French and the English. It is time for all of us to unite.

We can keep the country strong, united and vibrant if the aboriginal nations are given their rightful place. An aboriginal parliament could address the major economic, social, health and environmental issues affecting our aboriginal communities. We need to come together and find out what our responsibilities are so we can exercise the responsibilities we have in housing, education, law, business and trade. These are responsibilities that were here before the country was formed and even before other persons found their way here.

These responsibilities have to be exercised and nurtured. If we do that a consciousness in this country will be awakened.

I must give honourable mention to the member who brought forth this debate which allowed me to address the issue. It is time that we look at the holistic perspective of the Canadian government, its parliamentary structures and the symbolism of unity that this country is dying for.

It is an honour to raise this issue today. The debate may come back if the motion is defeated. However I encourage the new member who has found his way to the House of Commons to continue to try to find a rightful place for this parliamentary structure. I hope I can contribute to that.

Agriculture September 21st, 2001

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Extreme weather was evident during the 2001 growing season worldwide. Drought in particular is having a serious impact on Canadian farmers.

Can the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food tell the House what the extent of the drought is and whether the government has programs in place to help farmers through this crisis?

Terrorism September 21st, 2001

[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Cree]

Mr. Speaker, I stand today with a heavy heart to extend our condolences to the people whose lives were tragically violated on the island of the Manhattans. I pray that our nation and all nations of the world find peace regardless of the tests and obstacles that confront us. We must be united as nations to find true peace.

In this reflection I must acknowledge that the constitution of the United States of America was virtually based on the great law of peace of the Haudenosaunee, the Iroquois Confederacy.

The gifts and responsibilities of the indigenous nations of our country and our continent can help us in our time of need. We have no greater need now than peace and security when the threat is at our doorstep and our campfires.

I draw to the attention of all Canadians that we have a responsibility to future generations. Let us recognize Canada as a nation of rivers, for water is a source of life. Canada is a river of nations and it is in those relations that we will find true peace.

Petitions June 13th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition from petitioners all across the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. They bring attention to the disparity of rural route mail carriers.

Rural Development May 1st, 2001

Mr. Speaker, a year ago in April 2000 the Secretary of State for Rural Development hosted the National Rural Conference in Magog, Quebec, to give rural Canadians an opportunity to share their experiences in rural Canada and to discuss means by which the federal government could work with rural communities on the improvement of their social, economic and environmental quality of life.

Could the secretary of state inform the House what steps the federal government has taken to continue this vital and ongoing dialogue with rural and remote Canada?

Resource Industries April 24th, 2001

Madam Chairman, I had to look at the map to see where my hon. colleague was from. However his colleague beside him is from Yukon.

In the 1970s there was a project known as the mid-Canada development corridor. It connected Newfoundland and Labrador, through Saint Augustin, one of the areas in Quebec, and all through that area of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. The plan was shelved. It was a major undertaking in the 1970s.

Perhaps the provinces and the federal government could come to an agreement on a plan similar to that one. All the provinces would be engaged. They could look at the undeveloped area of the north. They could also look at the new sustainable practices we have today that were non-existent in the 1970s. If it was not feasible in the 1970s, perhaps it is feasible now.

The federal government should be engaged to work with all the provincial governments. They should be working together to develop the undeveloped area of the northern regions where the resources are vast. We have to do it in a timely fashion and it has to be done appropriately.

That is what I am hearing from the Bloc. It is an opportunity for us to engage in a common goal so that Canada could be proud that it had achieved something. Each province could be proud because it would take ownership of its regions.

The first step in this development is research and development units in the north. Their development will take timely and appropriate measures. Would the member care to comment on that?