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

Canada National Parks Act June 9th, 2000

moved:

Motion No. 13

That Bill C-27, in Clause 40, be amended a ) by replacing line 41 on page 26 with the following:

“40. (1) The application of this Act to a park” b ) by adding after line 44 on page 26 the following:

“(2) The application of this Act to a park reserve is subject to traditional aboriginal ecological knowledge and recognition of the integral role that such knowledge plays in the traditional renewable resource harvesting activities of aboriginal persons.”

Canada National Parks Act June 9th, 2000

moved:

Motion No. 3

That Bill C-27, in Clause 8, be amended by adding after line 13 on page 5 the following:

“(3) For the purposes of maintaining or restoring ecological integrity, the Minister shall, where applicable, a ) work cooperatively with federal and provincial ministers and agencies, local and aboriginal governments and organizations, bodies established under land claims agreements, representatives of park communities, private organizations, individuals and landowners in or adjacent to a park; and b ) participate in the development and implementation of processes and programs that may reasonably be expected to affect ecological integrity, including research, education, land use planning and environmental assessments.”

Aboriginal Affairs June 9th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday afternoon representatives of the Grassy Narrows First Nations stood outside parliament and asked for sustainable and fair forest management. The communities recognize the good working relationship with Tembec but grave concerns about Abitibi were raised.

The provincial government and its allocation of clear-cutting are killing their traditional ways of life and land use. They spoke of poisons in their waters, on their lands and in their animals. Will the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development commit today to an investigation of these serious concerns?

Aboriginal Affairs June 9th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring to light Canada's aboriginal veterans, an issue of grave importance that requires an honourable resolution of recognizing our mistreatment and disrespect of returning veterans.

The aboriginal veterans of first nations, Métis and Inuit ancestry were amongst the first to volunteer and contribute to defend our freedoms and our nation.

Canada must recognize the unfair treatment of past governments disallowing their qualifications to the same benefits and privileges of returning veterans from these horrible conflicts and engagements.

A recent tour of Holland demonstrated the emotional gratitude that our liberated allies extended toward our visiting veterans in these homelands where peace, freedom and democracy are the gifts and the legacies that all people appreciate.

Let us salute our veterans with respect and lay to rest all the inequities and injustices that tarnish the glory and honour that bestows a warrior. We must extend to all our heroes, our brothers and sisters in arms, a gesture of our appreciation and recognition of their rightful place in our history.

International Circumpolar Community June 7th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, Motion No. 237 calls on the government to recognize the 55th parallel as an inclusionary parallel of the circumpolar community. In no way does the motion change provincial boundaries. It does not ask that the 60th parallel be brought further down, dissecting the provinces.

In my experience, from attending circumpolar conferences and circumpolar-related parliamentary business, and in 1996, with the Arctic council being created, we had an international community willing to work on northern issues, on the issue of nordicity, of health, of environment, of economic and resource development and of sustainable development.

Those are major topics of international and domestic consequence. Academics and traditional land users should be aware of the potential risks of environmental impacts from northern Europe or Russia and the environmental impacts of persistent organic pollutants on the economies of the Arctic region.

All I am asking from this House is to agree, since the 55th parallel is recognized internationally as part of a community dealing with polar nordicity issues, to include those people within this country as part of that dialogue. Let us not exclude the people south of 60.

By convenience, Canada has been sending delegates from the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the northern tip of Quebec which also touches on part of north of 60.

While living in northern Saskatchewan I was honoured to have been able to watch CBC North, a special channel featuring northern Canada. However, northern Saskatchewan, northern Alberta, northern B.C., northern Manitoba, northern Ontario and northern Quebec were not part of the dialogue and are not part of that region.

We have also seen the Arctic winter games on television every now and then. One of my highlights was when I saw the games being played in my neighbourhood, right next door to my boundary on the other side of the Clearwater River and paddling down a few miles, in the community of Fort McMurray.

Fort McMurray hosted the Northern Arctic Winter Games one year and that was when my eyes were opened. The northern half of the provinces have a special relationship with each other and with our brothers and sisters in the north. We have a community among ourselves. We are isolated. We are heavily dependent on natural resources and on transfer payments. We have high delivery costs and high cost services.

To bring this common community together the federal government needs to recognize that the circumpolar community needs to be expanded as it is internationally. Stockholm, Sweden, is part of the international community. Its boreal forest zone is in the northern part of that country. It is not only the frost region. The boreal forest is part of the circumpolar community. It is the same with the Taiga forest.

I apologize to my colleagues who are proficient in French. I personally did not choose the translated term for frontier. The translators suggested the terminology limite territoriale as the term to use and we accept that. We understand the French translation is different. We support the amendment wholeheartedly.

Our intention is not to make boundaries. It is to recognize that there is a northern definition within our provinces. We should involve the provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. They should be part of circumpolar discussions as well. They should be sending delegates to these dialogues.

Perhaps my hon. colleague who spoke hesitantly will see the benefits of the north, not only for northern development. Many of the northern solutions are southern solutions. The pilot projects or the risk aspects they are taking on with new developments in the north may also reap benefits for urban centres in the southern regions or for agricultural regions. That is all I am asking for.

This is an innocent motion asking that we involve people who reside in the northern half of the provinces in the international dialogue. This would give them self-confidence in what they believe and the knowledge they hold. They would also contribute to the betterment of Canada and the betterment of the international Arctic community. I ask for the support of all members of the House for my motion.

Cape Breton Development Corporation Divestiture Authorization And Dissolution Act June 5th, 2000

Madam Speaker, Bill C-11 deals with an issue concerning the Cape Breton region. Why did the government not allow any consultation to take place? Why could the committee not travel to Cape Breton and speak to the community?

It is not like we are dealing with all coal mines in Canada. We are dealing with one mine in one location, in one city, in one region, in one part of our country. This is why this debate is happening. My hon. colleagues have stood time and time again to bring forward the concern that the community is not being listened to. The community could best represent itself if the bill and its amendments were debated and discussed at the community level.

The motions before us touch on health and safety and jurisdiction. The economic impact of the bill should be designed to be a positive one for the region and the community. Any dismantling of the Devco mine or any rearranging either by private initiative or closure of the mine should be looked at as a positive step out of a very negative move.

The debate today challenges members on the government side to realize that our common goal as parliamentarians is to make the communities in our regions as well as our economic and industrial sectors better places. Closing down the mine or possibly selling it to private interests is a major transition for Cape Breton.

To reach this point has taken decades of evolution. To abandon Cape Bretoners without their having a solid grasp on the details or on the implications is not acceptable. It is fine to draft procedures in a bill, but if we predict the impact it will have on the community that is where the concerns start to overflow into the House. The concerns at the community level far outweigh the benefits.

The community has stated its concerns through its duly elected members of parliament. We are calling on all members of parliament to respect those views. They have been formulated into amendments to create an act that better represents and better serves the community. These amendments are what we are debating tonight.

We want Liberal members to take a second look at the amendments and to vote in favour of getting community representation on the Devco board. We want the pensioners' association, the people who have amassed huge pension funds and huge seniority credits over the years of serving in this company, to have a say in the dissolution of the mine. They should have a vested interest as they know what is best. They risked their lives. This is no ordinary mine by any stretch of the imagination. The health and safety of the miners were in peril in the mines every day.

A good friend of mine, Mr. Matt Minglewood, sings a classic song called Working Man . He is an excellent blues performer from Cape Breton. He sings this song with his heart and soul, just as Rita MacNeil would sing it. It deals with the life of a coal miner and the lost ones who did not make it home. This song hits hard.

These are the concerns of the constituents, the miners and the families and from which the amendments have been formulated. It is detrimental. In my back yard there are uranium mines. There will be a delayed impact on those mine workers. We might be concerned about our miners in about 20 or 30 years when the impact starts to show up. The respiratory and safety issues for coal miners from being underground with unstable minerals, unstable walls and ceilings in some cases are much more immediate. The gases that emanate from this fossil fuel are detrimental constantly. That is the view with which we bring our passionate debate; it is from caring for our workers. We should duly respect them.

We should have taken the committee hearings right into that community because it concerns their mine and their immediate community.

We are at the third group of our amendments. I want to crawl into the conscience of the members who are listening, who are present in the House or who are watching the debate on television in their offices. This will come to a vote. We ask government members to seriously look at these amendments that strengthen the arguments and concerns that constituents have in Cape Breton, and those of the workers and pensioners in terms of losing a livelihood and the opportunity to raise their children as they have been doing for so many generations in that neck of the woods. That is the way I look at it.

That part of Canada has contributed to all of the economy of Canada. The steel that came from Cape Breton built a lot of our railroads and industries in the industrial age. Let us give those people thanks. Let us not disrespect them in a way such as this. Coal energized, heated and electrically lit many of these buildings during much of the electrical revolution which took place. This country was founded on many of the developments from coal that was mined in that region.

Let us give those people due respect. They gave us a fighting chance to have an economic stronghold in Toronto. Toronto should say thanks. Montreal should say thanks. Vancouver should say thanks. All the people we represent in the House should make a conscious effort to thank that region which is hard hit economically, environmentally and healthwise. Some things will be genetically passed on to their offspring.

There is the legacy of the tar ponds, pollution which is being left right in the middle of their community. We have to take responsibility as a nation. We represent the nation of Canada. Bill C-11 attempts to devolve an industry that may be justified. The question of whether it is justified was tossed around. If it is, let us do it in an honourable way.

The honourable process is to debate it correctly and thoroughly. It should be listened to and heeded. If common sense approaches are given by our colleagues in their representations of their constituents and communities, they should be taken seriously by the government. The senior officials of the government should mentor their voters and tell them to vote with their consciences, to vote in the right way.

In closing, the Devco issue has certainly come to a head on making a decision on the future of a community and the livelihood and careers of many families. Let us give it due respect. Let us give that because of what those people have done for the economy of the country and what they have done in trying to represent themselves.

Some of the amendments try to allow workers to sit on the board of directors and to allow pensioners to sit at their association tables. It is so they can make crucial decisions as opposed to parachuting in someone or in the worst case, putting someone in these positions for partisan reasons because of their political stripe or because of the card they carry. Let us respect the community for what it is trying to achieve in its people representing themselves.

An honourable way to end the debate is to vote in favour of the amendments that my hon. colleagues have brought forward.

Cape Breton Development Corporation Divestiture Authorization And Dissolution Act June 5th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to speak to the motions in Group No. 2 which are before us. The hon. member for Bras d'Or—Cape Breton and the hon. member for Sydney—Victoria certainly put a lot of thought into an issue that impacts their communities. The whole island will feel the repercussions of Bill C-11. These motions were put forward to correct some wrongs and oversights which occurred in the context of the bill.

It seems to be a challenge that at least one employee representative will sit on the Devco board of directors. It is not an unimaginable practice in any other corporation, community or sector. Providing an employee representative to sit on the board of directors is an honourable gesture. Any employee who has served in the industry, in the company and in the community would have a lot to offer in the decisions to be made in the very short term and in the long term in dealing with the whole issue of Devco.

I will give a brief explanation of the second motion in this grouping. There is a residency requirement for members of the board of directors. The majority of the directors of Devco should live on Cape Breton Island in the communities affected by the corporation's decisions. These decisions are major in impact and in concern, as highlighted by my hon. colleagues on this side. We are trying to get government members to realize that these amendments could make drastic changes in how the bill unfolds and how the decisions in the whole industry unfold in Cape Breton.

We are saying that the majority of the directors of Devco should live on Cape Breton Island. It is a small request but it is a major request. We do not need to transport people from all over Canada to serve the best interests of an industry and community in that region. Cape Bretoners are very capable of handling their own affairs, and certainly a lot of the solutions are with Cape Bretoners.

It has certainly been highlighted and recommended, dealing with the directors of Devco, that representatives of the employees' pension association ensure that one-third of the directors come from the employees' pension association. The crux of this major debate and major concern of the employees is how their pensions are interpreted, administered and identified among them. It is a major issue. If they have that much vested interest and seniority in terms of the years of service in this corporation and in the industry, they should assured of one-third of the Devco board of directors. This representation is a crucial part of the motion.

Selecting at least half of the membership of the body designated to manage the workers' pension fund is another motion that has been brought forward. If the body designated to manage the pension fund is created, then at least half of the people sitting on the representative body should be from the pension fund association.

These motions are common sense recommendations. It is hard to speak on common sense when everybody should have grasped the whole aspect. All the government members should take a second look at the motions that have been put forward. When the motions are voted on, they should vote with their conscience and vote for the common sense request.

The hon. members sitting with the other parties on this side of the House have been very silent on this issue. I challenge them to speak and debate these issues. These representations could certainly be taken by other sectors, other communities, other corporations, other mines in a very short while. The whole aspect of protecting workers' rights and views is of utmost importance for us, but it should be for every member of parliament. There are workers in the communities of all of our constituencies.

The whole issue of coal mining and the evolution of mining in this country and the transfer from private to public ownership and flipping back to private ownership is certainly a concern. I have experienced certain changes in ownership from public to private in my neck of the woods in dealing with the forest industry.

The forest industry in northern Saskatchewan is viewed as pristine. As of late there have been huge allocations of forest management and harvesting. The present forest management practices use mechanical harvesters. It is not like the B.C. terrain where they have to climb halfway up the mountain and then they are limited by the elevation.

The boreal forest is flat. There are no inhibitors. The only things that stand in our way are the waterways and maybe the communities. Certainly, we should not overlook that a community could be perceived to be in the way of any development. Community development, industrial development and social development should all be taken in context. In future plans, governments of the world now use sustainable development as a coined phrase for future sustainability, the integration of social, economic and environmental issues. The communities are an integral part of this development.

The Devco workers are asking that they be respected as a community of workers, as a community in Cape Breton. They should be an integral part of the development of any other industry in the region.

Going back to the forestry issue, there was an allocation of a major pulp mill just 18 miles from my community. At the time it would have been a bleaching process and huge amounts of chemicals would have been poured into the Beaver River which flows into the Churchill River. This was stopped. It was stopped because of an election. The government changed and a new attitude of policies and perceptions took place and the whole private pulp mill was dumped.

Years later it came back. Now it is a cleaner process. It is still an allocation of the forests. It is still a private pulp mill that produces paper. Who uses bleached paper? I do not know for what purpose we have to have extremely white paper. Why we have to bleach this paper and poison ourselves is beyond me. We could use paper that is more natural, which would be less harmful in its processes on our environment and our health.

A pulp mill was created. Huge allocations of the boreal forest were made, but there are no profits. In our region, every year the provincial government has to backfill all the losses for the pulp mill.

What are we doing it for? Why are we cutting these huge tracts of land from forested properties using the excuse that it is going to burn by forest fire anyway, that we take a certain percentage of harvested forest to use for paper that was deemed to be forest fire damaged anyway. They cannot see that forest fires recycle the nutrients in soil and recycle the nutrients for the many species that live in the forest. Clear cutting with mechanical harvesting by no means replenishes any nutrients in any soil or any region.

The community has to be taken into account. The whole region's economy has to be taken into account. The environmental impact has to be taken into account. The whole context has been coined as sustainability.

It is a challenge for the government to look at these motions on workers' rights and representation on the Devco boards, and workers' representation on pension associations. These are common sense requests that hon. members have put forward on Bill C-11.

I call on all members to seriously look at these motions and provide a debate on the Devco issue which impacts a certain part of our region that has contributed for the betterment of all the country. Looking at the history, they certainly have done that.

Migratory Birds Convention Act May 30th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I want to start off by saying that the migratory birds convention in North America has a history dating back to 1916. The amendments that are taking place today are probably long overdue in terms of the relationship this country and the nation to the south of us called the United States have with aboriginal people. It would be more clearly rectified on the rights and the privileges that the indigenous populations have here in this country and this continent.

We sit in the House of Commons. The original protocol was signed in 1916 and was between the United Kingdom and the United States of America, which brings us back to recognize that Canada at the time was a colony of Britain. Under these perspectives I draw to the attention of the House that the indigenous and aboriginal peoples of this country should have been dearly respected right from the creation of this country as opposed to being marginalized by an Indian Act, by the crown defining who is an aboriginal person, who is an Indian child, or who is an Indian mother. All these terminologies are a grave mistake. To correct and update the migratory birds convention to May 30, 2000 is what we are debating in the House today.

I would like to draw to the attention of the hon. member who spoke on behalf of the opposition that we do not share some of these views. The views may change in light of respecting one's place and one's rights, Canada being a country which is part of North America. I wanted to jump up and say something at one point in time here.

We are dealing with the migratory birds convention and luckily so. Ducks may fly high enough that we do not get them all when we are harvesting or hunting, but we should have had a migratory bison convention. The buffalo were wreaked to the point of extinction on this continent for the mere purpose of marginalizing the dependency of aboriginal people. It is truly a travesty in our history.

Bison should still be roaming free on the prairies and plains but we did not have regulatory systems. There were no regulatory systems because they wanted to make the indigenous population dependent on the newcomers and their new foods. An independent nation or an independent people would be a lot freer to negotiate their way into this constitution or to any other constitution.

At this time in the year 2000, we now have a government that is willing to negotiate on behalf of the aboriginal people of this country, to negotiate with another country a rightful place for harvesting for food and sustenance, and down to protect ourselves from the winter cold. Down comforters are probably the best way to fight off the winter cold no matter where we live.

The snow goose and the cormorant are two contentious issues. I have never heard that the U.S. and Mexico migratory birds convention deals with cormorants as a recognized black duck. I call them Daffy Ducks because that is what they look like when they fly by. They do wreak havoc in the fishing population in our northern lakes and northern states.

The culling of the snow goose may have been too reactionary. I believe a proper harvest could have been planned without being detrimental to its habitat as was highlighted.

There is a need for an international convention and that is what this is. The protocol that was negotiated after some public consultations brought forward three provisions: to provide year-round access to migratory birds for food by qualified non-aboriginal residents of northern Canada living in a subsistent lifestyle; to allow for earlier opening of the fall hunting seasons for residents of the northern territories; to enable partnerships to be developed for migratory bird conservation and provide a mechanism for input by aboriginal communities into the continental management regime for migratory birds.

These are the major components of the protocol. A specific convention in this protocol states to be aware that changes to the convention are required to ensure conformity with the aboriginal and treaty rights of aboriginal peoples of Canada. As I mentioned, this is a long overdue amendment. It can be found in subsection 4, “In the case of Canada, subject to existing aboriginal treaty rights of aboriginal peoples of Canada under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the regulatory and conservation regimes defined in the relevant treaties, land claim agreements, self-government agreements and co-management agreements with aboriginal peoples of Canada”.

All this language is required today because there has been an evolution of different terminologies, different arrangements and also court decisions. I would also like to challenge the present environment minister to have a legal grasp of some of the recent decisions being made and to acquire an up to date knowledge on the matters of aboriginal rights and treaty rights that have been brought down by supreme courts and lower courts.

The other point I would like to raise is the signature at the bottom of the protocol. As we all know, in 1995 the then Minister of the Environment signed this protocol. We also have a history of some other protocols and agreements that the government has signed, one of them being on MMT. The hon. former Minister of the Environment had signed this agreement recognizing the international concern of MMT and banning the interprovincial trade of MMT as an additive in this country. Now the government has reversed its perspective on MMT. It has signed off, paying off the MMT Ethyl Corporation and has now sanctioned MMT as a fuel additive.

I would just like to stay on the record of the government for the time being. There might be differing opinions of our minister or some international criticisms that come his way. I just want to share this one with the House.

Recently an esteemed environmental guest visited our country. Robert Kennedy Jr. was here on the Hill speaking on issues of concern. He is an internationally respected and recognized conservationist. Upon reflection our minister stated that Mr. Kennedy should have perhaps thought about politicking and failed to understand the constitutional division of Ottawa's powers.

Our environment minister had high hopes of improving the environmental standards and the reputation of Canada. I say to the House that a lot of improvement is required in the present government.

The current federal government has had a lengthy record since 1993 of signing protocols and then not following through with its international commitments. This has been an embarrassment to Canada's once noble and honourable reputation on the international environment stage.

This government's limited effort to meet our limited protocol requirements is proven by the increase in our targets and our lack of hitting these targets.

There is also the government's refusal to sign the Basel convention side bar agreement to ban toxic waste shipments to the developing world.

There is the government's continual refusal to appoint a new ambassador for the environment, who plays a major leadership role in negotiating international protocols. The new ambassador of the environment should be named immediately.

That role is needed now for a protocol such as the precautionary principle. It was needed in the POPs protocol at a recent meeting in Bonn, Germany. The persistent organic pollutants treaty is an international United Nations protocol yet Canada neglected to follow its Rio protocol to which we are all signatories. Domestic law has included the precautionary principle but it is rarely followed in our country. The list continues.

We welcome this protocol to the Migratory Birds Convention Act. It is a much needed amendment to bring us to the point of recognizing aboriginal rights in dealing with migratory birds. But do we believe in our hearts that the government can ensure the commitments and timetables can be met?

There are commitments here that our country would stand by protecting the habitat. If pollutants have infiltrated the migratory birds' habitats, would our country uphold these obligations to stop polluting the habitats? The government has not recognized and has not been able to enforce the adequate habitat protection commitment. It is weak.

It is also highlighted in terms of the new legislation being debated in Canada now, the endangered species legislation. If the Americans are listening, we do not have an endangered species act in this country. Many Americans may be surprised to hear this since they have had theirs for many decades.

Our American neighbours would be more surprised to learn that specific recommendations of endangered species listings would be political as opposed to scientific decisions. If an endangered migratory bird flew from a rock on federal land and landed on a field outside federal land, it could be shot. These issues have to be resolved here in this country and by a government that has the will and the resources to enforce these protocols and regulations and the protocols we have with other nations.

With regard to an issue that is dear to our community, I just came back from my constituency. Many residents back home, my father included, for years have harvested duck eggs. Little did we know it was illegal. He is a Metis person and all his life he has been illegally harvesting eggs.

Birds are a good source of nutrition. Ducks are usually saved in the spring because they provide young ones. Nowadays a lot of hunters will not select a duck arriving in the spring because it comes from polluted areas down south. They prefer a cleaner duck that has been hatched and is ready to fly south in the fall.

The Migratory Birds Convention Act is certainly a much needed protocol between two countries to save the species. At this time this amendment has corrected the wrong by our country in overlooking aboriginal rights to harvest migratory birds, giving special preference to northern locations where the hunting and harvesting seasons might be different from those in the south.

At this time, I congratulate the former Minister of the Environment for boldly negotiating an issue that is really needed at this time. I also caution some of the hon. members who have raised a concern about specific rights, privileges and definitions. This continually requires a whole new will from the government and the House to find a rightful place for the indigenous and aboriginal peoples in the government, this parliament and the legislatures of this country.

I believe there is a time and place for that, and it is certainly a welcome opportunity to see these amendments come before the House.

Criminal Code May 17th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I asked the Minister of Human Resources Development a question on budget day 2000. The question was: How can the government ask Canadians to save and pay for job training when the primary responsibilities for limited income families are food and shelter?

This was in response to a Liberal policy balloon, which at the time would have asked people to pay for their own job training. In high unemployment areas this issue was an immediate concern for us on this side of the House and an immediate concern for the region I represent.

I asked the minister why we could not place strategic investment in high unemployment regions with direct capital investment for public institutions such as community colleges and university access colleges. This would be a solid investment for Canadians to rely on for sustainable human and regional development.

The minister asked that I wait for the budget that was to be released that afternoon. We waited and we looked at the budget. Certainly there were resources allocated to all departments, but the disappointment still remained. There was still no strategic capital investment for education or higher learning.

I share Canada's shock and outrage as a result of this budget. For every tax dollar that was cut, only 2 cents went to health care, and this involves the major portion of the transfers to our provinces.

The Liberal government is too busy trying to help corporate fundraisers. Rather, it should be paying attention to the priorities of Canadians. I am talking about a health care system which is in dire need of repair. It is in a state of crisis.

Canadians found out that the government had no intention of improving the budget for health care, which was later clarified with bill 11 in Alberta to privatize hospitals. This reflects the Liberal support for the reform-alliance platform for a two tier American health care system.

I share Canada's outrage with student debt loads and rising tuition, which is another crisis that is being ignored in this country.

Ignoring the rising numbers of homeless people and the lack of affordable housing are also crises.

I could continue to list the bad policies of the government.

This is a wake up call. This is a time of surpluses in our treasury. The surpluses are mounting. It is time to have a vision, and certainly not the vision that is being created by the Harris government, the Klein government or this right wing government which creates policies for its corporate friends.

A strategic investment is needed for training and educational opportunities throughout this country. If we invested in our community colleges and university access colleges, which are very dear to neighbourhoods right across Canada, that would be a very sound investment.

I also want to raise the issue of the northern living allowance, particularly as it concerns my riding of Churchill River. The northern living allowance would offset the major costs of funding higher education and training opportunities and finding employment. There is a critical shortage of teachers and health professionals throughout the north. There is an opportunity to create institutions and to strategically invest government funds, especially federal funds.

Let us work together for a common future. I challenge the minister to make those investments properly.

Division No. 1310 May 16th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, I would like to be recorded as voting in favour of the motion.