House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was claims.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Nunatsiaq (Northwest Territories)

Won his last election, in 1993, with 70% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Firearms Act February 27th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, I did not say that the member was prejudiced. I said that the attitude put out by some members is prejudicial. When I quoted Voltaire that prejudice is what fools use for reason, an awful lot of things can be hidden under some words. I did not say that the member was prejudiced. If I did not say that the member was prejudiced, then I have no reason to withdraw my comments.

Firearms Act February 27th, 1995

[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Inuktitut.]

I have a few comments before asking a question of the member opposite who just spoke. He made some reference to aboriginal people being treated exactly the same as the rest of Canadians, with which I agree on certain issues. However the hon. member will understand that the aboriginal people in the country are the only people who hunt as a way of life. They have always hunted.

I would like to quote Voltaire who said: "Prejudice is what fools will choose for reason". That is basically what the hon. member is saying in refusing to recognize the fact that we have always been here, longer than anybody else, and we have always hunted. We still hunt to this day. When people arrived after us we helped them to settle in.

As an aboriginal person I have some very strong feelings about the issue of hunting and about the issue of gun control. I think by and large Canadian people as a whole support some form of gun control. I believe, unlike the hon. member, that the majority of Canadians support the gun control measures being put forward by the Minister of Justice.

As an aboriginal person I view guns and rifles as having one use other than military and law enforcement, that is hunting. I have absolutely no use for handguns. Nobody can convince me that we need handguns. Basically they are used to kill people. Nobody can convince me that there is a useful reason for automatics. We are not going to hunt with automatics. Some semi-automatics may be used for hunting, but by and large most semi-automatics should not be used for hunting. If persons are using semi-automatics for hunting it means they do not have enough confidence in themselves to use a bolt action rifle which shoots one bullet at a time and then they have to reload.

It has been proven through various polls that most Canadians support some form of gun control. I read in the paper some time ago that a member of the Reform Party conducted a poll and found that 67 per cent of his constituents supported the gun control measures being put forward today. However that hon. member would still vote against gun control.

Reform members have been shouting from the rooftops that theirs is a grassroots organization. They find that the grassroots support gun control but they will not listen to the grassroots; they will vote their conscience even against the grassroots people. That seems to be hypocrisy if we are talking about democracy and grassroots. The majority of the grassroots people say they want gun control measures put in place but Reform members do not think that way.

Reform Party members should come clean and decide whether they will vote in favour of what the majority of Canadians want

or vote for their individual interests rather than the collective interests of the people of Canada.

As an aboriginal person I have some concerns. As a member representing per capita probably the largest number of gun owners, I have some concerns. I will convey them to the Minister of Justice to ensure that they are heard.

I think the people in my riding of Nunatsiaq are ready to support the Minister of Justice to ensure that Canada is a safer place to live. Canada can be made a safer place to live.

I suggest that hon. members listen to their constituents. If the majority say to support the gun control measures then they should listen to them.

Forestry February 27th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the minister is personally interested in this. The department has put aside some time to study this area. As the hon. member mentioned, stumpage fees in the Yukon are only 20 cents per cubic metre and $30 per cubic metre elsewhere. Indian affairs is now looking at the whole issue in order to ensure that the Yukon people benefit from the stumpage fees as well as to make sure environmental measures are put in place so that the Yukon forest is not decimated.

Justice February 10th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, many of my constituents are alarmed by the Supreme Court ruling on extreme drunkenness as a defence. A petition signed by several concerned people was recently sent to me and I would like to draw it to the attention of this House and the government.

The implication of this ruling for communities which suffer from significant alcohol and drug abuse is extremely worrisome and the impact on women and children is particularly serious.

My constituents do not believe that our legal system should accept drunkenness as an excuse for violence and I agree. The Status of Women Council of the Northwest Territories is also urging a government response. It is asking the Minister of Justice to take action.

Last November the Minister of Justice put out a consultation paper on reform of the general part of the Criminal Code. The paper asks for the public's views on many issues, including the defence of intoxication. Extreme drunkenness as a defence is not acceptable.

Pictou Landing Indian Agreement Act December 12th, 1994

[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Inuktitut.]

Madam Speaker, I rise to address the House on Bill C-60, the Pictou Landing Indian Band Agreement Act. The legislation is being introduced at this time to fulfil the commitments the Government of Canada has made to the Pictou Landing Micmac of Nova Scotia. This legislation will further reduce the potential for any new legal action related to the Boat Harbour issue against the Government of Canada.

Hon. members have seen for themselves that this is not a lengthy or a complex bill. Nevertheless Bill C-60 is important to more than 400 Pictou Landing Micmac and it deserves the consideration and support of hon. members on both sides of the House.

By way of background I would like to briefly outline the history behind the Pictou Landing settlement agreement so that my hon. colleagues can make an informed and responsible decision on Bill C-60.

In the mid-1960s the province of Nova Scotia entered into an agreement with Scott Maritimes Limited to open a pulp and paper mill at Abercrombie Point in Pictou Harbour. As part of that arrangement the province accepted responsibility for treating and disposing of the effluent generated by the mill.

The nearby Boat Harbour tidal estuary was chosen as the most economical site for the effluent treatment facility. All the land around Boat Harbour was expropriated by the Government of Nova Scotia with the exception of reserve lands belonging to the Pictou Landing Micmac.

Rather than expropriate these reserve lands, the provincial government acquired the First Nation's riparian rights through negotiations with the First Nation. It is worth noting that the First Nation was not enthusiastic about the project and the use of Boat Harbour as a holding pond and conduit for pulp mill effluent. It agreed only after intense lobbying by Nova Scotia officials.

After acquiring the First Nation's riparian rights, the province blocked the entrance of the estuary to create a 162-hectare lagoon. This included some 12 hectares of reserve lands that were flooded and lost to the First Nation.

At that time the province paid the Pictou Landing Micmac $60,000 to compensate for the permanent loss of fishing and hunting revenue and other benefits derived from the First Nations' use of Boat Harbour.

Unfortunately, environmental problems began to arise almost immediately after the treatment facility opened. Despite repeated requests by the First Nation, action taken by the province did not effectively correct the problems.

In 1982 the Pictou Landing Micmac submitted a specific claim to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. Four years later due to limited progress in negotiating the claim the First Nation filed suit against the Government of Canada for breach of fiduciary duty.

The government pursued an out of court settlement with the Pictou Landing Micmac. Through extensive consultation and co-operation, a fair and equitable settlement was reached. In a community wide referendum in July 1993, members of the First Nation voted 141 to 25 in favour of the agreement.

This agreement is a $35 million settlement which includes a $20 million compensation package. It breaks down as follows: $8 million were earmarked to be distributed among the members of the First Nation for individual compensation. Much of this

money has already been paid out; $9.725 million were placed in a continuing compensation fund to address special claims by members of the First Nation related to the Boat Harbour environmental problems; $2.275 million were allocated to support projects that will benefit the First Nation, including the building of a multi-purpose recreational centre and the establishment of a Pictou Landing economic development promotional package. These moneys are intended to compensate the members of the First Nation for general impacts associated with the Boat Harbour facility.

The remaining $15 million in the settlement has been directed into a community development trust fund that will enable members of the First Nation to relocate if necessary. This fund is being administered by the First Nation itself and will ensure that the First Nation and its members will be able to protect themselves from any future health effects from Boat Harbour.

The agreement also provides for programs to monitor the environmental and health effects of the Boat Harbour system. The First Nation is one of the main participants in the establishment and the ongoing implementation of these monitoring programs. In addition, although not a condition of the settlement, the federal government undertook to explore ways which might yield a solution to the environmental problem with respect to Boat Harbour.

Hon. members should be aware that this settlement agreement is self-implementing. In other words it does not require legislation to come into force.

I am pleased to inform the House that implementation of the agreement has been proceeding well. Most of the settlement funds have been transferred to the First Nation, giving it the means to develop and administer programs to improve conditions on reserve.

Although this agreement is self-implementing, at the request of the Pictou Landing Micmac, the government made a commitment to confirm two of the agreement's provisions through legislation. That is the purpose of Bill C-60.

Specifically, legislation is required to confirm that the settlement agreement is the sole source of compensation for claims related to Boat Harbour. This legislation ensures that any claims of members of the First Nation beyond those already settled by the payments to individuals can only be made against the $9.725 million continuing compensation fund. This is very important because it ensures that the settlement amount of $35 million is the full amount the federal government will pay related to the Boat Harbour claim.

In addition to releasing the Government of Canada from further claims by members of the First Nation, Bill C-60 also protects the First Nation against such claims by specifying that any such claims are to be directed to the compensation fund.

The second thing Bill C-60 will do is ensure that settlement funds are not Indian moneys as defined by the Indian Act. This again is important because it confirms that the First Nation and not the federal government has control of and responsibility for the moneys once they have been transferred. Trust funds managed by the Pictou Landing Micmac are currently holding those compensation dollars that have not been paid to individuals.

This provision of Bill C-60 actually accomplishes two goals. First, it meets the government's commitment to give the First Nation complete control over the settlement moneys as intended by the settlement agreement. At the same time it reduces the administrative responsibilities of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

I want to assure hon. members that this legislation imposes no new responsibilities on the Government of Canada. It simply confirms and formalizes some elements of an agreement signed in July of 1993 that is already being implemented.

I also want to assure the House that Bill C-60 will have no impact with respect to the correction of environmental problems at Boat Harbour. The federal government continues to work actively with other parties and in particular the province of Nova Scotia and the First Nation to facilitate a solution to these problems.

As hon. members are no doubt aware the government is currently participating in discussions with Scott Maritimes Limited, the province of Nova Scotia, the Pictou Landing Micmac and other interested parties to identify possible solutions to the environmental problems at Boat Harbour. I am optimistic that this will lead to the development of an effective rehabilitation strategy.

Bill C-60 is essentially an administrative bill that fulfils two specific commitments requested by the First Nation and agreed to by the Government of Canada in the Pictou Landing settlement agreement of July 1993. As I mentioned at the outset it is not a complex or far reaching act. Nevertheless, hon. members should recognize that failure to proceed with the bill could impose obligations on the government down the road.

For example, without Bill C-60, the Government of Canada might be open to claims over and above the $35 million settlement figure. There will be no legally certain basis to prevent members of the First Nation from seeking additional compensation in the future.

Our failure to proceed with Bill C-60 might also mean that the First Nation could be liable for payments beyond the amounts it has received in the settlement. This would impose an unnecessary and perhaps unmanageable hardship on it.

Finally, if Bill C-60 does not become law, the government could ultimately become responsible for managing the settlement funds on behalf of the Pictou Landing Micmac. This would create a needless administrative burden and could lead to additional legal problems. It would also likely sour relations with the Pictou Landing Micmac as it would go against the spirit of the Boat Harbour final agreement and their desire to manage their own affairs.

For these reasons alone I urge my hon. colleagues to join me in supporting Bill C-60. I would remind them of the fundamental need for government to fulfil its outstanding commitments to First Nations, including the commitment to legislate these provisions of the Boat Harbour final agreement.

Hon. members are well aware of the government's intention to build a new partnership with aboriginal peoples based on trust, mutual respect and participation in decision making processes. Living up to our commitments is critical to the process of building a new relationship with aboriginal people that will take us into the next century. The House can contribute to that process by supporting this legislation.

Petitions December 12th, 1994


Madam Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I am tabling today a petition signed by 420 people from the Northwest Territories, Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to take action to increase employment in the mining sector, promote exploration, rebuild Canada's mineral reserves, sustain mining communities and keep mining in Canada.

Decade Of The World's Indigenous People December 9th, 1994

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow Canada will welcome the start of the United Nations International Decade of the World's Indigenous People.

The goal of the decade is to strengthen international co-operation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous people around the world. Canada fully supports this goal and the theme of the decade: "Indigenous People: Partnership in Action".

The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development is co-ordinating the federal government's domestic efforts to mark this decade. Preliminary discussions have been held with aboriginal groups to obtain their views. A national conference is being organized for early in 1995 to set out Canada's preliminary action plan for the decade.

We look forward to the development of this plan as well as the development by the United Nations of a comprehensive world program of action.

I encourage everyone to support the goals of this important decade.

Awards For Bravery December 2nd, 1994

[Editor's Note: Member spoke in Inuktitut.]

I would like to take a few moments today to recognize some very courageous people in my constituency. Earlier this month they were honoured with the NWT Commissioner's award for bravery.

Moses Aliyak of Rankin Inlet received the award for bravery at the highest level for rescuing his wife and nephew from a polar bear attack.

Three Cambridge Bay residents, Peter Evalik, Richard Evalik and Grant Corey, also received the award at the highest level. They saved the lives of two women in a burning house by crawling through heavy smoke to find them and get them to safety.

Dennis Klengenberg and Kevin Niptanatiak of Coppermine received letters of commendation for rescuing each other after their snow machine broke through the ice near the mouth of the Coppermine River.

With great pride and admiration I salute these heroes of the north.

Yukon Surface Rights Board Act November 25th, 1994

I quote at second reading from another speech made by a member of the third party: "The potential for conflict of interest is also there because claims are not assumed to be reviewed by the entire board but by a panel of three. At least one must be a member appointed to the board from the Council for Yukon Indians and two others are to be chosen by the chairperson. Could this not end with a blatant bias or conflict if all were from the Council for Yukon Indians? There are no rules to the contrary".

I rest my case.

Yukon Surface Rights Board Act November 25th, 1994

If they do not, it is their prerogative. I have more confidence than the hon. member in the Government of Canada and the Government of Yukon in having confidence in the aboriginal leaders.

I just say these things. I mention the mediation boards.