House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was aboriginal.

Last in Parliament April 1997, as Liberal MP for Sault Ste. Marie (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 1993, with 53% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Aboriginal Peoples November 22nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, we are looking at the Indian Act now. We will be looking at 18 sections in which the minister has power that will be transferred to aboriginal people.

We will be looking at sections pertaining to western Canada which say that they cannot sell their grain unless I approve it. In western Canada they cannot sell their pork unless I approve it.

That will be in the House probably in the first week of December. From what this member said today, I expect him to be on his feet supporting those amendments.

Aboriginal Peoples November 22nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, it is mistruths or misinformation that the Reform is putting out. I will go slowly or maybe we can put it into cartoons so the Reform will understand it.

When a school is built worth $10 million to $12 million, the Reform has taken that money for that school vis-à-vis Indians and said that every Indian gets $15,000. That is not a fact. In fact schools are built with it. Sewers are built with it. Water systems are built with it. All these things are done to help all the public on the reserves. That does not mean that an individual Indian gets $15,000 any more than it means that because Parliament Buildings are here the cost of these Parliament Buildings is $10,000 or $15,000 in the pocket of each Canadian.

Aboriginal Peoples November 22nd, 1996

I am smarter than that. It is too bad that the Reform member is not smarter than that. That is what he said on TV yesterday.

Aboriginal Peoples November 22nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I will play it a little slower for the hon. member.

In our relationship with governments, whether it is Alberta or B.C., on the transfers that the Minister of Finance makes with our programs, we deal with governments. They decide whether they are going to build hospitals or schools.

Is the Reform suggesting that we send all of the people in B.C. a cheque directly from the Minister of Finance, leaving us broke and leaving the provincial government broke? That does not work.

What Reform is suggesting is that we send $10,000 to each native, which means that there is nothing in my budget, nothing in the Minister of Health's budget and nothing in the Minister of Justice's budget. That is what the Reform is suggesting.

Aboriginal Peoples November 22nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the member wants a direct answer to a direct question. He is right.

Aboriginal Peoples November 22nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, the premise is not correct. I am not going to give the history of the last three years. I will just give the history of the last three weeks.

In the last three weeks we have admitted our mistakes collectively in Labrador. We are reaching agreement with the Inuit of Davis Inlet on relocation. We have admitted our mistakes north of the 60th parallel by not allowing First Nations to come to the negotiating table when we are talking about minerals. We have a package, BHP in the territories and Treaty No. 8 and Treaty No. 11 of which the federal government is proud.

Two weeks ago in Saskatchewan we admitted our mistakes. In the provinces of Saskatchewan and B.C. we say there is an inherent right of First Nations. I would be the first to admit that we have made mistakes in the past and I would be the first as a representative of this government to go out there and try to do our best to remedy those mistakes.

Aboriginal Peoples November 22nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I want to apologize for suggesting that their idea of federation is anything like the separatists that I face.

The resolution of the assembly from René Lévesque may have said this, but in fact the separatists of Quebec feel-as said by various ministers in Quebec-that they have the right to take the 10 aboriginal communities and the Inuit with them if they decide to unilaterally secede from Canada. This is not the law. We do not accept it. It is in the Supreme Court of Canada and hopefully the separatist government will pay the same attention to the Supreme Court of Canada on UDI that they want us to pay to the Churchill Falls litigation.

Aboriginal Peoples November 22nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, this government has no intention of playing the game of the Reform which is analogizing sovereignty and separation with the stigmas within the Canadian federal system.

Aboriginal Peoples November 22nd, 1996

Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member looked at the history, he would realize we have always recognized aboriginal people as being distinct in this country.

Unfortunately being recognized as distinct has not enhanced their well-being. Right now they are looking to be up at a level table with their fellow Canadians. However, they have been here for 10,000 years. There is legislation and more constitutional and legal responsibility to deal with aboriginal peoples as distinct.

Indian Affairs November 21st, 1996

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. As a matter of fact, these are two of the recommendations in the report.

As of now, I do not think any of the provinces have seen the report. It will take them about four weeks to read it because it is very extensive. However, I believe these are the two issues that they are going to have to deal with fairly quickly at a first ministers conference, whether they will hold it, whether it needs additional work, the committee that the report is suggesting.

I am prepared to support anything that enhances the lives of the aboriginal people in this country.