House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was north.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Northwest Territories (Northwest Territories)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 31% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Criminal Code November 3rd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member across made some good points in terms of the various crimes that we are dealing with. Quite clearly, we are in the twilight of a time called the war on drugs. This has created a lot of the crime that we are dealing with in Canada right now, as well as the sentencing. It is in the twilight because I think we have recognized that it does not work. In the last Parliament, we had some debate and discussion. We even brought some bills forward to look at how we could deal with this better.

Part of getting tough on crime is taking the oxygen out of the system that criminals live on. In reality, if we want to get tough on crime we need to find ways to eliminate crime. I would like the hon. member across to comment on that.

Aboriginal Affairs November 3rd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, Innuvialukun, Gwich'in, North Slavey, South Slavey, Chipewyan, Tlicho, Cree, Beaver, Hare, and Mitchef, all of these languages in my riding and many others across the country could become extinct without proper funding.

The minister calls her work a reallocation of funds. Should aboriginal people trust that statement any more than senior citizens should have trusted a promise not to tax income trusts?

Aboriginal Affairs November 3rd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the languages that were first heard in Canada are dying and the Conservative government is lending a helping hand.

In the Northwest Territories, the number of aboriginal people fluent in their languages fell from 59% in 1984 to 44% in 2004. The figures are even worse for the rest of Canada. Soon, languages that have been spoken in this country for millennia will be gone.

With a $13 billion surplus, can the minister please explain why the government has cut $160 million from aboriginal language programs?

Business of Supply November 2nd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, we do want to be generous with our veterans' pensions, as the hon. member said in her answer to the question, but how do we deal with these pensions with the disparity in the cost of living that exists for many pensioners across the country? I think of the aboriginal people in northern Canada with the high cost of living, the remoteness and the fact that a lot of them have served in the armed forces and have been away from their communities for a very long time. When they return, how do they deal with re-establishing a lifestyle as a veteran and a pensioner in the situation where the cost of living is out of sight?

Business of Supply November 2nd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I feel my hon. colleague has a strong sense of the importance of pension plans for everybody across the country.

I have experience in the north with people in the RCMP, their lifestyles, their commitment to travel and to living in a variety of places during their working careers. They also fit in with the Canadian Forces in many instances. These are lifestyles that at the end of the day leaves one a little short. As politicians, we perhaps experience the same thing. While we are in Parliament we neglect a lot of the things at home.

When it comes to pensions for our service men and women, would the member not agree that we should do our very best as employers for the people whose burdens may be greater than the average?

Business of Supply November 2nd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I come from a northern region and 50% of my riding is aboriginal. I am the son of a veteran of the second world war and I recognize the great sacrifice many people made in their effort to preserve and enhance our way of life and the way of life of other people in the world.

Our aboriginal population was also well represented in the military. When we look at the socio-economic statistics of the aboriginal population living in cities or in isolated locations, quite obviously, they tell the story of their difficult economic conditions.

Our effort to increase the ability of our veterans, including our aboriginal veterans, to live comfortably in their senior years is extremely important. I would like to know what the member thinks about these issues as they relate to our aboriginal soldiers, their contribution and their life afterward?

Government Programs October 31st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Statistics Canada issued a report saying that the rate of violent victimization in Canada's north is almost three times the rate for residents in the rest of the country.

The government needs to take action to help northerners, action by supporting a better society, but the government does not understand how to make the lives of Canadians better, which is why it cut funding to literacy programs, volunteer groups and the Status of Women.

These programs are not fat to be trimmed. They are part of a foundation for a better society. Rather, the government wants to see more unemployment due to high illiteracy, fractured communities without essential volunteers and women without leadership to protect them. All of this will increase the amount of violence in the north, not decrease it.

Cutting these programs will only increase violence and suffering among northerners. It seems that the Conservative government just does not care.

Committees of the House October 31st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to comment on my hon. colleague on the issues he has raised. He mentioned the tax system as a way to compensate northerners for increased costs.

The northern residents tax deduction, which came in the eighties, has been maintained at the same level since then. The cost of living has gone up over 50%, so we saw a degradation in the northern residents tax deduction while the Liberals were in power.

In his speech, my hon. colleague mentioned that he though this was a more appropriate way to deal with the inequities in the cost of living. Would he comment on the government's interest in reviewing and reassessing the very important northern residents tax deduction as part of his government's effort to alleviate the high cost of living for northerners?

Committees of the House October 31st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, in the north when we ship goods by boat from Montreal to Iqaluit for instance, the price of these goods is raised. When goods are bought in Montreal and the 6% GST is paid on them, we must add on the price of the freight and the GST on the cost of the freight on top of the goods when it arrives in Iqaluit.

The tax system in Canada is not set up to be fair for northerners, for people who live at the end of the supply chain and have the highest cost. These people pay the highest consumption taxes.

In fact, northerners are paying more than their fair share of taxation right now. Whatever we can do to reduce the cost to northerners is a good idea. Would my hon. colleague speak to the concept of reducing costs to northerners?

Budget Implementation Act, 2006, No. 2 October 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, my colleague across the way mentioned the issue of the vote the other night.

The opposition day motion put forward really was very thin soup for Canadians as not a penny was added for the people who have been hit so hard by those cuts, but it was a very rich appetizer for the Liberal soul. I think those things made a bit of a meal that we in the New Democratic Party had a hard time eating.

Parliament is here not to keep score or to deal in that fashion, but to accomplish things for Canadians. We would love to work with the Liberals, just as we would love to work with the Conservatives on accomplishing things for Canadians.

How do you think your motion would have restored any of the dollars that were lost to Canadians in those cuts?