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

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 October 3rd, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the situation has changed quite remarkably with this deal over the last few days, in that the government has now postponed it again for 30 days.

To my mind the postponement would give the government, which claims it has all kinds of support for this deal, a great opportunity to go out across the land and conduct public hearings in three locations to actually hear what Canadians think about it. We could hold off on this vote until the government went out there to prove its case and show the public across the country that the government has support for this deal, that the supporters are willing to stand up in public hearings and express their support and give parliamentarians direction.

Does my hon. colleague feel that this would be a great opportunity for the government to prove its case?

The Environment September 29th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, Canada is not ready for climate change and, after five plans and $6 billion, the Liberals did nothing that matters.

Just like the Liberals, the Conservative government gives $1.5 billion to big oil and gas companies when they are reaping huge profits. To many of the people in my riding across the north, the caribou are their grocery store and climate change is killing a way of life.

When will the government stop the subsidies and get on with fighting climate change? Our northern children need a future too.

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 September 29th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I will just speak to value added in terms of energy.

Right now, Sweden, Finland and many other countries are buying wood pellets from Canada and using them to produce clean energy in their own countries and yet we do not do this. We have a huge opportunity in Canada to develop the biomass energy industry and this could really help. The United States cannot stop us unless somewhere in this insidious deal the development of the biomass energy industry would be considered a subsidy to our people. I do not understand the deal well enough, but we are dealing with a powerful trade nation and it may have included some of those qualifications in the deal.

I certainly would like to understand the deal better because it is something that needs to be explored. However, the opportunities in the biomass energy field in this country are huge and we need to take advantage of them. They will work for Kyoto.

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 September 29th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, yes, I outlined my feelings on this particular deal. In a number of ways, we are seeing the problems we have with Kyoto. We have a problem in that we want the advancement of our oil and gas industry but it has gone without any environment regulation and without any planning gone into it to ensure it is working for Canadians and the goals of Canadians.

Right now my party is pushing very hard to see that tax subsidies are taken off some of these developments that, by and large, are serving our neighbours to the south. We need to stand up on this issue.

I feel confident that Canadians are listening to us when we talk about the issues. I am confident that at the next election, the bullies will get their due. If they do not stand up for Canadians soon, they will get their due.

With all the bullying they can do in the House of Commons, when it comes to bullying people into voting, it will not work.

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 September 29th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on to the bill in front of us.

I have heard the debate over the previous number of days and have followed it in the press and throughout the time I have been in Parliament. I have tried to put it in the perspective of the north. We are mentioned in the bill because the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut get an exemption under the clauses.

In some ways that is a result of certain trade links we have with the state of Alaska. Certainly the United States does not mind taking care of its own. In terms of Alaska and the relationship of how it receives lumber from some of the north, the United States is very good about taking care of its own. That speaks volumes about the United States and suggests to me volumes about what Canada is about right now.

This agreement is about short term gain for long term pain. Let us look at it from a perspective of what the government is trying to accomplish. The government is very interested in moving toward a majority in Parliament the next time an election is called. It is very interested in appearing to be decisive and able to deal with issues. I think this has triggered the effort that has gone into selling out our industry. It is short term gain.

There will be short term gain in the industry as well, because the industry is starved for dollars and opportunities. We will get some investment dollars back in the short term. Companies will be able to hang on for a little longer and continue to work in the industry. However, we are in a North American market where housing has boomed for many years and now it is starting to die. When housing dies, the requirement for forest products die and the prices drop.

As the prices drop, the duties come in, so our industry will get the double whammy. Not only will we not have prices that are strong, but we will also have a duty imposed on us. That duty will drive us further into the ground. As time goes on, the industry will either shrink or the corporations will recognize that unprocessed raw logs will continue to cross the border duty-free. Their incentive, as the prices drop and as the duties come on, will be to relocate manufacturing and processing of wood into the United States. That is exactly what will happen with this deal.

Where will we be at the end of the day with our lumber industry? We will be in long term pain. That is what we will get from this deal. We will get a short term gain and long term pain.

Where is Canada going with this softwood lumber deal? It is larger than that, of course. Canada fundamentally is structurally altered with the free trade deal. Exports to the United States increased by 250%, and the U.S. now receives 87% of all Canadian exports.

As Canada becomes more dependent upon U.S. markets, trade within Canada and the rest of the world has decreased. The result of the free trade deal has led to dependency. We are in a dependent position to a country that has 10 times the economic clout that we do. We put ourselves in a position of a mouse and we have shortened the chain to the elephant. What kind of life is that when we are so close to that big foot?

I have noticed one thing in the softwood lumber deal. It is the interference of the deal in federal-provincial and provincial to provincial relationships. All of a sudden we have the United States demanding that we treat our internal politics differently.

We have deals for the Maritimes. The Americans have given it an exemption. We have different deals for Quebec. We have different deals across the country. Therefore, we have a foreign power now telling us how to run our internal affairs. That to me is once again an abrogation of Canada's sovereignty, the sovereignty for which all our forefathers fought hard and that this government seems to treat with a great deal of disdain.

The rights of Canadian citizens are being taken away in this deal. All of a sudden we have a deal that has numerous punitive clauses that go beyond most people's expectations when they go into business. Corporate directors are to be held liable for corporate debts due to the duties that are imposed under this deal, even for companies in bankruptcy.

Spouses and children are liable for the debts in the case of transferred properties. We are going to track them down to make sure they deliver this blood money over to the government.

Searches without warrants are authorized under clause 77 for records pertaining to payments and taxes. The authoritarian arm of the government will come down on these people who try to go away from this very special deal with the United States. Canada is basically giving up control of our country's resources to a foreign power.

When we think of it, this is a foreign power that is 10 times our size. When we focus on its finances and its manufacturing, the U.S. is a global power of immense and important distinction. What does Canada have in contrast? Canada is a country of 32 million people with a vast landscape of land and resources. Canada's strength is in what we do with those resources and how we position those resources for our children and our grandchildren.

When we sell out these resources, as we are doing here, we are doing irreparable harm to all those young children who want to grow up and live in their communities in regions of the country such as the northern and rural areas of Canada.

What are we doing? We are saying that this lumber is not for Canadians. We are saying that we will ship these logs down to the United States and these young Canadians can go and work in the cities. What we are doing here is giving up control.

I could talk about the energy deal that Canada signed under NAFTA but I will save that for another debate because there certainly should be a debate on our energy sector soon. If the government thinks that it can get away without talking about energy in this Parliament, without putting these things on the table, then it has another think coming when it comes to the NDP caucus.

Conservatives used to say that good fences make good neighbours. When they said that I liked Conservatives. I thought they were good guys. I thought they were there to protect us and take care of us. They have certainly fallen far away from that goal.

I have not had a chance to talk about the environment yet. To me the boreal forest of Canada is one of the last refuges of natural wilderness that we have in this country and it is being destroyed. What will this deal do to help that boreal forest? Zero. This agreement does not take the boreal forest into account at all. We are again abrogating our responsibilities to the environment. We are creating a situation, unlike northern Europe where they get 12 jobs for every one job that we get in the forest industry, Canada is going in the other direction with this deal. This is very sad.

I do not think I need to talk about jobs. We have heard it and we know what will happen. This is the deal that these people want for Canada.

Aboriginal Affairs September 26th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, despite having a $13 billion surplus, the government cut $10 million from the first nations and Inuit tobacco control strategy, meaning that more aboriginal Canadians will get sick and die due to smoking. There was no consultation, no debate, another sign of just how arrogant and controlling is this Prime Minister.

At a time when this country has record surpluses, does the Prime Minister believe saving young aboriginal lives is fat to be trimmed?

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 September 25th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, the first words that I heard were that they are very happy to get this off the table for Atlantic Canada. Coming from the north and looking at the provisions whereby the north is not given any particular tariff on any of our exports of lumber from places such as Nunavut, I would say that probably I should go along with this agreement as well, but in reality we live in Canada. The whole country's lumber industry is at stake with the bill. The fact that one region is better suited under the bill than the other does not take away from the fact that we live in a larger country than the particular region the hon. member is talking about.

Coming from the north and being satisfied with an agreement that exempts northern producers from a tariff, that means nothing to the rest of the country. I think the hon. member should recognize that as well. Perhaps he would like to comment on how he is supporting the lumber industry across Canada as a whole. Perhaps he would put his comments in that perspective.

Softwood Lumber Products Export Charge Act, 2006 September 25th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I would like to get an opinion from my hon. colleague who has just given his speech about the direction the lumber industry would likely take with the completion of a deal such as this one.

We can talk about the deal in terms of what it stands for today, but of course, as the Conservatives have pointed out, it is a seven year to nine year agreement. We need to understand what the deal would entail for the Canadian worker, for the governments of the country, and for the provinces, where there may be requirements for industry support over the next number of years with this type of agreement in place. We need to understand what this deal is going to do to our value added sector in the forestry industry.

Would the hon. member give us a vision of what he sees for the forest industry in Quebec under this agreement?

Mackenzie Valley Environment September 25th, 2006

Mr. Speaker, when he was in Yellowknife this past summer, the Prime Minister said he wants the north to be “liberated from the paternalistic policies of the past”.

However, this is not the case when it comes to appointing northerners to the boards set up to protect the environment. Instead, he is allowing the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to continue Ottawa's paternalistic tradition.

For example, the government of the Northwest Territories nominated a knowledgeable and well respected northerner six months ago, and I now understand that the minister has asked for more names.

According to Hansard, when in opposition the minister said:

This is an important board and it has significant responsibility in respect of the Mackenzie Valley pipeline. The minister has an obligation to set the public's concerns to rest and reassure Canadians of the integrity of the appointment process.

If the minister is unhappy with the name put forward by the government of the Northwest Territories, he should say so and explain why. If the minister says the paternalism--

Emergency Management Act September 21st, 2006

Mr. Speaker, I do seem to get the short questions, but that is okay.

I am just going back to the questions I asked the Liberal member in reference to subclause 6(2)(d). I see the definition of war or other armed conflict is neither defined geographically nor qualitatively, so we have some issues there that need to be addressed in committee.

Then of course we mitigate the effects of foreign armed conflict on Canada, so we are suggesting armed conflict that really is not on our soil. The emergency measures plan would reference perhaps other things that occur in other parts of the world.

These things should be well outlined in any committee work. I would ask the member opposite to comment.