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

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act June 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague who, regardless of whatever occurred before, during the time of the hearings in Yukon listened very carefully to what Yukoners said, and I appreciate that. As a northerner, I appreciate that people have the opportunity to say their piece, and certainly that did happen in Yukon.

I would like my colleague to comment on this industry and the mining company that just invested heavily in Yukon. Its representative spoke at the hearings and said that the relationship between first nations and the company was based on the existing legislation, so why should they look for this change, which no one really supports in Yukon other than those who are heavily on the side of the industry.

Did the member not feel that this industry's uncertainty about the legislation should have influenced the Conservatives, who have held this up as something that would benefit industry?

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act June 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his interpretation of history. I always find it humourous when people want to interpret history in a way that ignores the facts of the matter. Every politician sometimes falls into that habit.

In this case, he was talking about issues that Yukoners are very well apprised of. I was amazed at the depth of knowledge and the engagement that Yukoners had on these issues when we conducted committee meetings in Whitehorse and 150 people filled the room from morning until night.

My colleague was there to hear Yukoners, but I want to ask him if he was there to listen to Yukoners and understand what they were saying about the nature of the relationship between Yukoners, first nations, and the environment?

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act June 3rd, 2015

Mr. Speaker, this is the 98th time in this Parliament that we have had a time allocation proposal by the government. This one is on a particular bill that is opposed by most of the people in Yukon in four specific areas.

The government has chosen not to go back to the first nations in Yukon that have well-established relationships there based on existing laws and existing environmental legislation. The government has chosen to unilaterally put four new amendments in the bill that were not part of the larger review process. This has led to a situation where both Yukoners and first nations Yukoners are combined in their opposition to these four amendments.

We saw that when we had the committee hearings in Yukon. The room was full. Hundreds of people listened to our committee. Many people spoke to it, including industry. They said not to do it, that it was silly, that it was not correct to break the relationship that existed now and was working quite well.

The time allocation motion is an insult. The government will answer for this in Yukon in the next election, which is five months away. It is a pity that the government has taken this road. It is going to cause disruption and uncertainty in the Yukon economy for the next number of years until we straighten it out.

George Braden May 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is with great sadness that I rise to pay tribute to George Braden, the first elected premier of the Northwest Territories, who passed away Monday.

Born in Saskatchewan in 1949, he and his family moved to the Northwest Territories in 1964. From 1977 to 1979, George was an advisor to the hon. Bud Drury and was the prime minister's special representative for constitutional development in the Northwest Territories. In 1979, he was elected to the ninth Legislative Assembly. The MLAs voted George the first leader of the elected members of cabinet, a position that has become known as “premier”. He served as leader until 1989.

During his time in government, George promoted a new recognition of the Northwest Territories at the national level and a more prominent role in Confederation, including working to win a seat for the NWT at the first ministers conferences. George led the NWT's lobbying to have aboriginal rights included in section 35 of the Constitution.

George's strong support for an independent NWT was a major influence in my political career. He was the first of the new northern politicians to speak up for public government.

My deepest sympathies go to his wife, Lise, and the Braden family. George will be sorely missed.

Common Sense Firearms Licensing Act May 29th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I do not mind speaking to the bill, although I find that the Conservative position on this is sometimes rather odd.

I was one of the NDP who voted for the first private member's bill that was going to eliminate the long gun registry, so I am speaking from a position of having done that. However, I did not support when the Conservatives would not amend the new bill, because they were destroying the data. Basically, by allowing provinces to have the right to do what they want with firearms, the Conservatives would take firearms out from under the classification of the Criminal Code and put them into civil code. This means that infractions under civil code would not make people criminals, which is a very distinct difference here.

However, I want to talk about safe storage. Over the last 30 years, the best thing that has happened for firearms, in my mind, is safe storage. It means that guns are not available to be used by someone other than the owner or in disputes, which means that we save lives.

Does my colleague not agree that continuing to provide safe storage of firearms is one of the most important aspects of our laws?

Northern Development May 27th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General has shown that the nutrition north criteria are not fair or accessible. They are not even based on current needs.

Forty-six isolated fly-in northern communities are out in the cold, without access to nutritious and affordable food. Will the government commit today to working with all northerners to develop a sustainable solution to food insecurity?

The minister can start by including these 46 communities in the nutrition north program.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the member for Wild Rose raised the issue about the significance of any adverse community, environmental or socio-economic effects that have occurred or might occur in conjunction with the project, and that this section was removed by our amendments. However, that is actually clause 9 in the bill and it still remains.

Could my colleague comment on why the Conservative government might be trying to create some kind of doubt about the nature of our amendments at this time and trying to mislead the House about what we have taken out in these amendments?

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, who I have spent time with on committee.

When the government put these four amendments in after the fact, after its major consultation process that took place over a considerable period of time, there was such an outcry from first nations. The fact is that first nations have now requested, and have requested over the previous number of months, that the minister sit down with them and see how they can work to come to some kind of agreement on these four amendments. Where has the minister been? Where has the government been in trying to work this out with the first nations?

Why have the Conservatives been so intransigent about these four amendments, which are quite obviously not supported by the first nations who are an important and vital part of any process that takes place in the Yukon?

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is a problem with the government. It came up with these four amendments after a complete process of years when it could have introduced them. It could have put them forward over that time. It could have talked about them. It could have tried to find some kind of accommodation within the system. It had the time. It had people dedicated to do that work. These are highly trained individuals. They do not miss these types of items. They do not say that they forgot about these four concerns and that they will throw them into the bill at a later date. This was a fairly carefully crafted little effort to avoid talking about the things that were controversial and then shoving them into the bill later. This is really not the way to do devolution in our territories. It is not the way to come up with agreements that can work for people.

Yukon and Nunavut Regulatory Improvement Act May 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, the simplistic idea that has been proposed by the government is really one that goes against what people have worked very hard on throughout the north, and that is the relationship between aboriginal governments and public governments. This will be the determining factor in our ability to work together.

Northerners have come to the decision that first nations governments have complete relevance in everything that goes on in our territories. In the minds of northerners, we do not separate first nations governance as a lesser force. We accept that these forces have to work together. We accept that the decision making has to involve that kind of jurisdictional sharing.

What the government would do with this amendment is take it away from first nations and impact that kind of delegation of authority. I am sure there would be many things first nations could work very well with the public government in Yukon in this regard, but they need to be there at the table.