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

Business of Supply May 13th, 2015

Mr. Chair, a simple yes or no would have been sufficient for the first nations in the Yukon, but I see we are not getting that. The minister jumped all over the place and ended with some platitude about perhaps meeting with them.

Can the minister just simply say yes or no? Will he meet with the first nations of the Yukon to try to deal with the four outstanding issues under Bill S-6 or will he not?

Business of Supply May 13th, 2015

Mr. Chair, would the minister be willing to accept the Yukon first nations invitation to work with federal and territorial officials to address the four areas of concern that they expressed to the Senate standing committee on September 25, 2014, in Ottawa and the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development on March 30, 2015, in Whitehorse?

Is he willing to sit and work with them to try to solve some of these issues?

Business of Supply May 13th, 2015

Mr. Chair, the minister's efforts in both the Northwest Territories and Yukon have led to court actions, which are going to likely result in considerable delays and uncertainty in these two territories about the development of the resources that the government seems to want to push forward as quickly as possible.

When he wants to increase investor certainty, why has he chosen to take these actions, which to most people in the North do not make any sense at all and are not required at all?

Business of Supply May 13th, 2015

Mr. Chair, in the Northwest Territories, the Tlicho and Sahtu Dene governments have already initiated court action over the Conservatives' creation of the environmental super board to replace regional boards created through the land claim agreements. Yukon first nations say they will do the same as soon as Bill S-6 is passed.

Why does the minister believe that confrontation with aboriginal people in areas where they have a very responsible relationship with their existing governments is better than co-operation?

Business of Supply May 13th, 2015

Mr. Chair, I would like to address my questions to the minister. I will start with northern issues.

The minister, in his dialogue with first nations in Yukon, indicated that the government does not consider first nations governments. Is the minister holding to that position?

Business of Supply May 8th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for bringing this issue up. This debate could play out in the north in a different way because I am not too sure that our nutrition north program which subsidizes freight for some items would actually subsidize the freight for this medically required item.

When we look at northern people and the costs of freighting for these types of goods, it probably doubles the cost for these types of products for northern women and it is something we need to look into with the whole subsidy program for northerners.

I want to thank my colleague for bringing this up at this time.

Alberta Election May 7th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the people of the Northwest Territories to congratulate Rachel Notley and the NDP on their election victory as a strong, stable, majority government for Alberta.

The people of the NWT have a special relationship with Albertans. We regularly travel, trade, play and work in Alberta. Edmonton is our city for medical services, post-secondary education and all manner of supply and services. The NWT and Alberta share an ecosystem with northern Alberta included in the Mackenzie River watershed. Northerners, including my parents, came from Alberta.

I salute the premier-elect and her Notley crew for running a marvellous campaign full of trust and change. Northerners will look forward to working with this new, exciting government. I am sure she will continue the productive relationship between Alberta and the NWT.

Pipeline Safety Act May 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, that is a pretty broad question to deal with in one minute and 45 seconds, but I will give it a shot.

In terms of what has happened here with the bill, when we separate large pipelines, which are generally held by large corporations with fairly deep pockets, from smaller pipelines that may not have that same degree of protection in terms of fiscal ability to cover the cost of cleanups, then within that range of smaller pipelines, cabinet would have the discretion to set the stage as it sees fit. This means that these companies might well be given much more leniency when it comes to spills. However, a smaller pipeline, as I spoke about in my presentation, can cause a lot of problems as well. They can cause a lot of issues and expense in cleanup.

Therefore, I would think that we need a much stricter interpretation of some of these rules. We should not leave it entirely in the hands of either the appointed National Energy Board or the cabinet.

Pipeline Safety Act May 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for the question, and I think that is where the New Democratic Party wanted to strengthen the bill.

Perhaps we did not get all the amendments we wanted in committee or at report stage. The fact that two amendments were struck, out of some 41 that were put forward by the parties, I do not think indicates a real appetite for making sure that the bill was brought up to the level that we think it should be.

The bill was pretty well kept to where the Conservative government has designed it to be, where an opportunity existed for letting somebody off the hook. Companies that have one type of influence or other over the proceedings of the National Energy Board or through cabinet have some opportunity to be let off the hook. This is part of the problem when we deal with legislation like this: we open up those loopholes. It is certainly not the policy of the NDP to do that. Of course, that is why we brought forward the motions that we did.

Pipeline Safety Act May 6th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I think when it comes to the question of pipelines or rail, it is not simply either-or. Take the case of the shale oil developments that are very common now throughout western Canada and the United States, in particular, the Bakken field. These drilling sites may provide oil at a certain rate for 18 months or two years. They drop off very quickly. Many companies will not make the investment in a pipeline for a resource that may not last that long. They may have to move to other sites. In that case, there are companies that will want to use rail because that is the only way they can really justify the expense of doing the project.

We could argue and we could talk about what is the proper development but, in some cases, we have to look at what is going on in the industry.

In the case of pipelines, of course, we are committed to looking at pipelines, but through a rigorous environmental process that can give us answers. When we see what has happened in British Columbia, with the northern gateway pipeline, that one quite obviously has a high risk, perhaps not just with the pipeline itself but with where it delivers the oil and the process of the oil going across the ocean afterwards.