House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was communities.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as NDP MP for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River (Saskatchewan)

Lost her last election, in 2019, with 28% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Indigenous Affairs May 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it has been almost four months since the shooting in La Loche and the Liberals are still not providing mental health care workers in my riding and many other communities. The government's budget allocated zero additional dollars for mental health care despite the urgent need. What about La Loche? What about Cross Lake?

Will the government finally ensure that all first nations communities are able to access the support they need and deserve?

Criminal Code May 2nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I have a question about access to adequate medical services and access to nurse practitioners or doctors. Where I come from, in my riding, most reserves and communities do not have that privilege when we talk about the national palliative care strategy. I am very concerned because where I come from we do not even have access to a nurse. How can the government ensure that we can have this meaningful discussion in a broader context to help people die with dignity?

Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act April 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to speak to Bill C-221 today, an act to amend the Criminal Code. This bill would modernize the Criminal Code by allowing provinces to properly regulate sports betting. If single event sports wagering were permitted, each province would therefore determine if and how it would be implemented.

The Canadian Criminal Code, which is enacted by the Parliament of Canada, sets out the parameters of legal gaming in Canada. However, since 1985, as a result of a federal-provincial agreement, the federal government has given up its right to conduct lottery schemes. Sports wagering is defined as lottery schemes in the Criminal Code and explicitly prohibits provinces from allowing wagering on any race or fight, or on a single sports event or athletic contest. This bill calls for the deletion of this section of the Criminal Code.

The bill would help modernize the Criminal Code to recognize the jurisdictional responsibility and reality of gaming throughout the country. If provinces were able to provide a legal, regulated sports wagering product, the economic impact would be significant, particularly for communities with casinos. A recent report by the Canadian Gaming Association on the impact of sports wagering on Ontario border casinos highlighted the benefits of offering a legal, regulated sports wagering product in the Ontario border casinos of Windsor and Niagara Falls.

Another thing that Bill C-221 would allow us to do would be to reduce the influence of organized crime. Illegal sports wagering includes both illegal bookmakers and illegal Internet betting companies operating within North America. While the exact size of the illegal bookmaking market is not certain, published reports by government and law enforcement officials suggest it is substantial. For example, based on a review of the annual reports of the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada, bookmaking exists in every region of Canada. According to the reports, gaming profits provide revenue to organized crime groups to fund their illegal and legal activities.

Once more, while the size of the illegal bookmaking market in Canada is unknown, it is thought to be significant. It has been estimated that Canadians illegally wager between $14 billion and $15 billion annually on single sporting events. Bill C-221 would allow the provinces to police this unregulated market, and in so doing return the economic benefits to our communities and reduce the influence of organized crime. It would afford the opportunity for bettors using illegal systems to use the safety, security, and surety of the government regulated betting regime.

I would like to mention that much support has been expressed for Bill C-221. Many validators, such as municipalities, associations, and corporations, have already supported this bill. Among those, there is the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, the municipality of Windsor, the Attorneys General of Ontario and British Columbia, and the Canadian Gaming Association.

Indigenous Affairs April 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the process of reconciliation is a long one. Residential school survivors opened deep wounds to share their stories and placed their trust in other parties to hold up their end of the deal. Our collective healing depends upon it. We cannot let a legal mistake by government lawyers jeopardize justice for survivors.

The parliamentary secretary was not clear yesterday, so I ask again, will the government ensure full payment for the victims of residential schools?

Nuclear Waste April 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the work of the Committee for Future Generations, which has succeeded in keeping nuclear waste out of all communities of northern Saskatchewan. In a united voice with first nations and Métis community leaders the message was clear: no to nuclear waste in the riding of Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.

Nine communities are now fighting the same battle in Ontario. The plan to bury and abandon nuclear waste within a kilometre of the shore of Lake Huron is before the Minister of Environment and Climate Change for review.

In the spirit of stewardship, there is a mandate to consult with the first nations of Ontario on the proposed plan to store nuclear waste in their region. We hope this mandate will be honoured.

I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Windsor West, for his work on this file. I express my full solidarity with those who are committed to keeping nuclear waste out of their community.

Indigenous Affairs April 18th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, a legal misstep has allowed the Catholic Church to avoid paying millions of dollars to victims of residential school abuse.

No funding could ever really compensate for the suffering of defenceless children at the hands of those who are supposed to care for them. However, to discover that legal miscommunication has let those responsible off the financial hook is shocking and unacceptable.

Will the government step in and demand full payment for the victims of this tragedy?

Indigenous Affairs April 14th, 2016

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the answer, but I will do further follow-up, as I have continued contact with Chief Tsannie and the Hatchet Lake First Nation, as well as Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation, the Prince Albert Grand Council, and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.

This is a concern and continues to be a concern. I appreciate the dialogue that we are having today and moving forward.

Indigenous Affairs April 14th, 2016

Madam Speaker, I stood in the House a couple of months ago and asked the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs what she and her government planned to do to help the community of Wollaston Lake, which at the time was facing a challenge. Due to climate change and warm weather, an ice road in northern Saskatchewan was deemed unsafe to transport provisions. A community of 1,800 people were running out of fuel and supplies due to the unsafe winter road.

First nation chiefs in Saskatchewan said that the unusual mild weather had softened a northern Saskatchewan ice road leaving two reserves facing safety and access challenges: Hatchet Lake First Nation and Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation. It is clear and undisputable that reliability of this road has been impaired. The danger imposed by soft winter roads is increasingly isolating Northern communities. This is rendering their lives more difficult as supplies are harder to transport to remote communities. This is without question, an urgent matter.

What does it mean when an ice road is unsafe for Northern remote communities in Saskatchewan?

This ice road represents a life line for those communities. It is a significant factor in the local cost of living, on the economic development in the communities, and on housing and infrastructure. Sporadic availability of truck transport imposes significant extra costs on the communities.

An expensive and uncertain transportation situation is a major barrier to all forms of development in northern communities. It brings food prices considerably up. It brings fuel prices up, fuel that is used for transportation and for heating on reserves. Medical supplies do not make it on reserves for the sick and health care workers who struggle to provide the care needed. Unsafe ice roads make it harder if not impossible for the RCMP and paramedics to reach those who require urgent help instantly.

As members can see, this is becoming a safety issue. There have been reports of trucks transporting provisions that have fell through the ice. Chiefs have also warned their communities to avoid the winter road as they are unsafe for travel.

This is not an issue that is exclusive to northern Saskatchewan. Northerners across the country have seen the roads they count on for provisions and for movement becoming more and more unsafe and unreliable for their livelihood due to climate change.

The current government promised an open nation-to-nation relationship throughout its election campaign. The Prime Minister pledged to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations. Despite that promise, we are still waiting.

The government still fails to act on issues that are of great concern for northern remote communities that often feel abandoned and that often feel that their issues are just not important enough in the eyes of the federal government. Like all Canadians, northerners count on an equitable treatment of their concerns.

This government had a chance to demonstrate goodwill in tackling this concern with its first budget. However, nowhere in the budget do we see allocation of specific funds for winter roads, and this, despite the continuous outcry and warnings from first nations chiefs and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations on this issue that is crippling communities.

Action is needed even more urgently than even before, and the problem will not disappear on its own. It will only increase. Specific funding and a comprehensive strategy for ice roads is required now. In the long run it is going to enhance and better the lives of the people in the north.

This is about lives. This is about safety. This is about economic development in northern remote communities.

What steps has the Prime Minister taken to work with isolated first nations to meet their needs for safer and reliable roads that will bring more prosperity to their communities?

Health April 13th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, far too many first nations and Métis children are growing up in this country without any hope for their future.

Far too many families, including my own, have been affected by suicide. Just this past weekend there were more suicide attempts in La Loche.

This is a crisis that demands actions—not visits, not photo ops, but action—yet the budget contained no new funding for mental health services.

When will we see a concrete plan from the government on mental health?

Situation in Indigenous Communities April 12th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate both ministers in the Liberal government for their understanding and the level of compassion that they have.

I thank the minister for bringing up Project Venture. I have a question around that which is coming from residents in my community.

In the budget, there was no mention of Project Venture or dollars to support it. Am I hearing correctly that, at least for my community, the Project Venture initiative will receive funding?