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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 Languages Act February 20th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I first want to reiterate how significant this step is for all indigenous people, all first nations, Métis and Inuit people, from coast to coast to coast.

However, I do have concerns. Both the first nations and Métis people in my constituency are asking a valid question about funding, which is very significant. They want to make sure that not only first nations but municipalities and Métis communities have access to sufficient funding where there are Métis students, non-status students and first nations students.

Is the government willing to give us some idea as to how much funding it is looking at?

Indigenous Languages Act February 20th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I had an opportunity to appear at the committee. I still have some questions. I am seeking clarification. Yes, I am very supportive of the bill because of indigenous languages for first nations, Métis and Inuit across Canada coast to coast to coast. I still have questions regarding access for all first nations, Métis and Inuit people who live not only on reserves but across in urban centres and other places. I will continue to seek clarification on who will qualify for language funding when it is made available. I want to make sure that school divisions, municipalities and other organizations can access the funding to teach youth their cultural language, while also including elders.

That is where my questions are coming from. It is not that I do not support the bill.

Minister, are you still open to making some revisions?

International Year of Indigenous Languages February 20th, 2019

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Across Canada, first nations, Métis and Inuit people speak their languages with pride and honour. In my riding of Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, many communities speak only in Cree, Dene, Michif or Michif-Cree. Guided by our elders, we are encouraged to speak our languages. With our youth in mind, we work hard to make sure that our languages will be spoken for generations to come.

I am proud of the work being done for our languages to thrive again. Just last night I had the honour to meet elder Marsha Ireland, who taught the heritage committee about indigenous sign languages and how important, but forgotten, they are.

It is clear to me that first nations, Métis and Inuit people are doing the work to have our languages prosper. I call on all members of the House to do their part to help the indigenous people in their communities educate others about their languages.

Housing February 1st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are doing nothing to help the homeless in northern Saskatchewan. Scattered Site served a record number of meals last year. Now it is being forced to find a new building to meet the growing demand in La Ronge.

The people who rely on shelters like these are elders, young children, families and students. Meanwhile, the Liberals are all talk and no action. When will the Liberals commit serious and concrete funding to help the homeless in La Ronge?

Dene High School February 1st, 2019

[Member spoke in Dene, interpreted as follows:]

Mr. Speaker, on January 22, 2016, two teachers and two young men lost their lives and others were injured when a shooter entered the Dene High School in La Loche. In the three years since that date, both levels of government have honoured their lives, the first responders and worked to move forward from the tragedy in my home town.

Today, I want to recognize the teachers, support staff and community members who saved so many lives. Many teachers have told me privately the things they did to make sure the kids were safe, even when it meant putting themselves in harm's way. I thank them for their quick thinking and commitment to their students. Though many of these teachers have left to take care of their mental well-being, they insisted on staying on to complete the year and help the kids they saved that day.

Their actions have been forgotten by the Saskatchewan and federal governments in the past several years. Therefore, let us now take a moment to thank them for what they did.

Business of Supply January 31st, 2019

[Member spoke in Dene, interpreted as follows:]

Mr. Speaker, the way I understand this, the government is not telling us the truth, the people who are living in the north. The way he is talking about it, the people are in charge. The way I understand this, the government is doing that for the people who are living on reserve. The people who are voted in, they talk for them. Also people who are living in communities, people who are leaders talk for their people. We can talk to those people too about housing, how the funds are distributed and how to ask the government for the funds. Why can they not do that?

Business of Supply January 31st, 2019

[Member spoke in Dene, interpreted as follows:]

Mr. Speaker, in Canada where we live, this is what I think. We need to talk to people who are living in the north, people who are living on reserve and people who are living in the communities, indigenous people, Métis people, about housing as a whole and about where the funds are going, how to help people deal with the housing crisis. That is the way we can help people.

[English]

Business of Supply January 31st, 2019

[Member spoke in Dene, interpreted as follows:]

Mr. Speaker, whatever the member asked me, I am asking him the same question too. Why the policy his government made for people in the north, on reserve people, Métis people and northern Saskatchewan people? It seems like the government did not do anything to understand how to make houses, to put funding away for housing. It seems like there is not enough money over there. It seems like the government is waiting at least 10 years for that and people are poor there most of the time.

Why will the government not help them? Stop waiting and help them. It is the way the government speaks about helping people. To speak Dene is the way I speak and to help members.

[English]

Business of Supply January 31st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Salaberry—Suroît.

[Member spoke in Dene, interpreted as follows:]

Today I rise to support the motion that my friend, the member for Saskatoon West, has put forward to create an immediate and necessary response to the housing crisis in Canada. I am glad to be speaking today as a follow-up to the important call to action that the NDP put forward to the Liberal government to immediately address the crisis in housing in on-reserve and northern homes.

As a northerner, I see the crisis. We need a lot of housing in my community of La Loche. Walking the streets of La Loche, I see people who are struggling without homes and without water and do not know where they are going to get their next meal and where they are going to sleep. When I go to La Ronge, in front of the shelters like Scattered Site in La Ronge, I see people who are trying to get a meal.

It is important to see that the homeless people do not just sit on the streets all day.

I want to say more here about people who do not have houses. They do not have much with them. They do not have clothes or food or shelter or anywhere to sleep. People who are struggling with addictions, with alcohol, need housing too; they do not have housing. Youth and students who are away from their homes to attend school do not have homes when they are attending schools or university. People who are low-income wage earners who make money and single mothers who are often with young children and babies are people who do not have homes, and they are struggling too. Men of all ages are struggling as well. Those people do not have homes, and they are struggling too.

Elders and seniors across northern Saskatchewan are more likely to be abused, and they are less likely to report the abuse they experience. They will not tell the RCMP, because they feel the RCMP will not help them. The cost of living is higher for seniors and the costs of medication and transportation to see a doctor are increasing. Even food is expensive. Money is scarce, and they do not have much. One elder I know from Montreal Lake is living in a shelter. The federal government and provincial government are ignoring her. She is forgotten by a system where nobody wants to help her.

People with low incomes and people who make lots of money are struggling to buy and maintain homes in the north. To borrow money is hard for them too. The cost of supplies and to transport lumber to the north is expensive. Maintenance costs are only increasing for the average person in the north. The cost of food for everyone is increasing. For those earners who have children, the cost of food, clothes and education is up too.

People who are working are in poverty too. What people in the north want is different from what the government is providing.

In my own community of La Loche, I see homeowners where I am living. I am a renter. I feel like I am living in a homeless place, because there are no places to go.

It is hard to talk about these kinds of things. It is kind of embarrassing too.

People on reserve have a tough time too. They try really hard to talk to the government about how to build houses and how to put money away for housing issues. It is difficult to do that too. In Saskatchewan, sometimes people get evicted and lose their houses. In Sandy Bay, dozens of families are victims of the cost of living. They do not know where to go. The government took the money and could help the people of the north. Furthermore, people who are struggling with housing and also people who have houses, whether working or not, still need a lot of money for housing and property.

The Conservatives, when they were in power, cut off funding for a lot of people, and there is no more money for that. The Liberal government is the same, cutting the funds for housing. It is hard for people in the north to ask for help with funding. They need a lot of money for housing.

People wait quite a bit for housing, at least 10 years. For people living in housing, on reserve and in municipalities, many of the houses are in bad condition with, for example, mould and they get diseases from that. None of the government departments is providing answers or hope.

It is kind of confusing for people, young or old, to find a house, to just try to live. They need funding for housing. They cannot buy property without money. That is why I am proud today to support a motion today that provides a measurable goal that means something to people, because funding formulas are always changing and confusing Canadians' measure of the success of housing. I am happy to be here to talk about this.

Speaking Dene about housing issues is a huge thing for me. People living on reserve, Métis people and far north people need money for housing and to be supportive of them and the way they think about housing. We need the government to reach out to the people who need housing. When government thinks about the funding, it thinks about what is best for them.

Kids are going to suffer, and when they get older they will not know where to go. To also think about those kinds of things, we need the government to help the Dene people. That is why I am here to talk about housing for the people. That is why I am standing here today asking.

[English]

Business of Supply January 31st, 2019

Mr. Speaker, I will say from the heart that the member is talking about indigenous people without any knowledge or experience of what it means to live in northern Canada and on reserves. How dare he sit there and talk like that?

It is stupid, how you are talking. Your plan is a 10-year plan, and you want—