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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

Education September 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, many teachers and support staff at schools across Canada returned to work this past month looking to inspire and educate future generations of Canadians. In northern Saskatchewan, though, many schools are struggling with day-to-day operations, as there is a significant staff shortage. In Sandy Bay, Saskatchewan, Principal Randy Mallory has stretched his staff to their limits, as some teachers are doing double their workload and resource staff are now teaching classes instead of focusing on individual students who need help. Not only does morale suffer when teachers are overworked, but students and communities suffer too. It is our responsibility, as elected officials, to support future generations. However, governments are choosing not to invest in education and in youth in the north. On behalf of my constituents, I call on all governments to invest in northern education programs and northern youth.

Bills of Exchange Act September 24th, 2018

Madam Speaker, I would like to start by thanking my colleagues in the House for the dutiful consideration of my bill and for sharing their thoughts on making National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday.

I am very much looking forward to continuing our discussions in the near future as we work together to do what is right for indigenous people across Canada. The discussion we have heard today is part of a centuries-old conversation about how we make time for first nations, Métis and Inuit people in our country. Historically, we know that the federal government's position has been that there is no time for first nations, Métis or Inuit people. For governments in the past, indigenous people were to be civilized, educated or eliminated. History has proven past governments wrong. Indigenous people have become stronger.

Our recent conversations about the time for indigenous people have focused on reconciliation and how we commemorate the leaders who committed genocide. Apologies were made. Canadians have heard the stories of survivors. Canadians have heard apologies from prime ministers. They have heard the lack of apologies from religious leaders, and they have heard the promise of a government saying that it would do right by indigenous people now.

Reconciliation is the government's word. Reconciliation is the government's promise. Reconciliation is the burden of government and the burden of settlers. While the government should be having that conversation about reconciling Canada's past, indigenous people are thinking about their future in Canada. We are asking different questions. We are slowly moving away from asking how we will survive and instead are asking how we will thrive.

What we are seeing now is a renaissance of indigenous culture, indigenous arts and indigenous languages. Indigenous leaders and movements from the past are being taught in history classes. Indigenous people are thriving in business, science, technology, justice and health. I have seen with my own eyes how our cultures and languages are growing in our communities and how our families and youth find strength in our traditions. There is still so much work the government needs to do for indigenous people who are suffering, but first nations, Métis and Inuit people have done so much for a society that has and continues to try to ignore them.

To be clear, my bill does not ask to give indigenous people the time to perform their trauma. I am not asking to give indigenous people the time to accept our apologies while we atone for our actions. I am not asking to appropriate an established indigenous holiday so settlers will have another day off work. I am asking if we, as the Government of Canada, will give up part of our own time so that indigenous people across this country can celebrate what makes them truly unique.

It was in the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action that I proposed my bill. I believe people in Canada are capable of mourning the legacy of residential schools while also thinking optimistically about the future. That is, after all, what we do every year on Remembrance Day. It is vital that we remember those we lost in residential schools, that we honour the survivors, and that we never forget how the Canadian government tried so hard to get rid of first nations, Métis and Inuit people. However, the stories indigenous people are telling now are far more optimistic and think so far into the future that they refuse to be defined by the impact of residential schools. Let us not limit the future of first nations, Métis and Inuit people to only a settler narrative of past injustice. Let us put an end to the government's practice of defining indigenous people by the things settlers have done to indigenous people. Let us listen to the generations of indigenous people who stand up every year on June 21 and continue to survive and continue to celebrate who they are and who they will become.

If we are truly committed to reconciliation, it is our duty to think about the time of celebration indigenous people have created for themselves. Indigenous people have told us for decades that June 21, the summer solstice, is their day of celebration. I hope that when members of this House vote on this bill, they will show that they are listening.

Public Transportation September 21st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, for months, people in northern Saskatchewan have been fighting for safe and affordable public transportation. When the provincial government cut funding to the STC, I asked if the government would step up. The Liberals chose to answer no.

The government simply does not understand that public transportation is a necessary service for many in the north to see their doctors, to have surgery or to welcome a new baby. Why does the government continue to let down the people of northern Saskatchewan?

Questions on the Order Paper June 20th, 2018

With regard to the Pan-Canadian Health Human Resource Strategy, since fiscal year 2015-16: (a) which geographic areas has the government identified as “areas of high need, including rural and remote settings”; (b) how many healthcare workers have accepted employment in the areas identified in (a); (c) how many, broken down by number and percentage, of those healthcare workers identified in (b) were offered permanent, full-time employment; and (d) how many, broken down by number and percentage, of those identified in (b) were accepted by people who self-identify as Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, or Inuit)?

Indigenous Affairs June 20th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I asked the Liberals if they would support my private member's bill to make National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday. Instead of saying whether they would support it, the minister spoke about the government's celebrations taking place. People already know about the celebrations. What they want is for the Liberals to actually recognize the importance of providing people with a time and opportunity to celebrate.

Therefore, I am asking again: Will the Liberals support my bill and make National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday?

Indigenous Peoples Day June 20th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, every year on June 21, first nations, Métis, and Inuit people gather in their communities to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day. Over the course of this weekend, there will be concerts and dances, traditional pow wows, parades, community meals, and the sharing of stories.

Many cultural exchanges take place on Indigenous Peoples Day, and today I want to give special recognition to all the elders, community organizers, and indigenous women across Canada who make these celebrations special. Without the work of volunteers like them, June 21 would not be what it is today. I wish everyone in Canada could see their efforts.

I invite everyone from across Canada to contact their local first nation, Métis, or Inuit communities to see what events they are hosting this year. I invite everyone to experience our unique cultures, to share photos, to learn our shared history, to maybe learn a phrase or two in the local language, and to celebrate everything there is about indigenous people in Canada. Happy Indigenous Peoples Day.

Indigenous Affairs June 19th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, this Thursday is National Indigenous Peoples Day, part of a week of festivities during which people from across the country celebrate the cultures and legacies of first nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples in Canada. All week there will be ceremonies, concerts, meals, and dancing. Despite all of these events, many Canadians will not be able to join these celebrations.

The government talks about reconciliation, but fails to meet its obligations to indigenous communities. Why will the Liberals not support my bill to make National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday?

National Day of Healing and Reconciliation June 11th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, June 11 marks the anniversary of the Canadian government's apology for the residential school program.

Canadians now know more about their colonial history, the abuses suffered by first nations, Métis, and Inuit people at the hands of their government, and they know more about their indigenous neighbours and the culture that they celebrate. Though 10 years may seem like a long time, we have an even longer process ahead of us.

I am inspired by the work of our youth, who lead us in ways that adults have never led. Like the students in the Treaty Four club at Riverview Collegiate in Moose Jaw, who learn from and educate their peers about local first nations culture. Their work encourages us all to pursue reconciliation through learning and teaching about indigenous culture.

On our national day of healing and reconciliation, I call on everyone in Canada to follow the example of these students and find ways to turn the promise of reconciliation into action within their communities.

Indigenous Affairs June 6th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals voted against the NDP motion to implement the rights of indigenous peoples in their pipeline project, but just a few days ago voted to put those same rights into Canadian law.

The Prime Minister cannot pretend that indigenous voices are all the same and ignore the clear opposition to his pipeline. The Liberals are denying the rights of first nations, Métis, and Inuit people. Does the government really not see that or does it just not care?

Indigenous Affairs June 5th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, throughout history, the crown has always found an excuse to ignore indigenous peoples.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is our chance to finally put an end to that history. Last week, the Prime Minister championed this declaration, which includes free, prior, and informed consent.

Why, then, is his government voting against honouring that historic declaration today?