House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was nunavut.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as Independent MP for Nunavut (Nunavut)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 47% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Oil Tanker Moratorium Act May 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, again, I am very happy to apply and will be voting yes.

Oil Tanker Moratorium Act May 1st, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to apply and will be voting no.

The Environment April 30th, 2018

[Member spoke in Inuktitut].


Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

My constituents continue to express concern about carbon pricing and how it may increase their cost of living, already the highest in the country. The minister has publicly acknowledged the unique nature of Nunavut, and has committed to designing a solution that takes us into account.

It is my understanding that the Government of Nunavut has made specific exemption requests. Given that Nunavut accounts for only one-tenth of one per cent of Canada's total emissions, will the minister grant these exemptions?

Business of Supply April 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the member put it very clearly how people heal differently. For some people, it may not be helpful; for some, it will. The spirit and the intent of just hearing those words from someone whose organization was responsible for so much damage over so many generations will help the healing process for a lot of those people, and that is important.

Business of Supply April 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Labrador for her advocacy on this issue. I have had many discussions with her on this.

We need to put our money where our mouth is. We need to provide the programs and services for mental health, addictions, and help people deal with trauma. If we cannot provide those services in the north and in the isolated jurisdictions of the country, which are available in the south, we will never be able to move forward and end the cycle. Efforts need to be made to ensure we are putting our money where our mouth is and we are investing in those programs and services in order to help people heal.

Business of Supply April 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, it is important in ways that will help people heal. As I said, it is not going to undo the horrors of the past, but acknowledging those horrors, taking responsibility, and apologizing for them will help people heal.

The member talked about suicide rates. In my riding of Nunavut, our suicide rates are 10 times the national average, yet we have not one facility in the north to help people deal with mental health and trauma-related issues. In most northern, isolated jurisdictions in Canada, those services are not adequately available, and that is where they are needed the most.

Business of Supply April 26th, 2018

Mr. Speaker,

[member spoke in Inuktitut]


I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this motion on behalf of Nunavummiut and all survivors.

I would like to thank the member for Timmins—James Bay for bringing this motion to the House. I would also like to thank the New Democratic Party for sharing time with me and allowing me to have an opportunity to speak.

I can say, without a single shred of doubt, that a papal apology for the church's role in the implementation of, and its participation in, the Canadian residential school system is completely justified, and frankly, an apology is the very least the Pope could do for the indigenous people of this country.

As a result of residential schools, a generation of indigenous children were robbed of their childhood, raised not by their parents in loving homes but instead raised in a culture of violence, a culture of psychological and sexual abuse. It was this foreign and twisted culture that has since spawned a legacy of mental illness, drug addiction, and suicide among indigenous people in communities all across Canada. I know this, because I attended a residential school. I know this, because I myself have been affected. I personally know people who have been affected, family and friends I have watched struggle with this past.

There is not one family in my riding that has not been affected in one way or another by this awful legacy. Sadly, the devastating effect of residential schools has reached beyond the generation that experienced these horrors and has impacted today's generation of young people.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is attempting to explain its responsibility away with weak technical arguments. For example, it was suggested that many different dioceses of the church were responsible for the residential schools. Also stated was that a visit by the Pope to Canada to deliver an apology presents a potential financial burden for the church. Really. These arguments are appalling to me.

What is worse is that I read this morning that there is a hesitation to apologize because there are political factors at play that could affect the relationship between the government and the Church, factors such as the new federal summer jobs funding requirement and the Church's reluctance to respond to a direct request from the government.

An archbishop was quoted as saying, “That puts the church in a challenging place”. I am sorry. In response to this quote, I would like to ask the Church to consider the challenging place indigenous people have been put in as a direct result of residential schools. I can assure the archbishop that whatever challenging place the Church may be put in, indigenous people have lived and experienced much worse as a result of residential schools.

The Pope, as the head of the Catholic Church, must take responsibility for its actions and the profound effect those actions have had on generations of indigenous people. He must apologize on behalf of his church and join in the spirit of reconciliation, as has been recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. An apology is not only the right thing to do but is the Christian thing to do. Although an apology will not undo the horrors of the past, it will go a long way in helping survivors heal.

Indigenous Affairs April 25th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister.

In a speech delivered on April 7, the Minister of Indigenous Services acknowledged that Canada has failed to address the many social determinants that lead to poor health and poverty in indigenous communities. Many in my riding of Nunavut feel that Canada has failed them and continues to fail them. Funding for housing, education, infrastructure, and health services is lacking as a direct result of the per capita funding allocation.

Will the Prime Minister commit his government to changing the per capita funding allocation to more of a needs-based approach?

Social Determinants of Health April 24th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, qujannamiik uqaqti.

Key social determinants of health, such as housing, education, infrastructure, health services, and food security, play a significant role in the well-being and quality of life of Canadians. Unfortunately, access to these factors is not the same across Canada, and anyone who has been to my riding has seen this first-hand.

The WHO has stated that social determinants of health are shaped by the distribution of money, power, and resources. I have stressed several times in this House that the per capita system fails the Government of Nunavut and Nunavummiut.

While I was touring my riding, many Inuit told me that they feel forgotten. They believe new Canadians get treated better than they do.

It is time to change the per capita system to more of a needs-based approach. It is time to address these inequities and work to ensure that Inuit can enjoy the same quality of life as other Canadians.

Nunavummiut are hopeful that the language used thus far has not been just talk.

Northern Affairs March 29th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I have asked several questions in the House regarding the promised changes to the nutrition north program, which the minister has publicly stated is failing northerners. Last May, the response was that the new program would be launched very soon. In September, the response changed to “we intend to get it right this time”. In December, it was “we're considering all feedback”.

In budget 2018, there is not one mention of nutrition north. It seems with more time there is less progress. Why is the government continuing to fail Nunavummiut by not fixing this broken program?