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  • His favourite word is first.

NDP MP for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 37% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Indigenous Affairs June 17th, 2016

Madam Speaker, this morning, Algonquin elders, supported by community members, are gathering on this Hill to remind parliamentarians of a sacred place near here.

The Algonquins have asked politicians at all levels to respect our rights regarding important matters that affect our community, and yet the Zibi development project continues ahead.

The government has committed to a new nation-to-nation relationship, so I would ask again, when will the government honour its promises and commitments to indigenous peoples, and move forward by supporting Bill C-262 to adopt and implement the UN declaration?

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1 June 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his very clear presentation.

I know he did not address any indigenous issues, but he was part of a government and sat around the cabinet table. I would like to hear his views on the Liberal approach to indigenous issues, and I want to know whether he sees much of a difference.

Let me give an example. The budget has earmarked $500 million for indigenous housing. If we divide that by the number of communities, it gives about $300,000 a year to each community. One house in the northern part of my riding costs about $300,000.

I would like to know if he sees much of a difference between the Liberal approach to indigenous issues and the previous government's approach.

Indigenous Affairs June 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, last month in New York, the Liberals promised to fully implement and adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The TRC's call to action number 43 calls on the government to do the same.

Here is the good news. Bill C-262 would implement both that promise and that call to action.

The question becomes very simple. Will the Liberals support my bill or will that become just another broken promise?

Indigenous Affairs June 8th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Human Rights Watch released a damning report on access to drinking water in indigenous communities.

The organization believes this issue is the direct result of discrimination against first nations in this country. There are no regulations and there is a flagrant lack of oversight. People's health is being put at risk, and this is a violation of their human rights.

Can the government share its plan to put an end to this inhumane crisis, which has been going on for far too long?

Indigenous Affairs May 16th, 2016

Madam Speaker, in the early 1960s, several Inuit kids from the north were taken away, selected as part of a Canadian government experiment to assimilate the Inuit into non-indigenous cultures.

These children have come to be known as the “experimental Eskimos”. As with the residential school system, the impacts and consequences the policy would have on the children were never considered.

This past week, the parties involved in the class action suit for residential schools in Newfoundland and Labrador have finally reached an agreement and settlement, which, as a survivor myself, I applaud.

It is in the same spirit of reconciliation that the Government of Canada needs to do the same in favour of the experimental Eskimos. The survivors of this other dark chapter of our history are calling on us to help them, so they too can turn a page on injustice, with dignity and honour.

Indigenous Affairs May 11th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals say that reconciliation with the indigenous peoples is one of their top priorities.

However, today, the Department of Justice is in court to fight against a survivor of the St. Anne's Indian Residential School, whose history is nothing short of revolting. Allegedly, the federal government deliberately hid documents proving the abuse that the victim suffered. The victim was denied compensation for lack of evidence.

How does the minister justify opposing this survivor's right to a new hearing?

Indigenous Affairs May 10th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, yesterday and today the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs reiterated her government's intention to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. However, the government is rather short on details as to what that will look like.

I am pleased to inform you, Mr. Speaker, that the work has already been done. My bill seeks to adopt and implement the declaration. The question therefore is very simple.

Will the government support Bill C-262? A yes or no will suffice, by the way.

Indigenous Affairs April 22nd, 2016

Madam Speaker, six years ago, Canada endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Since then, little has been done to implement it.

The bill I introduced yesterday for the second time would ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the declaration. The Prime Minister gave his ministers a mandate to establish a new nation-to-nation relationship starting with the implementation of the declaration.

My question is a simple one. Will the Liberals support my bill as they did when they were in opposition, or not?

Earth Day April 22nd, 2016

Madam Speaker, as we celebrate the earth today, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and state my respect and solidarity with all indigenous people around the globe who stand to defend their traditional territories.

I would like to repeat the words of Solange Bordones, who has successfully led her council, pushing for collaboration with Barrick Gold over developing in their territory in southern Chile. She said, “We are not fighting for money, because with money I cannot water my garden. We have a cosmo vision, a particular view of the world, which few people understand: We do not think of the water as separated from the earth, the air, or the sun. Love for Mother Earth is something that is sacred to us. We are not descendants of original people; we are that people. Our ancestral power is rooted in our identity. That is, we identify ourselves by the land and our relationship with that land.”

On Earth Day and every day, I stand by that philosophy.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act April 21st, 2016

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-262, an act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mr. Speaker, I am greatly honoured to rise in this House to introduce this bill to harmonize the laws of Canada with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

As members know, a central component of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action is to use the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation. Therefore, if this bill is adopted, that would provide the legislative framework for a national reconciliation that is long overdue in this country. This would entail a collaborative process to ensure that federal laws are consistent with the declaration, and a national plan of action.

I am deeply honoured to introduce this bill.

In the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations and calls to action, call to action 43 states that governments should adopt and fully implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and that is what this bill sets out to do.

I remember the first question I asked in the House of Commons. It was addressed to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. She thanked me for the work I have done on this bill over the past four years.

She also asked all members of the House to help with the work of reconciliation. Today, I am showing how I can help.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)