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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was first.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as NDP MP for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou (Québec)

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

Statements in the House

Foreign Affairs May 24th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the rights of first nations are protected by our Constitution and by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. When the Columbia River Treaty was signed in 1964, these very nations were excluded from the negotiations. Now that the treaty is to be renegotiated, they are being told that they will again be ignored and excluded from the process. Why is that?

Is it because the most important relationship that this government has is with indigenous peoples?

Elections Modernization Act May 11th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague across the aisle for his presentation.

One of the things that concerns me about this bill is how little time is left until the next election. Elections Canada says that the new rules should have been enacted by the end of April. However, this rather hefty, 230-page bill was not even tabled until April 30.

I have seen the government display this tendency in other matters, such as the bill on indigenous languages. The call for tenders to develop and draft that bill went out only a few days ago.

I wonder if my colleague shares my concerns.

Natural Resources May 11th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, despite what the parliamentary secretary is telling us today, this project has been strongly opposed by indigenous communities from the outset. The only answer the federal government will give them is that it did historic consultations. Those consultations were purely symbolic and were rigged in advance.

What is the use of saying that its most important relationship is its relationship with indigenous communities if the government does not respect their fundamental rights under section 35 of our Constitution?

Natural Resources May 11th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, two first nations chiefs from British Columbia travelled to Texas for Kinder Morgan's annual meeting. With a single presentation, they succeeded in convincing Kinder Morgan's shareholders about this project's risks for their communities, leading the shareholders to demand more information on the environmental risks and standards of the project. The federal government has been somewhat less receptive.

Why are indigenous communities getting more attention and action from Kinder Morgan's shareholders than from this government?

Expression of Gratitude May 11th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, with Mother's Day fast approaching, allow me to take this opportunity to pay tribute to mine and especially thank her.

There are many words that come to mind whenever I think about her, which is every day: generosity, strength, courage, wisdom, loving, dear, incredible, and resilient.

Those who know her will agree. I mean, she had some 17 children, 54 grandchildren, 141 great-grandchildren, and 13 great-great-grandchildren, with three more on the way.

I could never imagine the joy of having us being shattered with pain as she watched helplessly the majority of her children taken away to a residential school.

I know a simple meegwetch will never, never be enough. I also want to say to her something she already knows,

[Member spoke in Cree]


I love you from the bottom of my heart, mommy.

Indigenous Affairs May 10th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs withdrew from the process of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. They felt that the incomplete hearings and the process did not allow for a comprehensive review of the systems that contributed to the violence committed against indigenous women and girls. This is an extremely serious development. Everyone, except the minister responsible, apparently, saw this coming.

Now, how are these women, families, indigenous communities going to heal and move forward?

Indigenous Affairs May 9th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the Native Women's Association of Canada just released a report criticizing the work of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The association found that the inquiry lacked transparency and focused on the wrong things. The report assigned a failing grade in five of the 15 areas assessed and found that action was required in five other areas. This inquiry is without doubt one of the most important in our history.

Does the Prime Minister realize that someone is asleep at the switch and that that someone might be his government?

Indigenous Affairs May 3rd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, one of the many promises the Liberals made to indigenous peoples was indigenous languages legislation.

This announcement was made to the chief of the Assembly of First Nations nearly two years ago. Yes, it has been two years. A few days ago, a request for tenders showed up on the government's site to draft this legislation to promote and preserve indigenous languages.

Can the Prime Minister assure us that this legislation will not be doomed to the same fate as his promise on electoral reform?

Oil Tanker Moratorium Act April 30th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the member for Durham's renewed interest in indigenous issues in this country.

He refers to those 31 indigenous communities that have signed agreements. I have looked at the list of those so-called agreements. As a matter of fact, the 31 agreements that he refers to are secret, confidential letters of undertaking and memoranda of understanding. I have been in this business for 30 years, and those are not agreements, to my mind.

Second, does the member find these so-called agreements consistent with what the Supreme Court has said in the Haida Nation case? On that case, the Supreme Court said that on important matters—and I would suggest that pipelines are important matters—we need the full consent of indigenous communities. Does the member agree?

Natural Resources April 30th, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I have negotiated agreements all my life, and memoranda of understanding and letters of understanding are not agreements.

The government continues to insist that no relationship is more important to it than its relationship with indigenous peoples, but it is becoming increasingly clear that that is just eyewash. All the evidence indicates that the government had already made up its mind on Kinder Morgan before holding its phony consultations with indigenous communities.

What is the point of section 35 of the Constitution if the government is acting in bad faith and has no intention of respecting the constitutional rights of indigenous peoples?