House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was particular.

Last in Parliament March 2011, as Liberal MP for Labrador (Newfoundland & Labrador)

Lost his last election, in 2011, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns March 25th, 2011

With regard to government television advertising during January and February 2011, for each of the following advertising campaigns, namely advertising of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, advertising by the Canada Revenue Agency and advertising by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation: (a) what are the total costs associated with each campaign, including (i) production costs, (ii) advertising air-time purchases, (iii) other costs, specifying what those costs are; (b) what are the total insertions of each advertisement which constitutes each advertising campaign; (c) on what dates, times, and on which television channel or station has each advertisement aired or will each advertisement air; (d) which office or official is responsible for each advertising campaign; (e) which advertising agency or firm was contracted in respect of each advertising campaign; (f) which creative or production agency was contracted to produce each advertisement which forms part of each advertising campaign; (g) when was each advertisement filmed; (h) what were the specific instructions, directions or other communications from each department or corporation to the production or advertising team in respect of the content, tone, format, script, visual elements or all other creative elements of each ad; (i) what are the file numbers associated with each of these advertising campaigns; and (j) what are the contract numbers associated with each of these advertising campaigns?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns March 25th, 2011

With regard to the operation of 5 Wing Goose Bay: (a) what steps have been taken since January 2006 towards the establishment at the base of (i) a rapid reaction battalion, (ii) an unmanned aerial vehicle squadron; (b) as of January 1, 2009, January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2011, how many Department of National Defence civilian employees and members of the Canadian Forces were employed or stationed at (i) 444 Squadron, (ii) 5 Wing Goose Bay, but not otherwise included in the total for 444 Squadron; (c) what steps has the government taken to market 5 Wing Goose Bay for (i) foreign military flight training, (ii) any other purpose; (d) what efforts have taken place on environmental remediation at Goose Bay and what efforts are planned; (e) what are the details of any local benefits policy contained in any contract for environmental remediation projects at Goose Bay; and (f) what activity has the Department of National Defence undertaken since January 1, 2006, concerning any possible closure of the Combat Support Squadron at Goose Bay?

Ethics March 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, first nations communities are suffering from poor water quality and need action, not Conservative insiders hawking their wares, not Conservative insiders breaking the Conservatives' own lobbying rules and not a half decade of Conservative inaction.

How can the Prime Minister or anybody on that side expect us to believe they did not know what Bruce Carson was up to? How could the Prime Minister and his ministers turn a blind eye to this serial scam artist who tries to profit off the backs of aboriginal people?

Ethics March 22nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, on March 21, the Indian affairs minister announced his supposed plan to address water safety in first nations communities. The announcement was full of self-praise. It was announced in 2006, five years ago, long enough for the Prime Minister's former chief of staff, Bruce Carson, to come up with a scheme to cash in on the water woes of first nations communities.

Selling water filters or selling access to power, it was all just business as usual, but this time for the Prime Minister's right-hand man.

How far does this rot go?

Business of Supply March 8th, 2011

Madam Speaker, given the Conservative Party's practices in 2006, some would say that the election was stolen and not won at all. I congratulate him on trying to use some pretty words, but I have to say that when wrong is done, it is honourable upon a party or a member to admit the wrong and to face it.

The Conservatives have laundered taxpayer money, honest people's money in this country. They are the ones who stand up in this House and cry that they represent the taxpayer. They do not represent the taxpayer. They represent themselves and they will use taxpayer money to further their own aims and their own objectives any day of the week. That is what Canadians will hear whenever they have another chance to vote for the Liberal Party or the Conservative Party.

Business of Supply March 8th, 2011

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the question from my colleague from the New Democratic Party. However, I am not sure that if we had proportional representation that put x number of Conservatives in x number of seats that it would make the Conservatives any more honest or transparent.

The fact is that the Conservatives have not been honest, have not been transparent and they are willing to use whatever is at their disposal. Now before the courts are their alleged illegal practices to further their own aims and ambitions. In the process, it is the regular Canadians who have some faith in the democratic system and who want to do something better who get caught up in their mess and their scheme. It shakes the confidence of all Canadians in terms of their participation in the political process.

The Conservatives have done a disservice to Elections Canada, a disservice to this House by not being transparent and accountable and a disservice to ordinary Canadians who want to be involved and participatory.

Business of Supply March 8th, 2011

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise in the House today and speak to the motion of my colleague, the hon. member for Beauséjour. I also want to share my time with the hon. member for Malpeque. I am looking forward to his comments in regard to the motion as well.

The in and out affair is troubling and illegal. It shows that the Conservatives think the rules do not apply to them. We have to ask where is their law and order agenda now, when they are at the heart of the matter?

It is part of a broader pattern of secrecy and deceit, and of contempt for the rule of law. It is part of a pattern which results in the gutting of access to information laws. It results in attacks on independent agencies and officers of Parliament. It results in attacks on Parliament itself, with Tories now questioning the cost of answering questions. In all of this there is no respect for democracy, for the principles of fairness and for our institutions like Elections Canada.

The Tories, especially people like the hon. member for Nepean—Carleton, like to claim that all parties engage in the in and out process. There are provisions in the Canada Elections Act which allow for honest and legal transfer of funds between local campaigns and the federal party. My own campaign did so honestly and legally in 2005, but we did not do so to avoid national campaign expenditure caps. We did not do so to allow local party organizers to claim rebates from the Canadian taxpayer that they otherwise would not have been entitled to.

Honest and legal versus dishonest and illegal; there is a major distinction. That is why the Conservative Party offices were the subject of an RCMP search. They were raided. It is why the Conservative Party and its officials now face charges.

If this is so innocent, as the Tories claim, why did the member for Simcoe—Grey and the former member for Dauphin—Swan River, Inky Mark, reject taking part? It did not pass the smell test with them and it does not pass the smell test with Canadians.

Unfortunately, in the process many good people, even some good Tories, are being harmed. In my riding of Labrador my opponent in 2006 was Joe Goudie, a long-time politician, activist and craftsman. We fought hard during the campaign and in the end the voters made their decision. Certainly I am humbled and grateful for their support.

However, in the process of that campaign, the national Conservative Party, from its Ottawa headquarters down the street from this chamber, implicated Joe in the in and out scheme. His campaign was invoiced, and it was spelled, “nvoice”, for $2,097. It had the same typo as dozens of other “nvoices” to Conservative campaigns across the country. That strange typo, “nvoice”, is what helped investigators realize something unusual was going on with the Conservative Party finances. They were phony.

I want to quote from an affidavit of the official agent of Mr. Joe Goudie during the campaign. He said, “On January 16, 2006, the sum of $2,097.20 was deposited into Mr. Goudie's campaign account by the Conservative Party of Canada. On January 17, 2006, the Conservative Party of Canada debited Mr. Goudie's campaign account in the amount of $2,118.20. The difference between the two amounts, namely $21, was the bank's transfer fee which was charged to Mr. Goudie's campaign account and to my knowledge this amount has never been refunded by the Conservative Party of Canada”.

In one day, out the next.

He went on to say and swear in his affidavit, “I did not realize what we had been drawn into until I saw the coverage of the in and out transfers in the media. In the end, all I have is my reputation and my integrity. The fact that I and our local campaign team were innocently drawn into this scheme by the Conservative Party of Canada angers me greatly”.

In all, there was over $1.2 million in the shady invoices for supposedly local TV advertising. That is a clever trick in Labrador where we have no local TV stations.

I want to refer to the affidavit of the campaign manager for Joseph Goudie who said, “I was told by Mr. Hudson, a Conservative operative, that the Conservative Party of Canada would be sending us money for advertising but that we would have to send the money right back to the Conservative Party of Canada”.

She went on to say, “Mr. Hudson said that the money would be used for national ads run locally. Our campaign had just started and we had very little money and so I asked Mr. Hudson if I could use some of that money to advertise on local radio and in the local newspaper. Mr. Hudson said no, that this money was for TV advertising and that we would have to pay for radio and newspaper ads ourselves”.

She continued:

I then asked Mr. Hudson if the TV ads would mention or in any way reference Mr. Goudie’s campaign. He said the TV ads would be generic and there would be no reference to Mr. Goudie.

She then said:

To my knowledge, none of the television ads run by the Conservative Party of Canada during the election mentioned Mr. Goudie or his campaign either by spoken word or in writing.

She then summed up her feelings:

This whole thing really bothers me. When I begged for help from the Conservative Party of Canada, they wouldn’t even reply to my emails. It appears to me that the only interest the Conservative Party of Canada had in our campaign was to use us as part of this scheme. When I begged for help from the Conservative Party of Canada, they wouldn't even reply to my emails. It appears to me that the only interest the Conservative Party of Canada had in our campaign was to use it as part of this scheme. I had absolutely no reason to think or believe that there was anything wrong, or even questionable, about what Mr. Hudson told us to do. I simply followed instructions. I feel awful that we were used in this fashion. If I was the victim of one of those email scams, I wouldn’t feel any more duped than I do now for having been innocently caught up in this matter.

The spending that put the Conservatives over their national campaign limit resulted in improper benefits provided to Conservative riding associations. Let me make it clear that this was orchestrated by the Conservative Party at the national level. I want to return to the fact that Joe Goudie made it clear in his affidavit that he had no knowledge of impropriety. He did not know his campaign had even been involved until three years ago when his name came up on a TV newscast. He said he was used by the Conservative Party of Canada and that he has lost all faith in that party and its leader. Who could blame him?

Throughout this, Joe has done all the right things. He has been open in sharing what he knows and how his campaign was used by federal Conservative operatives. If only the Conservatives here in Ottawa could be as transparent and forthcoming. This illegal scheme illustrates how far the Conservatives will go in their quest for power. It is a shame.

Adjournment Proceedings February 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her words. However, I would reiterate that what I have said here in this House are not just my words. These are the words of the Native Women's Association of Canada and the words of the Sisters in Spirit. These are people who have worked at this for five years and some for decades.

The Native Women's Association of Canada also said that we need to establish a new and transparent partnership with the government, that the government needs to do this; that we need to create a fund made available to families and communities of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls; and that we need the government's ongoing support to the Sisters in Spirit movement and to the Native Women's Association of Canada. Obviously, when they are asking for this, it is not in the announcement. This was post-announcement. So these are obvious drawbacks in the government's approach and in what the government announced in October.

Will the government fully fund Sisters in Spirit, allow it to continue the fantastic work that it has undertaken for the last five years, and will the government call a national public inquiry into the 600 murdered or missing aboriginal women and girls?

Adjournment Proceedings February 17th, 2011

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure today to address a couple of questions that were raised back on November 5 regarding 600 murdered or missing aboriginal women. Of course, these women were victims of sexualized racialized violence. At that time, I asked the minister responsible if the government would call a public inquiry into the 600 murdered or missing aboriginal women and girls.

Also at that time, I asked the minister responsible why the government had cut funding to Sisters in Spirit, a groundbreaking initiative that has been taking place over five years. It has been largely responsible for documenting the cases of these aboriginal women. It has also been the chief advocate for these women and their families.

In the throne speech and in the budget, the government had committed to move forward on this particular file. In October of 2010, it did announce a $10 million funding grant. However, the funding was not directed specifically toward aboriginal women. It was announced without consultations with NWAC, the Native Women's Association of Canada, and the Sisters in Spirit organization.

In terms of the developments, NWAC summed up its feelings and analyses in a press release. It said that it did not specifically speak to aboriginal women, that it did not include measures to address serious crimes like murder and speak only to violence as a whole. It said that it reinvents and conducts work that has already been done by Sisters in Spirit. It indicated that the announcement did not address the jurisdictional issues of the RCMP and that it allowed any community group to access funding, not necessarily aboriginal or women specific.

Although the government had promised to fully tackle this serious issue, which is a national tragedy, it did not deliver on that promise. In fact, the government denied Sisters in Spirit funding. It indicated that it was not allowed to use its name, its slogan or its logo, Grandmother Moon, which has become so enmeshed with the fight for justice for these women. It indicated that it would not be allowed to perform advocacy work. Some people have said that it was telling aboriginal women to shut up and that it could not speak for these women who could no longer speak for themselves.

The government should revisit its decision to not hold a national public inquiry. I ask this House, as I have asked many times, how it is that 600 people can be murdered or go missing in this country and no national public inquiry is called. When the salmon went missing in the Fraser River, the government said that it would call a public inquiry. However, it will not call a public inquiry for murdered or missing aboriginal women.

I ask the government to revisit its decision to cut Sisters in Spirit's funding and to fully fund it and its objectives, collaboratively and in consultation.

In closing, I would just like to say that these are not nameless, faceless people. There are 600 of them. I would ask anyone listening tonight to visit the NWAC web site, scroll down, look at their faces, read their stories and act.

Jose Kusugak February 2nd, 2011

Mr. Speaker, on January 19, Inuit leader, Jose Kusugak, went on his final journey in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, surrounded by family and friends.

A linguist and broadcaster with CBC North and the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation, Jose helped bring new vitality to the Inuktitut language. A political leader, Jose served as president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Kivalliq Inuit Association.

As a founder of Nunavut, Jose was a father of Confederation. He famously said that Inuit are first Canadians and Canadians first. A storyteller, a hockey fan and a negotiator who possessed great wit, intelligence and a big heart, Jose was, above all, a father, a husband and a grandfather.

We take comfort in knowing that Jose left this life where he wanted to be: at home and in his homeland with Nellie and surrounded by the people he loved and who loved him. We thank Jose for all that he has accomplished for Inuit and for Canada.

Nakurmiik. Matna.