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

Aboriginal Affairs June 10th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, National Chief Atleo of the Assembly of First Nations has renewed his call for firm action on education for first nations youth.

The typical first nations student receives $2,000 less in educational support than the Canadian average. This gap has serious consequences: lower educational attainment, lower employment levels and lost opportunities for first nations people, communities and the Canadian economy. The government's priority though is corporate tax breaks and fake lakes.

Where is the compassion and where is the action for the future of first nations education?

Petitions June 1st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to introduce a petition signed by people throughout Saskatchewan in support of the First Nations University of Canada .

The petitioners wish to draw to the attention of the House that the viability of the First Nations University of Canada was threatened by the removal of provincial and federal funding, and that the reinstatement of provincial funds and up to $3 million in federal funds to the proposed student-based support program would not ensure long-term sustainable funding of the First Nations University. Steps have been taken to improve the governance and accountability of the First Nations University and a memorandum of understanding has been signed by all parties. The founding mission of the university includes a commitment to enhance the quality of life and to preserve, protect and interpret the history, language, culture and artistic heritage of First Nations people.

The petitioners state that we must not lose the valuable resource and indigenous knowledge that has been created at the First Nations University. They add that above all, we must support the students at First Nations University who have demonstrated their dedication, commitment and overwhelming desire for the continuation of the institution.

The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to work with the students, staff and faculty to build a sustainable and viable future for the First Nations University of Canada by fully reinstating federal funding of at least $7.2 million.

Business of Supply May 27th, 2010

Mr. Chair, on April 30, the minister told the media in St. John's, in speaking of Goose Bay, “We've had NATO contracts that will be honoured in the future”. Could the minister provide details of those contracts?

Business of Supply May 27th, 2010

Mr. Chair, I am well aware of the search and rescue that is happening. Indeed, one of the people who went down in that plane is a very good friend of mine. We hope and pray that they all will be found safe. There is no doubt about that.

With regard to the program expenditure review, the President of the Treasury Board said that nothing would be spared in the ongoing program expenditure review. DND is looking at cuts. Could the minister promise us unequivocally that Goose Bay is not on the chopping block?

Business of Supply May 27th, 2010

Mr. Chair, regarding the 444 Squadron at CFB Goose Bay, many of the troops have been deployed overseas but are now in something called a pause position. They can no longer provide secondary search and rescue capability. They also have a lack of capability in terms of supporting low level flight training.

Could the minister confirm when or if the 444 Squadron will be back to its full compliment after our mission ends in Afghanistan in 2011?

Business of Supply May 27th, 2010

Mr. Chair, I join with my colleagues tonight in honouring the loss of our many soldiers. I certainly applaud their service and sacrifice, as well as those who are currently serving our country, many of whom are from Labrador.

I want to thank the minister for being here tonight. I have a couple of questions that are specific to 5 Wing Goose Bay. I wonder if the minister could enlighten the House and give us the update on the NATO exercise Ramstein rover. Could he confirm tonight whether that particular exercise will go forward at CFB Goose Bay in 2011?

May 27th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I must say that the hon. parliamentary secretary must have been quite good at rote because I hear this same answer every single time.

I would say to him that we welcome foreign investment. We always have. However, when we welcome foreign investment, it must be on Canada's terms, and it must satisfy the interests of our country and the interests of our workers.

I say to the member that 3,000 people in Sudbury, hundreds in Port Colborne, and hundreds in Labrador are on strike, some now for nearly a year. How is that a net benefit to Canada? How does the government go about holding a company like Vale to account when it does not comply with the Investment Canada Act?

Can the member give us one specific concrete example of what the federal government has done to try to end these strikes, particularly in Labrador and in northern Ontario?

May 27th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, on April 16, I raised a question in the House concerning the strike in Voisey's Bay in Labrador. There are also ongoing strikes in communities such as Sudbury and Port Colborne.

They have been on strike now for nearly 10 months. They are nearly one year out of work. I would ask members of the House how they would feel if they had limited income and very little support for 10 months. It would be a difficult time. Families are suffering. Communities are suffering. I know of individuals who are losing their homes or who are in danger of the breakup of their relationships. Strikes, by their nature, when they are prolonged, have a very detrimental effect on individuals, families, and communities.

While these people are on strike, the company in question, Vale Inco, which I understand is now known as Vale--it has taken “Inco” out of its title altogether--has been bringing in scab labour to fill these positions. With scab labour in place, we have to ask the government what the bargaining power of a union is for these workers.

Today I had the opportunity to attend a rally with the United Steelworkers and some of its locals. They are a group of determined individuals who are fighting for their equality, for some fairness, and for their rights as workers, which are basic human rights.

Every time we ask the government what it has done, what steps it is taking to defend Canada's interests and the interests of our workers, it hides behind a flawed Investment Canada Act, and it hides behind the issue of provincial jurisdiction.

I ask the government what message it can send to all those workers about one concrete step, one thing the federal government has done, to defend national interests, to protect our natural resources so that they are exploited for the benefit of the people of Canada, and to protect workers' rights? What steps has it taken to ensure that this strike ends and that there will be a just settlement for the workers at all these locations? I particularly think about my workers back home in Labrador and those associated with the mine in Voisey's Bay.

I ask the hon. member that question.

Fishing Industry May 26th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, in the past 30 years shrimp and crab have become the mainstay of the Labrador fishery.

Labrador fishers have seen a 10% cut to crab quotas and now face a 28% reduction in shrimp. Area 6 off Labrador accounts for half of the northern shrimp industry. It supports fishers from our eastern coastal provinces, but more importantly it supports fishers from aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities in Labrador.

Everyone is concerned about sustainability. The fishers and processors in my riding have and are willing to shoulder a fair share of conservation efforts, but not an unfair share.

We ask the minister to respect adjacency: the principle that Labradorians should benefit from the resources of the Labrador Sea, those waters which have sustained us for generations.

We say to the minister to recognize the historic attachment we have to the region and these fisheries.

We demand fairness and call on the minister to fully consult with our fishers before making major decisions about one of Labrador's most important resources.

Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act May 25th, 2010

Madam Speaker, it is interesting that my hon. colleague says the government must respond to the B.C. Court of Appeal decision. I take it that the government's position is that if Bill C-3 does not go through, it will have to provide alternative legislation in order to comply with the B.C. Court of Appeal's decision.

The member also says we have to meet the deadline because of the huge impact it is going to have on first nations people who might be eligible to register in B.C. However, if we talk to the member for Simcoe North about the financial implications of this bill, we do not know how many people are actually going to register. We cannot quantify that. We do not know if it is going to be one or 45,000. We do not know if it is going to be one or 3,000.

The government does not know if it is punched or bored on this particular bill. I wish it would get its story straight so that Canadians and first nations people could at least have a clear understanding of where the government is with this.

I ask the member, what is the interaction between repealed section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act and clause 9 of the bill? I ask because government seems to say, on the one hand, that because of Bill C-21 aboriginal people can go to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, but the government, on the other hand, denies them at every turn and wants to limit its liabilities with clause 9.

I would ask the member what the interaction is between those two different provisions.