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

Vale Inco April 16th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, for eight long months hundreds of workers in Labrador and thousands in Sudbury have been out on strike at Vale Inco operations. Families are suffering, communities are hurting. The Conservatives have taken a hands-off approach, abandoning workers, while in Labrador scab labour keeps filling the pockets of the company.

When foreign interests take over, they are supposed to ensure a net benefit to Canadians.

Will the government stand up for Canada's interests and hold foreign companies accountable? Will the government stand up and tell Vale Inco to get back to the table, negotiate in good faith, and demonstrate there truly is a net benefit to Canada?

April 15th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, it begs this question. If the Aboriginal Healing Foundation did so well and if there were great lessons to be learned from it, why would it be changed? Why would Health Canada now automatically assume all of the work of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation? Something was being done. Something was working. Why change it?

The government, by its own admission, said that it was working. Let us be honest here. There are going to be approximately 130 programs across the country that will evaporate because there will be no funding for them. These were culturally appropriate, culturally sensitive, community-focused programs. What does the parliamentary secretary say to all those hamlets in Nunavut that had community-based programming?

We have to remember that the Inuit only came on six years ago under the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. What do we say to all of those communities, particularly those communities in northern and remote areas, where there is a lack of presence of Health Canada? We had Health Canada in 1998 and we have Health Canada now. We had the Aboriginal Healing Foundation because it was doing something different and appropriate and it was working.

April 15th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, as the Liberal critic for aboriginal affairs, I have been hearing from many of the affected groups and organizations concerning the end of funding for the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. However, probably most important, we are hearing from individuals whose lives have been negatively impacted by the end of the funding, individuals who were reaching out and finding help, individuals who were on their healing journey.

In Labrador, despite being excluded from the residential schools agreement, several organizations in my riding had obtained Aboriginal Healing Foundation funding for work with former students. Those organizations were the Nunatsiavut government, which represents the self-governing Inuit of Labrador, and the Labrador Legal Services, which works with members of all three aboriginal cultures in Labrador, including the Innu, Métis and Inuit.

Both organizations operated important healing programs with this funding. People were telling their stories in a supportive environment. The programs were working, but it was only the tip of the iceberg. The programs were culturally appropriate. They were community driven. There were programs on the land. There were programs in the Labrador Correctional Centre. Again, the programs were working.

Throughout the country, projects funded by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation have worked with residential school survivors and aboriginal communities to move beyond the residential school legacy to provide healing and reconciliation at the individual and community levels.

Organizations and individuals across Canada have been very vocal in expressing to me and all members of Parliament their disappointment that the recent federal budget did not provide for a continuation of funding. I share that disappointment, especially given that all Canadians and the aboriginal people who have been served through the foundation have received excellent value for money.

The government's December 2009 evaluation report, which was submitted to Indian and Northern Affairs, found:

—AHF healing programs at the community level are effective in facilitating healing at the individual level, and are beginning to show healing at the family and community level.

The report went on to recommend a continuation of Aboriginal Healing Foundation funding.

The Aboriginal Healing Foundation was an aboriginal organization run by aboriginal people for aboriginal people. The cuts to AHF undermine the residential schools apology and the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and display an ongoing lack of understanding on the part of the Conservative government. We ask the Conservative government that the funding to the Aboriginal Healing Foundation be restored.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns April 15th, 2010

With regard to government television advertising: (a) how much has the government spent on promoting Canada's National Anti-Drug Strategy; (b) which department commissioned the recent or current television spot; (c) how much did it cost to produce this ad; (d) which firm produced the ad; and (e) how many such spots have aired, or planned to air, per week, on each television station, network, or channel?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns April 13th, 2010

With regard to fisheries: (a) what specific measures has the Department of Fisheries and Oceans taken to enforce inland fisheries regulations in the vicinity of Phase II and III of the Trans-Labrador Highway; and (b) what specific measures will the Department take to enforce inland fisheries regulations in the vicinity of Phase II and III of the Trans-Labrador Highway?

Terry Fox April 12th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, on this day 30 years ago, Terry Fox stood next to St. John's harbour about to embark on his Marathon of Hope across Canada. While his run ended prematurely in Thunder Bay, the journey he began continues to this day in Terry Fox Runs around the world. From New York City to Kuala Lumpur, from Dublin to Abu Dhabi, Terry's inspirational legacy has spawned a global movement that has raised over $500 million for cancer research.

Stride by stride, town by town, Terry's heroic run showed not only the strength of one man's will to conquer a disease, but the strength of the human spirit to inspire a nation and the global community to action. Terry once said, “I just wish people would realize that anything's possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try”.

His dream, his miracle, was to run across Canada to raise money to fight cancer. He showed us all that dreams and miracles are not only possible, but within our reach. It is up to each of us to try. For Terry, we owe nothing less than that.

Aboriginal Healing Foundation March 31st, 2010

Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister had the conviction of the words he just spoke in this chamber today, if he honoured the words of our aboriginal peoples and honoured the words he himself spoke on the floor of the House during the residential schools apology just two years ago, he would not be killing the Aboriginal Healing Foundation today.

Why is it that, time and time again, his actions betray his words?

Aboriginal Healing Foundation March 30th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation programs, complemented with Health Canada, was not providing and has not provided. Health Canada itself recognizes that this is a fact.

What would the member say to all the hamlets in Nunavut, all the small, isolated northern remote communities in Labrador, along the Hudson Bay and Ungava Bay, those in Yukon and the Northwest Territories, and other places around our country?

The Aboriginal Healing Foundation designed its programs in such a way to respond to a need that existed in these communities, built from the community up, from the survivors' groups and their families. It complemented that.

There is one thing I have to say on the record, and I will ask my question very quickly after that. If there is one thing that aboriginal people deserve in this debate, it is honesty. The honest truth is that the government made a cost-cutting measure. It can be wrapped up any way, that other programs and Health Canada will pick up the slack, all these types of things, but the truth is that it is cost-cutting measure.

I ask the member, does she agree with this poor policy decision that is going to so negatively impact aboriginal people and their families?

Aboriginal Healing Foundation March 30th, 2010

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Yukon, particularly for sharing the stories and the words of those who have been most directly impacted by Indian residential schools and those who have participated in the Aboriginal Healing Foundation programs.

I would say that there are so many gathering stories across the country for which the Aboriginal Healing Foundation has been responsible. I hold some in my hand from the people in Labrador through the healing journey team at the Labrador Aboriginal Legal Services.

It seems to me that the government's entire argument or its logic rests around the fact that somebody else can deliver these services but its only evaluation report, which bears repeating and we will repeat it again and again, states:

...Health Canada support programs are designed to provide specific services that are complementary but different to those of the AHF; and the reported numbers of Survivors seeking help from AHF and Survivor Societies, the logical course of action for the future would seem to be continuation of support for the AHF.

Does my hon. colleague from Yukon agree with that particular statement and how would he recommend we go forward?

Aboriginal Healing Foundation March 30th, 2010

Madam Speaker, those two projects are indicative of other similar projects around the country where people can design the healing program to meet specific community needs. It can be done to deal with people on an individual basis, in groups or on a community basis.

This was what the Aboriginal Healing Foundation gave to various communities like Nunatsiavut, the new government in Labrador and the Labrador Aboriginal Legal Services. It gave them the opportunity to design things that they were comfortable with and that people would engage in. Healing is much more beneficial when it is done in this particular fashion.