House of Commons Hansard #84 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was wildlife.

Topics

Excise Act
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I wonder if the Chair could ask when the bill will be read the third time.

Excise Act
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I am obliged to the hon. deputy government whip. When shall the bill be read the third time? At the next sitting of the House?

Excise Act
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from June 9 consideration of the motion that Bill C-33, an act to approve, give effect to and declare valid land claims agreements entered into between Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada, the Government of the Yukon Territory and certain First Nations in the Yukon Territory, to provide for approving, giving effect to and declaring valid other land claims agreements entered into after this act comes into force, and to make consequential amendments to other acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act
Government Orders

June 13th, 1994 / 7:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The hon. member for Crowfoot, to whom I might indicate he has five minutes left in debate.

Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act
Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will be as brief as possible. I would like to cover three points in the time I have left.

The intent of this bill is going in the right direction and we support the intent of this bill. There is not anyone in Canada who does not want to see the aboriginal people self-reliant and self-governing, but we believe this bill fails to bring us closer to that goal.

The first item I will deal with is the power this bill will grant the new aboriginal communities to create citizenship. A question that has not been answered in the bill or during the debate is, if they have the power to create citizenship do they not have the power to extinguish citizenship? How will that work? If they have the power to determine who will be a citizen of their new country or nation, then do they not also have the right to

extinguish citizenship? If it comes to that, how will that work? What kinds of problems will that create?

We have to look at their system of government that will be set up. What will that system of government be? Nothing in the bill indicates whether there will be an appeal process within their government. For people who believe they need to question a decision of their leaders, will there be an opportunity for them to do so through an appeal system? That question ought to be clarified in this bill so that members in this House and people across this country who support this bill will be satisfied that we are going to grant rights to these people equal to what we enjoy as Canadian citizens.

My second point has been touched upon a number of times. If this bill is going to be successful and acceptable, it must have the answer to the extinguishment of the dependency the aboriginal people have upon the taxpayers and the Government of Canada. There is no indication that there is any light at the end of the tunnel within this agreement. Contrary to that, it is very clear these new aboriginal nations will be able to continue to look to the federal government for funding. There is no indication this dependency will stop.

My last point is the one of equality of citizenship. Certainly the members of these new nations, the aboriginal people, will continue to remain citizens of Canada. This bill has created special rights and privileges in law based upon race and ethnic origin. While the rest of the world, including South Africa, is bringing barriers down between races and ethnic groups, we are in the process of erecting them. We saw this same kind of problem emerge within the Meech Lake accord and the Charlottetown accord and we are seeing it again in this umbrella agreement.

People are being granted special rights and privileges based upon race and ethnic origin. These rights and privileges are being paid for by the Canadian taxpayers, even though they do not know it, thanks to the speed at which this bill has emerged, been debated and, I venture to guess, will pass all stages of reading.

This formula of special rights cannot succeed in a multicultural society such as Canada. We must ensure that all Canadians stand equal before the law, regardless of race, language, culture or religion. This bill violates that principle. This may be the greatest failing of the Yukon First Nations agreement. It grants special rights based upon race and ethnic origin and destroys the principle of equality of citizenship in Canada.

Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act
Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Reform

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I find it difficult to speak to Bill C-33 without some reference at least to Bill C-34, since both bills have been tabled simultaneously and will be dealt with simultaneously in committee.

Generally my concerns with the land claim settlement portion of the two bills are the same as my concerns were with Bill C-16, the Mackenzie Valley land claim agreement. The very process the government has chosen to deal with these land claim settlements is most objectionable, to put it simply.

Considering the importance of these bills, their unprecedented nature, their open endedness, their implications for the fundamental constitutional rights of all Canadians, and the breakneck speed with which these bills are being rushed through is nothing less than an abuse of the parliamentary process. It is a reckless invitation for legal and social disaster.

Much of the confusion I feel and express is testimony to the inadequate time we have been given to deal with this immensely difficult and huge legislative package. There is much in this package that we could agree with. The fact that we can only deal with the bill itself and not the agreement as was the case with Bill C-16 makes it difficult to impossible for our party as well as other interest groups and individuals to discharge their responsibility and rights to comment on, criticize or improve the bill.

In view of these concerns, I have to ask why these bills are being pushed through with such haste. The process thus far has taken 23 years. Why does the government want to pass them through Parliament without proper scrutiny? Could it be that given time to analyze and examine these bills, an effective public opposition to the content of these bills might come forward? Could it be that there really is not the overwhelming support for these bills, so we must rush them through without public awareness or examination?

I must also ask, after negotiating for 23 years, why now, when only four final agreements exist, are we being asked to abrogate our responsibilities as an opposition party to examine the other 10 final agreements? Why did the government not finish the negotiating process, instead of asking us to approve and pass these agreements that do not now exist? That is the same process which led to the failure of the Charlottetown accord.

The provision of the compensation package also raises some concerns for me. When I enquired of the departmental officials during our briefing what we were compensating for, I was told that it really was not compensation and perhaps compensation was a poor choice of words. That was the same answer to the same question I received on Bill C-16.

There seems to me to be a very fundamental disagreement between the aboriginal people and the Government of Canada over where we are starting from and where we are going to. Are we beginning a process to now buy or rent Canadian territory from the aboriginal people, or does the crown in fact, hold title to the Canadian land and we are only providing an amount of money to help with economic development? The answer to this question is vital to the future land claim settlements south of 60.

The entrenchment of these agreements as modern day treaties in the constitution should also be of concern to all Canadians. There appears to be some difference of legal opinion as to what this means, but it could mean that these rights gained through these agreements are not amendable except by constitutional amendments.

This would mean that these rights are beyond the reach of future parliamentary amendments. This would give precedence to the obligation of Canadian taxpayers to these agreements over the obligation to provide to all Canadians health care, old age security, or other social security which are provided by simple acts of Parliament. I believe therefore these provisions to be an arrogant and tragic mistake to lock in forever the government policy regardless of what fiscal conditions might exist in this country in the future.

The creation of 16 separate governments with 15 separate territories each with separate laws, regulations, and bureaucratic boards will create a bureaucratic nightmare for anyone wanting to do business in Yukon, not to mention the cost of all the new bureaucracies and government institutions.

In conclusion, my feeling about this land claim agreement is the same as I stated in debate on Bill C-16. I believe and I am supported by Supreme Court precedents that the crown holds title to all Canadian territory outside privately held titled land.

I do support the provision of deeded land, the provision for economic self-sufficiency in the form of a cash payment and resource sharing. I also support the right of aboriginal peoples to use the resources of their traditional territory for subsistence.

I do not support the never ending dependence of these aboriginal people on the taxpayers of Canada. I believe having been provided the above-mentioned benefits the financial responsibility of the taxpayers must end. These people can once again become proud self-sufficient Canadians with the same economic and social benefits as all other Canadians, not disillusioned, discouraged, dependent people trapped in a segregated ethnic homeland dictated to by a dominating paternalistic federal government.

Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Yukon First Nations Land Claims Settlement Act
Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.