House of Commons Hansard #39 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was plan.

Topics

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development is in crisis and the minister refuses to answer questions. She continues to say that only 3% of her social assistance budget is misused yet her own internal reviews state that as much as 75% of the money is unaccounted for.

Will the minister now admit that her native welfare administration is in chaos and in crisis?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, what is interesting about this line of questioning is that the hon. member of the opposition picks up a report and thinks it is news. Indeed that report is not news to me, nor to my department.

Let us look at some of the chronology. In 1994 the auditor general looked at social assistance and gave us some recommendations for change. The department responded immediately and commissioned a report. When we received that report in 1996 we shared it with the Assembly of First Nations. Together in partnership we are building new strategies to provide social assistance to aboriginal peoples.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jack Ramsay Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister can bet her bottom dollar that it is news.

The fact of the matter is that she has been unaware of the crisis within her own department because her own officials have stonewalled her. On the other hand, she is not able to obtain information from the grassroots Indian people about the horrific conditions under which they live because she will not meet with them.

Inasmuch as her own officials will not tell her the facts about what is going on, will she change her mind and explain to the House why she will not meet with the aboriginal grassroots people who have been pleading with her to do so? Why will she not do that?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, indeed I have had the pleasure since being made Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development of crossing this country and meeting with aboriginal people and First Nations from coast to coast to coast.

The hon. member should look at the kinds of things I have been talking about in my speeches. They focus on social assistance. They focus on the need to modernize our programs. They focus on the understanding that indeed aboriginal peoples are going to be connected to the economy of this country. We have to modernize social assistance. We have to make it proactive. Aboriginal peoples have to have training and educational opportunities, as do all Canadians.

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Yesterday, the minister said that the 1995 referendum question was phoney, fraudulent and would never be repeated.

Are we to understand from the minister's remarks that the federal government intends to prevent Quebec from holding another referendum?

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first, we are not talking about Quebec but about the PQ government.

Second, the leader of the official opposition in the National Assembly, Mr. Johnson, described the question as fraudulent.

Third, the Prime Minister challenged the Bloc to put the question clearly. He said that if they put the question clearly, Quebeckers would make them face the music. So the word on the yes side became “Chrétien, Quebeckers are going to make you face the music”. It was libelous.

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Brien Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, what a performance.

Here is my supplementary. Are we to understand from the minister's provocative remarks that his government has decided to draft the next referendum question?

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville
Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has said and is saying that Quebeckers have the right to not lose Canada to confusion and repeated trickery.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

November 27th, 1997 / 2:35 p.m.

Reform

Philip Mayfield Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Mr. Speaker, the minister's focus is on a misunderstanding of Canadian Indian people. For example on one reserve a 13 year old boy with no family is involved in deviancy, gangs and auto theft. A spot in a treatment centre has been reserved for this lad but there are no funds for his therapy. Yet according to the memo leaked from Indian affairs, there are no restrictions to stop others from making multiple claims for social assistance.

Is the minister aware of how some abuse the system by making multiple claims while others in desperate need get nothing? Have her officials so blindfolded her from seeing the real story—

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. minister of Indian affairs.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, it is clear to me that one of the fundamental differences between this side of the House and that side is in the area of aboriginal issues.

On that side of the House they talk about assimilation. Over here we talk about respect and recognition for Canada's First Nations. On that side of the House they refuse to accept aboriginal rights. Over here we are implementing the inherent right to self-government. On that side of the House they use tactics of divide and conquer. Over here we talk about partnership and building communities.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Allan Kerpan Blackstrap, SK

Mr. Speaker, the way I see it the real difference between that side of the House and this side is that we talk to the grassroots Indian people rather than the leaders.

The minister has been talking a lot about working together and partnerships. Yet her department is betraying all the partners in this issue: the grassroots Indian people and the silent partners, the taxpayers of this country, and all the while her bureaucrats, people like her own ADG, Allan Horner, do the talking for the department.

When is the minister going to send Mr. Horner to the corner and take charge of her department?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, talking about listening to aboriginal people, let me quote from one of the most appreciated aboriginal people in this country, the new national chief, Phil Fontaine. He said: “Using the unfortunate situation in two communities to heighten tensions and claim that they represent First Nations communities is not only irresponsible on the part of the party now acting as the official opposition, but it is divisive to the members of those communities and it is detrimental to the Canadian society as a whole”.

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Michel Gauthier Roberval, QC

Mr. Speaker, the more the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs speaks, the more his true nature shows through. He used strong words like fraud, libel and gimmicky to describe Quebec's plan.

Is the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs not simply going off the deep end when he uses words like fraud, libel, and gimmicky to describe a process the Prime Minister gave credibility to, the very next day—

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.