House of Commons Hansard #11 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was treaty.

Topics

Nisga'A Final Agreement Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Would the hon. member please put his question. I have given him lots of latitude. I said that his question had to be very short and he has gone for over 60 seconds. We are out of time. Would he put his question very quickly.

Nisga'A Final Agreement Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Reform

Philip Mayfield Cariboo—Chilcotin, BC

Could the member explain how this is not amending the constitution through the back door?

Nisga'A Final Agreement Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Nancy Karetak-Lindell Nunavut, NU

Mr. Speaker, this agreement is within Canadian laws so I cannot see how the member can ask that question.

He made another comment about it not being right. I am not sure how he put it. I cannot repeat his words. However, in the agreement these people have decided that they want to pay taxes like everyone else in the whole country. I do not know how he can be against that.

A group of people has decided to become taxpaying citizens of the country over a phased in period. I do not know what more they can do to prove to others that they want to be part of Canada.

Nisga'A Final Agreement Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, as all members of this place are aware, fisheries is important to many of Canada's aboriginal people in coastal communities. As it does in many other areas, the Nisga'a final agreement reconciles and balances the rights of the Nisga'a people with the interest of all Canadians. There is a major section in the document on fisheries. Most important, the Nisga'a final agreement protects the rich fisheries resources of the Nass Valley. Without conservation all of us would suffer.

In my former capacity as parliamentary secretary to the minister of fisheries I had the opportunity to discuss a number of times with members of the Nisga'a community the importance of fisheries and how the Nisga'a final agreement would in fact operate. I asked many questions on all areas and they were very forthcoming and direct in answering them.

This is an agreement to share the fisheries resources and provide a certain future to everyone who relies on the fishery. It also recognized, and very importantly so, a co-operative role for the Nisga'a in fisheries management while retaining the overall authority of the minister to regulate all Nass fisheries.

I would like to explain some of the history that has led to the agreement on the fisheries provisions. The Nisga'a people have traditionally relied on the Nass River salmon fishery along with the other marine resources of the Nass area. They continue to harvest salmon as well as other fish species such as halibut, shellfish and crabs. Those who have visited the Nass Valley know how important fisheries are to the Nisga'a people and the Nisga'a community. Fish is a staple of their diet and is featured at every feast and ceremony.

Since 1992 the Nisga'a have also taken on an increasing role in fisheries science. Through the prize winning Nisga'a fisheries program, developed in consultation with Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientists and funded through the aboriginal fisheries strategies, the Nisga'a have been contributing to fisheries management activities for Nass River salmon stocks. A joint technical committee of Nisga'a and department of fisheries staff co-ordinates the Nisga'a fisheries program.

An example of these activities is the fishwheel program which tracks the number of sockeye salmon returning to spawn. Since 1994 the Department of Fisheries and Oceans began using these estimates to manage Nass sockeye. Before then it was quite common for many more sockeye to escape than were needed on the spawning beds. The Nisga'a effort has helped the department to manage commercial harvests to catch as many fish as possible while still meeting its conservation targets.

From 1977 to 1992 over 800,000 sockeye salmon that could have been safely harvested swam past the fishing fleet and on to the spawning beds. Those fish are there for the future. This practice will benefit all those who make a living the from Nass sockeye fishery, including commercial fishermen. Other Nisga'a programs also provide valuable information to help manage and conserve salmon.

In 1995 the Nisga'a were awarded the Department of Fisheries and Oceans management prize for these efforts. This is what we mean when we talk of fishery stewardship. It is a very good place to begin an enduring relationship such as the one the treaty establishes.

I will talk for a moment about conservation. I said that the Nisga'a final agreement places conservation first. Let me explain how. The final agreement plainly states that the Nisga'a right to fish is subject to conservation. For salmon, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans can set minimum escapement levels necessary for the health of salmon stocks below which the Nisga'a may not fish.

Both Canada and the Nisga'a wanted to continue the good work of the Nisga'a fisheries program. In this treaty Canada has agreed to contribute $10.3 million to the Nisga'a $3.1 million to create a trust to promote the conservation and protection of Nass area fish species. The careful monitoring of returning salmon runs required by the Nisga'a final agreement will provide the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans with the information he needs to act to protect that fisheries resource, if action should be required.

Conservation remains the first priority. The salmon allocations contained in the final agreement are based on a percentage of the return to Canada, subject to a conservation limit and capped at higher run sizes. These salmon allocations are based on a modest increase over the current harvest levels by the Nisga'a. For example, the allocation for the most valuable species, sockeye salmon, will be 10.5% of the return to Canada, capped at 63,000 fish. There is no uncertainty here. It will be 10.5% and that is it.

The final agreement precisely sets out the Nisga'a share of the Nass River salmon fishery, regardless of changes in the population of Nisga'a, long term changes in the abundance of salmon or other factors. Everyone will know the rules. There will be room for all users of the resource. It is extremely important that everyone knows the rules and that they are laid down.

A separate harvest agreement which is not part of the treaty provides for commercial allocations of pink and sockeye. When there are commercial fisheries for these species the Nisga'a will have a share. The share for sockeye salmon is 13%. The Nisga'a share will have the same priority as commercial and recreational fishers; no more and no less.

An important feature of the certainty we all seek is the accounting system set out in the final agreement. It ensures that the Nisga'a catch is consistent with their share and that the Nisga'a do not harvest from other people's shares.

The fisheries is one of the most important economic opportunities the final agreement provides to Nisga'a people. The salmon harvested under the harvest agreement can be sold in accordance with laws which regulate the sale of fish and with the terms and conditions set out by the minister in the Nisga'a annual fishing plan.

Fish harvested under the Nisga'a treaty entitlements may only be sold when commercial fishermen can also sell those Nass salmon species. I should also mention the Nisga'a have indicated that proceeds from a portion of their commercial harvest will be used to support their fisheries stewardship activities.

The treaty and the harvest agreement result in some reallocation over and above the current Nisga'a harvest. To ensure that the fishery continues to be viable for other fishers, the additional Nisga'a harvest will be offset by a voluntary licence retirement program.

This means that individual catches of salmon fishermen on British Columbia's north coast will not go down as a result of the treaty. As I have said, we have protected the interest of all Canadians through the treaty.

To be clear, let me state again that the Nisga'a final agreement confirms the minister's continued authority for the management of fisheries and fish habitat. The Nisga'a have an advisory role as members of the joint fisheries management committee. This will provide recommendations to the minister to help facilitate co-operative planning and management of Nisga'a fisheries. There is nothing that limits the minister's ability to seek and consider the advice of others in the use of this resource.

Nisga'a fisheries will be regulated by the fisheries act, the regulations, and the annual Nisga'a plan approved by the minister. The fishing plan will include the timing, the method and the location of the harvests. The fishing plan must be integrated as necessary with conservation plans and the fishing plans for other users.

Compliance with the Nisga'a annual fishing plan will be enforceable under the fisheries act and under Nisga'a law. Federal and provincial enforcement personnel can enforce Nisga'a law.

Nisga'A Final Agreement Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, we all agree that the current treaty process has not worked. We also agree that the rights of aboriginal people have been excluded.

I have a question for the member. Is the Nisga'a treaty not just an extension of our segregationist Indian act of today? Would not a better way of improving the health and welfare of aboriginal people, with which every member of the House would agree, be by not empowering the group selectively but by empowering the individual?

Only by empowering individuals and giving them the tools to stand on their own two feet will they have a chance of contributing to their families and their communities. This will enable them to get back the pride and self-respect that are essential for them to move forward with the rest of us to a brighter future.

Should we not be ensuring that aboriginal people have the same municipal powers as everybody else, the same rights under the laws as everybody else, and the same individual rights as every Canadian? Should we not be ensuring that aboriginal people will be able to share in that like everybody else?

Nisga'A Final Agreement Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I think members can see the putdown and the background of where the Reform Party is coming from on this issue through that question.

The member talked about aboriginal people moving forward with the rest of us. This is an agreement that talks about moving forward together. I was talking about the fisheries management agreement as an area where we work together in co-operation with the Nisga'a nation so that we as a whole country move forward. We are not in that situation as we have seen by going to the supreme court on the Marshall decision.

This is an agreement worked out with the Nisga'a people so that we can all make better use of the resources and share in the resources of the country. Canada as a whole should be better off as a result.

Nisga'A Final Agreement Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

There are still approximately three minutes remaining. I want to return to this debate after question period. If the member is here he will have three minutes for questions and comments.

Historica
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Oak Ridges, ON

Mr. Speaker, today I thank and congratulate Mr. Charles Bronfman and Mr. Red Wilson, co-founders of Historica, and their supporters.

They have just launched Historica, a new foundation that will bring more Canadian history into our classrooms. It will act as an umbrella organization for other established Canadian heritage groups and will use television, film and the Internet to help educate people on Canada's history.

The foundation will establish a website where we will be able to access a Canadian encyclopedia. It will include chat rooms so Canadians from coast to coast to coast can talk on line in both English and French. It will also provide a directory of Canadian Internet addresses so students can find direct links to other Canadian history sites.

When polls show that young people are not sure who Pierre Trudeau is and only half can name Sir John A. Macdonald as our first prime minister, I applaud this initiative to promote the study of Canadian history.

It says on the website “celebrating our past, sharing our future”. What could be more important?

Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar Byelection
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Jim Pankiw Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, I want to offer a hospitable welcome to a man who has just arrived in Saskatchewan by parachute.

Dennis Greunding, well known to his neighbours in the Ottawa suburb of Orleans, is visiting Saskatoon where he has generously allowed the NDP to put his name forward in the federal byelection for Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar.

Mr. Greunding has rented a lovely home in Saskatoon's posh Silverwood Heights suburb. Unfortunately, he has yet to learn that the home he is renting is not even in the riding where he is actually a candidate. Oh well, at least he is in the right province.

I also want to express my heartfelt sorrow to Mr. Greunding who will return to his Ottawa mansion in defeat after the November 15 election. Fortunately this will be the second electoral flame out for the Ottawa based opportunist who ran as a tourist and lost to myself in Saskatoon—Humboldt just two years ago.

Epidermolysis Bullosa
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Tony Valeri Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring to the attention of the House EB Awareness Week which is being recognized from October 25 to November 1, 1999. EB refers to epidermolysis bullosa, a rare genetic skin condition that affects children regardless of race or gender.

The rarity of the disease combined with the lack of research and information has left many of the young sufferers feeling isolated and disillusioned.

Today I seek to raise the public's awareness of this devastating disease by applauding the efforts of DEBRA Canada. The Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association of Canada is a charitable organization founded by a group of EB sufferers, their families and friends.

DEBRA Canada and its president Francesca Molinaro have been tireless in their campaign to raise awareness and further research into this rare disorder.

I encourage everyone to support DEBRA Canada in its goal to raise awareness of EB and provide support to all the children who suffer from this terrible disease.

Telephone Service
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, would you believe it? On the threshold of the 21st century there are families in Peterborough county without telephone service.

I was given the following directions to one of these homes: “Follow County Roads 8 and 40 to where the telephone lines stop, then follow the poles to our place”. These homes have telephone poles. They have neighbours with telephones but they are unable to get service.

This is unconscionable in rural Canada today, in the most connected nation in the world. The federal government has put all our schools on the Internet, but kids in these families cannot access it at home. They cannot even phone their friends.

I urge the government to intercede with Bell Canada and the CRTC to see to it that these Peterborough families get telephone service soon.

Small Business Week
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Paradis Brome—Missisquoi, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week is Small Business Week.

SMBs are the driving force behind our economy and, in Brome Missisquoi, they can be found in farming, tourism and the services sector. They create large number of jobs and are a new way of developing modern economies.

In Sutton, Magog, Knowlton, Farnham and Bedford, our young, small business entrepreneurs are imaginative, hard working, and involved in what they do for a living and in their community.

The Government of Canada is proud of all this country's young entrepreneurs. You are helping to build a better world.

Breast Cancer
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among Canadian women and the statistics are not encouraging. Breast cancer has been increasing by 1.5% every year since 1981. One in nine Canadian women will be afflicted by this disease. But there are encouraging signs.

Many people in this House participated in the CIBC Run for the Cure that raised millions of dollars for breast cancer research. Also support groups are developing for families and the patients affected by breast cancer. We also have new surgical techniques that are less disfiguring and new treatments that we hope can prevent breast cancer in the future.

That is not good enough. We have to find a cure. We encourage the government to increase its commitment to develop more research into breast cancer.

I also encourage women to seek out their doctors to do screening for breast cancer. Women who have breast cancer should make sure their daughters are checked also.

Let us use October not just as a month to look at breast cancer in its entirety, but let us look at October as a start to eradicate it.

Canada-China Legislative Association
Statements By Members

October 26th, 1999 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Reg Alcock Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, a little more than a year ago, the House along with the other place established the Canada-China Legislative Association to build a special relationship between the people's congress in China and our parliament.

This week we are joined in Ottawa by the chairman of the Chinese section of the legislative association, Mr. Jiang Xinxiong; the vice-president, Mr. Zheng Yi; and two members of the association, Mr. Tao Xiping and Mr. Wang Shuming.

We have just finished two days of very fruitful meetings. We have had frank and full debate on a wide range of issues from Taiwan to illegal immigrants. We are building upon the very firm foundation that has been established between our two countries.

Great Lakes Basin
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Kraft Sloan York North, ON

Mr. Speaker, 31 concerned citizens from Quebec, Ontario and United States are in Ottawa today to meet with parliamentarians to raise issues about the Great Lakes basin.

Some 321 million pounds of toxins were released by legal permit in 1996 into the Great Lakes. Research and monitoring budgets have been substantially reduced and regulations weakened.

These concerned citizens are calling on parliamentarians to protect human health and restore the ecological integrity of the Great Lakes basin.

This is a call to action we ignore at our peril.