House of Commons Hansard #25 of the 36th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was treaty.

Topics

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

André Harvey Chicoutimi, QC

There has been talk for six years now of new programs to inject funds, yet the number of poor children has risen from one million to one and one-half million. Food banks are feeding 750,000 persons.

Is this not enough to get the Minister of Finance or the other ministers to act within the framework of the social union? Nobody understands the social union. The only way it could be made understandable would be to make it into a weapon in the fight against poverty.

Child Poverty
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Brant
Ontario

Liberal

Jane Stewart Minister of Human Resources Development

Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member is suggesting is that indeed it will take all of us to focus on the issues facing Canada's children and to build a platform of structures that will help them into the 21st century. He is absolutely right.

In terms of particulars and in terms of taking action, let me tell the hon. member that as a result of the national child benefit, for example, by July 2000 families earning $20,000 with two children will get more than $3,700 per year in assistance. They can use that money for issues and needs of their children.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, a couple of minutes ago the Indian affairs minister referred to an election in Terrace. I would like to give him some late breaking news.

On November 20, 1999 a private citizens' referendum on the Nisga'a treaty was held in Smithers, B.C. Residents from Hazelton, Moricetown, Telkwa, Houston, Burns Lake and Smithers all voted in that referendum.

The early indications would suggest that more people voted in the referendum than voted in the municipal elections. And, guess what? Ninety-three per cent of the people who voted said no to the Nisga'a treaty.

Why is the minister consistently ignoring the expressed wishes of British Columbians?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kenora—Rainy River
Ontario

Liberal

Bob Nault Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I can understand why the Leader of the Opposition and this member want to talk process. Up to now, we still do not know what the Reform Party's position is on aboriginal rights, aboriginal treaties and things of that nature. I have asked for this for a number of weeks now as we have had this debate.

There are some people in the country who believe that if the Reform Party were ever fortunate enough to lead the country that it would take section 35 out of the constitution.

I want this leader and this member to tell the House and Canadians what their party will do if they change the constitution as it relates to aboriginal affairs.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, what part of equality does this minister not understand?

In the face of the referendums that have taken place, private citizens' referendums in British Columbia, not only in Smithers, but in Ladner, Vancouver, and Prince George, all of the surveys that have been done, why is he prepared to ignore the expressed wishes of British Columbians and ram this Nisga'a treaty through the House of Commons without giving the people of British Columbia a chance to vote on it in a referendum?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Kenora—Rainy River
Ontario

Liberal

Bob Nault Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, as it is difficult to explain to members across the way, let me try one more time.

This particular piece of legislation was debated in 34 communities in British Columbia. The legislature in Victoria had the longest debate in its history on the Nisga'a treaty.

We are now in the process of debating it in the House, but what do these members want to do? They want to have a vote in B.C. in order to get out of telling us what their policy would be on aboriginal government, on treaties and on the relationship with other Canadians.

Audiovisual Productions
Oral Question Period

November 22nd, 1999 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, Friday, just as her parliamentary secretary was telling the House that, in the case of the audiovisual production affair, the RCMP must be allowed to do its job without any interference, the Minister of Canadian Heritage was saying outside the House that a major administrative investigation had been launched into Telefilm Canada and production tax credits, as the Bloc Quebecois has been demanding since the beginning of this affair.

What finally convinced the minister that we were right and persuaded her to launch this administrative investigation into the government departments and agencies concerned?

Audiovisual Productions
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, this investigation was launched the same day I read about the allegations in the newspapers.

Audiovisual Productions
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Stéphane Bergeron Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, in front of the cameras on Friday, the minister admitted candidly, and she has just admitted here today, that this administrative investigation has been under way for some time now.

This shows that the minister was concealing the truth when she answered our questions in the House.

In the interests of clarification, will the minister tell us in plain English when she called for this investigation, and how long it has been under way?

Audiovisual Productions
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Hamilton East
Ontario

Liberal

Sheila Copps Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, I have just answered the question. What I said about allegations is that the member made many allegations of criminal fraud in the House.

He has repeated these allegations on at least 10 or 15 occasions. What I told him with respect to his allegations was that, if he had any information, he should pass it on to the RCMP. This is still the case.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk West Kootenay—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, a ministerial briefing note to the B.C. minister of agriculture on the impact of the Nisga'a treaty points out that “there is likely to be significant disruptions to individual ranchers within close proximity to first nation communities”.

In the South Okanagan there are over 1,000 farms with crown tenures within 10 kilometres of existing native reserves.

The Nisga'a treaty affects all British Columbians. When will the government give all British Columbians a vote by holding a province-wide referendum on the Nisga'a treaty?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Kenora—Rainy River
Ontario

Liberal

Bob Nault Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, is that not interesting? This particular issue that the member talked about is only 1,000 kilometres away from where the Nass Valley is. Is it not amazing that these people are going to start fearmongering?

Mr. Speaker, I will tell you what we will do. The first thing the Reform Party needs to do is to go back to the riding, take the Nisga'a treaty itself to an open house and say “Here is the Nisga'a treaty. Let us read paragraph by paragraph and then we'll start having discussions on what the treaty really says” versus this myth treaty that it has been promoting in British Columbia.

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk West Kootenay—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we have been doing. That is also what we did during the Charlottetown accord which turned it from 70% acceptance to 70% rejection. Maybe that is why they are afraid of this referendum.

Both the minister and the deputy prime minister have stated that British Columbians have a vote through their members of parliament. I would like to point out to them that a total of 10 B.C. MPs support the Nisga'a treaty and 24 B.C. Reform MPs, backed by constituent input from townhall meetings, polls and scientifically conducted polls, oppose it.

Given that the majority of B.C. MPs are voting against the treaty, will the government accept that as a rejection of the treaty as it is currently written, or will it hold a referendum to confirm—

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.

Kenora—Rainy River
Ontario

Liberal

Bob Nault Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I just got back from visiting British Columbia on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. One of the things I noticed was that the Reformers tried their hardest. I have never seen them work so hard. In a huge metropolitan city like Vancouver, they managed to get a whole 200 people out to say that they were opposed to the Nisga'a deal. When I was in the labour movement, I could do that with one phone call and I would get 500 people out. These people cannot get more than 200 people out in a big city like that. I think that means that the people in British Columbia and Vancouver support the Nisga'a deal.