House of Commons Hansard #242 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was culture.

Topics

First Nations Land Management Act
Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Reform

Mike Scott Skeena, BC

Why are the members who are making all the noise over there opposed to amending the bill to reflect those qualities, to give these women what they are looking for?

The fourth proposal regards clause 20, to add a provision specifying that the lawmaking powers would include the use, occupation and possession of the first nation land and a division of the interest in the first nation land in case of a marital breakdown.

The fifth proposal is to add a provision specifying what happens regarding matrimonial property when a first nation law passed pursuant to Bill C-49 is inconsistent with provincial laws of general application.

That is interesting. Mr. Speaker, I am sure you are very familiar with the Nisga'a treaty. You have probably read it several times by now. In the Nisga'a treaty when it comes to land management, this is the direction the federal government is going in.

In the event of an inconsistency or conflict between a Nisga'a law and any federal or provincial law, the Nisga'a law will prevail. That is the direction the minister and the government are going in, not in the direction the aboriginal women's association of Canada is asking for. I use the Nisga'a as an example because I think it does point to the underlying philosophy and attitude of the Government of Canada under the Liberal administration.

The seventh proposal recommends that clause 28 be amended to limit the powers of the expropriation provisions by adding a requirement for a community approval process calling for no less than a 51% approval rate of eligible voters. Add a provision requiring that an appeal process be available to first nation members. Add a requirement for all proposed expropriation orders and a subsequent community consultation process to be verified by an independent verifier jointly appointed by the first nation and the department of Indian affairs, and amend clause 28(5) to ensure that first nations must apply the rules for determining fair and full compensation as set out in the Expropriation Act.

This is the one area where the Senate made some concessions. It has put the band under the Expropriation Act. It has not gone to the extent of saying that the powers of the expropriation be limited by requiring a 51% approval rate in the community. It has not required that an appeal process be available to first nation members, but it has required by the amendments that we have before us, and we do agree that these amendments are a small step in the right direction, that the Expropriation Act provisions apply.

The eighth proposal regards clause 45. It recommends that “duly authorized” be defined as meaning supported by at least 51% of the community as indicated in the community referendum.

She went on to say that it would appear that the two greatest weaknesses of Bill C-49 are its lack of provisions protecting native women's aboriginal equality and property rights, and the extraordinary powers of expropriation accorded to signatory first nations.

NWAC is concerned mainly with the provisions and issues affecting native women and consideration for making the legislation more acceptable to them.

In her opinion the amendments presented are reasonable. Some of the chiefs of the signatory first nations have sent letters to NWAC members giving them assurances that the concerns of native women can and will be adequately addressed in the individual land codes. It is my strong belief that if it is the chiefs' intention to adequately address the concerns of native women anyway, then the chiefs should have no objection to the proposed amendments.

That seems to be pretty simple to me: do not wait for the land quotes, put it in legislation. If the chiefs are being upfront and genuine in saying that they want to see the issue addressed as well, then it should be in everybody's interest to incorporate it into the legislation and our concerns on this side of the House would be largely alleviated.

She went on to say that she wanted it clearly understood that NWAC does not imply that the signatory chiefs have any intention of perpetrating discrimination against native women in their communities. This submission is merely intended to point out potential problems with this legislation. The fact is that any and all first nations will be able to sign the framework agreement, perhaps with the sole intention of abusing the substantial power contained within the legislation.

We can see that Marilyn Buffalo was saying the same thing that I have said. We are not accusing the chiefs of trying to make a power grab so that they can take advantage of people; we are saying that words mean what they mean. The reason we have laws, the reason we have constitutions, the reason we have these protections called the charter of rights and freedoms is not because we necessarily expect that somebody will take them away from us, but we want to guarantee that nobody ever can. We want to make sure that we are protected. These women are fighting for that same assurance. They want to make sure that their rights are protected in the legislation.

She continued by saying that members of the aboriginal community had asked not only at this committee but at previous committees whether or not NWAC had a mandate to address this issue. The fact that they have been around for 25 years is an indication that there needs to be a voice, an independent voice, one that is not dominated by males and male dominated organizations. That is the reason this organization was founded, not by them, but by their aunts and their grandmothers.

For the purposes of the record, as she said before, NWAC is only one of the five national organizations that own real estate in Ottawa. They are completely mortgage free and they do not spend money unless they have it. They do all the work on a pro bono basis.

They are contributing their time. It is not like some of the other organizations that there are around here, in a wide variety of areas, where people are being paid big salaries. These people are doing it out of a sense of commitment, not for the sake of a paycheque.

She said that they have many friends and are prepared to go to the full extent of the law to be involved and to assist in any way they can. She also said that the backgrounder that was developed and sent to every member of parliament and senator was done in-house by volunteers.

Senator St. Germain then went on to thank Miss Buffalo for her presentation. He said that he had a question which zeroed in on one particular incident in regard to Ms. Lockhart and the Squamish Band. He asked if there were any other incidents in other parts of the country. He indicated that perhaps she would not not want to explain why they zeroed in on this particular case. However, he said that they were dealing with huge numbers of these situations and he wanted to know if they were isolated.

Miss Buffalo said that her answer was twofold. First, neither NWAC nor any other women's group was informed as to what was going on here in Ottawa. Many of their women did not know about this legislation.

Senator St. Germain said “That happens to many of us”.

Miss Buffalo said that should not be an excuse. That is not acceptable. Because they are poor they do not read the Globe and Mail . It does not hit their reserve. Nor does the National Post . By the time they receive information it is by luck or through the native newspapers and many of them do not cover this issue. By the time native women read this it is ready to become law. That is the unfortunate reality. She said that this was also not being debated in open public forums.

Senator St. Germain asked: “How are you funded? Are you funded by the government?”

She responded by saying that they receive funds of $300,000 a year from Heritage Canada. That is their core funding from the national office, which they run through.

The senator asked if there were several incidents which she could enumerate. She said that there were, which is why at one point they were excited about the task force that was going across Canada, the proposed fact finder. They were excited by the announcement that the minister made at their annual meeting. Unfortunately, she had made an—

The House resumed consideration of the motion in relation to the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-55, an act respecting advertising services supplied by foreign periodical publishers.

Foreign Publishers Advertising Services Act
Government Orders

6:05 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. McClelland)

Order, please. It being 6.06 p.m., the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment to the motion to concur in the Senate amendments to Bill C-55.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the amendment, which was negatived on the following division:)

Division No. 561
Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the amendment defeated.

The next question is on the main motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Division No. 561
Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Division No. 561
Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Division No. 561
Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

The Speaker

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

Division No. 561
Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Division No. 561
Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Division No. 561
Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Division No. 561
Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

The Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Division No. 562
Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.

(Amendments read the second time and concurred in)

Division No. 562
Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

The Speaker

On a point of order, the hon. government House leader.

First Nations Land Management Act
Government Orders

June 10th, 1999 / 6:55 p.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I wish to give notice that when the House next considers the motion for consideration of the amendments made by the Senate to Bill C-49, an act providing for the ratification and bringing into effect of the framework agreement on first nations land management, a minister of the crown shall propose a motion, pursuant to Standing Order 57, that the debate be not further adjourned.

First Nations Land Management Act
Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

The Speaker

It being 6.56 p.m., the House will now proceed to the consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's order paper.