House of Commons Hansard #150 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was claims.

Topics

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Judy Wasylycia-Leis Winnipeg North Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the other five petitions are petitions signed by hundreds of Canadians concerned about the lack of movement by the government on fetal alcohol syndrome. They express concern that the government has chosen not to move on the motion passed by Parliament almost unanimously in April 2001, a motion that would require labels to be put on all alcohol beverage containers warning that drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects. They call upon the government to enact that motion immediately.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Lunney Nanaimo—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, today I have three petitions here on the same subject. The petitioners are calling on Parliament to defend the traditional definition of marriage as a bond between one man and one woman; it is a serious moral good. They call marriage a lasting union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others and say that it cannot and should not be modified by a court of law. The petitioners would like Parliament to defend that traditional definition of marriage.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

Geoff Regan Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Specific Claims Resolution Act
Government Orders

November 4th, 2003 / 10:15 a.m.

Glengarry—Prescott—Russell
Ontario

Liberal

Don Boudria Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

moved:

That in relation to Bill C-6, an act to establish the Canadian Centre for the Independent Resolution of First Nations Specific Claims to provide for the filing, negotiation and resolution of specific claims and to make related amendments to other acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the stage of the consideration of Senate amendments to the bill;

and fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business on the allotted day of the consideration of the said stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Specific Claims Resolution Act
Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Pursuant to Standing Order 67(1), there will now be a 30 minute question period. The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.

Specific Claims Resolution Act
Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, this motion reflects a confrontational strategy and is antidemocratic. It is a betrayal of history, a repudiation of the spirit and the letter of the long-standing treaties signed by our ancestors and the aboriginal nations. The government should be ashamed of itself. It should be ashamed to keep on trating the first nations like children, as it has been doing for 130 years with the infamous Indian Act.

I have a question for the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. How can he live with himself after doing this, after shoving a bill the first nations do not want down their throats?

Specific Claims Resolution Act
Government Orders

10:20 a.m.

Kenora—Rainy River
Ontario

Liberal

Bob Nault Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, what we do know about Bill C-6 is that this is the third attempt since the 1950s to bring forward a tribunal and a commission process, an independent body that will allow first nations to bring their specific grievances, which are legally binding agreements that we as the crown have signed over the last 100 years or so, to a process where there is fairness.

The fact that there has been debate in this place for the last year about whether Bill C-6 is perfect, whether it is completely independent or whether it meets all the needs is a legitimate debate. However the time has come to put a process in place that will be more acceptable than the one we have in place today.

At the present time the backlog is significant. The reason is that we do not have a process in place where we can sit down and use the modern tool of management, of negotiation and discussion to bring this to a conclusion and decide on what the government would owe to a first nation based on a past grievance.

This is a unique process to Canada. There are no commissions or tribunals like it in the world. The Human Rights Commission is the only commission that is close to being like it. We have said on numerous occasions that no one in the House can predict the success of it but we believe we must find ways to work together and negotiate instead of litigate, which is the objective of the exercise.

We have had over a year of debate and that is a significant amount of time. Good amendments have been made by the Senate and we agree with those amendments. We want to move on with the implementation of Bill C-6.

Specific Claims Resolution Act
Government Orders

10:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I understood that we had a minute and the minister had a minute to respond. Am I incorrect?

Specific Claims Resolution Act
Government Orders

10:20 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

There is no hard and fast rule in terms of the time. Depending on the number of people who want to participate and with the cooperation of everyone in the House, we can get more questions in. If everyone keeps that in mind, then we will have a very fruitful 30 minute question and comment period.

Specific Claims Resolution Act
Government Orders

10:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Duncan Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government is showing its true spots again and breaking new records for invoking closure. What is most astounding this time, however, is that the government invoked closure in the Senate on Bill C-6 as well. It is quite possibly unprecedented for any government to have had an aboriginal bill time allocated in the Senate and now in the House of Commons. It is certainly a precedent for which the government cannot be proud.

Because of limited time only the Canadian Alliance has spoken to Bill C-6 , with only one member speaking to it for a total of three hours of debate. Why is the government so intent on pushing through this poorly crafted bill?

Specific Claims Resolution Act
Government Orders

10:20 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Nault Kenora—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I said a few moments ago, with all due respect, I disagree with the member adamantly. We have had significant debate. The bill has been in committee three times, not twice. It has been before both the House of Commons and the Senate for over one year. We have had significant consultation with people across the country about the good parts and the bad parts of the legislation and what people like and do not like.

We believe that to improve the lives of first nation citizens, it is the duty of the Government of Canada not to sit on its hands but to develop modern tools of governance, modern tools and institutions that will meet the needs of first nation citizens and meet the needs of their leadership.

In my 15 years here we have not accomplished any of that through a legislative process. What we have done is skirted the issue. We have been afraid to be bold and move forward with new initiatives.

I am surprised that the opposition would take the position that we should do nothing, that we should continue to allow first nations to be stuck in the mud and to live in poverty when there are many ways that governments can help.

The legislation would make a difference to first nations people when we can fast track claims and bring them forward for use in the communities on economic development and social opportunity.

Specific Claims Resolution Act
Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, the minister standing today and moving closure is the desperate act of a desperate man. He is fully aware that his first nations governance initiative has been an abject failure. It has been an abject flop because first nations, from one end of the country to the other, have denounced it. They have said that they do not want it.

In choosing to go forward with Bill C-6, is the minister not aware that first nations, from one end of the country to the other, have said that Bill C-6 is not what they want? Where does he get off, where does he get the licence and where does he get the colonial arrogance to impose this on his supposed partners in the community who have said clearly that they reject it? They have said that it bears no resemblance to the joint task force that was struck and that was supposed to develop such an institution.

Will the minister admit that his first nations governance act is a failure, that the whole initiative was a failure and that the whole suite of bills has been a failure? Will he go back to the drawing board with some respect for first nations people and start over again in consultation with first nations people? Will the minister do that, at least in this last opportunity that he has?

Specific Claims Resolution Act
Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Bob Nault Kenora—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are not here debating Bill C-7 but I will make a quick comment and that is that Bill C-7 is alive and well and he will have an opportunity to debate that some time soon I am sure.

The reason for that is that no one in their right mind, who knows anything about aboriginal issues, can say that the present Indian Act meets the needs of first nations people. We all know the status quo is not acceptable. We all know first nations people are suffering because Parliament has not acted in modern times to bring forward the kind of institutional changes necessary to improve the opportunities for first nations to be successful.

If the member is having a debate about whether Parliament has the right to move legislation without every first nation leader across the country being in support, then he has a different definition of his role and responsibilities than I do.

I go back to Bill C-6, which is the matter of the debate and on which many members want to ask questions. I will put it to the member again. If the member believes that Bill C-6 is not as good as the present Indian Claims Commission we have before us today he should stand up and say so. My belief is that this legislation is 10 times as good as the process we have now. It will prove to be very effective once it is implemented into law.