House of Commons Hansard #82 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

Government Response to Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10 a.m.

Halifax West
Nova Scotia

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to four petitions.

Yukon
Routine Proceedings

April 1st, 2003 / 10:05 a.m.

Kenora—Rainy River
Ontario

Liberal

Bob Nault Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, the member for Yukon and I are here today to acknowledge an historic day for the people of Yukon. Today the Government of Yukon will take on responsibility for managing the territory's public lands, water, forests, mines and minerals and responsibility for environmental management. After today, land and resource decisions that affect the territory will be made in Yukon rather than in Ottawa, enabling local residents to better shape their own future.

Completion of this initiative will bring government closer to the people it serves because it places key development decisions in the hands of those most knowledgeable about local conditions and those most affected by the consequences of those decisions, Yukoners themselves.

Overall, of course, the federal Crown will continue to hold title to lands and waters in Yukon, and changes being proposed will not change the constitutional status of the Yukon territory. Nevertheless this devolution of powers respecting lands and resources represents a major step in the evolution of Yukon. It transfers the last major area of provincial-like responsibilities still under the purview of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to the Yukon government.

About a year ago, the House passed with unanimous consent a new Yukon Act. That act is being proclaimed today. Yukoners see the Yukon Act as their constitution. In addition to giving effect to devolution, the new Yukon Act recognizes the reality of responsible government in Yukon that is similar in principle to that elsewhere in Canada.

In closing, I would like to underline the point that I have made before: that this is a key nation-building initiative. This is a good day for Yukon, for Yukoners and for all Canadians. The decision to proceed with devolution serves to affirm our commitment to end decision-making by remote control from Ottawa and put it in the hands of northerners. It demonstrates, not just to the territories but to all regions of the country, our willingness to put in place sensible, effective and accountable governance arrangements that foster both regional development and national development.

On my behalf and on behalf of the member of Parliament for Yukon and all parliamentarians, we want to wish Yukon the very best on this very important day.

Yukon
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

For the information of those members responding to the ministerial statement, the minister took approximately three minutes so the Chair will allow three minutes to each member responding, beginning with the hon. member for Athabasca.

Yukon
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the minister's statement. Certainly in principle, at least, we would support this initiative although I find it somewhat curious that the minister introduces this statement and this initiative to devolve his responsibility in Yukon for natural resource management and environmental management. In reviewing the recently passed Yukon Act, let me say that the act does not appear to give the minister responsibility to devolve that power so it is pretty hard to assess the impact of the statement just made by the minister without more information on exactly how this power will be devolved to Yukon.

However, our party has always been supportive of initiatives of the government to bring the territories toward provincial status and more control over their own affairs and the management of their resources and their environment. I think that is good, but rather than being in sync with the Yukon Act, it appears to do quite the opposite. In fact, the Yukon Act sets up a management board that is entirely accountable to the minister. Then the minister turns around and devolves the power that he has to the Yukon government. That does not make a lot of sense.

Of course there is no mention, no insight at all, in the minister's statement or the Yukon Act on how the fiscal arrangement between the federal government and the Yukon Territory will in fact be affected by this initiative of the minister. Really all we can say is that we support the initiative in principle and that we look forward to more detail on how the fiscal arrangement between the two bodies will be adjusted in consideration of this initiative.

Yukon
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Bloc

Serge Cardin Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, of course this legislation replaces the Yukon Act, particularly because it recognizes the existence of a responsible government system in Yukon.

This legislation will rename a number of public institutions to reflect current practice and provide the Yukon Legislative Assembly with new powers over public real property and other Yukon properties.

The Bloc Quebecois supported Bill C-39. We knew how important this bill was and what it meant. The Bloc Quebecois knows that, most of the time, it is better for decisions to be made at a level closer to the people.

However, let us be clear; all too often, the government takes credit for such initiatives to show how generous the Liberals are, and this was clear from the tone of the minister's speech. Above all, we should recognize what it means for the people of the Yukon to fully participate in the process for making decisions that will have an impact on their future.

Therefore, we support this legislation because it seems to be in line with the will and the wishes of the people and the governement of the Yukon.

Yukon
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, we in the NDP are very happy to support this development of Bill C-39, devolving these additional powers and authorities to the government of the territory of Yukon. It is a clear reflection of the desires of the people who live in Yukon to take on this additional authority to control their local affairs and not have to deal directly with Ottawa on matters that are much more appropriately dealt with at the local level. It has been some time in coming. The negotiations have gone on for well over a decade. We welcome this day, as I am sure all of the people of Yukon do.

Yukon
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I ask for unanimous consent of the House for just one minute to thank my colleagues for this great day.

Yukon
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Does the House give its consent?

Yukon
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Yukon
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, this is a great day for all Yukoners. I would like to thank all my colleagues in all parties for their support.

Today the budget regarding natural resource management has been transferred over to the Yukon government, and now our future, our destiny, is in our own hands. Yukoners are truly grateful to the Parliament of Canada for allowing us to take this big step in a new partnership in Confederation.

Interparliamentary Delegations
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Oak Ridges
Ontario

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report following the 11th annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from January 13 to January 15.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—St. Clair, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition to present today containing approximately 40 names of members from the City of Windsor. The petition deals with the cross-border traffic problem, and specifically with the problem of traffic on Huron Line.

The petitioners ask that the government respond to their needs.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present this morning. The first one is with regard to marriage.

The petitioners are from all across Canada, including my own riding of Mississauga South. They state that the majority of Canadians believe that the fundamental matters of social policy should be decided by elected members of Parliament and not by an unelected judiciary.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to use all possible legislative and administrative measures, including the invocation of section 33 of the Charter, the notwithstanding clause, if necessary, to preserve and protect the current definition of marriage as between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the second petition concerns stem cell research and is signed by a number of Canadians, including some from my own riding of Mississauga South.

The petitioners would like to draw to the attention of the House the fact that Canadians do support ethical stem cell research which has already shown encouraging potential to provide cures for Canadians. They also point out that non-embryonic stem cells, also known as adult stem cells, have shown significant research progress without the immune rejections or ethical problems associated with embryonic stem cells.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to support legislation which promotes adult stem cell research to find the cures and therapies necessary for Canadians.

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.