House of Commons Hansard #39 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act
Government Orders

1:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ted White North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, I could probably make the same comment that the minister did, which is that it is little hard to know where to start here.

I guess I could start by saying that we should look at the government's structure. At the meeting yesterday with the band representatives I asked why we were not allowing non-aboriginals to run for council because that really would be democracy.

I will compare that to a situation in my own riding, an example that has been mentioned to me by more than one constituent on more than one occasion. Let us imagine a situation where a Squamish Band member or a Burrard Band member arrived on voting day for the voting of the municipality of North Vancouver and was told that he or she could not vote because he or she was a native Indian and had no right to vote at the polling station. If we turn the tables it looks pretty ugly.

This is the type of situation that concerns people in my riding, both native and non-native, that it separates us based on race and that it is not a healthy situation.

As I have already said, I believe the agreement will work for the Westbank Band as long as there is that goodwill that is there right now. It relies entirely on the goodwill of the people who are running the council. It would be very difficult for Westbank to turn back the clock at this stage. There is a culture there of wealth creation, entrepreneurship, and it is really improving things for everyone.

However that is not the case in other parts of the country, which is one of the reasons I expressed that I was opposed to this on behalf of my constituents and on behalf of other Canadians. This is much more far-reaching than just an approval by the council for Kelowna or the people who live in the immediate area who at the moment see no problems. This is a much more wide-ranging consideration when we think of the implications if the goodwill was not there and we apply the same agreement to some other band council somewhere else in the country.

One thing I did not mention in my speech earlier but mentioned during an earlier stage of debate on the bill was on the first page of the agreement itself. It states that the regulations created by this council will not be subject to scrutiny.

As a member who sits on the Joint Standing Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations, this really bothers me. One of the things we have found in the Joint Standing Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations is that government departments often make mistakes and errors when they create regulations. Sometimes they create illegal situations and sometimes they improperly take money from people. It is a very healthy situation to have someone scrutinizing these regulations, pointing out the problems and getting them fixed.

It is very worrisome when we have a situation where we are going to have regulations that are concealed from scrutiny. In British Columbia, where we have more aboriginal bands than anywhere else in the country, if they all had this type of agreement and they could all have regulations not subject to scrutiny, no one would know what law applied where. Going from Westbank into a part of North Vancouver there would be no consistency.

For me that is troublesome. It is something that probably no one else thinks too much about. I mentioned it because I am on that committee. Maybe the minister could think about the things that I have brought forward in my response to his question; namely, race based government and the implications that it has for all of Canada, and secondly, the scrutiny of regulations.

Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to reply to all of those concerns. First, on scrutiny, the member is right. It is a good system. We have our laws and we have scrutiny of regulations for them. There is nothing to say that the Westbank First Nation might not develop that system for its laws. Maybe some provinces would for their laws. So there is no problem with having a second look at regulations.

Another point was, why not allow non-aboriginals to run for council? Yesterday we presented the Tlicho self-government agreement, a very creative agreement, and under that agreement, non-aboriginals are allowed to run for community governments. The member voted against that agreement.

Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Why the inconsistency?

Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Yukon, YT

I will answer that question in a second, but I want to answer the member's question first. He was talking about more protection in this agreement. The non-aboriginals now have no protection except through the advisory council. This agreement gives them protection. Not only does it give them protection, it is not arbitrary, like he is suggesting it will be in the future. It is not just goodwill; they have this 99-page constitution they will have to follow. They have the agreement, which is a law, and it can be challenged in the courts.

Finally, related to race based issues, the Constitution allows for affirmative action. The member asked for equality. There is inequality in Canada. There are two groups of people. There is one that has more poverty, more death in childbirth, more dropouts and more substance abuse. That is what these types of agreements are made to change so that there is equality in Canada.

Westbank First Nation Self-Government Act
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Ted White North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Speaker, how easily the minister cast aside the concern about scrutiny of regulations simply by saying “we can think about it and maybe we will incorporate it at some point”.

Then he cast aside the concern about the inability to run for council by talking about a completely different agreement. What use was that to the debate?

Then he talked about challenging in the courts if goodwill disappears and suddenly someone is wronged, but these things cannot be challenged in the courts without a huge amount of money. The situation that is being fought in the courts by my colleague from Delta—South Richmond regarding the aboriginal fishing rights took 8, 9 or 10 years and half a million dollars. The average person cannot fight that sort of thing. It is completely impossible.

The minister has not adequately responded to these things. It is a shame that time is up.

Migratory Birds
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Caccia Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, it being Earth Day today, this statement is devoted to migratory birds.

In February 2002, the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, on behalf of eight environmental groups, claimed that the Government of Canada was failing to enforce the Migratory Birds Convention Act, thereby allowing the estimated destruction of 45,000 migratory birds and nests in the year 2001 alone.

In March of this year, a full investigation of the complaint relating to clear-cut logging operations causing nest destruction was ordered by the NAFTA North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation, based in Montreal.

Given that 21 species are already listed as species at risk in the Ontario boreal forest, I urge the Minister of the Environment to ensure that the Migratory Birds Convention Act is enforced by the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Bill C-250
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-250 is currently before the Senate. This bill raises serious concerns about freedom of expression and religion. That is why I and most of my colleagues have voted against it at every opportunity. It is also why I continue to work very hard to try to prevent this bill from passing in the Senate.

There is no question that we reject completely hatred directed at any group, but under Bill C-250, religious leaders and organizations could be committing an offence simply by discussing essential matters of their faith with their congregations. Those who teach children in faith-based schools could also be censored.

The fact is that Bill C-250 does not protect secular professional, educational and academic opinions and speech. I am committed to protecting freedom of speech and freedom of religion, even if these Liberals are not, and I am committed to representing my constituents on issues which are important to them.

Insurance Industry
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, we can now add churches, sea cadets and scrapyards to the growing list of those having trouble with insurance of one kind or another. Insurance has become a serious problem for the Anglican Church. Sea cadets may lose their boats because of insurance costs. Scrapyards may be unable to perform their valuable recycling functions.

Although auto insurance often receives attention, problems with the industry do not end there. The availability, adequacy of coverage and choice of insurance of all sorts are a problem in all provinces and territories for all Canadians. Realtors, owners of small and large businesses, school bus operators, school boards, farmers, arena operators, homeowners and many others are on the same list as the Anglican Church and those who drive cars.

I have been asking for a national inquiry for a year now. Insurance is largely in the provincial domain, but when a problem is truly national, only the federal government can deal with it quickly and effectively.

I urge the government to launch a fair and open national inquiry into insurance now. This can only benefit the industry and Canadians.

Haiti
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Bernard Patry Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure to pay tribute today to all our Canadian soldiers posted abroad, particularly those who are currently in Haiti.

I recently was in that country with the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and I was able to see the daily work of the entire team and, in particular, the extremely beneficial impact of their presence. Economic activity has resumed in the streets of Port-au-Prince. Children have gone back to school because the multinational forces of Operation Halo have secured the peace so vital to getting the country back on its feet.

I would like to take this opportunity to give a special thanks to Lieutenant-Colonel J. P. Davis, Commanding Officer of Operation Halo. I also want to thank Captain Brian J. Wright, Staff Officer, Major Brian Hervé, National Support Element Commanding Officer, and Captain Antoine Tardif of J5 Information Operations, all from Task Force Haiti, for their patience and cooperation.

Multiple Sclerosis
Statements By Members

April 22nd, 2004 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, this past weekend many people in my riding of Cambridge took part in the annual Walk for MS to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis.

MS is the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in Canada, yet scientists and researchers do not know what causes MS.

The annual cost of MS to Canada is $1 billion. Last year the society raised close to $19 million. This money helps fund a wide range of support services to help persons with MS manage and cope, to discover better treatments, and to move more quickly to finding a cure.

The Cambridge unit of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada has been incredibly successful in past years, and last weekend's Walk for MS was no exception. I wish to congratulate all the local volunteers, participants and supporters on a very successful but wet Walk for MS event.

Mining Industry
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Andy Burton Skeena, BC

Mr. Speaker, last week I attended the Minerals North Mining Conference in Smithers, B.C. Highlighted was the mining industry's interest in the northwest.

This year, mineral exploration expenditures in B.C. should exceed $100 million, four times the $22 million of a few years ago. New mines in the northwest should be developed over time, including: the Red Chris Copper Project; Galore Creek Copper and Gold; Klappan Anthracite Coal; Kemess North Copper and Gold; and the Tulsequah Chief. Operating mines include the fabulous Eskay Creek gold and silver property, the Huckleberry and Kemess Copper Mines, and the Endako Molybdenum Mine. All of this is in the northwest.

I am excited about these opportunities and encourage both levels of government to cut the red tape. I believe that we must encourage development of our mineral resources to create new jobs and opportunities for Canadians.

Projects that create wealth pay for essential services like health care and education. B.C.'s mining industry has contributed and does contribute to our economy in a major way.

The Environment
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Earth Day was celebrated for the first time in 1970 and today, 184 countries are participating in this day dedicated to the environment. Quebec is no exception.

This morning, in my riding of Rosemont—Petite-Patrie, I participated in an activity where more than 1,000 primary school children took to the streets to demonstrate their desire to respect the Earth.

Respect for the Earth is shown in many ways, including limiting greenhouse gases. In Canada, because of lax Canadian policy, greenhouse gases increased by 20% between 1990 and 2000, except in Quebec. During that same period, Quebec's efforts held its increase in emissions to 4.4%

The federal plan on climate change proposes investments to reduce greenhouse gases by using a sectoral approach. I want to remind hon. members that the Bloc Quebecois has always favoured a territorial model for implementing the Kyoto objectives.

RAI International
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to reaffirm my support for Canadians of Italian heritage who are calling for access to Italian digital television. RAI International is already available in 238 countries.

In September 2003, I wrote the CRTC on this. Since then, the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, myself and several of our Liberal colleagues have expressed our support in this House for RAI International's application to the CRTC. We are totally justified in this and I hope, for the sake of Canadians of Italian origin throughout Canada, that the CRTC will give a favourable response to them and to RAI International, whose application is supported by a petition containing more than 106,000 signatures as well as over 330 letters.

The Dalai Lama
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Rob Anders Calgary West, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is my humble honour today to welcome to Ottawa His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama is a Nobel Peace Prize winner and a relentless campaigner for freedom and human dignity. He has led the non-violent struggle against the occupation of Tibet for decades, against all odds. In exile, His Holiness has successfully led his people in the field of education and the preservation of their ancient and unique Tibetan culture.

I hope that all Canadians will embrace the peaceful spirit of his visit and that it will bring attention to the human rights situation in Tibet.

Canada has an historic opportunity to help launch negotiations between representatives of the Dalai Lama in China to broker a peaceful solution in Tibet. One hundred and sixty-two parliamentarians have called on the Prime Minister to act as an honest broker. It is time for the Prime Minister to stand up to the plate of moral leadership and do what is right.

Transparency International
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Bryon Wilfert Oak Ridges, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present to the House the following facts as stated by Transparency International, which has proven that Canada is one of the least corrupt countries in the world, in order to respond to the continuous allegations of corruption raised by the opposition on a daily basis, which are completely unacceptable.

Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index charts levels of corruption in the public sector and politics as perceived by business people, academics and risk analysis.

We note that it is not only in poor countries where corruption thrives. Levels of corruption are also worryingly high in some European countries, such as Greece and Italy, and in oil rich countries such as Nigeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Libya and Venezuela.

Transparency International ranked 133 countries in 2003. Canada ranked 11th, indicating very low levels of perceived corruption. It may be of interest to know that the U.K. ranked 13th and the U.S. 19th.

It is time the Conservative-Alliance stated the facts and stopped the rhetoric.