House of Commons Hansard #96 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was nations.

Topics

Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act
Government Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the member for Nunavut said that real partnerships were not token, that they involved respect, collaboration, courtesy, compromise, diplomacy and the list goes on. This is not legislative. This is being sincere and open.

I must repeat what Chief Fontaine said in his letter. He said:

Unfortunately, the advice and direction of AFN and First Nations has not been heeded... .

He went on to list them. He said:

Based on the Report of the Ministerial Representative on Matrimonial Real Property Issues on Reserves, and through the AFN's own report, "Matrimonial Real Property on Reserves: Our Land, Our Families, Our Solutions", the issues and remedies required clearly demonstrated the need for a broad and comprehensive approach.

That is not being taken fully in Bill C-47.

I must repeat that the message that has been given by so many people who have addressed this place on Bill C-47 is that, yes, we do need some legislative tools to work with to help bridge the problems but they cannot be totally effective unless we also address the non-legislative matters that are the root causes of many of the problems. This needs to be, as the member for Nunavut referred to, a holistic approach, and that is how we should approach these issues that have been raised by the stakeholders.

This is important legislation in a series of initiatives that must be taken by Parliament, but when we do it we had better do it right and that needs to start before the legislation gets on the table. If the signal goes out that notwithstanding the 109 consultations, they were not heeded and it is reflected in the legislation that they were not heeded, where is the good faith consultation? I do not think it is there.

Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, as a final wrap-up, I just want reinforce a point. When the first nations governance act was introduced there was a touring task force, so to speak, but on the idea of consultation, the minister of Indian affairs at that time claimed he had met the test and that he had truly done a consultation. The government at the time would staple a notice on a telephone pole in a certain community telling people that at 7 o'clock in the evening they would be talking about the first nations governance act and then there was a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo. Maybe three, four or five people would come out. Then the minister would say that they had consulted with that community. That cannot be called true consultation by any definition and I accuse the current government of the same thing.

Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member is quite right. According to Chief Fontaine, if the consultations had taken place, matters would have been dealt with, such as land management, dispute resolution capacity, housing, child welfare, shelters, policing, membership, residency, family violence, et cetera.

Those are not things that came up during the consultations on Bill C-47. Those are matters that have been before Canadians and before the government for many years.

Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to perhaps pursue the same line and themes that we heard from the member for Mississauga South and some of the questions and comments from my colleague from Winnipeg.

Although Bill C-47 has, as its essence, an idealistic approach, by the same token it is probably fairly naive, but, more important, it does not, as much as my colleague from Kitchener—Waterloo would like me to think. He is missing the point and the bill misses the point in that regard that the alleged consultation process really never occurred.

It does not matter whether I say that the consultation process occurred or whether the member from Mississauga or any other member in the House says that the consultation process occurred. It is whether the first nations, the aboriginal communities in Canada, feel that it was a meaningful consultation process.

As we talked to representatives of the first nations, it was obvious that they did not accept that the process leading up to the drafting and filing of the bill in the House met any kind of meaningful consultation process. They have repeatedly raised specific concerns both with regard to their comments falling on deaf ears, which was stated, I believe, by the president of the AFN, and that they were not involved. They raised a number of other concerns that they believed needed to be addressed before this type of legislation was introduced.

I want to go back to the motivation behind this, which, I would suggest, everyone in the chamber from all parties agrees to. We recognize that the present process for dealing with marital relationship breakdown on the reserves ends with women, in particular, being treated unfairly. We can look at statements from the AFN and from the women's groups within the aboriginal and Métis community that would say the same thing.

However, that is not good enough to then justify this legislation. The legislation has some fundamental flaws, which were pointed out to us by the first nations on the reserves. They told us that the legislation did not address a number of other problems that are attendant in that overall relationship between people living together on the reserve and then the relationship breaking down. They know that much more work needs to be done with regard to interspousal violence and interfamily violence. The bill does nothing to effectively address that.

It is sometimes said that we are speaking on behalf of the male component of the first nations community. I want to be very clear that that is not the case. I am looking at a press release that summarizes the position of the Native Women's Association of Canada. It makes a number of points and I want to go over them, but I want to deal specifically with the problems that it sees and that it feels the bill does not address.

It talks about the problems, and one obviously being the issue of matrimonial real property and who has rights to it on breakup. It goes on to say that the bill does not address at all the intergenerational impacts of colonization, which is a major problem, violence against women and a limited access to justice.

One of the further points the association makes in that regard is that there is nothing in the proposed legislation dealing with the assistance needed to build capacity on the reserves and to deal with those issues. However, I recognize that it is not the nature of this proposed legislation to do that.

This is work that has to be done before we move to legislation. Programming has to be put into place and financial capacity has to be put into place to deal with these.

Let me raise one issue. On the larger reserves in particular, should we be establishing a separate judicial infrastructure, not to deal just with criminal matters as we have done on some of the reserves, but to deal with matrimonial matters? Is that one of the things we should be building? This legislation does not address it at all. It is perhaps necessary that we have that, especially in the larger reserves.

With regard to other social programming infrastructure that is necessary to deal with some of these issues in the situation of marital breakdown, again, there is no addressing of that. When we speak to the representatives of the first nations, we hear that that type of negotiation is not even going on to build that capacity to deal with this kind of a structure.

I want to be very clear that with respect to the women's groups and the national association, there are parts of this legislation that they could see as being usable even though, as my colleague from Winnipeg mentioned, it is very much Eurocentric in terms of its historical background. There are parts of it that they think may very well be usable within their structure, their tradition and their culture, but not all of it will. They know that. When they are given this holus-bolus and are told, “This is the regime we expect you to follow because that is what we follow in the rest of Canadian society”, they immediately say, “We cannot do that. It is not possible to do that”. Again, we need to analyze this legislation in much more detail from their perspective. That is what they said.

Even before we get to that, they expect that we will as a society be in a position to ask what they require in the way of building an infrastructure to support their existing culture but to deal with these problems as they have identified them; what can we do to help in that regard? I have to say it was the same problem with another piece of legislation around governance of first nations that we had in late 2003-04 under the previous Liberal administration. The government did not have the necessary consultation and coupled with that, the government came up with solutions that were clearly not acceptable within their culture, within their tradition. We are repeating that same error. Fortunately the filibuster, and I again acknowledge my colleague from Winnipeg, that he helped lead, along with a member from the Bloc, eventually got that legislation withdrawn and we are still working on a proper governance model.

Going at it as we are here with the matrimonial property legislation is so piecemeal to almost amount to being ridiculous.

Again, we understand the motivation. I am not in any way demeaning the reasoning behind this, but the methodology is just totally unacceptable. It should be unacceptable to us if we are going to have any meaningful, respectful relationship with our first nations people. However, it clearly is unacceptable to that sector of our community who come out of the first nations.

Our position as a party is that we have to have this consultation; we have to have programming put into place to build that capacity before we move to this stage.

Let me make one final point. That is with regard to the regime itself. The regime itself accepts the concept of private ownership. Again, in the press release I mentioned earlier from the Native Women's Association of Canada, it specifically addressed that point. That concept of private ownership of band property is alien to them. Their concept is based on collective ownership, which again is alien to the European experience. It is not alien to most of Asia or to most of Africa. It is very much a European concept, if we go back in the history of it. It takes time to adjust.

The first nations have to ask themselves if they are going to move more into the private ownership concept, or do they stay within the collective concept but still deal with the issues of who has possession of the matrimonial home in the situation of a marital break.

Those are the kinds of issues that need to be addressed. They are not addressed in this legislation. They have not been addressed clearly in the consultation, limited as it was, in the run-up to the legislation being brought before the House. For that and a number of other reasons, we have serious reservations that this legislation should proceed. The work that is going to go on in committee, because obviously the bill is going to go to committee, is very much going to have to take that into account if we have any chance of dealing in a respectful, meaningful way with the first nations.

Kitchener Rangers
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in proud support of the best junior hockey team in Canada, if not the world. Sure, the world may not know it yet, but I look to the future, and let me assure everyone, the future is blue.

The Kitchener Rangers are the hosts of this year's Memorial Cup. Starting tomorrow, four teams will gather in the best city in Canada, and we in Kitchener will host them with pride and with the proper dash of humility.

Because 10 days later, three of those teams will return home with a sense of accomplishment for having represented themselves well, but only one team will have the right to hoist the Memorial Cup, and I think we all know, the Rangers it shall be.

From the glory days of Paul Coffey, Al MacInnis and Scott Stevens to the future of Justin Azevedo, Matt Halischuk or Mike Duco, look out, Canada, the Rangers are coming.

It is time for Canada to recognize in hockey what it has long recognized in politics: it is time to go blue all the way.

Go, Rangers, go.

Government Policies
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ruby Dhalla Brampton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, as each day passes, hundreds of Canadians are losing their jobs.

With the real estate sub-prime mortgage crash in the U.S., a crisis in the auto sector in Ontario and the closing of manufacturing plants, Brampton families are starting to feel the effects at home and at the dinner table. The strengthened job security and economic prosperity that hard-working Canadians and Bramptonians enjoyed under a former Liberal government has truly vanished.

They now have a Conservative government which has absolutely no plan to stimulate the economy, no plan for the crisis in the manufacturing and auto sectors and has provided no help for laid off workers. It is a government in which issues of social justice have fallen off the map. The results are that vulnerable Canadians and seniors are having to make the choice between filling up the gas tank, filling up the fridge, or filing their prescriptions.

Bramptonians deserve a government that will believe in them, that will invest in jobs, in child care, health care, in affordable housing, in the economy, ensuring that they will invest in the future of our country.

Radio Station CPAM
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

Vivian Barbot Papineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, for five years, radio station CPAM has offered programming based on the needs and the culture of francophone ethnocultural communities in the greater Montreal area. It primarily serves the Haitian community, as well as the Latin American and African communities.

CPAM's vast and varied musical programs have made the station a favourite among Montrealers. It helps these ethnocultural communities truly integrate into Quebec society.

CPAM has managed to attract the interest of people who have come from other countries by focusing on news from their native lands as well as from Canada.

In doing so, CPAM has achieved its primary mission to facilitate a smooth transition into Quebec society for the target communities, to help them live in French and to better reflect Quebec's cultural diversity.

I would like to congratulate CPAM on its fifth anniversary and wish it continued success.

Automotive Industry
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this week families in my community were greeted with the all too familiar news of more job layoffs.

When GM informed its employees that the Windsor transmission facility will be closed, it was yet another piece of bad news in what has been a string of dreadful announcements from the auto industry.

We have lost 140,000 manufacturing jobs in Ontario in the last four years. In my community of Windsor, thousands of auto sector jobs have simply disappeared. These statistics, while staggering, fail to adequately illustrate the countless individual stories behind each job loss.

The government casually, indifferently, talks about significant restructuring or sectoral adjustment. That is not what it is about. It is about a very negative personal impact on the lives of thousands of men, women and children in my community. It is the families in my community and other communities throughout Ontario and Canada who have to cope with these negative consequences.

Once again I urge the government to implement an industrial strategy to address the problems facing the automotive sector, and in so doing, help make a positive difference in the lives which are now being simply restructured.

David Thompson Brigade
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

James Rajotte Edmonton—Leduc, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to one of the greatest Canadians of all time, David Thompson, a man who set out for unknown territory at the young age of 14 as an apprentice with the Hudson's Bay Company.

He set sail from England in 1784, heading west to what is now Canada.

In 1797 he defected to the North West Company to pursue his interests in surveying and mapping. Mr. Thompson mapped out one-sixth of our country, or about four million square miles. He covered territory from Lake Superior to the Pacific.

In 1808 David Thompson travelled from Rocky Mountain House, Alberta to Fort William, now Thunder Bay, Ontario to report the opening of a trans-mountain trade route through the Rocky Mountains.

Although he passed away in near obscurity in 1857, he is now called the greatest land geographer who ever lived.

This week in the town of Devon in my riding, people celebrated the David Thompson Brigade.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of this event and modern day voyageurs will commemorate Mr. Thompson by retracing his journey.

As Canadians, we should be proud of his achievements in how he helped shape our great country.

Community Living Toronto
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Borys Wrzesnewskyj Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, 60 years ago, Victoria Glover, the grandmother of an eight year old boy with an intellectual disability, pleaded on the pages of the Toronto Star for an alternative to institutionalizing people with intellectual disabilities. That event sparked a watershed moment leading to the establishment of Community Living Toronto, CLT, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

CLT supports 6,000 individuals searching for accessible and meaningful ways to live a more normal life in the community. It is the largest association of its kind in North America.

This organization has changed the lives of people with an intellectual disability, giving them a voice and supporting their choice of where they live, study, work and play. Its vision for society is one where people belong and we help each other to achieve our dreams.

I join all colleagues in the House in congratulating Community Living Toronto for 60 years of providing vital support to persons with an intellectual disability and to their families.

Bloc Québécois
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc is like a worn-out soap opera that would have been cancelled years ago if not for the Liberal culture of entitlement that inspired the scriptwriters for 13 long years. Ever since the Conservatives came to power, they have been looking for new material.

According to La Presse editorial writer André Pratte, the Bloc leader ran out of reasons that would justify his presence in Ottawa, so he set about stirring up a new crisis that would put his party back on its feet. His tactics are so crude, they are laughable.

The Bloc leader thinks he has the confrontation he needs, but Quebeckers will not fall for it. They know the difference between a real crisis and melodrama. They know the difference between sensible demands and a con. It is obvious that by trotting out imaginary scandals and trying to stir up old conflicts, the Bloc is just looking for something to justify its existence.

Whatever the armchair separatists have to say about it, the Quebec nation recognizes that thanks to the Prime Minister's leadership, there are people in Ottawa now who can act in the best interest of Quebeckers and Canadians.

Rachel Émond-Mercier
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Lavallée Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my constituency assistant, Rachel Émond-Mercier, will be retiring on June 26, 2008. Rachel Émond-Mercier has been an active sovereignist from the beginning who, for the past four years, has dedicated herself entirely—she always gives 100%—to promoting sovereignty and defending the values and interests of Quebeckers, particularly the citizens of Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, as a policy advisor.

In Bloc Québécois ridings, she is reputed to be among the best constituency assistants, the men and women who support our party positions every day with such rigour, fervour and dedication, while always being extremely discreet.

Unfortunately for me and the Bloc Québécois, her husband, Pierre Mercier, a retired Hydro-Québec engineer, now wants her for himself. Her grandchildren also want to spend some time with her. She is an enthusiastic grandmother.

I wish Rachel a happy retirement. I would like to thank her in particular, as well as all the other constituency assistants.

The Economy
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Dykstra St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have been doing some thinking about the economy and the impact the Liberals' irresponsible spending plan of over $60 billion will have on our country.

The problem is how the leader of the Liberal Party thinks he can pay for this largesse. I figured it out. He is going to take this country's national credit card and max it out.

He is considering a massive tax on gasoline, a massive tax on home heating fuels and a massive tax on electricity bills. Believe it or not, the tax hikes do not end there. He is also going to raise the GST.

Canadians want to know why the tax and spend Liberal leader wants to punish hard-working Canadian families.

This government has taken a different approach. We have cut taxes by almost $200 billion. We have paid down our debt. Over three-quarters of a million jobs have been created since we formed government.

We are getting the job done for hard-working people in Ontario and this country.

Speech and Hearing Awareness Month
Statements By Members

May 15th, 2008 / 2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Scott Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, millions of Canadians of all ages are living with the daily challenge of speech, language or hearing problems that significantly affect their work, their school and all aspects of their lives. Greater awareness of where to find help is paramount in ensuring these individuals are able to lead richer, more productive and enjoyable lives.

May is Speech and Hearing Awareness Month and I wish to congratulate a constituent who has earned the prestigious national Promotions Award from the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.

Andre Lafargue is regional manager of audiology and speech-language pathology at River Valley Health in New Brunswick and is very involved in his professional associations. He has served as president of two provincial associations and is a former president of the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.

I express congratulations to Andre Lafargue. He is truly deserving of this honour.

Terrorism
Statements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, Liberal Senator Dallaire's testimony before a House of Commons subcommittee two days ago suggested that Canada is no better than al-Qaeda. The Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity gave the senator three opportunities to correct the record. Each time, the Liberal senator doubled down.

Asked if al-Qaeda strapping a suicide belt on a 14 year old girl with Down's syndrome and sending her to be remotely detonated is the moral equivalent to Canada's not making extraordinary political efforts for a transfer of Omar Khadr, the Liberal senator said, “If you want it in black and white, and I'm only too prepared to give it to you, absolutely”.

Since then, the Liberal senator has admitted his error and clarified his remarks in a press release. We accept that clarification.

What we do not accept, however, are the Liberal leader's continued attempts to defend his senator's testimony. The Liberal leader said that “on the substance of the issue, General Dallaire is right”.

Will the Liberal leader apologize today or will he continue defending comparisons between Canada and al-Qaeda?