House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was theft.

Topics

Broadcasting
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Conservative

Patrick Brown Barrie, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by several hundred residents of the city of Barrie petitioning Parliament and the CRTC to look at value for signal. This is in regard to our local television station that is going through some difficult periods, like local TV is across Canada.

The petition has gained significant support in the community of Barrie where we certainly appreciate the role our local television plays in highlighting local charities and contributing to our local culture.

Therefore, it is with pride and enthusiasm that I present this petition on behalf of the residents of Barrie.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to present two petitions signed by the people in my riding of Thunder Bay—Superior North.

The first one is from over 500 citizens who are concerned that the recent cuts to the CBC will endanger more services and the long-term viability of our national broadcaster. The CBC plays an absolutely vital role in providing northwestern Ontario with a voice through which we are able to express our ideas, concerns and opinions.

In northwestern Ontario, as with many other areas across Canada, we rely on the CBC also to provide a sense of connection for those of us who reside in remote and isolated communities and locations.

Postal Service
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

NDP

Bruce Hyer Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

The second petition, Mr. Speaker, is on behalf of residents of Port Arthur and Thunder Bay. It encourages the government to provide adequate local postal service there.

Canada Post has a long tradition of service in Port Arthur, opening its first post office in 1882, but early this year the last postal outlet was closed, leaving downtown Port Arthur stranded.

Residents and business people have had to travel far for basic postal services. Many local residents are mobility impaired, do not have cars or have to mail large packages too cumbersome to take on the bus. It is time for postal service to be restored.

This petition calls on the Government of Canada to instruct Canada Post to immediately reopen a full service Canada Post outlet or post office in downtown Port Arthur.

Protection of Human Life
Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, people have sent petitions to my office asking that Parliament pass legislation for the protection of human life from the time of conception until natural death. These petitions are from all over Canada including some from my riding.

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

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

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order Paper
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement Act
Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

moved that Bill C-41, An Act to give effect to the Maanulth First Nations Final Agreement and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement Act
Government Orders

10:15 a.m.

Vancouver Island North
B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak today in support of Bill C-41. This landmark legislation before us today would put into force the Maa-nulth First Nations final agreement, a historic accord reached by the Maa-nulth first nations, the Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada.

The Maa-nulth First Nations final agreement is only the second final agreement concluded under the B.C. treaty process and the first under that process that involves more than one first nation. The agreement is an example of the major progress we are making in the province to resolve outstanding land claims.

With the recent implementation of the Tsawwassen First Nation final agreement earlier this year and the signing of several agreements in principle, there is no denying that we are engaged in an extraordinary period in the history of Canada, British Columbia and first nations communities.

Bill C-41 and the progress we have made in other negotiations are positive markers that the B.C. treaty process can achieve success. We continue to work with the provincial government and British Columbia first nations in the negotiation process, and we have ensured that final agreements are appropriate to the needs of the people of Canada, B.C., the citizens of local municipalities and the members of first nations communities.

Many people from the five Maa-nulth First Nations communities played critical roles in enabling us to reach this historic moment. The chiefs of the five communities, four of whom are with us today, along with their chief negotiator, deserve special recognition and thanks for their ongoing leadership and commitment. They are Chief Councillor Charlie Cootes of the Uchucklesaht Tribe, Chief Councillor Violet Mundy of the Ucluelet First Nation, Chief Councillor Therese Smith of the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Chek’tles7et’h’ First Nation, Chief Councillor Robert Dennis Senior of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation and Hereditary Chief Anne Mack of the Toquaht First Nation.

Bert Mack also played a critical role. For 67 years, he was hereditary chief of the Toquaht Nation, a sacred role he passed on to his daughter Anne earlier this year. I understand that when Chief Mack became chief, at the age of 18, his father had one clear, concise instruction for him to follow. His father said “go and negotiate a treaty”. The Maa-nulth First Nations final agreement is a fitting testament to his unwaivering dedication to that task.

As a personal note, I have known Bert Mack and his wife Lil for over 30 years. I was delighted to attend the signing ceremony early this year in Port Alberni and to have the opportunity to share the moment with Bert and Lil and the Maa-nulth people. I have also worked in the forest industry in that region with Chief Charlie Cootes, so we were able to renew our friendship, as well.

The five first nations are collaborative and progressive, and it is very rewarding to witness the passage of Bill C-41. It will be transformative for the people of the Maa-nulth First Nations. With the approval of this legislation, the Maa-nulth First Nations communities can nourish their culture, assume greater control over issues affecting their people and lands, make their own decisions about resource use and delivery of programs and services, and create business partnerships. This would result in self-reliant communities that are better prepared to participate in the overall economic growth and development of Canada.

I would like to expand on five elements of the agreement: land use, finances, taxation, natural resources and governance.

The first element is land use. The land package of the final agreement consists of approximately 25,000 hectares of treaty settlement lands and former Indian reserves that would be held by the Maa-nulth First Nations in fee simple. This type of ownership gives these first nations flexibility to manage and use them to generate long-term economic benefits. The final agreement provides for five first nations governments to exercise a wide range of law-making authority over these lands. In addition, federal and provincial laws would continue to apply.

Over a period of 10 years, the five first nations would receive a total of $73.1 million in a capital transfer. In addition, over a period of 25 years, the communities would receive an estimated $1.2 million annually in resource payments.

For their part, the first nations would also deliver a host of agreed upon social programs and services to their people and would be fully accountable for the financial transfers they receive from the governments of Canada and British Columbia to support these programs and services.

Along with these fiscal transfers, each first nation government would have the ability to levy direct taxes on its members who live on treaty settlement lands. The section 87 tax exemption for transaction and other taxes would be phased out after 8 and 12 years respectively.

I should also point out that non-Maa-nulth First Nations members who live on Maa-nulth First Nations lands would be able to participate in discussions and vote on decisions of Maa-nulth public institutions that would directly and significantly affect them. In addition, each Maa-nulth government and public institution would formally consult with non-members concerning decisions that would directly and significantly affect them.

Under the final agreement, each Maa-nulth First Nations would have the right to harvest fish and aquatic plants for food, social and ceremonial purposes. However, these rights would be limited by prudent measures. A harvest agreement, separate from the final agreement, would enable the first nations to acquire commercial fishing licences on a long-term renewable basis, comparable to those held by fishers in the region's commercial fishery. There is no priority commercial fishery for the Maa-nulth First Nations. The Maa-nulth peoples would purchase commercial fishing licences in the open market. Moreover, Maa-nulth commercial fishing would take place only upon a general fishery being open for that species. Further, the standards for catch monitoring and reporting would apply as for other commercial fishing.

Finally, the Maa-nulth First Nations final agreement would establish open, democratic and accountable governments for each of the five first nations, with the exception of determining Indian status. The Indian Act would no longer apply to the Maa-nulth First Nations, their land or their members. Instead, each Maa-nulth first nation would have its own constitution. Each government would consist of a majority of members elected according to an election code, and elections would be held at least every five years. Each of these governments would enjoy all the attributes of modern democratic governments, including rigorous systems of financial administration, conflict of interest guidelines and processes that would enable citizens to review and appeal administrative decisions.

The final agreement would provide an opportunity for the first nations to include traditional chiefs in their government structures, if they so choose. This is an important recognition of the culture and heritage of the Maa-nulth communities. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms would also apply to the Maa-nulth first nations governments, and the final agreement would include specific provisions to protect the rights of non-Maa-nulth residents living on treaty lands.

In combination, these and other elements of the final agreement would provide what Uchucklesaht tribal chief Charlie Cootes calls a “toolbox” for the Maa-nulth people: a collection of proven, flexible mechanisms that would enable the Maa-nulth to make their own decisions on their own terms. Do not all Canadians, aboriginal and non-aboriginal, want and deserve to steer their lives, to provide for their families, to build strong communities, to reach their full potential and to control their fates?

Men and women would find it easier to secure bank loans, start businesses and save for the future. These are all simple yet profound consequences of the Maa-nulth nations final agreement. The benefits of the agreement would go far beyond the Maa-nulth First Nations. The transformative power of this agreement would touch the lives of each citizen of British Columbia and indeed all Canadians.

In the words of Robert Dennis Senior, Chief Councillor of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations:

The treaty offers opportunities for all of us.

...today, British Columbia can stand proud and say: “I was part of that change. I was willing to stand up and say things must change. Things cannot stay the same.—”

Finally, I would like to pass on the word said to me yesterday by Chief Anne Mack from the Toquaht band. It was from her father Bert Mack. The word, to me, means paddling forward together, and it is a fitting conclusion. The word is chuqchuqa.

Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement Act
Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, indeed it is a pleasure to indicate our strong support for Bill C-41, which is an act to give effect to the Maa-nulth first nations final agreement. Our party has been a strong advocate for first nations rights, for aboriginal rights generally in this country, and a strong advocate over the years for treaty and comprehensive claims settlement.

Yesterday I had the honour of meeting with four of the five chiefs from the five first nations under this Maa-nulth final agreement. I will call them by their first names, Anne, Tess, Vi and Charlie, if that is appropriate. I was struck by the smiles on their faces, the sense of encouragement in their voices and the sense of optimism they had for their communities when they understood this legislation was going through in an expedited fashion.

I would say to those chiefs and their people that we have also spoken with our colleagues in the other place and asked that they expedite this legislation before rising this summer so this bill can come into force and be constitutionally protected.

This is only the second final agreement under the British Columbia Treaty Commission process, the first being Tsawwassen. It has been a long process that has taken decades. The chiefs say it has taken generations for them to arrive at this place of certainty and understanding between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people.

They acknowledge the great sacrifices of their many negotiators, their many chiefs, and they wanted me to particularly mention George Watts. I do not know him personally, but I have some sense of the man and his contribution through the voices of these chiefs. They wanted to recognize their elders, who have given so much over the years to help their people progress.

We often talk about the benefits when we go through these final land claims and self-government agreements. There are tremendous benefits, but that comes with costs as well, many times to the first nations people. It is not as if they are giving up nothing. Many times it is only a portion of the traditional lands that are claimed that are settled for in the final agreements. The self-government powers that aboriginal people will have under these agreements are in some way, shape or form similar to what they wanted. There is a give and take.

These agreements are arrived at through long personal struggles, community struggles. People might ask if the benefits are worth the costs of what has been given up and whether there is a brighter future. The chiefs say, “Yes. For too long we have been denied our rights, our recognition. For too long we have not had the certainty of our own lands. For too long our own forms of self-governance and decision-making were not honoured. This is the way to go forward.”

Therefore, we have arrived at a final agreement. The parliamentary secretary has gone over the more general aspects of it, and I just want to refresh the House on some of those benefits and features of the final agreement.

Of course the benefits are certainty over the Maa-nulth First Nations' lands about who can do what, who can make decisions, and what the arrangement is between the aboriginal and non-aboriginal people. It provides modern governance tools and more workable relationships between industry and business as well as other levels of government.

As well, the governance regime under the Maa-nulth First Nations final agreement will be constitutionally protected. There will be no application of the Indian Act after a transition period, aside from the determination of Indian status.

Under the governance provisions, the agreement also contains law-making powers for matters relating to lands, resources and areas of governance relating to the delivery of health services, adoption and education.

There is a land regime where certain powers are conferred upon Maa-nulth First Nations and Maa-nulth First Nations lands and more co-jurisdiction powers on other lands within the settlement area.

There will be five first nations governments, and each Maa-nulth government can make laws applicable to its own lands to preserve, promote and develop their language and their culture.

Maa-nulth First Nations will also have the right to harvest wildlife and migratory birds for food and social and ceremonial purposes within Maa-nulth First Nations areas. They will be able to trade and barter wildlife and wildlife parts, migratory birds and migratory bird parts among themselves and with other aboriginal people who live in British Columbia.

There is a provision for fish to be caught for food and social and ceremonial purposes. When it comes to the commercial side of the fisheries, there is a side agreement, but it is not constitutionally protected and does not fall under this particular first nations final agreement.

There are also provisions that relate to areas of particular concern and interest to the Maa-nulth first nations people, such as Thunderbird's Nest. Under the final agreement, British Columbia has agreed to remove Thunderbird's Nest from the working forest and protect it because it has special cultural and spiritual significance to the Maa-nulth people.

There are also financial components, revenue sharing aspects, as well as aspects dealing with taxation.

The agreement also ensures that where there are, or may be, overlaps, the rights and interests of other first nations are not in any way impaired or hindered.

Each Maa-nulth First Nation community voted separately. There was over 80% support for the Maa-nulth final agreement. When it was debated and reviewed in the B.C. legislature, it passed by a vote of, I believe, 61 to 2.

This particular first nations final agreement has had outstanding support. That support was driven from the community up. Support came from first nations themselves. It was supported within the provincial legislature, and I am more than confident that it will be supported in this House and in the other place.

I wanted to speak with the chiefs because not being from that area and not knowing them personally, I wanted to get a sense of where they were. I wanted to see their faces and to hear what this meant to them and to their communities. They said to me that this means a coming back to their traditional ways, that it means coming back to their traditional lands. They said that it means their young people will have a place to call home. They said that it means opportunity, that it means a way forward, that it means hope for the future.

I am proud to stand here as an aboriginal person to support this bill on behalf of my colleagues and to support the Maa-nulth First Nations communities. I thank them for travelling here and for taking the time to be with us on this historic occasion.

Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement Act
Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

Bloc

Marc Lemay Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by acknowledging the chiefs and their representatives who are here today. It is deeply moving to see them here. I know that this is probably a historic moment for them, a rare moment in one's political career. Treaties have been signed, agreements finalized, and bills passed to bring the treaties into force. That is quite exceptional for this particular Parliament.

I want to emphasize the fact that all four parties have agreed to pass this bill quickly and move it through the legislative process as soon as possible to enable the Maa-nulth First Nations and their communities to live together and organize their territory so that they can be masters in their own house.

The Bloc Québécois fully supports aboriginal self-government. This agreement entrenches the right of these aboriginal peoples to govern themselves. For that reason alone, we would support the principle underlying this treaty.

More generally speaking, the Bloc Québécois cares about aboriginal peoples' demands for self-government. It recognizes aboriginal peoples as distinct peoples entitled to their culture, their language, their customs and traditions, and as peoples entitled to make their own decisions about how they want to express their own identity. That is exactly what the bill will do. The parties have agreed unanimously to pass the bill in the House today.

I would be remiss if I did not congratulate the chiefs and their representatives, who have been negotiating for years. Although I do not have them with me, I did read the voluminous documents about the agreement that were sent to my office. With all due respect, it might take a lawyer or two to interpret them over the coming years to ensure that the Maa-nulth First Nations enjoy all of the rights to which they are entitled under this historic agreement, which will be ratified by Bill C-41.

Where there's a will, there's a way. And that is exactly the case with this agreement. I would like to speak directly to the chief and to tell him, as a Quebecker, I would love to see more agreements like this negotiated. And speaking to the Algonquin communities of Quebec, I hope that these communities will have the opportunity to look at the documents that have been signed and will be passed by this House today, in order to implement this historic agreement. I hope that the Algonquin, Innu and Attikamek communities will be able to examine this agreement carefully, because there are some very important points in it with the potential to affect them directly. I would like to focus on a few of them.

As far as this territory goes, the agreement includes 24,550 hectares of land and a capital transfer of $73 million over a 10 year period. This is not the underlying principle, however. It is not a matter of money, but of respect. I believe that is what has guided the five Vancouver Island first nations. Some of our audience may wonder where this story is unfolding. It is to the west of Vancouver, on Vancouver Island and concerns a community comprised of five Vancouver Island nations . The Maa-nulth have lived on those lands since time immemorial.

The point of interest—and the reason why I am drawing a parallel with what could happen for the aboriginal communities of Quebec—is that the regime that will be adopted today will provide each first nation with the flexibility to manage its lands and to create long-term economic spinoffs. That is important. We are starting to talk seriously about independence.

Federal and provincial legislation, as well as the laws of the Maa-nulth First Nations, will apply on the lands of the Maa-nulth First Nations. This is, in my opinion, the exceptional parallel that could be drawn if the effort were made and there was some leadership. Those are what will be necessary in a number of aboriginal communities in Quebec in order to repeat what has happened in the Maa-nulth First Nations.

I am not necessarily referring to the financial side of it, but with respect to wild life and migratory birds, the Maa-nulth people will have the right to harvest wildlife and migratory birds for food, social and ceremonial purposes within specific areas. This is a great advance.

I have the departmental documents here with me and have even consulted the agreement, and this is really what is in it. Two huge documents were sent to our offices. As far as fishing is concerned, for instance, the Maa-nulth First Nations will have the right to harvest fish and aquatic plants for food, social and ceremonial purposes, provided they respect certain conditions related to conservation.

Maa-nulth commercial fishing will be fully integrated within the general commercial fishery on the west coast of Vancouver Island. This is quite exceptional. I believe that this is an extremely important step, because fishing will be incorporated into the agreement. I think that many white and aboriginal communities could take inspiration from this agreement.

With regard to culture and heritage, each of the Maa-nulth First Nations can make laws to preserve, promote and develop culture and language, conserve and protect heritage resources on its lands, and deal with archaeological materials, sites and ancient human remains. That is another important point.

Interestingly, with regard to governance, the Indian Act will no longer apply to Maa-nulth First Nations lands or members, with the exception of determining Indian status—which is understandable—and a transition period for phasing out the Indian Act tax exemption.

Regarding taxation, the Maa-nulth First Nations governments will have the ability to levy direct taxes on their members within treaty settlement lands, known as the Maa-nulth First Nations lands.

Section 87 of the Indian Act provides for tax exemptions for transaction taxes and other taxes. These exemptions will be phased out after eight and 12 years respectively.

With regard to local government relations, each Maa-nulth First Nation will become a member of its local regional district and appoint a director to sit on the regional district board. In Quebec, this would mean that each nation, such as the Algonquin, would become a member of the regional county municipality.

In closing, I want to wish the chiefs who are here today good luck and to express the hope that the dreams of their elders will become reality and that this historic treaty will reach its full potential.

For my part, I have not seen this often, and I believe that this is the first time five nations have signed a treaty together. It is my hope that this extremely important treaty will serve as an example to other communities and other tribal councils. If that could happen, then the outstanding work they have done will be extremely important to the future of Canada's first nations.

Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement Act
Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the New Democrats, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-41, An Act to give effect to the Maanulth First Nations Final Agreement and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.

What we are talking about today in the House represents a journey, and it truly is a journey of generations. When I spoke to the chiefs yesterday, they said this particular piece of work started in 1992. One can see that it has literally been years in the making.

I also want to acknowledge the fact that we are talking about five nations that have come together to bring this treaty to fruition. I want to name the nations and the chiefs, four of whom are here in Ottawa today. We have the Uchucklesaht, with Chief Charlie Cootes; the Ucluelet, with Chief Violet Mundy; the Toquaht, with Chief Anne Mack; and the Ka:'yu:'k't'h'/Che:k:tles7et'h', with Chief Councillor Therese Smith. We also have the Huu-ay-aht, with Chief Councillor Robert Dennis, who was not able to be here today.

It is important to name the chiefs because they are here to bear witness. They are here to see this historic moment unfolding in the House of Commons. This work is part of that reconciliation process that we have been talking about in the House over this last year, with the one-year anniversary of the apology for residential schools. This is part of that reconciliation journey.

I also want to acknowledge Chief Bert Mack from the Toquaht, who guided his nation as their hereditary chief to this point. I want to acknowledge the elders. In any first nations community, the elders are the very heart and soul of the community. They are the ones who provide the teachings and the guidance. They are the ones who walk with the leaders and they are the ones who provide the guidance to get the leaders to this place today. So I want to acknowledge those elders and raise my hands to the elders and their continuing guidance and wisdom.

We have only a very brief time to talk about this treaty today and about its importance both to the five nations and to their neighbours. However, I want to situate this treaty a little bit, because many people in Canada do not really understand the geography of British Columbia, and Vancouver Island in particular. These five nations' traditional territories are on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It is truly some of the most beautiful territory in this country. It is a coastal temperate rainforest and it is very rich in land and sea resources.

In the history, these five nations have been in this territory for thousands and thousands of years. In fact, the teachings say that they have been there since the beginning of time. The rich culture, language and traditions mark that time back through many centuries.

I want to centre the treaty itself around the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I think the United Nations declaration could provide guidance for future treaties, for land claim settlements in this country. Although there are many articles that could have applied to this treaty, I want to quote from article 19, which says:

States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

With Bill C-41, this very important piece of legislation, we have that free, prior and informed consent. The Maa-nulth nations have been at the table representing their people, making sure that their needs, concerns and wants were understood and were part of that treaty process. Because we have that free, prior and informed consent, we have a piece of legislation that is supported by the five Maa-nulth nations.

It is important to remember that context, because we know that we have other treaty negotiations going on in British Columbia and lands claims throughout the country. If we use the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it may help inform these future agreements for other nations.

I also want to touch very briefly on some of the key points. I am going to quote from the Maa-nulth First Nations' own website, because I think their own words are important to have in the House.

What they say on their website is:

The Final Agreement includes a land package as well as funding in the form of a capital transfer, annual resource revenue sharing payments, and ongoing and time-limited funding for each Maa-nulth First Nation.... The Final Agreement also includes self-government provisions and defines each Maa-nulth First Nation's rights to resources such as wildlife, fish, timber and sub-surface minerals.

Although the treaty is not an answer to many challenges that are faced in our communities, it does provide a “tool box” for our people to make our own decisions on our own terms....

A treaty will bring certainty with respect to each Maa-nulth First Nation's Aboriginal rights through the Maa-nulth First Nations traditional territory. The treaty will provide modern governance tools that the Maa-nulth First Nations may use to build strong and workable relationships with other governments, including federal, provincial and local governments on the west coast of Vancouver Island....

[It will also] resolve long-standing issues regarding undefined Aboriginal rights and title, and bring certainty and economic benefits not only to the Maa-nulth First Nations, but also to the entire region.

That is a very important part, because what we know in many first nations communities is that they have the capability, the resources and the will to bring prosperity to their communities. What we need to do is get out of the way and provide the mechanisms through treaties for that right to self-determination, and economic benefits will not only accrue to the first nations in their traditional territories but will also accrue to their neighbours.

We have other examples in British Columbia where we know that, working in partnership, we can bring that prosperity both to the nation and to their neighbours. This treaty is an important aspect of bringing certainty to the nations and to their neighbours. That, in itself, is a cause for celebration.

I want to touch on a couple of other aspects of the final agreement. The final agreement certainly does involve land. It consists of approximately 24,550 hectares of treaty settlement land, including the former reserves. The Maa-nulth First Nation government will have law-making authorities over its land, although federal and provincial laws will continue to apply, along with current Maa-nulth First Nation laws.

There are many aspects of this treaty. Of course, I do not have time to cover them all, but I just want to touch on a couple, because the land aspect is very important. Many first nations will talk about their spiritual, physical, emotional ties to the land and how important it is that those traditional territories are respected. As other speakers have pointed out, we know that this is just a small fraction of the land that was part of the traditional territories of the five nations.

On Vancouver Island, we know forestry is the lifeblood of many of the communities. Under forestry, the Maa-nulth First Nations will own and manage the forest reserves, the forest resources on treaty settlement lands, consistent with provincial standards for private land.

I know elders have often spoken about the importance of culture and heritage, passing on the teachings to the next generation, but also the preservation of language. The language is the heartbeat of the culture. Without the language, it is oftentimes very difficult to transmit the culture. The elders can talk about how the words themselves represent that whole being.

The Maa-nulth First Nations may make laws on treaty settlement lands to conserve and protect Maa-nulth First Nations culture and language, to deal with ancient human remains, and to regulate access to Maa-nulth First Nations cultural heritage resources. Some of the Maa-nulth First Nations artifacts in the Royal British Columbia Museum, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and Parks Canada collections will be transferred to the Maa-nulth First Nations.

There are many aspects of governance and education, but I want to briefly mention implementation. Implementation is an essential part. Implementation is, of course, covered in the final agreement.

Again, according to the words of the Maa-nulth themselves, they talk about “true implementation”. They say true implementation will mean:

Exercising self government by our Constitutions, laws, regulations and policies; Drawing down additional authorities in the Treaty as appropriate for that particular Nation.

Of course, we have seen other modern-day treaties were implementation has been a slow and painful process. I would hope that this is a new era with the implementation agreement that is set out in the final agreement, that we will not see the kinds of stumbling blocks that we have seen with other implementation agreements.

In closing, this is a great day to celebrate and to honour the work that the chiefs, their elders and the communities have done to bring this treaty to the House of Commons. I look forward to support from all parties and in the other place so that this treaty has rapid passage.

Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement Act
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

Pursuant to an order made on Monday, June 15, 2009, Bill C-41 is deemed read a second time, deemed referred to a committee of the whole, deemed reported without amendment, deemed concurred in at report stage and deemed read a third time and passed.

(Motion agreed to, bill deemed read the second time, considered in committee, reported, concurred in, read the third time and passed)

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-26, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (auto theft and trafficking in property obtained by crime), as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

Criminal Code
Government Orders

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Andrew Scheer

There being no motions at report stage, the House will now proceed without debate to the putting of the question on the motion to concur in the bill at report stage.