Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act

An Act to promote gender equity in Indian registration by responding to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia decision in McIvor v. Canada (Registrar of Indian and Northern Affairs)

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.

Sponsor

Chuck Strahl  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment provides a new entitlement to Indian registration in response to the decision in McIvor v. Canada (Registrar of Indian and Northern Affairs) that was issued by the Court of Appeal for British Columbia on April 6, 2009.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Motions in AmendmentGender Equity in Indian Registration ActGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2010 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Bruce Stanton Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for his leadership on this bill. He is absolutely right. This is a legal principle that must be upheld but particularly so for first nations because even a first nation government, which has made decisions with respect to programs and services that it offers its members, cannot be held up with the possibility of legal claims coming that are completely contrary to that principle in law. That is why clause 9 needs to be there.

Motions in AmendmentGender Equity in Indian Registration ActGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2010 / 12:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak at report stage of Bill C-3. I, too, want to acknowledge the efforts and the presence in the House of the AMUN walkers and the president of the Quebec Native Women's Association. The fact that they took the time to come to the House today to hear the debate on this bill at report stage underlines the importance of the outcome of this legislation to them.

Many of my colleagues know that for generation after generation individual aboriginal women, like Sandra Lovelace, Jeanette Corbiere Lavell and Sharon McIvor, have had to take the government to court to gain entitlement to their status, status that was denied them only because they descended from a status woman rather than a status man. We know that gender discrimination has existed in the Indian Act since its enactment.

The Conservative government introduced the legislation that we are looking at here today, Bill C-3, that would continue to leave residual gender discrimination in the Indian Act, forcing another generation of aboriginal women to fight for their rights and, as my colleague from the Bloc said, to fight for their rights without having the opportunities of the court challenges program.

We have heard a near unanimous call from aboriginal women's organizations, individual aboriginal women, including Sharon McIvor, aboriginal governments and chiefs, academics and national organizations, such as the Canadian Bar Association and LEAF, to amend or otherwise rewrite Bill C-3 to comprehensively and meaningfully end sex discrimination under the Indian Act.

We have heard a lot of conversation about the deadline but we have also heard that the courts allowed for the deadline to be extended further than the date that we are currently dealing with. For whatever reason, the government has chosen not to go back to them to extend that deadline. The government has chosen instead to deny repeated attempts to introduce comprehensive legislation that would, once and for all, end gender discrimination by the Indian Act. It has appealed the 2007 decision of the B.C. Supreme Court in the case of McIvor v. Canada. It voted against a debate on a motion that would broaden the scope of Bill C-3. It voted against amendments in committee that would guarantee full gender equality. It challenged these amendments in the House, despite the testimony of witnesses and the unanimous support of the opposition parties. It also attempted, as we are discussing here today, to reintroduce clause 9 of Bill C-3, which we were asked to eliminate in committee by all witnesses.

What does denial of status mean? I will quote from a LEAF submission. It states:

Denial of status perpetuates stereotypes against Indian women that have been entrenched in law since 1867; that they are less worthy, less Aboriginal and less able to transmit their Aboriginality to their children simply because they are women.

We actually heard poignant testimony at committee from women who talked about the personal impact it had on them, their children and their families.

Bill C-3 leaves intact significant areas of sex discrimination. It continues to perpetuate sex-based hierarchy for the transmission of status. Grandchildren who trace their aboriginal descent through the maternal line would continue to be denied status if they were born prior to September 1951. It would also continue to perpetuate inequalities between siblings within the same family, again based on their date of birth. The proposed amendment is restricted to the grandchildren of women who lost their status due to marrying non-Indian men but it does not deal with situations where marriage is not involved in cases of unconfirmed paternity or where Indian women co-parented with non-status men. It continues to perpetuate the discrimination.

We have no difficulty supporting report stage Motion No. 1. It reminds me and it brings back the nightmares of Nisga'a but, nonetheless, we have no problem supporting it.

Motion No. 2, unfortunately, gives us great difficulty. We have heard much argument about the challenges of clause 9. I understand the minister talked about it as being for greater certainty. However, I want to read into the record two submissions, one of which was referred to in part by the Canadian Bar Association. It states:

Section 9 is a concern, as it would remove the right of anyone to sue the federal government for not providing them with status as a result of the gender discrimination addressed by the Bill. If the federal government can be presumed to have been aware that Bill C-31 was not consistent with the Charter as far back as 1985, and did not act for over twenty years until the McIvor decision reached the BC Court of Appeal, the CBA Section is concerned with the justice of such a “no liability” provision. Further, we caution that including such a provision could make the Bill vulnerable to further Charter challenges.

I also want to quote from the Congress of Aboriginal People. It is unusual to hear criticism from the Congress of Aboriginal People. It states:

This section is an insult to Indian women and their descendants all over this country. Not only was Canada forced to make amendments to address gender inequality after fighting against the McIvor case for over 20 years; and not only has Canada proposed a very minimalist amendment; now Canada wants to ensure that it does not have to compensate the victims of gender discrimination? The court record provides more than enough evidence that Canada was well aware that it was discriminating against the descendants of Indian women.

I will not go on at length. We have heard members opposite say that this would provide equality and fairness. I want to end by saying that we heard from one of the members across the way that all citizens are equal before the law but not under this law. Under this legislation, some women would be more equal than others. Of particular concern to me is that some aboriginal children, their descendants, their grandchildren and their grandchildren's children would be more equal under the law.

I will conclude with a comment by Sharon McIvor who has been fighting this battle for many years, who has taken it to court after court and who has turned her life over to fighting on behalf of herself, her son and his children. She said in committee:

I am here today to ask you, to plead with you, to include all of those women and their descendants who are discriminated against, not just the narrow view that the B.C. Court of Appeal addressed. As parliamentarians you know that the court does not draft legislation. They just put it back into your lap so you can do what is right.

I submit that it is incumbent upon us as parliamentarians to do what is right and ensure that gender discrimination for women and their descendants is not perpetuated in this country.

Motions in AmendmentGender Equity in Indian Registration ActGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2010 / 12:20 p.m.
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Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Madam Speaker, I have a couple of comments and questions for the member.

Although the Canadian Bar Association did make the representation that she mentioned on clause 9, I ask her to comment on the counter argument. I hate to say this but in one sense the federal government is not at issue. The federal government could be sued but it has hundreds of lawyers and, arguably, infinite resources and it will defend itself or do whatever it has to do regardless of who is in charge of the government. The government has endless resources and will do whatever it needs to do to defend itself.

However, that is not so for first nation governments. They can be sued as well. People may come along and say that they should have had a house for the last 20 years and that the chief did not provide them with one so they will take the chief to the cleaners. They will not sue the federal government. They will sue the local chief and council for services not rendered.

While it may or may not succeed, who knows what the courts would say, it would conceivably put an obligation on first nation governments and they do not have the resources nor the ability to defend against, even if it is vexatious. For example, people may want to get even with the chiefs for something else that happened but could use this as an avenue to run them through the courts for years and years.

I think that is a serious issue but less so for the federal government, frankly, because it will do whatever it takes to manage the issue. However, I am concerned about the chiefs and councils who would have to deal with this, whether the case brought before the court is a serious one or not.

Motions in AmendmentGender Equity in Indian Registration ActGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2010 / 12:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, I thank the minister for his comments and questions, and I am very pleased actually to have the opportunity to respond to him.

First, if it were such a significant item, I would say to the minister that it might have been identified as a separate clause in the bill as it relates to first nation communities.

He is absolutely right. The government has the might of hundreds of lawyers at its disposal, at its will. I think it is all the more important to acknowledge the Herculean effort of someone like Sharon McIvor in using the court challenges program and the resources she had to get this far.

However, I would say to the minister that this was not a concern of his when we were dealing with Bill C-21, the repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, and I am struck by the irony of having it brought forward in this case.

I am also struck by the fact that we are hearing in regard to the repeal of section 67 and its exclusion of first nations human rights complaints to the Human Rights Commission that the government is challenging every aboriginal community and aboriginal group that is going before the commission in order to get to the tribunal.

Thus, there is a lot of inconsistency here.

Motions in AmendmentGender Equity in Indian Registration ActGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2010 / 12:25 p.m.
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Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I listened to the good minister attempt to demonstrate a little paternalism toward aboriginal women. I have a brief question. Can my colleague tell us whether this form of discrimination will end should Bill C-3 unfortunately be adopted? Also, should Bill C-3 unfortunately be adopted as written, what sort of discrimination will aboriginal women still be subjected to?

Motions in AmendmentGender Equity in Indian Registration ActGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2010 / 12:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Anita Neville Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, in my comments, I identified the areas in which aboriginal women will continue to be discriminated against, and I commend the hon. member to look to those.

However, it is important to realize that we have an opportunity here as parliamentarians to ensure that this discrimination does not take place. If this bill were drafted with the generosity of spirit of a full commitment to the reduction of the gender discrimination under the Indian Act, we would not be having this discussion here today. I think it incumbent on us, as I said in the words of Sharon McIvor, that we do the right thing. We have the opportunity as government and the opposition to work together to ensure that this is not perpetuated in this country.

Motions in AmendmentGender Equity in Indian Registration ActGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2010 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Madam Speaker, I would first like to point out that this is good legislation on an issue that goes back more than 100 years. This government is trying to address this very concern now, and I hope the opposition takes this legislation forward. I also hope that once the bill is passed, the government will address, in talking with its stakeholders, the further situations this gender equity in Indian registration bill does not currently meet.

I want to state at the outset that I will be speaking in support of Bill C-3, the gender equity in Indian registration bill. With the amendments before us, this bill is an important piece of legislation that must be passed without further delay. Bill C-3 proposes to amend the Indian Act and eliminate a cause of gender discrimination that has had a negative impact on first nations for far too long.

The bill now before us responds directly to a decision rendered last year by the Court of Appeal for British Columbia that two paragraphs in section 6 of the Indian Act are contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In order to allow Parliament to take action to resolve the issue, the court suspended the effect of its decision until April 6 and, subsequently, granted the government an extension until July 5 of this year. Time is running out for the House to act.

The solution proposed in Bill C-3 is to amend the Indian Act to remove the distinction between male and female lines that the court ruled was discriminatory. If passed, Bill C-3 will ensure that the eligible grandchildren of women who lost their Indian status as a result of marrying non-Indian men would become entitled to Indian status in accordance with the Indian Act.

First nations, like all Canadians, recognize the connection between equality and prosperity, and rightfully expect to be treated fairly before the law. Bill C-3 would be another step in this direction.

As my hon. colleague surely recognizes, the Indian Act defines much of the legal relationship between Canada and first nations. Clearly the process of identifying, analyzing and proposing potential reforms to the Indian Act must necessarily be done in close collaboration with first nations and individual stakeholders, but this process will take time. The Government of Canada fully recognizes that more consideration is required of the broader issues of registration, membership and citizenship. Accordingly, over the next few months, our government will be collaborating with first nations and other aboriginal organizations in setting up an exploratory process for a separate and distinct process of legislation on these broader issues.

If we fail to meet the July 5 deadline set by the Court of Appeal, a key section of the Indian Act, the one that spells out rules relating to the entitlement of registration, also known as Indian status, will cease to have legal effect in British Columbia. This could have very serious consequences. As the members of the House recognize, Indian status is a legal concept that confers a particular set of rights and entitlements. Should the two paragraphs of section 6 cease to have legal effect, this would result in a legislative gap that would prevent the registration of individuals associated with the British Colombia bands.

The legislation now before us proposes to avert these consequences by amending certain registration provisions in the Indian Act. Bill C-3 addresses the root of the problem by removing the language that the court ruled unconstitutional. In the larger context, Bill C-3 is another contribution by Parliament to help strengthen and modernize the relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in this country.

Bill S-4, our government's proposed legislation to resolve the long-standing issue of on-reserve matrimonial real property, currently before the Senate, and the repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, are two prime examples of recent contributions by this House to reinforce and transform that relationship.

Bill C-3 is similar to the repeal of section 67, in that it addresses issues of rights and equality. At the same time, Bill C-3 is different in that it responds directly to a court ruling, whereas the repeal of section 67 was driven by recommendations made by several national and international groups, including the Canadian Human Rights Commission, two parliamentary committees and the United Nations.

What is most striking, however, is that the repeal of section 67 and the legislation now before us both strive to strengthen the relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people by protecting individual rights and promoting equality. It is in the context of these accomplishments, I believe, that we must endorse Bill C-3. Canadians rightfully expect that the law should keep pace with current aspirations, needs and attitudes.

I would remind my hon. colleagues that as parliamentarians, we are required by the Court of Appeal for British Columbia to take action to ensure that legislative amendments are in place to address gender discrimination in certain registration provisions of the Indian Act. How to address other sources of possible gender discrimination in the Indian Act is an issue that can be looked at during an exploratory process in partnership with our aboriginal groups.

Motions in AmendmentGender Equity in Indian Registration ActGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2010 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Madam Speaker, it is interesting that my hon. colleague says the government must respond to the B.C. Court of Appeal decision. I take it that the government's position is that if Bill C-3 does not go through, it will have to provide alternative legislation in order to comply with the B.C. Court of Appeal's decision.

The member also says we have to meet the deadline because of the huge impact it is going to have on first nations people who might be eligible to register in B.C. However, if we talk to the member for Simcoe North about the financial implications of this bill, we do not know how many people are actually going to register. We cannot quantify that. We do not know if it is going to be one or 45,000. We do not know if it is going to be one or 3,000.

The government does not know if it is punched or bored on this particular bill. I wish it would get its story straight so that Canadians and first nations people could at least have a clear understanding of where the government is with this.

I ask the member, what is the interaction between repealed section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act and clause 9 of the bill? I ask because government seems to say, on the one hand, that because of Bill C-21 aboriginal people can go to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, but the government, on the other hand, denies them at every turn and wants to limit its liabilities with clause 9.

I would ask the member what the interaction is between those two different provisions.

Motions in AmendmentGender Equity in Indian Registration ActGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2010 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Madam Speaker, the hon. member brought up an interesting point in regard to clause 9. It is fair for first nations individuals and band councils that we adopt clause 9. Clause 9 protects both government and first nations officials who make decisions in good faith on the basis of the statutory provisions as passed by Parliament and that existed at the time of the decisions of the former. The Court of Appeal for British Columbia found that certain provisions in the Indian Act adopted in 1985 did not meet the standard of the charter, and it turned to Parliament to adopt the proper remedy for the future.

Clause 9 is there for greater certainty. This means that it actually reflects an existing principle of law, according to which decisions made in good faith on the basis of legislation later found to be invalid do not attract liability. This principle would normally apply even in the absence of clause 9. However, clause 9 is important because it sends a clear message from Parliament and it will avoid having persons who are unaware of the principle wasting their time and energy in sterile litigation against the Crown or first nation councils.

Motions in AmendmentGender Equity in Indian Registration ActGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2010 / 12:35 p.m.
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Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to tell the minister that I am going to ask a very good question, because as usual, I am very concerned about the issue. I know that my colleague, who sits with us on the committee, is also very concerned about the aboriginal issue.

Is it not true that the problem with clause 9 is that if it is restored as is—the current wording is why we want the clause to be repealed, and I hope my colleague will agree with me on that—aboriginal women will still lose their rights? These women have been hurt since 1876, which is an important date, since 1951, another important date, and especially since 1985, when everyone knew they were being discriminated against, yet that discrimination was perpetuated so that there would not be too many status Indians.

If clause 9 is restored, is it not true that aboriginal women will still be hurt?

Motions in AmendmentGender Equity in Indian Registration ActGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2010 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Rob Clarke Conservative Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, SK

Madam Speaker, through the exploratory process, the government, in co-operation with national first nations and other aboriginal organizations, plans to explore the broader concerns that were brought forward during the engagement process on the McIvor decision last fall. These broader issues are complex, with a diversity of views among first nations and other aboriginal groups. Therefore, comprehensive reform in respect to these matters cannot be resolved overnight or in isolation. That requires the gathering of information and identification of issues for further discussion as a first step.

However, we must not lose sight of the business at hand before we turn to gathering information on complex broader issues that aboriginal individuals and groups may want to raise in the exploratory process. We must ensure that the Indian Act registration provisions are amended in order to maintain the authority to register newborns in B.C.

Motions in AmendmentGender Equity in Indian Registration ActGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2010 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have this opportunity to rise in support of Bill C-3, the gender equity in Indian registration act, and the amendments before us today.

As stated previously by my fellow members, the legislation we are now considering is a timely and direct response to the ruling of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in McIvor v. Canada. We are aware that there are a number of other issues that have been raised in the context of Bill C-3. However, given the short time frame and the interests of avoiding a legislative void in British Columbia, we are seeking to implement changes that directly respond to the court's decision.

Bill C-3 offers a solution to the specific issues of gender discrimination identified by the British Columbia Court of Appeal in the Indian Act. As I mentioned, we are aware of broader considerations of registration and membership. Our government has been working in collaboration with the people directly affected by these issues.

Last year, following a thorough review and analysis of the court's decision, officials from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada had technical briefings with representatives of five national aboriginal organizations to discuss the decision and Canada's proposed response. Following those briefings, 15 engagement sessions were held throughout the country to present Canada's proposed response to the McIvor decision and to solicit feedback. Hundreds of participants came to the engagement sessions and many written submissions were received.

Several common themes emerged. Many people expressed concerns about the associated issues of registration, membership and citizenship. We appreciate the fact that these broader issues need to be considered and discussed. These are complex questions and there is a diversity of views among first nations. Therefore, we will be undertaking a collaborative process with national aboriginal organizations to plan, organize and implement forums and activities that will focus on the gathering of information and identifying significant issues for discussion.

This separate exploratory process will allow for an examination of the broader concerns. The Government of Canada believes that this process should be collaborative and thorough. The wide array of views on status, membership and citizenship must be shared and carefully considered. These issues cannot be addressed in isolation without the input of our aboriginal people and they certainly cannot be addressed in a rushed manner.

The findings of the exploratory process will be considered as we work on next steps regarding further initiatives on these issues. However, as important as this work might be, it cannot take precedence over Bill C-3. We must not lose sight of the fact that the legislation now before us responds to a specific court ruling and prescribed deadline. The ruling and the deadline have been the driving force behind Bill C-3. The proposed legislation has been devised to answer a very specific requirement. Therefore, it is precise, compact and focused.

Another beneficial aspect of Bill C-3 is that it complements actions and initiatives taken by the Government of Canada in recent years. In essence, a new spirit of effective collaboration now permeates the relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians.

Collaboration has been a defining characteristic of a long list of recent initiatives to improve the quality of drinking water in first nation communities, to eliminate the backlog of unresolved specific claims and to modernize on-reserve child and family services and education, to name but a few. In each case, the Government of Canada worked in partnership with aboriginal groups to design and implement an effective strategy.

This growing partnership is tremendously valuable. It inspires the mutual trust needed to make progress across a whole spectrum of issues. The engagement process used to develop Bill C-3 furthered this collaborative spirit.

As discussions about the exploratory process continue, it is vital that Canada respond effectively to the ruling of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Bill C-3 offers an appropriate response. The rationale and intention that has inspired the proposed legislation are sound and they are worthy of our support.

Bill C-3 would have a positive effect on all Canadians, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal. It would complement the collaborative approach adopted by the Government of Canada on many issues that affect the lives of aboriginal peoples. The proposed legislation, along with the exploratory process, will strengthen the relationship between Canada and first nations.

Bill C-3 represents a timely and appropriate response to the ruling of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. It proposes to eliminate a cause of unjust discrimination and ensure that Canada's legal system continues to evolve alongside the needs of aboriginal peoples.

I urge all members of the House to join me in supporting the timely passage of Bill C-3.

Motions in AmendmentGender Equity in Indian Registration ActGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2010 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Madam Speaker, I appreciated the presentation of a fellow colleague from Alberta. There were some very interesting points. However, I have the same questions for the member as I put to a number of other members of the government.

First, the government is talking of the need and the interest in beginning discussions on broader reforms. Would the member commit to supporting the tabling of a white paper to bring forward the long awaited reforms that were first recommended in 1985 by a parliamentary committee? The reason I recommend a white paper is we have a practice in the House of landing substantive bills and very little opportunity to amend. Therefore, in deference to first nation, aboriginal, Métis and Inuit communities, will he support a white paper so there can be broad discussion and so we can bring forward a consensus report?

Second, how much money has the department budgeted to deal with the process going forward to the end of this fiscal year to continue the consultation and does it include the issuance of a white paper?

Motions in AmendmentGender Equity in Indian Registration ActGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2010 / 12:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer, AB

Madam Speaker, a few weeks ago the member and I were in Edmonton at the Esquao Awards. We had an opportunity to speak with many aboriginal women leaders. As a member of Parliament, along with my colleagues from all parties, I am really pleased that I had this great opportunity to meet with those leaders in the aboriginal community.

The key point is the government acknowledges that there are broader issues above and beyond the issues addressed in Bill C-3. As a result, the government will be establishing a broader process to explore these issues in first nations and other aboriginal organizations, groups and individuals. Similar to the opportunities we had in Edmonton at the awards ceremony, we look at those opportunities to determine what the needs are for individual groups and organizations.

Motions in AmendmentGender Equity in Indian Registration ActGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2010 / 12:45 p.m.
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Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for so properly putting into context the fact that there are many other issues. The government has been clear from the beginning. We have indicated that this is not the end of the discussions. This is really the beginning of exploratory talks.

In answer to the question from the hon. member previous, the budget has not been set for these exploratory talks because we need to work with first nations to find out exactly what they want to do. Over the last few days there have been increased discussions on the role of the regional organizations as opposed to just the national organizations. These are important issues at the local and regional levels and we have to ensure they are properly engaged. I said at committee that it was not the government's intention to say this is the way it is going to be, or this is the way we consult here, or whether it is a white paper, and these are the only things we are prepared to talk about.

We must admit that there are more issues on the table. We must do more. Let us have exploratory talks and keep them quite open so that aboriginal leaders, whether they be regional, local or national, have a chance to talk about the issues that the hon. member described, many of which are as important, or more important in some cases, than Bill C-3 itself.