Minister, I want to start by noting that last week you told the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples, “My department's failure to directly engage with the plaintiffs was not only unacceptable but embarrassing for me as minister.” Of course, as we all know, and with all due respect, as a minister you're responsible for the department and what happens.
To be frank, I believe you would have been outraged as a critic had we moved forward with the piece of legislation that clearly had so many flaws. I look at the consultation. This bill was introduced on October 25. Most of these consultations happened after the bill was introduced in Parliament. Some of them happened just prior, so certainly anything that was in the consultations clearly didn't see its way into the legislation.
You have a big job with the second phase. The big job with the second phase should really be about moving beyond this bizarre registration process that we have. We have a chance right now. We have identified...and I think we've had really articulate witnesses, and these are issues around the charter—basic issues. I think we can get these problems fixed once and for all. Your phase two, rather than focusing on continuing to deal with the gender inequity, can deal with what is most important to first nations, which is moving on and past and out of the system.
First of all, how can you justify presenting a piece of legislation to this Parliament when the consultations happened after the legislation was introduced, which is certainly not consistent with nation to nation?