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House of Commons Hansard #22 of the 36th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was boards.

Topics

Canada Health ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Reform

Jim Gouk Reform West Kootenay—Okanagan, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-267, an act to amend the Canada Health Act (conditions for contributions).

Mr. Speaker, my bill is actually a notification protocol for emergency response workers who come in contact with infectious diseases. These people put their lives on the line for us when attending accidents. If they come into contact with an infectious disease, no protocol allows them to be notified because of a concern for the patient's confidentiality.

My bill is designed to provide that protocol while still providing the confidentiality necessary. It uses the vehicle of the Canada Health Act to initiate the program. Once initiated it would not require further pressure, as it were, from the Canada Health Act.

This bill was previously introduced by the NDP in a previous Parliament as well as by myself in the last Parliament. It was supported obviously by us and by them, and by the Liberal government when it sat as the official opposition prior to 1993. I hope all members will co-operate in the swift passage of this bill as it is critical for those who are defending our needs.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Canada Health ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Reform

Jim Pankiw Reform Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The bill just introduced by the member for West Kootenay—Okanagan is critically urgent for emergency response workers. They put their lives on the line to protect Canadian citizens. They happen to be meeting in Ottawa this week.

As the member mentioned, his bill was previously introduced by the NDP. It was supported by the Liberals when they were in opposition. Therefore I request that you seek the unanimous consent of the House that his bill be adopted at second reading and sent to the Standing Committee on Health.

Canada Health ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is there unanimous consent for the proposal of the hon. member?

Canada Health ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Canada Health ActRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

There is not unanimous consent.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

Reform

Werner Schmidt Reform Kelowna, BC

Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to introduce to the House a petition presented by some 500 petitioners that request Parliament to amend the law to require courts not to be biased against fathers when granting custody, to give equal access to both parents and to give access to grandparents.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:05 a.m.

NDP

Gordon Earle NDP Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present. These petitions call for a public inquiry of Ipperwash.

The petitioners request of the House of Commons of Canada that a full public inquiry be held into the events surrounding the fatal shooting of Dudley George on September 6, 1995 to eliminate all misconceptions held by and about governments, the OPP and the Stony Point people.

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Liberal

Peter Adams LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

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

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is that agreed?

Questions On The Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Edmonton Southeast Alberta

Liberal

David Kilgour Liberalfor the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

moved that Bill C-8, an act respecting an accord between the Governments of Canada and the Yukon Territory relating to the administration and control of and legislative jurisdiction in respect of oil and gas, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:10 a.m.

Pierrefonds—Dollard Québec

Liberal

Bernard Patry LiberalParliamentary Secretary to Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, I rise to address the House on Bill C-8, the Canada-Yukon oil and gas accord implementation act.

I am extremely pleased to be introducing to the House yet another bill which reflects the changing political circumstances in Yukon. I know that my hon. colleagues will want to join me in supporting and applauding the territorial government's ambition to take a new provincial-type responsibility at this time.

These are exciting times in Yukon, which is in the midst of a number of historic developments. The 35th Parliament dealt with land claims and self-government legislation for Yukon's First Nations. We also addressed the establishment, through separate legislation, of the Yukon Surface Rights Board.

Today I am asking hon. members to support the transfer to the Yukon government of the administration and controls of onshore oil and gas resources. I am also proposing through Bill C-8 that the territorial government be granted the authority to legislate in regard to these resources. In other words, I am seeking the support of the House to move the devolution process forward another step in Yukon.

The first steps of this transfer to the Yukon Territory were taken in the 1980s. The present government made a commitment to continue implementation in a planned and orderly manner and without delay.

Prime Minister Chrétien confirmed this course of action and the government's desire to promote political development in the North in his speech to the Northwest Territories legislative assembly in November 1993.

The people of the Yukon including the Yukon's First Nations fully support the transfer of responsibilities and the passing of the bill.

The transfer process does not mean that the federal government is trying to abdicate its responsibilities. Instead it is the expression of the real and justified desire of the northern people to take greater control of their lives. It is a matter therefore of transferring responsibilities to the appropriate authorities and of ensuring that decisions are made locally in the best interest of those concerned.

For the people of the Yukon, the transfer of responsibility for natural resources is vital to their political development. They are convinced that resource development will provide the basis for a strong and healthy economy in the territories through to the 21st century.

The Yukon's gas and oil resources are for the most part as yet undeveloped, although not for lack of interest. Uncertainty as to land and resource ownership has slowed the development of the Yukon for over 20 years. With the passing of the Yukon land claims legislation in 1994, negotiations currently under way with the Yukon First Nations and the settlement of pending territorial claims in the near future will get oil and gas exploration activities going once again.

Bill C-8 is being brought forward under the terms of the Canada-Yukon oil and gas accord which was signed in May 1993. Under this accord the federal government agreed to introduce legislation to give the territorial government the additional legislative powers necessary to manage and administer onshore oil and gas resources. This will be accomplished through amendments to the Yukon Act as set out in Bill C-8.

On the date of transfer the federal government will also pay to Yukon the moneys it collected in petroleum revenues from onshore sources in Yukon. Once the transfer is completed Yukon will receive an annual revenue of approximately $1.5 million from the Kotaneelee project.

I assure hon. members that no new federal money will be required to support this transfer process. Once the transfer of responsibilities and funding is completed, the federal government will no longer be directly involved in managing onshore oil and gas resources in Yukon. It will be done at the territorial level.

However, the offshore areas will continue to be under the jurisdiction of the federal government and the federal regime will continue to apply.

Territorial legislation will be passed which will establish a new regime for managing and regulating oil and gas activities. The legislation will address exploration, development, conservation, environmental and safety issues, as well as the collection of resource revenues. The replacement of federal legislation by territorial legislation will take place simultaneously with the transfer of administration of oil and gas.

I also assure hon. members that the transfer of these legislative powers to Yukon will not affect the ability of the Government of Canada to fulfil its mandate in any area of federal responsibility. It will not diminish our authority with respect to international affairs, national security, the environment, the resolution and implementation of land claims, or the creation of national parks.

It is also important to keep in mind that the Government of Canada will also have the power to resume responsibility for the administration and monitoring of gas and oil operations on all of the lands, with a view to settling aboriginal land claims. This clause will therefore guarantee Yukon First Nations the possibility of selecting underground lands.

In addition, the supplementary rights assigned to the territories will not in any way reduce the authority of the National Energy Board over pipelines.

Subsequent to the transfer of legislative powers to the Yukon, Yukon First Nations subject to settlements already in effect will receive a portion of the royalties collected by the Government of the Yukon Territory, as set out in the land claims agreements.

Bill C-8 will allow the Government of the Yukon Territory to exercise its jurisdiction over onshore gas and oil. The territorial government will not obtain greater powers than are given to the provinces under section 92( a ) of the British North America Act of 1867.

In addition, no party to this agreement or this legislation shall modify aboriginal rights or rights arising out of existing treaties protected under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

This is of major importance to the Yukon First Nations. These provisions ensure that Bill C-8 cannot and will not undermine the advantages the Yukon First Nations have obtained through agreements on land claims and self-government.

In fact, since the bill was presented during the 35th Parliament, further consultations have been held with the First Nations concerned. The Yukon Council of First Nations has indicated its support of the bill.

The Yukon government will be expected to manage oil and gas in a manner that serves the interests of all Yukoners including aboriginal people. I note that the Yukon government is also working closely with the first nations on the matter.

Hon. members should also be aware that Bill C-8 has strong support from the oil and gas industry.

This transfer is clearly in the best interests of the governments of Canada and Yukon as well as individual Yukoners. It is fully consistent with the devolution initiatives taken by previous governments.

With that in mind I urge my hon. colleagues to support Bill C-8 so that the devolution process can move forward and Yukon can continue to evolve politically and administratively.

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:15 a.m.

Reform

Darrel Stinson Reform Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is kind of a rush, catch-up type of day. I am sure the Speaker knows all about that.

It is a pleasure to be here this morning to speak to Bill C-8. Bill C-8 has been kicking around basically off and on for quite a while. It is an act respecting the Canada-Yukon Oil and Gas Accord Implementation Act. The bill reflects the government's recognition of the important role of oil and gas exploration in the northern territories.

The territories are the site of approximately a quarter of Canada's remaining discovered petroleum and approximately a half of Canada's estimated potential.

Oil and gas exploration and development is an important key to the future economic well-being of the territories. We are already seeing a wide range of possible benefits from such mineral discoveries as the BHP Diamond Mines. I have no doubt that as settlement in the north increases and infrastructure expands we will see an ever increasing benefit to the north from natural resource developments of all sorts.

While the legislation before us today is important to the economic future of Yukon, it is also in accordance with the Reform Party position on two very important issues. First, the Reform Party of Canada strongly supports transferring control of natural resources to the provinces. The legislation calls for the devolution of provincial-like powers to the Yukon territory by transferring the administrative and legislative control over oil and gas to the Yukon government.

The federal government is demonstrating its commitment to political devolution to the Yukon territory. Reform supports increased provincial or territorial control of natural resources and decreased federal control over natural resources including control over the oil and gas industry.

Second, the bill concurs with Reform's belief in the equality of all provinces. While Reform supports decreased powers on the federal level it also supports increased powers for the Yukon government. The powers held by the territory should not exceed those held by any of the provinces. The bill does not transfer greater powers than those held by the provinces under section 92, 92(a) and 95 of the Constitution Act, 1867. As was stated in the unity debate, equality between provinces is absolutely essential to the equal treatment of all Canadians.

While Reformers support the legislation we also have some concerns. In recognition of the unique situation in the north the legislation respects aboriginal land claims and settlement rights. The legislation does not diminish aboriginal treaty rights under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. It is consistent with the legislation concerning wildlife, the environment and land management regimes under this section.

The legislation also states that any inconsistencies will be resolved in favour of legislation implementing the treaties. All these provisions are important to the acceptability of the legislation to aboriginals in the Yukon territory.

The concerns I speak of are with regard to the federal government's retention of the right to reclaim control of land to settle aboriginal land claims. This provision is intended to protect the rights of first nations still in negotiations with the government. However investors may be slow to undertake exploration development projects until land claims are resolved.

This is not to suggest that the provision should be removed, but the government must develop and adhere to a time line for negotiations so that exploration and development are not continually delayed.

It was previously anticipated that negotiations with all Yukon first nations would have concluded by February 1997. The anticipated date was then extended to July 1997. However, as of September 19, 1997 only half of the Yukon first nations had reached agreements while the remaining seven were still in negotiations.

Therefore I urge the government to resolve land claims as quickly as possible so that potential investors can confidently proceed with oil and gas development in the Yukon territory with all the benefits for those who live nearby.

There are also concerns regarding the government's retention of the right to reclaim lands and to take certain actions in the event of a sudden oil supply shortfall. This provision complies with Canada's international obligations as outlined in the International Energy Agency oil sharing agreement. The same international obligations were responsible for the introduction and implementation of the national energy program.

Westerners need not be reminded of the disastrous impact the national energy program had on Alberta's economy during the so-called energy crisis. Because of the very nature of the north with its relatively limited opportunities to obtain income from manufacturing, for example, especially due to difficulties in transportation and lack of infrastructure to support the kinds of development taken for granted in the southern part of Canada, Yukon is extremely dependent on natural resource jobs and revenues. It will therefore suffer even greater hardship than Alberta did should the federal government deem it necessary to implement controls like those used during the last energy crisis.

There must be some commitment by the government to give much more serious consideration to the impact of its actions on the Yukon territory, on the Yukon economy and on the social and economic well-being of the Yukon people should there be an oil supply shortfall or energy crisis.

In short, Ottawa must learn by its errors with Alberta and not treat any part of Canada ever again with such cruel indifference.

The legislation affecting Yukon in this respect should set the precedent for other provinces resulting in amendments to existing legislation that will protect all provinces from economic disasters like that brought upon Alberta under the national energy program.

The power gained by Yukon through the legislation is economic. Not only will the Yukon government have jurisdiction over exploration, development, conservation and management of oil and gas but also over resource revenues. The legislation allows the territory to raise revenues by any mode or system of taxation in respect of oil and gas in the territory. It also gives the territorial government control over the export of gas and oil from the territory.

The bill will reduce the economic dependence of the Yukon territory on the federal government and allow it to develop its own economy as the more successful provinces have already done. Others such as Newfoundland and Labrador are still struggling to get out from under Ottawa's thumb and profit from their own natural resources.

However the legislation keeps the federal government too involved. The federal government will continue to collect resource royalties on annual resource revenues exceeding the first $3 million.

Reform opposes federal collection of resource royalties from resource industries in any province but especially those in the provinces and territories where resource revenues are the foundation of the economy.

Despite those concerns, however, all interested parties have expressed support for the legislation. During the summer of 1996 I had the great opportunity to travel extensively in Yukon with my wife. While I was there I spoke with a broad section of Yukon residents. There were some real concerns over the legislation basically based on being underneath the federal wing for so long and on what would happen when some of the powers were transferred to the people of the Yukon territory.

While these concerns were there and expressed in great detail, there was also great anticipation by people looking for the new opportunities that were to be gained from this piece of legislation, basically for their freedom from the red tape from Ottawa which they have been wrapped up in for so long. I appreciated that and I know where they are coming from. I can see where the opportunity now arises for these people to go further with their endeavours on their own.

The Canadian and Yukon governments have committed also to consult with aboriginal peoples on significant oil and gas decisions affecting traditional lands prior to the completion of land claims negotiations. Otherwise we might have in the Yukon a repeat of the situation at Voisey's Bay in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

There a mining company invested billions of dollars to acquire a site but every imaginable hurdle has been thrown in the path of that development. Hurdles are being thrown by the federal government, especially agreeing to delay development at Voisey's Bay while the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development spends a few more years, nobody knows how many more years, supposedly working to settle land claims which have been under negotiation for a generation.

I have to wonder when I see how the federal government gets itself involved in something like the Voisey's Bay situation. We have the potential of between 3,000 and 5,000 jobs in a section of Canada that desperately needs those jobs. We all know that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador desperately want to go to work, yet the federal government is basically stopping them from doing so. I have to wonder at the power we allow our governments to hold in certain areas such as this one.

We know that Newfoundland and Labrador is supposedly one of the poorer provinces in Canada. Yet it has the chance right now of probably becoming the Alberta of the east with the Voisey's Bay project. And here we sit holding up maybe one of the greatest developments in the world at this point in time. I have to question the wisdom of this government on that issue.

Sometimes it seems there are departments opposing northern development rather than working to assist northern development. In that case I am particularly pleased to see the federal government stepping back and turning oil and gas exploration and development over to the local level of government closest to the situation and best able to deal with it, namely the territorial government.

We all know beyond a shadow of a doubt when we give people sitting 1,600 or 2,000 miles away from any given situation the power to make decisions on things that should be left to the provinces, the territories or the local governments, we seriously jeopardize Canadians' ability to further their lifestyles in this country.

This legislation respects the unique situation north of 60 without compromising the principle of equality. Most important, this act incorporates grassroots concerns and amendments. This legislation is part of a greater process that involves the devolution of control not only over oil and gas but over education, health care and economic development in general.

This transfer of power will give the Yukon people their proper voice in the way their lives are to be governed and greater power over the quality of their lives. Therefore Reform generally supports this legislation and recognizes it for what it is, a most important step in the political evolution of the Yukon territory.

I would like this House to study the concerns that we have in regard to this piece of legislation and to fully understand maybe finally that more power is not necessarily more beneficial when it is controlled in Ottawa as we are doing today in this House.

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:35 a.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, this being my maiden speech and in keeping with the practices of this House, I do not think it will come as a surprise to anybody if I start by thanking the constituents of my riding of Saint-Jean for putting their confidence in me once again. Although this was not an easy election for the Bloc Quebecois, I am buoyed by the fact I was elected with a 9,000-vote majority in Saint-Jean. So I want to take the opportunity, at the beginning of my first speech in this new Parliament, to thank the voters.

I now move on to the other end of the continent, more precisely the Yukon. We have before us today a bill respecting an accord between the governments of Canada and the Yukon Territory relating to the administration and control of and legislative jurisdiction in respect of oil and gas. This is indeed a bill to amend certain acts, including the Yukon Act, and conferring new legislative powers to the Yukon.

Speaking of “conferring”, let us look at all the powers that will be devolved to the Yukon. Jurisdiction over all oil and gas operations will be transferred to the Government of the Yukon Territory, which will, among other things, administer and control the development of oil and gas resources. We realize that this region presumably has enormous potential. Some fields are already producing, but there are probably many more. In keeping with the agreement signed with the Yukon Territory, the federal government is now transferring this jurisdiction.

Regarding exploration, as I just said, this region of Canada is very likely to be immensely rich in oil and gas. So all responsibilities with respect to exploration will also be transferred to the Government of the Yukon Territory.

As far as resource development, production and conservation are concerned, problems relating to economic development and the environment often crop up. I will come back to this later, because I had an opportunity to witness such problems during one of my trips to the Yukon in 1994. The Yukon government cannot take over the responsibility of managing and controlling oil and gas without also having power over the environmental preservation issue.

The responsibilities relating to management, exports, safety, revenue collection and the environment are all being transferred to the Yukon government which, in turn, will have to table legislation patterned on the laws that are in effect elsewhere.

Up to a point, one can understand Ottawa's attitude, which is always the same, namely that a policy must apply from coast to coast, in much the same way. The Yukon government was asked to draft legislation that will be patterned on what is being done elsewhere and that will not give powers exceeding those granted elsewhere. It is somewhat unfortunate. Such is this federal government's centralizing attitude. It is incapable of completely decentralizing and telling the other levels of government to do as they please; instead, it tells them it will decentralize but under certain conditions.

It is also important to look at the Yukon from a geographical perspective. Unlike the Reform member, I feel that those primarily concerned are the 14 aboriginal communities in the Yukon. I will describe them during my remarks and I will also talk about the status of negotiations, but it is important to look at the geographical location of the aboriginal communities in the Yukon, to find out who their neighbours are, to see whether agreements are also in the making over there, and so on.

The Inuvialuit forms the Yukon's northern border. People are always saying it is a big word, but it is in fact an Inuit word. As you know, there are four major Inuit regions in Canada. The Inuvialuit was the first region to be recognized in the self-government agreement. We then come to the Nunavut, which is its immediate neighbour, and to northern Quebec, where the Nunavik is located, before finally reaching another large Inuit region of Canada, northern Labrador. Self-government agreements are being negotiated for these regions.

The Inuvialuit agreement was signed in 1993. The Nunavut agreement was also signed, and an autonomous government will take over in that region on April 1, 1999. Negotiations are also under way in the Nunavik region. Unfortunately, in the case of Labrador, things are a bit stalled at the moment. I urge the government to speed up the process because they have some catching up to do.

In the northern part of the Yukon, in Inuvialuit, the Inuit have already signed self-government agreements. Further west, there is the border with the United States. Yukon borders on Alaska in the west. I wish to point out also that there are many Inuit in Alaska and that there is a circumpolar forum, which, by the way, I would like to acknowledge, and which includes not only the Inuit of Canada but also those of Russia, Siberia and Alaska.

To the east are the Northwest Territories. The Nunavut will begin a bit even further east, but right next to the Yukon, there are the Northwest Territories with great first nations who are in fact covered by another bill that will be considered this afternoon, Bill C-6, dealing with the Mackenzie Valley. The nations involved here are the Gwich'in, the Dene, the Metis, the Dogrib and the Deh Cho. These are the great first nations right next door to the Yukon.

To the south, of course, lies British Columbia. That province starts below the 60th parallel, and we are all aware of its great rich and diverse native cultures, spread out overmore than 200 native communities.

I feel it is important to properly describe the Yukon, because that territory is surrounded by great wealth that not only includes oil and gas but also native cultures that are extraordinarily vibrant. This is what concerned us at the outset. It is not really a case of whether the federal government is well advised to decentralize a particular aspect of the oil issue, or whatever. We also considered the impact this would have on native peoples because, and I will come back to this later, in Canada's history the native peoples got short shrift and this is still the case today.

I was listening to my colleague in the Reform Party speaking earlier about Voisey's Bay. Voisey's Bay, in Labrador, is generating billions of dollars already, and there is a native community, Davis Inlet, that wants to move. The government had in fact undertaken to move it. Now we learn that the move will not take place for another five or six years. In the meantime, Voisey's Bay is on land to which claim has been laid by the native people in the area and they are still being ignored. So that is the historical fact, and unfortunately history has a tendency to repeat itself.

We in Quebec have always paid attention to native communities, although attempts have been made to suggest otherwise. Having travelled throughout Canada, I have to say that Quebec has no apologies to make with respect to its First Nations. Quebec is in the vanguard and intends to stay there. That is why, in our discourse, you will always notice us first directing our attention to native issues on bills involving anything north of the 60th parallel, because unfortunately, that is the way things are. The Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development is also responsible for all economic development north of the 60th parallel. We are keeping an eye out for the interests of the First Nations.

Now, speaking of the Yukon, I must tell you how much I enjoyed a trip I made there in 1994. We arrived in Whitehorse and met with the First Nations. The Council for Yukon Indians was there. There are 14 native communities in the Yukon and these people explained to us where they were, at the time, in their negotiations for self-government. There are 14 native communities, but they have not all reached the same stage of autonomy. Some of them have signed final agreements, others are still working toward that stage. As I told you, I will shortly give an overview of what stage they have reached.

The trip to Whitehorse was really something. As I said, we met the Council for Yukon Indians, who briefed us on the progress that had been made. Then, at their own expense, they flew my daughter and me to Dawson City, the site of the old Klondike. This ties in with the bill before us today. Many years ago, there was a gold rush in the Klondike, leaving the land completely disfigured in the Dawson City area. There are piles of rocks everywhere, evidence of the complete disregard for the impact on the environment when the gold rush took place.

The only thing that mattered was finding gold. Dawson City is a great place but flying in is not much fun. I must confess that personally I was not too brave during the two-hour flight on a DC-3. My daughter travelled with me and she found it rough too. When the plane is taking off, one wonders if it will ever get airborne. There is this terribly loud noise and everything is shaking inside the plane.

I did some checking and I am told the DC-3 is the plane with the best safety record in the past 50 years in Canada. My daughter was almost in despair when we asked the travel agent what plane would be taking us from Whitehorse to Dawson City, a two-hour flight, and the agent, while pointing at the picture of an old DC-3, told my daughter, who was 12 at the time: “You will be flying on this plane”. My daughter came up to me and said: “Dad, they want us to go on an old DC-3, that cannot be right”. My answer was: “Of course not. It must be a joke”.

But when we got to the airfield, we realized that, unfortunately, it was no joke. It is somewhat sad that the people in that region are serviced by equipment that is so out of date. It certainly was an experience and one I am not about to forget. It was a thrill of a sort. The plane does not fly very high; it is kind of scary at first, but all was fine in the end.

We made it to Dawson City. By the way, Heritage Canada owns half the town. It is an interesting looking town, with its dirt roads and wooden walkways. The buildings have all been declared heritage buildings and they reflect the old days. It is almost like finding ourselves in the Far West. I take this opportunity to salute my aboriginal friends out there.

One time, we went for a drink in a bar, a saloon like the ones they had in the West in the old days, with swing doors and all. We had a drink and watched a French cancan show. It was quite special.

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

An hon. member

With your daughter?

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

No, my 12-year old daughter did not join us, she was not allowed on the premises. I had her baby-sat with other aboriginal children and this was an interesting experience for her.

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Bloc

Gérard Asselin Bloc Charlevoix, QC

Are you still in your DC-3?

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

No. I have arrived. I got off the DC-3 and I walked around Dawson City.

The first nations welcomed me with open arms and took me on a long tour. The high point was probably fishing on the Yukon River, which is an extraordinary crystalline blue green, because the water comes from glaciers. I was told the water contains many minerals, which account for its colour.

It was really extraordinary. We caught a 20 lb salmon. I have pictures to prove it, because people say fishers exaggerate the size of their catch. I can tell you personally that we caught a 20 lb fish. The native people had killed a moose, and we were given a wonderful welcome to native festivities in Dawson City. It was unfortunate though that my daughter does not like game.

I was involved in an unfortunate incident. I got caught with a bag from McDonald's after the official supper. I had to explain to the grand chief hosting us that the contents were for my daughter and not me, of course, because I had eaten my fill of this wonderful meal.

I would also like to recall the social contract at the time. We told these people as we did others elsewhere in Canada that we were taking their land because we needed the natural resources: the forests, mines and oil. And then we told them that we would send them to communities on little parcels of land and would look after their survival, their education, their health, their economic development and so on.

Today, people tend to forget that. People tend to say “The Indian affairs budget is huge. We are paying for these people and we are tired of paying for them”. However, we forget the social contract of the time, and I have made it my duty to refer to it in each debate. We have to realize that we took 95% of the land on this continent and plunked these people down on 5% of it. We did the same thing in the Yukon too.

We also made grand laws at the time, or what we thought were grand laws. We systematically regulated the lives of the native peoples. That was the Indian Act. We—and I think this includes the federal government—are beginning to realize that not only is this legislation outmoded, but there is barely any explanation for its still being applied today. People do not even own their homes. When someone dies, a decision has to be made about whom it will go to next. There are no rights of succession. The act contains some provisions that are hard to apply in today's reality. The sole solution is self-government, and the aboriginal nations of the Yukon, like those elsewhere, understand this.

I remember very clearly that, when we were voting on this act, when we were discussing the bill on the Yukon, representatives of the 14 aboriginal nations were up there in the gallery, awaiting the historic moment. At that time, they had been actively involved for 21 years in working toward an agreement with the federal government. Finally, in November or December of 1994, an agreement was reached and people were very pleased with it.

Now, I would like to give you an overview of the progress in negotiations. As I have said, and have just referred to again a few minutes ago, there are 14 aboriginal communities in the Yukon. It is important for me to refer to the document, because not only is it rather complex, but also the names themselves are often complicated. People are wondering what we said. And it not easy for me either. At this point in my speech, I must take a more formal look at the legislation. I also wish to salute these communities, because they are all friends of mine.

The Little Salmon-Carmacks and Selkirk first nations both signed self-government agreements on July 21.

About the December 1994 agreements I referred to earlier, I should point out that six of the 14 aboriginal communities had signed their final agreements. People thought that the issues of self-government and territorial claims had been settled. Since then, we have continued to make progress. The agreements involving the two communities I just mentioned came into effect on October 1, 1997. These communities joined those that had already signed agreements.

The federal government and the Tr'on dek Hwech'in first nation, from the wonderful, historic city of Dawson, which I just described when relating my perilous experiences, concluded negotiations on self-government on May 24. It is expected that agreements will be concluded by the end of the year, and that they will be ratified in early 1998.

Negotiations with the Dena Council of Ross River are in the preliminary stages. I remember that, at the time, there was a particular issue. The Kaska Dena community was very close to the B.C. border and people were wondering whether most of the reserve was located in British Columbia instead of the Yukon. These people had a lot of reservations about how things were conducted. They were the minority among aboriginals in the Yukon. They were not very inclined to get fully involved in negotiations on self-government. I notice today that at least they have gone beyond the preliminary stage.

It was expected that the council would submit shortly a 120% selection of lands. They decided to increase the area covered by the claim to 120%, and the government expects that the lands selected will include large areas with a high mineral potential. So there is this high potential, and as I was saying also, the Yukon is rich in oil and gas.

Perhaps the first nations in the Yukon have found a way to give real meaning to self-government by having a land claim base that is large enough to ensure their self-sufficiency.

Negotiations with the Liard first nation are under way and deal with the selection of rural lands with a high oil, gas and forestry potential. The bill we are considering today has a certain impact on every native land claim. We will have to be careful with this.

Negotiations with the Liard first nation are almost concluded and will cover what are called mining and community lands. I know that the federal government wishes to conclude the negotiations by March.

As for the first nation of Carcross-Tagish, meetings are now under way. Right now, negotiations are focussing on rural lands. Agreements have been signed on a certain number of claims. The first nation should soon be submitting claims regarding specific sites. It is anticipated that negotiations with respect to self-government should be over by year's end. The final agreement should be signed by March 1998.

Negotiations for the final agreement regarding land claims and the agreement with respect to self-government for the first nation of White River have almost been concluded. It is expected that negotiations will be wrapped up in December 1998.

The first nation of Kluane submitted land claims slightly in excess of the allowable area. The final agreement, including the land claims aspect, is 62% complete, and the agreement with respect to self-government has been 85% worked out. This means that a few details remain to be wrapped up before the final agreement is signed.

Negotiations on the Ta'an Kwach'an council's final land claims agreement and agreement with respect to self-government have to all intents and purposes been concluded. They cannot be finalized, however, until the problem of the band's separation from the first nation of Kwanlin Dun is resolved. There is a dispute over this. What they want is to divide the reserve in two, or to take steps to provide land for the second community other than the lands it currently shares with the other aboriginal nation.

As for the Kwanlin Dun first nation, there have been no negotiations since June 1996. Last June, the first nation submitted a proposal that falls outside the frame of reference established by the definitive umbrella agreement. There was a definitive umbrella agreement intended to cover all of the question of negotiation, the parameters and the guidelines, but they did not want to fit into it. Negotiations are, therefore, still under way.

The aboriginal communities which have not yet signed agreements are the first nations of Champagne and Aishihik, Nacho Nyak Dun, the Tlingit of the Teslin area, and the first nation of the Gwitch'in Vuntut. We still have some work to do with them.

I felt it was important to give a progress report on each negotiation process, because we have certain misgivings. We are certainly in agreement with any bill that encourages decentralization. When the government decides to turn all of the matter of gas and oil over to the Yukon Territory, we are in agreement.

I would remind you that we are among those who decry the encroachment of the federal government onto areas of territorial and provincial jurisdiction. Unfortunately, and I do not want to bring the Quebec situation into this, we are becoming aware that the throne speech and the position this government is taking show that there is encroachment, particularly in Quebec.

The Bloc Quebecois will, of course, support any bill encouraging decentralization. We are the only sovereignist group in this House, and anything that smacks of decentralization fits in very well with our philosophy. Likewise, any kind of centralization does not fit in with our philosophy.

I was telling you that we had concerns, and they are the following. The people who have already signed agreements are pretty much the masters of their lands, including use of the lands themselves and their surface and subsurface resources, forests, etc. But for those who have not yet signed, there may be a little problem.

The native peoples, in their great wisdom, once again, have decided that they will not resort to blackmail by saying: “We want to block the bill”. They are saying that they are in agreement. There has also been a change in government. There is today an NDP government in the Yukon, which is much more open to native issues. Apparently, the native peoples have a very good relationship with the Yukon government. That government promised it would not allow operating permits on lands claimed by native peoples, because of all the responsibilities that will be transferred.

I was telling you that we had a concern, and it is the fact that the bill does not deal with this issue. The federal government has a fiduciary relationship with native peoples, and permits to extract oil and gas on lands claimed by native peoples cannot be allowed before there is a final agreement on native self-government and land claims.

So it is unfortunate that there is no provision for this in the bill. We will, however, vote for the bill, even in the absence of this provision. We will be decide whether we should move amendments in the standing committee.

After discussions were held with the Yukon government, and especially with the governments and potential governments of the Yukon first nations, they all told us that they were in agreement with the bill and that they hoped that the Yukon government would keep its word. You know that these are people who have heard a lot of promises over the centuries and that these promises have often been broken.

I therefore urge the Yukon government to respect its undertaking not to issue mining licences to companies on lands included in native claims.

For my part, I urge the federal government—I see the parliamentary secretary is here—to finalize the agreements with the people in the Yukon. As soon as the land bases for all the Yukon first nations have been worked out and responsibility for self-government turned over to the 14 Yukon nations, attention can then be given to how mining licences are issued. We hope that the Yukon first nations will finally be able to benefit from the subsoil and surface wealth of the land they are now occupying or have occupied from time immemorial. I therefore urge the federal government to step up negotiations and the Yukon government to keep its promise and not to issue licences.

The Bloc Quebecois will support Bill C-8, perhaps with certain amendments—we will see on the standing committee—and I wish a long and prosperous life to the Yukon first nations.

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11 a.m.

NDP

Louise Hardy NDP Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be speaking for the first time in the House. I would like to thank the people of Yukon for bringing me here. I feel I can hardly add further to the comments of my hon. colleague from Quebec on the north. I would like to say that what he found strange and wondrous is indeed very normal for people in the north.

Bill C-8 is an act to implement an accord between the Government of Canada and the Yukon Territory. It relates to the administration, control and legislative jurisdiction with respect to oil and gas. It is an important act for the people of Yukon as it will transfer additional legislative powers necessary to undertake through Yukon legislation all aspects of the management and administration of onshore oil and gas.

This legislation will give the Yukon government provincial like powers to administer our own business and to do it in the public interest.

This is very important considering that for the last 100 years Yukon has not been able to do that in its own interest and has in fact been penalized. Any resources or any income that we have brought to ourselves has been directly deducted from our budget, so this is very important for northern people.

This process of devolution of provincial like powers will not affect any settlement of aboriginal land claims because the federal government will retain the capacity of regaining that authority and it will do so if it is necessary to settle a Yukon land claim.

Bill C-8 is the necessary legislation to transfer the authority of oil and gas to the Yukon government. It is very significant. It confirms Canada's commitment as set out in the northern oil and gas accord signed in 1993 to transfer to Yukon province like powers to regulate and manage Yukon's oil and gas resources.

It must be viewed as a commitment from Canada to Yukon for the political evolution of Yukon and to the concept of devolution and should be linked to an orderly transition of the transfers of other remaining resources like forestry and mining to the people of Yukon.

We expect that the federal government will complete the devolution of all these powers to the Yukon government by 1998. That may be very optimistic but we believe it can be accomplished.

Devolution is a transfer process in which the federal government will transfer all northern affairs programs of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to the Yukon government.

In 1898 a separate Yukon territory was created. In 1902 our first small civil service was established. In 1948 the Yukon Territory suspended its rights to income tax collection in exchange for annual federal funding transfers. In 1979 the federal government effectively signed over decision making powers for many programs to elected territorial representatives.

In 1993 the umbrella final accord agreement for land claims was signed after a 30 year series of negotiations. Being someone who lives in Yukon, my whole life evolved around land claims. It was always discussed and it still is. It affects every single person who lives in Yukon.

In 1996 consultations on the transfer of northern affairs programs began. In 1997 we are dealing with the transfer of the administration and control of legislative jurisdiction in respect to oil and gas and, as I said, 1998 is the target set for this to be completed.

Devolution is an issue of fundamental importance for the Yukon people. It will signal the end of a quasi-colonial attitude to the north and a beginning of a process to gain greater economic self-reliance. It will reinforce participatory democracy because it will give northerners a meaningful democratic role in the development of our own region, communities and a more efficient use of resources needed to provide services to the northern people.

Devolution is an essential part of aboriginal self-government and self-determination. With the continuing settlement of Yukon land claims and self-government agreements Yukoners, on the basis of a relationship based on partnerships, can look to the future as citizens of Canada and not as possessions of the crown.

People in Yukon are looking forward to obtaining the responsibilities of managing their land and resources. Devolution is good governance and it will create employment and economic opportunities. It will also increase the stewardship of our environment.

Federal devolution is part of a parallel process within the Yukon government. The Yukon government must develop the necessary legislation and regulations to fill the federal void when it comes to the oil and gas regime.

The Yukon government has been actively working with first nations in the development of such a regime. The working group began and has been actively engaged since January 1997 in the development of Yukon oil and gas regulations.

This has been a very positive experience which has resulted in the development of an oil and gas regime that is acceptable to the Yukon first nations governments, of which there are 14, the territorial government and the federal government.

The federal and territorial legislation dealing with the transfer of province like powers to Yukon and the development of the oil and gas act regulations is a demonstration of a successful working relationship with the first nations and the beginning of a new era in the relationships between people of the north and the central Government of Canada.

It opens opportunities of economic development for Yukoners. After completion of the transfers, the Yukon people, through their own legislation, will manage and regulate oil and gas activities including exploration, development, production and conservation, environmental and safety regulations and the determination and collection of resource revenues.

The Yukon government is committed to table the Yukon oil and gas act this fall and to have an open consultative process with Yukoners on the regulations.

The Yukon Act has been amended to transfer to northerners new responsibilities and new legislative powers in relation to exploration of oil and gas; the development, conservation and management of oil and gas, including the rate of primary production; oil and gas pipelines; the raising of money in respect to oil and gas in the territory for the benefit of the people in the north; and the export of oil and gas.

The amendments will include provisions to allow the federal government to continue to exercise its other responsibilities including taking back the administration on any lands in Yukon in order to settle or implement aboriginal land claims.

The Canada-Yukon oil and gas accord is fully consistent with the legislation implementing aboriginal or treaty rights under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, including legislation establishing wildlife land management and environmental regimes.

The accord does not diminish Canada's capacity to settle or implement land claims and both levels of government are committed to consult with aboriginal people on significant oil and gas decisions affecting lands within their traditional territory prior to the conclusion of land claim settlements.

The bill includes significant financial provisions to support the Government of Yukon in the implementation of its new responsibilities.

It needs to be recognized that this piece of legislation is the result of extensive consultations and close co-operation between the officials of the Yukon Territory and federal government officials.

In addition, the Yukon government has actively involved First Nations in the process, including the development of the oil and gas legislation and management process.

The Council for Yukon First Nations gave support for the present legislation and to the devolution process in March 1997, support ratified by letter from Grand Chief Shirley Adamson on August 1, 1997.

The working relationship and close co-operation of the three parties, the federal government, the Yukon government and Yukon First Nations, has been very successful. The three parties are now committed to completing the remaining land claims and self-government agreements by the fall of 1998.

Yukoners elected a territorial government with an agenda focused on completing land claims and devolution, creating employment and economic opportunities, fostering healthy northern communities, respecting our environment and building trust in government.

This bill is facilitating the implementation of the working agenda of the territorial government. On the basis of a respectful government to government relationship with First Nations of Yukon and negotiating in an open way implementation of agreements like the oil and gas accord, we are creating a positive relationship among all levels of government, an example I think well set for the rest of Canada to follow.

Devolution is not by any means downloading of responsibilities by the federal government. The devolution process is and should include the necessary funding from the federal government to deliver the services included in the devolution agreement.

Devolution is about partnership and the assumption of new responsibilities and obligations. Yukon First Nation governments established a working partnership on devolution and signed a number of accords.

In addition, the Yukon government and Yukon First Nation governments have made arrangements concerning their working relationship during implementation of specific devolution transfers, particularly arrangements concerning the transfer of oil and gas responsibilities.

The devolution of the Yukon northern affairs program is a major step in the evolution of responsible government. There is a lot of goodwill to maintain a co-operative process for the devolution of the northern affairs program to the Yukon government. This co-operation is a very positive way to transfer in an orderly manner the new decision making capabilities to Yukoners and the territorial government.

Devolution is good government. It will give the Yukon government, a local government with locally elected representatives and locally accountable, appointed officials, the effective control over land and resource management responsibilities. The territorial government will be in a better position to integrate decisions over resources and will be able to serve more effectively the Yukon people.

This transfer of federal resources to the territorial government, financial, capital and human resources, must be at the level that guarantees the provisions of adequate services and present levels of funding. We are all aware that in the last few years the northern affairs program has been subjected to federal cutbacks and there must be assurances that the resources transferred are enough to provide for the delivery of the mandated responsibilities of the transferred programs. We are expecting that the federal government will not withdraw any funding from the programs considered for the transfer to the territorial government.

This negotiated agreement is a historical component for Yukon and the Yukon government, the First Nations of Yukon as well as for Canada. It fully protects the interests of the First Nations of Yukon and we are confident in its compliance with the land claims and self-government agreements.

The agreement bodes well for the future of Yukon and all Yukoners and in maintaining the spirit of co-operation among the federal, territorial and First Nations government.

I urge the House to proceed quickly with this bill. Its Successful passage and proclamation will implement a significant step in the devolution of powers from the federal government to the territorial level and will show a great deal of respect for the First Nations and the people of the north who live a life that is very remote from Ottawa and very disconnected. Yet we have been very dependent on the decision made in this House.

Once again I urge a speedy passage to show respect for the work that was put into this bill.

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy Progressive Conservative South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-8, the Canada-Yukon oil and gas accord implementation act. I will share my time with the hon. member for Cumberland—Colchester.

The administration and management of oil and gas is an important and highly visible province-like function which will allow the Yukon government and Yukon First Nations with land claim agreements to share oil and gas revenues. These revenues are currently valued at $2 million per year.

Platitudes of self-government are wasted if the government does not back those platitudes with some type of a management process, with some type of a source of income, making self-government affordable and therefore making self-government possible.

The bill transfers authority to the Yukon territorial government, providing and giving control over the exploration, development, conservation and management of onshore gas resources, oil and gas pipelines, the raising of money in respect of oil and gas resources in the territory and the export of oil and gas.

Onshore oil and gas resources apply to all of Yukon landward of the Beaufort Sea mean low water mark, including the two bays of Shoalwater and Phillips Bay.

It is important to understand that this bill allows the federal government to take back administration and control of oil and gas in Yukon lands in order to settle or implement aboriginal land claims.

There are a number of areas of concern in this bill. The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, which represents signatories to the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, a land claim agreement brought into force by legislation in 1984, objected to several aspects of the proposed legislation when it was Bill C-50 in the last Parliament.

This opposition relates to the transfer of management over the Yukon offshore, defined as the adjoining area in the bill, to the Yukon territorial government and the protection of those areas. The Inuvialuit argue the adjoining area defined in the legislation is part of the Yukon north slope which falls within a special conservation regime established under their final agreement. The Inuvialuit consider Phillips Bay, an area specifically included in the transfer, to be part of their national park, while Shoalwater Bay is a highly significant area of Inuvialuit traditional use.

Under the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, lands of the Yukon north slope are to be protected until a wildlife and conservation management plan is adopted. While such a plan has been developed, it has not been adopted. The Inuvialuit have argued the transfer of jurisdiction over the north slope is inconsistent with the obligations in their agreement.

Bill C-8 has been changed slightly from the former Bill C-50 of the 35th Parliament to address some of these concerns. Clauses 6 and 8 would amend the Yukon Act to permit the Government of Canada to protect certain areas of land and future land claim settlements or the implementation of a land claim.

The addition of the word implementation recognizes that out of the 14 bands that are signatories to the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, only six have made their land claim selections. This would allow the federal government to designate lands traditionally used by the bands that have not finalized their land claim selections as those where no oil and gas activity could occur.

That is a great concern to those First Nations groups that have not yet selected their land under the Inuvialuit Final Agreement. Clause 8 allows the federal government to take back the administration and control of oil and gas in any lands in Yukon to settle or implement land claims. It can be questioned whether or not the federal government will require the land to be returned to its original state by the oil and gas developers if such land is required for land claim settlement or implementation.

There are some questions to be asked but every individual in the House should understand that the bill is about jurisdiction, that the bill is about the transfer of power and that the bill is about giving the tools to a territory, to a region in Canada to become independent and self-sufficient.

The Conservative Party agrees and supports a greater devolution of political and especially economic power to the territories. Part of that transfer is regulatory power. It is time to move forward on this legislation which has been on the agenda since 1987.

We support the legislation. We think it is important. We think it is legislation that is perhaps a little too late but at least it is on the agenda. We agree that we should move forward with it.

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11:20 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I wish to add a few comments to those of my associate from South Shore regarding the accord between the Government of Canada and the Government of the Yukon Territory which divests power and authority from the federal government to the Yukon Territory.

To me it seems like a natural evolution: a political transfer of power to the Yukon Territory. It is certainly appropriate and it is similar to the powers the provinces have had for years and decades.

The Progressive Conservative Party supports the legislation, basically because it evolved from Progressive Conservative legislation that began in 1987 through 1988, starting with the northern accord.

Like so many of the Conservative policies, like the GST which the Liberals picked up, embraced and enhanced, free trade and low inflation that worked so well for the economy of Canada, hopefully this policy will also work out well as the powers are devolved to the Yukon Territory.

Most community groups and organizations support this legislation in the Yukon area. The Council of Yukon First Nations supports it on the condition that those First Nations that have not had their land claims addressed still have access to the land claims. Clauses 6 and 8 of the new bill address those issues. I feel that their issues are at least addressed temporarily and hopefully there is a process to address future problems that they have in so far as land claims go.

The Yukon territorial government has supported it strongly and urges the quick passage of it. It requests that it proceed expeditiously. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers of Canada certainly supports it and urges it to go ahead. It is prepared to work with the First Nations groups.

The Yukon Chamber of Commerce says that it is the key to economic stability in Yukon. Certainly we support that and we support them.

It is timely for the Yukon people because it offers new opportunities for them for employment and for economic development. At this time in Canada there is more oil and gas exploration than at any time in the history of our country. There is no reason that the Yukon should be left out of that economic surge. It has the technology in the industry with three dimensional size technology, horizontal drilling which maximizes exploration and reduces the number of failures and also maximizes productivity.

It is certainly an appropriate time to have the gas and oil jurisdiction turned over from the federal government to the territorial government and have it totally control the situation and benefit from it.

In closing, I support Bill C-8, as does our party, as long as the First Nations concerns are addressed. I believe they are addressed. There is a dispute settlement mechanism built into Bill C-8 which will address any future concerns they have. It is a welcome transfer of power and it will help the Yukon Territory establish economic self-sufficiency for now and long into the future.

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague for supporting Bill C-8. He mentioned a concern I share, and perhaps we can come up with some solution in discussing it on the floor of the House. I raised it in my speech as well.

First of all, some native communities have not completed arrangements to set up their own government or their territorial claims. Second, the federal government has a fiduciary link with the native peoples. Third, the law provides specifically that the government cannot issue prospecting licences for land that is under claim.

I would like to know from my colleague whether he foresees the possibility of amendments perhaps during study in committee or at third reading. Perhaps he could give us some clues as to how to resolve this question, which is a delicate one for certain native communities.

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member's comments that the native community has faith in the federal government but sometimes has less faith in provincial and territorial governments. However, I believe that clauses 6 and 8 address his concerns. If native communities have future land claim problems, clauses 6 and 8 allow the federal government to take back control of certain territories if it is in the interests of the natives and if the natives have claims on that territory.

I believe that amendments can be made to the bill. It is not perfect. No bill is. However, we will be working with the native communities to come up with appropriate amendments to address their concerns.

Probably one of the basic issues is the fact that the native community does have faith in the federal government far more than it does in provincial governments.

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11:25 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

Canada-Yukon Oil And Gas Accord Implementation ActGovernment Orders

11:25 a.m.

Some hon. members

Question.