Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's question. It is a legitimate question. I heard a couple of questions in there so I would like to answer everything the member spoke about.
First of all the British Columbia Native Women's Society and the entrenchment of matrimonial rights under the legislation or under Indian affairs versus what is offered for protection under provincial legislation is a very important point. It is one that is going to require a great deal more study. However, the division of property on the breakdown of a marriage can be met within the land codes which are all voted on in a democratic process and come before both on reserve and off reserve members of each individual first nation.
I did not say that this legislation was perfect but it is a step in the right direction. Far too often in the history of this country we have looked at legislation, and all legislation is inherently flawed to some degree, but instead of moving forward and allowing 99% of the legislation to be good, we get hung up on 1% of it. This is the case.
The first nations are responsible themselves in their land codes to decide the division of property on the breakdown of a marriage. I expect they will do that in a democratic process, although there may be some room for abuse of that process.
The other issue is fee common ownership. That is a very good analogy. I used fee simple because fee simple is what most of us understand. The member is absolutely right about fee common.
Again a democratically elected chief and tribal council will decide what activity is going to be carried on. The whole idea of common ownership for the greater good is not one that all of us are familiar with. I am a private landowner and a sixth generation farmer. The whole idea of ownership of property is something that is inherent to my culture and the way I was brought up.
However, the idea of a common ownership of land is not completely foreign to us. There is no reason why they still cannot have democratic representation through common land ownership with the chief and the tribal councils being democratically elected.