Mr. Speaker, I wrote down six questions. I might have missed one or two, so I will start with the nation to nation concept.
It completely and utterly astounds me that Reform members of parliament can stand in the House and continually talk about the constitution of Canada and the charter of rights and freedoms and fail utterly to understand how they apply to Canadian citizenship, to Canadians and to aboriginals in the country. It is totally amazing.
I am sure we will have an opportunity to continue this debate. Quite frankly, I look forward to that because there are a number aspersions that have been put forward by the Reform Party of Canada that simply do not hold water and will continue not to hold water. They need to be looked at and explained one at a time.
Concerning a referendum for the people of British Columbia, the B.C. legislature approved and ratified the treaty. It decided there would not be a referendum for the people of British Columbia. That is the reason there has not been a referendum in the province. It has nothing to do with the Parliament of Canada. I would suggest that it is improbable, impossible and even immoral that the entire Canadian nation should vote on this matter. This is not a matter for the people of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia or any other group to dictate.
We deal with first nations in the country on a nation to nation basis. We may not like that. We may not approve of that. Every individual member of the House may have individual thoughts on that, but first nations are protected under the constitution and we deal with first nations on a nation to nation basis. We deal nation to nation with 630 first nations. That is why we have this treaty.
Anyone wanting to look at the Burnt Church issue will find that it is directly the result of the lack of dealing with the aboriginal issue in the country, the lack of a modern treaty, the result of going back to something that was established in 1760 and the result of those laws being forced upon Canadians in 1999 by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Reform Party wants to think that we only accept supreme court decisions when we like them. A person going to court runs the risk of losing his or her case.
We allowed the Supreme Court of Canada to decide an issue concerning Burnt Church and the Donald Marshall decision in Nova Scotia that should have been negotiated between the Mi'kmaq chiefs and the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Newfoundland. It should never have been in the courts.
In Delgamuukw the supreme court clearly stated that it is not the place to settle every issue and difference in the country, that we should be negotiating in good faith to settle differences.
This treaty is protected by the constitution, but it does not affect or change the constitution. That is how it applies. The hon. member should read it over and understand how it is affected by the constitution.
The treaty is complex. Not for one moment has the Progressive Conservative Party said that it is not complex. However, let us be very clear when we state that we approve of full and open debate in the Parliament of Canada and that we do not approve of closure on this bill or any other bill. We support clear, informed and open debate, and will continue to do so.