Madam Speaker, in the five minutes that remain, I do not have enough time to complete the speech that I had outlined here which indicated the great economic benefits that come from the certainty of having the Nisga'a treaty in place in British Columbia.
There are two major sources of economic uncertainty in British Columbia. One is the unfortunate policies of the provincial NDP government. The other is the fact that aboriginal title in so many parts of the province is uncertain. This treaty is a major step in the right direction in dealing with that second uncertainty. I strongly welcome it on behalf of all those who are interested in B.C.'s economic future.
The opportunity to speak is fast evaporating. However, I would like to suggest that it has been known since the very beginning by non-Nisga'a that this was an injustice done to the Nisga'a people. Let me refer to my own family history.
My grandfather, born in 1880, was a small boy at the time of the 1887 arrival in Victoria of the Tsimsean and the Nisga'a people who came to plead for the land. Later, when I was much his age, he told me based on his experiences and his time in northern British Columbia of that injustice. At that time, when I was a small boy, he persuaded me—an easy job—that in fact there was an injustice to right. I must say how proud I am after all this time that I am here in the House with the privilege of being the last speaker in this debate as the senior minister for British Columbia, pointing out that we will now right that injustice done all those years ago.
Many things have been said about this treaty in the heat of debate which hon. members of the official opposition will not only regret but will be deeply ashamed of in the years to come. They know that if we do not settle this treaty now, which has been discussed, debated and argued in meeting after meeting throughout the province, in the legislature of British Columbia in its longest ever debate, in this House for hour after hour, then it is a case of going directly to the courts.
There is no opportunity for starting the negotiations again. They hold that out as a hope that somehow negotiations will take place and will result in the Nisga'a giving up some of the things they have negotiated for and fairly won in this treaty process.
If we do not wish to go back to court and have these matters determined by the courts alone but to have them determined instead by fair discussion, debate and honest analysis of one another's positions, as has taken place, then we had better approve this treaty. That is the crux of the Nisga'a treaty that is before us today.
The treaty is fair and practical. It will contribute to peace and prosperity in British Columbia. It will facilitate long awaited reconciliation that has been sought for over a century.
As the justices in the Delgamuukw decision said, we are all here to stay so we—