Madam Speaker, since the member in her intervention repeatedly referred to me and things I have said not only today but earlier on—actually I have been involved in this issue for five and a half years—I feel it appropriate that I respond.
I must point out to the House and to anybody who might be watching out there that the member did exactly what I predicted she would do. She slags anybody who disagrees not on the basis of the issue or not on the basis of the substance of the treaty but on the basis that we somehow have dark motives, that we are somehow people of lower moral character because we do not agree with the government's policy direction. That is the first thing I predicted would happen.
She admitted in her intervention that the agreement is flawed but did not talk at all about what the flaws are in the agreement. She totally discounted the expert advice we received from constitutional legal experts, such as Mel Smith, Professor Stephen Scott, Professor Tom Flanagan and a host of others. She glossed right over that and said that irrespective of what these people have told us as parliamentarians that she is right, that somehow she has elevated herself to be a constitutional expert and an expert on the charter of rights because she says so and that is just the way it is.
I will ask the member a legitimate question. If she is so sure that this is not an extra-constitutional document, that this document does not violate the constitution, which is the subject of two separate legal challenges in British Columbia, that the charter of rights and freedoms applies and that the charter of rights of the Nisga'a people will not be diminished under this agreement, why would she and her party not support the one amendment we wanted last week above all other amendments, the amendment to guarantee that the Constitution of Canada and the charter of rights and freedoms would apply and that the self-government provisions in chapter 11 would not be constitutionally entrenched? Why did she not support the one amendment that would have guaranteed a higher likelihood of the charter applying and a lower likelihood of this being seen as a back door amending of the constitution?
Why was she and her party not prepared to support that one amendment? Of all the other defects and flaws in the treaty, that was the one we wanted. We are not happy with many of the other defects, but that was one that we felt was important to have so that if there are any problems in the future, and we know there will be problems, they can be fixed. Why was she not prepared to do that?