moved that Bill S-20, an act to amend the act of incorporation of the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation of Mackenzie, be read the second time and, by unanimous consent, referred to committee of the whole.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill S-20. By way of background, the corporation of Mackenzie was created in 1913 by an act of parliament. The corporation takes in 38 Roman Catholic churches in the Northwest Territories, northern Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Since 1913 the vicar and eventually the bishop have continued to serve the social as well as the spiritual needs of Canada's northern peoples. The presence of the Catholic church in the western Arctic for over a century has contributed a visible and important presence in the Canadian north that has significantly served Canada's Arctic sovereignty.
In 1913 when the act of parliament was passed sections 4 and 6 placed certain restrictions upon the corporation including limiting the value of the property and assets of the corporation to $50,000 and the length of time the corporation may own land. These limitations were no doubt at the time sensible and appropriate. In the decades since that time, however, the corporation has invested wisely and has received considerable support from various benefactors resulting in holdings in today's market which are considerably more than the legislated limit.
It is important to the continuing work of the corporation and the financial well-being of the diocese that the limits upon its holdings be removed so it may continue with its worthwhile service to the northern community. I am pleased that Bill S-20 will bring the act into line with the modern reality of the corporation.
There is also a proposed technical amendment to the French name of the corporation. The amendment to the French name of the corporation better translates the intention and context of the English name of the corporation and brings the act into line with current French drafting terminology.
I am confident that this bill will ensure that the Corporation of Mackenzie is well managed and ready for the next century. It is with great pleasure that I support the bill in the hope that it will be passed in an expeditious manner.