Mr. Speaker, not long ago we had the great honour to receive Nelson Mandela in this place.
Mr. Mandela has been an uncompromising champion of equality in South Africa.
In 1953 he said “We have been banned because we favour a policy which affords fundamental rights to all, irrespective of race, colour, sex or language.”
Yet in 1999 the government is preparing to embrace the Nisga'a treaty, an agreement built upon core principles that Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in jail fighting.
The treaty embraces Nisga'a government and it allows them to ban businesses, professions, trades and even trade unions. It is a deal based on special status and different rights based on race, and it diminishes the rights of all Canadians, especially grassroots Nisga'a.
Mr. Mandela said upon receiving the Nobel Peace Prize “It remains our hope that we will be blessed with sufficient reason that our new society cannot be created by reproducing the repugnant past, however refined and enticingly packaged ”.
It is too bad that Canada's academics and political leaders have not learned this simple truth.