Mr. Speaker, when Reform staged a voting filibuster at report stage of the Nisga'a Treaty, it was not a protest. It was a last ditch effort to get the government to reconsider what we believed was a major mistake.
Many prominent people are starting to realize the error that parliament has made. The latest to step forward is former Supreme Court of Canada justice Willard Estey.
Our biggest concern about the treaty was the constitutionally entrenched self-government provision that exceeded provincial and federal powers, a concern now echoed by Estey. We support aboriginal self-government, but at a municipal level.
Former Justice Estey states “The Senate action now proposed in this bill could destabilize the legal framework of which the Canadian nation is built”.
The federal government must ask the Senate to amend the self-government provision of the bill, or at minimum delay its implementation until the Supreme Court of Canada rules on its validity under the Canadian Constitution.
Inclusion of that provision was a mistake. Former Justice Estey agrees that allowing it to become law will have disastrous consequences for all Canadians.