Mr. Speaker, the member will recall that last winter our committee visited his constituency and had hearings in the great city of Nanaimo. We heard from the Indian people living on Vancouver Island.
Some of the points the member has made are well taken. Others are questionable in terms of the presentation that we might have. For example, he worries about costs. Certainly costs are a factor in any budget in any given financial year.
In terms of this legislation, we are talking about a certain cost, but we are talking about maximum awards in the vicinity of millions of dollars. We have heard in the House today various figures in terms of costs, the average cost for awards and the average settlements. It might be in the best interests of everyone in the House to consult the figures that are actually available. Maybe they are involved here with different things they count in terms of costs. Generally, I think it is proven that most of the claims that have been settled in the past have an average amount of somewhere in the vicinity of about $3 million.
The member also talked in terms of the length of time it takes to settle claims and how there is a great backlog of claims. That is one of the purposes of the legislation. It is an attempt to speed up the process and to bring faster resolution. We have to see that great amounts of money are not tied up in legal costs. Really the economic benefits of these claims would result in money for the first nations.