Mr. Speaker, I said that the other place had proposed an amendment to allow witnesses to be brought in. This was seen as a necessary power for the tribunal to have since information vital to assist in the resolution of claims may not be readily available to the parties.
This power would allow the tribunal to compel non-parties to produce witnesses and/or documents which may be necessary for complete understanding of the claim. Parties may be more willing to use the claims resolution centre with this amendment since they will be able to seek orders to obtain information that may not have been readily available to them, other than through a discovery process through the judicial system.
However, the judicial system has limitations. A judge might have said in some past year that this document is not available to the general public, or there may be some impediment put in place which prevents an original document from being presented to a tribunal of this nature. This is a very important power, we might say, that is going to be designated to this body that is being advocated in Bill C-6.
Canada has a long tradition of independence by appointed persons and strikes balance in appointments by considering regional representation, gender, experience and skill. The other place has proposed an amendment to guarantee that first nations can make representation to the minister before a final recommendation is made for all appointments required by clause 5 and subclauses 20(1) and 41(1) of the legislation, such as, for instance, the chief executive officer, commissioner and adjudicator positions. Although the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has already committed to seeking first nations input during the appointment process, this amendment would set out this commitment in the legislation.
I first would like to tell members that there is no limit to the number of first nations people that could be appointed to the commission and tribunal. It is quite possible that through a process which will be inherent within the model a first nations person could readily become the chairman of one body or chairman of the other. That is quite possible.
This amendment will address the concern of many first nations as well as the Assembly of First Nations, which appeared before committees of both the House and the other place, namely, that there was no guarantee of first nations involvement in appointments set out in the legislation.
The other place has proposed an amendment to ensure that first nations will have an opportunity to make representation during the three to five year review of the claims resolution centre. Some people are saying that is too long, but it is going to take time. We know that when something new is introduced it takes time for individuals to adjust. We can look how at long it has taken the opposition to adjust to an effective model of governance.
We should not talk about the time factor here, except that it is absolutely essential that this time limit be there in order for opportunities to grow, to learn, to develop and to accept the kinds of feedback, responses and input that will be absolutely essential for making future decisions and recommendations for adjustments and amendments to the bill in the years to come.
My time is up. I would like to speak for another hour or two, but I do not have the time so I am quite willing to stop right now.