House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was aboriginal.


First Nations Governance ActGovernment Orders

7:15 p.m.


Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, I have been sitting here listening to the debate on Bill C-7, the first nations governance act, and I have been thinking about what our role is as members of Parliament. Our role is to create legislation. We actually create our own rules in terms of how we govern ourselves. I have been sitting here tonight thinking how we parliamentarians would feel if another body, divorced and separate from us, had the power to create the rules under which we govern ourselves.

We should remember that the British North America Act was repatriated to Canada and the Canadian Constitution was made here in Canada. It was a very significant day historically for Canada because it was something that was made in our country by our governing body. There is a very important parallel to be drawn here. Tonight we are witnessing a very sad day in Canada's history. We are debating a bill which basically will dictate how first nations shall govern themselves in this country. I really believe that I do not have the right to do that and I do not believe that the Government of Canada has the right to do that.

I along with many other members in the House participated in some of the committee hearings. What struck me about the committee hearings and going through the bill clause by clause, and the 200 or so amendments that the committee went through, was how incredibly prescriptive the bill is.

If the government is true to its word that this bill is somehow about liberating and freeing first nations to take their rightful place in Canadian society and to govern themselves, we only have to look at the bill to think otherwise. Every single little thing has been spelled out, such as fines, and who is appointed to what, and what can and cannot be done. It is the kind of legislation we would have expected 100 years ago.

If we are being led to believe that somehow this is bringing us into the modern age, and it is bringing first nations into the modern age in terms of self-governance, I really am quite stunned. What we actually see in the bill, which is so prescriptive and patronizing, is a far cry from the political rhetoric we have heard from the government.

I want to pay tribute to our member for Winnipeg Centre along with other members of the committee. They have done an incredibly heroic job in trying to expose the fundamental flaws in the bill. Night after night the committee sat through the night. I see other committee members are here. They spoke on and on. Many members from first nations communities also came to the committee to witness what was going on. All they could do was bear witness, because they could not speak at that point. They could not say anything about the very thing that was being done to them by Parliament, by the government.

I want to pay tribute to the incredible work that was done by the opposition members in the committee. They used every single thing they could think of in a parliamentary sense to show their utter contempt for the bill.

Now we are being forced to do that in this chamber as well. We are quite frank about it. We will do everything we can to hold up this bill and to see that it does not go through, because of the very strong message that has come from across the country from first nations communities. They believe that this bill is something which cannot be imposed upon them. The bill is describing a system of governance which in many ways is completely contrary to what has been the practice in first nations communities.

I am proud to be one of the many members of the opposition who are standing up to Bill C-7. We are saying shame on the federal government for what clearly is its intent to ram this piece of legislation through before the House recesses in the middle of June.

Another thing that strikes me about Bill C-7 is the huge issue in terms of form and substance. One thing I have learned over the years is that when somebody does not want to deal with substance, it is very easy for him or her to deal with the issue of form or structure. That is really what this bill is about.

I represent the urban riding of Vancouver East. I represent a community that includes the downtown east side which probably has among the highest residency levels of urban aboriginal people, people who have come off reserve. We should be looking at issues of substance and actually devoting to them the same kind of time, energy and resources that have gone into this horrible bill. If we devoted even 10% of that energy and government resources into the real substantive issues that are facing first nations and aboriginal people in this country, then we would be doing our job and the government would be doing its job.

I feel absolutely sick to my stomach when I see young aboriginal women living on the street, destitute, involved in the sex trade. I feel sick that 63 women have been murdered in the downtown east side. I feel sick when I see young people who have been forced into a life of complete destitution and drug use. I feel sick when I see the misery and the desperation that takes place in that neighbourhood. I feel sick when I see the pathetic response from the government with all of its press releases, with all of the agreements that supposedly are there are and still there are people who are dying on the streets.

Aboriginal people are dying on the streets in the downtown east side and in other communities. My colleague from Winnipeg Centre faces a similar situation in what is happening to first nations people in his neighbourhood. That is the reality of what is happening to aboriginal people.

The government should be making it a priority to focus on those issues. It should be looking at homelessness and making sure that there is adequate, well-maintained, safe, appropriate, affordable housing. It should be making sure that there are adequate treatment programs for people with addictions. It should be making sure that there are programs to help people exit from the sex trade. Those are the kinds of issues we should be dealing with in the House.

The committee should be dealing with these issues instead of having to spend, as the hon. member said, 55 days and 55 nights of merry-go-round hearings. Everyone but the government could see the writing on the wall that the bill was completely unacceptable.

I want to register my deep concern and indignation that we are now debating the bill in 10-minute segments. We never had a proper second reading debate of the bill. I raised this earlier today. Even within our own little parliamentary world and the rules that we live by, we have completely violated the regular procedures that we go through for dealing with legislation.

Because the bill was considered to be of such magnitude and scope, it was referred to the committee to have a broad discussion. In effect we bypassed second reading stage. The bill is now at report stage which is the stage when the House usually would deal with amendments. As the member from the Conservative Party pointed out, there are some 107 report stage amendments. There were 200 or so amendments that were already dealt with and disposed of in the committee. Here we are at report stage and we have not yet properly debated the bill in principle.

Not only is it a travesty from the point of view of parliamentary procedure, it is also a total failure from the point of view of living up to what I believe are the legitimate expectations that first nations people have about their own governance and about their own expectations for their communities.

This is probably a done deal but I want to end by saying that we on this side of the House will use everything we can dream up, every procedural trick we can think of to try to stop the bill from going through. We feel so strongly that it is a flawed piece of legislation that it should be stopped and it should be sent back. We will continue until the very last moment to try to stop the bill.

First Nations Governance ActGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

Miramichi New Brunswick


Charles Hubbard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Madam Speaker, I would like members opposite to listen very carefully because I want to speak about the codes which are a very significant part of the bill.

As we crossed the country and listened to various first nations people, many of them said that codes already existed which were as good, if not better, than what the bill proposed. The government proposed this with Motion No. 89. Madam Speaker, I ask that you seek the unanimous consent of the House that we be allowed to bring this in as part of our legislation. It was denied by the Speaker. It certainly would be relevant to our first nations people to recognize the significance of the fact that they already have suitable codes in existence.

First Nations Governance ActGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

Does the member have the unanimous consent of the House?

First Nations Governance ActGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members


First Nations Governance ActGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.

Some hon. members


First Nations Governance ActGovernment Orders

June 3rd, 2003 / 7:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Maurice Vellacott Canadian Alliance Saskatoon—Wanuskewin, SK

Madam Speaker, we have had an interesting run over a number of weeks and this has been no doubt recounted over the course of the speeches thus far. We started this cross-country caravan in every province across Canada. We had video conferencing from some of the territories. We heard some interesting testimony. A lot of it was coming at us from the same point of view. The point was clearly made that there was strong opposition throughout the country to the first nations governance initiative as we have it in Bill C-7.

I guess in fairness we should say there were individuals who said there were aspects of the bill that they thought might be a good thing for the country, but there were definitely problems. As we approach any bill, we want to look at ways to either salvage it, improve it or have it in a form that is helpful to the people it is intended to be of help to. I do not think anyone would disagree in the House and certainly not in first nations territory across our country that changes are necessary. No one is denying that.

In fact, the Indian Act is pretty much universally acclaimed as being a problem. It is outdated and needs to be changed. We need to have discussions and exchanges to make changes to the Indian Act in order to bring it up to date and modernize it. This would allow first nations people across our country to do well, succeed and have all the other rights and opportunities that other Canadians assume and take for granted.

The process was flawed from the very beginning for a couple of reasons. There were individuals who were supposed to be heard across the country. However it was done over a period of time where a real big percentage of individuals did not come forward because in some cases their leaders had indicated to them they did not think it merited support, so they just did not become engaged in the process.

In other cases it was more of an information sharing at suppers and so on across the country. Those numbers were counted up as those who were engaged in the process when in fact they were there for a meal. They watched a video and shared information. It was certainly not a two way dialogue.

Out of that process we got back to this place, the House of Commons, and had committee work done over a period of weeks. It dragged on and on, as everyone knows, because of the strong objections of different people. The committee members were not particularly enamoured with the piece of legislation. We had late nights: 9 p.m. to 12 a.m., 9 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., and 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. The last couple of days we sat from 9 p.m. until 11 a.m. the next day.

In my short six years of being a member of Parliament--and I thought it was just because I had not been around the block long enough and that this was a pretty common occurrence--I am told by a third term member of Parliament that this is only the second time this kind of long, protracted and drawn out process has occurred.

There are a lot of myths surrounding the first nations governance initiative. Certainly the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has contributed in part to some of the myths that have grown up in respect to this piece of legislation. He stated that the FNGA would provide aboriginal Canadians with “real measures to seek redress and to hold their governments accountable”.

As I look at it, there are no serious foundational changes in this particular bill that need to occur. In fact, it seems to be in many respects formalizing some failed accountability practices of the past. We were told repeatedly or at least on a number of occasions that bands currently complete 168 reports a year. I am not of the view that more forms or more paperwork will necessarily enhance the accountability if it is not the right kind of reporting and done in the manner that is going to be of most help to first nations people so that they can press accountability on their reserves.

Accountability can only occur if individuals are empowered with the rights and freedoms to hold their governments accountable. It comes from the bottom up and it has to be there. The tools and mechanisms must be given to individuals.

It is not an imposition from above, but we must begin with the people. There needs to be a buy-in and ownership. Over the course of time as they own the process and these mechanisms and so on, then we can get true accountability.

The only redress mechanism available to reserve residents is a band and chief appointed ombudsman or redress officer. Some have called it a “mini-me” ombudsman, kind of like the Prime Minister's ethics counsellor. If I were a chief or a band council member, I am not so sure that I would even want the kind of local ombudsman appointed by myself and my other colleagues on a council. If there was ever an issue and somebody said there was a problem with something which I had done even when I was quite clean on the matter, and I was the individual who had appointed that particular redress officer, I am not sure that even if there was a clearing of my name, a clearing of me as a chief or a councillor, that there would be that perception that things had been done right because I was the individual who hand-picked or appointed that person.

We have reserves across our country and bands that are as small as a couple of dozen people, and many that are in the range of 100 or 200 people, all related by family. I do not really know that we would have the perception of impartiality and evenhandedness if a chief and council were to appoint a local ombudsman of that sort. We obviously have a problem with that.

People who are often beaten down with life and are not easily able to get through in terms of having their issues addressed would have to go to their chief and council. If that does not resolve it, then they would have to go from there to the local redress officer, the ombudsman on the reserve appointed by chief and council. If they have the guts and the gusto, and they push to get through that level and it is not adequately addressed there, then they would have to go on to a national ombudsman. We think there are too many layers and tiers. Justice will be greatly delayed if people persist to get through. As a result we will not have proper redress.

The minister said that the bill would help to build a strong foundation for a first nations economy. Many economists would strongly disagree with the minister because there are continuing barriers in the Indian Act that have prevented economic growth and those would remain. Those are not dealt with or done away with in Bill C-7. For example, aboriginal Canadians would still not be able to mortgage their homes and secure credit or financing.

I had the privilege to talk to a first nations entrepreneur who is an aggressive businessman. He is assertive. He employs other first nations people. He was lamenting to me a couple of days back about the situation on his reserve. It concerned the issue over control of the resources by chief and council. He has a certificate of possession for his home and he has a store right on the edge of the reserve, but there is still the issue of the certificate of possession. He can only sell it to somebody there. It does not have true market value. It is determined by others, the chief of the band and the council, as to what kind of business comes his way. He is a contractor as well. This is a first nations person who is lamenting the difficulties and that things are not greatly changing with this particular bill.

I see that my time is about to expire. I have much to say and I will do so at future stages of the bill. I appreciate the opportunity to initially indicate our concerns, our distress, and our opposition to the bill as it comes before us, even in view of the amendments. We do not believe it mitigates nor will it be of real help to first nations people across our country.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

First Nations Governance ActAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, last month I rose in the House to ask a very important question on the subject of cross-border trade with the United States. More particularly, I asked about the effects that a possible requirement for 24 hour notice before crossing the border would have on such sectors as the auto sector. The answer that I received from the minister was unsatisfactory and so here I am this evening, in search of a more thoughtful response.

Given recent events in our country's agricultural sector, I would like to shift my focus slightly to another even more troubling new barrier to trade and to examine the effects that the closing of the Canada-U.S. border to Canadian beef as a result of the BSE scare are starting to have on this important industry.

We all understand the ripple effects that occur when unanticipated trade restraints are imposed on important export industries. If the borders with the United States, our most important trading partner, are to be closed to Canadian beef, this will have widespread implications throughout our economy. And contrary to what the urban focused Liberal government might think, this is not a problem that will affect only the rural west.

Although it is true that Canada's one and only confirmed case of BSE took place in Alberta, beef farming is a crucial part of the rural economy right here in eastern Ontario. In the rural parts of the amalgamated city of Ottawa, beef farms are the most numerous type of farm enterprise. In Ottawa, nearly 600 businesses serve these operations, thereby creating over 3,500 jobs. Similarly, in Lanark and Renfrew counties, nearly 9% of all jobs are tied to the agriculture sector and over $240 million is generated every year by businesses that buy from and sell to farms. In the Ottawa Valley, even more than in Ottawa itself, beef farms greatly outnumber any other type of farm. Therefore, the effects of a prolonged closure of the U.S. border to Canadian beef could be particularly devastating to rural eastern Ontario.

It is not just farmers who are being hurt. It is the truck drivers who would have taken cattle to market. It is the people who find their employment at the local sale barn, where sales volumes are down dramatically. It is all the people in the agricultural support industries to whom the government is showing spectacular insensitivity.

Eastern Ontario is a part of the country in which the government has repeatedly failed to provide adequate staffing and services at its employment insurance offices. The result is that it is constantly missing its service targets in terms of waiting periods for temporarily unemployed workers who need access, often for the very first time in their lives, to the employment insurance system to which they have faithfully contributed for years.

Now the government seems intent on refusing to accept reduced waiting periods for workers who have been temporarily deprived of employment due to the closing of the border to beef.

This seems astonishing to me given that we saw the government spring to attention and take rapid action to provide temporary special relief under the employment insurance system to Torontonians who lost their jobs as the result of the SARS outbreak. Yet it has been completely unwilling to show similar concern for the job impact that BSE is starting to have in rural parts of the very same province.

Let me stress again, as strongly as I can, the point that BSE can destroy jobs in rural Ontario every bit as much as SARS has hurt jobs in Toronto. A job which is lost due to the spin-out from BSE is every bit as much a job which is lost due to the spin-out from SARS.

Therefore, my question is: when will the government stop being less generous to rural Canadians than it has been to Torontonians?

First Nations Governance ActAdjournment Proceedings

7:40 p.m.

Brampton West—Mississauga Ontario


Colleen Beaumier LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Madam Speaker, the hon. member has asked me to comment on the marine 24-hour rule.

As the minister announced on April 4, I am happy to report that following extensive consultations with stakeholders Canada will be implementing a 24-hour advance cargo notification rule for marine cargo importation.

A 24-hour advance notification represents the timeframe by which ocean carriers and freight forwarders would be required to submit data to customs electronically before loading in the foreign port. The data will be processed through automated targeting systems. Based on a risk assessment, the CCRA will identify certain containers for examination prior to loading.

This rule provides consistent reporting requirements for North American marine shipments. It is one more step toward implementing the customs action plan launched in 2000 and supports the Canada--U.S. smart border declaration.

The 24-hour rule for marine cargo allows the CCRA to manage risks effectively by identifying high risk cargo before it leaves the foreign port.

The 24-hour rule will be implemented by April 2004, allowing the CCRA, the carrier-freight forwarder and importer-broker communities time to prepare their business operations and systems for implementation.

I am sure my hon. colleague will be interested to note that while there has been overwhelming support during consultations for a common North American approach to cargo reporting, there was, however, concern about reporting timeframes for other modes.

The CCRA is in the process of consulting with our importing and exporting communities and will be in a position to propose a timeframe for pre-notification for the other modes in the near future.

I understand that the U.S. proposes eight hours for air cargo, four hours for land cargo, 24 hours for rail cargo and 24 hours for exports out of the United States.

It is important to know that these U.S. proposals were initial proposals designed to foster discussion and debate and they have resulted in the engagement of the importing and exporting communities on both sides of the border.

We are working with the U.S. bureau of customs and border protection to develop mutually acceptable timeframes for these other modes. I am confident that this will be achieved given our successful track record with the bureau both in developing other harmonized processes, like FAST and Nexus, and our more recent agreement respecting the new rail process for CN and CP shipments entering the United States, which includes advanced timeframes for rail reporting.

In addition to working with our U.S. partners, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency is also working diligently with both the Canadian importing and exporting communities and our colleagues at Foreign Affairs and International Trade to ensure we develop and implement timeframes for these other modes which are effective for all concerned parties.

First Nations Governance ActAdjournment Proceedings

7:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Scott Reid Canadian Alliance Lanark—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, I am astonished by the parliamentary secretary's response. I was asking about Canadian exports to the United States. She gave a very thorough explanation of what we are doing with regard to American imports to Canada.

The problem here is not whether we are imposing a rule on American imports to Canada, it is American exports from Canada that is the problem

The 24-hour rule for shipments, particularly containerized shipments, by sea, by sea transportation is slow. The 24-hour rule is not the problem. I am talking about truck traffic and rail traffic and no mention was made as to any successes being achieved. We only hear talk of what might be achieved in the future. I noticed that the American proposals were mentioned but not actual negotiations with the Americans.

I would like to have a further explanation on whether the government has been proactive in this regard and when we can expect guarantees that the 24-hour rule will not be imposed for truck and rail traffic to the United States.

First Nations Governance ActAdjournment Proceedings

7:45 p.m.


Colleen Beaumier Liberal Brampton West—Mississauga, ON

Madam Speaker, I believe that if the hon. member had listened carefully he would have talked about harmonization and implementation on the part of Canada.

I remind members that 18 months ago it would not have been thought possible that we could have harmonized programs with the U.S. at our land, air and sea borders. However, not only do we have agreements on these new programs, they have been implemented and are operational at our major ports of entry, such as Nexus and FAST joint in-transit container targeting.

Also, we are in the process of developing others like Nexus air and the harmonized commercial process for all the other commercial shipments not covered by FAST.

We are confident that we will arrive at a mutually acceptable conclusion on the issue of advanced timeframes for commercial shipments for other modes.

First Nations Governance ActAdjournment Proceedings

7:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Madam Speaker, some time ago I asked the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, in light of the fact that he had closed the groundfishery in parts of Atlantic Canada, specifically Newfoundland and Labrador, what he planned to do for those affected.

The minister defended the fact that he had to close the fishery and, in relation to part of that, we do not argue with him, but there certainly was no need to close all of it.

However, in relation to helping the people involved, I would like to quote the minister. He said:

As far as the assistance to those communities, the government takes it very seriously. We announced in April a short term package.

When the minister made that announcement in April, he announced a short term package to help the people involved. This is June and only today did we hear about the meagre assistance being provided. This is unforgiveable.

Let me add a little bit. The minister also said:

We announced consultations for long term measures. We continue to look at any way we can to work with all partners concerned to assist those communities in very difficult circumstances.

If all these partners are Liberal members who have huddled together to come up with some way to help these people, then that is a very poor solution to a major problem. Where are all the provincial members, the premier, the opposition members, the leaders of their parties who individually were involved, the FRCC, and other individuals in the province who recommended to the minister how to address this colossal failure of a resource?

When the parliamentary secretary responds on behalf of his minister, a gentleman who knows all about the Newfoundland fishery because he has been on the fisheries committee and has participated solidly and has supported our concerns, I hope he will tell us that there is more to the response of money from the Department of Fisheries being funneled through HRDC, than extending employment insurance for a few months and then putting together make work programs.

When the fishery was closed, a major moratorium in the early 1990s, the government responded immediately, and even though the response was not adequate in any way, shape or form, the people could get on with their lives.

We have been waiting since April for a solution and have been told that the government will extend, retroactively I hope, employment insurance to give it time to put together some make work programs. This is not the way to solve this major problem. Everybody involved with any clue recommended that now was the time for the government to be visionary.

We must keep people involved in the fishery, and we can do that. There are areas where resources can be reallocated. There are areas where we could do scientific research, go after new species, which we could not afford to do on our own, areas where we can control the seal herds, and we can go on and on.

However we will draw employment insurance and wait for make work programs. I ask the government to please tell me that there is more to it than this, that we will be proactive for a change, that we will be visionary and that we will try to rebuild the fishery, not destroy the people who have made a living on it.

First Nations Governance ActAdjournment Proceedings

7:50 p.m.

Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-De-La-Madeleine—Pabok Québec


Georges Farrah LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for St. John's West for his speech and also for the opportunity to to discuss this very important issue, both for the people of Newfoundland—be they in the hon. member's riding or elsewhere—and the people of my riding, which has been hard hit.

The hon. member was asking what the government intended to do. I think that, first, we have shown good faith in announcing the moratorium on cod and groundfish. In fact, we announced $44 million in short-term measures to compensate for the inconvenience this caused the communities concerned.

This affects a little more than 4,000 people. We realized that these short-term measures could not be put in place overnight. Today, knowing that people are suffering for lack of income, we announced an additional $27 million. Before the short-term measures are implemented, these people will be entitled to income not exceeding $325 a week retroactive to April 27 when the moratorium on groundfish was announced. This is being done to ensure that people do not run out of money before the short-term measures are implemented.

Second, the member told us that more vision is needed. I agree with him except that first it is important to establish and introduce short-term measures to ensure that people have an income. That is the first step.

The second phase will be cooperation with the industry, the processors, the fishers and the plant workers to develop a long term strategy. We will make sure they can stay in other sectors of the same industry. This is the reason behind the recent announcement made by the minister on northern shrimp. He has raised by 30,000 tonnes the allowable catch of northern shrimp, so that workers can turn to other sectors. The shrimp biomass allowed this additional catch.

The hon. member talked about the moratorium in 1991-92, some ten years ago. It has been very expensive for the taxpayer, almost $4 billion. It may have been justified, but we realize after ten years that things are not necessarily much better, even with an investment of $3 billion in the first phase of the moratorium.

This is why we must be careful. We must ensure that these people have a short-term income because they have been hard hit. But, also, it is not only a matter of money. I think that, yes, we will have to put more money into long-term measures, but perhaps we should not repeat the mistake that we made in the first moratorium. We must ensure that, if we invest money, it will be to sustain this industry. These people do not want to depend on governments. They do not want to depend on government budgets year after year. As the member said so well, and I agree with him, these people want to work in the industry.

This is why we are getting involved right away. I agree that these are not long-term measures, because we do not have time. This is why we have an emergency budget and we will quickly begin working on long-term measures. We must not repeat the mistake that we made in the first moratorium and we must ensure that these people have access to a resource that will allow them to make a decent living for the future, without the assistance of governments.

First Nations Governance ActAdjournment Proceedings

7:55 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn Progressive Conservative St. John's West, NL

Madam Speaker, I thank the parliamentary secretary for standing up and answering my question pointedly rather than coming in and reading a prepared script written by someone else, which is what we see most of the time. I thank the hon. gentleman for addressing the problem as I presented it today.

First let me say that $325 a week, which is a lot less than they received under the original moratorium, will not go very far during the time of year when these people would be making their peak earnings.

Second, I understand that it only applies to people who were making at least 25% of their income from the fishery before it closed. If that is the case, that will not be a problem for people who were making $50,000, $60,000 or $80,000 on crab or some other species. However many of the smaller boats, which are probably making say $20,000 or less on crab or shrimp, and made--

First Nations Governance ActAdjournment Proceedings

7:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

First Nations Governance ActAdjournment Proceedings

7:55 p.m.


Georges Farrah Liberal Bonaventure—Gaspé—Îles-De-La-Madeleine—Pabok, QC

Madam Speaker, I agree, it would be a lot better if we could give them even more money. But the fact remains that these amounts are quite substantial. I think we have shown our good will by taking action rapidly, as a government.

That is the argument that was advanced. We felt that with regard to SARS in Toronto we had to take emergency measures. But the situation in Newfoundland was just as important. That is why we took action.

I agree that perhaps we would like to spend more money, but unfortunately we have limited means. However, I think we have proved our good faith. For the benefit of the hon. member, I must tell him that for fishermen to be eligible, 25% of their income should come from cod. With regard to processing plant workers—the hon. member might not be as happy to hear about that—50% of their income must be derived from cod. Therefore, this is twice as much, compared to fishermen's income. I said this for his information. I could give him further information later on, if he so desires.

I really do want to say that we showed our good faith in this case, in our effort to guarantee that these people would at least receive an income in the short term.

First Nations Governance ActAdjournment Proceedings

7:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:58 p.m.)