Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, for his question. He too represents a constituency in western Canada, in British Columbia, and has spoken passionately and convincingly about the need for the government to reconcile its relationship with first nations and to allow first nations, as he himself has said, to take more control of their own destiny, their own future, their own institutions, their own economic development, and in many cases their own resources.
The Tlicho agreement is an agreement and it is important that we keep emphasizing that. It has been arrived at through a negotiation process. This agreement, brought into effect by the legislation before the House today, is a very important step to bring this first nation into its own. It will give it the control of its own institutions and the ability to decide its own future in a way that will be compatible and positive for all Canadians.
My own personal experience in New Brunswick has taught me that there is a great deal of desire on the part of first nations to become economically self-sufficient, to educate their people, and to advance the rights of women in their communities.
We have a long way to go to make aboriginal people full participants in Canadian society. The Prime Minister, the government and the minister have made it very clear that the Tlicho agreement is a wonderful step forward. We hope that it will be followed by other first nations who seek to take control of their own institutions and to participate fully in the governing of their communities.
When I think of the first nations people whom I represent, they would view this Tlicho agreement as a model and something that I hope many other first nations, through a negotiated process with the Government of Canada, can also strive to attain.
The promise is limitless. If we look at the natural resources, the human resources, the spirit, and the culture of these first nations people, the Government of Canada has shown a great deal of leadership with respect to this legislation and this agreement in ensuring that their aspirations and hopes were also achieved.