Mr. Speaker, I listened as my hon. friend from Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca spoke with respect to this matter and I was surprised with respect to some of his comments because, looking at some of the other things which the hon. member has said in the House, he seems to have undergone quite an epiphany.
Specifically, on June 9, 1994, in respect of the land claim relating to Yukon which was then before the House, my friend said:
Bill C-34 gives special rights and special privileges to some of the native peoples of the Yukon Territory. As a representative here of all Canadians I have some problems with this. This bill is divisive. It will define the citizens of the First Nations as a separate group of citizens. Therefore what we would have in this land are two citizenships, citizens with different rules and regulations pertaining to each group.
As a result of this we are setting up separate governments for separate nations within the borders of this country, new governments with broad legislative powers, independent legislative powers of the rest of the country.
Native peoples see themselves as separate nations and not part of Canada. This I recognize. It is obviously a philosophical point of contention. To see oneself as a nation that is separate from another within the borders of this country may sound good to some, but I think that it is only divisive.
The hon. member carried on to say a number of other things which were significantly less moderate and which I do not want to have come out of my mouth in this chamber. On June 5, 1995, in relation to the Nisga'a agreement, the hon. member opposite said:
In closing, I would strongly urge the government to invest in policies that will enable native people to take care of themselves in a sustainable way in the future. Land claims are not the answer.
I wonder if my hon. friend would be good enough to explain for the benefit of the citizens in his constituency and other Canadians how he has undergone such an epiphany or are these merely chunterings from the other side of the House?
My hon. friend referenced chapter 7.7.2 of the agreement here in the House stating that it effectively had a concept of federal paramountcy. Leaving aside the other provisions of the agreement, I wonder if my learned friend would assist the House by explaining how chapter 7.7.2 operates and if he could describe for the House what is the difference between federal legislation of general application and other federal legislation?