Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is right. Winnipeggers watch all these Canadian teams in the playoffs with regret, sadly; it is hard to imagine our team as Coyotes.
Having said that, let me say that development on the west coast is particularly sensitive in that there was a moratorium. After great study and analysis about the development of oil and gas on the west coast of Canada, we in our wisdom decided to place a moratorium on that development. First nations people played a pivotal role in 1970, I believe it was, when that moratorium was imposed, because at that time they recognized it is not “if” there will be some kind of a spill or a disaster on the west coast if we develop the oil and gas there, it is “when”; it is almost guaranteed.
Now I do not know how this has come about, but the attitude seems to have shifted 180 degrees and now there are development zealots who have seized the day on the coast. Taking advantage of the tough economic times British Columbia is going through, I guess, they felt it was a good time to float this again as some sort of panacea to their other economic problems.
However, I do caution that in the case of land set aside for parks, land set aside for reserves and even land subject to broader land claims that are currently pending, the full participation of aboriginal people at the front end is absolutely critical if we are to avoid costly litigation, which we will likely lose after the fact. It is a cautionary tale here. I believe that we as a people know better than to plow ahead unilaterally, but I sense that this might not be the case in B.C.
We recently had the Haida Gwaii case in the Queen Charlotte Islands. The Government of Canada and British Columbia jointly said, “Okay, we are going to finally resolve the Haida Gwaii land claims situation”, and offered 20% of the Queen Charlotte Islands to be set aside for their use in the land claim. The leadership of the Haida nation had a look at that and turned it down categorically, the logic being, “Why should we accept 20% when we had it all?”
I have a friend, Moses Okimah, who is an aboriginal lawyer. He said to me, “The dumbest thing they ever did was let guys like me go to university”. Because, frankly, people are well aware of the impacts of these settlements, they are well aware of recent Supreme Court rulings, and they are not going to allow this “trade a cow for three beans” situation to happen again.