Mr. Speaker, as far as I know, there are three levels of government in Canada: federal, provincial and municipal. When the treaty-making process took place and the British crown, after ascertaining its rights to enter into treaty because of the treaties it already had with France, entered into these treaties, those differences were settled. However I think the British crown was remiss in that it did not respect the nations, the tribes and the communities, the bands.
Putting it into perspective, the original nations had their levels of government as well, their levels of confederacies among nations. They had land use agreements and transportation through the river systems agreements among the different regions of the country. Those nations were involved and they had agreements. They had Wampum belts. There is oral history and significant history that documents all of this.
With respect to the third order of government, which is the substance of the debate, we already have a third order of government and it is the municipal level. The federal government transfers powers to the provinces which in turn transfers powers to the municipalities. Within the band councils, under the Indian Act, powers were transferred directly from the federal government.
There are 630 Indian bands across the country. What about their tribes and their nations? That is what I am bringing forward to this House. What about the tribes and nations as governing bodies? Why are they not recognized in modern day Canada?
The Okanagan nation is a nation in and of itself. Westbank is a part of the Okanagan nation but Canada does not recognize the Okanagan nation. These nations have to practise in their own ways. Through that practice and that recognition there will be a greater magic taking place in this country. There will be greater responsibility because some of those gifts of governance, some of those gifts of wisdom and intellectual property have to be protected by the nations themselves, not as the generic term of first nations.
The Okanagan have their own language and their own inherent rights and properties. They carry their own medicine and their own knowledge of the land and animals that are within their region. There is traditional knowledge but it is based on each a nation and it is locked in their language.
The Dene cannot carry the knowledge of the Okanagan. The Okanagan do not carry the knowledge of the Mohawk. The Mohawk do not carry the knowledge of the Cree. We should allow these nations to come and celebrate their knowledge. We should allow them to express themselves in their way. Canada would be a greater nation by sharing this openness, this generosity, these Canadian principles and values. Why can we not share this openness? Why are we shy? Why are we unsure of opening our arms and allowing us to come together as one nation?
That as why I deem our country as a river of nations. No matter where we are, we should be proud of our ancestors. The strength of our ancestors will make our nation strong. We must be one nation. We must flow as one like the river.