Mr. Speaker, the member for Crowfoot is one of the hardest working members in the House. I applaud his interest in this legislation.
It is difficult to say where and when the power of expropriation might be necessary. What the legislation does do is it preserves the right of the Government of Canada, essentially this Parliament, in the best interests of the citizens of Canada to proceed to expropriate first nation lands or other assets. The point one can take from that is that aboriginal communities under this legislation are in really the same position as all other Canadians, in the sense that they are subject to the overall best interests of Canada. If Canada needs to proceed for whatever reason with taking a forced entry, as it is called in law, the government has the power to do that.
The reason I raise this as important is that one of the very difficult questions we have in the Mackenzie Valley, which has emerged in the context of the negotiations over the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, is whether or not through sheer negligence the Liberal government neglected to protect that very right. There are those who argue that if we examine the treaty negotiations that have taken place and the treaties that have been put in place up the Mackenzie Valley, the Government of Canada has, through a constitutional agreement, given up its right to expropriate, for example, a pipeline easement or a pipeline right of way. Some would make the argument that because it is not in the treaty, it is not in the legislation, this House in fact no longer has the authority within the sovereign jurisdiction of Canada to actually make those kinds of decisions, that because of the negligence of the Liberal government in putting that legislation in place, it overlooked that fact. That is, I am told, a significant issue in the negotiations in relation to some of the pipeline questions.
I might conclude by saying that is not the case with this legislation. We have been vigilant to make sure that those authorities, the authorities of this Parliament, are protected and maintained. It is one of the reasons we support the bill.