Mr. Speaker, certainly I want to compliment the parliamentary secretary and the department and the minister for the leadership that he is offering in this initiative.
We know that there are over 600 first nations across this country. From our point of view, and probably from their point of view, it is unfortunate that much of the legislation under which they work and live was developed back in the 19th century. Today we live in the 21st century and across this country first nations leaders and people are attempting to improve their economic activity. I know that for too long they have had to try to promote this in this House, but the new legislation that is being introduced today will enable them to make the best efforts in terms of their own initiatives to develop an economy for their people.
In the gallery today we have some of those people who have led this issue. I have met with them before as the parliamentary secretary. We know that they are very much interested in having this legislation move forward.
We have a great number of very important items before this House, this being one of them, and we know, of course, that there are those who want this House to end. I would hope that in terms of the people who are gathered here today and see this as important that we as a group of legislators can attempt to bring this to a vote and that we can see it through committee, and hopefully not only for the five that were mentioned by the parliamentary secretary, because in my own area of Atlantic Canada we have initiatives there and we have leaders who are doing great work in terms of developing the economy for their people.
As a member of Parliament from Atlantic Canada, I want to join with those in the other parts of this great nation to see that opportunities are created for the first nations people who are the original people, the indigenous people of Canada. It is great to support Bill C-71. Hopefully it will be fast tracked through this House and we can see the results of legislation which we have approved.