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House of Commons Hansard #153 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Premiers of QuebecOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. It was not a point of order. The hon. member must have heard me. I said it was a matter of debate.

Premiers of QuebecOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

A new point of order.

Premiers of QuebecOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member is rising on a new point of order.

Premiers of QuebecOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dick Harris Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I watch you get up and down in the House during question period and caution people about making statements that misrepresent facts. I did not know that on some days of the week that members of the cabinet can in fact rise in the House and misrepresent the truth on issues. Am I to understand that this is permitted?

Premiers of QuebecOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I think the hon. member knows that the Speaker may correct language, but whether a member is misrepresenting facts or not is something the Speaker has no opinion on and never makes any conclusion. Language, yes, but whether the statements contained in a question or an answer are factual or a matter of dispute is beyond me.

I know the hon. member would enjoy a debate perhaps on some of these matters and I invite him to apply for a late show debate the next time he asks a question and gets an answer he does not like. It is the best approach.

The hon. parliamentary secretary on another point of order.

Premiers of QuebecOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sue Barnes Liberal London West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if I mentioned education and I do not want to mislead the House. I want to ensure that education is also part of the FMM agenda.

Premiers of QuebecOral Questions

12:05 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sure no hon. member wants to mislead the House.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 52nd report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding its order of reference of Wednesday, June 22, in relation to Bill C-312, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act (appointment of returning officers).

The committee has considered Bill C-312 and reports the bill with amendments.

I also have other reports from the same committee. We have been very busy. I have the honour to present the 53rd report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding its order of reference of Tuesday, October 18, in relation to Bill C-63, an act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Income Tax Act.

The committee has considered Bill C-63 and reports the bill with one amendment.

In addition, I have the honour to present the fifty-first report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the question of privilege relating to an inquiry conducted by the ethics commissioner.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:05 p.m.

Scarborough—Guildwood Ontario

Liberal

John McKay LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 18th report of the Standing Committee on Finance on Bill C-57, An Act to amend certain acts in relation to financial institutions and agreed on Thursday, November 18, 2005, to report it with amendments.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

November 18th, 2005 / 12:05 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, as of January 3, 2003, thousands of law-abiding Canadians, through no fault of their own, have become criminals through the possession of unregistered firearms. Any individual who now tries to register a firearm is exposed to federal prosecution.

Conflicting statements made by the Minister of Justice and the Canada Firearms Centre regarding the threat of prosecution is only adding to the confusion. It is recognized in 9 out of 10 provinces, as well as by MPs, senators and the Auditor General of Canada, and all agree that the firearms registry is completely out of control.

The people of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke who have signed this petition are asking that there be an immediate amnesty for all owners of long barrel firearms registered after January 1, 2003.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Clavet Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my duty today to table in this House a petition signed by many citizens of Quebec, asking that Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport be returned to its original name of Dorval International Airport.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau was responsible for expropriating some of Quebec's finest farmland to build Mirabel airport. He was the Prime Minister who enacted the War Measures Act in 1970, a very sad page in the history of Quebec. In 1982, he unilaterally patriated the Constitution in spite of the fact that the Quebec National Assembly was unanimously opposed. Therefore, the undersigned petitioners ask that this Montreal airport be returned to its original name of Dorval International Airport.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to present petitions from thousands of my constituents who support the Queensway Carleton Hospital's bid to obtain a land deal of $1 rent per year. Currently, the Liberal government has charged tens of thousands of dollars a year, amounting to almost $1 million in rent, and is planning a massive rent increase at the termination of the existing lease, all the while charging only $1 to a local golf course that also sits on NCC land. I am proud to introduce this petition on behalf of my constituents.

PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Randy Kamp Conservative Dewdney—Alouette, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition from citizens of British Columbia, who rightly believe that IBI-ABA therapy can dramatically help children with autism. They are calling upon Parliament to amend the Canada Health Act and corresponding regulations to include that therapy for children with autism as a medically necessary treatment, and require that all provinces provide and fund this essential treatment for autism.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Miramichi New Brunswick

Liberal

Charles Hubbard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, if Question No. 219 could be made an order for return, this return would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 219Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Conservative Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

With regard to the position and most current appointment process of the Parliamentary Librarian: ( a ) what specific criteria are used to evaluate applications and prepare the final list from which a successful applicant is selected; and ( b ) is there a final list of candidates for the position and, if so, on which specific criteria and for which specific reasons did the unsuccessful candidates fail to make the final list?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 219Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Question No. 219Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Is that agreed?

Question No. 219Routine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will try to summarize my comments on Bill C-71.

The point I was trying to make was that any parliamentarian of any party should be very concerned about the regulations that would be permitted by Bill C-71. Imagine, by regulation the government can “confer any legislative, administrative, judicial or other power on any person or body that the Governor in Council considers necessary”. Can we imagine this being acceptable anywhere else in Canada in any other jurisdiction? It is beyond me. How could a decision ever be appealed? One could not go and appeal this in federal courts.

While some subsections of the bill require that the powers exercised be done in a manner that is consistent with the provincial regulations, other sections seem to give it unbridled power. This is my fear again of this bill being seemingly simple, but actually a Trojan horse seeking to accomplish some secondary objective that is not clear at the front end.

Knowledgeable people have come to us saying that for the five first nations who sponsored Bill C-71 there were ways for them to accomplish what they needed to accomplish to allow the economic development to take place in their communities without this legislative change in Bill C-71. In other words, within the parameters of the existing acts of Parliament that have jurisdiction, these first nations probably could have taken these steps.

I do not have time to go through all of my party's concerns, but subclause 2(o) in Bill C-71 is of concern as well as subclause 2(p) and 2(q), clause 5, and subclause 9(2). I am registering my concern about all of these clauses and subclauses for further investigation when the bill gets to committee.

My party is very concerned that the tone and the content of this bill may take communities to places they do not realize they are going. I simply point to the summary of the bill on the cover which states:

--Parliament has exclusive jurisdiction to make laws in relation to Indian lands--

That is worrisome in and of itself because it does not respect section 35 of the Constitution. The preamble states:

WHEREAS existing Acts of Parliament do not provide sufficient authority for Canada or first nations to establish such regimes;

I challenge that because under the Indian Act a first nation could have simply established a bylaw which would incorporate the provincial law as its own and this bill would not have been necessary.

First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

London West Ontario

Liberal

Sue Barnes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians

Mr. Speaker, to help my friend, who has in the past been supportive of bills that have helped first nations, I would like to point out to him that this bill itself does not have any direct implication for aboriginal and treaty rights. However, regulations for large scale and/or complex commercial and industrial projects could have some effect on aboriginal and treaty rights. For this reason, authority would be provided in the proposed legislation to permit the inclusion of provisions to accommodate proven or asserted aboriginal or treaty rights in the project specific regulations made under the proposed act.

The partnering first nations and their legal counsel have indicated their strong support for this approach of addressing specific aboriginal and treaty rights in the regulations, specific to a given project brought forward by a first nation.

Overall, the proposed act permits regulations, and I will quote here, to “provide for the relationship between the regulations and aboriginal and treaty rights referred to in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, including limiting the extent to which the regulations may abrogate or derogate from those aboriginal and treaty rights”.

We have a situation where the provincial regulation has to be able to come in when the community has so desired this to be able to do industrial development. This is with the consent of the first nation. All of the legal experts, not only in the first nations communities but also in the Government of Canada, felt that it was necessary to proceed in this way to give the utmost protection to existing inherent rights, but also to allow development where the first nations who are leading the projects specifically request it and require it.

If we had a complete, fulsome non-derogation clause, it is unlikely that any of this development work would be able to occur.

First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development ActGovernment Orders

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is one of the concerns I was going to raise in regard to the lack of a clear non-derogation clause.

More specifically, in answer to my colleague's comment, she and the department have characterized this legislation as being self-government. I want to ask how and where they came to this conclusion, because what is really happening is entirely contrary to the concept of self-government.

They state that there is a gap in the Indian Act. Is that true? I would like them to point out to me where, because what about bylaw power? I believe that whatever gap they are trying to identify in the Indian Act could be accommodated by bylaw power, and if there is a gap, if it is not there now, why not just amend the Indian Act and provide that power?

Let us take an exercise in correcting the flawed legislation of the Indian Act. Why not use this as an opportunity to do some real self-government building and encourage first nations to pass regulations which they consider to be to their advantage?

I am not satisfied. I appreciate that the parliamentary secretary is trying to address some of my concerns. I think she is honestly trying to defend a bill and an act that she believes in. I want to be convinced. I want to pass legislation that enables first nations to participate in true economic development. I would not ever stand in the way of something that I truly believed to be in that light.

I hope that at committee I can get answers to my questions regarding, and I will serve notice, the possible regulation (o) which I do not fully understand, and (p) and (q), and clause 5 and clause 9(2).

Clause 9(2) provides for appeal by the provincial courts, unless otherwise provided by regulation. In other words, by regulation, the right to appeal could be totally withheld. That is a problem for me and it is a legitimate concern.

Maybe it is just as well we did not fast-track this bill and do all three stages in one day as was originally contemplated, because these legitimate concerns are coming to the surface now and deserve to be addressed.

First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Liberal

Maurizio Bevilacqua Liberal Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my support for Bill C-71, the First Nations commercial and industrial development act. I sincerely hope that members on both sides of the House will support the bill because it is a logical and sensible step forward from a business perspective. Also, essentially many of the issues that we debate in the House really come down to two essential elements: to improve the quality of life of people and their standard of living. There is no question that the bill will also improve the quality of life on reserve and better equip first nations communities with skills and resources to invest in their future.

This chamber is indeed about that. This chamber is about providing and expanding opportunities for individual Canadians to provide them with greater hope for the future, to give them a sense that they can fulfill what I define as the Canadian dream, that tomorrow can indeed be better than today. We collectively in this chamber have a responsibility to make it so. People in Canada need to be given these opportunities.

This bill, the FNCIDA, is a progressive piece of legislation. It will remove significant barriers that are currently denying first nations communities access to major commercial and industrial projects on reserve land.

When we think of public policy, when we think of ways to improve our society, it is very important to remove barriers. That is a very positive step that we as legislators should endorse, to remove barriers for great economic growth, to remove barriers to maximize one's own potential, whether as individuals or as communities.

A significant barrier to this access is inadequate legislation that was put in place under an entirely different economic reality. It is now time to recognize the economic potential for commerce and industry on reserve land and to consider the invaluable benefits to the quality of life that the FNCIDA will help to facilitate.

With existing barriers removed, projects governed by the FNCIDA would mean more active participation by first nations in the economy. The bill would be a gateway to increased revenues that could be reinvested to stimulate further growth and help propel prosperity in first nations communities.

The best example of a project that will benefit from the bill is the multi-billion dollar oil sands mine being pursued by Fort McKay First Nation in northern Alberta. Over the life of the project, direct and indirect economic benefits for Fort McKay First Nation are expected to be $1 billion to $2 billion.

It is easy to see how increased revenue and economic growth are tangible and positive outcomes of this legislation. It is easy to see how really liberating the economic potential of an area can bring about the type of prosperity, the type of renewal of all the energies that exist within a community to improve the quality of life and standard of living.

The projects the bill would enable would do more than bring in just more money. They would improve the quality of life through ensuring industry-wide standards in environmental protection and public health safety, creating more jobs on the reserve and offering opportunities for capacity building for the future.

With new jobs come more education, training and skills development. It is the way to enlarge the pool of opportunity. It is the way to give people the types of incentives that increase the opportunities that exist. With the new jobs there are short term outcomes. Employment and earned income translate in the long term into improved quality of life, a better future and access to other opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach.

Essentially the bill provides opportunities that are not present. It is clear to see that the bill improves the situation on these particular reserves. Why is that important? That is what we do here. It is what this chamber does. It is what members of Parliament and individuals try to do in building a better society. It is the raison d'être of parliamentarians.

What is really important about this piece of legislation is that in many ways it is a result of great input from people who will eventually benefit from the bill. The fact that in a democratic process we have people from all over Canada saying that these measures would help them improve their quality of life and standard of living and to move forward with change speaks to the fact that people are engaged. The bill is an example of such action, of what can be achieved when people pool their resources, share in a common vision and bring about positive change to their lives.

For first nations communities like Fort McKay, more active participation in the Canadian economy facilitated by the FNCIDA will mean a significant improvement in the quality of life on reserve in other ways as well. Revenues generated through large scale commerce and industry can be directed toward upgrading road, water and sewer infrastructure, and building playgrounds, schools and medical centres.

The benefits of the bill are self-evident. We have expanded opportunities, generation of revenue that will be directed toward education, which will provide people with skills. We are also building infrastructure necessary for future generation of wealth which in turn will also improve the standard of living, quality of life in many ways, in health and education which I think are elements of our society that people really care about. What about the great improvement we will see when children have access to greater educational opportunities, when we see young people who will look to the future with a sense of optimism because there are jobs available? What do we see when we see playgrounds springing up on reserves where children can play and have a great childhood experience? What does that mean in real terms? To view the bill in isolation would be a mistake.

There are five partnering first nations who have been actively involved in the development of the FNCIDA: Fort McKay; Fort William First Nation in Ontario; Squamish Nation in British Columbia; Carry the Kettle First Nation in Saskatchewan; and Tsuu T'ina Nation in Alberta. They are a perfect example of what can be achieved when we as individuals want to build a society where positive change takes place. For that reason I congratulate the first nations.