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.