Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting scenario.
The previous representatives of my region were part and parcel of that filibuster. They were part and parcel of trying to scuttle the entire deal. That was the effort. It was not simply to cause three days of delay. It was to attempt to ruin the first nations treaty, which was the Nisga'a treaty. That was declared and said by a member, and there is some irony, because that member returned to run as a candidate for the Conservative Party in the last election and held the position again, saying that treaties were a mistake. Before that, he was a Reform member.
However, he ran again as a Conservative. In debate after debate in communities of which 50% or more are first nations, while the non-first nations have grown accustomed to the idea and have seen the advantages of it, that gentleman unfortunately was joined by too many within that political movement in saying that this was bad for Canada, that this was bad for our region.
The Nisga'a, to their credit and under the great leadership of Dr. Gosnell and many others, a leadership that handed a torch to the generation that has now adopted this Nisga'a treaty, saw this for what it was. They knew that right intentions would win in the end.
Here is an interesting example. Out of the Nisga'a treaty, the Nisga'a were able to develop what now is called the Nisga'a Fisheries. In a sense, they take care of the Nass River, its tributaries and the outflow into the ocean and manage the fisheries from their perspective and from their cultural perspective. It is one of the few rivers in British Columbia this year that will have any kind of fishery at all. It has been lauded by DFO, environmental groups and industry groups as a well managed fishery, perhaps the best on the entire west coast.
When the Nisga'a treaty was being debated, an important comment was made by the head of the Credit Unions of British Columbia. When he was asked whether the Nisga'a treaty was good or bad in the short term or the long term, he said it was good in both, because finally it allowed for certainty on the land base. It allowed for certainty for forestry, for mining companies and for fishing. It allowed people to make the types of investments and decisions they needed to make, because there was no question about where fee simple was or was not, where the interdiction of the Crown existed and did not. This is what the Nisga'a had been basing their economic revival on: that land question.
As for questions of filibuster and questions of delaying and denying and hoping to resist the inevitable, it was, I would suggest to my Conservative colleagues, an unfortunate period in Canadian history, it really was. However, the Nisga'a persevered and right-thinking members of Parliament persevered.
Now we now have rules in this place, thankfully, which omit that type of tactics from happening in that manner and do not allow the introduction of some 100 or 200 amendments just to talk out the clock and try to destroy a bill, and this was a bill that was supported by a majority of Canadians.
It is incredible to me that the Conservative members would somehow equate trying to destroy a treaty with a representative commenting on a piece of legislation that affects him or her greatly. Thirty per cent of my constituents are first nations. I am amazed that in their sudden desperation to deal with this bill the Conservatives somehow are seeing a filibuster under every rock and tree. It is remarkable to me. The Minister of Indian Affairs has stood up in this House and asked questions, so I guess the Minister of Indian Affairs is therefore presenting some sort of filibuster to the House.
Of course, we are not making that accusation. It is bizarre and beyond the pale coming as it does from a government that spent six weeks at the environment committee delaying a climate change bill. To suggest that a 20 minute speech is some grand conspiracy is amazing and disgraceful.