Mr. Speaker, I have a written speech, but I am not going to use it because the member referred to six points that were wrong with the treaty. He is basically emasculating it with the amendments and they are all wrong. If we refute that, then everyone should definitely vote for this treaty. I will talk about how embarrassing it is to the Prime Minister that a government member would be allowed to totally emasculate a government bill and only relate it to aboriginal affairs. I do not know why other members have not spoken out on other things their constituents have told them to speak about.
The first point the member suggested not to vote for the bill is that taxes would go to the first nations government. I guess if we were to vote for the member's amendments, we would tell all the provinces that they should not be getting money from the federal government, and all the municipalities that they should not be getting infrastructure money and other types of grants from the federal government.
Of course the federal government helps other governments in this country. That is one of the reasons these treaties have been so successful across the country. This treaty would be another one. I think that is why the government has put this forward.
The member's second perceived problem is not a problem. He suggested that there would be new rights to all sorts of unaffordable land for the first nations. First of all, as a Bloc member outlined, this land is traditionally first nations land, since a royal proclamation in 1763. The first nations have never ceded this land.
There are much larger volumes of this land in the tiny corner they have agreed to in this agreement. It is not as though governments are giving this up. First nations still have a legal case to this under the royal proclamation of King George III in 1763 and a negotiated settlement of this tiny portion of land. That does not cost the government. In fact, what the government is gaining is many more billions and billions of dollars of land that were traditionally used by the aboriginal people and on which they are making a good faith agreement with governments, so that they can still continue some semblance of a life that they have always had.
The Conservatives had so much potential to work in the area of farmland and the tiny amount of land related to the environment. Why is it that the only time it is ever raised is in this situation? That is simply not believable. Those points are now refuted.
The next point is related to the commercial sale of salmon. The member suggested that if we extrapolated this, all the sockeye salmon for the other agreements to come and all the sockeye salmon in British Columbia, in fact, more than all the salmon, 170% of the salmon would be gone.
Once again, there is a saying that for every complex problem there is a simple answer, and it is wrong. That is a simple extrapolation of the same numbers per person, as if every first nation in British Columbia ate the same food, had the same access to the one species and that they were all the same, which of course is not true. The first nations people who are inland have different food sources, access to different types of fish and obviously more access to land mammals such as moose. Each agreement would be negotiated separately. There would be different amounts of sockeye salmon and any other species.
I think that no one in his or her right mind would ever believe that thinking, rational people would ever sign away 170%. In fact, of the fisheries that are there, they are still based on conservation. If there is a conservation problem in numbers, they can be cut back. It is abundance based and it is a sliding scale. The Minister of Fisheries can still cut back when there is a conservation problem. I do not know if the member was referring to the commercial licences. Those are provided from retired licences. Therefore, that does not put more pressure on the situation.
The fourth suggested problem is not a problem. We should look at the bill itself and all the precedents where agreements such as this one have been so successful. The member said there would be laws that would prevail over federal laws in a number of areas. I think the member has analyzed 40 situations, and I congratulate him for doing that in-depth analysis, where it would prevail over other laws. Of course, different levels of government have responsibilities to make laws and to ensure that they do not conflict with those of other governments. Ontario can make laws. If we were to vote for this amendment, we would be saying that all governments in this country cannot have their own laws in their own areas of jurisdiction.
It would not override Parliament because the whole issue we are discussing is a federal law that the federal government is making and can change. One of the keys to the success of these agreements that have been established so far is that when one has self-determination, whether it is a municipality, province or a first nation, and is responsible for things in one's own jurisdiction, there is a remarkable increase in success rather than when it is someone else's responsibility to take care of it.
The fifth suggestion was that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply. Of course it does. It is in the agreement.
The last fallacious suggestion was that people cannot start a business or have any self-sufficiency. Once again, that is not true. It is telling first nations and their governments, just like the Government of Canada, the government of Vancouver or the government of British Columbia, that they own land and it is up to them what they do with that land. The first nation will have its land, as I said, a very tiny parcel of land compared to what is being freed up for everyone else in the agreement with the other two governments, and it is up to the first nation how to deal with the land. A first nation society is more of a collective society and there have been tremendous success stories, as I have said, with these particular agreements.
There is one in my area that owns half of the local airline, a success story at a time when airlines are not doing very well. There are different arrangements. Obviously it is not always the simple type of arrangement that the member has talked about. It is not that it is out of the control of the first nation. It is that it has chosen not to go that way so that the land, which is so important to the first nation as a society, is not eroded and will be used for its businesses.
I think the member mentioned a number of businesses and economic revenues, over and above the taxation revenue, that will come from the land to the first nation. In British Columbia there are a number of first nations with very innovative businesses and success stories. In relation to taxation, the first nation will also have its own source revenues, as every government needs, to fulfill the obligations that it did not have to fulfill before but now has to under this agreement.
None of the member's concerns are valid. They do not stand up in law. They do not stand up in precedent. They do not stand up in the failures of such previous agreements which, by and large, in many cases moved the first nations so far ahead.
It is very distressing that the Prime Minister, who has tight control over everything the party does--which is fine; that is his way of operating--in this one exception would allow two members to put forward a bunch of amendments that, first, are not true and do not match his government's analysis of them, and second, would totally emasculate a government bill. That is very distressing. It must be distressing to Conservative voters who did not want their members to vote for certain things but their members had to vote for. Now in this one particular case, they do not have to.
We should continue with the strong support that a vast majority of members of the House of Commons showed on the first vote. It was negotiated among three governments. We should let it stand and go ahead.