Madam Speaker, the hon. member brought up an interesting point in regard to clause 9. It is fair for first nations individuals and band councils that we adopt clause 9. Clause 9 protects both government and first nations officials who make decisions in good faith on the basis of the statutory provisions as passed by Parliament and that existed at the time of the decisions of the former. The Court of Appeal for British Columbia found that certain provisions in the Indian Act adopted in 1985 did not meet the standard of the charter, and it turned to Parliament to adopt the proper remedy for the future.
Clause 9 is there for greater certainty. This means that it actually reflects an existing principle of law, according to which decisions made in good faith on the basis of legislation later found to be invalid do not attract liability. This principle would normally apply even in the absence of clause 9. However, clause 9 is important because it sends a clear message from Parliament and it will avoid having persons who are unaware of the principle wasting their time and energy in sterile litigation against the Crown or first nation councils.