Mr. Speaker, as the minister said, the bill would deal with the specific aspect of the enrolment process.
However, in his introduction, he talked about the failure for an agreement to include and apply the Indian Act in Newfoundland at the time of Confederation.
In fact, the history of aboriginal people in Newfoundland since Confederation has been a history of neglect of the federal government's constitutional responsibility for aboriginal people in Canada. Access to services and programs has been denied to aboriginal people for two generations, since 1949. This is an attempt to try to reap some circumstances where the Mi'kmaq, the 65 communities that are listed in the annex, have some access to programs.
First, it is an agreement without land. The Mi'kmaq were required to give up a claim for land in order to get what they were entitled to from the Government of Canada. That is a concern. A lot of people wonder why this unique situation has been applied in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Second, there are two aspects of the 100,000 people to which the minister refers. Many of them have claims based upon ancestry, perhaps not the self-identification and acceptance that are claimed in these particular criteria that are set forth.
Would there be claims, or potential claims, extinguished by this process? Clause 4 talks about no right to sue for damages. Would that be part of extinguishing any right, or does the minister have another explanation for that?
Third, what about people who, as children—and I am aware of certain cases, as I know others are also aware—were taken from their families and adopted out of these communities, who did not have an opportunity to self-identify and have an association with the aboriginal way of life that is recognized in these treaties?
Does the Government of Canada take the view that they have no claim to aboriginal status and Indian status and it will not consider such claims in the future?