House of Commons Hansard #73 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was service.


International TradeAdjournment Proceedings

7:25 p.m.


David Lametti Liberal LaSalle—Émard—Verdun, QC

Madam Speaker, I do not share the hon. member's view about getting to the bottom of it. The fact of the matter is that we are learning a great deal about the agreement, both for and against. This was not the previous government's policy. It is our policy. It is the rational thing to do: to neither condemn the agreement without having read it nor to accept it blindly. We will make a decision that is in the best interests of all Canadians.

The reality is that the global trade policy framework has changed since NAFTA and the WTO. There are many barriers our companies face in getting products, people, services, and even data across borders on a day-to-day basis. It is our responsibility to ensure that the right decision is made on whether it is in Canada's best interest to participate in the TPP.

What is more, our responsibility to Canadians centres on our commitment to be transparent and maintain an open dialogue. As members can see, a lot of work has been done and a lot remains to be done.

Indigenous AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

June 15th, 2016 / 7:30 p.m.


Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Madam Speaker, I am very glad to have the opportunity to follow up on a question that I asked with respect to the Daniels decision.

On April 14, a very important decision was rendered by the Supreme Court of Canada. For the first time, our Métis and non-status Indians got some clarity that they had long been waiting for, that is, that they are Indians under section 91(24) of the Constitution Act. This really has significant, immediate, and important consequences. There are approximately 200,000 Métis and 400,000 non-status Indians who really have been left in limbo for a long time.

We did note at the time that the minister said that she welcomed the decision, respected the Supreme Court, and was really glad to see that there was some important interpretation put around it.

My concern is this. The government always likes to suggest that we are not respectful of rights, that we are indifferent, and that we are not concerned about the significant challenges our indigenous communities have over the years. There is nothing that is further from the truth. However, it is our responsibility, and the government's responsibility, to share with Canadians the consequences of many important decisions.

I will provide a quick example. At the time I had said that because the government members knew the decision was coming down they should have been anticipating how it would end and have a plan in place: plan A if it goes in a certain direction and plan B if it goes in a different direction. Instead, they sort of acted surprised, as though they received this decision and had not contemplated anything in terms of how they were going to respond to it, other than saying they welcomed it.

There is a simple example that was immediate. I believe it was the son of Mr. Daniels, or it might have been another person, who was interviewed at the time who said that they have an expectation that they will have the rights to the health care benefits that status Indians have. If members are not aware, those are simple things like dental and pharmaceutical coverage. That is an expectation. Therefore, we asked the government at the time if it had thought about it and whether it would be providing those kinds of supports. It responded that it welcomed the decision and that we were wrong to ask the question. It said, “Don't ask the question because that's inappropriate.” Therefore, we are trying to find out what analysis the government has done and where it will go next.

This is not the first time that government members sort of jump in and have great glowing words but actually do not do a good job, such as when, all of a sudden a year ago in June, they said, “We are going to implement the 94 recommendations”, but did not have a plan.

What continues to concern us is that there was this significant decision and we are now two months later. Therefore, perhaps tonight we will get a bit more detail, other than the general statements that we always get, in terms of what the government will do in response to this very important decision.

Indigenous AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:30 p.m.

Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador


Yvonne Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the question from the hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.

I want to begin with a few words about this historic ruling, acknowledging, of course, that we are gathered on traditional Algonquin territory.

The Supreme Court of Canada has made a landmark decision on a very important issue for Métis people, for non-status Indians, and for this country. Close to 32% of indigenous peoples in Canada self-identify as Métis people, representing communities in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Non-status Indians represent over 200,000 people in this country.¸

In every case, they deserve clarity and our partnership, not the jurisdictional tug-of-war that they have experienced for far too long in Canada. That is why I want to thank the Supreme Court for bringing the much needed and long-awaited clarity to this important issue.

The Government of Canada welcomes and will respect the decision. We are committed to working in partnership with all indigenous peoples impacted by the decision, along with other partners to ensure that we are following the court's direction in implementing this judgment.

As with any historic ruling, the government and all those impacted must take the time to review the decision carefully. It is premature to assign costs and timelines to this important issue at this juncture.

Following court direction and ensuring careful review is paramount, and making progress will require co-operation and genuine partnership in order to advance this important dialogue and map the way forward together.

Indeed, the government has already been working on renewing the relationship with the Métis and non-status Indians. Métis National Council President Chartier said that the new government had already recognized the Métis nation and was prepared to deal with it on a nation-to-nation basis.

Dwight Dorey, the National Chief of Indigenous Peoples Assembly of Canada said that the ruling was a historical recognition that had been long overdue.

We will work with all partners to advance reconciliation and renew the relationship based on co-operation, respect for rights, our international obligations, and a commitment to end the status quo.

I look forward to having the support of all colleagues and to working closely with the minister over the next while to ensure that this is done. This is our promise. This is what we intend to do.

Indigenous AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.


Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Again, Madam Speaker, this is a decision that has been coming for a long time. It came down about two months ago. We are no further ahead in understanding than we were two months ago in terms of the response to a very important specific decision.

Regarding medical benefits, are they in or are they out? Natural resource projects are very complicated already and we are again no clearer in terms of how we will integrate the Métis and non-status into the decisions around natural resource projects.

The Liberals are very quick to come forward in terms of accepting, for example, the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but they are very slow in terms of what they are doing with the Daniels decision, and more importantly, showing it both to the Métis and non-status Indians, and to all Canadians.

Indigenous AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.


Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Madam Speaker, our government's over-arching commitment is to renew the relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.

The Supreme Court decision speaks to a renewal of that relationship and reaffirms that we are on the right path.

As I have said, the Government of Canada respects the decision, and again, this is a new chapter. It is a brighter and more hopeful chapter in which we will be able to lift up indigenous peoples throughout the country.

The Supreme Court decision reaffirms that conviction. As a parliamentarian and a Canadian, I welcome the support of all partners in realizing that vision and looking forward to implementing the ruling of this historic decision on behalf of the hundreds and thousands of Métis and non-status Indians across Canada.

Indigenous AffairsAdjournment Proceedings

7:35 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:39 p.m.)