Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be here today to show my support for Bill C-88, while acknowledging that we are gathering on the unceded traditional territory of the Algonquin people.
Our government is taking a new approach. We are currently conducting extensive consultations with indigenous governments and organizations as well as other key stakeholders on issues that will affect them. This process has helped create a law from which all Canadians can benefit.
Bill C-88 amends the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act in direct response to concerns expressed by indigenous groups affected by the previous piece of legislation as well as comments from key stakeholders.
Our indigenous partners have made their opinions quite clear. The Tlicho government and Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated applied to the courts in 2014 and 2015 respectively to defend their rights in accordance with their individual land claim and self-government agreements.
The bill we are debating today corrects the problems caused by the Conservatives and responds directly to the concerns expressed by indigenous governments and organizations. As part of the ongoing reconciliation process, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations asked departmental officials to initiate an ongoing dialogue with indigenous organizations and governments in the Northwest Territories to address their concerns.
On September 23, 2016, the minister sent letters to indigenous groups and stakeholders launching consultations on the draft bill to amend the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act in order to address these issues.
Bill C-88 is the result of consultations with indigenous organizations and governments in the Mackenzie Valley, transboundary organizations and governments, resource co-management boards and oil and gas industry organizations.
In addition to indigenous organizations and governments, Canada consulted the Government of the Northwest Territories. Our government also consulted members of the mining and gas and oil industries, including the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines, the Mining Association of Canada, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
Ongoing consultations over the long term with key stakeholders have provided Canada with invaluable insight into the practical nature of the bill before us today. The comments from our partners provided unique perspectives and useful guidance which, in the end, led to the drafting of this bill. That is why proper consultation is important.
Canada recognizes that the Conservatives' legislation was drafted without enough consultation. That is why the Government of Canada ensured that the voices of indigenous groups, the government of the Northwest Territories, and industry representatives were heard at every stage of the process—from initial discussions through to drafting and review. Bringing together stakeholders is the key to developing effective policies and practices. The Government of Canada is holding extensive consultations in order to create processes that satisfy the needs of all parties. That ensures that the final product serves everyone in a positive and productive manner and gets rid of any possible uncertainty regarding natural resources.
In March, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations met with industry groups to better understand their opinion on developing and co-managing resources in the North. Industry plays a major role in creating a stronger and better relationship with governments and indigenous organizations when it comes to protecting, managing and developing Canada's natural resources.
In order to truly make progress on the path to reconciliation with indigenous peoples, industry must be taken into consideration as a key strategic partner alongside all levels of government. By bringing together all the stakeholders, every concern will be addressed as it is raised.
If passed, the amendments this bill makes will contribute to the more efficient, predictable and consistent use and management of land, water and natural resources in the Mackenzie Valley. With the creation of a clearer path for governments and organizations in terms of natural resource management, industry will no longer face the potential uncertainty that hinders its ability to invest in northern Canada.
This law will enhance economic opportunities and growth while protecting the environment for future generations. It addresses concerns expressed by indigenous organizations and governments and respects the framework flowing from their constitutionally protected land claim and self-government agreements. It recognizes the importance of having indigenous peoples actively participate in the co-management of natural resources and of protecting their right to monitor the future of their territory.
The environment, the economy and reconciliation go hand in hand. We need to create a more effective system for everyone, and that is exactly what Bill C-88 accomplishes. I encourage my hon. colleagues to support it.