Madam Speaker, what is sad is that the term “reconciliation” has become a buzzword under the government. I take this to heart.
Many members know I have stood in the House, time and again, and have said that my wife and children are first nations. It is troubling for me when some members stand in the House, put their hands on their hearts and say that it is in the best interests of reconciliation, not just with respect to Bill C-88 but also Bills C-69, C-48, C-68 as well as the surf clam scam that took place earlier in this session.
The only part I will agree with in the hon. parliamentary secretary's intervention was when at she said there was enough blame to go around. Nobody should be pointing fingers, saying one group is better than another group. Reconciliation is about creating a path forward. It is not about pitting a first nation against a first nation or a first nation against a non-first nation. It is about how we walk together moving forward.
What I am about to say is not related to all members on both sides of the House. Some members truly understand this. However, time and again some Liberals will stand in the House and say that they support reconciliation or that this is all about reconciliation. Then a heavy-handed policy comes down or words are said, which we call “bozo eruptions”, and there is regret afterward.
I will go back to how we started the spring session. The first female indigenous Attorney General in our country spoke truth to power, and we saw what happened to her.
Bill C-88 is interesting, because it looks to reverse the incredible work our previous government did in putting together Bill C-15.
I will read a quote from our hon. colleague across the way when she voted for Bill C-15. She stated:
As Liberals, we want to see the Northwest Territories have the kind of independence it has sought. We want it to have the ability to make decisions regarding the environment, resource development, business management, growth, and opportunity, which arise within their own lands.
The parliamentary secretary has offered a lot of excuses today as to why she voted for it, such as she was tricked or voted for it for a specific reason. It is easy for members to stand after the fact and say, “I could have, would have, should have” or “This is the reason; my arm was twisted.” However, if we do not stand for something, we will fall for anything. That is what we have seen with the government taking up the eco-warrior agenda to pay back for the 2015 election. That is why we have Bills C-68, C-69, C-48 and C-88.
The parliamentary secretary wants to talk about how Bill C-88 would empower our first nations. Let me offer the House a few quotes.
Mr. Merven Gruben, the mayor of the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, stated:
Tuk has long been an oil and gas town. Since the first oil boom, or the whalers hunting whales in the late 1800 and early 1900s, we have grown up side by side with industry. We have not had any bad environmental effects from the oil and gas work in our region, and we have benefited from the jobs, training and business opportunities that have been available when the industry has worked in Tuk and throughout the north, the entire region.
Never in 100-plus years has the economy of our region, and the whole north, looked so bleak for the oil and gas industry, and for economic development, generally. All the tree huggers and green people are happy, but come and take a look. Come and see what you're doing to our people. The government has turned our region into a social assistance state. We are Inuvialuit who are proud people and who like to work and look after ourselves, not depend on welfare.
I thank God we worked very closely with the Harper government and had the all-weather highway built into Tuk. It opened in November 2017, if some of you haven't heard, and now we are learning to work with tourism. We all know that's not the money and work that we were used to in the oil and gas days that we liked.
He further states:
Nobody's going to be going up and doing any exploration or work up there.
We were really looking forward to this. There was a $1.2-billion deal here that Imperial Oil and BP did not that far out of Tuk, and we were looking forward to them exploring that and possibly drilling, because we have the all-weather highway there. What better place to be located?
The Hon. Bob McLeod, the premier from the Northwest Territories, said that the moratorium was “result of eco-colonialism”.
I speak of the moratorium. The Liberals want to talk about all the work they are doing in standing up for the north and the indigenous peoples in the north. It was just before Christmas when Prime Minister travelled to Washington, D.C. to make the announcement with the then United State President, Barack Obama. There had been zero consultation with northerners, despite consistent rhetoric about consulting with Canada's indigenous peoples. Prior to decision making, the resolution was made unilaterally from the Prime Minister's Office.
The indigenous peoples and the people from the Northwest Territories had about an hour's notice with that. Wally Schumann, the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Investment, Minister of Infrastructure for the Northwest Territories, stated:
I guess we can be very frank because we're in front of the committee. When it first came out, we never got very much notice on the whole issue of the moratorium and the potential that was in the Beaufort Sea. There were millions and millions, if not billions, of dollars in bid deposits and land leases up there. That took away any hope we had of developing the Beaufort Sea.
Merven Gruben said:
I agree the Liberals should be helping us. They shut down our offshore gasification and put a moratorium right across the whole freaking Arctic without even consulting us. They never said a word...
Our hon. colleague, the parliamentary secretary, in response and to pre-empt my speech, called us the government on the other side. We are the government in waiting. We will be government in October. She said that the guys across the way would criticize the Liberals for caring too much about the environment. That is incorrect. We criticize them because they put the priorities of the environmental groups like Tides, World Wildlife Fund and like Greenpeace ahead of the local stakeholder, the indigenous peoples who are saying that they are tired of being poster boys for these eco-groups.
If my colleagues do not believe me, I will read some quotes.
Calvin Helin, chair of Eagle Spirit Chiefs Council, said “What the chiefs are starting to see a lot now is that there is a lot of underhanded tactics and where certain people are paid in communities and they are used as spokespersons.” He also said, “Essentially (they are) puppets and props for environmental groups to kill resource development” and “It’s outrageous and people should be upset about that…the chiefs are....”
Also, Stephen Buffalo, president and CO of the Indian Resource Council said, “Since his government was elected in 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly—