It is an honour and a privilege to speak on the proposed Group No. 4 report stage motions. I bring to the House the serious concern that has been raised by the United aboriginal leadership of Canada in relation to government Motions Nos. 6, 16 and 17.
The government motions diminish the standing committee's work to recognize the crucial role and important contribution that aboriginal peoples would make toward protecting species at risk. The standing committee acknowledged, by a unanimous all party vote, that a national aboriginal council on species at risk was a necessary component for bringing all jurisdictions of all peoples of Canada together to protect the life and species that were under threat.
The aboriginal peoples of Canada, the Inuit, the first nations and the Metis, all have stood united for inclusion in the decision making process that would reverse the losses of our species.
Since 1998 the leaderships have asked to be included at the decision making table to meet face to face with the federal and provincial ministers, the Canadian Endangered Conservation Council, a decision making body established under the federal-provincial species at risk accord, as action plans and recovery strategies for protecting species at risk are discussed, formulated and implemented.
This desire to be a partner in a co-operative manner between governments and peoples is nothing new. In matters related to the constitution and the charter of rights, and the repeated supreme court decisions, a requirement of our federal government in matters related to aboriginal rights should create models of inclusion. In fact the six representatives of the aboriginals peoples were involved in the ministers meeting in Iqaluit. They were invited by the environment minister himself to the surprise and gratitude of the aboriginal leadership. This was a huge step forward as a meeting of the minds and a clear signal that Canada would move forward in aboriginal relations, and it was a new step forward in the new millennium.
The government Motions Nos. 6, 16 and 17 were a huge disappointment to the aboriginal leadership. For the information of the House, the wording accepted by committee to create a necessary link to protect species between aboriginal peoples in Canada, to seek and consider advice and recommendations from aboriginal peoples, which the committee clarified to be the counsel in language specifically found in the federal-provincial accord, was based on the successful Iqaluit model.
The aboriginal working group successfully consulted with the government and its leadership to create the support required for this representation and inclusion. Representation from the east, south, west and north was very critical to having the inclusion of a unique biodiversity and eco-regions of Canada.
I call attention to Motion No. 25 as well. It changes the mechanisms and methods necessary to ensure intellectual property rights inherent for the successful implementation of SARA are respected and protected and are shared and used in an honourable manner.
In these new wording changes, I would propose that following two amendments to the report stage amendments, Motions Nos. 20 and 25, be accepted:
That Report Stage Motion No. 20 to amend Bill C-5 be amended by replacing all the words after “The Minister” with “shall establish a Council, to be known as the National Aboriginal Council on Species at Risk, consisting of six representatives of the aboriginal peoples of Canada selected by the Minister based upon recommendations from aboriginal organizations that the Minister considers appropriate. The role of the Council is to:
(1) advise the Minister on the administration of this Act;
(2) provide advice and recommendations to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council.”
That Report Stage Motion No. 25 to amend Bill C-5 be amended by replacing paragraph 10.2(c) with the following:
“(c) methods for sharing information about species at risk, including community and aboriginal traditional knowledge, that respect, preserve and maintain knowledge and promote their wider application with the approval of the holders of such knowledge, with other governments and persons.”
I also bring to the attention of the House that aboriginal leaderships have explicitly stated that the removal of the council in the act, if not corrected and an honourable compromise is not reached on Motion No. 25, there may not be aboriginal support for SARA. Canada needs the support of the aboriginal peoples and their nations to ensure the successful implementation of this act and of preservation of the threatened and endangered species of this country.
I offer this honourable compromise.