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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was agreement.

Last in Parliament October 2000, as Liberal MP for Provencher (Manitoba)

Lost his last election, in 2000, with 36% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Division No. 43 October 20th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question. I know his legitimate and ongoing interest in these matters. Therefore I am pleased to provided those answers on behalf of my colleague, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

The House knows of the recent Marshall decision, the consequences emanating from that decision and the policy responses of the government to deal with the problem of bringing the two disputed parties together for a negotiated settlement.

In that vein, Mr. James Mackenzie, our chief federal representative, has been very active in making contact with both aboriginal leaders and representatives of the commercial fishing industry. Mr. Mackenzie has been making initial contact in following up with both aboriginal leaders and representatives of the commercial fishing organizations since he was first appointed on October 15, 1999.

Mr. Mackenzie is currently in the maritimes holding meetings with commercial sector representatives. He met yesterday in White Point, Nova Scotia, with representatives of the commercial fishing industry. He is continuing to meet with commercial representatives in their towns and fishing communities to lay the groundwork for agreements that will facilitate the orderly operation of the fishery next season. Mr. Mackenzie is holding discussions with commercial representatives and seeking their views on an appropriate role in the process.

Commercial representatives can be assured that they will be fully consulted. Once a process is designed the government will be looking at funding these needs.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has made the development of a short and long term strategy, which is responsive to the supreme court decision and takes into account the interest of the commercial fishing sector, his number one priority. He has indicated his continued willingness to meet with commercial fishing representatives and to listen to their concerns.

In addition, we are meeting with the aboriginal fishers and my own minister has done so. We will continue to look for a negotiated and peaceful settlement that is fair to all.

United Nations Human Rights Committee June 10th, 1999

Mr. Speaker, unlike the member, I wish that I had two hours today to respond to his question because I would love to take it.

Let me say that the hon. member is absolutely wrong again on his premise, as he has been wrong so many times throughout the year in his questions relating to this important file.

To begin with, I met last night for two hours over a working dinner with the Nisga'a, their lawyers and their negotiators. Again this afternoon, for an hour in my office, I met with the Gitanyow nation's representative, Bob Epstein, whom I have known for almost 10 years. We have talked about a mediation process and I am pleased to announce to the House that the process is moving along quite well. I believe that over the summer, while this legal argument is in abeyance, we will have an opportunity to debate that with him.

I would ask the hon. member a simple question and point out in my one minute and 11 seconds now remaining that it strikes me as passing strange that a member would take sides with some of his constituents against others. This is unusual, indeed. I do not think that anyone in the House has ever seen that kind of practice before. There have been a number of practices used, I believe, by the member, including the issue today on Bill C-49, to break the deal.

We had a deal on Bill C-49 with all of the House leaders this morning which was broken, much to the dismay of the people involved, which involved of course the member standing here for two hours, saying many things that are so inaccurate I want to spend the rest of the summer going over them to come back here in the fall and talk to him about them.

I have many friends in British Columbia. I have travelled there many times over the past 10 years. I would like to say to the good people of British Columbia, because I think it is worth repeating in these final hours before we break for the summer, that the member voted for Bill C-49 almost in its current form at second reading in the committee and then came back to the House and changed his mind. I hope we have a different member from Skeena when we return in October.

First Nations Land Management Act June 4th, 1999

Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak once again in this place to Bill C-49, the First Nations Land Management Act.

I would like to inform my colleagues that I will not be exercising the full time allocation to speak to this. I thank the members across the way for agreeing to move quickly so that we can proceed with the bill. I also have a colleague from the Bloc who wishes to speak to this after I have concluded.

I want to say that we thank the members in the other place, the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs in the Senate, for their very constructive work on the bill. We met with them and made representations to them and they to us. We have understood one another and clearly worked out what I think are some of the more contentious elements of the bill.

I am pleased to state that I believe when the bill comes forward hopefully next week that we will again have unanimous support in the House.

I would ask my Reform Party colleagues to join with all of us in the House of Commons to once again support this very important legislation, which will move along in those 14 first nations in respect to areas of land management. It will deal with the very important topic of private sector investment so that they too can participate in the 21st century. It will ameliorate the poverty and the concerns that are expressed here every day in the House by the opposition, particularly the Reform Party, raising those even again this morning on those questions. This will deal with those matters in a very capable way and will act as a precise instrument to move those first nations to places where we all want them to be, which is to participate in Canada and become full members in that process.

With that, I will thank my colleagues for their help here this morning. I look forward to their help again next week when the bill comes back before the House.

Supply June 3rd, 1999

Madam Speaker, on that point I would refer the member again to chapter 1, article 13, in terms of all the federal and provincial laws that are not enumerated, those 14 areas enumerated in the agreement, those laws will continue to apply to the aboriginal people of the Nass Valley as they do today.

I would also like to point out to the member that he is wrong in terms of the equality provisions. We have said this many times in the House in answering questions from members across the way that section 15 of the charter of rights and freedoms guarantees those rights both to men and to women.

Also, in contemplating the drafting of the charter of rights and freedoms women's groups were concerned it was not clear enough. Section 28 says that the rights of women and men apply equally in the charter. Still further, section 35(4) was put in by the lobby group for the aboriginal women in 1981-82 at the amending conference to provide those guarantees. There are those guarantees and the member is wrong.

I think it is a good thing that the member has toured and has visited some reserves as some of the other members of his caucus have also done in the past couple of years. They must be commended for that. However, I would ask him to come up to the Nass Valley. If he would like, I would act as a conduit and an instrument to bring him to meet the Nisga'a people. He could tour the area and meet and speak with them, perhaps in more detail than his colleague from Skeena would. Perhaps he could educate the rest of his caucus on what he found. I trust the member's concerns would be eased and he would be comforted by that. Would he take the challenge and come up to visit the Nisga'a this summer?

Supply June 3rd, 1999

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her interventions and interest in this issue. I would like to point out a couple of inaccuracies in her observations and her comments and then ask a question.

First, she mentioned the Gitksan and Wet'suwet'en and Gitanyow first nations in terms of infringement. These problems were anticipated many years ago and are included in paragraph 33 of the agreement. I draw to her attention where it says that nothing in this agreement will derogate from any of the existing rights of other aboriginal people. The answer to her comments and concerns is no.

Second, it is not a constitutional document in the sense that the Manitoba act became part of the Constitution of Canada. She is misreading section 35 which recognizes existing aboriginal rights in Canada. It therefore follows that there is no need for a constitutional amendment. If the parties want to change the agreement, as it is discussed and contemplated in paragraphs 37 and 38, the Government of Canada can do so through an order in council. It is absolutely not true and it is fuzzy thinking to suggest to the House that there is a need for a constitutional amendment.

In terms of the process of the legal case, Justice Campbell of the B.C. supreme court, one of her own leading justices, has properly stated that this treaty should be debated in the House of Commons and parliament before any judicial activism is allowed to proceed.

Again we point out the contradictions of the Reform Party. On one the hand the member raised the question of child pornography and it wanted to usurp the courts and have it done in parliament. Now that has changed. It wants to utilize the courts and bypass parliament.

If I could reasonably satisfy her by using the reasonable man or woman test and convince some of her constituents in South Surrey that it is not a document that necessitates a constitutional amendment, and that the charter does apply as it specifically says in the agreement, would she do the proper thing and represent her constituents by standing in her place and supporting the deal during debate in the fall when the document comes to the House?

Supply June 3rd, 1999

Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that the Reform Party member who just asked the question of my hon. colleague in fact read that section wrong.

The Nisga'a laws under section 1, article 13, to which she referred are only those laws falling within the broad three categories of the agreement, involving 14 areas of jurisdiction that speak to questions of language, culture and the administration of assets.

In light of the fact that we have agreed the laws of general application and specific federal and provincial laws apply to the Nisga'a treaty, does the hon. member see it as a conflict? Could he give us some examples of how the 14 areas under Nisga'a law would apply in the Nisga community and what benefits they would bring to the Nisga'a people?

Supply June 3rd, 1999

Mr. Speaker, to the few members of the Reform Party who are here listening as well, I would like to make a comment on the remarks made by the hon. member.

I thank the hon. member for his comments and his premise in terms of fiscal issues being outside the motion. The member for Skeena wanted to talk about self-government and the debate has gone in that direction for the past two hours.

I am familiar with the report of Mr. Richardson and I have looked at.

After checking the record, I find the testimony of the Auditor General of Canada to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to be entirely inconsistent to the question I posed about land evaluations that far north in areas of Canada with that kind of space. I asked him what kind of acceptable accounting standards and practices would be used to make those kinds of categorizations and whether the Government of Canada was within its boundaries and properly understood those limits or boundaries with respect to those evaluations. I was told by the gentleman at that committee that we were indeed within those boundaries and it was acceptable according to the officials from the auditor general's department.

Who would the member believe, Mr. Richardson, who I do not know nor do I think anyone in the House knows, or the Auditor General of Canada? If he is an accountant, could he answer that?

Supply June 3rd, 1999

We love you, Randy.

Supply June 3rd, 1999

Mr. Speaker, I find it quite extraordinary that the hon. member opposes 2,500 Nisga'a people who are his constituents and supports the Gitksan Wet'suwet'en and the Gitanyow who are not. This is an oddity, indeed.

During the last break I took the opportunity to fly to British Columbia. I sat down with the Nisga'a and our justice lawyers to look at a mapping of the respective area. Those boundaries are protected within the Nisga'a area. We are certain that they do not violate the historical pathways, fishing or hunting territory of any of the other affected parties.

In those areas that are under question, and there is a grey area, the Nisga'a have said that they are willing to sit down with the Gitksan Wet'suwet'en and the Gitanyow to discuss it. They recognize that there are familiar relations which go back historically. They are not disputing them. They want to sit down and reasonably negotiate. Why does the hon. member want to divide those people and end up going to court again?

Supply June 3rd, 1999

Madam Speaker, all due diligence and proper procedures in terms of accountability will apply. I remind the hon. member that the 14 points in the treaty fall within the three categories of culture, language and administration of their own assets on reserve.

We have said many times in the House that all other areas of law such as provincial and federal continue to apply, as does the charter. I assure the hon. member those guarantees and protections will be there.

If they are breached in any way there are remedies available through an appeal process to the B.C. Court of Appeal or to the federal court on those matters.