Mr. Speaker, I rise to discuss the problems of Bill C-34 and its attempt to help the Indian communities in Yukon to achieve the kind of economic and social aspirations which I think is their legitimate right and which I would like to support.
Unfortunately I believe this bill will not achieve this objective. In fact, it is my judgment this bill will do a great deal of harm, much like policies of the past have done an unfortunately large amount of harm.
In my saying that the basic principles underlying this bill are false, I do not wish to suggest that I have an answer to the complex problem on how to help the native population of our country. Nevertheless, I am in the kind of situation where I do know there is an illness and that the medicine which is being proposed will not help alleviate the problems but in fact will make them worse.
Let me say what I mean. All of us-it is a human condition-dream about having a rich uncle who pays us a guaranteed, generous income so we can retire somewhere on some south sea island and be happy ever after. It is part of the human condition that we all have these kinds of dreams. However, in our experience, as we have matured, we have known that this is a dream which cannot be fulfilled. The rich uncle, even if he gave money to us, even if we could go to the south sea island, would not help us be any happier than we are. Often in fact we would be forced to leave.
Studies have shown that people who have the means to engage in this kind of fulfilment of their dreams come back unhappy and resume their old lives.
This is why we as parents typically, even if we could afford to, tell our children: "No, your education is finished, you cannot count on more support from me, from my family, from your parents. You will from now on be on your own". The rich families of this world establish trust funds to say: "At age 35 or 40 you will be able to draw on this money".
We understand it is in the human condition that we need an obligation, that we need a job, that we need to work. We have refused to give in to our children, yet we have been misguided when in the past we have given in to the demands of the native community to give them more physical goods, to allow them to live on their south sea island equivalent. This is my judgment of what is going on.
I have read a sociological economic study of conditions on these reservations. Let me tell you the story of what is known on these reservations as the lazy house. In the olden days, when families lived in their traditional ways the man in the house had a task. The man had to cut wood, make sure that his family was comfortable. He went out to hunt and fish to supplement the food supply. The housewife, the mother, was fully occupied doing the kinds of chores we have all seen our wives doing and we in fact have participated in helping in the family.
Of course with modern houses you do not have to go and cut wood. Electricity or gas supplies the heat. You do not have to stir the wood in the stove in order to cook meals. Instead of having to tend a garden in the summer you just buy the food from the supermarket.
I can understand it. When I was in my twenties I was saying to my parents: "Hey, listen, you know you can afford it. Give me some more". These people have come to the Government of Canada and said: "It is our right". It has been supported by people like those heckling me saying: "Yes, of course you poor people, we will give it to you". Well, we give it to them.
This is what I read has been the consequence of this policy. They would not do it to their children but they do it to the natives. The lazy house now means the mother has so much time on her hands she does not know what to do with it. The father, his very existence, the meaning in life has gone away, just like the meaning of life has gone away from people who go to the south sea islands and have the option to come back.
This is the interpretation that I read of what is wrong with the native communities. I do not have to repeat what is wrong with the native communities. The books are full of it. My wife, the doctor, treats the wounds, treats the cigarette burns on the arms of the people, of the wives who have been mistreated by men whose meaning of life has gone because we were like the rich uncle who says: "Oh my poor teenage nephew. He needs a steady flow of income".
I know I am going against the conventional wisdom by suggesting that it is short-sighted for the government to do what many of us have decided is short-sightedness of supplying our children with ways which lead to complications of the sort I have described.
I do not know the answer to the native communities and the problems which persist. If we go back 50 or 100 years, every year the answer is to give them more resources and they will be happy and will get rid of the problems. We give them more and more and more.
I have the budget here. We already are increasing expenditures at a time when all the other spending programs are being cut, for example, to old people. The future is being burdened by increasing debt. We are increasing spending on natives by $300 million a year. That has been going on over the last 100 years.
I hear people saying: "You do not know what you are talking about. You mean to spend even more". The problem has not got any better. From what I know, it has been getting worse all the time. That is why we are now going for other institutional innovations. Now we have to make this absolutely permanent so they never, ever have to do certain things that I believe are the essence of human dignity, of a life worth living on this planet.
It is the natives who have called those houses lazy houses. We have seen what happens if we do this.
Sometimes the best thing we can do for our children is to say no. I believe that even though we do not have the answers, saying no would mean that we are not giving more medicine for the cure of this problem which I think history over the last 100 years suggests is the wrong medicine.