Madam Speaker, I am pleased to respond on behalf of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to the question raised by the member for North Island-Powell River on March 24, 1995. More specifically I wish to reply concerning the status of the so-called secret federal document on the inherent right of aboriginal self-government; the $5 million price tag referred to by the hon. member; and finally when the federal government's consultations will conclude.
First, I wish to comment on the $5 million referred to by the member. That is the amount of funding provided by the federal government in 1994-95 to some 69 aboriginal groups across Canada to support their participation in the inherent right consultation process.
Second, the so-called secret document is personal speaking points that the minister is using in his discussions on the proposed general approach to the inherent right that federal ministers first set out in Quebec City in May 1994 at a meeting with their provincial and territorial counterparts and leaders of the national aboriginal associations.
These discussion points are intended to continue the minister's consultations with the parties concerned, aboriginal people, provincial and territorial governments and third parties, on how to proceed. The minister has used them extensively in his recent meetings with those parties.
The government has not yet taken any policy decisions. The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has clearly stated he wishes to ensure the views of all parties are considered before proceeding further. He has not picked a specific date for concluding his consultations. However, the minister has indicated he wishes to complete the consultations as quickly as possible. This will enable him to report back to his cabinet colleagues.