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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is judicial.

Liberal MP for LaSalle—Émard—Verdun (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 44% of the vote.

Statements in the House

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act May 14th, 2021

Madam Speaker, this is not the first time we are debating this bill in the House. Members of the Bloc Québécois have already participated in the debate.

This bill is already well known. It is based on a former bill, so it is not surprising—

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act May 14th, 2021

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the real sense of humour that he has in posing that question.

There is nothing but government priority represented in the use of time allocation on this, priority for indigenous peoples, the importance of the law. This should have been passed in the last Parliament. It was the will of Parliament and the will of most of the Senate except for dilatory tactics used by Conservative senators. We have seen dilatory tactics in this minority Parliament used very effectively by the Conservative Party only to impede, not on any good, substantive ground. This is an important bill. It is about human rights. It is about the human rights of indigenous peoples.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act May 14th, 2021

Madam Speaker, we did get elected saying that we would redo the consultation process for Trans Mountain. We redid it. We redid it imperfectly, and the Federal Court reminded us of that. Therefore, we went back to the table again, with one consultation group being led by Justice Iacobucci and the other being led by Justice Department officials, and we did a better job to the satisfaction of the Federal Court.

The kind of process that FPIC in UNDRIP represents is one that hopefully allows us to avoid these kinds of questions down the road. They will put indigenous peoples at the table from the get-go, as they should be.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act May 14th, 2021

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his work on the committee and his leadership as well as the fact he is posing this substantive question.

I am very pleased with the amendments. They are things I have believed in for a long time, such as a better recognition of systemic racism in the preamble, an explicit rejection of the doctrines of discovery and terra nullius, which for 20 years teaching in a law faculty property, I consistently reminded my students. I will put this euphemistically of the real meaninglessness of these doctrines and the historical distortion and the colonial basis that existed for them.

The other is that indigenous rights are not frozen. This is an important amendment that is in accord with Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act May 14th, 2021

Madam Speaker, I certainly share the member's concern.

From the beginning, we have tried to consult with as many indigenous leadership groups as possible. It is a complex web with a complex variety of leadership groups. There are treaty nations, modern treaty nations, nations with no treaty, regional groups, national leadership groups and groups that focus on women.

We have done our best to consult with as many as possible. In fact, we prioritized those groups that we had not met in our recommendations to committee, so these groups would be heard. I continue to do this. I have continued to work through this. Even now, I continue to schedule meetings with groups that I have yet to meet to push this process forward in a truly consultative fashion.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act May 14th, 2021

Madam Speaker, the member knows that this part of our mandate falls with the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. I know she is working on that file. I support the minister in her efforts to settle land claims and to push for these kinds of settlements around the cabinet table.

While I have not been to the Six Nations reserve as a member of Parliament or a minister, I have visited other Haudenosaunee reserves and territories. I do my best to work closely with them.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act May 14th, 2021

Madam Speaker, we are continuing to engage with indigenous leadership groups from across the country, particularly in the development of amendments to this bill. We have done that.

We will continue to work with indigenous leadership groups as we develop an action plan together. The law requires us to do that within a period of two years. That is intense, and it will be intense, but we will do it.

The hon. member should ask his Conservatives senators why they let this bill die. They used every procedural manoeuvre possible to let the previous bill die in the Senate. If they had not done that, we would not be here; we would be working on an action plan.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act May 14th, 2021

Madam Speaker, I salute the member's resilience in the House of Commons, holding down the fort.

It is frustrating to watch the dilatory tactics of the Conservative Party on a number of important pieces of progressive legislation. MAID, for example, was something that Canadians wanted, that would reduce the suffering of Canadians, yet there was delay after delay. It is the same on this bill and on other bills I have had in front of the House. I have had a number, and still have a number.

It is important we get these bills through.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act May 14th, 2021

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his commitment. I salute the leadership of British Columbia generally on UNDRIP. The Province of British Columbia has UNDRIP legislation and a road map. It is moving forward and doing quite well economically, among other things.

The bill is a reset for the path that indigenous and non-indigenous peoples have to walk together in our country. It would put us at the same table from the beginning with respect to major decisions that have an impact.

Symbolically and substantively, it articulates a set of rights for indigenous peoples. Symbolically and substantively, it rejects a number of doctrines—

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act May 14th, 2021

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her comments.

Obviously, I disagree. As she might well recall, we debated Bill C-262 in the previous Parliament, and it received significant support in the House. The foundations of this bill had already been laid and were well known before the debate began.

We are moving forward like this because it is a priority for indigenous people across Canada and it is important to our reconciliation process.