October 2, 1968

INDIAN AFFAIRS

STATEMENT ON REORGANIZATION OF DEPARTMENT

LIB

Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Liberal

Hon. Jean Chretien (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development):

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister stated in the house that I had planned to make a statement to the house last week concerning the reorganization of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. However, since there were many statements made on motions on Friday and because of the death of Prime Minister Johnson on Thursday, I was unable to do so. I should now like to make the statement I had planned last week.

When Indian affairs merged with northern affairs to form the new Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in 1966 it was intended that some reorganization be undertaken to consolidate activities that were being carried out by the various branches of the new department. Two branches were providing education services, one to Indians and the other to Eskimos. The same situation prevailed in respect of welfare services, engineering services and other services which obviously could be carried out more efficiently and more effectively if they were amalgamated. Indeed, the consolidation of activities was one of the main purposes of the government reorganization.

Proposals to effect this consolidation had been under discussion with the Treasury Board for the past year, and recently received the board's approval. The new framework recasts the organizational pattern of the department from the old one of Indian affairs branch, northern administration branch, national and historic parks branch and Canadian wildlife service to a new pattern involving three distinct program areas; first, social affairs program; second, economic development program; third, conservation program.

The social affairs program will cover education, community development, welfare, social affairs, cultural affairs and Indian trust

administration. The economic program will cover major resource development in the Canadian north, industrial development for both Indians and Eskimos, land management as it applies to Indian reserves and wet-land acquisition. It will provide economic research and advice in these areas and will include the management of territorial resources and related government functions in the territories. The conservation program will include national parks, historic parks and sites and wildlife.

While this internal reorganization at headquarters involves a major regrouping of the previous programs and the branches and directorates responsible for them, the basic regional structure will not be altered although it will be strengthened to provide increased support for the department's economic and social programs. The need for an accelerated economic development program has been evident for a long time. The need for such an accelerated program to promote resource and industrial development on reserves has been emphasized by representatives of the Indian people, private individuals and groups on different occasions. The new structure of organization recognizes this need and will allow us to use our resources more flexibly and more effectively to meet this need and as well allow us to administer existing programs and programs which I will announce in the house at a future time. Also, as stated by the Prime Minister yesterday, it makes available to the Indian people the resources of the whole department rather than those provided in the past by the Indian affairs branch alone.

Mr. Speaker, I and the government are committed to consultations with the Indian people in respect of amendments to the Indian Act and in respect of major policy objectives. Since my department is held responsible for the development of programs to assist the Indian and Eskimo peoples I consider it of the utmost importance that the department be as effective as possible. I believe this reorganization will accomplish this. I have arranged to have a booklet explaining the reorganization sent to all members of the house, Indian representatives and the territorial governments. This should be received shortly.

Oclober 2, 1968

690 COMMONS DEBATES

Statement on Indian Affairs Reorganization Hon. Robert L. Stanfield (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, I accept the sincerity of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Mr. Chretien), also the sincerity of the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Andras). But surely it is not enough to say that the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has decided on its own that these structural changes were of insufficient interest to require consultation. Such an appearance of bureaucratic indifference is bad enough at any time, but it is particularly unforgiveable when it is widely known that the attitude of officials of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, rightly or wrongly, already constitutes a cause of tension between the department and the people it is supposed to serve.

Nothing will be solved by administrative changes which deepen the division between the department and the Indian communities. This careless refusal by the government to consult with the Indian community, or to take steps to inform Indian spokesmen of the changes, has added another unnecessary complication. It was caused by the kind of casual approach to the responsibilities of government that is becoming all too familiar. Canada cannot afford more tension or more delays in assisting the Indian people to achieve equality and opportunity.

[DOT] (2:40 p.m.)

The official opposition fully approves of the special assignment of a minister without portfolio to help develop an effective Indian policy, and we very much regret any indication that the government is insincere in that assignment. One of the very unhappy consequences of this more recent insistence on secrecy by the government is that it has damaged the reputation and the effectiveness of the Minister without Portfolio. The fact that the government would fail to consult even him is bound to raise suspicions that his assignment is window dressing, his influence is nil, and that he is deliberately circumvented by the minister and officials of the department of Indian affairs.

This action has also served to undermine the appearance of co-operation and good faith the government sought to achieve when with great fanfare it created national and regional advisory committees of the Indian people, for exactly the purpose of consultation. The failure to consult these committees on this matter will confirm the fear that the committees were established as another empty gesture.

There are at least three issues here. One is the failure to consult. The second is the failure to inform the Indian people by making a deliberate point not to distribute this memorandum. Certainly there is no shortage of people to write press releases in the department of Indian affairs, and it was not budgetary restraint which kept this information from the Indian people. The third point is the content of the memorandum on reorganization itself. The minister has said the document does not concern policy in any substantive way. Let me quote from the foreword by the deputy minister of Indian affairs and northern development:

-the purpose being...to eliminate any difference in policies affecting the treatment of the Indian and Eskimo peoples."

That dedication is bound to cause concern. By statute and by treaty, commitments made to the Indian people do differ from those made to the Eskimo people. There are statutory and treaty differences which, on the face of this document and in the words of the deputy minister, the government proposes to eliminate. The word "eliminate" is a strong word, especially when it comes from a department of which the Indian people are already suspicious. The content of this document, the manner of its preparation and the refusal to put it into circulation are bound to increase suspicions and widen the gulf between the Indian peoples and the department created to serve them.

Yesterday it surprised us that the Prime Minister had no record of a request for a meeting with the Indian Brotherhood of Canada, which according to the telegram sent to me was requested at noon of the day before the question was raised in the house. The house has a right to expect advice as to whether the Prime Minister intends to act on that request and meet with representatives of the Indian brotherhood.

Second, the Prime Minister left questions unanswered concerning whether consultations occurred between the minister and the national and regional Indian advisory committees. There was an indication that the ministers would provide that information when they both returned to the house. I can only assume there has been no such consultation.

There is a very serious question as to why it is necessary to restructure the department now when we are told that the Indian Act is under substantial review. Furthermore, the Minister without Portfolio on television on

October 2, 1968 COMMONS

Sunday night made a serious suggestion that the reorganization ought to be postponed. I can only assume that he had his reasons. In light of his reservations and the great concern of the Indian communities, as well as the uncertainty generally about governmental policy concerning our Indian peoples, this reorganization should be reviewed immediately. There should be consultation with representatives of the Indian people. There has been consultation with the Treasury Board, but apparently with no one else. I should think there ought to be consultation also with the Minister without Portfolio.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON REORGANIZATION OF DEPARTMENT
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NDP

Edward Richard Schreyer

New Democratic Party

Mr. Ed Schreyer (Selkirk):

Mr. Speaker, either this departmental reorganization is a matter of substance or it is not. If it is not a matter of substance, one must wonder why the minister and his colleagues induced the news media to give it such prominence. If it is a matter of substance, obviously the representatives af the Indian people should have been consulted, particularly in view of the pledge and commitment which this government gave to consult the Indian people. I repeat, Mr. Speaker, that they should have been consulted.

It makes nonsense of the efforts of the Minister without Portfolio, who has been charged with the responsibility of travelling this country from coast to coast to meet with the Indian people in their localities to get their views and solicit their ideas, if as we understand there is to be a fundamental reorganization in the department without the slightest bit of consultation with representatives of the Indian people. There is no excuse for this.

I notice in the written statement of the minister that the discussion with regard to consolidation and reorganization within the department have now been going on in the department for a whole year. Surely there was ample time to consult the representatives of the different Indian bands across the country. I notice, too, that the minister made reference to what he wants us to accept as fact, namely that because this government recognizes that there is a need for an accelerated economic development program for Indian reserves and for Indian people, it was felt there was some urgency in proceeding with the reorganization of the department.

I am glad to see the government admits there is need for an accelerated economic development program for Indian reserves, but precisely because economic development

DEBATES 691

Statement on Indian Affairs Reorganization on reserves is a matter that is so vital and so directly concerns the Indian people one would think that at least their views would have been solicited as to the form the department's organization would take with respect to programs of economic development.

I cannot take my place, Mr. Speaker, without making reference to a plea the minister makes in the concluding paragraph of his statement. He says he must have the freedom necessary to organize the department in the manner necessary to carry out its responsibilities in the most effective way possible. That sounds to me a pretty lame sort of excuse for not consulting the Indian people with regard to this matter. The minister says he must have freedom to manoeuvre and to organize his department. We all recognize that there is need for administrative discretionary power to be exercised by the minister and his officials. We also know, however, that the plea for more freedom for those who exercise power is one that has been raised by arbitrary rulers over the centuries. I am not overstating or exaggerating the situation when I say that the plea of the minister that he must have more freedom to reorganize and set up the operations of the department is in itself not good enough.

I conclude by saying that since the government have made the commitment and the pledge, and given it so much publicity, to the effect that they intend to consult the Indian population of this country, they should honour that commitment and pledge right after having made it. So I suggest that the government start doing that, and they can begin by having the two ministers of the crown, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Minister without Portfolio consult each other. I think that would be a good start.

[DOT] (2:50 p.m.)

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON REORGANIZATION OF DEPARTMENT
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RA

David Réal Caouette

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Real Caouetie (Temiscamingue):

Mr. Speaker, we listened carefully to the announcement made by the hon. Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Mr. Chretien). I thank him for having sent me a copy of his statement in proper form and in English, with the words "traduction"- "translation" stamped on it. It seems to me that it would have been simpler to send me the original rather than have it translated and sent to my office. The hon. minister is making a sign to show that he does not even know what is going on in his office.

October 2, 1968

692 COMMONS

Statement on Indian Affairs Reorganization

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON REORGANIZATION OF DEPARTMENT
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LIB

Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Liberal

Mr. Chretien:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege.

I should have liked to have had the French version myself; however, the translation was not ready and I had to read my statement in English. I would have preferred to read it in French.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON REORGANIZATION OF DEPARTMENT
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RA

David Réal Caouette

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Caouette:

I am committed and the government is committed to consultations with the Indian people in respect to amendments to the Indian Act and in respect to major policy objectives.

Mr. Speaker, judging by some letters addressed to me by Indians, I wonder what the consultations held until now have been like. Is an Indian from Montreal or Quebec the only one who has the right to be consulted by the government to establish the policy of the Canadian government with regard to the Indians and the Eskimos? We get complaints to the effect that only a few are consulted and that the Indian or Eskimo people as a whole are completely unaware of those meetings and discussions, and to such an extent that I ask myself quite honestly if the funds allocated to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development are not used mainly to pay salaries to white people, officials of the federal government, to try to lull some Indian or Eskimo chiefs to the disadvantage of the Eskimo and Indian people of Canada.

It seems to me that it is time to act, and not in back rooms, not as a result of decisions taken without the knowledge of parliament, and especially the Indians who are demanding results.

Mr. Speaker, I hope that the statement will be useful and will not have disastrous results

but good consequences, so that finally consultations will really be held between the population, between the various Indian and Eskimo organizations and the government authorities in order to find a solution to that problem and give justice to those people, as they have a right to expect.

Topic:   INDIAN AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   STATEMENT ON REORGANIZATION OF DEPARTMENT
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HEALTH AND WELFARE

STATEMENT RESPECTING INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES

LIB

John Carr Munro (Minister of Amateur Sport; Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Hon. John C. Munro (Minister of National Health and Welfare):

Mr. Speaker, I am now in a position to make the statement concerning Indian health services that I promised the house a week ago on Monday.

Early this year as part of the government's drive to halt inflation a general paring was made through all departments. Indian health services were involved in this as well. In an effort to maintain current standards and services within the over-all framework of government fiscal policy, directives were sent out which put forward fields of activity which could be cut back without endangering the over-all health of the Indian and Eskimo communities.

There was a good deal of protest over this from those who felt that we should not attempt in any way to economize where our native Canadians were concerned. Accordingly my predecessor made a clarifying statement to the house on March 26-

Topic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT RESPECTING INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES
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PC

Robert Muir

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Muir (Cape Brelon-The Sydneys):

To

whom was it clear?

Topic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT RESPECTING INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES
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LIB

John Carr Munro (Minister of Amateur Sport; Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Munro:

-pledging that services would be maintained at their present level, and that we would make sure no individual suffers in the process of bringing spending into line. In accordance with this declaration a new set of directives were sent out to all field officers concerning these principles.

In reply to the hon. member for Brandon-Souris (Mr. Dinsdale) I might mention that the directive dated March 6, to which he specifically referred last Monday, was sent by the director of the Manitoba zone to the Indian bands in that province only. After my predecessor's remarks to the house a further correcting directive for Manitoba was sent during the latter part of April confirming the current level of services to individuals, as it was for the rest of Canada.

Replying to the question of a lack of federal-provincial consultation as implied by the hon. member for Churchill (Mr. Simpson),

October 2, 1968

which was prompted by the remarks of the Ontario health minister, Dr. Dymond, I should like to state that the held officers of my department, Drs. Thompson in British Columbia, Rath in the prairies, Butler in Ontario, Savoie in Quebec, and Hirtle in the Atlantic provinces, are in regular informal consultation with provincial deputy ministers.

In addition our Ottawa based officials have been in contact with their provincial counterparts at the last dominion council of health, at meetings of the advisory council on hospital insurance and during the general negotiations on medicare. Furthermore, the director of Indian health has been in special consultation at various times in the recent past with the provincial health departments in Saskatchewan, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. I myself, since assuming this portfolio, have discussed the field of Indian health with elected representatives of the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

To be more specific about the matter raised by the hon. member, Dr. Dymond objected to a directive dated July 19 sent by our Ontario regional director, which in effect claimed provincial discrimination against reserve Indians on the question of OMSIP. The fact is that an Indian on a reserve who earns little or no taxable income is not eligible for a free or partly subsidized OMSIP certificate whereas another citizen in this indigent status, including an Indian not on a reservation, is entitled to a free or partially subsidized OMSIP card.

It is our hope for the future that the provinces extend health and medical services to reservation Indians on the same basis as they are extended to other citizens, including the same basis for payment. We feel that Indians should be full and equal citizens of the province in which they reside, and to further this intent we expect to be discussing the whole area of Indian health with the provincial health ministers before and during a federal-provincial health conference tentatively scheduled for the end of October. Pending new arrangements, it is our firm resolve to keep up our present level of services and improve them where necessary to make sure that no Indian is inadequately treated for personal health problems.

There remain two further matters mentioned in Friday's question period to clear up. First, on doctors' fees for treating indigent Indians under federal jurisdiction, I would like to say that doctors receive about 75 per cent of the provincial fee schedule in such

Statement on Indian Health Services cases, or approximately the same rate paid by either the respective municipality or province for treating non-Indians at public expense. Where the rate differs from this principle, other arrangements are made to pick up overhead costs, such as provision of clinical space.

On the second point raised by the hon. member for Brandon-Souris, that of drugs alleged to be dispensed to Indians by lay persons, I should like to say that this program in the provinces is an extension of a program long under way in our northern regions known as the lay dispenser program, which has been in effect there for over 40 years. The persons involved, after a training program at Sioux Lookout, are sent throughout the area mentioned in a recent press release to places either too small or too mobile for a permanent nursing station. The dispensers are trained to give first aid and may dispense simple drugs only on the directions of the nurses in the area with whom they get in contact by telephone to have prescriptions given. If the case is serious the nurse has the patient sent in to the nearest nursing station.

The ranks of lay dispensers are the best we can find and include licensed practical nurses, teachers, religious sisters, Indian women and ministers' wives whom we consider qualified. My department knows of no case of injury to health caused by treatment given by these people. In fact the program has been of tangible benefit to the people involved and in many cases has hastened recovery. If the hon. member knows of any specific instances where this program has resulted in any damage to any Indian's health, we will be pleased to review them. It is our information that the person who made these charges has since stated that he was not saying any deaths had resulted, but only that they theoretically might occur. As it stands, the dispensers provide better emergency medical services than are available to many other small communities in Canada.

[DOT] (3:00 p.m.)

I and the officials of my department are aware that, like any other service, there is a need for periodic review and improvement, and that Indian and northern health services is no exception. We are now conducting that review with a view to making improvements in both services, and to this end are now and have been conducting consultations with provincial authorities and, more importantly, with the heads of the Indian organizations themselves.

October 2, 1968

Statement on Indian Health Services

Topic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT RESPECTING INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES
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PC

Robert Simpson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robert Simpson (Churchill):

Mr. Speaker, I believe the words of the minister in the statement he has just made will do little if anything to quell the great fears and tremendous concern that our Indian people have in relation to what this government are planning to do to the health services they have hitherto been providing to our Indian people. This great concern and the fears of the Indian people were, of course, generated by a directive that was put out last March 6 and to which the minister has just now referred. This directive was sent out to the health zone people in the province of Manitoba, and also to the chiefs and councillors of all Indian bands.

At the time questions were asked in the house it was our understanding that the then minister would put out a clarifying directive. To the best of my knowledge from contacting the chiefs on some 26 Indian reservations in the constituency of Churchill, Mr. Speaker, to this day no clarifying directive was ever sent to them. The Minister of National Health and Welfare has said that a directive did go out. It went out, as I understand it, merely to department officials. We have told the Indian people, as we had been advised by the minister, that this new directive would be sent to them and would be part of the consultation with the government. We on this side of the house have always maintained that no planning of this nature should be done without adequate consultation with the Indian people.

The minister has stated that on several occasions there has been some consultation. He referred to the question raised in the statement by the minister of health of the province of Ontario. He forgets though, Mr. Speaker, that the minister of health of the province of Ontario made a categorical statement that the federal government is trying to unload its traditional responsibilities for health care of the Indians and Eskimos on to the provinces without discussion or consultation.

We say, Mr. Speaker, that consultation must be had, and that it must be prior consultation. We also say there should be continuing consultation among the ministers who are concerned. It was quite clear to us on this side of the house when we raised this question last March that the then minister of Indian affairs and northern development knew nothing of the plans of the Department of National Health and Welfare to curtail certain Indian health services. So when the government across the way talks about consultation,

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that they consult among themselves where this is necessary.

The minister also pointed out in regard to doctors' fees that the doctors were receiving about 75 per cent of their scheduled fees for the services they provide to the Indian people. From what we have been able to learn, Mr. Speaker, we understand that the doctors are receiving only approximately 50 per cent. I am wondering whether this is not just another indication of the feeling of this government that our Indian people are second class citizens.

As I said, Mr. Speaker, there must be consultation. The government has said in announcing these plans that they had been in the making for a long time. I wonder just how much time the government intends to spend consulting the Indian people. When you plan these things in a bureaucratic fashion for over a period of a year or two or even more you cannot expect just to meet briefly with the Indian people, ask them to assess the matter and then come up with a decision in quick order.

The minister also mentioned, Mr. Speaker, that consultation has gone on with the provinces, and I covered that point when I referred to the statement of Dr. Dymond. There may have been some talks, but from what we can find out from the provinces no one knows just who is going to pay for these services if they are shunted off as a responsibility of the provinces.

These are matters, Mr. Speaker, about which this house should know. If the provinces are going to be asked to handle these matters, and after consultation they agree to do so, then this house should know who is going to pay the cost. We should know whether the federal government is going to continue its financial responsibility. However, as I say, when dealing with matters that deviate from or abrogate treaties with our Indian people, there must be consultation. In regard to treaties Nos. 1 and 6 which deal with medical services, our Indians are certainly entitled to consultation because such services have always been accepted by them as a treaty right.

I should like to give a strictly personal opinion, Mr. Speaker, without in any way casting any reflection on language questions that are being raised in Canada at this particular time. I think we have here a pretty sad state of affairs, particularly when we are trying to get national unity. At a time when

October 2, 1968

one language group is making strong submissions to have its language not only preserved but expanded, with its protection written right into our constitution, this government is abrogating the rights of the Indian people without even consulting them. I think this is a question at which Canadians should take a good look.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I hope the minister will carry on a series of consultations not only with the provincial authorities but with the Indian people themselves. They should be given time to look these questions over. The government has already deprived the Indian people of many of the hunting rights they were given under treaty. I hope the government is not now arbitrarily planning to tell the Indian people that somebody else other than the federal government is going to have to look after their medical services.

Topic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT RESPECTING INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Churchill (Mr. Simpson) referred to the fears and concern of our Indian people which, he said, will not be allayed by the statement the Minister of National Health and Welfare has just made. I should like to add that not only are the Indian people themselves concerned about their medical services and medical treatment, but that Canadians generally are concerned about this question and are most anxious that we do the best we can in the matter of health services for our native people.

[DOT] (3:10 p.m.)

The Minister of National Health and Welfare has again tried to assure us today, as he has on previous occasions and as his predecessor tried to do, that the current level of health services is being maintained. I have followed these discussions pretty closely and have never detected any attempt on the part of the present or former minister to tell us what is meant by that statement. When we are told that the current level of services is to be maintained does that mean the current level in dollar terms, the current level in the total number of doctors and others at work in the face of increasing needs, the current level of services actually being made available to our individual Indians and others in our northern areas? That definitely ought to be made clear. Not only do we feel there should be an absolute guarantee as to these services; not only do we feel that the full level of

Statement on Indian Health Services services to our people ought to be maintained; we feel that that level ought to be improved.

When we discussed this matter last March many statistics were put on the record showing the wide gap existing between health services being made available to the Canadian population generally and the health services made available to our Indian and northern peoples. We spoke about the gap in service standards, about differences in mortality rates and so on.

We feel it is not good enough for the government to maintain the level of services which our Indian people were getting. We are ashamed of the inadequacy of that level. The whole point of the protest we made last March and the whole point of the debate at that time was that our Indians cannot get by with the sort of health service that is at present being provided. In other words, we ought to be improving the health services we make available to our northern and Indian peoples.

Topic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT RESPECTING INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT RESPECTING INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Also, I support the plea which has been made by my hon. friend from Churchill who said that in this area, as in all aspects of our relations with our Indian people, there ought to be consultation with them. I trust that the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Minister without Portfolio have heard the message and understand that there should be consultation generally with respect to these matter. I say to the Minister of National Health and Welfare that these remarks apply in his case also.

One statement by the minister gave me particular cause for concern, a concern I have felt many times when hearing members on the government front benches speak. He expressed the hope that the provinces would make their adjustments so that Indians within the provinces would obtain the same services other Canadians in the provinces obtain. It seems to me that here again we are calling on the individuals concerned to wait until something is developed. It is not good enough, Mr. Speaker, to say to our Indian peoples "Well, if we do not do something, the provinces will." The provinces on the other hand may say "No, no. It is up to the federal government to do something." In the meantime our native peoples are not enjoying the health care and services they need. Certainly the level of those services ought not to be at

October 2, 1968

Statement on Indian Health Services the level set last spring, but at a much higher and better level.

I am sure that we in this house who speak about this issue are supported by Canadians generally from coast to coast when we say we want a square deal in terms of health services for all our Indian and nothern peoples.

Topic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT RESPECTING INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES
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IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. I think hon. members might be reminded of the provisions of our standing orders at the present time.

Topic:   HEALTH AND WELFARE
Subtopic:   STATEMENT RESPECTING INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES
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RA

René Matte

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Rene Matte (Champlain):

Mr. Speaker, like all the others who already spoke on that question, we agree on the necessity of self determination for Indians and Eskimos, but I would like to emphasize one point.

The government intends to gradually shift its responsibilities for Indians onto the provinces, as is the case for Quebec, for instance, which has been insisting for some years on assuming the whole responsibility for Indians and Eskimos on its territory. It is obvious that, before a decision is taken, agreements should be prepared in conjunction with provincial governments, agreements which could be negotiated afterwards with the people concerned, the Indians and the Eskimos.

As far as the Eskimos in northern Quebec are concerned, I can speak with full knowledge of the facts, as I have an Eskimo sister-in-law. I have heard a lot about the problems of the Eskimos and, frankly, I believe that the policy established for years has encouraged a certain decay. From now on any policy in that regard should have as its essential object to safeguard the original culture and mentality of the people who will thus greatly enrich the whole country.

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Subtopic:   STATEMENT RESPECTING INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES
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WATER RESOURCES

TABLING OF INTERIM REPORT ON LAKE AND RIVER POLLUTION

October 2, 1968