June 4, 1993

?

Some hon. members:

On division.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT LAND CLAIMS AGREEMENT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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Motion agreed to, bill read the third time and passed.


NUNAVUT ACT

PC

Thomas Edward Siddon (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Thomas Siddon (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development) moved

that Bill C-132, an act to establish a territory to be known as Nunavut and provide for its government and to amend certain acts in consequence thereof, be read the second time and referred to a legislative committee in the Human Resources envelope.

He said: Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to address the House a second time on this important historic day to deal with the transformation that is under way in our relationship with the Inuit of the eastern Arctic.

Bill C-132 which has just been read the second time is entitled an act to create the territory of Nunavut. What we will be discussing for the next hour or so is the political development of a new legislative assembly in the eastern Arctic, a commitment that ties to the Nunavut land claims settlement agreement which we have just passed through third reading in this House.

It has long been a goal of the Inuit of Nunavut to have their own territorial assembly or government and not be tied to the government of the Northwest Territories. Article 4 of the Nunavut land claim settlement agreement establishes a commitment on the part of the federal government to recommend to Parliament the establishment of a Nunavut territory.

The land claim agreement and as well the political accord setting out the means of establishing Nunavut have already been signed. Indeed after the ratification vote on October 31 of last year, as we have already recognized in this House, the Inuit of the eastern Arctic ratified the creation of Nunavut by a very strong majority. I think it was 85 per cent of those who voted on that date endorsed the creation of Nunavut.

June 4, 1993

As well the people of the Northwest Territories have held two referenda on this question. This was most recently in the spring of 1992 when the question was put by the decision of the assembly of the Northwest Territories and with the sanction of the government leader and cabinet. The question was put to all the people of the Northwest Territories with respect to the western boundary line of the Nunavut settlement agreement being adopted as a new political boundary to establish Nunavut on the eastern side of that line.

I remember the night here in Ottawa, I think it was December 15, 1991, when we had a long and fruitful discussion about whether the federal government had the will to make this commitment which we are about to endorse today. I remember in a sense taking a risk but I did in fact call the Prime Minister and we decided that we could make that commitment which is reflected in article 4 of the land claim agreement. It led to the negotiation of the political accord which I spoke of a moment ago and the ratification vote by the people of Nunavut.

The legislation before us today will literally redraw the map of northern Canada. As well this bill will provide for a new and improved political and economic future for the Inuit of the eastern Arctic. In so doing it will bring benefit to all Canadians.

I seek the support of distinguished members on both sides of this House today, because I am confident their support will be forthcoming.

I have every reason to believe that my colleagues will have the vision and foresight to approve this bill, so that the Inuit and other residents in the north will be able to build a better future.

The Nunavut political accord was signed on October 30, 1992, and it will become effective once the legislation before the House today, Bill C-132, is passed.

The creation of a new territory, with its own government, has been a fundamental objective of the Inuit of Nunavut for more than 20 years. An act of Parliament is required to make this dream come true.

I would like to point out that Bill C-132 was drafted with the close co-operation of the Government of the

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Northwest Territories and the Tbngavik Federation of Nunavut, to ensure that it reflects the objectives and intent of the Nunavut political accord.

Bill C-132 provides for the creation of a new territory, Nunavut, translated in Inuktitut meaning "our land", new institutions of government similar to those of the existing territories and will come into effect by 1999 on April 1.

This legislation provides for a transition process to lead us to that point. This will not be a form of aboriginal self-government in the usual ethnic sense of the word. It will be a public government to be elected and fully responsible to all the residents of the new territory, aboriginal and non-aboriginal alike.

Nevertheless given the Inuit predominance in the region this new public government will naturally reflect and be responsive to their aspirations and ways of doing things.

Bill C-132 is modelled on the Northwest Territories Act which has existed for many years. By this bill the act is modernized and adapted specifically for the needs of the people of Nunavut.

I want to draw members' attention to some of the key features contained in Bill C-132. In keeping with the terms of the political accord, Bill C-132 will provide for the creation of a Nunavut implementation commission. This is an important feature because we are talking about a transitional process.

This commission independent of the governments and of the people of Nunavut through the Nunavut Tbngavik will advise the governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories along with the successor to TFN to be called Nunavut Tungavik on a range of issues.

A majority of the commission's members will be residents of the Nunavut region. I believe it will be six of nine. The governments of Tungavik will share equally in nominating members of the commission with the other governments, the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Canada in establishing the commission.

June 4, 1993

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We intend to establish the commission in the near future. Indeed the bill provides that it must be established within six months of granting royal assent. The commission will continue its critical role until it is disbanded no later than three months after the creation of the new territory. When Nunavut is created it will have a commissioner as is the case in Yukon and the Northwest Territories. That would be after 1999.

In the past commissioners for the territories have often wielded considerable powers. In recent years as responsible government in the north has grown the office of the commissioner has become largely symbolic. Some would say it has evolved to a lieutenant governorlike function.

This new role is reflected in the Nunavut bill. Bill C-132 also provides for the creation of an executive council for Nunavut. This council will be similar to a provincial executive council or cabinet and will be appointed by the commissioner on the advice of the legislative assembly of Nunavut. This is a reflection of the way in which the cabinet is currently appointed in Northwest Territories.

The new territorial government will have a comparable range of law making powers now enjoyed by other territorial governments. In addition the Nunavut act specifically provides that the Nunavut legislature may pass laws to implement the Nunavut land claim agreement and to preserve and enhance the Inuktitut language.

Nunavut will have the authority to enter into agreements with the federal and provincial governments and will be authorized to manage and sell public lands that are under the care of the commissioner.

I should also point out that there will be an interim commissioner established during the transitional period to begin to prepare for the establishment officially of the office of commissioner after 1999 and to begin to exercise commissioner-like authorities in the transitional period.

Hon. members should also be aware that Bill C-132 makes necessary consequential amendments to other federal legislation. These are essentially housekeeping amendments to reflect the division of the current Northwest Territories into two separate territories.

Bill C-132 will also move the government down the road to achieving its vision for the north, a vision of social and economic development that respects the

environment and that first and foremost brings benefit to the residents of Nunavut.

There have been questions about the costs and the necessity of this government. Perhaps we will have an opportunity to discuss that during the Committee of the Whole. I would like to suggest that there is always an appropriate form of government to be found which best suits the needs of a people.

It seems rather obvious to me that a government in Yellowknife or Ottawa comprised of non-Inuit people is not the best government located 2,000 or more miles away to serve the interests and purposes of the Inuit people.

There is an appropriate structure of government to be established within our traditions of Parliament, a government which will be largely comprised of Inuit people who are the majority in that area and whose children will become the architects and the beneficiaries of the authorities which that government will exercise into the next century.

This legislation provides for initial powers to be established in 1999 involving a territorial assembly, a-forgive me the word-bureaucracy and a court. Over the period between there and the year 2008 there will be other powers and authorities added as it becomes appropriate to devolve or relocate those powers from Yellowknife or Ottawa where they presently reside.

I think this is an eminently logical approach. I should say, in regard to the question of cost, Canadians cannot afford to continue the cost of an insensitive system which is remote from the needs of the people. Canadians cannot afford not to support the creation of Nunavut. I believe with the kind of wisdom, the persistence and the practical creativity of the Inuit people who have existed all of those centuries in Nunavut, we will see an appropriate form of government established which will not be a burden to other Canadians but indeed something which we can all celebrate.

Before I sit, I should pay a debt of gratitude to the negotiators who served the federal and territorial governments so well. I will not name them right now, but perhaps there will be a moment toward the end of the debate. However, I do want to name here and to recognize in the gallery Mr. Paul Quassa, Mr. Louis Pilakapsi, Mr. James Eetoolook and other members of the Board of the Tbngavik Federation of Nunavut, together with those who have guided this process in other ways such as John Amagoalik, Jack Anawak, if I might be permitted to name a member, Thomas Suluk, Rosemary Kuptana, Dennis Patterson, Titus Allooloo.

June 4, 1993

The people of Nunavut have been the architects of this transformation.

While it might be unconventional I would like to ask Mr. Quassa and Pauloosie Keyootak, the representatives here today, to stand and be recognized by the House of Commons in view of their wonderful contribution in a new partnership with Canada.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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?

Some hon. members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Thomas Edward Siddon (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Siddon:

I have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with some people who have become genuine friends and have shown me the way to find a better future for Canada.

I sense that you might find within the House the disposition to agree at this stage to proceed through all stages and to conclude this day before we rise the adoption at third reading of Bill C-132, the Nunavut Act.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

Is there unanimous consent of the House?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
Permalink
?

Some hon. members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
Permalink
PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Paproski):

Agreed and so ordered.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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LIB

Jack Iyerak Anawak

Liberal

Mr. Jack Iyerak Anawak (Nunatsiaq):

Before I get to my comments I would also like to acknowledge the support of people like Raymond Ningeocheak, Pauloosie Keyootak, Joe Allen Evyagotailak, Rhoda Inukshuk, the former President of Inuit Tapirisat of Canada whom I omitted for no reason but forgetfulness. They have worked very hard toward the negotiations.

I would also like to acknowledge the ongoing support I received from my family who are in the audience from our smallest to the oldest. I acknowledge their support.

I want to comment on the minister's comment can we afford not to. It reminds me of the commercial can we afford not to? I think that is the question. I cannot remember which commercial, but can we afford not to? Canadians should be asking themselves that in getting Nunavut as part of the Canadian federation.

As I said earlier, it is a real honour to be here today to speak on the Nunavut bill, Bill C-132. This is the bill that

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will create the new territory of Nunavut. This bill flows from the land claim agreement. Article 4 of the agreement in principle signed in April 1990 committed the parties to the political development of Nunavut.

The article committed the Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories and the hin-gavik Federation of Nunavut, on behalf of the Inuit of Nunavut, to the creation of a Nunavut territory, and the financing of a Nunavut government, outside of the claims agreement, as soon as possible.

It is important to note that the commitment to create the Nunavut territory is outside of the claims agreement. Government policy would not allow the Inuit to negotiate the political development of Nunavut within their land claim agreement.

Nevertheless, the government support for Nunavut, even though outside the land claim agreement, was a key victory for Inuit. Without this commitment to Nunavut, Inuit were not prepared to settle their land claim. Settlement of the land claim depended on obtaining the commitment to Nunavut.

Article 4 of the agreement in principle also committed the parties to a territory-wide plebiscite on a boundary for division, and an agreement on the division of powers.

That plebiscite was held, a boundary was approved and the Nunavut political accord was signed.

Flowing from all these prior decisions and agreements is the bill before us now, Bill C-132, the act to establish the new Nunavut territory. This is a proud and historic moment for me and for all the Inuit of Nunavut.

As I noted in my earlier speech on the land claims bill, I do not believe that ever before in this House has a member of Parliament spoken in such a capacity, both as a representative for the region concerned and as a beneficiary of the land claims agreement to which this bill is tied. It is a very special feeling for me and today is a very special day. This is a proud and historic moment for the people of Canada.

June 4, 1993

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What we are doing here today is welcoming a new partner into the Canadian federation.

I want to congratulate and thank the people of Nunavut for their vision and for their determination to achieve that vision. I also want to thank all the people of the Northwest Territories who supported our aspirations by voting with us in the plebiscite a year ago. The dream of Nunavut, of getting recognition of our Inuit homeland, and recognition of our right to participate in the government and development of that homeland is a dream that goes back many, many years.

I remember a meeting of the Inuit Tapirisat in 1975 in Tuktoyaktuk at which we were discussing a name for our new territory. I moved the motion at that meeting to call the new territory Nunavut. In English, Nunavut means "our land". That motion was adopted, and now here I am today, 18 years later, speaking on the bill that will recognize the Nunavut territory.

[English ]

For the benefit of non-Inuit, Inuit means "the people" and I repeat that Nunavut means "our land".

I want Canadians, including members of this House, to understand that Nunavut exists now and has always existed in the minds and hearts of Inuit. We know Nunavut is our land. What we have been seeking throughout the years is the acknowledgement by the Canadian government that this was, and is, our land and that we have the right to control what happens to that land, our homeland.

This bill, the Nunavut act, does not give us Nunavut. However this bill does give us Canada's acknowledgement and Canada's legal recognition of the reality we have always known. It also gives us the opportunity to participate in the government of our land on terms we have helped to develop. This is very important.

When the non-Inuit arrived in our homeland, when Canada was confederated, no one asked us for our opinion. No one asked for our consent to the terms of union. No one asked us for our advice. No one asked us how we felt.

Foreign governments and foreign laws and foreign regulations were imposed on us. For years we have lived with the burden of an alien system.

With the establishment of Nunavut, we hope we will finally be able to get out from underneath what has been imposed upon us. For Inuit, the Nunavut political accord and this Nunavut bill are essentially our terms of union, the framework for our entry into the Canadian federation.

We want to be able to control our destiny by making our own laws and regulations. We want the chance to make our own mistakes and learn from them.

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We want to contribute our unique knowledge, skills and talents to the building and strengthening of this nation. The creation of the Nunavut territory gives us the opportunity to do this. I want to talk for a short while about the history behind this bill and the concept of two territories instead of one in the Northwest Territories.

It seems to be the fate of the Northwest Territories to be continually divided. The province of Manitoba was created from the Northwestern Territory in 1870. The Yukon was established in 1898 and the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta were carved out in 1905. The current Northwest Territories is what remained after the creation of all those other jurisdictions. However it is still a huge area. It encompasses fully one-third of the land mass of Canada.

Further division of the existing Northwest Territories is not a new idea. It is an idea that has been around for a long time. It is an idea whose time has finally come.

For the record this is not the first time this House has seen a bill to divide the Northwest Territories. In 1963

June 4, 1993

Government Orders

the federal government of the day tabled a bill to divide the Northwest Territories but it did not get passed.

The people of the central, eastern and high Arctic have always felt isolated from the western part of the Northwest Territories. There are very real differences between east and west that can only be appreciated by the people who live there.

As I mentioned earlier, the Northwest Territories is one-third of the land mass of Canada. If one looks at a map of Canada, east of the border with the Yukon and south of the 60th parallel, five provinces fit under the same area covered by the Northwest Territories. The difficulties and complexities involved in administering one-third of Canada as one single jurisdiction are enormous. Variety, differences, and distance characterize the existing Northwest Territories.

The Indian and Inuit peoples of the Northwest Territories are different peoples. Their histories, cultures and languages are different. The Dene homeland, Denen-deh, is in the western Arctic, whereas the Inuit of Nunavut live in the east and along the coasts. The geography is different between east and west, the wildlife is different and the lifestyles are different. As a result of these many differences, there has always been a strong push by the aboriginal peoples of the Northwest Territories for governments that are closer and more responsive to them and for governments that respect and reflect their cultures.

Numerous proposals for division and political development have been put forward over the years by Inuit, Dene and non-aboriginal people. The existing government of the Northwest Territories has been involved in many of these efforts. The people of the NWT have also been fully involved.

On April 14, 1982, 56 per cent of NWT voters in the territorial plebiscite supported division. In May 1992 NWT voters supported the boundary line for division, which is reflected in this bill. It is the land claim boundary line.

I want Canadians to get a good understanding of how far away the seat of the existing territorial government is from the people in the eastern Arctic.

Currently, if people live in the Baffin region, say in Broughton Island or Pangnirtung they live north of Montreal, Quebec but their territorial capital is in Yellowknife, north of Edmonton, Alberta. No other Canadian citizen has to deal with a capital city that is the equivalent of four or five provinces away.

With the establishment of the Nunavut territory we hope to establish a capital and a government that are closer to the people.

That is just part of the hope of Nunavut. There is much more promise here but there is also much challenge.

I want now to turn my attention to the substance of this bill. This bill provides a framework for the establishment of the Nunavut territory. Much hard work is yet to

come.

Under this bill, Nunavut will not be created tomorrow. The government of Nunavut will be established over time, gradually taking over powers, programs and services at a pace it is to determine itself. In 1999 the first legislative assembly of the new Nunavut territory will be elected. Assumption of the full range of territorial powers is not foreseen until the year 2008.

Initially, the Nunavut government will look very much like the existing Governments of the Northwest Territories and Yukon. It will have an elected legislative assembly, a cabinet and a territorial court.

The government of Nunavut will be a public government, open to the participation of all residents, Inuit and non-Inuit. The legislative assembly will be elected by all residents. So it is not aboriginal self-government in the sense of a government exclusively for and by aboriginal peoples.

Bill C-132 contains five parts, 79 clauses, and three schedules. Seventy-six other acts of Parliament are amended as a consequence of this bill.

Part I of the bill deals with the establishment and government of Nunavut. It covers matters such as the seat of government, the commissioner of Nunavut, the executive council of Nunavut, the legislature of Nunavut, legislative powers and judicial powers.

June 4, 1993

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Part II of this bill deals with official languages, the Nunavut consolidated revenue fund, territorial accounts, lands and cultural sites and property.

Part III deals with the Nunavut implementation commission.

Part IV involves transitional provisions, expenditures and the interim commissioner of Nunavut.

Part V includes the coming into force dates and the consequential amendments.

I regret that we have not had more time to study this bill. This bill and the land claim legislation were only tabled in this House last Friday. Exactly one week has passed. This is hardly enough time to absorb all the details, and consider all the consequences.

Nevertheless, because of the importance of these bills to the people of Nunavut and to the people of Canada, all parties have agreed to fast-track them.

I hope we have not missed or overlooked anything major. I am reassured by the fact that Tungavik was involved in the drafting of these bills. If there was anything out of the ordinary, I am sure it would have been picked up.

In terms of the details of the bills, I want to raise a couple of areas of concern. The first involves the transition process and implementation, the second involves the funding and the third involves education and training.

Probably the most significant part of this bill is the Nunavut implementation commission. This commission will determine the face of the future government of Nunavut.

It will consist of a chairperson and nine other members. Three members will be nominated by the Government of the Northwest Territories, three will be nominated by Tungavik, and three will be nominated by the federal government. At least six of the members must be ordinarily resident in Nunavut.

The mandate of the commission is to advise the Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories and Tungavik on the establishment of Nunavut.

The mandate includes: (a) the timetable for the assumption by the Nunavut government of responsibility for the delivery of services; (b) the process for the first election of the Nunavut legislative assembly, including the numbers of members and the establishment of electoral districts; (c) the design and funding of training programs; (d) the process for determining the location of the capital of Nunavut; (e) the principles and the criteria for the equitable division of assets and liabilities between Nunavut and the Northwest Territories; (f) the new public works necessitated by the establishment of Nunavut and the scheduling of the construction of the works; (g) the administrative design of the first Government of Nunavut; (h) the arrangements for delivery of programs and services where these are to be phased in; and (i) any other related matter referred to it by the minister.

This is a heavy, loaded agenda. These negotiations, particularly the financial negotiations, are going to be difficult and lengthy. All parties to these negotiations, naturally, will be looking to protect their own interests. The representatives for Nunavut will have to be very vigilant. The new territory must be able to start out on the best possible footing.

I also want to deal for a moment with the transitional provisions of this bill that could establish the office of an interim commissioner of Nunavut. This individual, under the provisions of this bill, could wield a great deal of power. The bill says the federal cabinet can appoint an interim commissioner until the first commissioner is appointed.

The interim commissioner is to act according to written directions given to him or her by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. The minister will be able to determine the manner in which these directions are made public.

The powers of the powers include: (a) recruiting persons for employment by the government of Nunavut;

(b) prescribing the duties and conditions of employment such persons; (c) establishing systems and processes for the government of Nunavut, including the organization and administration of the territorial courts; and (d) carrying out any other functions as the federal cabinet may determine.

June 4, 1993

Agreements regarding employment that are entered into by the interim commissioner will be binding on the government of Nunavut.

The government of Nunavut will, however, be able to alter, revoke or replace any systems or process of government put in place by the interim commissioner. We hope this will not be necessary.

The interim commissioner, with federal cabinet approval, will be able to enter into agreements with the Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories, the government of any province or any other body for the carrying out of programs previously carried out by the Government of the Northwest Territories.

The interim commissioner will also be able to enter into agreements with the Government of Canada or the Government of the Northwest Territories for funding in respect of Nunavut.

The interim commissioner will be able to enter into agreements with the Government of the Northwest Territories for the division of its assets and liabilities between Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Nowhere in these sections is there any requirement for the interim commissioner to consult with the Tungavik and the people of Nunavut.

I should point out that the commissioner of Nunavut is required under this bill to make any instructions he or she receives from the federal minister or the federal cabinet available to the Nunavut cabinet. They are, furthermore, also to be given to the Nunavut legislative assembly.

Since the legislative assembly will not be constituted during the time period envisaged for the interim commissioner, the federal minister gets to decide how the instructions to the interim commissioner will be made public.

There seems to be a bit of a vacuum here. I would like the government to give some assurance of consultation with the people of Nunavut during this very important transition phase. I would like to know more about the relationship between the interim commissioner and the Nunavut implementation commission.

The second area I want to deal with concerns funding. The interim commissioner, as I just pointed, will have authority to enter into agreements with the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories for funding during the transition period. The

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funding agreements he or she negotiates will terminate two years after the establishment of Nunavut on April 1, 1999, unless there is provision for an earlier termination.

Following the establishment of Nunavut, different financial arrangements will be put in place. A backgrounder prepared by the federal government indicates that as services now provided by the government of the Northwest Territories are transferred to the new Nunavut government, there will be a proportional transfer of federal funds and government positions from the Government of the Northwest Territories to the Government of Nunavut.

The government backgrounder points out that a number of studies have estimated the possible costs of establishing the new territory and Government of Nunavut, but that since the exact form and structure of the Nunavut government is yet to be determined these studies have been based on probable scenarios and assumptions.

The most recent study, by the firm of Coopers Ly-brand, has estimated the cost of setting up the new government in the period from 1992 to 2008 at an average of $50 million per year, a 7 per cent increase above the 1990-91 federal formula funding grant to the existing Government of the Northwest Territories.

According to the government backgrounder, this figure includes operating costs for the Nunavut implementation, operating costs for the new government starting in 1999, as well as one-time costs for training and for the construction of government facilities. The determination of final costs for the establishment of the Nunavut government will be based on the work of the Nunavut implementation commission.

The third area I want to focus on is education and training. Success in this area is critical to the success of Nunavut. Nunavut offers great opportunities but the people of Nunavut must be in a position to take advantage of these opportunities.

Inuit education levels have improved over the past couple of decades, but we still have a long way to go. It is a sad fact that right now there are very few Inuit graduating from high school. If we do not improve further our education levels we risk being left out of the development of Nunavut. If we do not increase and upgrade our training we risk being on the sidelines.

June 4, 1993

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Nunavut will generate significant employment opportunities, but Inuit must be qualified to fill these jobs. If we are not, the majority of these jobs will simply go to outsiders as they have in the past. We cannot permit this to happen. All of us must work together to ensure that the people in the communities of Nunavut benefit from the establishment of Nunavut.

We are embarked upon a long journey. Today is but a milestone along the way. We are far yet from our destination.

Passing this bill today does not change the world for us tomorrow. The lives of the people of Nunavut will not be suddenly different tomorrow or the day after or even a year from now.

The bill before us sets out a path to follow. It sets out a transition process, the importance of which cannot be overemphasized. Major mistakes during the transition process could prove to be serious impediments for the new government of Nunavut.

The work of the Nunavut implementation commission, as I mentioned earlier, is the key to the smooth and equitable establishment of Nunavut. I have already noted the complex and heavy mandate of this commission. The representatives of Nunavut will have to be cautious, vigilant and forward looking.

We know that when the Government of Canada transfers powers to other jurisdictions it usually does so without handing over enough resources to carry out the tasks.

A prime example that comes to mind is the health transfer agreement between the federal government and the existing Government of the Northwest Territories. The Government of the Northwest Territories is presently suing the federal government for non-payment of health bills.

Another funding problem involves housing. For the past several years the federal government has chipped away at the social housing funds it transfers to the provinces and territories. In the case of the Northwest Territories, cutbacks have been imposed over the past couple of years and recently Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation decided to altogether eliminate its cost sharing program for new social housing starting in 1994.

Yet there is a housing crisis in the Northwest Territories as 25 per cent of NWT households are in need and this need is growing as the population growth rate is twice the national average. Some 41 per cent of NWT children under the age of 12 are living in overcrowded housing. There is a backlog of almost 3,600 units. About half this backlog is in Nunavut.

Health and housing are major areas of concern within Nunavut. If adequate funding is not provided to deal with these needs, Nunavut will be starting out with a serious handicap.

In other areas, the federal government has broken financial commitments. I am thinking here of the formula financing agreement that the federal government had with the existing Government of the Northwest Territories. Several years ago the federal government unilaterally changed the formula and the Government of the Northwest Territories has received less than it should have for the past several years.

Another example involves grants in lieu of taxes. Last December the Minister of Finance announced that he was freezing these payments to municipalities. Municipal budgets had already been prepared on the assumption that the federal government would be contributing its expected share. This freeze has affected the municipality of Iqaluit.

I want the federal government to realize that when it comes to funding Nunavut, Nunavut is not like an already developed province with its own large and stable source of revenues. We are just starting out, our population is small and our people do not earn much income. Unemployment reaches 80 per cent in most communities. Nevertheless we pay taxes.

Our economy is underdeveloped. Distances between communities and from major centres in southern Canada are vast. There are no roads. Transportation costs drive up the cost of everything. Our cost of living is several times higher than the southern Canadian average, as was pointed out by my colleague from Davenport. We lack the community infrastructure and services that other Canadians take for granted. We do not have control over our resources and the Nunavut bill does not give us that control.

June 4, 1993

We need a break. We need the federal government to invest in us and our future. Give us a chance. Have faith in us. Give us the tools to manage our affairs and we will do it and we will do it well.

Invest in us and Canada will get a return that will be of long-term benefit.

Together, in partnership, we can build a better Canada for our children in which all peoples are respected. It would be a Canada in which all children have the same opportunities and where our elders can feel secure and at peace in the knowledge that the land, the people, the culture and the language are strong and will survive.

What will make Nunavut work is the people. All the people of Nunavut need to participate in the establishment of Nunavut. Everyone must get involved. Everyone must feel a part of Nunavut.

Nunavut's representatives on the Nunavut implementation commission will be carrying a very heavy burden of responsibility. They will need the help and advice of the people. It is important for the people of Nunavut to talk to them, assist them in their work and tell them what needs to be done.

For the next few moments I want to speak directly to the youth of Nunavut. I want first to express my regrets to the graduating class in Broughton Island. I had promised to be at their graduation yesterday but had to cancel so I could deal with these bills in the House today. My next words are for them and for all the youth of Nunavut.

Nunavut needs you, all of you.

I want to recognize the achievements of all the students who are graduating this year. I want to recognize the tremendous obstacles many of you have overcome to get this far. You have coped with poverty and sometimes not enough food to eat. You have coped with overcrowded housing conditions with no quiet place to study. Many of you have struggled with family responsibilities in addition to your studies. You have struggled through sickness, possibly the deaths of family members and friends, some to suicide and some of you may have even attempted suicide yourselves.

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However, through it all you have kept going despite all the hard times and often without any support at all you have achieved your goal.

To those who have been discouraged and dropped out I say that they should not give up. Go back to school. Nunavut needs its own people to run it. We do not want to import all the expertise from elsewhere. We need the people of Nunavut to run the Government of Nunavut.

In closing I would just like to say that when we talk about Nunavut we speak in reverential poems about the area of Nunavut. I would just like to read a poem on how we feel about Nunavut. It is entitled "Nunavut You Hold Such Promise". I will read it:

My father died believing in you-That you already were-that you had always been.

He thought that he had known you all along

That you had looked after him and his people since time began.

Nunavut you hold such promise.

My mother spoke of you as she sewed And told the stories of long ago That taught us young ones That we would be protected

Nunavut you hold such promise.

My grandmother spoke of you In her soft, lilting voice As she sang us to sleep Content to know of you

Nunavut you hold such promise.

My uncle smiled as he spoke of your bounty On the trail, near the coast, in the hills As he drew on his old pipe And captured our imagination

Nunavut you hold such promise.

My small ones spoke of you too Curiously, asking what you were And why we all spoke of you In quiet, respectful tones

Nunavut you hold such promise.

And I must ensure that all that I know-All you are-must be known as I know it So that the ones that spring from me Will grasp your gift of wonder

Nunavut you hold such promise.

Guide me as you have guided many.

Comfort me, lead me, show me What it is I must come to know I shall listen, watch and leant

June 4, 1993

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Nunavut you hold such promise.

My family knew you and knew you would provide My memories of you are many As my memories of them are precious And now I speak of you as they did

Nunavut you hold such promise.

If we could only remember the lessons Entangled with the memories And take care of the stories And pass on the wisdom

Nunavut you hold such promise.

For you are something that has been A part of us for so long We cannot remember when we first met But know you will walk with us tomorrow.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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NDP

Robert Evans Skelly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Robert E. Skelly (Comox -Alberni):

Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief.

I appreciated the opportunity to hear the remarks of the member for Nunatsiaq and the experience he has from which his eloquence is derived. I think he really made a tremendous contribution on this piece of legislation today.

I simply want the House to know that the New Democratic Party will be supporting this legislation.

I have perhaps one concern and maybe it is not a concern at all. When we negotiate to set up a new government and a new territory it seems to bear the cultural stamp of the one we left here in Ottawa which again bears the cultural stamp of the one which was derived from Great Britain in Gothic cathedrals, more like a European model than a North American model. In fact some of us North Americans still have difficulty living within the cultural constraints of this place that is two sword lengths apart between the government side and the opposition side.

There are a lot of things in this type of parliamentary and government structure that do not even make sense to us who are modern Canadians living 400 or 500 years remote from the time in which this institution was established. Many of us would like to bring it up to date and more culturally in line with the way North Americans think, act and believe.

I am a little bit worried that we have taken the cookie cutter approach and decided as Lord Simcoe I think once said that we are going to take the image and transcript of what we do here and perhaps try to plant it in the new territory of Nunavut. I hope that there might be some flexibility on the part of the people who have drafted and

will pass this legislation to allow the people of Nunavut to put their own cultural stamp on their legislative and government institutions so that they do not necessarily reflect the kind of institutions we are trying to pass on to them from here in Ottawa.

If there is that kind of flexibility in the legislation, then I definitely am prepared to support it and I know that our party will support it. Again, we look forward to the successful implementation of a public government in the territory of Nunavut over the next six or seven years.

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Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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NDP

Raymond John Funk

New Democratic Party

Mr. Ray Funk (Prince Albert -Churchill River):

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to participate in the debate on Bill C-132 which establishes the new territory of Nunavut.

Truly it is an historic event when we as parliamentarians get to witness the establishment of a new kind of government over one-fifth of the land area of our country. The creation of this territory fundamentally changes the dynamics of this country in ways which we will only come to know gradually over the generations, but truly it is a turning point in our history.

I would also like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the people whose vision, foresight and leadership have made this possible, not only today but over the last 17 years. A lot of people have been very patient. Many people have spent a lot of money and have been separated from their families and so on for long periods of time to make this happen.

I would also like to pay tribute to the role of the Inuit people in the history of Canada because although this is a public territory we are creating, I profoundly hope that the majority of people in Nunavut remain Inuit people for time immemorial. I hope this is a government and a territory which will be truly theirs.

First I would pay tribute to the member for Nunatsiaq. His efforts in educating us as to the realities of Nunavut and of his people have truly been exemplary. His co-operation in working out the many difficulties that have stood in the way have been a model for all of us. I very much appreciated the amount of speaking he did in his own language because representing aboriginal people myself I know how much aboriginal people, and especially the elders, value hearing their leaders speak in their own languages. I was listening hard and I thought maybe I could learn a few words over the course of the afternoon, but I do not think I will try it.

June 4, 1993

As well I have had dealings with the Inuit people and their organizations as the critic for co-operative and community development in my party. The co-operative model of development where people work together, pool their resources, work in the self-help and democratic kind of way, has been developed by the Inuit people to a larger extent than virtually any other people in this country. Many of the economic, social and artistic successes that that community enjoys are because of being able to work co-operatively. I hope this provides a model for the way the new government of Nunavut and the people of Nunavut will conduct their business in the future. That would be part of the model which all of the rest of us could learn from.

I would also like to pay tribute to the Inuit leadership which is here in the gallery today. I have not had the opportunity to get to know enough Inuit people over the years-I have met a few-to know whether they are representative of the community in general, but I suspect they are. It has been a real pleasure to get to know these people and to deal with them. To have the government of Nunavut represented by people like that I think will add a positive new dimension to our national life.

I would be remiss if I did not comment on some of the other people who have been involved in this debate, particularly the Dene people. They are the Denesuline of Saskatchewan who I represent and those of Manitoba and the territories.

The Dene people are among the most isolated people in Canada geographically. Through no fault or decision of their own they are divided by geography as well as political boundaries. There are no roads between their communities. There are no scheduled airline services between their communities. There are hardly even telecommunications services between their communities.

At the same time, they are divided politically by the boundaries of other people that place them in the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. All of that has made it very difficult for the Dene people to coalesce as a people and to participate in many of the discussions and developments which directly affect them. Certainly the negotiations around the creation of Nunavut are a prime example of that.

In large part due to their isolation, the Dene people are also among the most traditional people in Canada. There are many people in those communities for whom English is a second language. Many people in their forties, fifties and certainly the elders do not know the English language at all. That has created another barrier

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toward active participation in the discussions that so profoundly shape their lives.

The Dene people can and do point with pride to the fact that they too have had use and occupancy over one comer of the Nunavut territory for a long period of time.

Certainly when Samuel Heame led the first fur traders into that territory it was Dene people who were there and who helped facilitate the contact between the fur traders and the Inuit people. That is a historical fact that is well known.

As a result of the discussions and negotiations that have proceeded and the Dene concern about what might be happening to their treaty and aboriginal rights there have been land use and occupancy studies done that indicate to this day the Dene do use and occupy one comer of the Nunavut territory for hunting, fishing, trapping and other traditional pursuits that are so much a part of their lives.

In fact the Dene are often described in other aboriginal languages as the caribou eaters. Their historical way of life has been to follow the caribou herds back and forth across boundaries that certainly do not exist for caribou and never did exist for Dene people either.

I must say that I am pleased that this agreement came about. It looked, as the minister said a few days ago, as though the overlapping claims, particularly with the Dene people in Saskatchewan, might well stand in the way of this historic event. This is something that we all would have profoundly regretted. We worked very hard to avoid this.

The reason that happens I am sad to say is that the role of the Government of Canada, although positive in the sense that it wanted to achieve an agreement and committed time and resources to it, has had an element to it that I describe as moving from negligence to intransigence to virtually blackmail.

Certainly no individual can be held accountable for that litany. However if you look at the record there are elements of that in the way the Government of Canada has approached this whole situation.

When I first got elected in 1988 this was an issue that was just coming to prominence among the Dene people. In February 1989 I attended a meeting with people who had been working on these negotiations for at least a dozen years on behalf of the federal government. I found to my amazement that these people who represented the Government of Canada were not aware that Dene people cross 60th parallel to hunt, fish and trap let alone have some treaty interests in that area.

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This is unacceptable because the Government of Canada is supposed to be the trustee for certainly aboriginal people but the rights and interests of treaty people are supposed to be protected by the government. Their trustee in 1989 at that late stage was not even aware they had any interest whatsoever in that territory. That is negligence.

Then it became very inconvenient to deal with this new factor which had come into the negotiations. Therefore when it came to dealing with the fundamental question of treaty rights, the attitude of the Government of Canada can only be described as intransigent.

Certainly, it made resources available to document use and occupancy through negotiating section 40 of the agreement. It did everything else virtually except that implied treaty and aboriginal rights. It could never bring itself to fundamentally address the question of treaty and aboriginal rights.

Then regrettably in the closing moments of this whole process, after the agreement had been signed, members of Parliament are aware of the kinds of threats that circulated around this House of what would happen it' there was any delay in this legislation. That is really unfortunate. However, wiser heads prevail.

The hon. member for Nunatsiaq and I always had the feeling that if the Inuit and the Dene people were able to meet face to face to resolve these issues, the resolution would not only be possible but it would also be an important part of this whole process.

Indeed on Tuesday that came to pass. An agreement was signed between the Denesuline of northern Saskatchewan and the Inuit. I have that in my hands and I would like to table it when my speech is done.

Part I of this letter says that the Inuit of Nunavut recognize that Saskatchewan's Denesuline have traditionally used and continue to use certain lands north of the 60th parallel based on their treaty and aboriginal rights.

That was a very important milestone, not just because of the substance of the agreement. Even more important, it demonstrated that two aboriginal groups could themselves arrive at agreements that the Government of Canada in some ways was virtually irrelevant in.

I would like very much to compliment everybody who was involved in negotiating this overlap agreement. It recognizes that Nunavut is much stronger as an entity if it has allies rather than adversaries on its borders. It points to a new partnership in that part of the world which will be of benefit, not just to the people involved, but to all Canadians.

It might also be recognized that an agreement was signed between the Dene of Manitoba and the Inuit some time prior to that. That agreement forms an important part of the movement forward in the creation of Nunavut as well.

I add the caveat that there are court cases outstanding to establish Canada's recognition of the treaty and aboriginal rights.

With the creation of Nunavut, the tide of Canadian history is turning. For far too long, since the time of contact, there has been a sense that what needed to happen was for aboriginal peoples to learn from Europeans, to adopt their technology, ways, governments, languages and cultures. It has been a one-way street, at least as far as the records are concerned. Certainly for the explorers, the fur traders and many others, there has been two-way communication but overwhelmingly it has been a one-way street.

With this agreement the tide starts to turn. We start to learn from aboriginal people. We start to learn about consensus decision making that transcends the petty partisanship which often characterizes our politics. It talks about respect for the elders and their history. We also get to learn a profound sense of the sacredness of mother earth and our responsibilities as her creatures.

I would like to conclude my remarks by saying what a pleasure it has been to be involved in this very important occasion in Canadian political life.

June 4, 1993

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and the House went into committee thereon, Mr. Paproski in the chair.


PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Order. House in committee on Bill C-132, an act to establish a territory to be known as Nunavut and provide for its government and to amend certain acts in consequence thereof.

Shall clause 2 carry?

Clause 2 agreed to.

Clauses 3 to 79 inclusive agreed to.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Schedules I to III inclusive agreed to.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Shall the title carry?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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NDP

Raymond John Funk

New Democratic Party

Mr. Ray Funk (Prince Albert-Churchill River):

Mr. Chairman, I do not have a great deal of questioning but there are two questions I would like to pose to the minister that deal with the bill as a whole. Therefore I think this is the appropriate time to deal with them.

My questions are with respect to the claims that have been made by the constituents I represent, the Denesu-line people in northern Saskatchewan and by extension in Manitoba.

The Dene people present the argument that they have an unextinguished treaty and aboriginal right in one corner of the Nunavut territory. The elders have put forward this argument very forcefully. Those of us who believe one should listen to the wisdom of the elders cannot help but be impressed by the sincerity in their belief of their treaty rights, that their signing of the treaty in 1899 did not extinguish in the way the federal government claims it did, their rights over their traditional territories.

I remind the House that in the Charlottetown agreement there was a recognition by all the governments in Canada, including the aboriginal people, that the wisdom of the elders was to hold equal sway with what was written in English with respect to the modern meaning of treaty.

I am not a lawyer and I have not read all of the documentation with respect to these kinds of questions. To me however, there has always been a fundamental illogic in the government's position.

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The government has said to my constituents, the Dene that live south of the 60th parallel, that their treaty and aboriginal rights were extinguished by the signing of treaty eight. At the same time the government has given de facto recognition in the way it is proceeding with comprehensive claims negotiation to five bands north of the 60th parallel, the Snowdrift, Fort Resolution, Hay River and Dene bands. They have remaining treaty and aboriginal rights in the territories, at least to the extent that a comprehensive claims process is proceeding on their behalf with their involvement.

I cannot understand how it is possible that the same extinguishment clause in treaty eight, which was signed in 1899 before the current Northwest Territories boundary existed, could have extinguished the treaty and aboriginal rights of the treaty eight bands south of the 60th parallel while at the same time it did not by the de facto recognition of the government extinguish similar claims to those bands north of the 60th parallel.

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Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Thomas Edward Siddon (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Thomas Siddon (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development):

The hon. member raises a question about the territorial delineation of the treaty's benefiting the Dene people of northern Manitoba and Saskatchewan, but particularly those within his constituency. They are the Denesuline.

Treaty five applies to the Dene and Chipewyan people of northern Manitoba. It clearly specifies that land rights did not extend north of the 60th parallel. The treaties in northern Saskatchewan extending up to what is presently the western Arctic, treaty eight in particular, does not have such a boundary limitation in it.

It has been our view that where a territorial area was established for any of the numbered treaties and where the beneficiaries of those treaties accepted the treaty land quantums that those established the territorial ownership under aboriginal title of those particular signatories to the treaty.

That in itself in no way extinguished other aboriginal rights which might persist. It has always been our position that treaty rights which may later be defined or on which the treaties may not be clear and treaty or aboriginal rights which at some future date might be proven to exist are not foreclosed by the numbered treaties which were signed in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

June 4, 1993

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The question of whether treaty land rights persist north of the 60th parallel has been raised before the Federal Court in both a Saskatchewan case last autumn and another case on appeal this year. The Federal Court has found that those treaty rights to land do not persist north of the 60th parallel.

The TFN final agreement specifies that it does not affect in any way aboriginal or treaty rights that may persist, that these bands might have. In addition the agreement has provisions that protect hunting activities, cabin sites, archaeological sites, and other traditional uses that can be demonstrated by proper historical research by any of these parties.

It is for this reason that negotiations first commenced between the Tungavik Federation of Nunavut and the Dene of the northern parts of the provinces. That goes back to 1985. In fact the hon. member may know that an agreement was reached in 1986 by the negotiators for both parties.

Therefore, it is not correct to suggest that this was left to the last minute or that the government has been unaware or inflexible on this issue. We have attempted to bring the parties together to come to an agreement on how this question might be resolved in the future.

Apparently the parties did not ratify the agreement reached in 1986 but there have been ongoing discussions. The member says he became aware of the problem in 1988. In 1990 when we signed the agreement in principle,

I was not approached or made aware of any residual difficulty.

It has always been my view however where the beneficiary of a comprehensive land claim has an unresolved dispute with a neighbouring first nation or people, it is desirable but not essential that those disputes be resolved before the land claim is settled to the benefit of the beneficiary party.

I am delighted that as recently as this week an understanding has been reached by way of the letter the hon. member says he has tabled. As well the department of Indian affairs is providing $75,000 in financial support to the Dene of northern Saskatchewan to further their case before the courts. I wish them well. I am confident, as some of us have observed, the conclusion of the TFN land claim agreement and the Nunavut accord will give

them a stronger case from which to maximize their rights and interests in the TFN settlement area.

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Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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NDP

Raymond John Funk

New Democratic Party

Mr. Funk:

Mr. Chairman, I thank the minister for his remarks. I had hoped he might come to the same position as the TFN did a few days ago, but perhaps that was unrealistic.

I would also like to make one small correction to his remarks. The court finding, at least in the case of the Saskatchewan Dene, did not rule on questions of substance but rather of process. The court case had to do with an application for injunction to stop the plebiscite from moving forward. The court found that holding the plebiscite did not in itself jeopardize the position of the Dene. At the same time the court said there were questions of substance that needed to be addressed.

The agreement of 1985-86 to which the minister referred was between the Manitoba Dene people and not the Saskatchewan Dene people. I just want that to be correct on the record.

I would also like to table with the House the recent and current land use study which supports the contention that land use and occupancy do occur in the Nunavut territory on a current and ongoing basis.

I have a final question for the minister. As he is aware several weeks ago in Fond du Lac there were hearings of the Indian claims commission chaired by Harry Laforme respecting the the treaty right question. That commission has not said precisely when it might be ruling. Obviously it was not in time for this process; perhaps it will be by the end of the summer.

Will the minister commit the government to accepting the recommendations of that commission? What attitude will the Government of Canada have toward that commission? Being a new commission, there are no precedents on how the Government of Canada will treat recommendations from that particular commission?

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Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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PC

Steve Eugene Paproski (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Before I recognize the minister, does the hon. member have consent to table the document?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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?

Some hon. members:

Agreed.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
Sub-subtopic:   MEASURE TO ENACT
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June 4, 1993