April 29, 2004

?

The Deputy Speaker

I shall now propose Motions Nos. 3 to 10 and 17 in Group No. 2 to the House.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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LIB

Lucienne Robillard

Liberal

Hon. Lucienne Robillard (for Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development)

moved:

Motion No. 3

That Bill C-23, in Clause 30, be amended

(a) by replacing lines 19 to 31 on page 16 with the following:

“30. (1) The Commission shall not approve a law made under paragraph 4(1)(d) for financing capital infrastructure for the provision of local services on reserve lands unless

(a) the first nation has obtained and fowarded to the Commission a certificate of the First Nations Financial Management Board under subsection 48(3); and

(b) the first nation has unutilized borrowing capacity.

(2) On approving a law made by a first nation under paragraph 4(1)(d) for financing capital infrastructure for the provision of local services on reserve lands, the Commis-”

(b) by replacing line 7 on page 17 with the following:

“under paragraph 4(1)(d) for financing capital infrastructure for the provision of local services on reserve lands, the Commission”

Motion No. 4

That Bill C-23, in Clause 31, be amended by replacing, in the French version, line 32 on page 17 with the following:

“parties ou des articles 138 ou 138.1 ou qu'un”

Motion No. 5

That Bill C-23, in Clause 34, be amended

(a) by replacing line 38 on page 19 with the following:

“for in those regulations;”

(b) by replacing line 2 on page 20 with the following:

“plaint; and

(d) delegate any of the powers of the Commission under section 29 or 31 to one or more commissioners.”

Motion No. 6

That Bill C-23, in Clause 83, be amended by adding after line 8 on page 39 the following:

“(4) The capital of the credit enhancement fund may be used

(a) to temporarily offset any shortfalls in the debt reserve fund; and

(b) for any other purpose prescribed by regulation.”

Motion No. 7

That Bill C-23, in Clause 87, be amended by replacing line 7 on page 41 with the following:

“graphs 83(3)(c) and (4)(b) and 85(2)(f);”

Motion No. 8

That Bill C-23, in Clause 103, be amended by replacing, in the French version, lines 37 to 44 on page 44 with the following:

“statistiques pouvant porter sur tout ou partie des sujets ci-après en ce qui a trait aux premières nations, aux terres de réserve, aux Indiens, aux autres membres des premières nations, aux membres d'autres groupes autochtones, ainsi qu'aux autres personnes qui résident sur les terres de réserve et les terres d'autres groupes autochtones:”

Motion No. 9

That Bill C-23, in Clause 105, be amended by replacing, in the French version, lines 11 to 13 on page 46 with the following:

“documents ou archives relatifs aux premières nations, aux Indiens ou autres membres des premières nations ou aux membres d'autres”

Motion No. 10

That Bill C-23, in Clause 105, be amended by replacing, in the French version, lines 24 to 27 on page 46 with the following:

“ne morale mentionnés au paragraphe (1) ne sont toutefois pas tenus de communiquer un renseignement dont ils peuvent ou doivent refuser la communication en vertu d'une loi fédérale ou qui est”

Motion No. 17

That Bill C-23, in Clause 154, be amended by replacing line 29 on page 63 and lines 1 to 4 on page 70 with the following:

“154. (1) On the later of the coming into force of section 8 of the Public Service Modernization Act and subsection 58(1) of this Act, subsection 58(1) of the English version of this Act is replaced by the following:

(1) The Authority is not an agent of Her Majesty or a Crown corporation within the meaning of the Financial Administration Act, and its officers and employees are not part of the federal public administration.

(2) On the later of the coming into force of section 8 of the Public Service Modernization Act and subsection 113(1) of this Act, subsection 113(1) of the English version of this Act is replaced by the following:

(1) The officers and employees of an institution are not part of the federal public administration.”

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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LIB

Larry Bagnell

Liberal

Hon. Larry Bagnell (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I am committed to getting on the record some of the opposition to the bill so I will try to go through the amendments quickly so I will have time to do that.

Motion No. 3 regarding clause 30 clarifies that clause 30 would apply only to borrowing laws for long term loans. Clause 30 would establish a rigorous process for the review by the Tax Commission of first nation borrowing laws. This was put in place for the review of laws relating to individual long term borrowing projects. This rigorous process is required to protect the joint liability of the borrowing members of the finance authority in respect of a default on the repayment of a long term loan by an individual member.

Under the bill, the finance authority would also provide short term loans to borrowing members on the basis of a borrowing law which would merely establish global limits to the council's authority to enter into such borrowing. Furthermore, there is no joint liability associated with these short term loans. It was never intended that the more rigorous process outlined in clause 30 would apply to these short term loans.

The amendment would clarify that clause 30 would apply only to borrowing laws respecting long term loans for capital infrastructure for the provision of services on reserve.

Motion No. 4 relates to clause 31 and corrects a grammatical error in the French version of subclause (2). Clause 31 of the bill deals with the process by which individuals can request that the Tax Commission review a local revenue law to determine whether it complies with the requirements of the act or whether it is being applied properly and fairly. This amendment corrects a grammatical error in the French version of subclause 31(2).

Motion No. 5 would amend subclause 34(3) to permit the Tax Commission to delegate certain powers to individual commissioners. Subclause 34(3) of the bill is being proposed as an amendment in the report of the House committee.

Subsequent to that amendment, a further amendment is being sought to provide a means for the commission to delegate its powers to approve property tax laws and to adjudicate complaints to one or more commissioners. This will ensure that property tax laws are approved and hearings held in a timely manner. Without this amendment, if a large number of complaints were filed, the commission might find it impossible to adjudicate them within a reasonable time frame.

This amendment would also provide the commission with the ability to separate the commission's investigative and prosecutorial functions under subsection 31(2). This would avoid the possibility of bias in commission initiated hearings under that subclause.

Motion No. 6 clarifies that capital in the credit enhancement fund can be used to support the debt reserve fund or for a purpose prescribed by regulations.

Clause 83 of the bill deals with the establishment of a credit enhancement fund designed to provide extra support for the credit rating of the securities issued by the finance authority in its early days.

This amendment clarifies that the capital in the credit enhancement fund may be used to temporarily offset a shortfall in the debt reserve fund or for another purpose prescribed by regulations.

The debt reserve fund and the credit enhancement fund established by the finance authority are both required to support a marketable credit rating for securities issued by the authority. It is standard practice for both the capital and interest component of such funds to be available for bridge financing, as required.

The current wording of clause 83 is not sufficiently clear as to the use of the capital in the credit enhancement fund and this could result in first nation bonds attracting a lower credit rating than they otherwise might.

Motion No. 7 provides regulation authority to prescribe other purposes for the use of capital in the credit enhancement fund.

I have just discussed the proposed amendment to clause 83 which clarifies that the capital in the credit enhancement fund may be used to temporarily offset a shortfall in the debt reserve fund, also established by the finance authority or for any other purpose prescribed by regulations.

The purpose of this amendment to clause 87 is to the required regulation making authority.

Motion No. 8 amends French to match English in clause 103.

Clause 103 establishes the scope of data which will be collected, compiled, analysed and distributed by the Statistical Institute. In order to meet its mandate, the institute must deal not only with that data which is specifically tagged aboriginal, but also data which, though not specifically identified as aboriginal data, nonetheless relates to first nations and other aboriginal groups, their members and other Indians, their lands and the resident of their lands. While the English version is clear in respect of this intent, the French version appears to limit the scope of data to that specifically tagged aboriginal.

This amendment corrects the French version of subclause 103(2) so that it matches the English version.

Motion No. 9 relating to clause 105 amends French to match English.

Clause 105 establishes the scope of federal data to which the statistical institute would have access. As was the case for clause 103, in order to meet its mandate, the institute must deal not only with that data which is specifically tagged aboriginal but also data which, though not specifically identified as aboriginal data, nonetheless relates to first nations and other aboriginal groups, their members and other Indians, their lands and the residents of their lands. While the English version in clause 105 is clear with respect to this intent, the French version appears to limit the scope of the data specifically tagged aboriginal.

This amendment corrects the French version in subclause 105(1) so that it matches the English version.

Motion No. 10, amends the French to match the English in Clause 105.

Subclause 105(2) clarifies that the department is not required to provide the statistical institute with access to data which must or may be withheld under any federal law or under any privilege at law. The French version, however, states that the department can only provide access to such data as it is permitted to share under the federal law or privilege at law. As most federal laws deal with prohibitions on the sharing of data rather than permissions for the sharing of data, the French version of subclause 105(2) would be impossible to apply.

This amendment corrects the French version of subclause 105(2) so that it matches the English version.

Motion No. 17, which is the last motion, deals with clause 154. It would delete the coordinating amendments with first nation governance and would add new coordinating amendments with the Public Service Modernization Act. This amendment makes two changes to the bill. First, it deletes the current wording of clause 154 which contained provisions which coordinated the coming into effect of this bill and the proposed first nations governance act which will not be reintroduced. These provisions are no longer needed.

Second, it adds new provisions to clause 154 which provide for the coordination of coming into force of the bill and the Public Service Modernization Act which received royal assent last November.

The Public Service Modernization Act changed the term “public service” to “public administration”. The term “public service” is used in the English version of clauses 58 and 113 of the bill. The new provisions of clause 154 would amend this reference once the Public Service Modernization Act comes into effect.

The French version of clauses 58 and 113 do not require this change.

I would now like to discuss and put on the record some of the concerns people have had about the bill. I first wish to make sure that people know that land claims remain a priority. For me, land claims and self-government are the final and best result. We are working on two bills in the House of Commons right now and we are moving forward in those areas.

Some land claim agreements will take decades because of the various conditions. A number of first nations people have approached the government asking that it set up these institutions in order to help them while the process on self-government and land claims continues.

Therefore this is basically a tool they found out they needed in their financial management that would help them when they are approaching banks and financial institutions and to be able to buy bonds with lower interest rates.

During the discussions on the bill we heard a number of worries from people about having to be involved with this bill. However the amendments to the bill make it quite clear that it is totally optional. People can enter it if they want and they do not have to pay property taxes. They do not have to do anything with the bill unless they so choose. It is there because a group of first nations approached the government and ask to be involved.

A number of first nations want to use the bill and a number that already collect property taxes of course are in rural areas.

People wonder about other options. There are many other options. People do not have to be involved in the bill. They do not have to collect property taxes if they do not want to. They do not have to take loans if they do not want to. First nations can make institutions themselves. They can go ahead and make their own institutions but they found out that the ones they had made did not work in the financial sector to get them the loan rates that they wanted. Therefore they have asked to have this bill.

The following is Justice Lamer's decision:

--it is important that we not lose sight of Parliament's objective in creating the new Indian taxation powers. The regime which came into force in 1988 is intended to facilitate the development of Aboriginal self-government by allowing bands to exercise the inherently governmental power of taxation on their reserves.

It does not affect the Constitution. It does not affect self-government and in fact enhances it. Is my time up, Mr. Speaker? No? Okay.

Aboriginal people have been approaching us on this for years. We should not be holding them up for years and years when we have the ability to put into effect what they are suggesting.

I have one last final point in relation to the cost. I think the estimate was $25 million, which will eventually be self-sustaining, but we will guarantee that we will be putting in $400 million more, either into land claims negotiations or into helping those first nations that need water and basic services as opposed to these particular institutions, which only some first nations are asking for.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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?

The Deputy Speaker

Before the resumption of the debate it is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Davenport, Environment.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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CA

John Duncan

Canadian Alliance

Mr. John Duncan (Vancouver Island North, CPC)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to mention that I have already spoken to the Group No. 1 amendments. I am supporting all the amendments that have been tabled, those in Group No. 1 and in Group No. 2.

I would like to take this moment while we are talking about the first nations financial authority. Yesterday in my constituency a young woman was found dead in the community of Zeballos. She was a very popular 13 year old girl. The community of Zeballos is obviously in great shock. It is a very tight-knit community of about 200 people. The Ehattesaht band and the community of Zeballos are essentially one community, Zeballos being the smallest incorporated municipality in the province of British Columbia.

A lot of things have become apparent with twenty-twenty hindsight. I was in the community on December 16 with RCMP representatives from Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and Port McNeill. We met with community advocates and the mayor. What has become very apparent is that the rule of law, the whole enforcement of laws and the policing presence are all very difficult questions now in some of our communities that have been hard hit, those small communities with a financial situation that is not as good as it was.

I know that everyone at home feels very bad about this. No one is pointing fingers, but on the other hand I think it is important that we in this House all recognize some sensitivity to the fact that resource allocation for these kinds of issues for those smaller communities is something that should be receiving some real priority. They are sometimes overlooked when we look at dislocations from softwood restructuring and other things. In actual fact, it may not be infrastructure that is our crucial need. It may very well be a continued presence of the traditional medical, police and other government institutions that are so very important.

I thought I would take the opportunity to talk about that and now I will also of course address Bill C-23.

In my view, the group of amendments we are discussing deals with some fairly straightforward items. Obviously there are some motions to correct errors in French. How long can we talk about that? That is very straightforward.

There is a decoupling from the first nations governance act, which now has been killed and buried by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. That was an essential move. There were some clarification amendments dealing with borrowing laws, the debt reserve fund and the credit enhancement fund. They are all quite supportable.

The last time I spoke, on the first grouping of amendments, I chose to spend some of my time dealing with the whole issue of property rights. I did that in the context of this bill, because the bill tries to take us from a situation where band level governance cannot effectively be master of its own house as long as it is operating under the Indian Act. This is one more of those measures that attempts to change all of that.

Last time, I pointed out a publication produced by the Skeena Native Development Society and called Masters In Our Own House , which makes it very clear that its analysis comes to this very same conclusion. “Economic mastery” is simply not available under the Indian Act. The society has come to some very clear conclusions, which I happen to share and which I think are essential in the development of what many would probably call civil society.

Civil society requires entrepreneurship, individual freedoms and good governance, and it requires the ability to develop long term plans that are deliverable from the status of owned revenues as opposed to dependency on the federal or other authority, whose priorities can change from month to month or year to year. We are all quite aware of that.

It has been a breath of fresh air to realize that there actually are source materials, literature and analyses that have come to these kinds of conclusions and have done some very good research background material. And it is coming from within the native community itself. I have found this material to be a very strong bit of background material that I enjoy quoting at some length.

I have talked about certificates of possession, the closest thing to fee simple on reserve lands in Canada. Even the traditional certificate of possession, which is in current wide use, is not even formulated under the Indian Act. It is left to ministerial discretion. Therefore, the certificates are changed by the changing policies of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, policies that in turn are affected by changing judicial interpretations.

These are not sufficient property rights to facilitate entrepreneurship. That is why there has been a move to go beyond that. That is what was so important about the private property precedent set within Bill C-11, the Westbank agreement, which received third reading approval in the House this week.

That is something that was anticipated but not clear at the time of the publication of this document, which was last May, 11 months ago. These are very powerful things when individual property rights can be acquired on Indian lands outside the Indian Act. There are actually five ways in which that is occurring in this country right now.

One is through these customary holdings on reserve, the COP, certificates of possession. The second is the Sechelt agreement in British Columbia, in which fee simple title was transferred for the entire reserve land base in 1986. Another is the Westbank first nation agreement, which creates the strongest individual property rights regime in Canada under a certificate of possession, completely managed by self-government as opposed to the minister. Under the Nisga'a treaty there is a very strong, small land component in that category as well. Those are the main categories that I wanted to address.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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BQ

Yvan Loubier

Bloc Québécois

Mr. Yvan Loubier (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, we oppose most of the amendments proposed by the government because they add nothing to the issue and improve the bill not one bit.

As far as concordance of the French and English is concerned, of course we support that. For the rest, however, the amendments do not include those that the minister had promised to ensure that the provisions of Bill C-23 would not have to apply to all the first nations.

The minister, and the minister before him, have told us “Well now, if a first nation does not want to take advantage of the provisions of the new first nation fiscal and statistical management act, it will not have to”.

I admit to some doubts on this statement by both the former and present ministers of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. When we travelled the country in connection with the bill on first nations governance and specific land claims, we came to realize that DIAND employees in a number of communities acted as if they were the lord and master, and made decisions on the future of aboriginal communities that were often contrary to what the band councils had decided. We heard about a few such cases.

I have doubts about the good will of those who will have to apply this new legislation on the financial and statistical administration of the first nations.

When I spoke just now on the first group of amendments, the last point was the most urgent problems being faced by the first nations, those not dealt with in this bill, in the amendments, or in any other bills introduced so far by the government.

It seems that this government does not understand that there are a number of communities in Quebec and in Canada having to cope every day with problems that would cause us to immediately declare a state of emergency if they occurred in our communities.

The housing problem is probably the most urgent one at this time. For the benefit of those listening to us, I will take a few minutes to document the severity of this housing crisis in our first nations communities.

We are told that Indian reserves have slightly more than 93,000 housing units. There are 113,000 households for 93,000 units. Therefore, we have a 20,000 unit deficit, and 20,000 households are left without a home or are forced to share one with another household. In several first nations communities, we have seen occurrences where 12 to 15 people share two bedrooms. In certain communities, it defies imagination.

A few months ago, my colleague from Champlain and I went to Weymontachie, in my riding. This is an Attikamek community where housing needs are critical. Housing is inadequate, but that is not the only problem. All the houses in this reserve have a chronic problem of mould and mildew. They have to be torn down and rebuilt.

The situation is similar in many communities, but I am taking Weymontachie as an example because we went there a few months ago. To tear down these houses and build new ones, all they have is $35,000.

Just try to do that today: tear down a house, dispose of the rubble and build a new house for the modest sum of $35,000. It does not make sense. Just buying the materials and using the house building expertise of first nation people in this community to put up a new house would cost at least $85,000. And the house would be bought at cost. What can you do with $35,000?

These are buildings that will not stand the test of time. They are basic buildings made of materials that are often of very poor quality. Because they have to save money somewhere, the design is quite basic. The result is that a few years later the same problems resurface, because they could not get an adequate ventilation system or adequate windows to prevent mould and mildew.

It becomes a dead end. When we ask questions, departmental officials tell us that there is no budget for contingencies, there is no plan to make up for the time lost and deal with the shortage of 20,000 housing units in the short term, and there is no additional money earmarked to deal with problems such as mildew or inadequate water and sewage systems.

This is Canada, this is the 21st century and there are communities that are living like people did in the previous century. The government, which acts as a trustee for these communities, is not tackling the issues. It would rather introduce bills that are far from being unanimously supported by first nations, and it does not even think about helping them deal with glaring needs such as housing.

Earlier, I mentioned some figures that apply to Canada. The Quebec and Labrador chapter of the Assembly of First Nations also conducted a study recently. In fact, that study had to be adjusted with Statistics Canada as regards the methodology used, because there were discrepancies of up to 75% between the figures provided by Statistics Canada and those of the first nations. After consulting with Statistics Canada, it was determined that the first nations were right.

Why should this come as a surprise? Who is in a better position than a first nation member to explain what is going on among first nations? It is not Statistics Canada, here in downtown Ottawa, that is in a position to know what is going on in Weymontachie, in Winneway, in Mashteuiatsh, among the Six Nations or others across Quebec and Canada.

In Quebec and Labrador, it would take 8,700 housing units this year to meet the needs of first nations. However, only 450 units will be built this year. This does not make sense. There is no contingency plan. There is nothing. The government would rather not bother with such things. It is trying to impose legislation that is opposed by 61% of first nations communities, instead of trying to achieve a consensus and come up with a bill that will truly help first nations develop and settle issues such as the crying need for housing units.

They seem to be incapable of identifying the real needs. And yet, the first nations lobby and carry out studies. You have no idea how many studies they do, for free, to help the government. They have been doing them for decades in order to explain their situation. Despite everything, even after the Penner commission and the Erasmus-Dussault commission, the one element that would speed up implementation of measures to solve these problems has not been found.

Once again, I am disappointed, because I thought the new Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development was more open and more flexible on this, and that he was not like the former minister, whose mind was made up and who was not even aware of the needs of the communities. I am astonished to see that there is no amendment to satisfy the wishes of the majority—not a minority, but a large majority—of the first nations who do not want this bill.

It is not because it would have been impossible. It would have been possible to say that since some first nations, especially in British Columbia, wanted this bill, it would apply to them, correcting the point we mentioned about the fiduciary duties of the federal government. Arrangements could have been made. But instead there was nothing—no exceptions.

We know how things work at Indian Affairs. They use intimidation. If first nations do not want to come on side then they are intimidated, funding for their schools is delayed, for example. That is what happened in Winneway last year. We should have made interventions here in this House for the Winneway budget to be completed so that this Algonquin community could hire the teacher it needed to keep its school open.

It is inconceivable. Communities cannot be run like this. That is why I was saying, during the debate on the amendments in Group No. 1, that it is vital that we move more quickly toward self-government. It is the only solution.

We will, of course, vote against this bill.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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LIB

Rick Laliberte

Liberal

Mr. Rick Laliberte (Churchill River, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, I must rise on this group of amendments to speak with my conscience. As I said before in previous debates, the intentions are well intended, but this relationship of first nations on finance authorities and tax commissions will be entrenched. They will be a guiding principle for on reserve taxation and on reserve borrowing.

The bill is designed to let people make their own decisions at the band council--and we must define it as a band council because that is what a first nation is defined as by the government. We cannot define it appropriately. The government should be defining first nations as who they are.

The first nations of this land are, unfortunately, not respected appropriately. If there was proper respect given among our own nations: the Oneida, the Cree, the Dene, the Mohawk, the Onondaga, and the Haida, there could be a fiscal relationship created. However, in the absence of those first nations being thoroughly recognized, accounted and respected, there is major uncertainty in the bill.

The bill is like: “Divided you will be conquered; united you will be strong”. This is dividing our first nations. This division appears in the different definitions of band councils. Band councils would become borrowing members, but in order for a borrowing member to borrow--and I will read into the record what the bill says in clause 77:

The Authority shall not make a long-term loan to a borrowing member for the purpose of financing capital infrastructure--

Capital infrastructure can be anything from a band office, a health clinic, a school, a day care or a housing project. There is a major housing crisis in our communities because of our exploding population.

The government and the Indian affairs minister, in order to address these issues, will point to our band councils and our chiefs in council and say that if we want to address the economic and social dire straits of our people, if we have capital needs in our band councils, then we are to go and borrow money. But in order for us to borrow money, the tax commission must approve a law under subclause 4(1).

In order for any band council to borrow money, it will have to assess its land first. It will have to mortgage its land and put value on that land before it borrows money for its schools, its clinics, or for water and sewers. Many of our communities have the worst water quality and the worst sewer services in Canada, but in order for them to upgrade those systems, they will have to ransom their children's future.

It will be easy to opt in, to come in and borrow money. It is like me. I can go and borrow money for a vehicle, but if tomorrow I lose my job and I have no more income, no more value to pay for that loan, who will pay for it? It will be my children. It is my children that I have to think about, and that is what I am speaking about today. I am speaking for the children of first nations of tomorrow. I speak from experience on this.

In 1983 my communities in northern Saskatchewan were finally given municipal status. I was one of the first tax collectors for my community. I became a village administrator. Right after that I sought election as a school trustee. I was a school board member as well. In my municipal communities we collect taxes from land for local improvement and schools. There are two tax collections. One tax is levied on the property and every year taxes are collected. It is like running sap from the maple trees for maple syrup. Every year that happens off our land; some revenue is reaped

However, what if the first nations taxpayers cannot pay for it? There are provisions in here and powers where property could be taken from people.

In Treaty No. 5, Treaty No. 6, Treaty No. 8 and Treaty No. 10, the very treaties that created this country, there were obligations by the Crown. We cannot forget these obligations. The obligations were to the people who lived on these reserves, the small little communities that they were left with after sharing the entire territory of this country.

Treaty No. 6 is the entire Saskatchewan river system. Treaty No. 10 is the entire Churchill river system. The first nations were willing to share these with few provisions for medicine, education, housing and tax exemption. Tax exemption was a treaty provision in the regions of my constituency. This bill is creating tax opportunities and defining taxpayers.

Where else in Canadian law, or even provincial law, are there three types of taxpayers? We are going to have taxpayers for residential purposes, taxpayers for commercial purposes, and taxpayers for utility purposes. Where else in Canadian law do we have three categories that will protect the interests of those taxpayers? It does not matter if it is some newcomers from, for example, Spain who invest in one of our first nations communities and says that now they are taxpayers in this community. They will have their interests protected under this bill.

My concern is, why are the interests of the first nations not protected? Where is the Cree nation? There is no protection of the Cree nation. There is no protection of the Okanagan nation, the Tlingit, or the Gwich'in. Why are we forgetting the very first nations that were part of this land before?

This is a tax commission that is well intended. It can exist. There is nothing wrong with having fiscal relations with first nations, but first we must establish the relationship between the first nations as governments. Right now, Canadian federal and provincial governments recognize aboriginal government as a band council, a chief in council, but they do not recognize the tribal councils. It stops at tribal councils because in most parts the tribal councils were formerly Indian Act district offices, for district reasons, and for district administration of programs and services. When will we fully extend and respect the first nations of this land?

When I see the Mohawk nation represented by elected and democratically selected people in the House, or a House in Parliament, then that fiscal relation, through these borrowing measures, can be created. There are major powers that the band councils will be transferring to the tax commission and finance management board. The bill would legitimize co-management and third parties. What if one of our band councils runs amok with the financial institutions?

I have seen in legislation, for the first time, that co-management and third party management can be fully implemented, and that the powers of a first nation can be adopted. One of the strongest indications of this power transfer is that these financial boards or tax commissions would have the power to change the bylaw of a first nation.

It is like Esso having the power to change the laws of Canada. It is like McDonald's having the power to change the laws of the provincial Government of Quebec.

Why would we allow a tax commission to have the power to change the bylaws of first nations? These are the small powers that they have. We must recognize the first nations. I urge members to send this back to committee.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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?

The Speaker

Is the House ready for the question?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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Some hon. members

Question.

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Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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?

The Speaker

The question is on Motion No. 3. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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?

Some hon. members

No.

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Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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?

The Speaker

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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Some hon. members

Yea.

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Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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?

The Speaker

All those opposed will please say nay.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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?

Some hon. members

Nay.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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?

The Speaker

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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?

The Speaker

The recorded vote is deferred.

The next question is on Motion No. 4. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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?

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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?

Some hon. members

No.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   First Nations Fiscal and Statistical Management Act
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April 29, 2004