I am committed and the government is committed to consultations with the Indian people in respect to amendments to the Indian Act and in respect to major policy objectives.
Mr. Speaker, judging by some letters addressed to me by Indians, I wonder what the consultations held until now have been like. Is an Indian from Montreal or Quebec the only one who has the right to be consulted by the government to establish the policy of the Canadian government with regard to the Indians and the Eskimos? We get complaints to the effect that only a few are consulted and that the Indian or Eskimo people as a whole are completely unaware of those meetings and discussions, and to such an extent that I ask myself quite honestly if the funds allocated to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development are not used mainly to pay salaries to white people, officials of the federal government, to try to lull some Indian or Eskimo chiefs to the disadvantage of the Eskimo and Indian people of Canada.
It seems to me that it is time to act, and not in back rooms, not as a result of decisions taken without the knowledge of parliament, and especially the Indians who are demanding results.
Mr. Speaker, I hope that the statement will be useful and will not have disastrous results
but good consequences, so that finally consultations will really be held between the population, between the various Indian and Eskimo organizations and the government authorities in order to find a solution to that problem and give justice to those people, as they have a right to expect.
Subtopic: STATEMENT ON REORGANIZATION OF DEPARTMENT