March 12, 1993 (34th Parliament, 3rd Session)


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

Progressive Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, this is a very important question raised by the hon. member for Fredericton-York-Sunbury and one which other members have also asked me about.
I should begin by indicating that the majority of the bands which are administered across Canada by chiefs and councils handle their own financial arrangements, both their O and M funding and the capital funding they administer, often under multi-year operating budgets. We call them alternative funding arrangements.
The majority of these communities and their leadership pay their bills and meet their financial obligations. There are exceptions. Our position is both legally and morally that in the spirit of the self-government ethic that First Nations are seeking, the minister of Indian affairs and the government should not guarantee bills which are not paid.

March 12, 1993
Routine Proceedings
There are remedies through the courts and the legal system. It is important for contractors and those who do business with aboriginal communities to realize that they are dealing as they would with any other commercial entity. They are dealing in a situation where contract law must be respected and where it is not, the remedies are to be found through normal legal recourse, notwithstanding my concern that native leaderships live up to their obligations.

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