June 4, 1993 (34th Parliament, 3rd Session)


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

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Siddon:

Mr. Chairman, in so far as the Indian Specific Claims Commission is concerned, the hon. member knows the commission was set up under the powers of the Inquiries Act to provide advice to government as commissions of inquiries do on the extent to which particular claims the government has rejected might be readdressed by the government because, it may be argued, there is a lawful obligation on the part of Canada.
The specific claims commission has criteria by which it is to conduct itself in regard of claims or alleged claims which result from a lawful obligation. Therefore it is important the specific claims commission address itself to issues. While we have rejected them on the basis of legal advice from the Department of Justice that we do not have a lawful obligation, those claims must stem in some way from a document or a legal commitment of some sort which is arguably binding upon the government.
In the case of any of the claims Mr. Laforme's commission is addressing, if we receive that advice we expect it to be backed up with thorough research and legal arguments. Then we will make a decision which remains to be the minister's prerogative with respect to any such claims.

Subtopic:   NUNAVUT ACT
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