Mr. Jim Hart (Okanagan—Coquihalla, Canadian Alliance)
Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of the people of Okanagan—Coquihalla to inform the House that the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development is negotiating a flawed self-government treaty with the Westbank Indian Band.
The B.C. treaty commission process, though far from perfect, allows for some third party input and includes the B.C. government. These secret negotiations between the minister and the Westbank Indian Band excludes any input from the citizens of British Columbia.
The Union of British Columbia Municipalities along with concerned landowners are troubled that the federal government is negotiating a treaty in a veil of secrecy that will ultimately entrench preferential rights for certain Canadians at the expense of others. Not only that, it will arbitrarily assign resources, tax dollars and crown property to a distinct group.
Given the concern expressed in B.C. over the Nisga'a final agreement, it is essential that the remaining negotiations be opened to all concerned parties in B.C. and then be put to a British Columbia referendum.
Subtopic: Aboriginal Affairs