Thomas Speakman BARNETT

BARNETT, Thomas Speakman

Personal Data

Party
New Democratic Party
Constituency
Comox--Alberni (British Columbia)
Birth Date
September 3, 1909
Deceased Date
June 5, 2003
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Speakman_Barnett
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=64ac8c88-87af-41f6-8ffe-90fa135ebb4e&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
editor, factory worker, sawmiller

Parliamentary Career

August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
CCF
  Comox--Alberni (British Columbia)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
CCF
  Comox--Alberni (British Columbia)
June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
CCF
  Comox--Alberni (British Columbia)
April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
CCF
  Comox--Alberni (British Columbia)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
CCF
  Comox--Alberni (British Columbia)
April 8, 1969 - September 1, 1972
NDP
  Comox--Alberni (British Columbia)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
NDP
  Comox--Alberni (British Columbia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 7 of 651)


April 4, 1974

Mr. Barnett:

I wish to say seriously, however, that I am pleased the minister has agreed, in effect, to endorse this proposal of mine. In some respects I consider it to be the most significant of the changes which are being made in the original draft of the bill which, as hon. members will recall, we received from the other place. Quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, after much discussion in the committee I feel that a proper recognition of the rights of the Indian and other native peoples of Canada to be able, with some degree of equality, to negotiate a settlement is as well embodied in this amendment as in any measure that has come before this House.

As hon. members know, there are certain parts of Canada where no settlement by treaty or in any other form has yet been reached regarding what is sometimes referred to as native title. One of the areas of Canada where this is true to a great degree is the province of British Columbia, from which I come as a member of this House. But the same is also true of almost the entire area of the two territories. This is a situation that I think it is incumbent upon the House to consider, particularly in view of the existing constitutional structure which, for the time being at least, leaves the entire authority vested in the Crown, being the responsibility in this instance of the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Mr. Chretien).

To me, Mr. Speaker, this amendment and its passage have an importance in the context of our situation in Canada today which overrides almost any other consideration in relation to the withdrawal from normal exploitation of any lands in the territories. The amendment was originally proposed by myself in committee but was not, like certain other of my amendments, accepted. I therefore put it on the order paper, originally in the last session, for debate at the report stage without any foreknowledge whether it would receive support from any quarter of the House other than the caucus of which I am a member. I am hopeful that it will receive the unanimous endorsation of the House despite the fact that it replaces, in effect, an amendment which was moved before the committee by members of the official opposition and which, I may say at once, I did support in the form in which it was presented because at that point, as I have often had to do, I took the position that a half a loaf or a quarter of a loaf was better than none.

In view of some references, oblique and otherwise, that have been made during the course of this report stage

April 4, 1974

discussion as to whether or not I have changed my mind on certain matters, I think I should take a moment to outline the situation that has led up to our dealing with this amendment in this particular form tonight. As members of the House will recall, the committee travelled to the capital of the Yukon territory, Whitehorse, not under an order of reference dealing with this bill but under a reference of the annual report of the department. The committee heard representations in Whitehorse from quite a large number of the citizens of the Yukon territory on a variety of subjects. Because this bill was technically in the hands of the committee at that point, many of the representations that we received tended to centre upon this bill and its implications.

I think it is fair to say that as we listened to the representations that were made in Whitehorse great interest was shown about the Kluane park in the Yukon territory. While there was not what I would call unanimous support for the establishment of the park, I think there was general endorsation of the idea of a national park in the Yukon territory. In fact, as far as there was a representative voice of the Yukon in the form of its territorial council, that council made it clear to the members of the committee that they did endorse the establishment of Kluane park.

There were some serious questions raised about what this park might do to potential hydro development. Questions were also raised about what it would do in the elimination of possible mining development. But generally speaking I think it is fair to say that the people of the Yukon were interested in, and rather excited about, the possibility of a park in that vast, rugged area of mountain wilderness that runs along the easterly side of the coastal range. I think it is fair to say that that approach was acceptable to the Indian people of the Yukon territory, both those who are registered Indians and those who are sometimes referred to as non-status Indians. But they did have one very important reservation regarding their acceptance of the idea of a park, and that was that they did not want any hard and fast boundaries drawn-in fact, they said they did not want a park established-until they had completed the negotiations which are currently in progress on their land rights.

The amendment put forward to the committee in an informal way while it was in Whitehorse contained the provision that any establishment of a park should be without prejudice to the right, title or interest of the Indian people. As far as I am concerned, the idea of that amendment was sound enough, except that in law, so far as I could see, it did not effectively protect the rights of the Indian people to negotiate. However, I initially supported the amendment even though I felt it was somewhat inadequate in its actual terms. That feeling was borne out by the representations received from the president of the Yukon Indian Brotherhood. He made very clear his concern that establishment of this park as proposed would, in effect, effectively block any possibility of Indian negotiation regarding any of the lands, right or interest that they may have within the boundaries of such a park.

The basic effect of the proposal, at least as I saw it, was that the park having been established and its boundaries set, if later on it was recognized in negotiations that even

National Parks Act

as much as one acre of land within the boundaries of the park was land that remained Indian land, then this would have meant a special act of parliament would be required to remove that one acre of land from within the boundaries of the park. This was a conundrum with which I wrestled because I was very anxious that this rather unique piece of land should receive as soon as possible the kind of protection the National Parks Act provides for certain parts of the territories in Canada. At the same time, I did not want to be a party in any way to weakening the ability of the Indian people to negotiate a fair and complete settlement.

When listening carefully to the representations put to the committee by the spokesman for the Kluane park, I became more convinced that they had some real claims that should be considered in relation to the area involved. That is why I endeavoured to present to the committee an amendment which would clearly have established the intent of parliament that this area should be included in a park reserve, while at the same time putting it under the jurisdiction of the National Parks Act rather than having it remain in a park reserve in respect of which the minister has authority at any time to change his mind and decide to pull it out of the reserve. There is nothing to prevent that.

In fact, this was the position which had existed for some time in reference to Kluane, having in mind the fact that it was not in a park reserve, but a game reserve. In attempting a reasonable reconciliation with what to me were two important considerations, I felt this proposal offered a fair solution. For that reason I am pleased that the minister has agreed to lend his support to this idea. I hope all hon. members of the House will do so. I do not think it will do any substantial damage in respect of the desires of anyone concerned with the preservation of wilderness areas in Canada, particularly the unique ones, to make them part of our parks heritage.

As one individual who spoke to the committee at Whitehorse very aptly observed, if you are thinking in terms of a wilderness park, as long as you do not do anything to it, it will not go away. Having that concept in mind, I thought that was one of the wisest things I listened to in the Yukon, and I believe the proposal before us will ensure that Kluane park is preserved as part of our wilderness heritage. I may say that similar ideas have been put forward in written representations by the Indian and Innuit peoples of the Northwest Territories in respect of the Nahanni and Baffin Island park proposals.

I have here communications from organizations of the Innuit people and the Northwest Territories Indian Brotherhood that they agree with the soundness of the proposal we are discussing in this report stage amendment. I shall not take up the time of the House to detail them for the record, but I feel I should take a few minutes to draw to the attention of hon. members what I consider to be the basic importance of this report stage amendment. While I may have views that range from lukewarm to strong about some of the other issues we have been discussing, I feel the issues involved in this amendment are the most important in relation to what in all fairness we should or should not do at this point about setting aside lands which have

April 4, 1974

National Parks Act

not been surrendered by the Indian people to the national parks system of Canada.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL PARKS ACT
Full View Permalink

April 4, 1974

Mr. Barnett:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to ask the hon. member just what he has in mind in respect of the rights of the Indians and whether it is important to protect their rights, in view of the fact that the Yukon council has already indicated its approval for the establishment of the park.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL PARKS ACT
Full View Permalink

April 4, 1974

Mr. Barnett:

Mr. Speaker, if there is unanimous consent to acceptability of motion No. 1, which stands in the name of the minister, I would be quite happy at this point to have motion No. 2 withdrawn. They are almost in the same language; at least they both have the same objective. On the understanding that we consent to motion No. 1, I am quite prepared to leave aside motion No. 2.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL PARKS ACT
Full View Permalink

April 4, 1974

Mr. Thomas S. Barnett (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Rocky Mountain (Mr. Clark), with his usual eloquence, was discussing amendments 3 and 4, and since we are going to be voting on them together, I presume he was in order in doing so. It is not my intention to defend the minister from any of the attacks made upon his desire for extreme secrecy. I am sure the minister is capable of presenting his own case on that score. Nor is it my intention to try to go around and around again on some of the matters which went around and around for some time in the committee.

May I say at once that in my view the committee that dealt with this bill devoted itself with a great deal of diligence to trying to examine and to sort out a good many

April 4, 1974

complex issues that are inherent in this particular bill. I think it is fair to say that at the outset, when the bill was introduced in the other place, the minister, and probably his departmental officials, hoped the bill would be treated somewhat as a kind of housekeeping measure, to tidy up the situation and to put the final seal of parliamentary approval on the establishment of certain new national parks. Despite some of his criticisms about what happened at Ship Harbour, I think the hon. member for Rocky Mountain would not be averse to agreeing, at least to some extent, that the minister has devoted himself with some diligence to widening the national parks system in Canada. While there are many matters on which I may be in disagreement with the minister at this and other times, I am certainly quite prepared to give him some marks for his effort in this regard.

As I see it, there are essentially three important aspects to this bill, two of which are referred to in the two report stage amendments we are discussing in respect of Clauses 10 and 11 of the bill, and a third, which is not up for discussion at this time, covering provisions in Clause 2 of the bill for the governor in council to take steps leading to the addition of lands to existing parks. If you have noted the reprint of the bill you will have observed that there are certain additions to the original draft of the bill, incorporated in Clause 2, which apparently are not under debate or question at this time because no report stage amendments have been submitted to them. In point of fact the hon. member for Rocky Mountain (Mr. Clark) made some reference to these additions in Clause 2, in part at least. If I may say as an aside, they do represent what I consider to be an interesting development inasmuch as there is some automatic provision in that proposal for consideration by the standing committee and for action forthwith by the House on the report by the committee.

The hon. member for Rocky Mountain spent most of his time talking about this question of public hearings, and I think quite rightly said his party put certain proposals forward in respect of public hearings which have not emerged in the bill as reported from the committee. He was quite right when he said that. The additions to Clause 10, with which the report stage amendment proposes to deal, are in terms which I proposed originally on Clause 2 as accepted by the committee. I fully admit that at the point in time when this particular matter was under consideration, it was with the tacit agreement of members of the NDP who were on the committee that this addition be made to Clause 10 and part of it to Clause 11.

One of the important constitutional issues involved in Clause 10, and I think this fact should not be lost on this House in light of the remarks by the hon. member for Rocky Mountain, is the question of transfer of jurisdiction of lands within the provinces to the Crown in the right of Canada. Under the terms of the national parks trust, unless some future parliament undoes what parliament does at a given time, those lands remain forever in the status which parliament has assigned to them as national parks for the enjoyment of future generations of Canadians in unimpaired condition.

I do not quarrel too much with the argument put forward by the hon. member for Rocky Mountain, and also

National Parks Act

put forward very eloquently in the committee by his colleague the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands (Miss MacDonald), about the desirability of public hearings into the question of the establishment of parks. I hope his eloquent remarks today, and during some of the discussions that took place before the committee, will not fall on deaf ears so far as the governments of the provinces are concerned. As I said, if I recall correctly the lengthy discussions we had in trying to sort this thing out, at the point in time an approach is made by the federal government to a province for certain lands to be put into national parks, and at the point of time when a provincial government is prepared seriously to consider that proposal, or if indeed the provincial government were to decide to take some initiative to offer certain land to national parks, it would be very desirable that the government of the province initiate and hold the kind of hearings to which the hon. member for Rocky Mountain referred. It is very unfortunate that the government of Nova Scotia did not see fit to take that kind of action in respect of the Ship Harbour proposal at an earlier stage than the point in time at which it apparently decided to abandon it.

In the matter of the establishment of new parks in the provinces, that is the point in time, and I agree strongly with the hon. member for Rocky Mountain, that public hearings should be held into the advisability of there being created within that provinces, and from the lands of that province, a national park which would be surrendered to the people of Canada forever for that specific purpose. There is no way in which we in this House or this parliament can impose a provision of that kind upon the governments of the provinces. I do not have any regret that the hon. member for Rocky Mountain and his colleagues in the committee stressed this question of the need for public hearings so vigorously. But when one attempts to sort out all the complex issues involved, and I say this in spite of the fact that I was a party to this becoming part of the bill reported back to the House, then I must say I am now prepared to support the minister's report stage amendment.

I am not regretful in any way that we are having this report stage debate on this subject, and I am not regretful in any way that the minister was pushed to the point where he has to lay this kind of issue on the table, because hopefully the minister, in negotiating with the provinces, will pass on to them some of the views which are apparent among members of the House of Commons from all provinces regarding this matter of public hearings. My reaction might have been different under other circumstances, but I am glad the minister is not in his report stage amendment seeking to delete sub-clause (3). He is, as a result of the initiative of members of the Conservative party at the committee, leaving in that provision which requires the minister-and it says "shall"-to hold hearings on the question of how the park is to be used once it is officially established. I consider that to be a major improvement to the legislation as it was introduced. I think that in the context of the committee debates it should be apparent that the credit for initiating that particular idea during the committee proceedings rests with the hon. member for Rocky Mountain and his colleagues.

April 4, 1974

National Parks Act

The situation with reference to clause 11, which deals with the parks in the Territories, is of course quite different constitutionally to that which applies to the provinces because there the land is held in the right of the federal Crown. Normally, for administrative purposes, this land is under the authority of the Territorial Lands Act which act, in addition to the National Parks Act, I think is one which gives the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Mr. Chretien) responsibility. So, in the case of the Northwest Territories, the minister simply is saying that, as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, he wishes to take that land from his jurisdiction under the Territorial Lands Act and propose that it be put under the National Parks Act. I think the minister can be cited for a lack of adequate public hearings on the question of advisability of establishing those parks. This is a matter of debate. However, all that clause 11 does is propose that three specific parks be added to the schedule of the National Parks Act.

So far as I know, the only public hearings that were held on the question in the sense the term is being used by the hon. member for Rocky Mountain were the public hearings held by the committee. That was one reason I strongly supported the idea of the committee going to Whitehorse, so we could at least learn the views of the people of the Yukon Territory. We had before the committee in Ottawa spokesmen interested in the various aspects of the proposed parks in the Northwest Territories. That process has taken place. There is information contained in the records of the committee which satisfies me that the councils of the two Territories had in fact approved the idea of these parks and that there is agreement on all questions except that of the rights of the aboriginal inhabitants of the area. Although there are other aspects of the territories in the north which will come up under one of the other report stage amendments, which I shall not go into at this point, it seems to me that this idea of having further committee hearings, which the deletion of the proposed section would call for, would be really rather redundant at this point in respect of the three specific parks proposed for the two territories.

So far as I am concerned this is not something which should really concern us too much. The minister at this point in effect is saying that we do not need committee hearings to examine these three particular parks in the territories. I really wish that the clauses of the bill which have to do with additions to existing parks had referred to the establishment of new parks. This relates to something the hon. member for Rocky Mountain said. This is beyond the scope of the bill but if that proposal had been included, along with the proposed committee amendments to clause 2 of the bill, then we would have had the other side of the coin. If there were a proposal to establish, either in the territories or in the provinces, a new national park, the standing committee of this House could examine the merit of the proposal, hopefully concurrent with public hearings held under arrangements made by the provinces or in the case of the territories hopefully through some arrangements made by the standing committee with the territorial councils. I think the status of the territories is a matter being discussed not very far

away from this chamber this afternoon by the committee on Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

I might have something to say about this later on when we come to one of the other report stage amendments, but so far as I am concerned the really important improvements that it was possible for the committee to make will be retained if the report stage amendments as introduced today are accepted by the House. I hope that, without too lengthy discussion by other members of the House, it may be possible for us to achieve the purpose that has been referred to by the hon. member for Rocky Mountain so eloquently; that is, a desire to have these particular parks which are to be finally established by this bill come into being for the benefit and use of the people of Canada.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL PARKS ACT
Full View Permalink

April 4, 1974

Mr. Thomas S. Barnett (Comox-Alberni):

Mr. Speaker,

I wish to make a few comments on my position on this matter. I wish to make it clear that my position is not influenced by the semantics of the minister or the rhetoric of the hon. member for Rocky Mountain (Mr. Clark). As the hon. member for Rocky Mountain (Mr. Clark) stated, an amendment was proposed in committee to substitute the words "consultation with" by the words "agreement had been reached with". We got into quite a discussion about what was involved in the legal meaning of the word "agreement". As the hon. member for Rocky Mountain said, I suggested that the words that might be used would be "following approval by".

The minister still maintains the position that somehow or other this would give the council of the territories legal power over the resources of the north. I am not going to argue that point with him now, but I would like to state briefly to the House my view of the position. We are looking at the text of a bill which is hopefully moving toward becoming the law of Canada. In this clause we are dealing with a proposal to establish three parks in the Northwest Territories. I stated in committee, and I still maintain at this time in history, that regardless of what should be done about changing the constitutional position of the two territories, under the bill that is being considered today, national parks should not be established in the Northwest Territories without the approval of the council.

According to the records of the committee, and the testimony given by people in Whitehorse with regard to these three specific parks, the territorial councils have given their approval by resolution of the territorial council of the Yukon and, I understand, by consensus of members of the territorial council of the Northwest Territories. That is the situation with regard to these parks. If this legislation is passed, these areas will become parks within the provisions of the act as it emerges from this House. As far as I can understand this amendment, if we adopt it, the minister will be obliged to consult with the councils of the territories with regard to how he goes about developing those parks. In this regard, I submit that the councils of the territories will, in fact, be on all fours with the legislatures and governments of the provinces.

Even though the law does not state that the minister has to consult with the provincial authorities, this kind of consultation does take place. In effect, what we are doing is tying the minister down to consulting with the territorial councils on the development of those parks. That is what I understand the law will mean when it is passed. The present minister, or any future minister responsible for the establishment of national parks, in Canada, would be stupid to establish a park in either of the territories

without the prior approval of the two councils. In fact, I would be happy if it were possible to have that provision in the law. When arguing the bill in the other place, the minister almost invited us to consider this aspect of the matter. It will be interesting to hear his views in committee on the bill to amend the territorial act. We can discuss that question there. Obviously, we cannot at this time tie down the question of prior approval in the parks act.

Having tried to consider what the law will mean, I am satisfied at this point that if it means the withdrawal of the proposal I made in committee, I am prepared to accept this proposal that the consultation that will be required in the development of those parks is really what is essential. However, I am not in any way retracting anything I said in committee about the need for the approval of the territorial councils to be obtained in the establishment of the parks.

In point of fact, the minister did obtain that approval, even though I might agree with the hon. member for Rocky Mountain that some of the proper hearings that should have taken place with regard to those proposals did not take place. Nevertheless, the council did approve the establishment of these parks. In that sense, let me close by saying there is some validity to the argument that the words "approval of" would be redundant in connection with this particular clause of the bill.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   NATIONAL PARKS ACT
Full View Permalink