Mr. Chairman, I have listened with great concern to this debate and I am a little confused why a limit has been set in new section 17 (4). The minister indicated that what he was trying to do was to attempt to place the Indian on the same footing as everybody else. If so, of necessity he should not have referred to a sum of $100,000. Therefore, speaking to the subamendment it seems
October 30, 1968
Farm Credit Act
to me that this can be offensive from the Indian point of view. Whether a band consists of 50 members, 1,000 members of 5,000 members the minister has arbitrarily set a figure that can only mean there will be hardship. There can be no question about that because he has stated that a band can get only $100,000. Yet at the same time he says the government is trying to treat Indians just the same as anyone else. It cannot treat Indians the same as anyone else when it includes a provision like this stipulating that a band is entitled to only $100,000. If he wants to treat the Indian with some respect and appreciate his dignity I plead with the minister to consider the subamendment and the amendment.
If the minister accepts them he will be able to take cognizance of a band consisting of 1,000 people. I am not too well aware of the number of men, women and children that usually form a band, but does the minister not realize that when he stipulates $100,000 he is restricting whatever good this legislation may achieve? I plead with the minister to appreciate the fact that we are dealing with people. He is talking about corporate entities, partnerships and associations. We are dealing with people.
If we are going to move toward the just society, here is an ideal opportunity for parliament, and particularly the government, to be just. Let us recognize that a band can consist of 2,000 people. If we do not recognize that fact then I say this new section smacks of discrimination. It is offensive, and we do not want that record in the first session of this parliament. I ask Liberal backbenchers to pay particular attention to these amendments that are attempting to show there is discrimination. There is discrimination because the bill now says it does not matter how many people are in a band, and no matter what their capital projects are they can get only $100,000. I plead with the minister, let us not be offensive in new subsection 4. Let us be interested in seeing to it that this measure does have some merit.
Topic: EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic: FARM CREDIT ACT