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View Marilyn Gladu Profile
CPC (ON)
View Marilyn Gladu Profile
2017-12-05 10:30 [p.16016]
Mr. Speaker, it is unbelievable that a government that claims to be open and transparent, that claims to want to consult broadly, is once again shutting down debate, especially on this bill that is so flawed.
We already heard my colleague talk about how everyone has panned this, from the Information Commissioner to the media, to the public, to anyone who knows anything about access to information, and yet we are not getting an opportunity to speak on it.
Even more grievous, this is another example of a broken election promise. The Liberals promised they would allow access to information requests to ministers' offices and the Prime Minister's Office. This bill clearly has nothing in there on that.
Could I ask the President of the Treasury Board why he is breaking another Liberal campaign promise?
View Pam Goldsmith-Jones Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, the Senate bill, Bill S-3amends the Indian Act to eliminate sex-based inequities in registration. Private member's billC-262 is an act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Truth and reconciliation is under way. Parliament is working in service of our aspirations for a revitalized Senate, the contributions of individual members of Parliament, and listening and acting with the indigenous voices of Canada.
In my riding we too are acting in this spirit. On the Sunshine Coast, John and Nancy Denham led 30 shíshálh Nation and non-indigenous peoples in a dialogue circle. Our time together was respectful and intense. The West Vancouver Memorial Library hosted “Honouring Reconciliation: Hearing the Truth” to a full house, led by the Squamish Nation.
These are important experiences for Canadians and shíshálh and Squamish nations, as truth and reconciliation enables us to reach our full potential.
View Romeo Saganash Profile
NDP (QC)
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague on the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs for that question. It is an important one. She understands a lot of these issues, and thus her important question.
I understand her concerns thoroughly. One of the things we could perhaps do is to send the bill to committee, so we can study it further with experts, and some of them are in the gallery today. We could answer some of the concerns the member has in regard to the UN declaration and the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples. I appreciate her raising that question.
For a lot of the concerns that both Her Majesty's official opposition and the government may have with respect to the fundamental human rights of indigenous peoples of the country, there a lot of experts who could come to committee and respond to those concerns. I could do it in the House. I have no problem doing that, but I think the bill deserves further study, if we are to answer a lot of the concerns that may be raised.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou for bringing forward his private member's bill, Bill C-262. I note his important contribution to the discussion on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I would also like to share my profound respect for my colleague and acknowledge the important work he has done over many years that has significantly impacted indigenous policy in this country.
Before addressing the private member's bill, I would like to make a general observation. Section 35 of our Constitution and Canada's existing laws has in the past, and will in the future, ensure that indigenous rights are protected in Canada. We only need to reflect on a number of historical court decisions to understand how section 35 is shaping these rights. From the 1999 Marshall decision that confirmed the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet treaty right to catch and sell fish, to the 2014 Tsilhqot'in decision that granted aboriginal title to more than 1,700 sq kilometres of territory, a first in Canadian law, it is clear that our understanding of indigenous rights is constantly evolving. Just last week, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered a decision regarding the Peel watershed, which upheld aboriginal land use rights protected in treaties.
It might be suggested that the gap or problem in Canada is not our legal framework, but our frequent failure to live up to the obligations and the honour of the crown.
The bill before us today seeks to implement the 46 articles in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as stated in the document, “a standard...to be pursued in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect”. All parties in the House acknowledge the need for reconciliation, a better shared future, and the importance of the declaration. The 46 articles are essential guiding principles for that journey.
I do have some unanswered questions regarding how this international document will transpose into a domestic framework. In my opinion, we need some clear answers before we can move forward on Bill C-262. Let me share some general and specific concerns that need to be addressed.
In the past, the Liberals have argued vehemently that any small changes to the Indian Act and the Labour Code must only be introduced as government legislation, where there is an opportunity for comprehensive reflection and not just a couple of hours of debate. I would suggest that the bill before us today has more far-reaching implications than the right to a secret ballot for union certification. For the Liberals to support an NDP private member's bill to implement UNDRIP and not put it forward as government-initiated legislation is unfathomable. The debate will not be afforded the due diligence that it requires and deserves. Even today, members might have noticed that we did not hear from the minister. We did not have an opportunity under private members' business to even question the minister. In my mind, that is a problem.
To get into more specifics, first and foremost was the statement by the Minister of Justice in 2016, and I quote, “Simplistic approaches such as adopting the United Nations declaration as being Canadian law are unworkable and, respectfully, a political distraction to undertaking the hard work actually required to implement it back home in communities.”
The justice minister, unlike many of us who will be speaking to the bill, has access to all sorts of comprehensive briefings and advice. The minister would not have made that comment lightly, so it is critical for her to explain why she made the comment at that time, and how she now reconciles that with her recent commitment to support the bill. I would note that because it is private member's bill, we are very unlikely to get a chance to ask her that question.
On Thursday of last week, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations was at committee. At that time, we had the opportunity to ask a number of questions, and I want to provide a brief summary of that testimony.
Article 19 suggests that the government ensure free, prior, and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative measures that may affect them. When the minister was asked if that would apply to laws of general application or only laws that exclusively impact indigenous people, she clearly indicated that there would be a broader application. That brings us to a question of what future laws of broader application in this country would require free, prior, and informed consent, and how will that be determined in a country as diverse as Canada. How will that consent be given?
The national organizations acknowledge they are not rights holders, they are not the authorized decision-makers, and their mandate is advocacy. The indigenous community has indicated that it has to do a lot of work in terms of nation rebuilding. Therefore, what government structure or consultation framework would be put in place to actually engage in these consultations? To what degree would this commitment around the laws of general application fetter the government's ability to move forward? I will give some recent examples.
We certainly know that with Bill S-3, the government is committed to engaging in a consultation process. Clearly, that is not a general application law, but the government is going to have consultations with bands across the country. I have no idea how the government members are going to determine when they have concurrence and how long they are going to have to spend in a process where there will be human rights competing in terms of consent, and at the very dichotomy of the many consultations they will have to have. In that case it is first nations, but we also have the Métis and the Inuit.
The marijuana law is another example of broader application that is clearly going to have an impact in indigenous communities. Under our current framework, the government only engaged in a general consultation process. Would that bill be subject to article 19, and if so what would it do to the government's timelines and how are the Liberals going to move forward? The answer to that question is unknown, but it is important.
Today, we have been debating in the House Bill C-58, which is the privacy law. Again, we have a number of indigenous communities whose representatives have said that they have grave concerns. They have referenced the UN declaration in terms of their right to have input, and free, prior, and informed consent, but we have no system or process in terms of how we are going to move that forward. That is important work that needs to be done.
Where a lot of people have focused, the laws of general application are something we need to pay particular attention to, but there is also the issue of free, prior, and informed consent as it relates to the development of the natural resources. The minister has suggested it was not a veto and the position was supported by National Chief Bellegarde. However, he noted on three occasions that free, prior, and informed consent means the right to say yes and the right to say no. A number of lawyers have said the whole discussion is really a bit of semantics and whether it is veto or consent it has the same effect. Again, it leads to a question in law. What is the difference between “free, prior, and informed consent” and “consult and accommodate”, which is what we have in law right now? Certainly there is no question that the declaration proposes that change in our law and we need to simply know what that is going to mean because it is important. From what I have seen, the legal opinions out there are as varied as they possibly could be. As members might imagine, it leaves confusion in the minds of not only the indigenous communities but Canadians in general. We have some work to do in terms of developing a common understanding before we commit to an implementation into our legal framework.
Article 29 talks about the right to territories, lands, and resources. In British Columbia alone, that is 100% of the province. What are going to be the practical implications for perhaps the tourism operators in the Chilcotin or the ranchers who have depended on crown land, as these decisions get made? We have not talked about impacted third parties and how, as we correct the injustices of the past, we should not create a new injustice.
In conclusion, as members can see from my 10 minutes of speaking, there are a lot of important unanswered questions. My first concern is the fact that the government has committed to implementing this as a private member's bill where we are going to be limited in the debate and our opportunity to create a shared understanding. The shared understanding of all these concepts is going to be critical in terms of moving forward into success in the future for all.
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
NDP (QC)
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
2017-12-05 18:29 [p.16078]
Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to rise today to support Bill C-262, which was introduced by my colleague and friend from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou.
The purpose of this bill is to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the place we now call Canada, we must take this opportunity to pursue genuine reconciliation with indigenous peoples. A good look at the living conditions of many of Canada's first nations might dampen our celebratory mood.
This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Drafted over a period of more than 20 years in collaboration with indigenous nations around the world, this living human rights instrument seeks to enhance harmonious relations between states and indigenous peoples.
Unfortunately, Canadian governments of the past 150 years have opposed the adoption of this declaration and its fundamental principles or have failed to take the necessary measures to implement it, a pattern that continues today.
I was very pleased to learn recently that there is some openness among certain members of this government, and I hope that we have enough support to finally implement this important declaration within our own legislative framework.
It is unacceptable and particularly shameful that a disconnect still persists between the official recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples and the implementation of policies that allow those rights to be fully implemented on the ground. It is high time that we did something, that we stopped talking and started acting, so that the first peoples of this country do not have to wait another second for their fundamental rights to be protected, respected, and recognized.
I sincerely thank my colleague and dear friend from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou for playing such an important role in actively contributing to the drafting of this declaration. Above all, I congratulate him on having the courage and daring to introduce Bill C-262, giving us this historic opportunity to debate the fundamental rights of indigenous people here in the House of Commons.
The fight for indigenous rights is very near and dear to me. However, it is very frustrating that so much work remains to be done to ensure the survival, dignity, and well-being of indigenous peoples in Canada.
In 2012, as the official opposition housing critic, I went on an extensive Canada-wide tour to determine the extent of the housing crisis in our country. As long as I live, I will never forget the time I spent in the ridings of my colleagues from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou and Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.
Thanks to them, I had the opportunity to meet with northern Inuit and Cree communities from Nunavik and members of the first nations of northern Saskatchewan. That is when theory became reality, and I grasped the scope of the indigenous housing problem in Canada.
I have a hard time understanding how the government can remain so idle on this file when we know that it is not uncommon, in indigenous communities, to see 15 family members living under one roof, with walls covered in mould, often with no access to potable water. They are living in conditions that we would never accept if those conditions were as widespread in the non-indigenous population.
What is more, the housing units they live in are not adapted to their traditional way of life or to the climate. This painful reality affects them deeply, but no targeted strategy was included in the national housing strategy that was announced less than two weeks ago.
Housing is not the only area in which they experience discrimination. As we speak, indigenous men, women and children are still subject to archaic, colonial, racist, discriminatory, and sexist laws. Indigenous peoples continue to be excluded and marginalized and to suffer serious violations of their fundamental rights.
Intergenerational trauma, the wave of suicides, and the deterioration of mental and physical health should receive the attention they deserve. I could go on and on, as there are many problems.
What is certain is that past and current colonialist measures and policies of governments and churches have resulted in the dispossession of their lands and resources, the shameful residential school system, and the cultural genocide brought on by the denial and destruction of indigenous languages and cultures.
It is now 2017, and our country claims to be in an era of reconciliation. If the time for reconciliation has truly arrived, if we are truly sincere, these actions must stop immediately.
It is imperative that we stop talking and start acting, because the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples are no longer negotiable. They are universal and should be treated accordingly.
Members will surely recall that last year, in call to action no. 43, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called on the federal government “to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.”
In call to action no. 44, the commission called on the government to “develop a national action plan, strategies, and other concrete measures to achieve the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
Today, Bill C-262 gives us an opportunity to reject our colonial past and to reverse the historical patterns and decisions that were imposed and that threatened the survival of many indigenous peoples. It gives us the opportunity to adopt a new approach based on justice, equality, respect for human rights, and good faith, an approach that should have been taken and recognized a long time ago.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples sets out a series of human rights and fundamental freedoms that indigenous peoples have the right to enjoy. Article 9 of the declaration specifically states that:
Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to belong to an indigenous community or nation, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the community or nation concerned. No discrimination of any kind may arise from the exercise of such a right.
The days of forced assimilation and cultural genocide are over. Whether we are talking about education, health, or environmental protection, preserving their identity and their customs and traditions has to be the top priority.
The declaration also allows for the right to self-determination, the right to maintain and develop their own political, religious, cultural, and educational institutions, and the protection of their cultural and intellectual property.
Article 33 of the declaration states that:
Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity or membership in accordance with their customs and traditions. This does not impair the right of indigenous individuals to obtain citizenship of the States in which they live.
[They also] have the right to determine the structures and to select the membership of their institutions in accordance with their own procedures.
Another key aspect of the declaration is control over their own lands, territories, and natural resources. The history of the indigenous peoples teaches us that they have lived on these lands since time immemorial.
Despite treaties and commitments to live in harmony on this land, the settlers did not keep their promises. There needs to be a return of lands, territory, and resources, as well as fair and equitable compensation.
On that note, article 19 of the declaration states, and I quote:
States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.
This article of the declaration would allow us to change the way we do things and our historically colonialist attitude and implement a process for true nation-to-nation negotiation, on equal terms.
The declaration also provides for fair and mutually acceptable procedures to resolve conflicts between indigenous peoples and states, including procedures such as negotiations, mediation, arbitration, the creation of national and international courts, and regional mechanisms for denouncing and examining human rights violations.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the culmination of more than 25 years of collaboration, and the bill from the member for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou will enable this country to build a truly meaningful nation-to-nation relationship at last.
This legislative framework will allow us to leave a lasting legacy by gradually correcting the mistakes of the past, serving as a catalyst that will ultimately lead to the repeal of the shameful Indian Act, and effectively banning the discriminatory doctrines of discovery and terra nullius.
Lastly, this legislative framework will affirm the significant value of the national reconciliation process. Without justice, there can be no reconciliation in Canada.
It is high time we adopted and implemented the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, so that the fundamental rights of first nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples can finally be restored and recognized.
In closing, I would like to note that we are on unceded Anishinabe territory.
View Don Rusnak Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Don Rusnak Profile
2017-12-05 18:39 [p.16080]
Mr. Speaker, as my colleague, the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, reiterated, our government is proud of our commitment to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We are pleased to be here today discussing our support for Bill C-262.
In considering the elements of the proposal, it is imperative that we consider it within the context of where we are now and where we are going. We are in the midst of a number of ongoing processes and initiatives that will assist in the implementation of the UN declaration in Canada. In addition to the establishment of a process to review laws, policies, and operational practices relating to indigenous peoples, and the creation of permanent bilateral mechanisms with the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Métis National Council, a number of other initiatives are furthering our pursuit of a renewed nation-to-nation, Inuit-crown, and government-to-government relationship with indigenous peoples. For instance, the Government of Canada has undertaken a review of Canada's environmental assessment and regulatory processes, including the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, the Fisheries Act, the Navigation Protection Act, and the National Energy Board Act.
The United Nations declaration was, and continues to be, considered one of the key elements of these review processes. Indigenous peoples were engaged in all four reviews. The government is currently considering the wide range of recommendations from the review reports, including those on how best to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and involve them in decision-making processes.
Since 2015, we have been engaged in recognition of indigenous rights and self-determination discussions with indigenous groups to address their rights, interests, and needs, and enable greater self-determination. At last count, there were more than 50 such discussion tables under way, representing 300 indigenous communities and a population of more than 500,000 people. Additional rights and recognition tables are also being contemplated.
Discussions like these are contributing to the development of new relationships and approaches that are ultimately intended to support the actualization of self-determination and contribute to reconciliation. These discussions are also resulting in the co-development of section 35-related policy reforms. All of this work aligns with the UN declaration. Concrete action reflecting the minimum standards of the UN declaration has also been taken in a variety of policy and program areas, including economic development, housing, education, access to safe drinking water, and governance.
The proposals in Bill C-262, including the development of an action plan aimed at ensuring consistency between Canadian laws and the declaration, are consistent with this work and highlight the importance of providing opportunities for dialogue on what changes can be made to federal laws and policies to advance reconciliation in this country.
However, Bill C-262 will not, on its own, operationalize the United Nations declaration in Canadian law. What is required to do that is to move from dialogue to tackling real issues faced by indigenous communities across Canada. Let me take a moment to describe some of the concrete progress we are making.
For example, the Inuit-crown partnership committee is working together to identify and oversee the implementation of short, medium, and long-term initiatives and solutions for addressing the housing crisis in the Inuit territory. As part of this process, we are currently co-developing an Inuit Nunangat housing strategy. This approach recognizes the direct role of Inuit organizations and governments in addressing housing needs in Inuit communities, the need for long-term sustainable investments, as well as the importance of ongoing collaboration among Inuit, the federal government, and provincial and territorial governments.
First nations communities and the government are also working towards long-term solutions to improve on-reserve water and wastewater infrastructure, ensure proper facility operation and maintenance, and strengthen capacity into the future. Since the commitment of $1.8 billion over five years for water and wastewater infrastructure in budget 2016, 348 projects have been completed, or are under way, or are planned to address and prevent long-term drinking water advisories now and into the future.
Together these projects will serve approximately 270,000 people in 275 first nation communities.
We are also working with indigenous people on the development of distinctions-based legislation to promote and revitalize Métis, Inuit, and first nations languages. In October this year, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs introduced Bill C-61, the Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement act. This legislation would give effect to an agreement negotiated between Canada and the Anishinabek Nation that recognizes Anishinabek control over education for 23 participating first nation communities.
Each of these specific measures and initiatives play an important role in contributing to achieving the standards described in the UN declaration. However, there is more to do to get us where we are going.
The process of dissolving Indigenous and Northern Affairs to better align with the needs and rights of indigenous people is one such forward-looking measure. This shift to a new department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs coupled with the department of Indigenous Services will better support indigenous peoples in strengthening their own political, cultural, and economic institutions. In turn, this supports indigenous self-determination, reflected throughout the UN declaration. In this context, the approach proposed in Bill C-262 would continue to build on the progress that has already been made, and it deserves serious consideration by the committee.
View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)

Question No. 1237--
Mr. Peter Kent:
With regard to the decision taken by the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on July 7, 2017, to inscribe Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs as a Palestinian site on the World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger: what is the government’s official position on the UNESCO decision?
Response
Hon. Chrystia Freeland (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, Canada is disappointed by the continued politicization of the work of the world heritage committee as evidenced by the decision to include the Old Town of Hebron/Al-Khalil on the list of World Heritage in Danger.
This decision hurts UNESCO? and it does nothing to advance prospects for the comprehensive, just, and lasting peace to which we aspire for the sake of all Israelis and Palestinians.
Canada is not a member of UNESCO’s world heritage committee. Therefore, Canada could not vote against this decision, but expressed our opposition during the world heritage committee meeting in Krakow, Poland, in July 2017.

Question No. 1238--
Mr. Bev Shipley:
With regard to the conflict of interest screen for the Minister of Finance: (a) since November 4, 2015, how many times did the chief of staff warn or notify the Minister that he may be contravening the conflict of interest screen; (b) when did each instance in (a) occur and what was the nature of each warning or notification; (c) for each instance in (a), was action taken as a result of the warning or notification, and if so, what action was taken; (d) did the Minister disclose the fact that Morneau Shepell relocated its headquarters to Barbados in 2016 to his chief of staff; (e) did the Minister attend any meetings concerning the Barbados tax treaty or the use of Barbados as a tax haven, and if so, did the Minister inform his chief of staff about the meeting; and (f) did the chief of staff advise the Minister that the changes proposed in the consultation paper “Tax Planning Using Private Corporations” could benefit Morneau Shepell or the Minister personally, and if so, on what date was the advice given?
Response
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is an independent officer of the House of Commons who administers the Conflict of Interest Act and the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons. The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner is responsible for helping appointed and elected officials prevent and avoid conflicts between their public duties and private interests.
Per her recommendations, the conflict of interest screen is administered by the minister’s chief of staff and supported by the department. Instances that are caught by the conflict of interest screen are reported to the Ethics Commissioner’s office.
Minister Morneau continues to work closely with the Ethics Commissioner to ensure all the rules are being followed, and has gone above and beyond her recommendations.

Question No. 1239--
Mr. Bev Shipley:
With regard to correspondence, in both paper and electronic format, between the Premier of Ontario and the Prime Minister, in relation to the proposed tax changes announced by the Minister of Finance on July 18, 2017: what are the details of all such correspondence, including the (i) date, (ii) format (email, letter), (iii) sender, (iv) recipient, (v) title, (vi) summary of contents?
Response
Mr. Peter Schiefke (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth), Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Privy Council Office does not have any correspondence, neither in paper nor electronic format, between the Premier of Ontario and the Prime Minister, in relation to the proposed tax changes announced by the Minister of Finance on July 18, 2017.

Question No. 1241--
Mr. Bev Shipley:
With regard to the Minister of Finance’s paper entitled “Tax Planning Using Private Corporations” and the consultations, which closed on October 2, 2017: (a) how many submissions did the Department of Finance receive by (i) mail (paper), (ii) email, (iii) phone; (b) for each submission in (a), what are the details, broken down by submitter’s (i) profession, (ii) province; (c) how many submissions were in favour of the government’s proposed changes to passive income rules; (d) how many submissions were opposed to the government’s proposed changes to passive income rules; (e) how many submissions were in favour of the government’s proposed changes to so-called “income sprinkling” rules; (f) how many submissions were opposed to the government’s proposed changes to so-called “income sprinkling” rules; (g) how many submissions were in favour of the government’s proposed changes to so-called “income stripping” rules; (h) how many submissions were opposed to the government’s proposed changes to so-called “income stripping” rules; (i) how many submissions were received after the deadline, and what did the government do with these submissions; (j) which section of the Department of Finance was responsible for receiving submissions; (k) what is the government’s estimation of revenue to be generated by the proposed changes to passive income rules; (l) what is the government’s estimation of revenue to be generated by the proposed changes to so-called “income sprinkling” rules; and (m) what is the government’s estimation of revenue to be generated by the proposed changes to so-called “income stripping” rules?
Response
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), over 21,000 submissions were received in response to the consultation on tax planning using private corporations via email in the dedicated consultation mailbox. This total includes over 11,000 form letters. In addition to the emails received through the consultation mailbox, over 10,000 related items of correspondence to the Minister of Finance were received by the department.
With regard to part (b), the department has not kept a record or a tally of submissions based on their source, such as place of residence, occupation, etc. Individuals and groups making submissions to the consultation mailbox were not asked to provide this information .
With regard to parts (c) to (h), the department is in the process of reviewing submissions to ensure that comments and proposals are properly taken into account in the further development of the policy. Through this process, the department is not keeping a record or a tally of all these submissions based on their degree or type of support. That said, various opinions were expressed.
With regard to part (i), the consultation mailbox received over 200 submissions via email from October 2, 2017 to October 17, 2017, i.e., the date of the question. Concerns raised in these submissions will be considered by the Department of Finance.
With regard to part (j), the tax policy branch of the Department of Finance is receiving the submissions directly.
With regard to part (k), as announced in the fall economic statement 2017, the government will propose measures to limit tax deferral opportunities related to passive investments, and will release draft legislation as part of budget 2018. The department will provide a revenue estimate after key design aspects are determined.
With regard to part (l), the government’s estimation of revenue to be generated by the proposed measures to limit income sprinkling using private corporations is about $215 million in 2018-19, growing to $245 million by 2022-23.
With regard to part (m), the government announced in the fall economic statement 2017 that it is no longer moving forward on the proposed changes regarding the conversion of income into capital gains and that the draft legislative proposals released with the consultation will not proceed.

Question No. 1242--
Mr. Pierre Poilievre:
With regard to the working group referred to by the Minister of Finance’s spokesman in the Toronto Star on February 28, 2017, “to collaborate on transparency and beneficial ownership”: (a) what is the mandate of the working group; (b) on what date was the working group created; (c) on what date does the working group anticipate concluding; (d) since being created, on which dates has the working group met; (e) for each meeting in (d), what were the items on the agenda; (f) what is the membership of the working group, broken down by (i) position or title, (ii) level of government, (iii) department, (iv) responsibilities related to the working group; (g) who was present for each meeting in (d); (h) was the Minister of Finance present for any items pertaining to Barbados being used as a tax haven; (i) If the answer to (h) is affirmative, did the Minister disclose the fact that his company, Morneau Shepell, relocated its headquarters in 2016 to Barbados; (j) if the answer to (i) is affirmative, did the Minister inform his chief of staff; (k) if the answer to (i) is affirmative, did the Minister inform the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner; and (l) if the answer to (i) is affirmative, did the Minister inform the Prime Minister?
Response
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to parts (a) and (b), the Government of Canada is committed to implementing strong standards for corporate and beneficial ownership transparency that provide safeguards against money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion, and tax avoidance, while continuing to facilitate the ease of doing business in Canada. Timely access for competent authorities to accurate and up-to-date beneficial ownership information is vital for combatting illicit financial flows, including money laundering, terrorist financing, and tax evasion and avoidance.
The federal-provincial committee on taxation is a committee composed of senior federal, provincial, and territorial tax officials who meet generally on a semi-annual basis to discuss common tax policy issues and examine their consequences for the national and provincial/territorial economies. The proposal to create a working group of federal, provincial, and territorial officials to examine tax avoidance and evasion, with the first issue proposed for examination being strengthening the collection of beneficial ownership information, was first adopted at the federal-provincial committee on taxation held June 6-7, 2016 in Winnipeg and support for the formation of this working group was confirmed by finance minister at the federal, provincial, and territorial finance ministers’ meeting on June 19 and 20, 2016. Key objectives for the working group are to raise awareness and understanding of the international standards and importance of corporate and beneficial ownership transparency, and collaborate on identifying and advancing options to improve availability of accurate beneficial ownership information.
With regard to parts (c) to (e), the work of the working group is ongoing. The working group met via conference call on September 26, 2016, February 14, 2017, September 12, 2017, and September 29, 2017.
The objective of the working group is to collaborate to advance the issue of strengthening the transparency and collection of beneficial ownership information. The agenda for the first meetings centered on the development of the working group’s objectives and terms of reference and an analysis of the current state of the corporate registry requirements in each of the participating jurisdictions. Subsequent working group meetings have focused on an international comparison regarding what other jurisdictions have proposed or introduced to strengthen the collection of beneficial ownership information and a discussion on potential options for strengthening the collection of beneficial ownership information.
With regard to parts (f) to (l), the working group operates at the officials’ level. Participants at the federal level are officials from the Department of Finance responsible for tax policy, in the tax legislation division, and financial sector policy, financial crimes, and officials from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada responsible for federal corporate law policy, marketplace framework policy and Corporations Canada. The working group is supported by at least one official from each of the provinces and territories with responsibility for tax and/or corporate law policy.
Various officials from the Department of Finance, from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, and from most or all provinces and territories participated in each working group meeting, but specific attendance was not recorded.
The working group has not discussed items pertaining to the use of any particular jurisdiction for the purposes of tax avoidance or tax evasion.

Question No. 1244--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
With regard to the relationship between the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the Standards Council of Canada and the Department of Industry, since January 1, 2016: (a) what role does the CSA play in the development or recommendation of regulations imposed by the Department of Industry; (b) what specific measures are in place to ensure that groups recommending standards or regulations are not influenced by foreign money; (c) what specific regulations, which were recommended by the CSA, have been put into place by either the Standards Council of Canada or the Department of Industry; (d) what is the website location of any regulations referred to in (c); and (e) what are the details of any memorandums at the Department of Indsutry, which reference the CSA, including the (i) date, (ii) sender, (iii) recipient, (iv) title or subject matter, (v) file number?
Response
Hon. Navdeep Bains (Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, with regard to part (a), the Canadian Standards Association, operating as CSA Group, is one of nine standards development organizations accredited by the Standards Council of Canada, SCC, which can be found at: www.scc.ca/en/accreditation/standards/directory-of-accredited-standards-development-organizations. CSA Group is not a regulatory entity and does not report to the Minister of Innovation, Science or Economic Development, ISED, either directly or indirectly through the SCC. SCC is a federal crown corporation whose role includes the coordination of Canada’s voluntary standardization network. SCC does not have any regulatory authority in its mandate.
With regard to part (b), SCC is not aware of any specific measures in place to ensure that groups recommending standards or regulations are not influenced by foreign money. SCC takes its mandate from the Standards Council of Canada Act, its governing legislation, to promote efficient and effective voluntary standardization in Canada, which can be found at: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/S-16/index.html. SCC promotes the participation of Canadians in voluntary standards activities and coordinates and oversees the efforts of the persons and organizations involved in Canada’s standardization network.
With regard to part (c), neither SCC nor CSA Group is a regulatory entity. SCC is not aware of any regulations put in place that have been recommended by CSA Group.
With regard to part (d), neither SCC nor CSA is a regulatory entity.
With regard to part (e), ISED officials have confirmed that there are no active memoranda referencing the CSA since January 1, 2016.

Question No. 1248--
Mr. Bob Benzen:
With regard to the decision by the Ontario Superintendent of Financial Services to appoint Morneau Shepell as the administrator for the pension plan of Sears Canada Incorporated: (a) when did the Department of Finance first become aware of the decision; (b) which other departments or agencies were notified of the decision, and when were they notified; (c) was any government agency or department consulted prior to naming Morneau Shepell as the administrator, and if so, (i) who was consulted, (ii) on what date did consultation take place; (d) did the Minister of Finance recuse himself from this matter; and (e) if the answer to (d) is affirmative (i) what specific steps were taken by the Minister, (ii) on what date did the Minister recuse himself, (iii) who is replacing the Minister with regard to ministerial responsibility on this file?
Response
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, private pension plans are regulated under the applicable pension standards legislation, which can be either federal or provincial, depending on the employer’s business operations. Plans sponsored by employers in federally regulated industries, which include banking, interprovincial transportation, and telecommunications, are regulated under the federal Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, PBSA.
The Sears pension plan falls under provincial jurisdiction and is regulated by the Ontario Pension Benefits Act. Decisions pertaining to the supervision and administration of this plan are the sole responsibility of the Ontario Superintendent of Financial Services. The federal Department of Finance is not involved in any way.

Question No. 1251--
Mr. Pierre Poilievre:
With regard to appointments by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) of administrators to wind-up the pension plans of bankrupt or insolvent companies, since January 1, 2004: (a) has OSFI hired Morneau Shepell; and (b) if the answer to (a) is affirmative, what are the details of each instance, including the (i) internal tracking number, (ii) name of the company for which OSFI was seeking an administrator, (iii) date OSFI commenced its search for an administrator, (iv) date Morneau Shepell was hired, (v) date the contract was approved by the Treasury Board Secretariat, (vi) value of the contract, (vii) position or title of the public servant who approved the contract, (viii) date Morneau Shepell concluded its work?
Response
Mr. Joël Lightbound (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, OSFI, is an independent federal government agency, established under the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act, that regulates and supervises more than 400 federally regulated financial institutions and 1,200 private pension plans to determine whether they are in sound financial condition and meeting their regulatory and supervisory requirements.
OSFI is funded mainly through assessments on the financial institutions and private pension plans that it regulates. The deputy head of OSFI is the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, who is appointed for a seven-year term and may not be removed without cause.
OSFI does not hire replacement administrators, rather it has the authority to appoint a replacement administrator under subsection 7.6(1) of the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, PBSA. As such, there is no formal contract between OSFI and an appointed replacement administrator. OSFI does not consult with the Department of Finance on the appointment of replacement administrators.
As per the provisions of the PBSA, a replacement administrator is appointed if the plan administrator is insolvent or unable to act or the Superintendent of Financial Institutions is of the opinion that it is in the best interests of the members, or former members, or any other persons entitled to pension benefits under the plan that the administrator be removed. Replacement administrators may recover their reasonable fees and expenses from the pension fund.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2017-11-30 13:22 [p.15825]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to continue debate on a bill from the Senate, Bill S-3, an act to amend the Indian Act with the elimination of sex-based inequities in registration.
Prior to doing so, I would like to translate for those watching at home on CPAC what happened just prior to this debate, in which the House was engaged in a three-hour conversation about the problems facing immigrants to Canada, and the consultants that sometimes prey on them. It was debate on a report that came out of our committee in which there was unanimous support for the recommendations. At the end of that three-hour debate, we watched the Liberals express their opposition to a unanimously accepted report proposing a crackdown on bad immigration consultants, and then force a vote later next week to vote against it. Does anyone watching actually understand the Liberal motivation behind that particular manoeuvre? I am sure that many of my Liberal colleagues cannot explain it, but maybe somebody else out there can.
Returning to the bill, because this has been some time in coming, I want to first acknowledge the incredible and heroic work of my colleague from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou. I do not use the word “heroic” often or lightly. However my colleague, for much of his life, being a first nations person by his very birthright but more so by his decision and inclination, has tirelessly fought for the rights of indigenous peoples in this country, in Quebec, at the United Nations, and around the world. He is one of the leading voices in this country speaking about the rights, the responsibilities of the government, the tragedy, the multitude of errors, and the racist legislation and policies that have emanated from this exact place, this room, for generations against the first peoples of this country.
My colleague has been determined. He has been incredibly articulate, and it is his opinion, along with those of the people who first brought this case, upon which I will rely this afternoon, in terms of my concerns for this bill, Bill S-3.
Not only my colleague from Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou is opposed to this legislation. So are the proponents, the lady warriors who litigated this case for four decades, who remain opposed to this legislation. Their letter to the Minister of Justice states that:
Our reading of the motion introduced by Senator Peter Harder in the Senate on November 8, 2017 is that we, and the many Indigenous women who are similarly situated, will not be accorded 6(1)(a) status when Bill S-3 passes.
I will get into what “accorded 6(1)(a) status” means, but suffice it to say that the intention of this bill to remedy a racist and sexist policy of the federal Government of Canada will not be carried out in full by the passage of this legislation. Nor has the consultation, which was promised by this government in arriving here today, been done. The minister herself admitted embarrassment and shame at the lack of consultation that she and her government promised and failed to do.
We can understand why it would be difficult for first nations peoples, having had many experiences of their hopes being raised and false promises being made, to return back to the same old saga again, where the federal government in Ottawa says it will get things right and talk to them to make sure they are right, and the next thing the government does is nothing. The government did not talk to the first nations, include them, or bring in their wisdom. Rather, at the eleventh hour in this case, the government brought forward a piece of legislation and admitted it did not consult anybody, admitted it was bad, but said we are out of time and we need to pass the bill now, and it will do the trick.
It is not going to fix the problem, in whole. That is according to the people who first litigated the case. I trust them more than anybody else.
Let us start with first principles, the Indian Act, a colonial, racist piece of legislation that was created at the founding of this country, which the Prime Minister himself admits is colonial, racist, and sexist in design. That is what we are amending here today.
We are amending a racist piece of legislation, a sexist piece of legislation, a colonial piece of legislation to make it slightly better, not entirely better, not even better for all of the women and their descendants who are affected by its sexism, but just for some of them and only going back to 1951. People who were affected prior to 1951 and their descendants are not touched by Bill S-3 at all. They will not be deemed into new status. They will not be deemed to be aboriginal, when they are.
Only a federal government that says it believes in nation-to-nation dialogue, only a federal government that says that self-determination is important but then when it comes down to the question of who one is, what identity one is, remains in control of that decision and says that Ottawa knows best, that it will decide who are and who are not first nations, which is a continuation here in this bill.
Let us walk back, because it is important how we arrived here. It was not some great government benevolence that said this terrible piece of legislation discriminates against first nations women, which it did and does. Let us find out how.
There are two classifications for status. Through the course of this discussion I am loath to use the word, but the word is applied in law, and this is the word we have to use, because we are talking about the Indian Act. Indian status is described in the “Indian” Act. This name and this word was applied by Europeans to the first peoples here because they thought they were in India, because they thought that when they left Europe and arrived on our shores, they were in India. They were looking for the secret passage to India to enable the spice trade and other things that Europeans at the time were interested in, 350 to 400 years ago.
In 2017, we still use the term in our legislation to describe the first nations people of this country as Indians. Imagine how offensive this is to first nations people listening to this debate, the first nations people who continue to live under the Indian Act in the prescription of basic government services that the rest of the country enjoys without the racist terminology being applied.
Imagine if non-first nations Canadians had legislation using racist terminology to describe them, like immigrants from my home country of Ireland and all the racist epithets that were used against my people for years. If that were written into law and I went to apply for medical or dental or education benefits, I would have to apply under a terminology of law that was inherently racist against my people. We continue with this public secret. We continue to walk with this and say that we have evolved and acts like this will make it better.
When we ask the government if it wants to do nation-to-nation relationships, if it wants to do reconciliation, that when it listens to the current chief of the Assembly of First Nations say time and time again that the Indian Act is a colonial, race-based piece of legislation that we must end, that we need an exit strategy, as he calls it, the government replies by saying “there go the first nations leaders and the NDP again saying to get rid of the legislation”. Of course we should get rid of the legislation.
Who else would survive under this legislation happily? What other ethnic group, particularly a group that was here first, since time immemorial, would happily live under legislation that was inherently racist in its design, in its application, and in its use? Would Polish Canadians happily suffer under that? Would Canadians from Caribbean communities happily suffer under racist legislation in name and application?
Under the Indian Act, section 6(1) determines that if both parents are of first nations status, the child will be first nations. Section 6(2) says that if one person has status and has a child by another person who is not first nations, that child will only continue to be first nations if the male parent was first nations, but if it was a first nations woman who had a child with a non-first nations man, that child is no longer first nations. That is what we are attempting to address today.
This was true up until the 1970s and 1980s. Children of first nation parentage were denied their status under the law because their mom had the audacity to choose who would be her partner. A woman in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s had to make a decision. If she fell in love with someone who happened to be non-native and had children with that person, her children could never be first nation. They could not be a member of their local first nation in voting. They could not be a member of their local first nation in celebration. They could not be a member of their local first nation in terms of government programs that were applied to them and their parents. This is sexism, if one's progeny are determined by whether one is a woman or a man. It is discriminatory.
However, it was not the government that decided to make a change, but the courts. In this case, the Quebec Superior Court said to the Government of Canada in 2015, all those many years ago, this is discriminatory. This is against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of Canada where we cannot discriminate against someone based on their sex. It took until 2015 for this to be resolved in court. However, it was not resolved. All the court can do is say that this part of the law is wrong, that it infringes on the rights of Canadians, and that it must be struck down and replaced with something, which happened in August 2015.
What did the then federal government do under former Prime Minister Harper? He appealed and said that he disagreed with the court's findings. He disagreed with the idea that we cannot make a determination about someone in this country based on their sex, disagreed that it is unconstitutional, and said he would appeal it. We were going to spend more taxpayer money, and hundreds of millions have been spent over the years fighting aboriginal rights and title in court, to fight for the principle, according to the former government, that the children of first nation people should be first nation or not depending on the sex of the parent.
The Quebec court said that we must change the law, Canada appealed under the former government, and then a new government came in and dropped the appeal. The courts do not care which party is running the Government of Canada, and it uses the term “crown”. These terms come back from our past. We are a colonial offshoot. The court said that the crown must remedy this and had 18 months to do so. It seems reasonable to me to have 18 months to consult with people, and if changes would be made to the Indian Act, they could be made in the most fulsome and proper way possible. It may be a good idea, in those 18 months, if the government of the day consulted with the women who first brought forward the case 40 years ago and who are still active.
However, 17 months later, with a month to go, the government pops up with Bill S-3. Amazingly, as the Liberals brought forward this legislation, they were challenged on it, because any fixes to this act are important, particularly to the people who might be affected. When the minister in charge of this was first commenting on it, this is what she said:
The Government is also exploring various opportunities and approaches for engagement with First Nations and other Indigenous groups on necessary legislative changes, and more information on this will be forthcoming
That sounds good: we are going to consult. However, a year later at committee she is asked how the consultations went. Here is what she said:
My department's failure to directly engage with the plaintiffs was not only unacceptable but embarrassing for me as minister.
There was a promise that they were going to consult to fix this, but a year later, the Liberals are embarrassed and call it unacceptable. To my mind, “unacceptable” means that one does not accept something. However, clearly it is acceptable, because here is the legislation.
Imagine the personal sacrifice of the plaintiffs, the women who fought for this over four decades. For 40 years, without money and political support, they fought for a principle, for the right not to be treated unfairly under a racist piece of legislation. The government did not bother to talk to the women who were involved, but those women have come forward and said, as I noted at the start of my speech with, that Bill S-3 did not remedy the problem they had first fought for in court.
What is going to happen with this legislation? I suspect that the Liberals will vote for it. It will get challenged and go back to court. It will start at the lower court, work its way up, probably to the Quebec Superior Court or the Supreme Court, with the government of the day spending more taxpayer dollars challenging its version of events, that this change should only go back to 1951, that that is good enough and we should accept it. We are going to repeat the errors of history.
I recall the apology to first nations in this place on behalf of the Government of Canada by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. It is important to remember that with any of the apologies, even the one recently to the LGBTQ community, it is not the Prime Minister himself who is making the apology; it is the Government of Canada. It is the Parliament of Canada expressing regret and begging forgiveness in some cases for the mistakes made by previous governments, whatever their political stripe. It really does not matter who was in charge at the time.
The apology for the residential school travesty was warmly accepted by first nations people in the riding I represent in northwestern British Columbia. Despite years of oppression and oppressive legislation, there was an opening of the hearts of the people whom I represent, to say that in the face of all the harm done to them over the many years, they understood that the government now recognized that it was wrong, and they accepted our apology. I thought that was true until the government at the time that had made the apology cancelled the Aboriginal Healing Foundation two months later, which had been established to help the survivors of residential schools deal with the trauma of residential schools. What does an apology mean if one's next act is to continue the same thing one was apologizing for?
I was recently in a remarkable community in my riding, a place called Bella Coola. The Heiltsuk people have lived in Bella Coola forever. It is an incredible valley. It has glaciers and mountains and a massive river that is causing all sorts of concerns given climate change. The Heiltsuk had been living there and growing an incredible culture. On the way to the local school with the local chief councillor and another councillor, there was this beautiful plaque with a great first nation symbol on the front and beside it, many names. The names are of all the residential school survivors from that community, all of the children who were taken from their parents over decades. Their names are enshrined in the wall to remind the children who were not taken from their parents of what happened before.
The chief councillor went to the wall, pointed to his own name, and said he was taken when he was five. He pointed to the name right above his and said it was his mother's name, who was taken when she was six. He said he only found out that she had even been to a residential school when this plaque was unveiled. I asked what he meant, and he said she never talked about it and the community never talked about it. The shame was so incredibly great that only during the ceremony honouring the victims did he find out that his mom had been through the same horror he had been through. I asked when he had told his kids that, and he said it was when he was 53, when he was right enough to be able to talk to them. It is hard to understand of impact of it, as a father, of having my kids taken by another culture and government and then beaten, raped, and oppressed. The emotions are powerful.
When we look at opportunities like this to do away with the continued practice of racists and oppressive legislation, the bare minimum of decency requires that we talk to the people who have been oppressed. The bare minimum of intelligence is to use the wisdom and understanding of those most affected. Bill S-3 does not do that. The government chose not to do that. It admits embarrassment and shame now, but it is not good enough. If it is going to do something and wants to rebuild a relationship, then it should do it. It should do it with integrity and not keep issuing apologies and continuing to do things that it will have to apologize for again in the future. First nations deserve better. This country deserves better.
View Mike Bossio Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, the member talked about everything coming from Ottawa, Ottawa knowing best, and the paternalism that exists with that. I have the Mohawks of the Bay of the Quinte in my riding. They have expressed deep concern around this bill in that they want to choose who the members of their community are going to be. They are very concerned that Ottawa is once again becoming paternalistic in trying to throw the doors wide open to include all members.
I would caution the member not to take this too far. We do need communities to define who their members are going to be, and to have them directly involved in every step of the way in the bill, as it is worded, taking the time over the next number of years to ensure we get this right so the communities themselves are setting those priorities.
View Nathan Cullen Profile
NDP (BC)
View Nathan Cullen Profile
2017-11-30 13:48 [p.15829]
Madam Speaker, I take my friend at his word, and the notion of nation-to-nation implies a certain respect and capacity for self-determination. The self-determination of identity must be the most basic form of self-determination we have. My friend identifies himself as a sovereign person, not for me to impose on him who I think he is. In his community that is also true, but that is not true for first nations people. The Department of Indian Affairs has done that since the inception of our country, to say who is first nations and who is not. If their mother got together with a non-native guy, not only are they not first nations, but anyone who descends from them is not as well. It does not matter if they are raised in the community, speak the language, enrich themselves with that deep culture, it does not matter, Ottawa will determine it. That continues today.
This legislation goes back part of the way but stops in the 50s. As for those affected before that and descended from those people, Ottawa will continue to determine they are not first nations, regardless of who they think they are and who they know themselves to be.
The ability to define who we are, individually and within our communities, lies at the heart of this. Our friend used the broken car analogy. The Indian Act is so much worse than that. South Africa came here to study the reserve system when it was looking to establish apartheid in South Africa. It is not a coincidence, it is a disgrace, and it should highlight for us how bad and inherently rooted this is in this institution. In order to get it out it is going to take at the least the amount of effort that was put in to oppress first nations people for so many decades.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2017-11-30 15:14 [p.15843]
Mr. Speaker, prior to Standing Order 31 being read, I was well engaged in talking about a very important issue for the Government of Canada as we try to advance Bill S-3 through the House of Commons. We continue to move forward in a very tangible way dealing with a nation-to-nation responsibility, as our Prime Minister has very clearly indicated, dealing with a new, genuine relationship between the national government and first nations, Métis, and Inuit.
In many ways, we are talking about the issue of gender equality and trying to see more of that within the legislation of the Indian Act. We have had many people provide comment on the act. I would be challenged to find members who stand in their place and say that the Indian Act is a good piece of law. The drive to change it, many would say to replace in its entirety or get rid of, is in order.
As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs clearly indicated, we have to have something in its place. As we work toward that, there are many other things that we can do.
I want to pick up on what the Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women said today in question period when he was asked a question in regard to empowering and advancing indigenous women through government programs. He made it very clear that the government is pleased to announce $5 million that will go toward projects to empower indigenous women to be leaders in their communities in order to address issues that affect them or that hinder their advancement.
I started my speech by saying how important it is to recognize and deal with indigenous issues, this legislation being one of them, but it goes beyond legislation. We need to look at financial ways or alternative ways. That talks about the whole concept of consultations, working with our partners, working at that nation-to-nation level and seeing what else we can come up with. This was a significant commitment.
In Winnipeg North, I have had opportunity to encourage at least one organization to look at this announcement and see if there is room in Winnipeg North and even beyond its borders where we could tap into some of that $5 million. There are many different impediments that prevent women, in particular indigenous women, from being able to access certain things that we might take for granted.
I am very happy to hear this announcement. It complements what the government is hoping to achieve. I want to highlight some important messaging the government is hoping to communicate to people with respect to the bill. We understand that it is all about ensuring that sex-based discrimination is eliminated from the registration under the Indian Act.
I always find it amazing that here we are in 2017, and with the support and encouragement of our courts, we have legislation recognizing that aspect, but we also have what many people refer to as a strong feminist Prime Minister with a very proactive minister responsible for indigenous affairs and the department that ultimately recognize that this is an issue that does need to be dealt with. I am very glad that within Bill S-3 we will be doing just that.
The bill would also remedy all known sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act. Again, these are things that, given it is 2017, we would not think would still be within the legislation. It needs to be moved forward, at least until we have that more comprehensive, holistic approach with respect to the Indian Act, or at least until we have been able to fill that void that would be created by getting rid of the Indian Act.
It would also seek to amend the legislation to remedy sex-based inequities that existed. It sets it just prior to Confederation, 1869 all the way up to 1951. The amendment, as passed by the Senate, would remove all sex-based inequities from the registration provisions in the act. My colleague from the New Democratic Party spoke at length on that issue. I agree with the member across the way at times, and this is one of those times.
It is hard to imagine how we could justify these inequities. We know we could never justify it in 2017, but there was a time there was gender discrimination to the degree that a male from a reserve could have a child with a non-native woman and there was never any question of the heritage or entitlements of that child. Contrast that with a female, and the heritage of the child would have been questioned if she had chosen to marry someone who was not indigenous. I think most Canadians would recognize just how unfair that is. Even back then, we had very strong feminists who no doubt would have recognized that sense of unjust legislation. I am surprised that it is still in legislation today. That is one of the reasons members should seriously look at the legislation. I understand that we will be voting the legislation through, hopefully before the end of next Monday.
We recognize the government amendment was passed by the Senate as the best way to achieve the stated goal of getting rid of the sex-based inequities. We will be launching consultations early next year that will look at a broader range of the Indian Act registration and membership issues. That is really important. I sat for many years in the opposition benches, and we had legislation that impacted our indigenous communities. I would often talk about the importance of consultations. There is always room for improvement. Even under our administration, we can always strive to be better at working with people to ensure we are consulting in a very thorough fashion.
I have found there is no shortage of ideas related to issues such as we are talking about today. I often have individuals come by my local restaurant, which I go to every Saturday from 10 to 2. I will not say which restaurant, but I am committed to going so constituents know they can visit me to share their thoughts and ideas.
In the last number of months I have had a half dozen or more individuals talk to me about the United Nations or Bill C-262, proposed by one of our NDP colleagues and has been advanced for debate in the chamber. I have received postcards on it. I have had phone call discussions. Even in group meetings, there is always a great detail of interest in having that dialogue. I can only imagine in the macro picture the degree to which we need to be sensitive to the need for consultations.
On that note, I would like to extend my recognition and congratulations to both the minister of indigenous affairs and the parliamentary secretary to indigenous affairs. They have done an outstanding job in working with indigenous community members and the leadership, ensuring the government is moving on what are some absolutely critical issues going forward.
As a general rule, we will see more legislation and budgetary measures. A good example of that was the recent announcement of the housing strategy. It was a historic announcement in the House by the minister responsible for housing.
It was commented that despite this wonderful plan to provide housing for literally hundreds of Canadians into the future, there was still a very important component that needed to be expanded upon, and that is the indigenous factor. We need to work with indigenous leaders to ensure housing and housing standards are also put on the table.
Today, many would see this as long overdue legislation. In a good part, they are right. It is long overdue, but it will pass through. I do not want people to think, whether it is from the remarks by the Prime Minister or others with respect to this important relationship, that this is all we will do. There is other legislation. There are budgetary measures. There is a very high sense of willingness to co-operate, to continue to develop, and promote that nation-to-nation relationship.
View Cathy McLeod Profile
CPC (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague's speech with great interest. He talked about the importance of a nation-to-nation relationship and consultation.
I would like the member to talk about the consultation process with the Premier of the Northwest Territories. He was given a 45-minute warning of an announcement of a moratorium on offshore drilling, where $3.2 billion of investment flows out of the territories. Could he also talk about what the Liberals did when they announced the ban on tankers, which crippled a number of first nation communities with respect to their opportunity to have economic development and opportunities?
The hon. member spent 20 minutes talking about the importance of consultation and how the Liberals would have a consultation process with Bill S-3. If that process is anything like their consultation process with the moratorium, or with the tanker pipe ban where they have absolutely destroyed first nations' communities and their opportunities, then he needs to justify how the process is anything but a sham.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2017-11-30 15:29 [p.15845]
Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat disappointed with the question. The member was in the House when Stephen Harper was the prime minister. I am very much aware of the lack of consultation with indigenous communities.
It was nice that there was a formal apology, but with that formal apology came a higher expectation with respect to the relationship between the Government of Canada and first nations. Even before our Prime Minister assumed the office, when he was the leader of the Liberal Party, which had third party status, he often referred to the importance of indigenous issues and the nation-to-nation relationship. A big part of nation-to-nation relationship means that the government and first nations need to work together and consult.
The member made reference to a specific issue. I indicated in my speech that there was always room for improvement and we could always do better. We will strive to do just that.
View Celina Caesar-Chavannes Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Celina Caesar-Chavannes Profile
2017-11-30 15:34 [p.15845]
Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to a question that was asked during question period on the consultative process. Could my hon. colleague speak to why these consultations and building a comprehensive plan for this legislation are particularly important, especially when we are looking to build and strengthen a nation-to-nation relationship, moving past a colonial approach to how we work with our indigenous partners?
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2017-11-30 15:35 [p.15845]
Mr. Speaker, working and consulting allow for individuals to build bridges. An example is Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata from Winnipeg, which is an organization that literally helps hundreds of indigenous women. We had the recent $5 million announcement to assist in helping women to advance themselves, hopefully taking down barriers. Establishing those contacts allows us to hopefully empower, or request or suggest that these available monies are tapped into and are used to the benefit of indigenous people.
When we talk about consultation, yes it is really important. I like to highlight that when we think of consultations, we should think of the building of bridges between nations that takes place and how we can have a positive impact. If we recognize that, we will have more people addressing those very important problems in our communities and ultimately advancing.
I will give a final plug to my example of child care, something I take very personally. I want to see more done on that file.
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