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37th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION

Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Development and Natural Resources


EVIDENCE

CONTENTS

Friday, March 21, 2003




¾ 0810
V         The Chair (Mr. Raymond Bonin (Nickel Belt, Lib.))
V         Mr. Arthur Stark (Editor & Publisher, TANSI, As Individual)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arthur Stark
V         
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Arthur Stark
V         The Chair
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick (Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians)
V         The Chair
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         The Chair
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         The Chair
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         The Chair
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         The Chair
V         Chief Steve Wilson (Kitamaat Band of Indians, Kitamaat Village Council)
V         The Chair
V         Chief Steve Wilson
V         The Chair
V         Chief Steve Wilson
V         The Chair
V         Chief Steve Wilson
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP)
V         Chief Steve Wilson
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Chief Steve Wilson
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Stan Dromisky (Thunder Bay—Atikokan, Lib.)

¿ 0900
V         Chief Steve Wilson
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Ken Marchant (Lawyer, The Marchant Practice, As Individual)

¿ 0905
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Ken Marchant
V         The Chair
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick

¿ 0910

¿ 0915

¿ 0920
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin

¿ 0925
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Godfrey (Don Valley West, Lib.)

¿ 0930
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Godfrey
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin

¿ 0935
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Charles Hubbard (Miramichi, Lib.)

¿ 0940
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Charles Hubbard
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Charles Hubbard
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Charles Hubbard
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Charles Hubbard
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Charles Hubbard
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Charles Hubbard
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         Mr. Pat Martin

¿ 0945
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell (Nunavut, Lib.)
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick

¿ 0950
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick

¿ 0955
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         The Chair
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         The Chair
V         Grand Chief Chris McCormick
V         The Chair

À 1000
V         Chief Phil Maness (Aamjiwnaang First Nation; London District Chiefs Council)

À 1005

À 1010

À 1015

À 1020
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Martin Powless (Technical Adviser, London District Chiefs Council)
V         The Chair
V         Chief Phil Maness
V         The Chair
V         Chief Phil Maness
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Chief Phil Maness
V         Mr. Martin Powless

À 1025
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Charles Hubbard
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Godfrey
V         Chief Phil Maness
V         Mr. John Godfrey
V         Chief Phil Maness

À 1030
V         Mr. John Godfrey
V         Chief Phil Maness
V         Mr. John Godfrey
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Charles Hubbard
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Charles Hubbard
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Chief Phil Maness
V         Mr. Martin Powless
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Martin Powless
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Stan Dromisky

À 1035
V         Martin Powless
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell
V         Chief Phil Maness

À 1040
V         The Chair
V         Chief Phil Maness
V         The Chair
V         Chief Phil Maness
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Martin Powless
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Martin Powless
V         The Chair

À 1045
V         Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle (Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte)

À 1050
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin

À 1055
V         Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Rick Laliberte (Churchill River, Lib.)

Á 1100
V         The Chair
V         Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle
V         Mr. Pat Martin

Á 1105
V         Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         The Chair
V         Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle
V         The Chair
V         Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Martin Powless
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Marlene Martin (As Individual)

Á 1110
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Christine Claus (As Individual)
V         The Chair

Á 1115
V         Ms. Christine Claus
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Christine Claus
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Rolanda Elija (As Individual)
V         
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Rolanda Elija
V         

Á 1120

Á 1125
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Rolanda Elija
V         The Chair
V         Chief Terry Doxtator (Oneida Nation of the Thames)
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin

Á 1130
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Ms. Kim Thomas (As Individual)
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin

Á 1135
V         Ms. Rolanda Elija
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Ms. Rolanda Elija
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell
V         Ms. Rolanda Elija
V         Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell
V         Ms. Rolanda Elija
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         The Chair

Á 1140
V         Chef Terry Doxtator
V         The Chair
V         Ms. Rolanda Elija
V         The Chair
V         Chief Roberta Jamieson (Six Nations of the Grand River)

Á 1145

Á 1150

Á 1155

 1200
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         Chief Roberta Jamieson

 1205
V         The Chair
V         Mr. Pat Martin
V         The Chair
V         Chief Roberta Jamieson
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Godfrey
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Godfrey
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Godfrey
V         The Chair
V         Chief Roberta Jamieson
V         Mr. John Godfrey
V         Chief Roberta Jamieson
V         The Chair
V         Mr. John Godfrey

 1210
V         The Chair
V         Chief Roberta Jamieson

 1215
V         The Chair










CANADA

Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Development and Natural Resources


NUMBER 049 
l
2nd SESSION 
l
37th PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Friday, March 21, 2003

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

¾  +(0810)  

[English]

+

    The Chair (Mr. Raymond Bonin (Nickel Belt, Lib.)): Good morning, everyone. We will resume proceedings on public hearings on Bill C-7, an act respecting leadership selection, administration, and accountability of Indian bands, and to make related amendments to other acts.

    I now invite, as an individual, Ken Marchant, lawyer, The Marchant Practice. He is not here. His clock is running. We will suspend until Mr. Marchant is here, or in five minutes we will invite the next witness.

¾  +-(08:13)  


¾  +-(08:15)  

    The Chair: We can resume proceedings and invite, as an individual, Arthur Dennis Stark, editor and publisher of TANSI. We wish to thank Mr. Stark for accepting to present eight minutes early.

    We have ten minutes together, and we invite you to make your presentation. If you allow time for questions, we'd appreciate that.

    For everyone here, we are rigid with the clock.

+-

    Mr. Arthur Stark (Editor & Publisher, TANSI, As Individual): Just let me know when I'm under the gun and I'll set my stopwatch.

+-

    The Chair: Okay, set it now, because I'm setting mine now.

+-

    Mr. Arthur Stark: Dear committee members--I didn't know all of your names before we started--my name is Arthur Dennis Stark, and I'm the editor and publisher of TANSI, Toronto's independent aboriginal newspaper.

    First of all, I want to say thank you, merci beaucoup, chi miigwetch, for allowing me to make my presentation to you this morning.

    Most of all, I wish to thank the Great Spirit, Gitchi Manido, for giving all of us life and great strength to speak about the things I will speak about today on this first day of spring, the equinox. That means the day when night and day are equal--just like aboriginal people and Canadians should be. However, at this point we are unequal, and aboriginal people are left holding the short end of the stick.

    While I can only speak on behalf of myself, I also wish to thank the many colleagues who gave me input for this presentation, including some of our elders. They told me to thank the Government of Canada for many things--like the genocide of the past 200 years that we, as aboriginal people, have endured; the forced poverty of living in unhealthy conditions with unsafe drinking water, little or no housing, and no economic opportunities for many of our nations on rocky islands or land deemed unfit for non-aboriginal living; and for the racist and apartheid legislation called the Indian Act that has kept us poor and unable to govern ourselves without your permission.

    But aside from that, we, as aboriginal nations, maintain we are sovereign nations because we have covenants or treaties with successive colonial governments and the early governments of Canada. We have always fought as allies of the British Crown, not subjects. We continued to serve with distinction in two world wars, only to have our rights denied and the same benefits other Canadian soldiers enjoyed taken away from us when we returned from service. First nations veterans have been told to accept a deal for $20,000 and sign away any chance for future compensation or claim. With most being in their late seventies or early eighties, they have little choice but to do so. Our Métis veterans, who are aboriginal according to the Constitution Act of 1982, have no settlement or offer. How fair is this, I ask?

    I am a publisher of a new independent aboriginal newspaper here in Toronto. It is called TANSI, meaning “Hello” or “Greetings” in Plains Cree. It also serves as an acronym for Toronto Aboriginal Newspaper Special Initiative. It is my business. It is doing fairly well for a first-year business. I'm not losing any money, and hopefully it will thrive, as my community here in Toronto has accepted it and embraced it.

    I am part of a growing population of aboriginal people who are reclaiming our culture and traditions. I am proud to be Bodewadami-Anishnaabe or Pottawatomi of the Three Fires Confederacy.

    The first nations governance initiative--it is not an act until it is passed--is wrong for many reasons. It is a colonial and racist document that further erodes our aboriginal and treaty rights. I cannot believe that Canada, as a member of the United Nations, would consider passing such a piece of legislation that contravenes the UN accord or declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. It does not reflect the over 100 years of residential school suffering inflicted on many of our peoples. It does not reflect the economic disparity of or felt by many first nations communities. But most insulting or dangerous, it continues to let the Minister of Indian Affairs say who will be Indians and who will not, and it also continues to allow the minister to interfere in our affairs.

+-

     Canadians have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Indian Act excludes aboriginal people from those protections on a legal basis. A Canadian or even a newcomer to Canada can go anywhere in Canada and receive benefits such as health care or employment insurance. They have portability of their rights. Aboriginal people, by law, cannot carry their rights off reserve. Canadians are Canadians, wherever they choose to live. Aboriginals cease to be aboriginal once they move off reserve, according to the Indian Act. This concept is absurd.

    The Government of Canada says it wants accountability of aboriginal people and accountability for the moneys sent to band councils. I am all for accountability of money. Ask anyone in the Toronto aboriginal community about where I stand on how moneys are spent on the four different boards of directors on which I sit. I have to be accountable in my business for money or I will be soon out of business. Give me proof of misspent or misappropriated moneys, and I will personally confront a board of directors or a community. I am all for accountability.

    But where is the accountability of the Government of Canada? Who is holding the Government of Canada accountable for the treaties it has signed all these years with our nations? What about the fiduciary responsibility to look after the interests of the Indian people? Who is looking after that?

    Is there another Indian trust case brewing right here in Canada, similar to the one in the United States, where billions of dollars are being withheld from aboriginal people, which makes the Enron and WorldCom collapses look like drops of water? Why is the Minister of Indian Affairs not advocating on behalf of Indian people instead of the Government of Canada?

    Speaking of the INAC minister, what about the Indian Affairs budget? It is over $7 billion a year. How much money has been allocated to ram this legislation down Indian people's throats? I can't get this information. It is hidden in the department's one-line communications budget or somewhere else. I'd like an answer on this.

    I will now move on to what I think will assist both sides to come to a workable relationship where Canadians and aboriginal peoples can coincide and exist in the manner of the original treaties. This is important to any future working relationship.

    First of all, scrap this first nations governance initiative legislation. An independent body made up of federal and aboriginal leadership representatives must sit down and begin working on a plan that addresses the concerns of both sides. To make sure this process is clean and fair, an independent aboriginal-federal interlocutor should be appointed and agreed upon by both the federal and aboriginal leadership. This individual would report back to the public once a year and hold both sides accountable to working out a sound fiscal and responsible relationship or new treaty to last for time immemorial. This new deal should be completed in five to ten years, regardless of the political party forming the Government of Canada. Once an agreement is tentatively reached, a national plebiscite should be held to ratify and confirm the agreement as part of the Canadian Constitution.

    Dr. Fred Lazar, of York University Schulich School of Business, an economics professor, has written a report entitled Tax Exemption: A Tool for Economic Development for First Nations. I have attached the executive summary to this report. It needs to be the basis for a future fiscal relationship between the Government of Canada and aboriginal people across the nation. There needs to be economic development in our community so that we can make progress. One must never forget: we, as aboriginal people, have paid any and all of our taxes with land transfer agreements. This should be non-negotiable.

    The Government of Canada should implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, RCAP. If they had begun the process in 1995, up until now, during nine years of economic boom, we would be on the path to better relations and understanding.

    The Government of Canada is the only foreign body of government aboriginal people should be dealing with. Do not pass us off to the provinces. The provinces did not pass the Indian Act. Aboriginal education, health care, and housing are all the responsibility of the federal government. If the provinces have jurisdiction over these affairs for other Canadians, those are their affairs to govern. Our relationship is with the federal Crown, not with the provinces. Federal budgets need to be revamped to reflect this so there is no passing the 67¢ dollar.

    The Government of Canada should speed the process along much faster by providing more money for employment and training needs of aboriginal people through Human Resources Development Canada. More aboriginal people want to work and learn the necessary skills to own and operate their own businesses. This will take 20 to 30 years, so that two successive generations of aboriginal people can provide role models for their own respective communities.

    The aboriginal human resources development agreements must contain significant amounts of new moneys that allow urban AHRDA holders, like Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training here in Toronto, to fund people like me who got their own business training from the programs they provide. We want to work and support our own communities. Give us the chance and the opportunity to do so.

    As a show of good faith, the Government of Canada should also immediately offer Métis and non-status Indian veterans the same offer of benefits that first nations status Indians have been offered. After a lifetime of struggle and service to their second nation, they deserve to be treated with honour and respect. The original honour and respect of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is at stake here, as is that of the Government of Canada.

    My great-great-great grandfather, Ogemahwajewon, fought for the British in the War of 1812. As Potawatomi, we lost our lands in Wisconsin around the mouth of Green Bay because of our loyalty to the British Crown. We settled with the Aasance Band of Chipewans at Beausoliel or Christian Island First Nation at the bottom of Georgian Bay.

    Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's son, presented my third great-grandfather with a chief's medallion for fighting with the British at Sarnia in 1860 on behalf of Her Majesty at the time. My family still has this chief's medallion. To me, it represents that special treaty relationship to the Crown.

    The Government of Canada inherited that responsibility with sovereignty of its own in 1867. It is time it honours the commitments with all first nations and aboriginal communities in Canada and moves forward in a perfect balance walking with us as partners on Turtle Island, not as lords and reservation keepers.

    Meegwetch.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you very much. It's not difficult to see that you're a newspaper publisher. You were three seconds short of ten minutes. I can't do better than that.

    We thank you very much for an excellent presentation. We commend you for the work that you do. It's important that the message be put out to the people you represent. We do commend you for that.

    Good luck.

+-

    Mr. Arthur Stark: Meegwetch.

+-

    The Chair: Thank you. Meegwetch.

    Is Chief Steve Wilson here? No.

    Could we ask Grand Chief Chris McCormick if he would be prepared to present now? We don't want to put pressure on you. If you're willing to present now, it would accommodate us.

+-

    Grand Chief Chris McCormick (Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians): I can. I was waiting for some chiefs, but I'm able to do the presentation.

+-

    The Chair: We don't want you to feel that we're pressuring you. You're not scheduled until nine o'clock.

+-

    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: What time is it now?

+-

    The Chair: It's 8:25.

    Is there anyone else in the room who is scheduled to present later but would be prepared to do so now?

    We can suspend for a few minutes.

+-

    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: Why don't you give us ten minutes? I'll check. If for some reason they might be involved, then I'll come and do it.

+-

    The Chair: Yes. If you have other chiefs, they should be there with you.

+-

    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: Yes. I invited them to come.

+-

    The Chair: Yes, we understand that.

+-

    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: Okay, give us ten minutes.

+-

    The Chair: Okay. In the meantime, we'll look for someone else. Thank you.

    It being Friday, we're trying to move up the schedule. My colleagues and I have been away from home for a long time now. We miss our grandchildren, our wives, and our children, in that order.

    We will suspend until we have our next witness.

¾  +-(0828)  


¾  +-(0831)  

    The Chair: We will resume proceedings on schedule with the Kitamaat Village Council. We invite Chief Steve Wilson, Kitamaat Band of Indians.

    Welcome, Chief. We have 30 minutes together. Please proceed. We invite you to make your presentation, and hopefully it will be followed by questions.

    Members who are outside the door will be coming in. You can wait a few seconds until the members are here, sir.

    If Stan had stayed, we'd be all right.

    Please proceed.

+-

    Chief Steve Wilson (Kitamaat Band of Indians, Kitamaat Village Council): [Witness speaks in his native language]

    I am Steve Wilson, and I am the elected chief councillor of the Kitamaat Village Band Council. I'd like to thank you for allowing me to be here to give my presentation on the governance act.

    Normally, I would just speak, but on this occasion I'll read from my submission and pass it on to you after I have finished speaking.

    As elected chief councillor of the Kitamaat Village Band, a member of the Haisla First Nation, and a subject of the Indian Act, I personally applaud the efforts to reform an act that has served to eradicate first nations people, culture, and way of life. The Indian Act has always been a major detriment to our people, and the current state of affairs many first nations communities are in can be directly attributed to the Indian Act.

    The Haisla find no solace in the fact that our issues are not being considered for any kind of meaningful resolution. A question begs to be asked of you committee members: How can we be subject to human rights when we have been denied human rights by the very act that created a denial of our rights? How can we be held accountable for human rights when the existence of the direct relationship between us and the Government of Canada is denied by the Indian Act itself?

    In my submission, the proposed changes under the First Nations Governance Act are like an oxymoron. As such, it means that if the Government of Canada wants effective change in governance, then the Government of Canada must change too.

    As the agent of the crown, it is imperative that the government must remember the unique and special relationship we Indians have with the crown. To do otherwise would be catastrophic to all first nations, and only serve to prove how inadequately the administration of Indians has been managed by the Government of Canada since the inception of the Indian Act.

    To be clear, ask yourselves, how can Canada spend $7.5 billion per year on Indian programming, yet the average on-reserve unemployment rate is 60%, or roughly ten times the national average? Something is terribly wrong with the state of affairs if we cannot create effective change with $7.5 billion. While that sum may sound like an enormous amount of money, and the average Canadian would conclude that Indian governance is too expensive to maintain, the facts are more complicated than the average Canadian wants to know. On the surface, it would appear to be true. But under the surface, if people were to take away the vast sums of money spent on program consultation within the government, consulting fees, and administration of Indian programming within INAC, Health Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, the RCMP, Human Resource Development Canada, and Industry Canada, then the actual amount of funds that we little guys receive is very small. This is especially the case when you compare the relative expenditures on Indian Affairs office complexes, equipment, and amenities. When you consider all relative information, the average Canadian citizen does not know this fact.

    After hundreds of years of imposed government programming through the Indian Act, the residential schools act, and all of the other federal government programs and other types of initiatives that have come and gone, we are worse off today than when you started to govern us.

    We have been characterized as a burden on the taxpayer. More importantly, we have become dependent on you. We have no economic base to create meaningful jobs, and we are fighting to preserve our prosperity even though you have a legal obligation to protect our interests.

    We complete our labour of love with no funding, not because we feel a moral obligation to save our forests, our rivers, our fish, our wildlife, and our botanicals. We have a far more selfish reason to save our resources: we live there. We have a vested interest in ensuring we have enough resources to continue our very old way of life--a life that has sustained our people for at least 10,000 years, which is earlier than the 1846 rule that the Delgamuukw court case imposed on us.

    Our traditional system of governance has almost become extinct within my mother's lifetime. We take little comfort watching traditional knowledge, the last remnants of our fading governance, slowly disappear with each dying elder. I can still hear my grandmother's voice speaking of a childhood where there was no social assistance, unemployment benefit, or any other form of dependence. Her old age pension was earned through a lifetime of gathering. Her wealth was conferred by her wa wes, and at our potlatches, which were banned under the Indian Act.

    In stark contrast to what once was, fast forward to the lasting effects of initiatives that you deemed to be best for us. Your experts of the day have administered those initiatives through the Indian Act itself.

    If the Government of Canada really desires accountability, openness, transparency, and good governance, then the Government of Canada must walk the walk, not merely talk the talk.

    In terms of what we need to be able to provide our membership with good governance, the Government of Canada must implement change that is meaningful to us and designed with us. Your expert advice, as proven by the current state of our affairs, has not worked before, and without us, it will not work again.

    That is not true just because we want to be difficult. It is difficult because you will never be able to appreciate the position we find ourselves in.

    You cannot learn about us by studying us or sending your experts to get to know us. Just learning how to communicate with us is a lifetime commitment, because the subtleties of our communication styles are things that you will not find in a book or on a course in first nations studies. Only we can teach you that, and you can learn that only by having open dialogue with us. This could be considered a good start. That remains to be seen.

    I have a number of suggestions that you should consider for positive change:

    Make our funding agreements flexible and designed to meet our local needs and funded to a level that is based on our reality.

    Do not have local education agreements a prerequisite to be eligible for the CFNFA.

    When the Government of Canada purchases education services from individual school districts, ensure the services that are purchased are of quality. Canada, in its procurement policies, already has accountability features built into the procurement system. The only exception to that rule is when the Government of Canada purchases education services for first nations. That creates a double standard.

    Pay us the correct interest on the trust funds that Canada manages on our behalf. The less than 2% that our trust funds earn each year is far below market rate and is discriminatory.

    Ensure our land is held in trust by us, not the Crown. The land we rightfully own--not the Crown--is not eligible for us to use as capital, and therefore it becomes dead capital. That dead capital works against us.

    Change the frozen middle ground in your bureaucracies. The top levels and the people delivering services directly to us seem to get the notion that we need change. But when it comes to actually implementing effective change, the policies and guidelines your bureaucracies act under are not able to facilitate change. Therefore the frozen middle ground is where it stops, because they're guided, or misguided, by policy and guidelines that are not designed to promote success within first nations.

    Come to the B.C. treaty negotiations ready to make good on negotiations based on case law that is current, not based on interpretation used to justify your existence.

    Ensure our land base is consistent with everyone else's. The Haisla Nation land base is extremely small in comparison to everywhere else. If our people knew that precedents had been set in the interior of B.C. and on the prairies, we would not have settled for the small amount of land base we have. Yet we have to fight policy and interpretations that are based on wrongful past practices under the auspices of the Indian Act.

    When designing policy in respect of land acquisitions, do not allow action to be directed by current policy that does not recognize the disparities between communities and is based on incorrect past practices flawed in their approach. Base the decisions on the community's real needs.

    In respect of the Haisla Nation, the current chief and council have embraced accountability, openness, and fiscal responsibility in our governance. Yet we have not received much benefit of assistance from INAC, Health Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, HRDC, Industry Canada, Environment Canada, or any other ministry.

    By way of background, when my council was elected 19 months ago, we knew we were inheriting problems. What we did not expect was the extent of how bad our financial position turned out to be. Yet methodically we have designed a program to deal with our weak position and deal with our deficit. We've designed a capacity initiative that works for us.

    In our designed approach we negotiated partnerships with Alcan, Triumph Timber, Terra Sources Marketing, Arthon, the Delta Research Corporation, All West Trading, Blue Mountain/Watkins, and to a limited extent the West Fraser Timber Company. Simon Fraser University has become our partner and is committed to developing a capacity development program that is designed to work with our joint venture partners to determine the job requirements, design the training requirements for those jobs, then deliver the training programs to our community so the Haisla people can be trained to compete for the jobs our business development will create.

    We have taken the first step on our own, with absolutely no assistance from Canada. We have done so because we feel we had to prove that we can take that responsibility and create positive change. We take the next step with the expectation that Canada will step up to bat and become one of our partners, because we need partners that have our success at heart.

    It's perplexing for me to understand that we cannot get a commitment from INAC or any other ministry to invest in our program because your policy and guidelines are not equipped to handle this kind of positive change. In fact, the Government of Canada's ministries are struggling to address and define capacity development for first nations. We, on the other hand, have designed a program where we are not relying totally on Canada for those funds, yet the Government of Canada is nowhere to be found in our partnership, because current policy and guidelines do not fit into our programs.

    We have had more assistance from our AHRDA, the Skeena Native Development Society, than anyone else. Yet the AHRDA authorities are being reviewed, with the prospect of drastic policy change. Consequently, the one organization equipped to assist us with our program, the Skeena Native Development Society, is in jeopardy that there will be more regressive change and control opposed on their program delivery by your bureaucracy. The result will be less delivery of programs that are already proving to be successful in our community.

    We need more funding in the AHRDA programs that is geared to creating and facilitating the kind of success we have designed, because the current HRDC system does not work for first nations peoples. The current system does not work because there are too many barriers the government has imposed on us through policies, programs, and acts of legislation like the Indian Act.

    It seems that the Skeena Native Development Society and the Haisla Nation are being penalized for being too successful. More importantly, we're being ignored by INAC programs for creating a system that is based on good business practices. My advice to you is to change with us, not against us.

    Do I have more time?

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    The Chair: Yes, there are 15 minutes left, but if you use it all there won't be time for questions. We did ask everyone to make a five-minute presentation.

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    Chief Steve Wilson: All right.

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    The Chair: But don't feel bad, you're not the only one. Everybody goes--

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    Chief Steve Wilson: I don't feel bad. I travelled an awfully long way to be here.

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    The Chair: We travelled far to meet you, too.

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    Chief Steve Wilson: In my submission I have another section that I call “An Ode to Gerry Gambill”. I would like to read it out to this group because I think it's very important and relevant. Even though it was written in 1959, the interests represented in it are still valid to this day.

    By way of background, the art of denying Indians their human rights has been refined to a science by Canada. The fact of the matter is that this is not the first time we have seen this kind of amendment to the Indian Act. In fact, the following list of commonly used techniques will clearly show how Canada has consistently been the architect of repression in respect of the Indian Act itself.

    We have time and again observed the practice of getting the Indians' cooperation. It was much easier for you to steal someone's human rights if you accomplished it under his own willingness. The Indian Act has made us non-persons, and as we all know, human rights are for people.

    Your act and related legislation and education regimes have made great progress in convincing us that our ancestors were savages, they were pagan, and Indians were drunkards. You made us wards of the government and made a legal distinction, as in the Indian Act, between Indians and persons.

    You convinced the Indian that he should be patient, that things take time to change. You told us you were making progress and that progress takes time. You made us believe that things were being done for our own good. You told us how you were sure that after we had experienced your laws and actions we would realize how good they were for us. You told us to take the bad in order to enjoy the benefits of the good you were conferring on us.

    You got some Indian people to do the dirty work. In fact, there are always those who will act to the disadvantage of their own people if you give them a little honour and praise. This is generally the function of band councils, chiefs, and advisory councils. They have little legal power but can handle the tough decisions such as welfare, allocation of housing, etc. In cases where chiefs and council actually do good work, you rarely support them.

    You've consulted the Indians but have not acted on the basis of what you've heard. You have told us we have a voice, but have merely gone through the motions of listening, much like what's going on right now. You have interpreted what you have heard to suit your own needs.

    You insisted that we go through the proper channels, but you made the channels and procedures so difficult that we didn't do anything. When we discovered what the proper channels were and became efficient at the procedures, you changed them.

    You made us believe you were working hard for us, putting in much overtime at great sacrifice, and implied that we should be appreciative. It is the ultimate skill in stealing rights when you can obtain the thanks of your victim.

    You allowed individuals to make the grade, and then pointed to them as examples. You said that the hard workers and the good Indians have made it, and therefore it is the person's own fault if he doesn't succeed.

    You appealed to our sense of fairness and told us that even though things were pretty bad, it was not right for us to make strong protests. You kept the argument going on our form of protest, and avoided talking about the real issue. You refused to deal with us while we were protesting and made it illegal for us to hire lawyers. More recently, you made it prohibitive to seek legal remedy when treaty negotiations were proceeding. You took all the fire out of our efforts.

    You made us believe that things could be worse, and instead of complaining about the loss of human rights we should be grateful for the rights we did have. In fact, you convinced us that to attempt to regain a right we had lost would likely jeopardize the rights we still had.

    You set yourself up as the protector of our human rights, and then chose to act only on those violations you wished to act upon. By getting successful on a few minor violations of human rights, you pointed to these examples of your devotion to our cause. The burglar who is also the doorman is the perfect combination.

    You have pretended that the reason for the loss of human rights is other than a person being Indian. You've told us that some of your best friends are Indians and that the loss of rights is because of our housekeeping, drinking, and clothing.

    You made the situation more complicated than necessary. You told us you would take a survey to find out how many other Indians are being discriminated against. You hired a group of professors to do decades-long research projects. You have insisted on unanimity. You let us know that when all the Indians in Canada make up their minds about what they want as a group, then you will act. You played one group's special situation against another group's wishes.

    You removed our rights so gradually that people didn't realize what was happening until it was too late. Hunting rights were first restricted to geographical areas where hunting is permitted. Then the season was cut to certain times of the year and then it was cut down gradually. Now you insist on licensing us. The same can be said of fishing.

    Thank you.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    We have time for a three-minute round.

    Mr. Martin.

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    Mr. Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre, NDP): Thank you.

    Chief Wilson, we met with Satsan Herb George, the AFN vice-chief for B.C. They worked with the First Nations Summit, the United Native Nations, and the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council to develop a series of amendments to Bill C-7. Their first choice is that Bill C-7 be scrapped. They don't believe it's the right thing at the right time to address the many issues you've raised. But they said that if it's going to go through, it must be amended in this way. Do you have any views on the package of amendments that Satsan Herb George put forward? Would you agree with them?

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    Chief Steve Wilson: I have no knowledge of what the AFN and Herb George are up to. They do not communicate with me on those issues.

    Personally, I do not put too much emphasis on the First Nations Summit, because the times I've gone there, all I've heard is political rhetoric with very little action.

    We've been able to create change in our community that's based on our own needs. We've done that very well, with no assistance from Canada.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Fair enough.

    This is one of the things they want changed. I raise this because you are involved with economic enterprises to help your own people move forward. Under this new bill you would have to show your financial statements not only to band members but also to anyone who asked, even somebody in direct competition with the business enterprise you have on the reserve. Do you think that's holding you to a higher standard than an ordinary business in a non-aboriginal community?

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    Chief Steve Wilson: I tend to view it this way. I'm not against being accountable and open. I think Canada as a whole needs to grasp that concept. There's the Virginia Fontaine situation in 2000 where the board of directors was on a cruise ship, and what people tend to forget is that the ADM of Health Canada was on that cruise ship with that board of directors. He transferred $22 million to the southern Manitoba health authority. When the Government of Canada found out what he had done, they retired him. He is now the executive director of the southern Manitoba health authority, controlling the $22 million that he transferred as the ADM of Health Canada. When it comes to accountability, the people who work in the health industry for first nations have been held to a higher standard of accountability. Yet that ADM was given a golden handshake and put into another position where he has it pretty damn good. When you consider that health is--

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    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    Mr. Dromisky, three minutes.

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    Mr. Stan Dromisky (Thunder Bay—Atikokan, Lib.): Thank you very much.

    Thanks for coming. It's a great distance to come to make your presentation. It's a short one too.

    I think we can understand what has happened. What is being presented in this bill is the result of years and years and years of problem-solving, challenges that have come forth from a multitude of people, whether the challenges be in the form of an actual printed document or the result of a conference, convention, or a task force, or individuals complaining or praising, or whatever. This is a result of a host of bits of information and experiences of the past. It wasn't created simply because someone sat down and said “Oh, here it is”, and put it down and then immediately the next day it becomes a bill. I think we understand this. In other words, what I'm pointing out to you is that there was a need for something of this nature to happen.

    Now, I understand the kind of opposition there is from all the chiefs and so forth, and I keep asking questions pertaining to why there is such a united front, but that's beside the point now. Maybe the problem is that it might be too much to digest and too much to work with at one time.

    So do you think we should try to deal with only a fraction or maybe one section of the bill at a time, instead of trying to present the whole dosage? Maybe it's just too much for a person to assimilate and to become part of that self-determination process, which has to be internalized by each and every individual within every first nations society. Is it too much at one time? How can we get people accustomed to live in a society—

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    Chief Steve Wilson: I am not against openness and accountability. When I look at the situation I find myself in, I remember that I took over a council that practised bad fiscal management for 25 years.

    When we created the environment for corporate governance instead of a family-run business, we ran into a lot of opposition. If we're going to change, then we need to be directly involved in the change, which can be the result of people in Ottawa, regional headquarters, or even consultants devising the change. I sit on a number of Indian affairs committees in the B.C. region, and we try to make policy changes reflecting what we're dealing with, but it seems that the will to change policy is coming directly from Ottawa. Then we run up against that brick wall. There were a lot of things in our direct experience that can benefit us, but if we're not involved in creating that change it isn't going to work for us.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much. We do thank you for coming all this way and for making an excellent presentation.

    Colleagues, our first presenter, Mr. Marchant, had a family emergency. We cannot give him ten minutes at this time, because it would put us behind schedule, but we will give him two minutes. He has agreed that he can present his recommendations in that time.

    So we invite Mr. Marchant, a lawyer with The Marchant Practice. Welcome.

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    Mr. Ken Marchant (Lawyer, The Marchant Practice, As Individual): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    I think one of the most admirable aspects of this bill is the accountability, particularly accountability based on disclosure to the people who are actually affected. My particular concern is that the definition of “band funds”, which links to the financial management plan that has to be presented, is too narrow and should be expanded to include a broader definition of “band assets”, which I've suggested to you in the amendment I've presented. In my practice, for example, I've encountered land claim settlements where there has been a proposal to set up a trust in the Cayman Islands specifically so the assets or the money can't be easily established.

    A different kind of problem that's emerging is that some first nations feel that they have an inherent right of self-government, and they simply declare themselves a nation quite distinct from a band in the sense that it's defined under the Indian Act and would continue to be defined under this bill. That's all completely outside any federal legislative framework, even though in fact assets or moneys of interest or associated with the band are involved.

    In addition, I think it is a very significant fact that many first nations have businesses that are run by the band. They have land holdings. These are all things where it would be of interest, I know, to members to understand how they are being managed or handled or perhaps even disposed of.

    That's the general spirit of my proposal. If I could, I'll just conclude with a brief reference to a situation where I've seen that a change in the accountability would make a huge difference.

    I know the committee was just recently in Winnipeg, I think just a day or two ago, and you may have heard about something called the Northern Flood Agreement. This is an agreement put in place in 1977 to compensate for the impacts of hydro dams.

    It wasn't a very good agreement. My favourite anecdote is that two of those who helped draft it went to law school afterwards, and that may be why it has turned into a huge litigation file. I might say that some of the things that happened, some of the settlements, led to a chief going to federal penitentiary, for example. One of the lawyers is still in jail for misappropriation of funds in one of those settlements.

    But four of the five communities have since entered into comprehensive settlements with modern trusts, the centrepiece of which is, you tell the community how the money is going to be spent, it can't all be spent at once, they have to approve it, and if it's spent other than as is disclosed, there is personal liability.

    What has happened, particularly in three of those four communities--I think the leadership there deserves most of the credit--is that this device has turned out to be a very positive thing for the Norway House Cree Nation, for Nisichawayasihk, which is now a joint venture partner with Manitoba Hydro in the next dam, and the Tataskweyak or Split Lake Cree Nation.

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    The Chair: We thank you very much.

    We've given you an extra minute. I wish we could give you more, but it would be unfair to the others to delay them by ten minutes.

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    Mr. Ken Marchant: I thank you.

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    The Chair: What you have said is on record, and your document will be on record and will be distributed to every member of the committee. This applies to everyone here.

    We now invite, from the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, Grand Chief Chris McCormick. We have one hour together.

    We welcome you. We invite you to make your presentation, and I hope there will be time for questions in an hour's time. You may proceed.

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    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good morning, everyone.

    First of all, I'd like to acknowledge the Creator, that He's given us this opportunity to have this discussion and given us the opportunity to try to convey to you the feelings of the people in the membership of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians.

    Regarding our submission, I'd like to apologize for the fact that we did not have the resources to translate it into French; otherwise, we would have done so.

    I'd just like to comment on the perseverance of the committee. I know we were both in Thunder Bay yesterday together, and it's a hard job you're undertaking.

    “We the original peoples of this land know the Creator put us here. The Creator gave us laws that govern all our relationships to live in harmony with nature and mankind. The laws of the Creator defined our rights and responsibilities...” This is from a declaration in 1980 by the joint council of chiefs and elders from the province of Ontario.

    What is good about our people still being here is not going to be, by our choice, up for discussion before a committee. What is up for discussion should be taking place at a conference table on governance, not with us as supplicants appearing before you after the fact.

    First nations of the Ojibway, Mohawk, Oneida, Delaware, Potawatomi, and Mississauga peoples are members of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians. I am Christopher McCormick, grand chief, and I am a member of the Batchewana First Nation. Our membership includes the Batchewana First Nation of Ojibways, the Caldwell First Nation, the Delaware First Nation, the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, the Oneida Nation of the Thames, and the Wahta Mohawks.

    Our chiefs council receives its direction directly from community members and from resolutions passed at our annual assemblies. We are members of the Chiefs of Ontario, and I am a representative on its political confederacy. For the record, we agree with and support the presentation that was given by Regional Vice-Chief Charles Fox yesterday in Thunder Bay.

    Our member first nations are members of the Assembly of First Nations, our national body, and we are here as self-governing peoples. From time immemorial we have lived as sovereign nations in harmony with Mother Earth. Our political system is old, and, with due respect, is at least as democratic as if not more so than that enjoyed by the people of Canada.

    The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indian member nations rejects Canada's continuation of colonialism. We find it insulting that the Government of Canada, assisted by this standing committee acting for Parliament, would continue with its colonial mentality and policies. Canada as a colonizer cannot presume to offer us lessons and try to impose regulations on us.

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    At our last assembly, the following resolution was passed. I will read it into your record:

Therefore be it resolved that the AIAI member nations gathered in assembly in Oneida this 25th day of May, 2002, hereby oppose and reject the proposed First Nations Governance Act, as well as the proposed First Nations Fiscal Institutions Act, as violations of our inherent right of self-determination and self-government.

    When we use the word “peoples”, we use it as defined in international law. Generally speaking, a people is a politically organized body of persons united by a common culture, tradition, language, institutions, or territory.

    Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention of 1933, which is the leading international treaty on statehood, declares four essential elements that define a state. They are the possession of a permanent population; a defined territory; a government; and the capacity to enter into relationships with other states.

    First nations had been independent sovereign nations for thousands of years before the arrival of the Europeans. We retain our inherent right of self-government, which flows from the Creator. This right exists naturally for us as the original owners and custodians of this land. First nations, historically and today, meet the definition of state in the 1933 Montevideo Convention.

    At the international level, Canada is a signatory to three international covenants as standards of law and civilization that expressly support the right of all people to self-determination, namely, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights.

    Our treaties are founded on principles that recognize the supremacy of the Creator, the sacredness of the pipe, and our sacred obligation as caretakers of the land. Also, our treaties were on a nation-to-nation basis between first nations and representatives of the British Crown. We entered into the treaties as free and independent nations with our own well-defined territory, laws, governments, languages, spiritual beliefs, and traditions. All the ingredients necessary for identifying fully functioning independent nations were present, and we were recognized as such by various European states.

    Also, our forefathers incorporated the length of existence of the treaties by a concept they understood; that is, the treaties would endure for “as long as the rivers flow, as long as the grass shall grow, and as long as the sun shines”.

    I'd like to add a bit here, because there seems to be a misconception in this country. Treaties generally give rights. And when we entered into treaties, you have to realize that when your ancestors came over here, they didn't have anything. In fact we helped them to survive. The treaties don't give us rights; they give the people of Canada rights, because you didn't have anything to give.

    From this background and context, we address your mandate to receive information on the matter of Bill C-7, the First Nations Governance Act. In addition to the rejection of Bill C-7, AIAI Chiefs Council and communities make the following objections.

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    First of all, this is not a first nations governance act. We weren't asked if we wanted the bill. We weren't asked if we agreed with the content of the bill. We were denied the right to be a part of the information-gathering process this committee is undertaking. We will not be part of the process to review the information our peoples have presented to this committee. We will not be making the final decision on what we want included in the bill. Canada does not include a non-derogation clause that Bill C-7 will not abrogate or derogate from the protection provided by the Constitution Act of 1982, section 35.

    We ask you, if we were to define what colonialism would look like in these modern times, would Bill C-7 not be an excellent starting point?

    The Government of Canada has a binding fiduciary obligation to first nations, which is founded in the 1763 Royal Proclamation and the pre-existing aboriginal rights. The recognition and affirmation of aboriginal and treaty rights in the 1982 Constitution Act is a solemn promise. The honour of the Crown depends upon fulfillment of these promises.

    When the Treasury Board allots the moneys to the original peoples of this land, it is for the betterment of our peoples and our communities. The minister and I share something in common in this regard, as both of us receive our salaries from these moneys, and both of us have the responsibility to work in the best interests of our communities.

    Minister Nault has a lead fiduciary responsibility to the first nations peoples of Canada to act in our best interests. All the ministers of the Crown, upon entering office, take an oath, which for Minister Nault would read in part as follows:

I, Robert Nault, do solemnly and sincerely promise and swear that I will truly and faithfully, and to the best of my skill and knowledge, execute the powers and trusts reposed in me as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, so help me God.

    At our national assemblies on more than five occasions the chiefs in assembly have passed resolutions calling for the withdrawal of Minister Nault's governance bill.

    I would like to speak to the Indian Act. First, without our consent, the federal government made the first Indian Act in 1876. This act is a product of section 91(24) of the British North America Act of 1867. It remains a puzzlement to us where the Crown received the authority to write into the Constitution what is contained in section 91(24), which states that the Government of Canada shall have full legislative authority over “Indians” and “lands reserved for Indians”. It then proceeded to draft its own notion of “Indian government” into an act, and called it the “Indian Act”.

    Where and when did the Ojibway, the Cree, the Mohawk, the Oneida, etc., cease to exist as separate nations and become “Indians” under the Indian Act?

    How can the Government of Canada bring forward such derogation of our rights and our sovereignty and claim to be attempting to build a relationship with first nations? Bill C-7 is a contravention of the Creator's natural law, which states that all mankind is created equal. The rights given the people of South Africa are being denied to us. How can the Government of Canada rationalize this?

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    Here in Canada, let's examine our history. Canada has treated Quebec and first nations in a contradictory manner. Quebec was given self-government, a partnership in confederation when it was defeated in 1759, and had its language recognized as one of the official languages. In contrast, first nations people--who, I remind you, were allies of the British and helped form Canada--are not recognized as nations.

    We were asked to offer suggestions on what could be done. With all the violations against our rights as peoples, it is interesting to note that the open statement under part one of the Constitution Act, 1982, states: “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law...”.

    Our response is, to start with, amend Canada's Constitution. What we need in this country is an amendment to the Constitution that will recognize the existence of a third order of government and will recognize that there are not two, but three founding nations. We need a constitution that recognizes our languages as official languages of this land.

    Withdraw Bill C-7. In its place, we recommend that the Government of Canada and a representative of Canada's first nations meet together to discuss not only governance, but also Canada's fiduciary responsibilities with regard to health care, education, employment, social services, and the opportunity for first nations people to be full-fledged partners with the rest of Canada. Such a meeting, if conducted openly and fairly, would produce an outcome that everyone--the Government of Canada, first nations, and Canadians--would accept and be proud of.

    Thank you for hearing our concerns here today. We ask that you respond in an honourable way and recommend to the Canadian government that this bill be withdrawn.

    Meegwetch.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    We will begin a five-minute round with Mr. Martin.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Thank you, Grand Chief, for being here today and for a very moving brief.

    I take your points, which were well outlined. First of all, you made the point very clearly that you don't believe this bill is about self-governance. Others have made this point, that under the guise of dealing with accountability issues, the government is really trying to undermine the very idea of self-governance and to derogate or diminish existing aboriginal and treaty rights. I agree with you.

    You also mentioned that you were not asked about it. There was no consultation process as to what should be the scope and the subject matter of this review of the Indian Act. And if you were asked, I think it is safe to say these would not be the issues you would want to be dealing with. You would rather be dealing with issues of substance.

    Let me ask you about the consultation process. The minister, as the first witness to these hearings, opened his remarks by saying that this bill was crafted by the 10,000 first nations people who had been met with in consultation and who had asked for these issues. Do you have any comment about that statement from the minister?

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    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: Well, first I would challenge the minister to put some names to the 10,000 people he is advocating that he consulted with. I know he certainly didn't consult with the 16,000 people who are members of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians.

    There were resources offered by the ministry. I think it was $5,000 per community. It wasn't earmarked for consultation. It was earmarked for information sessions. All but two of our communities would not accept the money because they didn't trust that the government would view it as information. They felt it would be viewed as consultation.

    One community that received it couldn't get people to come out, even when they agreed to pay for babysitters and mileage for travel. I think they had four council members, the chiefs, government officials, and some native presenters from other locations.

    In the other community that did accept, a presentation was given. People were insulted. The chief and council were present. Elders were present and members of the community. About 20 people stood up; and I suppose, finally, an elder stood up. She said, “You tell those people to put that stuff in their suitcase and get the...out of here”.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: The interesting thing is that those individuals probably show up on the list of the 10,000 people the minister claims had input into the drafting of this bill.

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    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: That could very well be, which is why I asked for a justification.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: That's interesting.

    You also made the point that you will have no input in either the consultation round or in this process. Just so that you're aware, I made a motion at the very start of this process saying that we should expand the membership of this standing committee for the purposes of this bill, to include one representative from each of the AFN, the Congress of Aboriginal People, and the Native Women's Association of Canada. That motion was voted down by the members of the committee. One Liberal member voted for it, but we lost it by one vote. Had that motion gone through, at least you would have had knowledgeable representation of your choice at this table while these issues are being talked about.

    Ultimately, if we have any time left, I'd like you to comment on the direction we're taking. The point has been made that it's the very antithesis of self-governance to impose codes of governance on any people, because surely an aspect of self-governance is the right to design governance institutions that suit the cultural and traditional mores of these peoples.

    Your opening comment was that you don't believe that this was about self-governance. Could you expand on that briefly?

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    The Chair: Mr. Martin, there is no time left, but there'll be another round.

    Mr. Godfrey, for five minutes.

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    Mr. John Godfrey (Don Valley West, Lib.): Welcome. I am glad to see you.

    I guess I have two questions that arise from your brief. I ask them not in a hostile way, but out of curiosity, for my own information.

    On pages four and five, you talk about the Montevideo Convention of 1933, which is the classic definition of what constitutes statehood. We've had other witnesses who have made the same points you have. I really ask this out of ignorance on my own part, but given that one of the essential elements of statehood is the possession of a defined territory, does this mean exclusive control over a contiguous piece of territory, or could it mean shared territory? What does this actually mean to you in the context of land claims and everything else? That's my first question.

    My second question is about your comments on page nine, where you talk about the Indian Act of 1876 essentially being an illegitimate act, because you weren't consulted, it was imposed, and it violates what you understood to be the fiduciary responsibility of the Crown. If the first act is illegitimate in your eyes, does this mean that all successive amendments to it are illegitimate, no matter how you consult about it? Because the thing you're amending is fundamentally illegitimate in your eyes or an illegal act to begin with, is it not possible to amend it, even with the most amazing consultation process?

    So I have two questions.

¿  +-(0930)  

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    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: Okay, first I'll answer the second one.

    The Indian Act is a colonial document that contains discrimination against first nations people. Canada was taken to task by the World Court. You had two years to respond to the section in the act that revoked an Indian woman's status if she married a non-native person. Canada responded by amending the act, but what they did was pass the discrimination on to the children.

    What befuddles me is why a democratic government would use the basis of this particular document to try to develop a relationship with the first citizens of this country. If you are going to sign international instruments that profess that you support self-determination for people, what are you doing using this document as your basis? Twenty years ago, in the Constitution, it said that aboriginal and treaty rights were recognized and affirmed. My understanding is that this is the highest law in the land. What are parliamentarians doing trying to go off on this road?

    In regard to treaties, which was your first question, the treaties were signed with our forefathers--very intelligent men--for as long as the sun shines, for as long as the rivers flow, and for as long as the grass grows. Those rivers are still flowing, the sun is still shining, and that grass is just about to start to grow again, to rejuvenate. For us, rejuvenation will be the withdrawal of this bill.

    The lands are there, if you honour your treaties. There is a recognized border, which you have in your offices at Indian Affairs, that outlines the borders of those treaties. That was the agreement you made with our forefathers. That is the agreement we expect you to uphold.

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    The Chair: There are only 30 seconds left.

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    Mr. John Godfrey: Those treaties and their territories were understood to be shared, isn't that right? In other words, there was a quid pro quo. In exchange for sharing with the European arrivals, if you like, there were to be certain obligations. That seems to be a bit different in terms of just having possession of a territory that is exclusively in the hands of the people, as defined under this 1933 convention.

    As I say, I am not trying to debate, I'm just trying to--

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    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    Mr. Martin, for five minutes.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Thank you.

    I think you've made it clear, Grand Chief, that if there had been a proper consultation process and there had been genuine input from first nations as to what the priorities would be, it wouldn't have been Bill C-7. It wouldn't have been the items chosen by the government to introduce with Bill C-7. You've made that clear, that you would rather have seen the implementation of the treaty process. You would rather have seen heading back to the table along the lines of the recommendation of the royal commission, for instance.

    Dealing with some of the more offensive specifics of the bill, I'd like your opinion on an issue that came up in a previous presentation. Clause 9(3) deals with accountability and the disclosure of financial statements. A lawyer made a presentation that he thought this should be expanded even further.

    What this clause does is that not only do you have to show the financial statements to members of the band, in the form of being accountable to your band members--which I haven't heard any chief object to, so far--but you would also have to be accountable to anyone who asks. That would be all financial statements, even for an entrepreneurial, economic business on your reserve. Your direct competition could come and demand to see financial statements of a business you run.

    Do you see that as an intrusion into the basic privacy rights of first nations?

¿  +-(0935)  

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    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: As a people and in endeavouring to be partners with Canada, they have no business attempting to impose legislation on the privacy of the membership of the various communities across Canada. That power and that obligation is with the community members.

    We resent the government trying to apply legislation to us without our consent and input, and without asking in the beginning if we even wanted it.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: There's another article, clause 9, that is offensive. Clause 10 is even more offensive, in that it actually expands the authority of the minister to intervene. If this bill were about self-governance, you would think it would be reducing the interference and intervention from INAC and the minister. This clause actually contemplates that the minister can arbitrarily intervene for any number of reasons, and impose third-party management, for instance, which we've already seen as a disciplinary tactic.

    Would you care to comment on clause 10, expanding the minister's authority?

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    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: I guess the response I would give to that is that we signed contribution agreements. The things contained in the bill are already contained in the contribution agreements. We have to produce financial statements, we have to get an independent audit, and we have to get this through to the minister in 120 days, I believe. The minister can take action if the audit doesn't meet normal auditing practices. So we don't need this imposed in legislation. The minister is already dictating these requirements, and we agreed to them when we signed the contribution agreement. This is in every community right across the country.

    When she came before this committee, I think the Auditor General pointed out that we have to make over 160 reports, I believe it was. This exceeeds what anybody else does. What can I say? Even the Auditor General is questioning the process first nations people are subject to.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Further, she said that first nations communities are over-audited. If anything, they have a surplus of accountability.

    This is one of the galling things to some of us. When the empirical evidence is that 96% of all first nations communities file their audits on time and without incident, etc., and are accountable to their membership as per the act, there's still this myth being propagated that abuse of fiscal mismanagement is so widespread and such an epidemic that it warrants the heavy-handed intervention of the minister and the intrusion into the affairs of first nations communities.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    Thank you, Mr. Martin.

    Mr. Hubbard.

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    Mr. Charles Hubbard (Miramichi, Lib.): I'm just looking at a matter of procedure here. In terms of our minute on how we alternate our questions, it says “Between”—

¿  +-(0940)  

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    The Chair: Let's not use up his time for procedure, because the clock is running.

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    Mr. Charles Hubbard: I'll take it as part of my time then.

    In the House, we have a good number of opposition parties, but only one is here this morning. We have five members from the government side here.

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    The Chair: Actually, it is four members, because one is not registered.

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    Mr. Charles Hubbard: I'm counting you as a member of the government side.

    In any case, it refers to rotation between the government and opposition parties. The Bloc and the Alliance are not here today.

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    The Chair: Are you asking that we alternate differently?

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    Mr. Charles Hubbard: Yes, if we are realistically to be able to offer members at least one intervention each and then not have have five from one party.

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    The Chair: Tell me what you're asking. Are you asking me to do a full rotation like this?

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    Mr. Charles Hubbard: It would seem to be fair.

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    The Chair: Mr. Martin, how do you feel about that?

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    Mr. Pat Martin: No. I think that the ruling party has all the time in the world in crafting and developing this bill, while this is the opportunity of the opposition parties to make their opinion known. I can't help—

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    The Chair: The rules are in place, so we'll have to continue the way we're going.

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    Mr. Charles Hubbard: Thank you, Mr. Chair, but we have a good number of people. It would seem to be unfair that—

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    The Chair: I understand, but it would be unfair to Mr. Martin if I changed the rules only because he's here. He's the only one here.

    You may talk to him on the side and try to convince him to maybe let two go for each one of his. Maybe there is a middle road somewhere here.

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    Mr. Charles Hubbard: Thank you, Mr. Chair. We'll have no questions on this side then.

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    The Chair: Okay, thank you.

    Mr. Martin, for three minutes.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: If there were legitimate consultation and an opportunity to have input or to ask first nations what their priorities would be, I'd like to give you the opportunity to share with us on this. Would it draw from the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples? Would that be the place to start a new round or new generation of cooperation, which we were led to believe would be happening after the royal commission?

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    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: Ultimately, we'd like to see a first ministers conference convened, as we said. We don't feel we're being given proper respect or recognition in the country.

    The royal commission is a result of five years of research, investigation, and consultation. It has followed recommendations that were put forth by first nations people. It would certainly exceed the amount of time this committee has to research and look into the proposed amendments of Mr. Nault's governance bill. So that would be more appropriate. But again, if Mr. Nault is interested in the betterment of first nations communities, you don't have to be a Philadelphia lawyer to know there should be consultation between him and the national chief on areas we agree need to be addressed.

    Matthew in turn can take this to where he gets his direction. He gets it from the chiefs in assembly, who get direction from their community members when they go forth to the national assembly. He can say “I spoke to the minister and he has suggested we address these issues”. The chiefs have an opportunity to agree or not.

    Based on the agreement, we would have the Assembly of First Nations and the Minister of Indian Affairs on the same plan, with the support of the chiefs and their community members who are going to be the recipients of any legislative changes in the country. It's common respect.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: This is one of the reasons why our party believes this whole exercise is actually doomed to fail. At the outset, when the minister realized that the leadership of first nations--and specifically the AFN--weren't interested in this particular set of packages and found fault with it, he chose to bypass the elected leadership and tried to find individuals in various communities who were willing to cooperate. In other words, the very experts in this field--the people who are authorities on these subjects, the legitimately elected leadership of first nations--have not only not been allowed at the table, they've been specifically and deliberately bypassed. That seems to be a recipe for failure.

    If I have a minute left I'd like to talk about money. You raised the point that individual communities were eligible for $5,000 if they allowed one of these information sessions--

¿  +-(0945)  

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    The Chair: Your three minutes are up.

    Ms. Karetak-Lindell.

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    Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell (Nunavut, Lib.): Thank you. I guess I just want to take a moment to make a statement. I've sat listening to as many witnesses as possible, trying to have an open mind, as I think all members of Parliament try to do. But in some of the statements people say they've all been painted with one brush. I see that too, because I'm an aboriginal Canadian, and I sympathize with a lot of the situations I hear about. But when people are making statements they keep saying “you, you, this” and I'm included in being painted with the same brush too. You keep saying it has to go two ways, and I'm not exactly feeling that either. But I know everyone has their reasons for making their statements.

    I also have a question for you on page five. I've heard very strong statements from different people across Canada that this land of ours is not owned by us; we're borrowing it. Yet on page five you have a paragraph that says this right exists naturally for you as the original owners of this land. I see a bit of contradiction there, because aboriginal people have always stated they don't own the land but are borrowing it. Perhaps you can just explain that to me.

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    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: When we say that we're borrowing it, we mean we're borrowing it from the children and the unborn generations to come. That's where we get our responsibility as guardians for the land, the water, the animals, and the things the Creator created that we live in harmony with. So you're right, we don't own the land; it's the Creator's land. But we have responsibility for this part of the earth we were placed on. The conflict is that people have come from other parts of the world and have assumed their philosophy on ownership.

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    Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell: Part of what I'm trying to understand is this. As aboriginal people we're trying very hard to live alongside our fellow Canadians in this country. But it gets difficult to know which things we take as our own way of doing things and which things we borrow. When we do borrow, how do we decide which things we're going to claim and which things we aren't? It becomes, I'm sure, very confusing for people we're trying to work with as to when that ownership switches over.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    Mr. Martin, four minutes.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: I'd like to carry on with the dollar figure issue. First nations communities were offered $5,000. Some groups offered a lot more than that to conduct these information meetings. But we've also heard stories of coercion and even punishment or a backlash in terms of program funding if people wouldn't hop on board and cooperate with the FNGA. Has that been the sense in your circles, Grand Chief McCormick?

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    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: To be fair, I'm still asking questions. Our association receives $111,000 for the core budget. I know that MPs have $250,000 to run their offices and that the rent is paid by the House. They pay their staff. They have about three staff members in their constituency office. With a 35% cut to my core budget, it leaves me with $78,000, from which I have to pay a receptionist, a finance person, an office manager, an executive secretary, and myself. My total core budget from the department is less than the salary of some grand chiefs in this province. The PTO formula is used. I don't know whether this is a mistake or it's one shoe fits all or it's vindictiveness because the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, following the mandate that was given to us by the assembly, is rejecting the suite of bills that the minister is proposing. But, as I said, to be fair, we are still asking this question, and I'm hoping that the minister's office responds shortly.

¿  +-(0950)  

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    Mr. Pat Martin: We've been hearing this across the country, and there are people still investigating. When officers of INAC tie cooperation to the success of proposals, for instance--and we have minutes from meetings of INAC--we're very concerned that they're using either financial incentives to get cooperation or the threat of financial punishment for not cooperating. The most graphic illustration would be the AFN losing 50% of their funding and having to lay off 70 of their senior researchers and skilled people at the very time that they're dealing with the most complicated amendments to the Indian Act to have come along in 50 years. It's almost like the old days when you weren't allowed to hire lawyers. This is what it's tantamount to.

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    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: One of the things that has entered my mind is that there has been the resourcing of aboriginal people who are not status Indians, such as the Métis organizations. The resources that come from Treasury Board are earmarked for status Indian people. If it's these same moneys that the minister is distributing to Métis people, I'm wondering where he got the authority to use these moneys for people other than status Indian people to do these consultations.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Are you speaking of the CAP, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples?

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    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the Ontario Métis Association, the breakaway group from the Native Women's Association of Canada.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: The NAWA, yes.

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    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: But keep in mind the money from Treasury Board is earmarked for status Indian people in this country.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    One more question, Mr. Martin, for four minutes.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Well, further along those lines, we're pulling all this information together slowly, but the consultation process.... We now have a former employee of INAC, a guy who was hired to put together some of these information meetings, who is willing to swear an affidavit that he was told to count in the numbers of those consulted even the people who came to the meeting to speak against the FNGA or to speak about housing, education, health care, lack of fresh water, and any number of things in their community.

    When they saw there was a town hall meeting and INAC officials would be there, some people went to these meetings to bring forward any number of grievances, and they ended up being counted not only as having been consulted, but as having been supportive of the FNGA.

    This is the type of information that is slowly trickling in. Unfortunately, this bill may be law by the time we make the case. It will be after the fact.

    I would ask you again for any details you may have regarding the consultation process.

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    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: I think given the onus and responsibility of this committee as a representative of Parliament, and taking into consideration that the honour of the Crown is at stake, if you are knowledgeable about this sort of information and this individual was party to these processes, it is the responsibility of this committee to hear that person.

    Speaking for our association, there was no consultation with the membership of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians other than the consultation we had in our communities about the bill--about the process, and the manner in which it was introduced to first nations people. I think I outlined a number of objections we had from our membership and our chiefs and councils.

¿  +-(0955)  

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Thank you.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    We invite you to make closing remarks, and you have sufficient time to do that.

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    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: One of the things I'm finding about this process, and I think you are learning and experiencing as you travel across the country, is that you only have to look outside today, or in Alberta, or Thunder Bay, to see that the first nations people--and when you look at those marches, there are women, children, and elders--want the bill withdrawn.

    There will be a large number of people here today to support the position that was given to their chiefs regarding our position and the resolutions that were tabled in the assemblies of the Iroquois and Allied Indians, the Chiefs of Ontario, and the Assembly of First Nations.

    They say seeing is believing. Not only are we presenting information, but we have a presence of people right across the country who are opposed to this bill. I don't know the rationale Parliament would have for passing it. I realize you people are just doing a job, getting information, and I accept that.

    But again, as we said in our presentation, we are hoping you do the honourable thing and recommend to Parliament that this bill be withdrawn and that a meeting that has the leadership in this country, which were elected into office, and the ministers responsible come together to address the issues that we put in our recommendations.

    With that, Mr. Chairman, I wish you luck in your endeavours and I thank you very much for hearing from us.

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    The Chair: We thank you very much.

    Because we have a bit of time, just to reflect on your last comment, if the committee.... There's no provision to recommend that it be withdrawn. We all know that. We have to go through the process. It's a dilemma, because even if we could just say withdraw it, and Parliament did not withdraw it, then we would not have made an effort to make it better.

    It's a problem we have. We know there will be amendments--I suspect many amendments, and many good amendments. We've heard a lot of things that opened our eyes, and we need amendments.

    If we go directly to just recommending to withdraw it and don't put these amendments in, if they don't withdraw it, we will have done nothing. We will have contributed nothing. I'm not asking you to agree or disagree, but that is a reality we face.

    Of course you may comment on that, or anything.

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    Grand Chief Chris McCormick: The only thing I'd like to say is you can't have peace without justice. What we're looking for is justice. We're looking for you to uphold your Constitution, which says that aboriginal treaty rights are recognized and affirmed. You have a bill that gives the codes, the administrative policies, accountability, and it says if you don't do something, these provisions are going to kick in. That's colonialism. That is not respect for the first peoples and peoples in the international sense.

    It will be challenged. I think you've been advised that it will be challenged legally and by whatever other method. We can say it only so many times. We come here and we speak the truth. That's our perception of it.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much. Your presentation will be very helpful. I'm sure we will refer to it as we have our debates.

    I now invite, from the London District Chiefs Council, Chief Harry Doxtator, chief of Oneida Nation of the Thames. I understand that Chief Doxtator will be accompanied by Phil Maness and Martin Powless.

    Welcome. We have 45 minutes together. We invite you to make your presentation, and hopefully allow time for questions.

    Please proceed.

À  +-(1000)  

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    Chief Phil Maness (Aamjiwnaang First Nation; London District Chiefs Council): [Witness speaks in his native language]

    My name is Phil Maness. I come from the territory known as Aamjiwnaang First Nation. My clan is the Turtle Clan. I'm here on behalf of Harry Doxtator.

    With me is Martin Powless, policy analyst for the London District Chiefs Council.

    Thank you for your time.

    The London District Chiefs Council is a unique council represented by eight member first nations. Of those first nations, we have Aamjiwnaang First Nation, the Sarnia First Nation, formerly known as Sarnia; Bkejwanong Territory, otherwise known as Walpole Island First Nation; Caldwell First Nation; Chippewas of Kettle Point and Stony Point; Chippewas of the Thames; Delaware First Nation at Moraviantown of the Thames; Munsee Delaware First Nation; and Oneida Nation of the Thames.

    We have a unique working relationship because in reality there are three nations that sit at the table, and we've sat there for 30 years. We have part of the Ojibway Nation, known as the Anishinabek, members of the Anishinabek Nation. We have the Delawares. We also have the Oneida Nation from the Iroquois Confederacy.

    I'd like to also acknowledge and thank the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation, the traditional keepers of this territory where this meeting is taking place today.

    I'd also like to state at the outset, in direction of the London District Chiefs Council, that there has been no consultation with its member first nations on a draft, contents, or potential negative effects to its member first nations that may arise from the introduction of the proposed first nations governance bill.

    In addition, the five minutes allocated to the London District Chiefs Council today should not be construed as constituting a consultation process that will alleviate the federal government of its legal, constitutional, fiduciary, and moral responsibilities towards first nations.

    I'd like to give you an overview of the recommendations coming from the London District Chiefs Council.

    The London District Chiefs Council recommends that Bill C-7 not proceed to become an act of Parliament. The London district chiefs submit that contrary to the stated purpose of Bill C-7 as outlined in the preamble and clause 3, to provide first nations with more effective tools of governance, Bill C-7 does the opposite.

    The London District Chiefs Council further recommends that the Government of Canada immediately enter into negotiations with the London district council first nations to ensure the provision of adequate resources in a realistic timeframe to enable the London district nations to properly revitalize their traditional community-based self-government structures and processes.

    The self-government structures and processes shall be developed at the community level in accordance with the wishes and direction of the people, rather than under the direction of the Department of Indian Affairs--INAC--or the federal government. In this manner, first nations can develop governance structures that will be culturally relevant, durable, and accepted by the people.

    A summary of the recommendations and a brief description of the specific concerns of the London District Chiefs Council will follow this list of recommendations.

    One, Bill C-7 should not proceed to become an act of Parliament.

    Two, a new relation must be negotiated between first nations and Canada. Such a relationship must be based on good faith and be realistic, while offering certainty, stability, and accountability between Canada and the first nations. The new arrangement will legally obligate Canada to provide adequate resources to enable first nations to become self-governing communities, based on their traditional structures and governance.

    Three, non-abrogation and non-derogation clauses must be a part of any legislation presented by either the provinces or the federal government that may affect aboriginal and treaty rights.

    Four, the Government of Canada must revoke its policy as expressed in the federal policy guide, The Government of Canada's Approach to Implementation ofthe Inherent Right and the Negotiation of Aboriginal Self-Government. The policies expressed in this document would be replaced by fully negotiated self-government agreements with first nations that would be limited by affordability and by agreements that recognize a full complement of rights as expressed in section 35 of the Canadian Constitution.

À  +-(1005)  

    Any future legislation considered by Canada may only be implemented with the full and informed consent of affected first nations. Such legislation must contain meaningful governance powers, and it must lead to the dismantling of the Department of Indian Affairs, in a timely manner, with full authority and management of first nations affairs transferred to the first nations themselves.

    There are specific concerns. First of all, we feel that Bill C-7 is unconstitutional. Bill C-7 is not in compliance with the Constitution of Canada, as it does not contain a non-abrogation or non-derogation clause.

    Section 25 of the Constitution states that the charter “shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any aboriginal, treaty or other rights”. However, the last “whereas” in the preamble to Bill C-7 allows for the exercise of powers and capacities under all acts of Parliament to be subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This contradicts the clear and unequivocal wording of section 25 of the charter, whereby the interpretation of the Charter of Rights shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from aboriginal and treaty rights.

    If a constitutional amendment is proposed, it must be undertaken in a proper manner, and not within the whim of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Minister of Indian Affairs, or the federal government in a unilateral process.

    The charter is comprised of sections 1 through 33. If the charter is to apply to first nations rights in governance, it would imply that the Oakes test is a correct standard to apply the consideration of aboriginal and first nation treaty rights. To do this would be to ignore the sui generis or the uniqueness in nature of aboriginal and treaty rights. In addition, it would ignore numerous Supreme Court of Canada decisions that provide special protections and considerations when examining and interpreting aboriginal and treaty rights. Cases such as R. v. Sparrow, R. v. Sioui, Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, and the judicial advancements made in the recognition of aboriginal and treaty rights would be lost, ignored, or overridden by applying that section.

    Here are our recommendations.

    The Constitution Act, 1982 entrenched the inherent right of self-government for all first nation peoples. Bill C-7 fails to abide by the rule of law. It does so by attempting to make a unilateral amendment to a constitutionally protected right, via the legislative change, without proper consultation with the affected first nations.

    Bill C-7 must not be allowed to proceed to become law in Canada, because it directly conflicts with the wording of the charter, as well as with the spirit and intent of the treaties signed between the Crown and the first nations. The honour of the Crown is at stake in its dealings with first nations. This process does not respect the fiduciary duty owed by Canada to first nations.

    Secondly, Bill C-7 does not address the real issues of governance. Both the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, known as RCAP, and a Harvard University study of American Indian governance identified three necessary components essential to effective governance--namely, legitimacy, power, and adequate resources. The London District Chiefs Council submits that Bill C-7 does not properly address these three necessary components.

    “Legitimacy” refers to public confidence in the support for the government. The structure proposed in Bill C-7 will serve to diminish the level of legitimacy first nations will have for the governance structures we envision.

    The combined effect of clauses 31 and 33, subclause 16(2, under “Law-making Powers”, subclause 17(2), “Laws for band purposes”, and subclause 18(3), “Laws re band governance”, will render any laws desired by the first nations unenforceable, even at their own instance. This is because Bill C-7 makes first nation codes or laws subject to the paramountcy of any other acts of Parliament in any regulations made under the First Nations Governance Act.

À  +-(1010)  

    The London District Chiefs Council submits that meaningful governance, final and absolute jurisdiction in matters that affect internal concerns and issues, must remain in the hands of the first nations. Otherwise, certain first nations individuals will be free to appeal their first nation government's decisions to outside sources such as INAC or the courts, and this will render first nations governance decisions unenforceable.

    By virtue of clause 33, all band-designed codes are subject to the regulations that may be made by the governor in council. This means that following a process of extensive community consultation and the emergence of a general consensus as to how first nations will govern themselves, first nations governments will be unable to enforce the will of the people over that of the Governor in Council. In effect, all legitimacy in the eyes of our people will be lost or undermined.

    Power: this refers to the acknowledged legal capacity to act. Again, the combined effect of certain above-mentioned clauses of Bill C-7 along with clause 56 renders first nation law-making powers nonexistent. First nations under Bill C-7 would always be subject to regulations dealing with first nations and enacted by the governor in council without first nations consent.

    Bill C-7 in the hands of the Governor in Council remains the ultimate authority over first nations laws. It provides no assurances that first nations' wishes will be upheld and not overridden. The London District Chiefs Council is concerned that clause 33 combined with clause 56, amending the former section 88, will make provincial laws applicable to first nations territories at the sole discretion of the Governor in Council.

    Resources: this refers to the necessary economic, financial, and human resources required to exercise governmental authority and to satisfy the needs and expectations of its citizens. Nowhere in Bill C-7 are there assurances of additional resources for training, for culturally specific or relevant institutional development, or for wages to enable first nations to meet the new responsibilities currently being conferred on them.

    These responsibilities are in clauses 4 to 7 for the development of codes, clause 11 for the establishment of an independent tribunal or body, clauses 16 to 18 for community consultation processes needed to enact and enforce laws, and clauses 23 to 29 for the training of band enforcement officers properly to avoid any liability issues.

    There is no assurance that a new fiscal relationship will be entered into between first nations and the federal government as envisioned and recommended by RCAP. The London District Chiefs Council believes that Bill C-7 does nothing to enhance the economic, financial, and human resources areas essential to true and effective self-government. Bill C-7 actually decreases first nations' powers over the very areas needed to achieve effective governance. In addition, Bill C-7 expects first nations to administer additional areas of jurisdiction without additional resources. This is a recipe for failure.

    Recommendation two: The government should immediately enter into negotiations with first nations with a view to establish a new fiscal relationship. Such a relationship can only be achieved by good faith negotiations on both sides. Both parties must be realistic in terms of timeframes for implementation as well as have a realistic determination and allocation of required resources. A new fiscal relationship will offer first nations stability, certainty, and accountability. In addition, these conditions must contain assurances that first nations funding will not be unfairly or arbitrarily reduced or withheld by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

    The inherent rights model versus the delegated rights model. The preamble to Bill C-7 refers to the policy the Canadian government has developed regarding the inherent right of self-government. In this document Canada acknowledges that the inherent right of self-government is an existing right within section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

    However, this federal policy guide limits the scope of what first nations believe is included in the inherent rights of self-government. The federal government takes the position that the only rights first nations people have are those delegated to them under various laws such as the Indian Act and the Constitution.

À  +-(1015)  

    The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples took a different view. In its opinion,

as a matter of Canadian constitutional law, Aboriginal peoples also have the inherent right of self-government within Canada. This right stems from the original status of Aboriginal peoples as independent and sovereign nations in the territories they occupied. (...) Generally, the sphere of inherent Aboriginal jurisdiction under section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982 comprises all matters relating to the good government and welfare of Aboriginal peoples and their territories.

    Bill C-7 does not recognize a real inherent rights model. It is based on the delegated rights model that is limited by a federal government policy of affordability.

    First nations rights should not be limited by a government policy document when such rights are constitutionally protected and have not been fully or fairly addressed. The concept of continuity as expressed by RCAP is that aboriginal people did not lose or give up their inherent rights when they entered into a confederational relationship with the Crown. The London District Chiefs Council asserts that position today. For first nations there has never been an abandonment or a revocation of their inherent rights. However, Canada's refusal to include a non-abrogation or non-derogation clause raises suspicions that Bill C-7 may be a deliberate attempt specifically designed to revoke first nations' inherent rights.

    Recommendation three: The federal government must always include non-abrogation and non-derogation clauses in any document that purports to deal with aboriginal treaty and constitutionally guaranteed rights of first nations.

    Recommendation four: The federal government should immediately amend or revoke its policy on the implementation of inherent rights in negotiations for self-government to accurately reflect this sui generis position of first nations.

    Time limitations imposed in Bill C-7 are unrealistic. The two-year limitation imposed upon first nations in Bill C-7 is too short to enable first nations to develop their institutions through extensive community input. Without such input any governance structures arrived at by the first nations will lack legitimacy in the eyes of the community. It may be necessary to consider a process lasting one or two generations, considering the amount of time successive Canadian governments have had to dismantle first nations' self-governing institutions.

    There are important issues not addressed by Bill C-7. The London District Chiefs Council believes that the following list of issues should form an integral part of any legislation that attempts to recognize the self-governing powers of first nations in Canada: nation recognition legislation; membership issues controlled at the first nation level and not by the Indian Act or the First Nations Governance Act; fair land acquisitions in addition-to-reserve policies; matrimonial and property rights jurisdiction on first nations territories; aiming towards gradual dismantling of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada in favour of first nations governance and administration on first nations' terms; clarification of first nations as a separate level of governance with commensurate funding to ensure success that will give full effect to the original spirit and intent of our treaties.

    Recommendation five: The Government of Canada, in consultation and partnership with first nations, must begin immediately to develop some form of first nation recognition legislation that clearly recognizes the contribution by first nations to the history of Canada. Further, we recommend that such legislation enact real self-government as understood by first nations.

    Lastly, the gradual elimination of the role of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada must be foremost in any self-government agreements or accompanying legislation.

    In our end notes concerning Regina v. Oakes and Regina v. Sparrow we quote the Supreme Court that “it is true that s. 35(1) is not subject to s. 1 of the Charter”, and in Sioui, “The very definition of a treaty thus makes it impossible to avoid the conclusion that a treaty cannot be extinguished without the consent of the Indians concerned.” In Regina v. Delgamuukw,

Since the purpose of s. 35(1) is to reconcile the prior presence of aboriginal peoples in North America with the assertion of Crown sovereignty, it is clear from this statement that s. 35(1) must recognize and affirm both aspects of that prior presence--first, the occupation of land, and second, the prior social organization and distinctive cultures of aboriginal peoples on that land.

    Meegwetch.

À  +-(1020)  

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    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    Does Mr. Powless also have a presentation?

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    Mr. Martin Powless (Technical Adviser, London District Chiefs Council): No, I'm just assisting Chief Maness.

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    The Chair: At the beginning of your presentation you said “the five minutes allocated to”. Just for the record, it's 45 minutes. The presentation was 20 minutes, which is fine. I just wanted to straighten that out. I wouldn't want people to believe that we gave you only five minutes. You were asked to make a five-minute presentation.

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    Chief Phil Maness: I apologize for any misunderstanding, Mr. Chairman.

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    The Chair: It's not a big deal.

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    Chief Phil Maness: That was referring to my five minutes. I wish I had the 45 minutes.

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    The Chair: You do have them.

    Mr. Martin, five minutes.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

    Thank you, Chief Maness.

    Maybe Mr. Powless would like to take this question. Under the legitimacy category, you point out that under Bill C-7 first nations individuals would be free to appeal first nations government decisions to outside sources, such as the courts. A lot of the problems in first nations communities stem from a lack of resources, especially now with Bill C-31 people coming back to the community with no additional resources to accommodate them. Would a person be able to sue if they weren't given housing, for instance, even though the band had no money to provide housing, or sue over a doorknob? That's the way one presenter put it. There might just be a flood of litigation over issues in the first nations communities. Could you speak to why you cite that as a concern?

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    Chief Phil Maness: I'll speak first, and then I'll let Martin add any additional comments.

    I can only speak as the chief of my particular community. Right now we have people who have been reinstated into our community, otherwise known as Bill C-31 people. We have a waiting list of members wanting to come back into the community. I'm not saying they are specifically Bill C-31 people. I have a housing list for approximately 200 people in our community. That's just off the top. We're planning to build a subdivision, and we have to look at resources to be able to do that. So there's a lot of pressure on the leadership within the community to find the resources to be able to do that.

    Right now we have limited resources. We do have plans to do those things, but it's a matter of the accessibility of the proper resources to accommodate that.

    To get to your point about whether there would be any concerns, when looking at Bill C-7, I see that as a liability on the band for not being able to provide the proper resources for individuals coming back into the community, although that is our objective.

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    Mr. Martin Powless: I'd like to add to that, if I could.

    This refers to subclause 11(1) of the bill, where it says “The council of a band shall”. That's a directive to form an impartial body. We simply don't have the resources to do that. We'd love to do that. If we had a commitment from the Government of Canada to do that, I think it would go a long way toward being able to keep jurisdictional issues and internal matters within our own territorial boundaries. Right now, challenges to any band council decision have to go immediately to a judicial review in a federal court. However, when it comes to an alternative dispute resolution system in our own communities, we do need resources to develop these things, but that's just not forthcoming in this bill. I think part of self-government is inherent jurisdiction within territories, and we need to develop that.

À  +-(1025)  

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    Mr. Pat Martin: I'll pass. Thank you. I'll wait till the next round.

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    The Chair: Mr. Hubbard, five minutes.

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    Mr. Charles Hubbard: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

    Good morning. Thank you for a very good presentation.

    I want to put on the record again, Mr. Chair, that the spirit of our meeting always has been that it will be a sharing among political parties. I'm rather disappointed today that our colleague opposite feels that he is the person who represents in fact four parties at this table. It's somewhat amazing that he can move from being a Bloc member, to a Conservative member, to an Alliance member, and then back to his own NDP.

    In any case, Mr. Chair, I would like to share my time with Mr. Godfrey. We'll use our five minutes together.

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    The Chair: Mr. Godfrey.

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    Mr. John Godfrey: I hope you'll indulge me.

    I find your presentation very interesting, and it's not the first time I've heard the arguments. But one of the advantages of hearing arguments again and again is being able to reflect on them and to try to come to a better understanding through this process.

    My questions may sound very simple, but I think they're fundamental questions. My question is about understanding the terms. What triggered it was your observation that treaties of the sort the aboriginal people undertook with Europeans had a unique quality to them. They were not like, in other words, traditional European western treaties. They had something special about them.

    If that's true, is it also true that other terms like “nation” or “territory” have a unique quality about them, which is not reflected in traditional European language? I'd like to find out the answer to that, and then, if that's so, I'll tell you what I think it means.

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    Chief Phil Maness: Again, I'm here representing the London District Chiefs Council, and I'm very familiar with the fact that among those eight communities there are four treaties.

    In my community there are two first nations that are a part of one treaty. It's called the Treaty of Amherstburg, a treaty that was signed in 1827 with the British Crown. We set four tracts of land aside in that treaty. They set aside those four tracts of land for the exclusive use of the Ojibway people, in return for a surrender of 2.3 million acres of land in our area, which is known as Lambton County. They were set aside for the exclusive use, and I haven't seen--except through the process of the federal Indian Act--where there was relinquishment of the existing territories that are there now.

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    Mr. John Godfrey: Not the 2.3 million?

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    Chief Phil Maness: No. It's gone.

À  +-(1030)  

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    Mr. John Godfrey: It's the original two tracts you refer to.

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    Chief Phil Maness: Four. There are four tracts.

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    Mr. John Godfrey: Four tracts. Sorry.

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    The Chair: Mr. Hubbard.

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    Mr. Charles Hubbard: Unless Nancy wants to say something.... Do we still have time, Mr. Chair?

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    The Chair: You still have 45 seconds for your party.

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    Mr. Charles Hubbard: Stan?

    Mr. Stan Dromisky: No, 45 seconds is not enough.

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    The Chair: Mr. Martin.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: I'm taking constant pot shots from the Liberal side because I'm the only opposition member here. The way I understood the rules of our committee is that the government side would ask the questions, then the opposition side would ask questions. And I don't think I'm making up any new rules here. I'm the only opposition party member who chose to be here today, so I don't feel bad about taking the time allocated to the opposition.

    Having said that, though, and speaking of time, I'd like to refer to your recommendation number four, in which you find fault with the two-year limitation, with the idea that if you don't put in place codes of governance that are fitting with Bill C-7 within two years, then you will have such rules imposed on you. I'd like your further comments on the fairness of that. I'll let you talk on that alone. Do you see that?

    The Harvard study feels that this dooms the situation to failure because communities will not support or live under rules and codes of governance they didn't have any part in creating, etc. Can you speak about the problematic aspect of that?

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    Chief Phil Maness: Yes.

    Under recommendation number four, the comment was made that because of what's outlined in the bill, the two-year limitation to be able to develop those procedures so that we have a certain amount of time to be able to put these things in place, that is to be legislated.... Again, from the aspect of the first nation communities we come from--and I'll give you four things that come to mind--from a community perspective we've been moving spiritually, socially, culturally, and economically. We've been reviving the things back at our community level. This has taken us time.

    There are a number of issues we've been working on--I'll go back 30 years--to improve the quality of life in our communities and to revive the culture and the spirituality, and these things that we've already been developing in the community. This bill then comes along and tells us to turn around, and it says, by the way, now we have to go this way because the Government of Canada tells us that this is the way it has to be, and if we don't do it then here are some consequences to it. That's as fair as I can put it.

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    Mr. Martin Powless: I would like to add to that too. The whole question goes back to legitimacy. If our people see that maybe we're undertaking the process to determine what they want to see as our governance structures, then the two-year time limit ends, and all of a sudden this is enforced upon us, that's not self-governance.

    That's what we're talking about, the three critical areas of governance, and legitimacy is the most important one to us, I think, because without it you're not going to have the support of your people. And the timeframe is way too unrealistic.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: We have actually had some witnesses go even further and say that it undermines the very idea of self-governance to impose upon people codes of governance that they didn't have any role in creating. Surely, part of self-governance is the right to build governance institutions that suit your own customs and traditions.

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    Martin Powless: I think it's akin to the powers of the federal government--peace, order, and good governance, within our territories, for our people, at the direction of them. To us, I think governance means the legitimate implementation of the will of our people.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Further on, costs, because you've tied--

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    The Chair: Ten seconds.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: We'll wait.

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    The Chair: Mr. Dromisky, four minutes.

+-

    Mr. Stan Dromisky: Yes, thank you very much.

    First of all, when I look at the document that you have presented to us, I see this as demanding years of deliberation, consultation, and so forth. To achieve the kinds of goals you've established here might take more than a lifetime. It certainly is not going to happen in my lifetime. We're talking about Utopia, possibly, I don't know.

    I was a little bit concerned by a statement that you have regarding resources. At the bottom of the page, you state that Bill C-7 actually decreases first nations' powers over the very areas needed to achieve effective governance. I'm new on the committee. I see the bill as an attempt to bring about more effective relationships between management level and the people of the Indian community; in other words, between the band members and the chief and council. It's to increase and bring about a more effective relationship there that is more meaningful.

    Knowledge is extremely important. Governance, who is going to govern? For example, say there is a chief who acts in a dictatorial manner, saying that this shall be and everybody obeys without question. They don't know what they're obeying but they just have to obey. Knowledge is a very important factor here. How much knowledge does council and the chief pass on to the community? How much do they know? We know a lot of chiefs are doing a very good job here, a tremendous job. But we also know we've been hearing in the last two or three weeks about areas where no information is being passed on, or maybe misinformation is being passed on to the community.

    So how could governance take place in an effective, positive manner in a community of that nature where we have that kind of leadership? Knowledge, for the general population of each community, is critical. It has to be shared. It has to be given. Transparency is an absolute must. I can't see Bill C-7 being a hindrance to the sharing of knowledge. I can see an encouragement for the communities to develop their own effective policies so that all knowledge is shared within that community. That's the way I look at it.

    Can I have your reaction to that?

À  +-(1035)  

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    Martin Powless: I guess that's the fundamental difference between the ways we think. Our people want to go directly to our people and consult them. Maybe that hasn't happened in the past, but that's why we're suggesting here that it's going to take a couple of generations. Maybe we've been forced into this mode of thinking by restrictive governance powers, which haven't really been given to first nations.

    It's a reversal process. Yes, knowledge has to be communicated to our people and there has to be a two-way flow of it, but everybody has become so individualized that they have to go and live their own life and to earn a living within the broader Canadian society. It's going to take a long time to reverse that process, to be able to come back together and be more unified, like we used to be. Our people used to live in longhouses, 80 to 100 in each, but nowadays that doesn't happen any more because of the necessities Canadian society has forced us into.

    So it's going to take a long time. It's not going to happen in two years, that's for sure.

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    The Chair: Thank you.

    We have time for a three-minute round, which will leave two minutes for closing remarks.

    Mr. Martin, for three minutes.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: I'd just as soon leave them more time for closing remarks, if they wish, so I'll pass.

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    The Chair: Do we agree?

    The next one will be Ms. Karetak-Lindell. Three minutes. Two minutes, you said?

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    Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell: Thank you.

    You talked a lot about not having the resources to accommodate the people who are living in your reserves now. I've spoken to some people who live in the urban centres because they feel that there aren't any jobs for them to have a meaningful life on their reserve even if they did want to go back. So I understand the big struggle some people have that they really would like to live in a community amongst their own people and have their children grow up with their family around them, but because of economic situations they're forced to live in the city.

    If you had the adequate resources to accommodate the housing and provide jobs for people, how many people do you think would move back? You said you had 200 people on the waiting list for units. Would you anticipate a larger number of people wanting to move back to their communities if the situation were better for them to move back to?

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    Chief Phil Maness: Yes. Your comments are very well taken. And again, the people represented by the London District Chiefs Council are located in southwestern Ontario, and we're in an economic zone that's really close to a border city.

    In my particular community of Aamjiwnaang, we're right on the border. The community has just allowed us to expand on a second phase of an industrial park. We've been able to work with industry to be able to bring industry in and to create the employment opportunities from an economic sense to be able to develop those resources so that our people can come home and there will be something there for them.

    And to answer your question, when we're able to build those resources at home, I have no doubt that the community members will come home. We've been working at that level, and as we develop those resources it's helping us to be able to create that quality of life in the community.

    And for the record, the Chippewas of Aamjiwnaang have an unemployment rate in our community that's close to the national average for the on-reserve population. So we're quite proud of that. Mind you, that's been done because we've been able to establish partnerships within our various industries, something that sometimes is very limited within the present policies of the federal government of Canada.

À  +-(1040)  

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    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    This leaves you four minutes for closing remarks.

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    Chief Phil Maness: On behalf of the London District Chiefs Council, I want to thank you for hearing us today.

    When I think of my time growing up here where I am--and I introduced you to my clan, my Turtle Clan--in the seven clans of our community, my community of my nation, I sit before you here not under the policies of the federal government. Through the policies of the federal government under the Indian Act I am elected chief of my community under a democratic process that allows me to get in by the majority vote. But we are working on a concept in our communities that allows me within my identity of who I am as Anishinabe nini.... Under my Turtle Clan I'm a mediator; I am not the chief. And when we are able to understand and rebuild these things that were taught by our elders to our people, that is true governance to me and my people.

    There are seven communities that I represent here today who feel the same way, whether they are the Onkwehon:we, the Anishnabe people, or the Delaware. By this way that I've demonstrated to you today, we are improving on the quality of life in our communities. And I look forward to my grandchildren being able to understand Gizheminidoo under our language and understand our language and bring it back from our perspective. That can only be done by developing the resources within ourselves and being allowed to develop partnerships for our people within our people and the outside, within our territories as recognized by us.

    To me, that is true governance of the people. And that is becoming recognized by the people. That's becoming recognized by our grandchildren. And the language is coming back and the identities are coming back in terms of their roles and responsibilities as individuals in our communities. That's governance. Nobody but ourselves has the right to determine that; it's only ourselves who have the right to do it.

    Meegwetch.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much. I want to thank you very much for an excellent presentation, and I know that it will be very helpful.

    I ask your advice. Chief Doxtator is not here, correct?

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    Chief Phil Maness: That's correct.

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    The Chair: Are either one of you from the Oneida Nation of the Thames?

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    Mr. Martin Powless: I am, but I understand there's a different delegation that's going to present on behalf of--

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    The Chair: There is a different group.

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    Mr. Martin Powless: I think they're up next, and I don't know if they're here yet.

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    The Chair: That's fine. There's another group before. That's fine. So we thank you very much.

    I now invite the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Grand Chief Ronald Maracle, to the table.

    Welcome, Grand Chief, we have 30 minutes together. We invite you to make a presentation, which will be followed by questions from members. Also, I invite you to introduce your colleagues.

    Please proceed.

À  +-(1045)  

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    Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle (Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte): [Witness speaks in his native language]

    Good morning, everybody.

    I will introduce the delegation from the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. I am Chief R. Donald Maracle of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. With me are Councillor Christine Claus, a nurse by profession; Chris McCormick, Grand Chief of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, of which Tyendinaga is a member; and Mrs. Lorraine Hill, a former grade four teacher and also the administrator of the cultural program at Quinte Mohawk School. She taught at Quinte Mohawk School for twenty-some years, and she was the wife of the late Chief Earl Hill, who was chief for twenty years in our community and who was my predecessor and mentor. Also here are another elder, Keitha Barberstuck, and Connie Perron, who currently has a case before the courts on the lack of equality for aboriginal women.

    [Witness speaks in his native language]

    Greetings, honourable members of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs. The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte appreciate the opportunity to state our opposition to Bill C-7, the First Nations Governance Act, an act respecting Indian leadership selection, administration, and accountability of Indian bands and to make related amendments to other acts.

    For the record, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte are not consenting to, approving, or acquiescing to any infringement of our aboriginal, customary, inherent, or treaty rights to self-determination of the Mohawk Nation. Our attendance and participation in this forum is not to be construed as consultation.

    It is appropriate at this time to remind the Crown of the ancient covenants made by our Mohawk ancestors, where it was agreed that our relationship would be nation to nation. The Guswentah, the Two Row Wampum Treaty belt, was presented to British colonial officials by the Five Nations Haudenosaunee Confederacy in the 1600s. There were two rows of purple beads separated by three rows of white beads. The two purple rows symbolized two nations travelling down the same river of life. Both vessels move side by side in the same direction and neither interferes with the other.

    The Mohawk people have been political and military allies of the Crown for over three centuries. We have rendered distinguished military service in the defence of the Crown in every military conflict since 1759. Our service in the War of 1812 protected the land that would one day become Canada.

    In your consideration of appropriate governance laws, great care must be taken not to undermine our ancient treaties, our conventions, and the rights of our nation that are now protected in section 35 of the 1982 Constitution Act.

    The Mohawk Nation has an inherent right to self-determination. Domestic sovereignty over the internal affairs of our nation has never been surrendered to any other government. The matters that are contemplated in Bill C-7 are internal matters that reside within the jurisdiction of the Mohawk Nation.

    Mohawk laws must reflect the customs, values, and traditions of the Mohawk people. The Penner committee and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, RCAP, supported this view. RCAP recognized the importance of self-determination and declared that those things such as leadership selection, reporting, redress, and accountability are inherent rights within the jurisdiction of first nations governance.

    In rendering its conclusion, RCAP said the first nations could legislate in respect of these core areas on their own, without the need for further federal legislation. Section 35 of the Constitution Act of 1982 recognized and affirmed existing aboriginal inherent and treaty rights at the date of the enactment. The inherent right of self-determination is one of those rights.

À  +-(1050)  

    Before the Westminster Parliament consented to the patriation of Canada's Constitution, Lord Denning ruled that the first nations peoples had aboriginal treaty and inherent rights and that Canada had a fiduciary obligation to recognize and support the implementation of those rights. This remains an outstanding constitutional responsibility Canada must fulfill in its relationship with first nations people.

    Prescriptive, delegated legislation enacted as a matter of federal prerogative under section 91(24) of the British North America Act is not enacted within the spirit of a section 35 right. It is fundamentally essential to have the support of the first nations peoples and their democratically elected governments before any legislative amendment is passed by Parliament, because it is ultimately the first nations people who will be most affected and impacted by the legislative change.

    It is highly doubtful that the consultation process used for Bill C-7 is adequate in terms of the requirements of section 35 of the Constitution Act. The consultation reports only a very marginal 2% participation.

    The Assembly of First Nations has gone on record by way of resolution as opposing Bill C-7. Many first nations are aware that the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians is currently challenging the enactment of this law in the Federal Court. No member of Parliament can say, within this climate of aboriginal opposition to Bill C-7, that there is a mandate from first nations people to proceed with the legislation.

    If it is the intention of Canada to infringe on the existing aboriginal inherent right of first nations people to self-determination, then Canada must justify that infringement. To process legislation through Parliament without proper consultation and expressed consent compromises the honour of the Crown.

    Since 1959 the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte auditors have given us unqualified audit opinions. We have an excellent record of accomplishment on accountability and financial management. We are not opposed to transparency and accountability.

    Finally, our comments and observations are not intended to offend the Minister of Indian Affairs or any other member of the parliamentary process. We call upon Canada to re-examine the serious potential this legislation has to infringe on our inherent right of self-determination. We ask Canada to begin a legislative process that allows for a renewed partnership built upon the sure foundation of mutual respect, consent, and cooperation.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much, Grand Chief.

    If no other members of your delegation have a presentation to make, we can go to questions right away. We will allow time for closing remarks.

    Mr. Martin, you have five minutes.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Thank you very much for an excellent, very clear brief. I would hope everyone around this table heard you well, because it was stated in such a way that it takes very complex issues and renders them down into very understandable language. We all appreciate that, I think.

    The first point I was going to raise is I'm pleased that you stated at the front of your presentation that you don't want your attendance here today to be interpreted as consultation under the legal definition of the term. We've heard right across the country many complaints that there was a lack of true consultation in the development of this bill, and you don't want anyone saying down the road, well, we consulted the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, and they were part of that consultation. Thank you for doing that.

    You've categorically stated what your views are if the intent of this bill is to infringe on inherent aboriginal or treaty rights. I'll just ask you to expand on that, your apprehension that this bill can and does interfere with or infringe on basic treaty rights.

À  +-(1055)  

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    Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle: The governance model should come from the Mohawk Nation. I don't support the notion that's currently in the legislation that there can be one model that will be universal all across Canada for aboriginal governments. There are different customs, cultures, and traditions and there are economic factors that are different that will impact on the laws the first nations would develop.

    What there needs to be is a recognition on the part of Canada of the jurisdiction and the inherent right. Those issues have always been placed before the courts to make those decisions. There has been a reluctance on the part of the political masters of both the federal and provincial governments to give shape and definition to the meaning of aboriginal rights, treaty rights, and inherent rights. This is outstanding business Lord Denning said Canada needed to address when Great Britain agreed to patriate Canada's Constitution.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: It's only once in a generation that any government seems to find the political will to even address aboriginal issues. If there were a true consultation process, would it be fair to say that the input of the Mohawk of the Bay of Quinte would be that these would not be the details or items you would choose to have? If you had this opportunity to do something, would these have been the issues that you would have chosen to have at the table today?

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    Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle: Jurisdiction has always been a source of conflict among the aboriginal, federal, and provincial governments. It has never been sorted out. In the face of conflict or some urgency to get something done, the governments have often just acted unilaterally, oftentimes without consultation or adequate consultation. There has always been a tendency to impose the Canadian society's view of the world on first nations people, even on the internal matters within our own community. Oftentimes, it's simply not appropriate.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: We heard last night from senior members of the Anglican and United Churches and the Quakers. They support your point of view and feel that Bill C-7 should be withdrawn.

    Have you garnered a fair amount of support in the non-aboriginal community for your positions? Do you sense that non-aboriginal people are with you and your point of view on this?

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    Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle: My perception is that Canadian people recognize that aboriginal people have faced an awful lot of dispossession of our land and rights. Our culture has been attacked by the institutions that were supposed to take care of our people.

    I think there would be a wellspring of support from the Canadian public recognizing the inherent right of self-government, especially over matters domestic to our own community.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    Mr. Laliberte, for five minutes.

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    Mr. Rick Laliberte (Churchill River, Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Chair.

    Thank you for sharing the Mohawk perspective of governance.

    I wanted to base my question on your statement that we cannot have a universal structure of codes across the country. The very definition of this act is the First Nations Governance Act.

    I wanted to see if you would agree or if you know of any evidence of any legal document in Canada that recognizes the Mohawks as a nation, or the Oneida, the Tuscarora, the Seneca.

    I would like to see this committee consider an amendment to this bill on the definition of “first nations of Canada”, to include all the nations as we know them, as the Cree nehiyaw, as the Dene, the Tlinget, the Haida, the Mi'kmaq, the Ojibway.

    The reason I propose this is that Bill C-7 acknowledges there is custom code, but that custom code of governance flows from nations. So in parallel to the federal government, which is the first order of government in this country, and the second order of provincial, and third order of municipal, we have nations, tribes, and bands--which are camps--as exemplified in the treaty of the Two Row Wampum.

    This specifically looks at the governance of bands, but it misses the governance structure of tribes and nations. Maybe it's time, before the close of the indigenous decade--which is next year, 2004--that we as Canadians, with the coexistence of the original nations of Canada, identify to the world who we are.

    And maybe this bill.... It even challenges us with a two-year default to collect the custom codes before they're approved. This is a major challenge. Some people say we can't do it in two years. I beg to differ. I think the original confederations among our nations are in place already. The relationship between the original nations must be exercised.

    The royal commission recommended that in order for governance to be considered self-governance, it has to be based on nations. There was also a recommendation deep in the royal commission that recommended an aboriginal Parliament, and eventually a third house of Parliament.

    That relationship would exemplify the Two Row Wampum--the two vessels. One is the vessel of the newcomers, and the other is the original vessel of our ways of governance, language, and sacred objects. That vessel has to be.... I feel it's alive, that it has to be awakened. In order to awaken it, we have to identify the nations.

    I'm asking if this committee should consider the definition of “first nations of Canada”, as it's identified in section 35--the Inuit, the Métis, and first nations. Should this governance act look at the definition of “first nations” as the nations--the Mohawk, the Oneida--and list all the nations of Canada?

Á  +-(1100)  

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    The Chair: Unfortunately, you have only about 50 seconds to respond.

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    Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle: You've asked specifically for documents I could refer to. In the case of our nation, there is the Simcoe Treaty 3½, which has been published by the Queen's Printer since 1890. It was enacted by the Crown on April 1, 1793. It recognizes and respects domestic sovereignty and that the laws that have paramountcy in relation to the people of the Mohawk Nation at Tyendinaga are the customs of our own people. It's protected as a treaty right.

    The other document I can refer you to is within Canada's own Constitution, the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which recognized that there were Indian nations to whom the Crown was connected. It didn't say the Crown controlled them through its legislation; the Crown was connected with the aboriginal nations. This meant, in my interpretation, they had some relationship with them. It was usually political and military.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much. I'm sorry, the members took four-fifths of your time to ask the question.

    Mr. Martin is next, for a four-minute round. That will be four minutes each, and there will be about four minutes for closing remarks. So you can address anything you want in those four minutes.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: I won't need my whole four minutes, but I would like you to comment on the absence of a non-derogation clause in the bill, giving rise to apprehension from many first nations we've heard from. If it isn't the intention to infringe on inherent rights, then why did they deliberately leave out a non-derogation clause that would give some comfort to those people who would be affected by it?

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    Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle: I guess you're asking me a question that only the government can answer.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: I'm asking your views on it. Would you be joining the voices of many in calling for some comfort in that regard?

Á  +-(1105)  

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    Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle: That is really one of the fundamental questions that aboriginal people and leaders are asking. Why is it not there?

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Fair enough.

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    The Chair: Is there anyone on the Liberal side?

    We'll go to closing remarks.

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    Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle: The committee and the government have to examine themselves and ask themselves the fundamental question of whether they believe the right to self-government--or self-determination, as we like to call it--resides within the jurisdiction of the Mohawk Nation. Or do they believe that somehow or other that right has been minimized or extinguished, and it now resides with the Government of Canada?

    There is a fundamental conflict here with respect to the powers under section 91(24) of the British North America Act, or the rights that Canada is also obligated to respect and honour within the meaning of section 35(1) of the Constitution.

    Section 35(1) of the Constitution is there for a purpose and it's there for a meaning. To date, that is the work the government needs to put its mind to addressing. It is a very flawed process when laws are just passed arbitrarily and designed in secret by certain selected people in a process where aboriginal leaders are not sure what's in the bill until it's tabled in the House in Parliament. It's a process that really fails to engage the aboriginal community properly.

    There needs to be a different legislative model developed. Canada should pass a law that simply recognizes that certain powers that are constitutionally protected exist within aboriginal governments, much the same as the powers of the provincial government under the Constitution. It's a question of the recognition of jurisdiction, and this bill does not at all address that. It's really just a continuation of a colonial model, where Canada decides what's good for us based on its own values and traditions, not ours.

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    The Chair: We thank you very much for an excellent presentation.

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    Grand Chief R. Donald Maracle: Thank you very much.

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    The Chair: We now invite, from the Oneida Nation of the Thames, Chief Harry Doxtator, or delegate.

    Is Kim Thomas here?

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    Mr. Martin Powless: It doesn't appear that the main body of the Oneida Nation delegation has arrived. Maybe we can recess for a couple of minutes so I can get the people who are here.

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    The Chair: We could ask Chief Roberta Jamieson of the Six Nations of the Grand River if she is prepared to present now. Is Chief Jamieson here?

    No one has registered for spontaneous presentations. Is there anyone who wishes to make a two-minute spontaneous presentation and has not presented and is not scheduled to present to the committee?

    Please come forward. For the record, we'd like to have your name.

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    Ms. Marlene Martin (As Individual): My name is Marlene Martin. I am from Six Nations territory on the Grand River.

    I want to make only one comment for everybody's remembrance here. I've heard the word “nation” spoken many times this morning. I want to tell you about the framework within which we are thinking.

    The definition of nationhood is that there is land, there is language, and there are laws. I want to advise you and remind you that all of the Six Nations indeed had their lands in New York State, which we moved away from when helping the British Crown. We came here, and our land here is based on treaties that have been recognized.

    In addition, we all have our languages. Canada attempted to extinguish our languages, and we have resisted that. We have had our laws, and they were practised by our people.

    So I want to advise you all that the definition of nationhood is the basis on which we speak and come. We have land, we have language, and we have our laws.

    Thank you very much.

Á  +-(1110)  

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    The Chair: We thank you very much. That was very interesting.

    Is there anyone else? Is there anyone scheduled to present this afternoon who is here and is prepared to present now?

    We will suspend until the Oneida Nation of the Thames is here. That is within six minutes.

    Are you Mr. Kim Thomas? Which group do we have here now? Is it the Oneida Nation of the Thames?

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    Ms. Christine Claus (As Individual): No. We thought you were taking spontaneous presentations.

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    The Chair: We have three people at the table. I'm confused now.

Á  +-(1115)  

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    Ms. Christine Claus: We're spontaneous.

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    The Chair: We have Christine Claus to make a spontaneous presentation. Please proceed.

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    Ms. Christine Claus: Thank you for the opportunity to speak. I'll try to make my two minutes count for something.

    I believe our chief earlier introduced me as a council member of Tyendinaga Mohawk territory. I'm a nurse by profession. I'd like to speak to you about the absence of health care on first nations today.

    I believe the poor health of our first nations people is a central issue. If you were going to consider legislation, I would have thought that you would have considered some of the things that are most pressing on our territories and reserves. The absence of any kind of information about health in this legislation is, I feel, a dire omission. Diabetes is epidemic among first nations people. This bill says nothing that speaks to this issue.

    What I'm saying is that the things that are really important to us are absent in this legislation, and that's because there wasn't consultation with us. If you had asked us what was important, we wouldn't have said that our band councils need to be more responsible or more transparent, because we believe we're already more transparent than even the Canadian government itself.

    Our outstanding health and social issues, our housing issues, our lack of water, our poor road conditions, these things are important to our people, and these are the kinds of things we would have liked to have seen addressed.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    I should mention to everyone that we invite spontaneous presentations that speak to Bill C-7. Although we understand and welcome the comments you've made, we are already very much aware of the misgivings and the needs and the suffering of many, many persons from first nations.

    We've been given one specific job, and all of the other things that people say should be in this bill we agree should be addressed, but they would not be addressed in this bill. They would be addressed under different legislation. Sometimes you will probably not see any feedback from your comment, although it registers.

    The work of the committee is specific to Bill C-7 and the recommended amendments. We invite comments on that. But of course we accept your teachings, because we need to learn.

    Thank you.

    Are there any other presentations?

    We're at 11:15. We will now invite the Oneida Nation of the Thames. Chief Harry Doxtator is not here, but we have Rolanda Elijah, Al Day, Kim Thomas, and Randy Phillips. Are we all ready to go? The clock is running.

    We have 30 minutes, and the clock has just started. We welcome you. We invite you to make your presentations. Hopefully you will allow time for questions from members. Please proceed.

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    Ms. Rolanda Elija (As Individual): Good morning to the chairperson of the standing committee and members of the standing committee. My name is Rolanda Elijah, Oneida Nation.

    To all my relations who are here, [Witness speaks in her native language].

    To my right is our policy analyst for the Oneida Nation. His name is Randy Phillips. To my left is Kim Thomas, legal counsel.

    I do have a formal speech prepared, so I ask that you please indulge me while I read it.

    We would like to begin by thanking members of the standing committee for providing an opportunity for the Oneida Nation of the Thames to make this presentation, and hereby invite the opportunity to polish the Silver Covenant Chain, which sets out our original relationship based on peace, trust, eternal friendship, and a good mind.

    We do not intend to comment on substantive provisions of Bill C-7, “an act respecting leadership selection, administration, and accountability of Indian bands, and to make related amendments to other acts”, or the procedural issues, such as the duty to consult and the constitutional validity, associated with Bill C-7, as we take the position that Bill C-7 will not apply to the Onyota' a:ka Oneida Nation based on our unique history with the British Crown. Our presentation instead will focus on our understanding of our relationship with the British Crown and the duties and obligations of that relationship that are also assumed by the Canadian government.

    The Onyota' a:ka Nation takes the position that our relationship with the British Crown and the Canadian government is as described in the Silver Covenant Chain and the Two Row Wampum, the Kahswentha. The rights that flow from that relationship are constitutionally protected under section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982, being schedule B to the Canada Act, 1982, chapter 11. We view Bill C-7 as a direct violation of the Silver Covenant Chain and the Two Row Wampum. The Onyota' a:ka Nation has an obligation to provide its own system of governance for its people, as it has done since time immemorial.

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     I just want to get into this historic relationship with the British Crown by discussing the Silver Covenant Chain. I don't know if you're aware of it, so I'm going to get into that now very briefly.

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    The Chair: We invite you to do so, but we would like you to slow down just a little bit because of the translators.

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    Ms. Rolanda Elija: The Silver Covenant Chain describes the relationship between Great Britain and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The Onyota' a:ka Nation is a member nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The covenant chain is a symbol for each of our nations holding hands to share the covenant chain that binds our friendship so we may walk upon this earth in peace, trust, and friendship.

    Great Britain's symbol for this agreement was a covenant chain made of three silver links. The first link represented peace between us. The second link represented having a good mind. The third link was a symbol of eternal friendship. The covenant chain was to remain pure, strong, and untarnished to bind our nations together without causing them to lose their respective independence.

    As each of our nations holds the Silver Covenant Chain, each of our nations is responsible for keeping our relationship bright and preventing it from breaking. The Silver Covenant Chain binds our nations in a relationship of friendship and mutual coexistence as separate, independent nations. It was said that should the chain become tarnished, we would sit together once again to polish the links and renew our agreement.

    When the Haudenosaunee first encountered the representatives of the Dutch settlers, they also entered into a treaty known as the Two Row Wampum, the Kahswentha. This symbolized an agreement of peace, respect, and peaceful coexistence, which formed the foundation for subsequent treaties with the French, British, Canadians, and Americans.

    The belt was made with two parallel rows of purple wampum on a bed of white beads. The white was meant to symbolize the purity of the agreement. The two separate rows of purple beads were meant to symbolize and encompass the spirits of the Haudenosaunee and non-Haudenosaunee people and ancestors. Between the two rows of purple beads, three rows of white beads were placed. These were to stand for friendship, peace, and respect between the two nations.

    The two rows of purple beads further symbolized that the two nations of people in separate vessels travelled down the river parallel to each other. The Onkwehónwe Haudenosaunee are in our canoe. This symbolizes our cultures, laws, traditions, customs, and way of life. The non-native people are said to be in their own ship, which symbolizes their culture, laws, traditions, and customs.

    Each nation shall stay in their own vessel and travel the river side by side. Further, neither nation should try to steer the vessel of the other or interfere with or impede the travel of the other. The Onyota' a:ka Nation takes the position that the Two Row Wampum affirms and recognizes the ongoing relationship between Canada and the Onyota' a:ka Nation, and the right of each nation to manage its own affairs in an environment based on peace, friendship, and respect.

    One of the unique features of the Oneida Nation is an order in council that was made quite some time ago. After the American War of Independence, the Onyota' a:ka Nation was forcibly removed by state officials of New York. Accordingly, the Oneida Nation sent a delegation of its leaders in 1838 and again in 1839 to meet with representatives of the British Crown, as they desired to relocate to that portion of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy beaver hunting grounds where the current Onyota' a:ka Nation settlement lands are situated, near London, Ontario.

    The Onyota' a:ka Nation was welcomed by the Upper Canada government as old and faithful allies of Great Britain. Pursuant to an order in council dated August 14, 1840, representatives of the British Crown assured the leaders of the Onyota' a:ka Nation that upon their relocation they would have jurisdiction in the management of their property, but could receive, when they desired it, the advice, the countenance, and the protection of the Indian department and of the government to ensure the success of the Onyota' a:ka settlement.

    The Onyota' a:ka Nation was also guaranteed that it would receive, as a minimum, all of the rights and privileges of other first nations resident in Upper Canada, including exemption from taxation by government authorities in respect of its settlement lands.

    Before our chiefs agreed to relocate to our settlement lands, we first received the assurance through the order in council that we would be able to continue to manage our affairs on our settlement lands as we have done since time immemorial. This had previously been recognized through the Silver Covenant Chain and the Two Row Wampum. It was only after the order in council was passed guaranteeing these things that our people relocated to the settlement lands.

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Á  +-(1120)  

     Another issue that I wanted to bring to your attention is the Jarvis letter. This position was reaffirmed by way of a letter to Colonel Bruce, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, from Samuel P. Jarvis dated June 11, 1850, which sets out the rights and privileges that were to be extended to the Onyota' a:ka Nation on the settlement lands.

    The Onyota' a:ka Nation has continued to maintain its sophistication in the internal management of its own affairs. Since our relocation to the settlement lands in 1840, the Onyota' a:ka Nation settlement has continued to thrive.

    I just want to touch on some jurisdictional issues that the Onyota' a:ka Nation currently exercises. With few exceptions, these being other Haudenosaunee communities, the Onyota' a:ka Nation is unlike any other first nation in the United States or Canada, as our jurisdiction over our internal affairs has not been disrupted. When we relocated to our settlement lands, we brought with us the same jurisdiction we had over our internal affairs as that exercised in our homelands in New York State.

    Notwithstanding the passing of the Indian Act, the Onyota' a:ka Nation continues to maintain its jurisdiction over its own affairs, and has continued to do so with the knowledge of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. The Onyota' a:ka Nation has its own land tenure system and land management system, which has continued to evolve from 1840 to the present day. Since the Onyota' a:ka Nation has relocated to the settlement land, it also has consistently maintained its own internal land registry system and has recorded all internal land transactions regarding the settlement lands in our own land registry system, and which are not registered with INAC. This occurs with INAC's knowledge and without INAC's objection.

    Since time immemorial, we have continued to maintain our own internal dispute resolution systems based on discussion and negotiation. We do not rely on outside mediators or law enforcement officials to assist us with resolution of our disputes. The goal of the Onyota' a:ka Nation is always to seek a peaceful resolution of our disputes, which our leadership has successfully accomplished to date.

    We also have a unique protocol with the Ontario Provincial Police, which requires the OPP to be escorted onto our territory by a representative of the Onyota' a:ka Nation. We have always worked cooperatively with both the provincial and federal governments. Pursuant to the above referenced order in council, we have asked their assistance as required.

    The Onyota' a:ka Nation has also maintained good relations with the neighbouring municipalities of Delaware Township and Elgin Township.

    We take the position that our aboriginal and treaty rights to manage our settlement lands and all expansions thereto, as well as our internal affairs, are constitutionally protected rights under section 35(1) of the Constitution Act. As such, the Onyota' a:ka Nation intends to continue to maintain its jurisdiction over its own affairs as it has since time immemorial, regardless of whether Bill C-7 is passed.

    In relation to treaty rights, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy's beaver hunting grounds were part of a trust deed commonly referred to as the Nanfan Treaty of 1701. The trust deed placed the beaver hunting grounds under the British Crown's protection to ensure the Haudenosaunee Confederacy's continued use and occupation of the land.

    The Onyota' a:ka Nation's settlement lands are part of these beaver hunting grounds, which have never been surrendered. As such, the Onyota' a:ka Nation has shared aboriginal title over our settlement lands with other member nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. With aboriginal title comes the inherent right to govern our own affairs, which was assured through the above-mentioned order in council.

    I'd like to turn your attention as well to the Royal Proclamation of 1763. The traditional territories of the Onyota' a:ka Nation were protected by the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763, which includes the Haudenosaunee Confederacy's beaver hunting grounds. We take the position that our shared aboriginal title to the settlement lands and jurisdiction over those lands are protected by the Royal Proclamation of 1763.

    In summation, we would like to again thank the members of the standing committee for providing the opportunity for Onyota' a:ka Nation to make this presentation and hereby begin the process of polishing the covenant chain that sets out our original relationship between Great Britain and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, of whom the Onyota' a:ka Nation is a member nation.

    We have not commented on the substantive provisions of Bill C-7 or procedural issues such as the duty to consult and the constitutional validity associated with Bill C-7, as we take the position that Bill C-7 will not apply to the Onyota' a:ka Nation, based on our unique history with the British Crown and the duties and obligations of that relationship that have subsequently been assumed by the Canadian government.

    We base our position on the following:

    (1) The Silver Covenant Chain, which binds our nations in a relationship of friendship and mutual closeness as separate and independent nations.

    (2) The Two Row Wampum Belt, which assures us that we have a right to manage our own affairs in an environment based on peace, friendship, and respect.

    (3) The 1840 order in council, which assures the Onyota' a:ka Nation that we will always have jurisdiction over our own affairs.

    (4) The Samuel Jarvis letter, which assures us that we are entitled to the same rights and privileges as other first nations resident in Upper Canada.

    (5) The Nanfan Treaty, which protects our shared aboriginal title over our settlement lands, with the other member nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. With aboriginal title comes the inherent right to govern our own affairs.

    (6) The Royal Proclamation of 1763, which protects our shared aboriginal title over our settlements and our jurisdiction over those lands.

    Thank you.

Á  +-(1125)  

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    The Chair: Thank you very much for an excellent presentation.

    Would any of your colleagues have any positions to put on record, or do you wish to go to a question period?

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    Ms. Rolanda Elija: Before we do that, I would just like to introduce Terry Doxtator, who is also a member of our Onyota' a:ka Nation and a member of our traditional council.

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    The Chair: Welcome.

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    Chief Terry Doxtator (Oneida Nation of the Thames): Thank you.

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    The Chair: Mr. Martin, for five minutes.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Thank you for that very, very interesting brief. It is useful for us to be made aware of some of this very real history. I take your point that you don't feel that you will be subject to, or bound by, the terms of Bill C-7, which will be an imposition of codes of governance, etc.

    I guess my question is a practical one. I accept your view, and I would be willing to argue on your behalf, that you should be completely excluded from Bill C-7. But what is your plan as the clock begins to tick? There is a two-year timeframe under which all 633 first nations in the country have to adopt codes of governance that meet the standards of Bill C-7, or a code will be imposed on them against their will within two years. Do you have a contingency plan? Do you plan on going to the courts? How will you avoid this imposition of codes of governance that weren't of your making?

Á  +-(1130)  

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    The Chair: Before you respond, I just have a small clarification to make. The two-year timeframe starts after the regulations and codes are developed. The clock is not ticking now, but will start ticking once the regulations and codes are developed.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: That's right. I would even add that it seems to make it even more unfair that you don't even know what these codes and regulations look like, because they haven't even been drawn up yet before the bill will be passed.

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    The Chair: Because they will be developed with you.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Well, that's what they said about this bill too, Mr. Chair. We clearly heard that it wasn't developed with anybody; it was developed arbitrarily by the Liberal government. So there's no comfort there at all.

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    The Chair: I won't engage in partisan debates, but the codes will be developed with you.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: I don't want to waste the witnesses' time arguing with the chair about how the codes will be developed.

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    Ms. Kim Thomas (As Individual): I will address that question.

    As was mentioned in the presentation of Ms. Elijah, the Onyota' a:ka Nation has consistently managed its own internal affairs since its arrival on the settlement lands. It already has its own codified system of land management and land tenure; it has its own internal dispute resolution mechanisms; and it has its own mechanisms for managing wills and estates. All of this occurs with the knowledge of Indian and Northern Affairs, and without its objection.

    As with any system of government, it continues to evolve, as is the case with the current government of the Onyota' a:ka Nation. They are in the process of continuing to evolve their system. They have their own contained system of codification and laws, which pre-dated their arrival to the settlement lands. So when you talk the imposition of these codes, it truly does not apply to this first nation. Notwithstanding the imposition of the Indian Act, this first nation continues to operate outside of the Indian Act in all of their affairs. It really is quite a unique community.

    I especially want to draw your attention to the order in council, because I think it is very relevant that the chiefs of the day insisted that the order in council be passed, to assure their people that they would continue to have jurisdiction over their own affairs prior to their relocation to the beaver hunting grounds. I think this is very relevant, because they brought with them the same jurisdiction that they had in the homelands of New York State. They have continued to exercise this jurisdiction.

    This community is quite unique, because their exercise of their jurisdiction has truly not been disrupted. There is a continuation. If you look at all of the case law for section 35 and you look at the point of contact, they have not affected this first nation, because they have continued to exercise their own jurisdiction.

    To have you impose external codes is just not relevant to this first nation's thinking. Their thinking is still very much as an independent nation exercising its own system of governance.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Thank you very much.

    I am very glad that you got that on the record of these hearings. I hope it resonates in Ottawa.

    Thank you.

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    The Chair: Are there any questions from the government side?

    Mr. Martin, do you have more questions?

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    Mr. Pat Martin: A number of people with briefs made the point here that governance codes without true sovereignty are about as likely to elevate the standard of living of first nations people as sovereignty would without good governance codes.

    From a philosophical point of view, would you agree that it's putting the cart before the horse and unlikely to succeed to impose governance codes on your and all first nations prior to meeting the terms of genuine sovereignty? Would this be your view as well?

Á  +-(1135)  

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    Ms. Rolanda Elija: It seems like we're going in circles here.

    I just want to reiterate the points that were just made. We already have these things in exercising our own jurisdiction, so the situation is quite unique for the Oneida Nation. I think part of our submission to the standing committee asks what the Canadian government is going to do in looking at our situation.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Fair enough.

    The first witness to these hearings was the minister himself, who stated that the bill was developed in consultation with 10,000 first nations people who gave input and essentially crafted the bill. Every witness who has come to the committee has said this is not true, that there was no consultation. Do you feel that you had input and consultation into the crafting of Bill C-7?

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    Ms. Rolanda Elija: We have discussed it as a council as to whether or not anybody on our council, any of our people, have participated. To our knowledge, this is the first time that Oneida Nation has been consulted or had any input into the process.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Thank you.

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    The Chair: Ms. Karetak-Lindell.

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    Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell: Thank you.

    I would like to thank you for the history you have provided us this morning. It's certainly very interesting, and I beleive it has given the members on all sides an opportunity to hear first-hand how the history of this country has come about and our contribution as aboriginal people.

    I have some more technical questions for my understanding. How many people does your nation represent, and how many are on reserve versus off reserve?

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    Ms. Rolanda Elija: Again, because we've continued to exercise our own jurisdiction and sovereignty, we have approximately 5,000 registered band members. And I'm an unelected counsel and I view my responsibility as being to all members, so I don't have that information as to on reserve, off reserve. It's not significant to me. I don't know if other members of the panel have that information.

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    Ms. Nancy Karetak-Lindell: I ask that because part of the difficulties that some bands are having--and I appreciate that--is that they have a lot of urban members and are trying to figure out how to include them all without the resources being given to some reserves to also accommodate people off reserve.

    As far as education is concerned, people are applying for assistance to further their education, and they have waiting lists and people who are on reserve might have more opportunities to get funded. People off reserve are either on waiting lists or waiting to find out if they can also benefit. I'm trying to get an understanding of your particular situation.

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    Ms. Rolanda Elija: With all due respect, I don't think those are relevant policy issues. I don't think we came here to discuss those issues in that way. We're taking a particular stand, which is more of on a constitutional basis. We can provide that information at a later time, but I don't have those statistics in front of me.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    Mr. Martin.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: No. I'd just as soon move to closing remarks if that's all right.

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    The Chair: Yes.

    We invite you to make closing remarks.

Á  +-(1140)  

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    Chef Terry Doxtator: I would like to once again reiterate the position the Oneida Nation is taking, to clarify again that we are not consulting on the constitutional validity with respect to the bill. It has been a long-standing position of all members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy that we have a unique relationship, a very specific relationship, with the Crown, which the Canadian government has assumed since its creation.

    In our territories over time there was the imposition of the predecessor of this current bill, called the Indian Act. In some cases this imposition was very violent. In other cases, it resulted in the loss of culture and language and good living standards. Where we are at today is that what we have experienced since the imposition of the Indian Act into our territories, up to today, is a great deal of loss.

    What we have experienced and learned is to take the burden upon ourselves, and we will not rely, we cannot rely, on the federal government of Canada to give all those things back to us. We are looking forward to creating a relationship that revisits all the agreements that are there, beginning with the Two Row Wampum, the Kahswentha, and all succeeding treaties, all succeeding agreements that have been lived up to to date.

    If you ask where do we start and how are these things going to work, there is already a process in place. It began a long time ago. That process has to be revisited. That was the agreement made then. The Two Row Wampum and the Silver Covenant Chain has to be revisited before any other function can proceed, before we can polish our relationship. To talk about imposing more assimilative and drastic measures upon our communities will only further the dilemma we face today and have faced in the recent past with respect to how we live our lives and how we want to live our lives.

    At this point in time, we are prepared as a community and as a nation to undertake all those things that need to be done. It may not be done in any two-year timeframe, but who gives a hell? We are going to do it ourselves.

    Thank you.

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    The Chair: Does this complete your closing remarks?

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    Ms. Rolanda Elija: Yes.

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    The Chair: Yes. We thank you very much for an excellent presentation.

    We now invite to the table, from the Six Nations of the Grand River, Chief Roberta Jamieson. Chief Jamieson is accompanied by Josephine Harris and Joey Martin.

    We have 30 minutes together. We invite you to make the presentation and hopefully it will allow time for questions. Please proceed.

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    Chief Roberta Jamieson (Six Nations of the Grand River): Sehkon. Skeno.Bonjour. Good morning, or it's almost afternoon, isn't it?

    I arrived here this morning accompanied by thousands of people who are outside hoping to get a message through to this committee. Fifteen buses, plus many cars and vans, came from the Six Nations of the Grand River territory.

    I am joined here this morning by Josephine Harris, a member of the Six Nations governance committee and a Haudenosaunee traditional person. Also with me is Joey Martin, who has been making signs and been very involved in the Six Nations governance response, and who represents the future for which we're all working.

    As chief of the elected council of Six Nations of the Grand River, with a platform of healing the wounds, uniting the people, I welcome this opportunity to present the views and concerns of our council to the standing committee regarding an initiative of the Minister of Indian Affairs, Bill C-7, the First Nations Governance Act.

    You have our full submission, I believe, before you. We are here simply to restate our position clearly for the record and to offer alternatives that reflect who we are as Ongwehonwe people.

    In 1983 the predecessor of this committee, the Standing Committee on Indian affairs, of which I was an ex-officio member, tabled its report on Indian self-government, a report unanimously supported by all parties represented on the House of Commons standing committee. Its recommendations called for, among other things, a fundamental shift in first nations and Canada relations and government-to-government fiscal transfers to support first nations governance.

    For two decades the government has ignored those recommendations. Parliament, as a result, has failed to live up to its own principles. If you have not read that report of this committee, known as the Penner report, I urge you to do so and to put it on the record of your proceedings.

    In 1996 the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples--RCAP, as we call it--provided 440 recommendations based on its extensive consultations with first nations, experts, and the public across Canada. It provided a blueprint for a new era of cooperation and respect between Canada and first peoples of Canada, based on four principles: mutual recognition, mutual respect, sharing, and mutual responsibility. It too called for a fundamental change in the relationship between first nations and the federal government.

    We have to ask why and how these important recommendations ended up just simply being dismissed and shelved. Indeed, that's a question all Canadians should be asking. Why in 2003 should the Six Nations, and first nations across Canada, have to be on high alert? Why is the relationship of first nations, the Six Nations, and Canada so badly tainted?

    Our position is that Bill C-7 is so fundamentally flawed, legally, constitutionally, and morally, that it cannot be amended. It must be adamantly and utterly rejected.

Á  +-(1145)  

    The bill is before you at first reading. You can and must speak to principles, not clauses. You cannot dignify, surely, this colonial objectionable legislation by pretending that a few adjustments will fix it.

    Bill C-7 pretends to be about democracy and accountability, responding to the wishes of the people. Nothing could be further from the truth. If this committee is interested in those high principles, it has no choice other than to support the Six Nations position and the nearly unanimous first nation position in the name of democracy. The people of the Six Nations have a long historical relationship with the Crown based on peace and friendship. We are Mohawk, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora peoples.

    Our relationship is a special relationship of trust as defined in the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784, through orders in council and legislation, by our Two Row Wampum, and our Silver Covenant Chain. Our Six Nations traditional Haudenosaunee people continue today to be the guardians of this heritage.

    We, as sovereign people, defended the Crown two centuries ago, even when we knew it would cost us the lives of our people. We kept our word, and history records that our people died fulfilling our promises to the Crown. We stood as allies with the Crown proudly, and we did so with our own flag. We went to war under our own flag as allies, and the Crown welcomed that.

    Our people were instrumental in the history of this country, securing the integrity of the boundaries of Canada on more than one occasion. It is because we kept our word that this meeting is being held in a place called Canada. Had we failed to keep our word, Toronto would be a large American city. We expect the Crown now to keep its word to us.

    We reject this legislation because it makes new impositions on Six Nations and first nations across Canada over and above the Indian Act, violating Six Nations' and first nations' inherent aboriginal and treaty rights and sovereignty. We oppose Bill C-7 because it proposes to change our legal status in Canadian law. We oppose Bill C-7 because Parliament has no jurisdiction to deal with our governance.

    We are opposed to this latest legislation because it is not required. We are opposed to this legislation because it increases the minister's power and unfettered use of discretion. We oppose this legislation because we do no swallow the minister's myth about how it will solve all our problems. We oppose Bill C-7 because the minister will not offer to us the same accountability he demands from us. We oppose Bill C-7 because increased and costly administrative demands are made. We oppose Bill C-7 because it is not about the real tools of governance. We oppose Bill C-7 because of the sham and disrespect of a flawed consultation process.

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    We oppose Bill C-7 because the one-size-fits-all approach fails every time. We oppose Bill C-7 because it fails to address community needs.

    It should not be at all surprising that Six Nations and first nations across Canada are opposing this legislation. Will we never learn in this country? We of the Six Nations are clear in our rejection of Bill C-7, and we will reject the legislation if it becomes law.

    We know too that other legislation is being promised. Together this so-called suite of legislation will make sweeping changes to the Indian Act that will have a devastating impact on the lives of Six Nations and all first nations peoples forever. We absolutely reject all legislation that negates and violates our aboriginal and treaty rights and our inherent rights.

    In a global era when autocratic and paternalistic attitudes should be relics of the past in a democratic society, why does the federal government insist on treating Six Nations and all first nations peoples as wards or children of the state and on imposing what the government thinks is best for us? How does that empower first nations people? It doesn't.

    Well, what is the alternative, you may ask. There is a clear alternative. It is for Canada to appoint and mandate highly principled people of vision to sit down with us on a nation-to-nation basis, as was done in the time when the treaties were made, and to begin to discuss our shared future--a future that will honour the rights of our people and enable the Crown to live up to its obligations. This step is long overdue.

    Too many resources have already been spent studying the issues--$58 million alone was spent on RCAP. It is now time to take constructive action together. But do not impede our work to rebuild our nations. We don't need legislation to tell us how to govern ourselves.

    Six Nations has taken a very proactive stance, and the submission I've provided you outlines a number of those initiatives. We are working to rebuild, strengthen, and maintain our nations, and the solutions exist within our communities themselves.

    We already have the constitutionally reaffirmed authority, the jurisdiction, and the power to move out of dependency and poverty. We have the jurisdiction, the authority, to create viable and sustainable economies. What we need is for the government to stop blocking our way. Stop trying to contain and control our people. This is a useless exercise that wastes your resources and ours.

    Six Nations people remain committed to exercising our jurisdiction, to asserting our nationhood, to be self-determining, as our rights in international law affirm we are, and to take control and govern ourselves in our own way for the benefit of our community and the seven generations to follow.

    We are entitled to take actions based on our traditional ways, on our ability to meet modern challenges, and above all, to meet the needs of all community groups and citizens of our nation. What we need is for Canada to live up to the Crown's obligations, especially its fiduciary obligations.

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    We ask, why pass legislation that is going to be attacked in the courts? There will be hundreds of actions that will result in the legislation being declared invalid. Does not the committee find that an embarrassing prospect to contemplate?

    Unilaterally imposing national legislation such as the governance bill on Six Nations or any other first nation is doomed to failure. The Indian Act system at Six Nations does not work. It never has. We know this to be true because after centuries of colonial imposition our community still faces the same challenges. And we know too that the government has failed in its responsibilities to date.

    It is now time for government to honour its fiduciary responsibilities, and that includes a duty to ensure the survival of our nations. It includes a duty to act, to protect the land and resources that are ours, to settle outstanding land questions, to protect the culture, the language, the integrity, the identity, and the autonomy of the first peoples, the first nations of Canada, and Six Nations among them.

    This requires proactive steps to reverse colonialism, not to enforce it. And the proactive steps must also be made to restore the true partnership and treaty relationship we once had. The people of Six Nations believe the solutions to the challenges we face at Six Nations do not reside outside our nation or our control. The solutions lie in our traditions and with our peoples.

    We ask the standing committee to have the courage to respect the views of the people of the Six Nations, to respect the views of all first nations. We ask the standing committee to recommend to the House of Commons that it reject the governance bill so that we can begin to move towards nationhood and to be the self-sufficient governing bodies the Creator made us. We ask the standing committee to recommend that Parliament endorse the building of a new relationship with first nations that is consistent with the Penner report and with RCAP and that is consistent, above all, with our history and our treaties.

    We call upon the standing committee and all Canadians to support the just and fair treatment of Canada's first peoples. Collectively we owe nothing less to the future generations who will inhabit this land called Canada.

    Niawen Kowa.

  +-(1200)  

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    The Chair: Thank you very much for, of course, an excellent presentation. Everybody agrees on that point.

    We have ten minutes left. We'll do a four-minute round. There will be four minutes per party; that is, for the question and the answer. That will leave two minutes for closing remarks.

    Mr. Martin.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Thank you very much, Chief Jamieson, for speaking from the heart to us today. I think all would agree here that the strength of your conviction comes through your words. Thank you as well for bringing representatives of youth and elders with you today. I think it adds to the weight of what you are saying and the importance with which you view this bill.

    Staying in general terms, as you did in your remarks of the larger picture here, the minister tells us this bill is about governance. Would you agree that it undermines the very idea of self-governance to impose codes of governance on people when surely it is implicit in the idea of self-governance to be able to design the institutions of governance that are suitable for individual communities, based on customs and traditions? Can you speak to the contradiction in the very name of this bill?

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    Chief Roberta Jamieson: I believe it's a gross insult to our people and to the intelligence of Canadians to suggest this has anything to do with real tools of governance. Real tools of governance are about fiscal transfers that enable nations to be strong, to provide the programs, services, and infrastructure needed in our communities.

    Real governance is about ensuring the provision of an adequate land and resource base so we can function as nations in the future. Real governance is about supporting the strengthening of human resources and institutions in our own community, making laws, making our policy, the implementation of our decisions, and establishing processes to renew relationships in the spirit and intent of the treaties.

    That's what real governance is about--not about this busy work, at best, that this Indian Act II talks about. It is simply about maintaining control, marginalizing our people on into the future. That's, quite simply, why we fundamentally reject it.

    Real governance--we're interested in real governance. And we know how to do it. If the Government of Canada would live up to its obligations, we would have the land and resources that are denied us today and we would have access to the fiscal support to operate our governance.

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    The Chair: There's one minute left.

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    Mr. Pat Martin: Chief Jamieson, you may be interested to know that the first witness to this committee was the minister himself, and he made the seemingly outlandish statement that this bill was actually created in consultation and in cooperation with 10,000 people.

    Do you feel the people you represent were adequately consulted or had any input whatsoever into the contents of Bill C-7?

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    The Chair: In 30 seconds.

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    Chief Roberta Jamieson: Absolutely not.

    I think again you will see throughout the country a fundamental lack.... There are thousands of people outside here today. They were not consulted.

    This consultation process is such a sham. It is so disrespectful. It is so far short of the standards that are required by law, by the Constitution, by the Supreme Court decisions, that it does not meet—

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    The Chair: Thank you very much.

    Mr. Godfrey.

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    Mr. John Godfrey: Let me allow you to finish the thought, and then I'll ask a question.

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    The Chair: You have six minutes left, and they're all yours.

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    Mr. John Godfrey: I was going to suggest that she finish the thought, and then I could ask the question

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    The Chair: If you're going to take over chairing, if you're going to give time, you give it all.

    How much time are you giving?

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    Mr. John Godfrey: Well, a couple of minutes, and then we could ask some questions.

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    The Chair: Carry on. I don't like having to do this, but it's my job.

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    Chief Roberta Jamieson: Indeed, a bill of this nature requires fundamental consultation and consent from first peoples. What the minister has engaged in falls far short of that mark.

    Did the minister talk to us? We asked the minister to come. He neither came to an open public debate, nor sent a representative. That's our history with the minister in consultation on this act.

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    Mr. John Godfrey: Chief Jamieson, I would like to add my voice of welcome to you again. It is always such a pleasure to hear from you. Welcome also to the people who are in the room and who I saw in the streets, including the national chief, who is out there. We're delighted to see you; we really are. It's very important that you be here.

    My question goes like this. I think nobody would defend the status quo--the crazy Alice in Wonderland world in which the Indian Act places us. My question is, never mind just Bill C-7, but if one starts from the position, as one might, that it's not a legitimate document from your point of view, does that mean all amendments to the Indian Act are illegitimate?

    What do we do when we see an injustice that might be rendered toward aboriginal women, or when we are told by the Supreme Court of Canada to deal in an expeditious manner with issues of off-reserve voting rights and so on? Are we not supposed to amend it even under those conditions? Where are we in all of that, in your view?

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    Chief Roberta Jamieson: What's required is quite simply to respect your own Constitution. In 1982 we moved into a system of constitutional supremacy. Our rights are protected in that Constitution, which means we have the right reaffirmed in your own Constitution to manage and run our own affairs.

    What's required is the same thing that was required in the beginning: sit down with us, work in partnership with us, live up to your obligations, and allow us to provide for our people. There are standards in abundance at the international level that will guide all of our consideration. Respect the declaration on indigenous peoples. Respect Canada's international law and obligation. That's what's required.

    Let's get to work. Let's stop spending time and money on this.

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    The Chair: You have one minute left.

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    Mr. John Godfrey: I want to make sure you have the time you need to finish your remarks, so I would turn whatever time I have back to you.

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    The Chair: You have three minutes. We invite you to make closing remarks.

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    Chief Roberta Jamieson: First, I would be remiss if I didn't express the regret of our people that this committee chose not to come to Six Nations. I think it is tragic that of 633 communities Parliament proposes to consider legislation about, you're not going to one of them.

    I want to talk about tools and bridges. The minister talks about giving us tools, and he talks about building bridges. Well, our people don't need any lessons on these subjects. Your museums hold centuries of examples of our ability to make tools to meet our needs. Governance is no different. We already have the tools we need, and when a new need arises we'll invent new tools.

    Our history tells us that your own system of government borrowed many tools and many designs from our system in your early years in North America. Neither do we need lessons on bridges. Six Nations people are regarded as the best structural steel and bridge ironworkers in the world.

    We know from experience that skyscrapers must be built on solid foundations. We've learned to build great structures through communication and cooperative teamwork. We understand that the purpose of every bridge that was ever built is to provide for two-way traffic over features that divide. With respect, may we help your government to understand that about bridges, because all the bridges the minister is proposing are for one-way traffic only.

    Tools and bridges are not enough, however. At this point in time we need heavy equipment. We need heavy equipment to refashion the political landscape. The heavy equipment I speak of is vision and political will. With those together we can design roads to avoid those treacherous bottleneck valleys that are prone to legislative avalanches. We can avoid the bureaucratic muskeg that is bogging us down in the journey towards recognition and implementation of our rights-based agenda, to which we're entitled.

    Work with us. Move with us into the future. Allow Canada to fulfill its promise as an honourable country. It holds itself out as a model to the world, as a place that accommodates space for all people, as a place that honours its first people.

    We're closing the decade the United Nations has declared as honouring the indigenous peoples of the world. Let Canada rise above its shameful colonial past and work with us in partnership to create a country where we can live together, where our rights can be honoured, and where the obligations of the Crown can be fulfilled.

    We owe nothing less to the seventh generation, for whom we all must work.

     Niawen Kowa. Thank you for listening.

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    The Chair: Thank you very much for an excellent presentation. It will certainly be very useful, and I'm convinced it will be referred to by members of our committee in our deliberations. I'd like to say that the people you represent are very fortunate to have you.

    Thank you very much.

    We will adjourn until one o'clock.