You are quite right, we have debated this a number of times. I know the positions are probably well known, although I'm going to take the opportunity to continue to bring about the government's position on this.
One point I would like to make initially is that not only have motions similar to this one been passed in this committee in the previous Parliament, but another committee passed a similar motion just recently as well, so I believe it's just a bit redundant. There has been the motion already passed by the status of women committee. I know that obviously the opposition benches in this committee would like to duplicate that effort, but maybe I'll go more to the questions that I would like to bring forward in order to have at least some opinion put on the record by members of the opposition.
Within Canadian history, we have negotiated at different times in different contexts with our first peoples. I'll be the first to admit, as an aboriginal Canadian, that not all those moments were good ones. Perhaps not all of them were done in the fairest way, but over time there has been an effort to build a great country, which was done in conjunction with first nations people, with Métis people, with Inuit people. This entity called Canada is founded on many treaties that were negotiated throughout our country. It was built on constitutions that have been ratified by all of our peoples, and it continues to be a country that is built on an ongoing dialogue with our first nations people, our Métis people, and our Inuit people.
If we as a government were to endorse this international declaration, which clearly suggests within its text to reset the field to the context of the moment that contact with European nations first happened and provide that as the base point of all future negotiations, it really contemplates setting aside all that we've done as a country to get to where we are currently in 2008.
I just see what we're contemplating in this text as something that in fact could be very divisive for our country, something that will begin to unravel the things we've built up over the years and the ongoing interest we have in negotiating for the future. If we can't count on the negotiated treaties of the past, it's going to be very challenging to do anything in the future.
That is the question I would bring back to the mover of the motion. I'd also like to hear the opinions of others on the committee, who are very learned in this area and have a lot of good opinions. I would like to hear all their opinions on how we as a country will be able to entertain what is proposed by this declaration.