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MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
 
Meeting No. 8
 
Thursday, December 13, 2007
 

The Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development met at 3:34 p.m. this day, in Room 237-C, Centre Block, the Chair, Barry Devolin, presiding.

 

Members of the Committee present: Harold Albrecht, Rod Bruinooge, Jean Crowder, Barry Devolin, Nancy Karetak-Lindell, Tina Keeper, Marc Lemay, Yvon Lévesque, Hon. Anita Neville, Todd Norman Russell, Brian Storseth and Chris Warkentin.

 

Acting Members present: Bruce Stanton for Harold Albrecht.

 

In attendance: Library of Parliament: Mary Hurley, Analyst. House of Commons: Mike MacPherson, Legislative Clerk.

 

Witnesses: Department of Justice: Jim Hendry, General Counsel, Human Rights Law Section; Charles Pryce, Senior Counsel, Aboriginal Law and Strategic Policy; Martin Reiher, Senior Counsel, Operations and Programs Section.

 
Pursuant to the Order of Reference of Tuesday, November 13, 2007, the Committee resumed consideration of Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act.
 

The witnesses made statements and answered questions.

 

The Committee resumed clause-by-clause consideration on Clause 1 of the Bill.

The debate continued.

 

Jean Crowder moved, — That the amendment of Jean Crowder adopted on Thursday, December 6, 2007 concerning Clause 1, which read as follows, be rescinded:

That Bill C-21, in Clause 1, be amended by replacing line 5 on page 1 with the following:

Rights Act is replaced by the following:

67. (1) In the interpretation and application of this Act, it shall be taken into consideration that a First Nation government is entitled to

(a) provide programs and services exclusively or on a preferential basis to the members of the First Nation;

(b) give preference to the members of the First Nation in the training and hiring of employees and contractors;

(c) give preference to the members of the First Nation in the allocation of land, resources or other economic benefits;

(d) give preferential or exclusive treatment to the members of the First Nation in matters relating to the exercise of cultural, spiritual or other traditional practices or activities;

(e) give preferential or exclusive treatment to the members of the First Nation in matters of concern and priority to the community, where reasonably necessary; and

(f) to consider and apply indigenous legal traditions and customary laws in a manner consistent with the principles of equality and justice.

(2) In this section, “First Nation government” means a “council of the band” as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Indian Act.”.

Debate arose thereon.

 

After debate, the question was put on the motion and it was agreed to on the following recorded division: YEAS: Jean Crowder, Nancy Karetak-Lindell, Tina Keeper, Marc Lemay, Yvon Lévesque, Anita Neville, Todd Norman Russell — 7; NAYS: — 0.

 

Clause 1 carried by a show of hands: YEAS: 6; NAYS: 2.

 

On new Clause 1.1,

Jean Crowder moved, — That Bill C-21 be amended by adding after line 5 on page 1 the following new clause:

“1.1 The Act is amended by adding the following after section 67:

67.1 (1) Every First Nation government has jurisdiction to enact laws in respect of human rights that conform to international human rights standards, including laws in respect of any matter for which provision is made under this Act and any other federal human rights legislation.

(2) For greater certainty, the jurisdiction referred to in subsection (1) includes authority to establish local dispute resolution bodies to assist in the resolution of matters respecting human rights.

(3) Notwithstanding the jurisdiction referred to in subsection (1), this Act shall apply to a First Nation until a First Nation law referred to in subsection (1) that applies to that First Nation comes into force.

(4) A First Nation law referred to in subsection (1) shall come into force on the date specified by that law.

(5) In the event of a conflict or inconsistency between a First Nation law referred to in subsection (1) and this Act or any other federal human rights legislation, the First Nation law shall prevail to the extent of any conflict or inconsistency.

(6) In this section, “First Nation government” means a “council of the band” as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Indian Act.”

 

RULING BY THE CHAIR

Bill C-21 amends the Canadian Human Rights Act by repealing section 67 of that Act. The repeal of section 67 removes an exception in its application with regard to the Indian Act. This amendment proposes to create a new section 67.1 which would impose several conditions in the application of the Canadian Human Rights Act with regard to the creation of legislation by a First Nation.

As House of Commons Procedure and Practice states on page 654:

‘An amendment to a bill that was referred to committee after second reading is out of order if it is beyond the scope and principle of the bill.’

In the opinion of the Chair, the introduction of a new framework for legislation created by a First Nation is a new concept that is beyond the scope of Bill C-21 and is therefore inadmissible.

 
Jean Crowder moved, — That Bill C-21 be amended by adding after line 5 on page 1 the following new clause:

“1.1 The repeal of section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any aboriginal, treaty or other rights or freedoms that pertain to the First Nations peoples of Canada, including

(a) any rights or freedoms that have been recognized by the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763;

(b) any rights or freedoms that now exist by way of land claims agreements or may be so acquired; and

(c) any rights or freedoms recognized under the customary laws or traditions of the First Nations peoples of Canada.”

Debate arose thereon.

 

Chris Warkentin moved, — That the amendment be amended by deleting section (c).

Debate arose thereon.

 

At 5:30 p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.

 



Bonnie Charron
Clerk of the Committee

 
 
2007/12/21 12:54 p.m.