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View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-10-26 16:48 [p.14619]
Mr. Speaker, I totally understand the member's reasoning. However, as the NDP member said, we are talking about Yukon, so I think that we should proceed, and that that is a good thing.
I would now like to talk about centralization. A carbon tax was imposed on the provinces without consulting them. As for health transfers, the government imposed conditions that the provinces opposed but were bullied into accepting. This brings me to the central theme of my speech: devolution.
In the 1980s, under Mulroney, and again under the Harper government, we began a positive process of political devolution that focused much more on Yukon than Nunavut or the Northwest Territories. This bill, Bill C-17, not in its entirety but certainly some of its clauses, works against the very devolution that I believe to be good for the people of Yukon. Why? Because it will eliminate the federal minister's ability to transfer ministerial powers, duties, and functions to a territorial government.
I was very proud to learn about this legislation in 1995. I thought it was fantastic that a Conservative government had introduced it. It is a truly Conservative measure because we support decentralization. As is the case with Britain's Conservatives who ceded power to Scotland, which now has a quasi autonomous parliament, western Conservatives support decentralization. We ceded very important powers to the Yukon government over time.
It actually started with a Liberal government. With the advent of responsible government in the Yukon in 1978, political parties were formed for the first time. Under Mulroney in the 1980s and 1990s, there were transfers of very important federal powers. In 1992, at the end of the Mulroney era, the first nations and the government entered into an agreement. Under the Martin government, Yukon was given all the powers that other provinces had, except over criminal prosecutions.
In Yukon, mining is the main industry. Therefore, it is very important for the people and their government to make their own decisions about environmental assessments and the projects they will accept.
For me, the problem with the Liberals' Bill C-17 is this desire to roll back the powers we delegated to the Yukon government to approve or deny proposed mining and resource development projects. This bill is a definite step backwards in terms of devolution.
This is what the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie was just referring to when he said that one government takes one step forward and the next takes one step back. I think that if there is one thing that successive governments should not go back on, it is this type of important policy on territorial devolution. Yukon was one of the territories that benefited the most. In spite of its flaws, Bill S-6, which was passed in 2015, did a lot for devolution.
In short, it is a shame. That is pretty much all I wanted to say today. In closing, I would like to add that my colleague takes the prize for hardest-working MP. He is a very brave and courageous man, because taking the plane every week as he does must be gruelling.
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