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View Mona Fortier Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mona Fortier Profile
2021-05-14 10:03 [p.7229]
moved:
That, in relation to Bill C-15, An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the third reading stage of the bill; and
That, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration of the third reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
Pursuant to Standing Order 67(1), there will now be a 30-minute question period.
I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places or to use the raise hand function so the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in the question period.
The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Speaker, we are sorry to see the government shutting down debate yet again. I want to ask a specific question about the legislation, though.
Right now in Canadian law, we have a duty to consult around the development of resource projects. The government has said that this legislation does not create a veto for all communities that may be affected. The existing law has duty to consult, and the Liberals are saying it is not a veto. FPIC, the doctrine of free, prior and informed consent, is ostensibly somewhere in between these two extremes, according to the government, but there is still a lot of clarity required. What does “free, prior and informed consent” mean if it is not a duty to consult and it is not a veto?
What precisely is meant in the context of this legislation by “free, prior and informed consent” if it is something more than the duty to consult, but something less than a veto?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, the hon. member has asked this question a number of times, and I will give what I believe is the same clear answer that I have given a number of times before.
FPIC is a process. FPIC is about meaningful consultation, discussion and dialogue with indigenous peoples affected by a particular decision, say a resource development project, that they be at the table from the beginning. Yes, there is a duty to consult under Canadian law. That has had further refinement and guidance from the Federal Court of Appeal in the Trans Mountain process. We, as a government, were taken to task for not having meaningfully consulted the first time through, and we got it right the second time through.
FPIC is a process. It is going to continue to be a process. It will be contextual, so there is no way to precisely define it at the outset, and there is no way it should be precisely defined at the outset. The hon. member knows that. It is about discussion and dialogue. It is about putting indigenous peoples at the table, where, heretofore, they have not—
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
Questions and comments, the hon. member for Saint-Jean.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-05-14 10:07 [p.7229]
Madam Speaker, that is a little ironic because, yesterday, when we were debating the Bloc Québécois's opposition day motion, I talked about how one can be for a bill but against using closure to pass that bill.
The same principle applies here. I agree with Bill C-15. I realize that it needs to go through quickly. However, I do not agree with the government's approach. It has clearly done a poor job of managing its legislative calendar, and now it is shutting down debate on a very important subject that many members wanted to speak to. We got just two hours of debate on this.
Is this because we will not be able to debate it in September because there will be an election between now and then? Is that why the government had no choice but to bring in time allocation?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question.
The answer is no. This is a priority for the government, for indigenous peoples, and for indigenous leaders across the country.
The fact is, we have already covered this. We have already debated the substance of Bill C-15 because we debated its previous iteration, Bill C-262, which was introduced by our former colleague, Romeo Saganash. The previous Parliament passed that bill after a debate to which the Bloc Québécois contributed its opinion.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples itself has been around for 15 years, so it is not new.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Madam Speaker, the government is certainly using speed to get this bill through. Fair enough, but one wonders why it does not use speed to resolve community issues that have come up. First nations communities have desperate need to end boil water advisories, and we have heard the government is now extending the deadline. For over a decade, first nations communities continue to wait for that government support. Indigenous-led housing is also something the government has not tackled with any speed whatsoever, and we have seen first nations kids taken repeatedly to court rather than having their basic needs met.
The question is very simple. Liberals are using speed when it comes to this bill. Why do they not use the same speed to meet the needs of indigenous peoples in this country?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his support on this bill generally, as well as the support of his party. I obviously also salute the work that Romeo Saganash did in the last Parliament and continues to do in support and promotion of this bill.
We are working hard to solve infrastructure problems, drinking water problems. We have done a great deal of work on it, but we have admitted honestly that more work needs to be done. The same is true for resolving cases around Jordan's principle. We are working very hard to resolve those cases out of court where possible, and we are doing our best to move all of those files forward.
I think the hon. member and I share the same end point and the same goals, and we are pushing hard to make them happen.
View Jamie Schmale Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, I share the concern on this side of the House at the way the government is ramming through this piece of legislation. We heard at committee many times from indigenous groups themselves that said they have not had the opportunity to be consulted. We still have the outstanding question about the very important piece of FPIC, free, prior and informed consent, and what it means, and the minister, in his previous response to my friend from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, was quite dismissive of it. The fact that the legislative branch is not doing its job in creating a definition so that industry and first nations communities themselves have an idea of what this means, and then chart a path forward that is best for them, is quite concerning.
Why will the government not do its work and get that definition done here so it is not challenged in the courts later, further delaying this process?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his work on committee. The answer is the same. The best expert opinions we have received throughout this and the most convincing arguments made have been that FPIC should not be defined in the legislation, cannot be defined in the legislation, because the very nature of FPIC is in a process.
We said from the beginning that we would consult as many indigenous leadership groups as we possibly could before the tabling of the bill. We did that. Those groups had an impact on the form of the bill before it was tabled. We continued to consult after the bill was tabled, and the indigenous groups, in making appearances at committee and in working with the government, have proposed a number of amendments, many of which we have accepted. Again, that consultation process continues, and the consultation process with indigenous leadership groups across Canada will continue as we move through the action plan and the co-development of it.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2021-05-14 10:13 [p.7230]
Madam Speaker, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has called upon all levels of government in Canada to adopt and implement the UN declaration as the framework for reconciliation. I am wondering if the minister could provide his thoughts as to why it is so important in moving forward with reconciliation that the Government of Canada and the Prime Minister continue to push this bill so it ultimately can get passed.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his commitment to the reconciliation process generally. It is an important question. TRC called UNDRIP a road map to reconciliation, and we firmly believe that. This bill is about human rights. It is about the human rights of indigenous peoples. It behooves me to understand why people could be opposed to recognizing human rights for indigenous people, who simply want to have the same rights that other people in this country have.
Yes, this is a priority for our government. Yes, this helps the road map to reconciliation. It is fundamentally important. People like Dr. Wilton Littlechild, former Conservative member of Parliament and one of the architects of UNDRIP, have said that precisely.
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2021-05-14 10:14 [p.7231]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for this morning's debate, which will be very short.
As the critic for the status of women, I would have liked to see the government have the same sense of urgency when it came to applying the recommendations of the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls as it did this morning for Bill C-15.
How much time has been spent so far debating a document as important as Bill C-15? I will give the House just one guess: barely an hour and 43 minutes and the minister is already imposing time allocation.
Does the minister think that one hour and 43 minutes is enough time to debate this important issue? What about the time allocation on Bill C-19, prorogation of Parliament and obstruction in committee? This government behaves like a majority government when voters gave it a minority mandate.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question. It is true that she was not here in the last Parliament when we fully debated Bill C-262, which is the foundation for the current Bill C-15. The House even passed Bill C-262, but it died on the Order Paper in the Senate because of the Conservative senators' political games.
This is therefore the second time the House is studying this issue, so much of it is very familiar. Everyone is indeed aware of the content of the bill and we are proceeding in this way because it is a priority for the country.
View Alexandre Boulerice Profile
NDP (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague. This issue is obviously a priority for the country. I must point out that Bill C-262 was introduced by our former colleague, Romeo Saganash, as an NDP initiative. Therefore, we are in agreement with the substance of Bill C-15.
However, if this bill were truly a priority for the government, why was it incapable of managing its legislative agenda and the activities of the House in such a way as to move it forward without having to resort to time allocation? This is another example of inept management by the Liberals, who now claim the bill is a priority.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question and his support for the substance of this bill.
I will once again highlight Romeo Saganash's work on the previous bill, which is the basis for Bill C-15. I also want to remind members that Mr. Saganash continues to promote Bill C-15 to this day.
We must proceed in this way because, as the House has noticed, certain dilatory tactics are being used, especially by one opposition party.
View Elizabeth May Profile
GP (BC)
View Elizabeth May Profile
2021-05-14 10:17 [p.7231]
Madam Speaker, I am torn on this matter and I am going to be very candid with the minister. I am rarely less than decisive. I fully support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but the process by which we come to this place has left indigenous communities, first nations, Métis and Inuit, divided on the matter. The right path, the right way to vote, is not at all clear to me, and it certainly is the case that we cannot wait any longer to take the steps we need to take for reconciliation.
There are a number of very significant first nations policy analysts and a number of legal analysts who are on both sides, and of first nations themselves that say they were not consulted in the development of Bill C-15. It is therefore really important that we hear the different perspectives and we ask the hon. minister if he does not regret that there was—
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
The hon. minister.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I agree with the member's observation that it is rare that she is less than decisive on a matter. I always appreciate her opinions and I take this question very seriously.
Yes, in a minority government context, we consulted as many indigenous leadership groups in a variety of forms as we possibly could. As I said, they had an impact on the original Romeo Saganash bill before tabling. We continued to consult, and they had an impact on the bill at committee. I commit to the hon. member that I will continue to consult as many indigenous leadership groups as I possibly can, in particular in the development of the action plan as we move forward.
I would just point out to her that although there is disagreement, there is an increasing trend, particularly after the last set of amendments in committee, to be supportive of the bill on the part of indigenous leadership.
View David Sweet Profile
CPC (ON)
View David Sweet Profile
2021-05-14 10:19 [p.7231]
Madam Speaker, for the better part of 16 years I have left it up to my colleagues to always comment on a hatchet closure motion, but I think it is time for me to speak up in this regard.
For 10 straight years I sat on the other side and listened to the weeping, gnashing and howling from the Liberal Party every time the Hon. Peter Van Loan stood and moved closure on a bill. The Liberals said that they would never do it, that it was undemocratic. They promised in an election that they would never do it. Now, at the height of hypocrisy, they continue to do it over and over again. As my NDP colleague said, it is simply because they cannot even manage their own House agenda.
This needs to stop. The Liberals need to start respecting the House and debate bills appropriately.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, the reason why we are here is because of the general dilatory tactics of the member's party on every single matter that comes up in front of the House. We can recall the fall economic statement, which got more debate time than a budget. The Conservatives keep throwing up tactic after tactic to delay debate, which has forced our hand.
I would imagine the hon. member was here in the last session and would remember the high-fiving of certain Conservative members who voted against Romeo Saganash's bill. That is not reconciliation; Bill C-15 is reconciliation.
View Marilène Gill Profile
BQ (QC)
View Marilène Gill Profile
2021-05-14 10:21 [p.7232]
Madam Speaker, I just want to comment on the fact that the government cannot even manage its own legislative agenda properly. That is why we are in this situation today.
The government introduced Bill C-19 rather than prioritizing Bill C-15, and yet the Liberals claim they do not want an election. This government prorogued Parliament last summer, when we could have used that time to work faster and more responsibly.
I would just like to point out to the minister that there seems to be a real leadership problem when it comes to the government's legislative agenda.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her comments.
Obviously, I disagree. As she might well recall, we debated Bill C-262 in the previous Parliament, and it received significant support in the House. The foundations of this bill had already been laid and were well known before the debate began.
We are moving forward like this because it is a priority for indigenous people across Canada and it is important to our reconciliation process.
View Taylor Bachrach Profile
NDP (BC)
 Madam Speaker, I believe this bill has strong support among indigenous people in northwest B.C., but there are also some misgivings. I wonder if the minister could inform Canadians, especially indigenous people in the region I represent of northwest British Columbia, about the tangible changes the bill would create in the near term for indigenous communities.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his commitment. I salute the leadership of British Columbia generally on UNDRIP. The Province of British Columbia has UNDRIP legislation and a road map. It is moving forward and doing quite well economically, among other things.
The bill is a reset for the path that indigenous and non-indigenous peoples have to walk together in our country. It would put us at the same table from the beginning with respect to major decisions that have an impact.
Symbolically and substantively, it articulates a set of rights for indigenous peoples. Symbolically and substantively, it rejects a number of doctrines—
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, when ministers rise usually a day before or a couple of days before to indicate that they will be moving this motion, the first thing they say is that an agreement could not be reached with the parties. Indeed, there is always the behind-the-scenes work of trying to come to some co-operation and agreement of when a bill can be put through the process and eventually voted on. However, as we are seeing time and again, the Conservatives are absolutely refusing to let certain legislation go through. It is their way of saying they do not want the legislation.
Could the minister comment on how frustrating it must be for him to go through this time after time?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I salute the member's resilience in the House of Commons, holding down the fort.
It is frustrating to watch the dilatory tactics of the Conservative Party on a number of important pieces of progressive legislation. MAID, for example, was something that Canadians wanted, that would reduce the suffering of Canadians, yet there was delay after delay. It is the same on this bill and on other bills I have had in front of the House. I have had a number, and still have a number.
It is important we get these bills through.
View Jamie Schmale Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Chair, again, we are hearing over and over the fact that the government cannot seem to manage its legislative agenda. Again, we are being forced to undergo a closure motion, yet this bill has barely been debated in the House. Of course, the Liberals, which they do best, play the blame game, saying it has to be someone else's fault. No matter what goes wrong, it is never their fault, which is a common theme.
Why did we not debate this bill when Parliament was shut down? Why did we not keep going longer throughout the summer, rather than the one-day sitting a month, to debate this bill? Why did the Liberals prorogue Parliament?
This could have been done a lot better, and it was not. We still do not have certainty through indigenous communities that have relayed their concerns through committee. Those concerns have not been addressed. Why not?
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