First Nations Elections Act (Bill S-6)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, we are looking at time allocation on this complex bill and less time to get at it. However, I can see from presentations from first nations, such as the one from B.C. Regional Chief Jody Wilson-Raybould, that there is acknowledgement that the bill represents some progress. At the same time, there is deep concern that it is not the right way to move toward a transition to greater self-government.

Given time allocation, does my friend for Western Arctic think there is going to be any way that we can repair the things that are wrong with the bill and pass it in a form that would meet with the approval of first nations across Canada?

Dennis Bevington: Mr. Speaker, I am afraid that is simply not going to happen, whether time allocation occurs or not. The Conservative majority government has chosen not to deal with amendments in a good fashion on the aboriginal affairs committee for the last two years that I have sat on it.

A good example was Bill C-47, a bill that deals only with specific regions of the country. Representatives of those regions of the country put forward 50 amendments. New Democrats brought them forward and the Conservatives chose not only to vote against them but to not even speak to them. Once a bill is written, they do not seem to be interested at all in trying to work with the bill to make sure it is in a good fashion. The consultation is weak. Witnesses now would rather not come to the aboriginal affairs committee because they see it as a waste of their time.

The process is falling apart around the Conservative government, and it keeps pushing forward with these bills.