First Nations Financial Transparency Act (Bill C-27)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I am very disturbed by the process that surrounds this legislation. I have seen, in media commentary, that the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo first learned of this legislation by Twitter.

When we think about the magnificent apology the Prime Minister offered to first nations over the residential school issue on the floor of this very chamber, in that apology there was a promise to behave better and differently in the future. I think all parties agree that we want to see accountability and transparency in our own operations as government and in first nations governments. However, we cannot get to that by dictating in ways that suggest unilateralism and a lack of respect.

With the first nations themselves moving toward accountability in promises in their own self-government areas, I think it would have been much better, and I still believe it would be better, to have a partnership moving forward, not dictating to first nations as this bill does.

Hon. John Duncan: Mr. Speaker, we do have support for this legislation from first nations.

I would also remind the member that there was a motion at the Assembly of First Nations in December 2010, which was passed. I cannot remember if it was passed unanimously, but it was strongly supported, that they would voluntarily move into this era of accountability by voluntary measures.

It has now been a significant period of time since December 2010. It appears that there has been very little movement in this direction. We think this legislation is essential to move things where they need to be. It is a very simple exercise in that regard.