Northwest Territories Devolution Act (Bill C-15)

Hon. Bernard Valcourt: Mr. Speaker, I have listened carefully to the hon. member, and I am disappointed that she has indicated she will vote against this historic piece of legislation that would devolve powers to northerners living in the territory.


I would like to ask her how she can do that. She may often be misguided in her statements, but how can she intellectually affirm honestly in the House that this a breach of the treaty, which the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement has become, and just like the Gwich’in Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement and the Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement have become?

These treaties specifically envisage the very piece of legislation that we have here today. Sections 25.4.6 (a) of the Sahtu Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement, and 24.4.6 of the Gwich’in agreement, and the Tlicho agreement, section 22, says expressly that where legislation establishes any other land and water board with jurisdiction in any area larger—

Since this is in the treaty, how can she claim in the House to all Canadians that it constitutes a violation of our treaty obligation and section 35? I suggest—

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, did I hear unparliamentary language at the end of that question?

The Acting Speaker: I did not hear anything unparliamentary.

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I heard the word “dishonest”, but perhaps I misheard it.

I am not going to assert anything based on my own opinion. I am relying on the words of the first nations themselves. To answer the minister’s question, I would ask how he can approve this bill when Bertha Rabesca Zoe, whose title is law guardian of the Tlicho government, in reference to Bill C-15, said:

Our input is being ignored, our interests are not being accommodated, and the changes to the regulatory scheme in the Amendments will, if implemented, fundamentally undermine the balance struck in the Tlicho Agreement about how we will have a say about the most important issue—the use of our lands and the effects of those uses on our way of life.

I look at the words she has written and I see a future court case. The accommodation of interests are requirements of the law. The Conservative administration is setting a course to chaos in resource development. Where it wants to creating a steamroller, it has created a road wrecking team.