Six Nations Solidarity
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Legislative Assembly of Canada
April 24, 2006
Ms. Jean Crowder (Nanaimo-Cowichan, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the recent situation in Caledonia highlights how federal government neglect of first nations' issues has created outrage right across Canada.
Will the minister agree to act on the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples which was explicitly put in place to prevent another situation like Oka from happening? These recommendations have been sitting for years without any action.
Hon. Jim Prentice (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I met this morning with Mr. David Ramsay, the Ontario minister.
The difficult situation in Caledonia is one that requires a certain amount of wisdom and forbearance. Talks aimed at addressing the specific issues relating to the occupation are continuing. Good progress has been made over the last several days.
On Saturday morning, April 22, an agreement was reached to develop a work plan that will provide for an effective way, I believe, to address and resolve the outstanding issues relating to the six nations and the governance issues. We are hopeful that together we can achieve a peaceful resolution.
Ms. Jean Crowder (Nanaimo-Cowichan, NDP): Mr. Speaker, Caledonia is only one situation in Canada as we sit here and speak.
Will the minister insist that the Indian Claims Commission be moved from under the thumb of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development so that its independence can be restored? Will he provide the commission with a full set of commissioners and the resources to get on with the job?
Hon. Jim Prentice (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is worth noting that under the previous administration the number of specific claims in this country ballooned from approximately 300 to something approaching 850 specific claims requiring some analysis on our part.
In terms of Caledonia, it is our intention to move forward with appointing the necessary representatives to develop the work plan and to present it back to the parties. This is a difficult situation and I would request the forbearance, the wisdom and the patience of the House of Commons to have this resolved.