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Legislative Assembly of Canada
April 28, 2006
Mr. Gary Merasty (Desnethé--Missinippi--Churchill River, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, imposing legislation upon aboriginal governments without prior consultation does not work, not to mention that it is an insult. Aboriginal organizations, the federal Auditor General, and the previous government had established a round table joint policy initiative to build capacity toward the establishment of a first nation's auditor general.
Why is the government imposing its colonial wards of state attitude upon the first nations and not respecting this agreed to initiative?
Hon. John Baird (President of the Treasury Board, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the member opposite that before the decision was taken to include first nations in our federal accountability act, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Chief Fontaine. He asked for a meeting and one was granted within 24 hours.
Mr. Gary Merasty (Desnethé--Missinippi--Churchill River, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, instead of a round table, we get more of a bully pulpit. Each first nation government already files a minimum of 168 financial reports every year to the federal government, all of which the Auditor General gets access to.
The parliamentary Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development stated that 96% of first nations are fully compliant with all the regulations and rules. When will the government get off the pulpit, get back to the table, and begin consulting with first nations people?
Hon. Anita Neville (Winnipeg South Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, members of the House know that the Kelowna accord is indeed an opportunity to make a difference. Canada's first nations would see improvements in health care, education, housing, and in economic opportunities. The funding for the Kelowna accord was booked in the same budgetary allocation that allowed the government to give $755 million to farmers, and that was good.
Given the budget that is being presented on Tuesday, will the minister confirm that $5.1 billion committed to the Kelowna accord will be delivered as promised?
Mr. Rod Bruinooge (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, CPC): Mr. Speaker, our government's agenda is based upon accountability and taking responsibility. It will also be that way with aboriginal policy. We are going to be working with aboriginal Canadians in the months ahead. I look forward to Tuesday when we outline some of our plans for the future.
Hon. Anita Neville (Winnipeg South Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, Kasechewan and water, Caledonia and land claims, Garden Hill and health care, all of these incidents of aboriginals being worse off than their fellow Canadians will be alleviated if the Kelowna accord is implemented in full. Canadians are demanding from coast to coast to coast that the prosperity gap be eliminated.
I challenge the minister. Will he make the Kelowna accord the government's sixth priority?
Mr. Rod Bruinooge (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as I have said, our government is very interested in pursuing all of the issues that were left behind by the previous government.
We are going to take responsibility for the responsibilities that are laid at our feet. On Tuesday we will outline some of our budgetary measures and I am very hopeful that aboriginal people will see a good future in Canada.