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We would still like to see you do that. How can we do that, however? If I get you right, Mr. Diamond, what you mean is -legislation would take a little more time -the basic outline of a legislation along the lines of what was agreed on in Ottawa. You do not mind if it goes somewhat further eventually, as long as we agree on the general outline. It would be a resolution to start with. Would that be sufficient for the next few weeks?
You say December 31st but, in fact, the Assembly adjourns December 21st; that gives us not too much time. I know how delicate such a thing can be. Would a resolution embodying perhaps a little more, but embodying at least the main contents, the general lines of what was agreed on in Ottawa be more or less one good step before the end of the year?
Maybe if the House had started on October 18, it would have given us more time for the protection of aboriginal rights. In respect to the resolution, if we can agree to what was agreed on in the Constitutional Accord, plus the schedule attached to the accord -the schedule is very important, the two documents come together - if we can sit down together and agree to what the National Assembly resolution can be drafted as then, I think we can take it from there.
I think this was a reaction on the part of Billy Diamond which is really a feeling of the population in general. I would like to ask Mr. Diamond, since reference has been made to the Constitutional Accord of , if he could describe, for the purpose of this parliamentary committee, what that accord of is, what it has done, what are its contents.
Chairman, I have certain views and I would like the other members as well to express their views on that. As far as the First Nations of this country are concerned, they had hope, in the Canada Act or the Constitution Act of , that those particular sections that refer to aboriginal and treaty rights would be more specific, would outline very clearly what are aboriginal and treaty rights in Canada. However, Section 35 states that aboriginal and treaty rights are recognized and affirmed.
Section 35 further goes on to define who are Aboriginal Peoples. But what we had hoped to achieve in Ottawa was outlined in Section The Constitutional Accord was reached as a result of very difficult and complicated negotiations. At the national level, you have to remember that we are dealing with four national Native organizations, we are dealing with ten provinces and two territories.
So, we are dealing with sixteen parties, and for sixteen parties to arrive at a solution or even to achieve an accord is quite a substantial task. In the accord, we tried to protect what we think is very important for us. We did not want any guiding principles to establish what we think are aboriginal and treaty rights in this country, but we wanted to go further than Section 35 and Section 25 of the Constitution Act of So, the accord was a basis for what we can do in the future.
We knew that one First Ministers' Conference in this country could not establish all the aboriginal needs and all the aboriginal aspirations and could not very clearly and precisely define what are aboriginal and treaty rights in this country. So, we agreed on an ongoing process that would take place in the future to achieve this particular goal. The resolution, on the other hand, which is attached as a schedule to the Constitutional Accord of , amends certain sections of the Constitution Act of These agreements contain many rights that will be discussed at later presentations before this commission.
As well, we had to make sure that that process continue and that any future settlements of land claims also be entrenched. There are very eminent settlements that are taking place in Canada and one of them is the Yukon Territorial Settlement. It was important for us as well to make sure that anything that took place or that was being resolved at the First Ministers Conference not have any prejudice or bring any delay whatsoever so as to construe or to derogate from aboriginal regions rights. I am referring to the new Section So, it was important for us to, first, establish an accord on what can be done in the future in respect to First Ministers conferences and, second, to get those particular amendments on equality rights, on land claim agreements, on future land claim agreements and Section To me, that is the importance of that First Ministers' Conference.
If I understand you correctly, the Constitutional Accord of , first of all, was an amendment to the Canadian Constitution. It would be entrenched in the Constitution and could not be changed. Chairman, I will answer the first part of your question. I would like to give Mrs. The agreement has been amended six times, since its signature. Chairman, if I could just elaborate a little bit further on what Chief Billy Diamond has said and maybe refer some of my comments to Mr. There are many governments in Canada that we are having a lot of difficulty with in getting our constitutional rights recognized.
We understand the difficulties that the Government has in participating directly in the First Ministers conferences, but I think that the Premier has showed his commitment in the process by supporting our concerns and also by going to the First Ministers conferences. Technically, it can be said that he is not actively participating because it requires the consent of the provinces in order to make an amendment to the Constitution. However, by not opting out, the amendments would eventually go through, but it slows down the process and that was the point that we were making.
Another comment was raised by the Premier about whether we were in agreement with signing an accord that was in conformity with the Constitutional Accord. Going beyond that, we are very much in favour of discussing that with you and, like Chief Diamond said, we want to get very actively involved in that immediately because the deadline for the accord, or the passage of the accord, is December Just a couple of points, Mr. I also want to submit respectfully, Mr.
We just wanted to get more clarification regarding the Constitution and this being a treaty. I have just one final comment because the time is getting along. I would like to give the opportunity to my other colleagues to ask questions. But if I understand correctly, you are concerned, or you would like to have the government give the undertaking, that it would not opt out.
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Right now, it has the right to opt out of the amendment. That amendment protects additionnally your rights in the Constitution. Well, he asked the question about a possible resolution, or a law in the National Assembly. I would like to assure the Premier that at this time, at the end of the session, the consent of the official Opposition is required beyond a certain date for the tabling and the acceptance of any law.
Oui, oui, on est d'accord. Pour ce qui est des autres domaines, s'ils veulent s'en retirer ou s'ils appellent cela des "bloody agreements", ou appelez-les comme vous voulez, ce sont leurs affaires. On ne voit pas cela ailleurs, pour l'instant en tout cas. Je crois que c'est pour le mieux. C'est un peu le sens de cette commission. La question pratique est donc: Que pouvons-nous faire pour faire avancer vos droits, pour vous donner une meilleure protection de vos droits?
Les propos de M. Je voudrais rappeler, M. Donc, vous voyez, M. Je voudrais donc terminer par une question. C'est facile de dire: Ce que nous voulons, ce n'est pas une consultation, mais bien qu'il y ait un consentement. Que les Indiens en fassent partie et disent: Ce n'est pas ce que nous voulons. Chairman, the minister's comments refer to several things.
First, he refers to a question that he asks to himself: What can we do? I think that the question should be more suitably put: What can an Native people do? We intend to work very closely with the governement or its representatives to make sure that that resolution is drafted in such a way that we can agree so as to give the maximum protection to the Aboriginal Peoples of this province.
That is what we want. We have been asking for justice and we cannot wait another 20 years for justice. We are asking for effective participation in our own home land. We do not want to be refugees any longer in our own home land. We want to participate for the development of our own home land and the protection of our own rights and to make sure that the Indian Peoples or the Aboriginal Peoples of this province have a voice on what is going on in this province.
The Premier has, on many occasions, highlighted to other people that they are first nations in this province. The Premier of this province was the first Premier in Canada to make reference to the Aboriginal Peoples of this land as first nations. And as first nations, we want to get recognition of that concept of first nations. The concept of any nationhood to us is very important.
We had proposed this particular parliamentary commission; we further suggest that this particular parliamentary commission be established as a permanent one so that the Indian and Aboriginal Peoples of this province have a voice in the House. It would be a commission that they can come to, having no fear of presenting their commitments and their aspirations, while the National Assembly takes cognizance of those particular problems. We do not want our briefs to be shelved, to become documentation and to.
When you establish programs, you must change your legislation, you must change provincial legislation so that it is in conformity with aboriginal rights, treaty rights and aboriginal traditions in this province. That is very difficult for us to ask you, but it is going to be a formula to which we have to agree. Your legislation must no longer harm the way of life of our people and your legislation must be changed so that it is in conformity with our way of life.
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I think we can establish a suitable formula whereby you and I can live together in these lands. There are other ways of protecting the first citizens or the first nations of this country. We appreciate, as I said, the constitutional process. The minister has respectfully referred to recommendations 14 and 15, that ongoing process.
We hope, by having a parliamentary commission, that there will be work assigned particularly to deputy-ministers or other civil servants so that work can begin. What is most important is that the Government and representatives in the National Assembly be the leaders, in order to change the attitude of ordinary Quebeckers towards Indian Peoples or Aboriginal Peoples in this country.
The Government must be the leader to make sure that the civil servants of this country or of this province change their attitude in handling aboriginal affairs in this province. We would also like the Government to investigate the possibility of establishing a permanent office which the Native peoples of this province could go to, so that they can be heard, so that action can be taken in respect to finding solutions to their problems.
I think that is why we are here today, believing that something is going to happen when this parliamentary commission makes its recommendations to the House. Those are our aspirations. It will be embodied as something which the National Assembly will concur with, I think. There is no problem there.
If the Opposition agrees, this is the beginning, as far as we are concerned, of a permanent process. I can see very clearly why. As far as this additional protection that some of the clauses that can protect additionally that were briefly mentioned by my colleague, Mr. Morin, could I just ask the question: Is there anything there that you could find more satisfactory among the precedents that are called procedural - whatever it is - things that you could feel safer with?
I think one of you - and that was part of your memo - said that that charter is more or less an ordinary legislation. Well, it is not, and, God knows, every time we touch it, we have to be very careful about doing anything about it because it does prevail over - if I am right -existing and over future legislation and anyone, any government bringing any kind of notwithstanding clause has to check very carefully how and why it does it. We had occasions to emphasize that recently with amendments that were passed in the National Assembly and were promulgated recently.
In the sense of a charter, would that be at least somewhat satisfactory as additional protection? I am just asking Mr. Diamond, or whoever wants to answer. Chairman, in respect to the Premier's comments and his questions, indeed, we are looking for a protection and we know that there is an. But, I want to remind members of the House that eventhough the Native people too are looking for assistance and the late Native people would like to sit down with the Government and determine what can be done to protect Native people.
In order to do this, it is going to cost financial resources, administrative resources, technical resources; these resources that are not available to Native people. Just a short comment in relation to Chief Diamond. We are looking for protection but the question that is being asked of us is what type of procedures would allow more protection. I think that that requires further examination.
Now, unfortunately, we are not lawyers and you are Do not talk about me. We ave legals all over the place but I am not one of them. So, we want to sit down and look into the idea of having further protection, not only through constitutional procedures, but also other procedures that would allow us more protection, let us say, within the Province. J'aimerais seulement ajouter quelque chose ici. On se pose un peu des questions et c'est pour cela qu'on vous propose une charte des droits des autochtones. You are not first time comers here, you have been here in many occasions before, we have met you all before and we had some very interesting discussions in the past.
Two things struck me today, one was that, when I had the opportunity to study Indian rights in North America, I found that there were more people administrating Indian programs than there were Indians benefiting from those programs and I think that some justifications for autonomy for Indian Peoples could do away with the bureaucracy that we have throughout North America. Secondly, even though Mrs. Simon said that there are not lawyers on that side of the table, I find that they are constitutional experts and I hope we do not make any mistake on this side of the table; if we do, I am sure you will correct us.
I would imagine that fighting for Indian rights today means having a fearly good understanding of the Constitution. Dans la constitution canadienne, il y a. L'article 25 dit ceci: Do I have to repeat that in English for Mr. Simon, or was it clear? Chairman, may be I cannot attempt an answer. Marx, there are more people administering too Indians and there are Indians Let me assure you, Mr. Minister, that we too have the same problem. At moments, there is too many chiefs and not enough Indians.
In respect to the constitution, we heard the Premier make a commitment to us, in respect to the opting out. We take that commitment at its value. It is a political commitment and we accept the Premier's word, that there will be a National Assembly resolution tabled. However, for us, for the National Assembly resolution to have significance, it would have to highlight what was agreed to in the Constitutional Accord. The Constitutional Accord was a negotiated document, as well as the amendments to that particular resolution, the resolution attached to the Constitutional Accord, and the two documents must be in conformity with what the National Assembly resolution says.
We hope that we can reach an agreement, between ourselves and members of the Government, regarding the National Assembly resolution before it is tabled. We would like to be given the opportunity to give a reference and to give voice to it. Having Sections 25 and 35 of the. Constitution Act of in the resolution would not suffice with respect to the particular predicament that we are in, the situation that we are in. What I understood the Premier or the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs to say was that they were perhaps prepared to go ahead with an endorsement of the accords.
Basically, what I said was that everything substantial in there would be a part of our resolution, not necessarily in so many words, because a resolution is not necessarily in the same style, word for word, as a so-called constitutional text. It could also - and I think it should - go in some ways further, but that is another question. I understood that, I understood that that is what the Premier had said previously.
Now, what I am asking you, what I want your advice on is this: In my view, it would be somewhat disconcerting to accept the accord and not to accept what is really the foundation of the accord: Marx, when you refer to Sections 25 and 35 of the Constitution of , these amendments are included in the Constitutional Accord that we signed with the governments.
Those are part of the amendments. In addition to those provisions, there should also be the inclusion of other elements of the Constitutional Accord which relate to an established. Chairman, I just want to inform both sides of the House that we are very conscious regarding this particular suggestion. However, we want to highlight to the commission that it is very important for us, if there is a way to do it in the National Assembly, that the word "existing" be removed. If that is possible, it would give us a much better protection than what is presently outlined in Sections 25 and The Government has made a number of promises and we intend to hold them to their promises.
I am sure that they will not have a chance to forget them since it has all been very well recorded; it is going to be recorded in writing, on television and on a disc, so there is no problem there. I would just like to get back to entrenchment and constitutional guarantees. I think they are both on the same footing. I do not really see much difference between them in legislative technique. I would add to that that even the Canadian Bill of Rights was not as strong a guarantee as is the Canadian Constitution in the sense that, during the October crisis and a little after the October crisis, in special legislation, the Government found it fairly easy to bypass the Canadian Bill of Rights with another bill which contained a notwithstanding clause.
Of course, it is somewhat more difficult to bypass a Constitutional Charter of Rights. I think that it is very unfortunate that the Canadian Charter of Rights has a provision allowing the provincial Legislatures or the Federal Government or the Federal Parliament to bypass the Canadian Charter of Rights. But, be that as it may, I think that is for discussion on another day. The first method you mentioned is, of course, the one dealing with a manner and form entrenchment and the other one is an amendment to the Canadian Constitution. I see that the Premier is smiling.
I do not think that it is the way we are going to go. Although, one never knows what influence you may have on the Premier. There are at least those two methods of guaranteeing aboriginal rights. I think that is also a good thing. What I would like to know is this. Ce serait plus rassurant si vous donniez l'opinion de l'Opposition. Parce qu'il faut battre le fer quand il est chaud. Chairman, I just want to add a few comments to Mr.
Marx's questions in respect to the methods. He referred particularly to two methods of guaranteeing aboriginal rights. He referred to the entrenchment of aboriginal rights in the Canadian Constitution. What were here before this parliamentary commission is: How you achieve this is a basis whereby we can discuss and set up a table of negotiations. We can arrive at separate agreements for separate nations through negotiations and through discussions but Aborigional Peoples, in order to achieve that, must be given the flexibility and must be given the resources to arrive at that particular result.
After you have achieved agreement with each nation in this province, then it is only proper to achieve legislative protection of those particular aboriginal rights. For instance, Max Gros-Louis growns corn in his back-yard. I do not grow corn in my back-yard. I grow beaver in my back-yard. My people are gatherers of different kinds of crops. My people are gatherers and harvesters of the resources that live on the land. Chief Gros-Louis people are gatherers on the land, as well, so that rights vary from place to place and from nation to nation.
There are provincial matters and there are federal matters.
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There is a lot of mixed jurisdictions and overlaping jurisdictions; that has to be discussed, again this can be done through the process of negotiation. For instance, education, while that is recognized as a provincial jurisdiction, but the founding for education is the responsibility of the Federal Government. But how do you mesh those two together? That is to be decided when there is a proper table of negotiations. Then, you have coexistince between nations and then you establish a new relationship. Le premier ministre a sans doute raison quand il dit: C'est un peu ce qu'on fait.
Est-ce que les formules actuelles vous satisfont? Il y a le chef Billy Diamond qui voudrait intervenir. We would be in agreement with that but we would also suggest to this parliamentary commission that they make a recommendation to the National Assembly, that this parliamentary commission or any permanent parliamentary commission on Aboriginal Peoples be given an opportunity to have a sub-committee.
We are in agreement with conferences to take place but I have to remind the Premier that he did have a conference in December and we are still waiting for those suggestions to be implemented. We would like to see more developments and we know it takes time and that the bureaucracy is big. I think you are going to see a very big difference in cutting some of those statistics which Mr. But I think that, until we are able to create this organism or this commission, call it what you will, which will include Native peoples to respond to the needs of each of the nations in a master agreement for each nation, unless we do that, we cannot begin to resolve the problems that exist in the communities.
In closing, I want to thank the members of the task force and you can rest assured that concerning the undertakings that have been made by the Premier Minister, this morning, we will certainly follow up them to make sure that they are carried out. Pour terminer, je remercie M. Chairman, on behalf of the eight Cree villages that we represent we wish to present a brief on their behalf and those three communities are: Our total population is approximately Chairman, if I may, I would like to ask the permission to exercice on of my right under the Bill , that is the opportunity to speak my own language.
The decision of Mr. Justice Malouf was a landmark decision in the area of recognition of aboriginal rights. Justice Malouf represents one of the most significant affirmations by the Courts of Indian rights. The Agreement itself is the first modern comprehensive land claims agreement.
More importantly, our people were very involved in the elaboration of the Agreement and in the circumstances, taking into account the great forces against us, we considered it an acceptable compromise. To this date, it remains a unique agreement in North American relations between the Indians and the white man. Moreover, the Cree people considered that the agreement has met the test of time. We are satisfied with the contents of the Agreement and many parts of the Agreement have been very successfully implemented.
On the other hand, we have had very serious and dramatic problems on the implementation of important parts of the Agreement, more specifically in relation to health and social services, essential sanitation facilities and economic development. In our view, this report confirmed that the Federal Government had failed to implement certain important provisions of the Agreement in accordance with the spirit and the objectives of the Agreement.
The Federal Cabinet then decided to take certain remedial measures to allow the Government of Canada to better fulfill its commitments under the Agreement.
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It is admittedly very detailed and often quite technical. However, because of all the past difficulties which we had experienced in respect to the non recognition of our rights and which Indians are today experiencing, we considered it preferable to have our rights defined as precisely as possible.
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Obviously, these rights have now been detailed and adapted to particular circumstances. The Agreement recognizes hunting, fishing and trapping rights over most of our traditional territory for the Crees and, in fact, gives exclusive trapping rights over much of this territory from slightly south of the 48th parallel of latitude to well north of the 55th parallel of latitude. It establishes the right to hunt, fish and trap everywhere it is physically possible. We accepted the principle of conservation because, as Indian people, we have always practised conservation. However, we have the right to hunt, fish and trap all species of animals, fish and birds at all times with very limited exceptions.
We also have the exclusive right of hunting and fishing in some 27 square miles and the Agreement further provides that there are specific restrictions and controls on hunting and fishing by non native people. In many respects, our aboriginal rights to hunt, fish and trap has not only been kept intact, but has received very strong recognition in the Agreement. Of course, we are not restricting the aboriginal rights to that of hunting, fishing and trapping. It goes much further than that. But it was and is a very important element of that aboriginal rights for our people.
It not only enables our people to maintain their traditional way of life and actively practise our culture; it is also a significant economic factor. But there are also other rights which we have in respect to our traditional territory in addition to our hunting, fishing and trapping rights. Basically, category II lands can only be used in a very restricted manner by non-Crees.
Although they are subject to development, these lands must be replaced if there is development. Furthermore, if there is development in the remainder of the territory, such development is subject to a special environmental and social protection regime which takes into account Cree rights and interests, including the use of the land by the Crees. Certain modifications were made to the James Bay Project in the Agreement and a specific corporation was established for remedial works in connection with the project.
There is also a guaranteed annual income that we call the income security program for Cree hunters and trappers which has functioned very effectively and which has assisted our people in maintaining their traditional way of life. Under the Agreement, we will have basic governmental control and powers over square miles of land set aside under federal jurisdiction with new special federal legislation to be adopted to provide for this.
We also have the ownership and governmental control of an additional square miles of land under provincial jurisdiction. The rights, benefits and privileges of the Agreement are in addition to federal and provincial programs, and funding which continue to apply to the Crees. Furthermore, under the Agreement, the Crees are entitled to define their own membership consistent with the principle of self-determination. We, therefore, removed the arbitrary distinction between status and non-status Crees, such that the latter are full beneficiaries under the Agreement. We have thought it useful, however, to mention some of these rights and benefits to illustrate these basic points: In summary, we feel that the Agreement secures the traditional way of life and allows those Crees who wish to pursue a new way of life to do so.
The Agreement also allows for a mixture of the two. The Agreement itself provides for an evolving process and a procedure for amending it. It should also be noted that both statutes provide or acknowledge that the Cree and Inuit beneficiaries have the rights, privileges and benefits set out in the Agreement.
Thus, we consider that the Agreement rights, privileges and benefits are statutory rights, privileges and benefits and not just contractual rights, privileges and benefits. Sections 4 and 5 dealing with lands and the land regime. Section 8, technical aspects relating especially to the James Bay project.
Section 11A, Cree regional authority, and section 26, the Cree legal entities. An Act respecting the Cree regional authority;. An Act respecting Health and Social Services;. Section 18, administration of Justice. Section 22, environment and future development below the 55th parallel. Chapter 2 of the Environment Quality Act;. Section 24, hunting, fishing and trapping. Section 25, compensation and taxation. Section 28, Economic and Social Development.
Section 30, Income Security Program for Cree hunters and trappers. In addition to the foregoing legislation, there were also amendments made to other legislation to take into account certain provisions of the James Bay and Northern. For instance, the Charter of the French Language provides basically for an exemption from the application of the act in favour of Cree beneficiaries and entities with the right to use the Cree language.
Under section 35 of the Constitution Act, , the existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada are recognized and affirmed as part of the supreme law of Canada. These aboriginal rights go far beyond land rights based on historical use. The term aboriginal rights is, of course, a much wider term than simply land rights. In any event, the recent constitutional amendment proposed in regard to section 35 of the Constitution Act and resulting from the Constitutional Accord on aboriginal rights makes it clear that treaty rights include rights that now exist by way of land claims agreements.
Consequently, this elevated status of the rights of the Crees under the agreement makes it even more imperative that they be fully respected and implemented. Moreover, there have been some successes in regard to implementation of the Agreement, particularly in regard to the income security program, the setting aside of category I and category II lands, policing and the administration of justice, many aspects of the hunting, fishing and trapping regime, the enrollment process for Cree beneficiaries, the implementation of the section on education, subject to certain reservations, the payment of most of the compensation when due under the Agreement, subject to certain conflicts of interpretation on a small part of the compensation and in relation to certain aspects of the environmental regime.
Nonetheless, there have been important difficulties with this section, especially in respect to possible future hydroelectric development which we will elaborate later on. This, of course, is not to say that there have not been problems of implementation and often considerable difficulties. However, it has been possible for the parties, through persistent and sustained efforts, to effectively carry out large parts of the Agreement as it was intended to function. This relates particularly to Section 14 respecting health and social services and to Section 28 respecting economic and social development.
Examples of the grievances are as follows: Some of these conflicts still have not been resolved, although the review has produced many or some positive results. We therefore do not propose to go into more detail on these problems at this point. If the review does not solve these, the magnitude of the problems of implementation of the Agreement are even greater than we think.
We therefore will turn to more specific comments on each of these subject matters before commenting further upon the review itself.
At this point, Mr. Albert Diamond, to continue the presentation. Chairman, Members of the commission, I am pleased of the opportunity to present the section related to health and social services. We made several points on health and social services. We also mentioned that health and social services had not improved since the signing of the Agreement and in certain cases had even deteriorated, that the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay had not been recognized by the Department of Social Affairs as having the status and combining the functions of a regional health council, a hospital center, a local community service center, a social service center and a reception center and that the Board had not received adequate budgets from the Department of Social Affairs in order to function efficiently.