British Columbia Legislature: Bennett, Barrett, Vander Zalm,

Harcourt, Clark & Campbell Eras


© 2007 Brad Kempo B.A. LL.B.

Barrister & Solicitor





January 27, 1970




I believe that our people throughout the North, north of the Prince George - Prince Rupert belt, are getting a little annoyed at the laxity of a defining as to just what has to be done for the North. In this respect I would say that northern development is a concern of everyone, and particularly those who are resident in the North and those people who wish to become resident in the North. People who would like to carve out something for themselves, bring their families to the North and they would like to have some form of security. At the rate of northern development, I am quite sure, and I think I speak for quite a number of people who have gone up North, they find that there is not too much up there, and then they come wheeling back to the metropolitan areas. I don't think this is good. I think the Government should have a little bit more policy initiated so these people could be encouraged to go to the North and stay there and develop it.





But I am very serious about this, and I do hope the new members, particularly those from the North, remain bold. I may have made a nasty remark that certain people were pastured, maybe that's wrong, but for gosh sakes speak up for the North. It's tremendous. I'm going to speak a little later about northern development, about certain people wanting to take over certain areas north of our boundaries. This, I think, is where those of us who are northern members will have to say something, because the Government hasn't proven itself yet in developing northern British Columbia. But in any event, I can say this, don't ever think that just because you may be a backbencher for the Government that you have to keep quiet about the conditions in the North. I am going to tell you, you are going to earn your money.




Mr. Speaker, I have quite a bit to say about Indian Affairs, and I don't want to just touch on it and then forget it. I would like to leave it until the Budget, because this Government and the Federal Government and all the provinces are negotiating very seriously on what's to be done on the White Paper that's been produced in Ottawa. I do have some remarks to make on that, and I would like to major on just that one in the Budget Debate.



February 10, 1970




I think this is the proper tim in which to present the Indian case. I have been quite fair with my constituents ever since I entered this House. I've said this before, it has been very difficult for a native Indian to represent a riding, because I've had experience in the past in which I have presented the case of the Indian problem, and perhaps at times I have overdone it, to the extent that it hasn't been appreciated by my constituents. They say, "Frank, when are you going to talk about the white man's problem?" You know. I hope you can all appreciate the position I'm in. In this respect I have, in the past 21 years -four of which I was absent, from '5 6 to '60 - in which I have divided my subjects between the non-Indian problems and the Indian problem. But I try my best to convince my constituents that the Indian problem doesn't belong to the Indians, it belongs to Canadian society. In all the years that I've been in the House I think my constituents have realized this phase, and I think they can appreciate the reasons, they can appreciate the time that I've spent on the Indian problem, and so this evening, Mr. Speaker, I am going to deal with the Indian problem.


It has been almost three years since I delivered an entire talk on Indian affairs in this Legislature. Now my silence in this period of time, three years, has not been dud to any lack of Indian problems or to avoiding the initiative and participation in the Indian struggle for recognition, confrontations, equality, and justice, but to bear what they themselves have to say and do about the issues which they face today. I have in the past, and I would say maybe 10 years ago, 15 years ago, attended many important meetings of our Native people, and I have found in my experience that whenever I appear, quite a number of my Indian leader friends would say, "Well this is fine, Frank's here, now he can do the talking for us." I don't quite appreciate that fact, because it seems that I silence quite a number of our leaders in my appearance. I've also found this to be when some of the well known Indian leaders appear on the scene, some of the people with perhaps better ideas, just more or less keep silent. So this is the reason why, since major changes have been proposed to the Native Indians, have been placed before practically every tribe from coast to coast, I particularly want to see and hear the modern Indian leader speak out, participate, and it's gradually being realized, Mr. Chairman.


In recent years, even going beyond the three-year period in which I have never said too much about the Indian problem on the floor of this House, more and more Indian organizational leaders and village chief councillors have become directly involved in Federal and Provincial consultations on Indian affairs. Since the day of my own personal involvement in this field, I for one have urged the Indian young people to assume more active roles in the respective community affairs, and at every opportunity to participate in Indian consultations with any of the three levels of government, and their participation, Mr. Speaker, has become more noticeable in the past years, to the extent that they have expressed to the Government and to the general public, not only their views and advice, but in no uncertain terms their definite stand on many a current issue.


The Indian voice and full participation in Canadian public affairs are long overdue. Now that these are becoming a reality, naturally, I am keenly interested in the decisions reached by the Indian groups in this Province, and I'm also extremely interested in the decisions they may reach with respect to the subject which I wish to deal with this evening. To go back a little while, say to 1949, since I entered this House, I have brought to the attention, Mr. Speaker, of the Provincial Government the need to consider - and I'm going to name you a few of the subjects in which I spent the entire part of my talk on the floor of this House, and this has gone back since 1949, so actually I haven't said or spent too much time in a major talk on Indian affairs. But, these are some, and I want you to take note of these.


When I first entered this House I talked entirely - and I think there's only two members that sat here during the Coalition days, that's the honourable Premier himself, the member for Cranbrook, and myself - and I think they can recall when I talked upon the land pre-emption rights for the Native Indians of British Columbia. During the period that this Government appeared on the scene, up to now, I have spoken on these: the Provincial jurisdiction of Indian affairs, Provincial jurisdiction of education, Provincial jurisdiction of welfare, community and economic development on reserves, municipal status for reserves, and the abolition of reserves.


But, Mr. Speaker, I can recall the waning and the dying years of the Coalition Government, before which I would present my case to the best of my ability, in the hope that the Government would consider some of my proposals as possible answers to the Indian problem. The only response I would get would be a one-word repartee federal "When the Government backbenchers yelled the word "Federal" across the floor to me at that day, I assumed that they meant that what I said was out of order, that these subjects have no place in the Provincial Legislature and that I was wasting the time of the House. My personal assumption, Mr. Speaker, was that I embarrassed the Government of that day, and its Ottawa counterparts, for their legalized discrimination against Indians in the segregational policies as defined in the British North America Act and in the Indian Act.


Well, Mr. Speaker, I do not wish to elaborate on any of these seven points that I have read out to you. I will briefly deal with one of them during the course of my talk. I only wish to say that the land pre-emption right was granted to the Indians of British Columbia in 1950. My motion on Provincial jurisdiction of Indian affairs was approved in principle by this Government some years ago, and in one of our tribal conventions a resolution was passed on municipal status for reserves and this, of course, corresponded with this Government's enactment a few months after our council had forwarded the resolution to the present Minister of Municipal Affairs. This Government has also entered the reserves by its participation in community and economic development on the Port Simpson Indian Reserve. So you see, Mr. Speaker, that up to now I am right on target, and I will also predict that I will remain on that target respecting my position on the Federal White Paper on new Indian policy which was introduced last year, and this is my subject this evening.


I would like to say here and now, Mr. Speaker, that this is a very touchy subject, and no doubt most of the members here are going to be queried by the local Indian tribes on this subject, and for gosh sakes I don't wish you people to take it as too touchy a subject, because I think it's very simple, there is a very simple solution to it. I mean we are elected legislators in British Columbia and I think the Indians are very keenly interested in taking a complete participation in the subject. They are going to be consulted and they will consult, and I think that in this subject the provincial governments, the ten provinces in Canada, are definitely involved in the subject. I have no fear any more of anybody yelling across the floor to me by this present Government and saying that this subject is "Federal" said earlier that one day this may be budgeted, and I say that this is the proper time to state my own personal views on the subject. What I'm going to say tonight is strictly my own views, Mr. Chairman, and you can take it, you can take it or reject it. I know that many of the things I'm going to say are going to be rejected by my own people, but as we go along I hope you will abide with me.


Now, to reply to the White Paper on new Indian policy, Mr. Speaker. In the past few days we have heard so much about the White Paper on taxation, and any member here that has not heard about the White Paper, I'd just like to tell you now, that almost the same time the White Paper on taxation was introduced in the Federal House there was another known as the White Paper on new Indian policy. Well first, may I say here, that I did not rise in my place, Mr. Speaker, to tell you that I am going to support the Federal Government White Paper on Indian Policy, 1969. 1 am on my feet to tell you that I am gratified the Government has finally come out in support of what I have advocated for the last 21 years. The things that I have said in public, on the floor of this House, and on radio and television appearances.


Secondly, on this subject, I am the first to realize the Indian objections to the White Paper on New Indian Policy and to realize I am in the lion's den with but one tribe, my own tribe, that has approved of this in principle and also with a minority of Indian leaders in Canada. In any event, Mr. Speaker, I have made certain statements and issued charges in this House for which a certain section of society had wanted to scalp me, and on this Indian question I have no fear, Mr. Speaker, of any contradiction in the position which I am taking on the Government's White Paper on the New Indian Policy.


Now what is this New Indian Policy? Here are some points suggested by the Federal Government, and I'm going to give you a few quotations, and this comes from a resume of the White Paper. Here it is. "The Federal Government has finally made public its New Indian Policy. Indian Affairs Minister, John Chretien, in a statement made in the House of Commons on June 25th, announced these major policy decisions. (1) Full legal control of Indian Lands will be transferred to the Indian people. (2) The provinces will be asked to take over the same responsibilities for Indians that they have for other citizens in the Province. This would be accompanied by the transfer to the provinces of federal funds, normally Department phased out." End of quote.


Now, Mr. Speaker, let us now read some of the statements of the Government on the New Indian Policy, and this actually appeared in the booklet which they passed out by the thousands, from coast to coast. Here are some of the excerpts, and these are quotations from the White Paper. "Because of history, " pardon me, I think I'd better just say this. I have made certain remarks on the floor of the House, perhaps maybe unthinkable and people just didn't realize why I made these statements, and they were quite bold, and here are some of the bold statements which the Government in Ottawa has made. "Because of history, the Indians today are the subject of legal discrimination." This is the word of the Government. "They have grievances because of past understandings that have been broken or misunderstood; they do not have full control of their lands; and a higher proportion of the Indians than other Canadians suffer poverty, in all its debilitating forms." Another quote. "This system - special legislation, a special land system and separate administration for the Indian people - continues to be the basis of the present Indian policy, has carried with it serious human and physical as well as administrative disabilities."


These are the words of the Government.


Another quote. "Reserves were usually excluded from development and many began to stand out as islands of poverty." You wouldn't dare say this to the Government several years ago, but these are their own quotations, the Government's own quotations. Another. "The policy of separation has become a burden, " says the Government in Ottawa. Another quote. "The legal and administrative discrimination in the treatment of Indian people has not given them an equal chance of success." Another. "The economic base for many Indians is their reserve land, but the development of the reserves has lagged." Drastic statements. Another. "The tradition of Federal responsibility for Indian matters inhibited the development of a proper relationship between the provinces and the Indian people as citizens. The Indians remained largely a rural people, lacking both education and opportunity." End of quote. These came from the White Paper.


Mr. Speaker, what do these excerpts and others in this statement represent? Exactly what do these statements represent? To me they represent a knowledge of the existence of the Indian problem. After 103 years they have finally admitted they represent a knowledge of existence of the Indian problem. They represent a proof that for over 103 years there have been no real efforts to solve the problem. They represent a glowing admission of failure. They represent a lack of rehabilitative policy. They represent a lack of consultations with the Indian people when consultations were opportune and necessary.


Mr. Speaker, why, we ask ourselves, did the Federal Government now propose to issue full changes with respect to the following: the repeal of the Indian Act, the phase-out of the Indian Affairs Branch, the transfer of full legal control of the Indian lands to the Indian people, the Provincial jurisdiction of Indian affairs, the procedures for the adjudication of Indian land claims, the provision of funds for the economic development of Indian reserves?


Mr. Speaker, is it because of the Federal Government's absolute failure to cope with the Indian problem? Is it because of its current lack of funds for general Government administration, including that of the Indian Department? Is it because of its embarrassment in the United Nations for not being able to contribute constructively in planning to rehabilitate the under- * developed countries when it has not been able to clean up its own backyard? Is it because it plans to evade further constitutional responsibilities, existing obligations, and commitments? Is it because it plans to avoid the settlement of the Indian land claims?


Mr. Speaker, the answers to these questions is yes, yes, yes. And I will not hesitate to charge the Federal Government is opting out from further administration of Indian Affairs because of these reasons. I also suggest that the Government White Paper on New Indian Policy was preconceived and in preparation prior to the consultations with the native Indians in Canada, and that the consultations were used as a means for the introduction of the White Paper. Mr. Speaker, anyone who has taken the time to study the Government basis for consultations known as, and I think that most of the members have been in receipt of these booklets, known as, "Choosing A Path, " and another, "Consultations With The Indian People, " those two booklets, may have detected, within the terms of reference to revise the Indian Act, the Government's direction towards Provincial jurisdiction. This was very clear to me in my personal studies of the two documents. I submit, therefore, that if the Government was sincere in its consultations with the Indian people, it should have spelled out the terms of reference on Provincial jurisdiction. I submit too, Mr. Speaker, that had this been the case, the consultations may have developed into a constructive ball game, as I know that many Indian leaders have considered the question of Provincial jurisdiction.


Now, let's turn to the native Indians. What are the reasons for the Indian's protest against this policy, and I am going to have to quote from my previous talks on the reserves. The Government's statement on the New Indian Policy resulted in a country-wide Indian protest, mainly because the native Indians claimed the Provincial jurisdiction aspect was not part of the terms of reference for consultations, and believe me it wasn't even in it. It had everything else about the amendments to the Indian Act, but nothing about Provincial jurisdiction. But, when the White Paper came out, it proposed Provincial jurisdiction, something that the Indians were never consulted about, and this was perhaps the main reason why there was such a country-wide protest.


In any event, Mr. Speaker, with what I have said in previous talks concerning the conditions on reserves and the ill effects they have fostered - and I'm not going to repeat them because I've mentioned it several times on the floor of the House - you would think that the native Indians would jump at the opportunity to fully participate and to consent to changes for their own betterment. You would actually believe that they would jump at the idea for changes. The protest was due partly to the laxity in the terms of reference, and I think practically every native Indian from coast to coast would agree with that. I believe, however, that there is a more sensitive reason, Mr. Speaker, for the protest, and these sensitive reasons are based on fear, suspicion, and insecurity.


In my previous talks in this House, I referred to certain effects of the reservation system and special laws. Again no elaboration. You'll recall that I did say something about what the reserves breed. The reserves breed dependency, inferiority complex, destruction of initiative. I think any student would know that. I don't hesitate in repeating these time and time again, because in my own personal experience, and with interviews with people who have lived through the system, who will tell you exactly, and perhaps maybe give you those three headings.


But, we're talking about the reasons why Indians object, and we have to go deeper. Now, here is one major effect it has to any change in Government policy. And again, another quote from my previous presentations on the floor of this House. I quote. "From colonial days to the present time, the disruption of the social and economic way of life created a marked disturbance in the individual lives of the native Indians, because the increasing stresses produced much hostile, resentful and unconcerned reaction to any new government policies proposed for the development of new social and economic foundations for them, and from the geographic reserve separations, the lack of tribal co-operation and harmony results in the Indian values remaining a conflict~ to the extent it becomes difficult for the native Indians to accept the white man's way of life. We may sum this up in noting that the majority of the past and modem native Indians lack the knowledge and labour skills which are required to earn a fair living, and because of these and other pertinent reasons they have become a frustrated and despondent people. Without respectable employment careers, they have lost their self respect, pride and the honour of their families and communities. This, it is plain to understand, contributes largely to their personal and their group insecurity." You have to go deep into this. You have to say, "Well, they have certain reasons, " but in my book, Mr. Chairman, it goes quite deep, and this is it, and this is the end of the quotation that I made previously on the floor of this House. I'll say this, the only answer, Mr. Speaker, for the success of any government change from Federal to Provincial, and to secure Indian co-operation and harmony, needs a continual consultation with them, consultation and dialogue with the native Indians and with all the levels of Government.


Again I repeat, throughout these years I have stood for Provincial jurisdiction of Indian affairs. I have no fear in stating these. The abolition of the term "reserve", municipal status for reserves, individual Indian title to real property on reserves, Indian community administration of Indian funds, community and economic development on reserves, self-government on reserves, repeal of the Indian Act and of the Department of Indian Affairs. It is understood that many of these cannot be realized and achieved unless the Government decided to free the native Indians from bondage. As far as I am concerned, Mr. Speaker, the Government White Paper on the New Indian Policy represents a release from paternal care, a release from prison. Many a time I've termed the reserves concentration camps and I don't, I wouldn't, change my views. Of freedom from restraint, of freedom from military control, of freedom from Canada's black holes of iniquities. The Government announcement represents an emancipation for the native Indians in Canada. Listen to this. "After the native Indians themselves, for years, have been condemning the Indian Act and the Indian Affairs Branch for all the administrative flaws and for the cause of poverty, the Government statement should be a cause for Indian celebration."


Way before consultations were realized the Indian was already protesting. Believe me, I know this. The native Indians should consider a statement on New Indian Policy a victory, after the many years of protest against the dictatorial administration of - and in quotation, you'll forgive me - "of those damned Indian Agents." I've heard this since I was a little boy, I've heard this since I was a young fellow, and I still hear it, but I'm going to come back to this.


Earlier I said I was going to come back with one subject, and here it is. This has to do with Provincial jurisdiction. Let's look at it. The future of the native Indians can depend upon a closer formal alliance, Mr. Speaker, with their respective provinces. I'm going to go back to the statement. Many conditions are bringing the native Indians and the Provincial authorities together in practical mattes. Let's consider some of them.


Number one. We have certain reasons why we have to consider Provincial jurisdiction, and here is one of them. The British North America Act vests to the Provinces the authority over lands, forestry, mines, water resources, education, health, hospital services, municipal affairs, highways, fish and wildlife, recreation and conservation, liquor laws, law and order, administration of justice, social welfare, marriage act, property and civil rights, incorporation of companies, agriculture, trap lines, and so forth.


Mr. Speaker, in this day and age I cannot understand why the native Indian people should remain under separate and stagnant laws when they can benefit from the Provincial laws under which they rightfully belong. Just like you do. They are the only ones now that are under these separate laws. Everybody else, every citizen in Canada comes under these Provincial laws, and this privilege of belonging to the Province and to benefit from their laws has been denied to the native Indian for over 103 years.


Number two. On this Provincial jurisdiction, let's look at organization. The trend to urban areas is due to the native Indian's struggle for survival. And believe it, Mr. Speaker, in order to make a decent living, many native Indians, under economic circumstances, find that they have to move out of their reserves for employment. For the purpose of higher education and for better school facilities for their children, many native Indians move to urban areas to seek employment. The native Indian youth, and I have talked to many, and who are the backbone of the native Indians of tomorrow, are just plain fed up with the segregational, colonizational, and regimentational aspect of the reserve system. Many native Indians who are determined to do things for themselves and their families, to become independent, to stand on their own two feet have become urbanized. And Mr. Speaker, these urbanized native Indians, who number in the thousands throughout Canada, are most cognizant and concerned about Provincial jurisdiction because of their increasing reliance upon the Provincial authorities. You just step off the reserve and you become under the Provincial law, and the urbanization trend is still on, and the native Indians have accepted this, these Provincial jurisdictional laws.


Number Three. Provincial franchise has given the native Indians a strong and active voice in the affairs of their respective provinces. They've entered politics, they're very much engaged in it, and they are free to enter it. The native Indians in British Columbia have actually been elected. Two native Indians, I should say, in British Columbia have actually been elected, have entered Parliament, and one of them is speaking today. The other, a good friend of mine, is a Liberal member in Ottawa. To put it bluntly, Mr. Speaker, I advocate Provincial jurisdiction because I am convinced that one day that is exactly how it is going to be, and I am not one, Mr. Speaker, to deny the future generation of native Indians their rightful place under the sun.


Let's look at municipal status. The proposal for municipal status does not mean the abolition of the reserve boundaries as we know them today, and I think the Minister can point this out to anyone who may be interested to accept municipal status. By the way, Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister, I am hopeful of the outcome of the vote at Cape Mudge. The Indians have their eyes focused at what may happen at Cape Mudge, and I can say this, if it is favourable, one of my own villages in the Nass River may be the next one. I do hope that the vote in Cape Mudge will be favourable. I know that the young people there are really considering the adoption of this municipal status. The municipal status proposal merely involves the definition of reserves. The majority of native Indians, I know, would welcome self-government upon reserves, but this word "reserve" is a term only if no money is made available for its administration. The native Indians pay taxes with the exception of land tax, but their share of the tax dollar for municipal improvements and benefits does not return to the reserves. It would, however, if the reserves had municipal status definition, and I think I'm correct in that. Now, I just read a few minutes ago that the Federal Government has stated that in the transfer of jurisdiction that they would continue to pay their sums of money, but only the Provincial would administer. I am hopeful that they mean every word they said in the announcement.


Now let me say this, let me say this, Mr. Speaker. With the allocation of Federal administrative funds to the provinces, as indicated in the White Paper, plus tax returns from the provinces, I believe that sufficient funds will be available for a sound operation of self-government upon Indian reserves. You know, the native Indians have been talking about self-government, but what's the good of self-government if they have no money. The way things are going now, if there was a policy written out for them, and it said, "Here is your self-government, " I would assume that the Indians would continue to get down on their knees and beg Ottawa for money to administer that self-government. This is why I buy the municipal status, because their own tax dollar is coming back, and this will assist in administering their own affairs.


On the policy, Mr. Speaker, because I support a long-term rehabilitative programme, I sympathize with all provinces in Canada as the switch goes ahead. The provinces, particularly this Province, are given the big chore of doing what the Federal Government has failed to do. And I have faith in the provinces, because I think I'm one that understands what the British North America Act is all about, and the provinces for years have been exercising their duties under the B.N.A. Act, and so I have no other, I have to say this. I have faith in the provinces because they have the authority and experience in performing their duties as set forth in the B.N.A. Act and again, if there is this switch, the programme must be rehabilitative. He provinces should not accept a transfer of the present Indian Act bureaucracy. The Provincial Government should develop its own constructive rehabilitative programme, and if it ever comes to that stage, I don't think we should have an Indian Act in the Province. Perhaps we may have an Act for the Rehabilitation of Indians, for X number of years.


Mr. Speaker, any Provincial Government programme must include a full participation, and this is one of the things I would like to say this evening, must include the full participation and consultations with the native Indian people.


SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.




Indian initiative in this regard is most important, because for years they have not taken part in the new legislation, and in. any new legislation they must take part. Any new legislation for the Indian people must first of all receive the Indians' consent. Their consent and participation are absolutely necessary in their co-operative and administrative responsibilities to achieve self-government, self-determination, independence, and adaptation to new conditions.


To achieve success in the programme there must also be a co-operation from the three levels of Government. The programme must include selective appointments of officers, who are well versed and trained as economists, sociologists, and anthropologists. We don't want anyone applying just for the sake of a job. They must be people who would, and say for a period of X number of years, perform duties to rehabilitate the Indians until the day comes that they are able to stand on their own two feet. You're not going to have the switch performed overnight. In the period of rehabilitation, Mr. Speaker, the native Indians must be allowed sufficient time and opportunity to adjust into the social, economic, and educational life of the country. I say for 100 years of confinement and neglect there must be 100 years of government-sponsored programme for Indian rehabilitation.


The Indian leader himself, what part is he going to take? Very briefly, Mr. Chairman, Indian leaders must be of sober mind when they negotiate and plan for the Indians’ future. I hear too much, and I'm speaking through you, not to the legislators but to the Indian people of the Province, through you, Mr. Speaker. I've heard too often rumours that the Indian delegates have been going to these official conferences under the influence of liquor, I've seen it, I've heard about it from some of the top Indian leaders, and many an Indian leader does not appreciate that. I certainly don't. I think the Minister can verify this, because I didn't appreciate it when he appeared in Kamloops, and I think he can verify this, and I don't think the Minister appreciated it either. I certainly didn't when I saw the video tape of this actually happening. I don't believe this is a proper base for sincere consultations and, Mr. Speaker, I for one do not wish to abide by the decisions reached by such polluted situations.


Decisions reached today should not be defined for the present generations. Indian decisions reached should be for the present and the future Indian generations. Mr. Speaker, should Indian decisions reached today be detrimental to our future Indian generations or to be a barrier to Indian progress, I do not wish to be a part of it, and I will not appreciate my son's son standing over my grave condemning me for my lack of foresight, and this is how important it is that the consultations are taking place today. I think the native Indian leaders have become too parochial in thinking about themselves, and I think this whole plan, and it's going to be a major decision, Mr. Speaker. This is why I say the Indians should be of a sober mind because their decisions are going to reach into a hundred years. I have no son, but this is a statement. My son's son's son may be a doctor 100 years from now, may be a scientist, a lawyer, he may be the next guy to step on Mars, and I don't want him to stand over my grave and say, "Well, you so and so, a 100 years ago you barred my progress."


Mr. Speaker, I support the White Paper in principle. The idea is sound. I support it for this reason, and this I have told to many an Indian leader if they can just grasp the idea. The White Paper was a statement. Didn't have any complete data with it. Didn't tell us exactly what laws were going to be changed. I want to see more of this White Paper, and in one convention in the north we approved it in principle for one reason, we approved of it in principle. We want to see the Government lay their cards on the table. I want to see the blueprint of exactly what is involved in the White Paper. There is nothing wrong with supporting the White Paper, and I hope the native people can realize this. When the cards are on the table, and if I see that it is detrimental to the Indian cause, then the Indian people can object to it if they wish. Or they can accept it, if it appears favourable. But they're not going to do that, they are objecting against it quite wildly.


A very close friend of mine wrote a book called "The Unjust Society." He writes very well. He's a young man, and I hope he has a great future as a writer and, as I say, he's a friend of mine, he's been my guest in this House. But "'The Unjust Society" book is a deliberate condemnation against the White Paper, and it is one of the major influences against a lot of Indians in this country to go against the White Paper Policy. It's not given the rank-and-file people a chance to even look at it. If some great leader says it's wrong, it's wrong. I've read the book and, like I say, he writes a good hand, but I certainly don't appreciate the fact that it comes right out and says, "Thou shalt not accept." This part I don't appreciate one bit.


Now, how about the Provincial and the Federal negotiations which are presently going on. Mr. J.V. Boys, a former commissioner in this Province, he's now the liaison between the Provincial and the Federal Government. I don't even know what he's doing ....


AN HON. MEMBER: Neither do we.


MR.CALDER: .... You don't?






.... Well, this is jake. He doesn't know, I don't know, but he's there. And do you know, now that you have made that comment, I don't know what he's being paid for. You know, the Indians are not consulted, and yet if we're going to have some harmony in the transfer, if it ever comes to be, in this one area this should be Indian consultation. Here is a person engaged by the Federal, and I don't know if he has even dropped into your office, Mr. Minister, but you say that you don't know what he is therefore. I certainly would like to know what he is there for, but I know that he's there, I'm told to negotiate as a matter of fact. In the House of Commons it has been said of his position and his doings, are a secret mission, and the Indians would like to know what he is doing. Like I say, if these negotiations are without Indian consultations, it can only result in Indian resentment and, of course, disharmony. I would advise that this Government urge the Federal Government, if that negotiation is going on to include, Mr. Chairman, Indian participation.


To speak generally, I think the torch of responsibility and initiative and self-determination, self-government, has been thrown to the native Indians in Canada. The questions are, are the Indians prepared to catch the torch, or do they want to catch it? I think the answer to these and others remain to be seen. If the Indians wish to retain the sanctuaries of the reserves, and the paternalism of government, it will be their right to reject the torch. If they wish to accept the challenge for recognition, opportunity, equality, and justice, Mr. Speaker, it too, will be their right to accept the torch.


I believe that our native Indian people, being a definite part of the labour force and citizenship, are capable and prepared to contribute to the social, economic, and cultural growth of our country, and to share in its resources. To this end, Mr. Speaker, I am hopeful for wisdom that I know is within our native Indian people, in their final judgment of this New Indian Policy. I say that the Indians are the jury, and only they can decide on a new Magna Carta for themselves in this country. Thank you.



February 12, 1970




Now, Mr. Speaker, I listened the other night to the speech made by the member from Atlin, and I think every member in this House must have been impressed with his knowledge of the subject and his intention to give leadership in bringing change to the Indian people of this Province. I was very pleased to hear the whole speech and his declared intent. There are provinces in Canada where this problem doesn't loom as large as it does here, because we have a larger percentage of the Indian population in this province in comparison to our total population than any other province in Canada, and they are the fastest-growing ethnic group.


I came across a report in the press last December which gave us the statistics on the Indian death rate in Canada and in British Columbia. It told us that in 1967 in British Columbia young male Indians aged 25 to 34 died at a rate of 12 per thousand. Young Canadian males who are not Indians die at the rate of 1.6 per thousand, and the report shows that adequate evidence still is lacking, but that this rising mortality in the prime of life appears to be associated with the increasing numbers of fatal accidents, suicides, and violence, all suggesting serious social dissatisfaction. Serious social dissatisfaction, and that was the message that the member from Atlin was indicating loud and clear to the members of this House and the people of British Columbia. That there is serious social dissatisfaction, and unless we apply ourselves to it this serious social dissatisfaction, with its human and dollar costs, will continue to increase.






Mr. Speaker, I want to say a few words about Indian Affairs, because the member for Atlin did have what I considered to be a reasoned approach in his talk to the question of Indian Affairs. There is only one thing I wish he had said, because when you start getting down to the nitty gritty of this thing, I think my friend can appreciate what I mean, when you start dancing around and trying to work out an arrangement with the Federal Department of Indian Affairs. He's probably had as much experience with it as I have, or more, and I think he might be prepared to admit that the real problem presented by the Chrétien White Paper on Indian Affairs, is the lack of a specific commitment. That after 100 admitted years of mismanagement, nothing that you are going to do on this question of transferring responsibilities to Provinces, rehabilitation in terms of the educational apparatus that you might set up for Indians, restructuring their communities and the life that's in them, restructuring a good many of the road patterns which are in their reserves, almost redoing the whole housing apparatus in most of the reserves - not all of them, all of these things require a specific commitment in dollar bills, and that, Mr. Speaker, has not been forthcoming, not been forthcoming.


Mr. Speaker, the White Paper really failed because, while it implies that at long last there's a confession of failure, while it implies that and they, in fact, say that 100 years of mismanagement represents one of the dark blots on-as the Prime Minister calls it - his Just Society. That's admitted in the White Paper, but, Mr. Speaker, there is no fundamental commitment to saying, in co-operation with the provinces, we will make a dollar commitment with meaningful goal posts and, in my opinion, we will have to make that until the year 2,000. 1 would like to see the Federal Government, sitting down with the provinces, in co-operation with the Indian people themselves, and establishing absolute goal posts as to what they want to achieve. And then, having established the absolute goal posts....


AN HON. MEMBER: What are the absolute goal posts?




I know you wouldn't know, but I'll tell you, if you talk to the Indian people who have been danced around the mulberry bush of the Indian Affairs branch, they'll tell you what an absolute goal post is.


Mr. Speaker, the Government of this Province is the first in this nation to present the opportunity of local government flat on the table to the Indian people and, Mr. Speaker, that's the commitment that I know my friend from Atlin understands, even if you don't. You say that there's been no commitment by this Province. You just, my friend, examine the commitment that this Province takes over without asking the Federal Government in transfer dollars, one five cent piece, except the guarantee of water and sewer and their continuing projects which they now give to the Indian people. That's all we're asking.


AN HON. MEMBER: Do they get the per capita grant?




Yes, they get per capita grants and, Mr. Speaker, when we made that commitment to the Indian people, we didn't ask the Federal Government to match that in any way, we just said, carry on with your present commitment.


AN HON. MEMBER: Do you have a tax on Reserves?




No, municipalities tax themselves, this Government doesn't tax municipalities.


Well, Mr. Speaker, I am not surprised at the attitude of the Liberal members in this House, and the people of British Columbia should never forget it either, and I think they didn't during the last election, because they asked what our commitment to the Indian people was. Well, there it is in municipalities. But there you stood in your places and you wouldn't put up the, did they put up five cents for the Indian people? Did they vote for ten cents? Did they vote for ten million? No - or 15 million? Or 20 million? no. 25 million? Did they vote for....


AN HON. MEMBER: .... who did?





February 13, 1970


MR. A. B. MACDONALD (1st-Vancouver East):


I want to commend some of the speeches that have preceded me, and in particular the honourable member from Atlin, because he is a great spokesman for his constituents and the Indian people of British Columbia. But what he said took real courage, because we've heard a lot of flak coming from the Indian community, and I suggest that behind a lot of the opposition to the White Paper on Indian Affairs, which I think is a good document, a lot of that has been based on special privileges within the Indian community, because you don't have equality, you don't have equality within that community. You have good land and you have poor land, you have rich reserves, you have poor reserves. You have discrimination in the sense that an Indian woman with band rights marrying a man who is off the reserve and being divorced from that man, still loses her band rights when she attempts to return to her own land, and there are wrongs in the Indian community too. But this member had the courage to say "yes" to social equality and "no" to segregation and that took courage, and I commend him for it.



February 16, 1970




I hope one of the things that comes in the 70's will be a better understanding between all peoples in our communities, especially between the native Indian people and the white communities in the areas throughout the north. In many areas, and I hope all people within these areas will take note, that in many areas the only way they can advance is with mutual co-operation. As I mentioned earlier on management and labour, mutual co-operation, because one group can't go ahead without the other, and I would hope that there will be closer working between the two groups in the years ahead.


I was interested in my friend the Minister, Mr. Munro, from Ottawa, when he visited Indian communities and said there wasn't any real problem in housing in British Columbia, and I would urge him to go up to Fort St. James, Takla, and some of the northern areas of this Province, and I'm quite sure he wouldn't go back to Ottawa and think that he'd solved all the problems of housing in British Columbia.






Then the member for Atlin got up and gave another fine talk, I thought, on Indian affairs. You know, when he was talking it made me think of the trip I had to Hawaii. I was talking down there to a. . . .


AN HON. MEMBER: You go to Hawaii?


MR. NIMSICK: Yes, I went to Hawaii and I paid my own way, I didn't have a traveling account. I'm not like the Cabinet Ministers who travel all over the world and get paid for it.


It put me in mind of a talk I bad with a Hawaiian on the shore down there. He was making straw hats. He said to me, "When the missionaries first came here they came with the Bible under their arm and the Hawaiians owned all the land." He said, "Now the Hawaiians have the Bible under their arm and the missionaries own all the land."


AN HON. MEMBER: That sounds familiar.




And that's quite familiar, that's quite familiar here, too. As I was riding in the bus I talked to a bus driver down there and he said, "You know, when the missionaries first came here they came here to do good," he said, "and they've done very well."


AN HON. MEMBER: That sounds familiar.




So in Canada we could just pass that on, when the white man first came to Canada, when they got the land from the Indians. I don't know whether the Indians have got the Bible under their arm yet, but the honourable Minister should see whether he couldn't get them to get the Bible under their arm maybe. And now this Government, with our natural resources, are giving those away, too, to other countries, so I don't know, I think one of the things the Indians made a mistake on is not having a strict immigration policy in the years before the white man came, and maybe they'd have a better solution to the problem.


AN HON. MEMBER: They. didn't have anything but birch logs.




Well, that's just the trouble, I said that they didn't have strict immigration laws.


I think that many of them had probably better organizations than we have today. They looked upon land as being community and for the use of everybody, not just for the use of individuals, and the other individuals have got to walk down the road and cannot trespass into their property.




I don't think it should be necessary that people should have to fight, or stand in front of tractors, to stop the acquisition of their land or the expropriation of their land. I think that we are civilized enough in this country. I know that the white man did it with the native Indians years ago, they didn't care. But I think we've reached the stage today that people should be treated with more respect than that.



February 19, 1970




[The Feds] are telling us they are going to withdraw from the care of Indians under two headings, tuberculosis and mental health, and the result will be to throw an additional burden on the Province in this particular case of about $500,000 or $600,000 a year. Also, there has been a very significant withdrawal under the National Health Grants.




MR. E. HALL (Surrey):


The housing programme of the Government, the grants and the second mortgages, are all pointed towards the middle class and the upper class income groups. It seems to me that we need a housing programme, Mr. Speaker, that has got an effect on the low income population, that looks after the low income population and one that looks after the Indian people of this Province who are the poorest of all, the poorest of all. The old age pensioner, the elderly in this Province, spend over 50 per cent of their income on housing, and that simply means they don't have enough left for food and for heating and clothing. Our programme of housing is incomplete, it is incomplete because it leaves behind the poor, and when the housing programme leaves behind the poor it can only be described as wretched, wretched.






We heard from the member from Atlin the other day about the White Paper on Indian Affairs, and I agree with him that certainly the native people have to have far more self-determination. The Federal Government has indicated from time to time that this is simply a transfer of responsibility, but the Federal Government will retain full fiscal responsibility for these things that are put over onto the province. Well, if what we've seen as far as the medical health branch is going to happen, you know what will happen on that programme. I would just like to read a little thing on page 9 of that thing which I think puts the thin edge of the wedge. As I said last year, the Federal Government policy on Indian Affairs is retrench, retreat, withdraw, and nothing in this paper has led me to believe any differently. "Subject to negotiation with the provinces, such provisions would, as a matter of principle, eventually decline, and this is the provision of money for these programmes, the provinces ultimately assuming the same responsibility for services to Indian residents, as they do for services to others."


So we've got spelled out - they are opting out of health care, they are opting out of care for the Indians. You know, I perhaps wouldn't be so upset about this if we weren't having so much trouble in these particular areas, but with no clear cut policy on the Federal Government as to what they are going to do with this money - is there any indication there that they are going to come back into the health field and help with this most pressing problem? None whatsoever. Is there any indication that they are going to help with the educational costs? None whatsoever. You know, I think really the way it's going I think you'll find - would you believe another Bonaventure? How about a bi and bi committee? Five million dollars for French lessons for western Canada. You know, how much Federal money went into that $120,000,000 in Nova Scotia for a plant that can't even make its water? $120,000,000. Not a drop, not a drop yet.






Now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer to two areas, the Chinese Community and Gastown, only to remind the Premier of the request that I have had before him in the past which is for a grant to re-develop those two key areas in the heart of Vancouver. Certainly the Chinese Community in this year 1970, going into our Centennial Year, the dedication of these people and what they contributed in the past. In 1871, when this Province became a Province and joined Confederation, there were approximately 45,000 people in all of British Columbia, of which approximately 25,000 were native Indians and of the remaining 20,000, 6,000 were Chinese. We heard the great discussion of the building of the great railways, certainly the contribution which the Chinese people made - they say that for every mile of railway track there is a dead Chinese buried along the track.



March 5, 1980




I see no move on the part of this government to meet and discuss in depth with our native Indian people the many, many concerns that they have, and how they wish to fit into our society.



March 7, 1980




Mr. Speaker, how many people in this province are in prison because they cannot pay their bail? What is the population of this province made up of, in terms of its prison inmates? We're told that 90 percent of the women in prison are native Indians. What do you think they're there for? Are they there for impaired driving? Are they there because the Deputy Attorney-General interceded on their behalf? They are there because they are victims of this system; they are there because they are victims either of poverty or of alcohol abuse.



March 13, 1980




One of the most disturbing things I found concerning the Speech from the Throne as well as the budget speech was the lack of mention – not even one sentence – of the words "Indian" or "native." Once again we have ignored the first citizens of this province.


I was surprised that the word "Indian" or "native" did not appear in the throne speech or so far in the budget debate. It resembles to a certain extent the booklet that was presented during the mini cabinet shuffle. This government forgot to include in that booklet who was responsible for native affairs. At one time it was the Minister of Labour, but when that Minister of Labour transported himself to the position of Attorney-General, native affairs seemed to slip along with that. I found it unacceptable that there was no mention made.


I have feelings as to why this was. It was to ignore and conquer to a certain extent. This is similar to government aspects on native policy to the Talthans, the Kasska; the Tlingit, the Iskut and Nishga – to conquer, to flood and to eliminate.


In regard to employment programs, there has been $4 million allocated for youth employment – $4 million across the province. I just wonder how much of this money is going to be filtered up into the north. Many of the communities up north are running at between 98 percent and 99 percent unemployment for youths in the communities, almost very similar to the unemployment rate in many native reserves and small communities up north. It's unacceptable – $4 million.



March 18, 1980




In supporting this amendment, I would like to deal with four areas of concern: the unacceptably high unemployment rates in the north, particularly in the northern native communities; the cutbacks in the Youth Employment Program by this government; the chronic failure of the government to deal with the structural unemployment problems of the economy; and the failure of the government to do anything about northern food costs.


First the plight of the native people. The government seems to be turning its back on the native people of this province and the unemployment problems they face. I would like to read from a document, which I will table, as presented by Miss Mercy Robinson of the United Native Nations, Local 108, in Vancouver. It says on the first page:


"It is apparent and quite evident that the native Indians are a growing reality here in Vancouver, B.C. The existence of approximately 30,000 native Indians that reside in this area alone is an astounding fact. The native Indians are faced with an ongoing problem of unemployment, inadequate education, lack of proper accommodation . . . .


"They flow from the gazetted areas of the Indian reserves, where the socio-economic standards are far below the levels of the urban areas. They come from various other sections of the province for reasons such as the possible assimilation to a better standard of living in this abundant and rich society, so they too can enjoy what the rest of society so readily enjoys. They seek equal opportunity in its employment aspect."


Mr. Speaker, there was a questionnaire given to the business community of Vancouver by the U.N.N. They received 594 responses concerning native people's unemployment in the province. Of those 594 businesses that returned the questionnaires, 147 said they would hire or train native Indians.


To continue with Miss Robinson's report, "There are no alternatives for native Indians in the urbanized setting, so the last resort is social welfare, which robs one of pride and dignity to the extent of dependency – dependency on financial assistance."




So, Mr. Speaker, you will understand why it is that I will support this amendment: there is nothing for native people in this budget, there is no concern shown for the problems of the north, and employment programs for our youth have been cut out.



March 20, 1980




In any event, what I'm saying, Mr. Speaker, in no way detracts from my premise that the function of government – and the reason a governments is elected, in my view – is to look after people who can't look after themselves, the unemployed, the young people who can't find employment, our native Indian people, all of these people. I've stood in this House before and said that perhaps that $115 million overrun, by special warrant, would have been better spent on some of these programs. That doesn't mean that we should stop highway programs in this province. In fact, a large part of those surpluses that they like to brag about are there because we were the government between '72 and '75; otherwise they wouldn't be there. Some of those surpluses should be going to the topics I've just mentioned – social services for people. Services for people are what I'm talking about, and I resent it when I hear that kind of comparison made. I know we're going to have a great deal of time to discuss highway programs in the debate of the estimates – months, one member says.



June 9, 1993


L. Stephens:


Sustainable growth is something we're all concerned about and have firmly in mind when we talk about economic development. I wonder if the minister could tell the committee about some of the programs in place in the communities through the community and regional development division of the ministry. Again, perhaps focus on the aboriginal issue and whether or not the ministry has some particular programs to assist aboriginal people in outlying communities in promoting their sustainable economic development?


Hon. D. Zirnhelt: First of all, we did spend quite a bit of time on aboriginal economic development yesterday, and I'm sure that a review of the record would give some detail there.


I can say that we are working on a strategy of looking at the appropriate place for the provincial government to provide services. In the meantime, until a strategy is in place that may have a particular focus on aboriginal people, as we staff up in the regions, we are making our services available to all people, particularly to those who have not had access to our services in the past. We're working with the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs. We have some consultants engaged, who are working right now with the aboriginal people, so that when we do have a strategy, it will be complementary to the efforts which are already out there on the part of the federal government and aboriginal communities themselves.


With respect to sustainable growth issues, there are programs in place. We are doing a number of things out there that will highlight some of the approaches. For example, we have the Mayors' Institute pilot project, which brings a number of mayors together to look at ways they can enhance the growth and development of their communities on a sustainable basis. It's modelled on a particular structure in the U.S. We are sharing information with people in the U.S. so that we can learn from other communities and, hopefully, the knowledge will be more general.


We conducted Imagine Nanaimo with the city of Nanaimo, one of a number of projects with massive public involvement looking at a long-range plan for the city of Nanaimo that tried to engage people in looking for local-based solutions. We're working with Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, which seems to have considerable information in their rural communities program. We have a two-year pilot project in Kimberley and Creston looking at ways of linking social, environmental and economic interests to assist the communities in determining what would be a sustainable future for them.


We have, as you know, continued funding the economic development commissions and business information centres. We have looked at the complementarity of programs that are offered at the local, provincial and federal level. That was a study that we undertook with the Economic Development Association just to ensure that our programs fit in. But I reiterate, we see our people as the provincial partner for economic development taking a leading role to bring together the provincial arms of government that are affecting economic development.



February 14, 2007


C. Wyse:


I've heard more spoken in the last few minutes by members opposite protesting the cutbacks that have occurred for child care than I have heard in months. In Williams Lake the CCRR serves first nations communities in my riding as well as including Bella Bella, Bella Coola and Klemtu. Yesterday seven members from the Esketemc First Nation group from Alkali came down to get the attention of the provincial government on the effects that their cuts are having upon their children.


My question to the minister responsible for the cuts to the child care program is simply this: why does the B.C. Liberal government think that closing the doors to centres for first nations children will secure the future for our children and grandchildren?


Hon. L. Reid:


Indeed, one of the aspects that we have in place for child care resource and referral has been to support families as they go onto the subsidy program. I can tell you that the demand for that program is only growing, but the contact for that program, frankly, comes through a number of different sources other than child care resource and referral today. So was it time to reframe that service and to maintain that service delivery in British Columbia? Absolutely, it was. No question.




R. Cantelon:


Another great thing that is moving forward in our province, and I think a very special one, is the new relationship we are having with first nations. I've had the opportunity to take part and travel where the effects and the hopes and the inspiration that the first nations are now developing and to see that first hand.


I was here in Victoria not long ago at the Empress Hotel and talked with Robert Dennis, chief of the west coast bands, and the joy and the energy in that room was really something to behold. It was really, truly a celebration. You could get the sense that these first nations people felt that something had been lifted from their shoulders, that they were now able to move forward and participate with all British Columbians on an equal footing. But the treaty just lays the foundation, and it's recognized that it is not the complete or full answer to any of the concerns, but it now affords the opportunity for them to move forward. We hope and expect to see many more of these agreements in the future.


I also had the privilege recently to participate in the second aboriginal education enhancement agreement with school district 69. This is the second of the agreements — one of 30 that have been signed with aboriginal peoples across the province — and it's a great partnership between the school district and the first nations. It has achieved some remarkable results.


Since 2001 the completion rate in grade 12 has risen from 31 percent — which I'm sure everyone would acknowledge is terribly low, in fact, dismally low — to 58 percent. Now 58 percent is still not as high as it is for other citizens, other young people, at 79 percent, but that is a significant 27-percent improvement in achievement level. Other achievement levels were equally as impressive.


But the numbers don't tell the whole story, and it's really not about numbers for first nations. It's really about having a sense of hope and opportunity that at last, and I really do mean at last, they can move forward and take part in the opportunities that this thriving economy presents to them, that they can have the hope that they will see their dreams fulfilled in this economy and that the barriers that used to be there for first nations entering the workforce will be removed.


Gordon Bob, who is the brother of the Chief, spoke very eloquently about the sense that this is really a new thing. Right through all my discussions with the various first nations people I had, there's new hope, there's new optimism that they see themselves as partners moving forward with us, and it was a great thing to see.


Ellen White, who is one of the elders of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, spoke. Every time Ellen speaks and gives prayers to whatever group she's speaking to, you feel better afterwards. She lifts everyone up with her words and the depth of her spirituality.


She used a phrase that I thought was quite unique and interesting. She said that these new, young first nations people were going to be raised with a foot in each culture. I think she means to say to us that they're now part of our society in British Columbia in the broadest sense, but they'll always remember their first nations culture and that the two should not be a contradiction in moving forward. They can proudly move forward as aboriginal people but confidently take part in the economy of British Columbia. And that's the way it should be.


I had a recent meeting with Ralph Nilson, the new president of Malaspina College, and he's very rightly proud and enthusiastic about carrying on the tradition of partnerships they have with first nations in a wide variety of educational opportunities that are presented by Malaspina University College.


Also this month I had the privilege of presenting cheques, first to the Inter Tribal Health Authority in Nanaimo — $31,500. This is to the Inter Tribal Health Authority which administers public health to all the coastal bands up and down the coast.


There are two important things about it. Firstly, it is very important, if you think about this, that the people who are providing nursing services to these remote communities are aboriginal. This program and this funding are to support and encourage nurses to become involved first in training and development to supply these public health services. If you're in a remote village and the public health nurse comes to you and she's white or he's white, what that says to them is: they're different. "We're here, and the experts must come and must be white to tell us how to look after our health."


It is one of the key contacts that happens to some of these remote tribal communities. I have to tell you that with my travels on aquaculture, I had no idea how remote some of these villages are. They certainly are. But to have a recognizable first nations face to provide these services sends an entirely different message. It says to these first nations people in these villages, to the young people particularly who are being ministered to, that: "You are part of British Columbia," that "You are welcome," and that "You, too, can move forward, and you, too, can have a career beyond the village and yet still remember and minister to the village."


The other cheque that I was able to present was for $22,000 to Snuneymuxw to support the other side of nursing training. This is to provide tutoring, mentorship and direction so that young first nations, aboriginal women and men, can be encouraged to pursue a career at Malaspina University College, to develop a career in nursing. Certainly we know that throughout our economy we are very short of trained labour, trained specialists in a wide variety of concerns, and we need every first nation that we can encourage and that we can help break the barriers down so that they can participate in our economy.


Another meeting recently. I met with Minister de Jong and with David Bob of the Nanoose First Nation in my constituency. He spoke at some length of the rich history of how all the villages and communities are intertwined. Everybody has someone in another village that is related, and they're all connected in a very unique and cultural way.


But they, too, are moving forward. They, too, have dreams. They expect their dreams will be fulfilled, and I have every indication that they will be. They have moved forward now. They have an extensive shellfish industry which provides employment and income directly to members of the band, and they've done very well with that.


They also have some very ambitious economic development plans which involve what I think is a very unique facility that they want to build. They want to build a seniors residence and care facility that will basically be oriented primarily to first nations — but not exclusively, they hasten to add — so that first nations seniors, as they reach retirement and old age and eventually pass on, can do so in an environment that's sympathetic to their culture, where their traditions are respected and where they're ministered to in the context of the culture that they know. They hope that such a facility will be one that will be used by all first nations on the coastal area. I think it's certainly a very worthwhile project, I encourage them, and I think they'll see their dreams fulfilled.


We also, with the minister, met with Shawn Atleo and Judith Sayers. Again, the mood was positive. The mood was upbeat. Throughout all of these meetings and all of these encounters I've had with first nations groups throughout the province, and some of the aquaculture tours, there really is a mood of hopefulness, of working together, of partnerships — that yes, we need to move through with the treaties, and yet we can step aside with the treaties and move the economic, cultural, personal and social agendas forward at the same time. It needn't be just the legalistic treaty negotiations, which sometimes seem to preoccupy and in some cases might be viewed as a hindrance as much as a help. We can move forward with an agenda through the reconciliation that moves their hopes forward, and that's exactly what's happening.


Finally, I was very fortunate to take part in the hiring program of the new Representative for Children and Youth, who happens to be of direct aboriginal ancestry, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. Unfortunately, it's true the large portion of children at risk in our society are first nations, and I want to assure this House that we will have an outstanding individual who will champion these causes — a woman of great intelligence, energy and experience, who will move forward the agenda of people and children with concerns, at risk.


All of these things are good. All of these things lay a good foundation as we move forward in the economy, as we move forward with our new relationship with first nations. But all of these will be hollow if we don't preserve the environment in which this economy thrives.




J. Yap:


I am proud that our government has made great strides towards reconciliation with first nations peoples. Last year we saw a creation of the new relationship fund — $100 million set up to help first nations achieve capacity and improve the future potential of their people.


We should all be proud of the results of the treaty negotiation process, which has now produced three final agreements that are in the process of being ratified — the Lheidli T'enneh, Maa-nulth and Tsawwassen First Nations final agreements represent hope for these communities to satisfy their land claims and open economic possibilities for these first nations. The treaties will bring reconciliation between them and all British Columbians and help bring certainty as to the future economic direction of our province.


We are a province blessed with many great resources, a strong economy, a people with renewed optimism and even greater potential for progress. Yet there are some in our society who need help. I am proud that the throne speech makes clear that our government will continue to help those who are the most in need.




Hon. B. Penner:


Madam Speaker, what you heard in the throne speech was visionary. What you heard was determination. Just like in the past, when our Premier has said, "We're going to balance the budget," we did it. "We're going to lower taxes." We did it. "We're going to get the economy going." We did it. "We're going to start a new relationship with first nations." We did it.




Just like when the Premier said, "We're going to balance the budget," we balanced it. "Cut taxes." We cut taxes. "We're going to reduce unemployment." We reduced unemployment to the lowest level on record. "Start a new relationship with first nations." Just like he said those things and we did those things together, we're going to tackle climate change. We're going to show leadership, and we're going to be a beacon of hope to the world.



February 15, 2007


H. Lali:


When you look across British Columbia, yes, the economy is doing well. Nobody doubts that. But when you look at the Liberal government's record of managing that prosperity, they have completely mismanaged that prosperity. Nowhere is that more evident than on the aboriginal reserves of this province and the aboriginal populations, even within the urban centres of this province. They have the highest unemployment rate. You have aboriginal communities situated all over this province that have up to 90-percent unemployment.


They have the worst record from this government in terms of social and economic justice for aboriginal people. It is absolutely shameful for the Premier and the Liberal government to try to bundle this up to say that somehow their new initiatives are helping the aboriginal people in all these fields when stat after stat…. These aren't statistics that are provided by New Democrats. These are stats that are provided by this government itself and the Canadian StatsCan department.


Every one of those indicators, every single one of those stats, shows that the lot of aboriginal people is not any better under this Liberal government than it was in 2001. They have completely ignored the plight of aboriginal people — aboriginal health, aboriginal economics and education in every field. I just don't know how they can support this document of fiction that we see here before us.


Now we have the Liberals saying individually and collectively in this throne speech that we have to act before the tipping point becomes the breaking point. Well, they finally realized what British Columbians, all British Columbians, realized a decade ago before this Liberal government ever got into office.


Here they point out that the government is going to act to lead Canada in partnership with the first nations. I already talked about the partnership of first nations, so I won't elaborate more on that. But when you look at constituencies like Yale-Lillooet, which has more aboriginal bands than any other constituency in this province…. We have 27 first nations in all, and I think there are seven tribal councils that represent those 27 bands.


When I talk to the chiefs and councils and the aboriginal people in my constituency, they're saying that there may be economic prosperity going on in British Columbia but that they are not getting they fair share of the economic pie. There is rampant poverty that exists on reserves in my constituency, whether you're up in the Lillooet area, Merritt, Lytton, Keremeos, Yale or Hope or any one of those areas where there are first nations in my constituency.




Finally, they're going to open up Canada's Pacific gateway and strengthen our economic competitiveness. Just ask rural British Columbia what kind of a competitive advantage they've got under this Liberal government — after this Liberal government has completely abandoned them, abandoned wholesale communities all throughout this province each and every year that they have been in office.


I've talked about the aboriginal situation where they want to begin a new journey, a new long journey with aboriginal communities. Yet when you talk to aboriginal people, they're saying that the government, this Liberal government, is not doing anything positive for them.




Aboriginal education. They dropped funding for aboriginal education, and here they want to talk about reconciliation with aboriginal people. Well, start by putting back the money into aboriginal education. That might be a start to reconciliation.



February 19, 2007


J. Nuraney:


British Columbia has established itself as a leader in Canada, and I agree with the Premier when he says that we have a responsibility to do better. We are obliged to act individually and collectively to achieve stronger partnerships with first nations, tackle the challenges of global warming, increase affordable housing,




B. Bennett:


There was another line in the throne speech that I liked. It said that we either tackle these difficult challenges, or they'll go from the tipping point to the breaking point. I think there's no question we all have our different perspectives in this place, but we're here to solve problems, and we're here to leave this world in better condition than what it was in when we got here. If we fail to meet the challenges of things like sustainable health care, fail to meet the challenges of aboriginal people, fail to open our hearts and minds to the success of aboriginal people in British Columbia and fail to act responsibly within our natural environment that gives us our very lives, we will not be doing the job that we were elected to do.


For over 150 years in this province, successive governments in B.C. of all political stripes were often biased. They were pretty much always patronizing towards aboriginal people and almost universally failed to recognize what aboriginal people actually wanted. I'm going to take a shot at what they wanted from my own experience, with all due respect. From my own experience, what I think aboriginal people want is the same as what the rest of us want — respect, self-determination and opportunity. They want to control their lives. They want to control their culture, and they want to control their destiny.


At the end of the last term, in late 2004-2005, the Premier came to a courageous conclusion. He said that with what we were doing, regardless of the resources that we had put towards first nations issues and the many things we had tried to do, we were not going to get to the breakthrough with first nations people that we really need to and what we want to see in this province.


So together with first nations leadership, the Premier developed a bold, progressive vision for a new relationship with aboriginal people. In retrospect, it seems so simple, and it seems so right, but it took us 150 years to get there.


We're trying not to take a legalistic approach to first nations issues any longer. For many, many years — in particular, since 1982 when the constitution was brought home and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was created…. Section 35 and section 25 were created in our constitution dealing with aboriginal rights and title. Basically, what governments did was they did only as much as their lawyers told them they had to do. So we went from one court case to another and scrambled around and fought and expended our resources hiring lawyers and consultants and trying to do only what we had to do. I think all governments in this country are guilty of that.


Today with the new relationship, what we're trying to do is have a mutually respectful and trusting relationship with first nations, where we go beyond what is legally required and do what is right or do the best we can to do what is right. Today this government expends a huge amount of resources in every ministry of government working with first nations, consulting and accommodating on every Crown land project, and helping with items like education, health, children's issues.


In my role as Minister of State for Mining I was very fortunate to spend some time — in fact, a fair bit of time — with first nations people. Not long ago I attended a ceremony with the Taku River Tlingit where they celebrated the signing of an agreement with our government to work cooperatively on mining projects. It wasn't too many years ago when the Taku River Tlingit would not be having a ceremony celebrating anything with the provincial government in British Columbia. It was a very, very important day to them, and I know that their leaders said at the time how pleased they were with the leadership that the Premier of this province is providing on this file.




 G. Coons:


Noting the time, I would like to take some of my time — five minutes — and continue tomorrow. I'd like to start by recognizing and honouring the Songhees First Nation, whose traditional territory we stand on. I would also like to recognize the many first nations who have lived on the north and central coast since time immemorial — the coastal Tsimshian, the Haida, the Nisga'a, the Kitasoo, the Heiltsuk and the Nuxalk. Their territories all fall within the riding that I represent, the North Coast.


It's a great honour and privilege to represent the North Coast here today to voice my concerns about the throne speech. In the past, B.C. Liberal throne speeches and budgets have provided great insight into where this government feels they need to go with their own arrogant and uncaring way. These past speeches, with lots of rhetoric and no thought on the consequences, have devastated rural communities in this province and have attacked the most vulnerable in our society.


Can we trust this Premier to follow through on his promises? I believe we've learned from past practices. His doublespeak hurts British Columbians.



February 22, 2007


Hon. P. Bell:


It's a good thing the member only gets two supplementals. I'm concerned for his heart, moving on to a third one there.


Clearly, there has been in-depth consultation that has gone on. This process for these sites actually started in 2001. Communities engaged through that period of time. These sites were picked as pilot sites only, to expand on the view of whether or not there is a long-term potential for geoduck farming in British Columbia. We are being very cautious and very careful through this entire process, and the sites are only moving forward after extensive biological baseline work and consultation.


G. Robertson:


I fail to see how the Minister of Agriculture thinks 935 acres of geoduck aquaculture is a cautious step.


Not only did the minister fail to consult first nations, but he failed to follow his own rules around science. Earlier this week the Committee on Sustainable Aquaculture heard from the minister's own staff and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans that there's no independent science to show this type of farming has minimal impact on the environment. There is none. Yet the minister says that science will guide this government's decisions.


Can he explain why he is pushing ahead with these tenures, against the will of first nations, when he has no independent science whatsoever to back up his position?



February 26, 2007


L. Krog:


The member for Richmond-Steveston talked about being blessed with resources in this province, and it reminds me of some of the things that have been said this morning about the history of mining. The fact is that it's not the province that was blessed. One of the reasons we're not developing mines in the way we are in this province is because we are victims of our history. The reality is that we stole the province from the aboriginals.


We can use other language, but that's the truth. We didn't sign treaties. We didn't do it in legitimate process. Today, quite rightly, the first nations of this province are saying to the mining industry: "You're not going to go ahead and do this until we settle our claims." So we are victims of that history.


Many communities are victims of the nature of mining. There are communities in this province that simply don't exist anymore, which were once prosperous communities with opera houses, courthouses and all the kinds of facilities we associate with so-called civilization. That is the history of this province.




C. Wyse:


I wish to just mention that I wrote to the Premier approximately 14 months ago, drawing his attention that unless first nations were involved in the discussions, not only would there be mineral exploration difficulties but likewise in the development of the Nechako basin for oil and gas. To my knowledge, nothing has taken place. I encourage the government to get on with their direct responsibilities.




B. Simpson:


[Mining industry executives] want to know that first nations rights are going to be taken into account on mine approvals, and they want to know that first nations are going to be supported to play a role in working those mines and in supporting their community economic development.




J. McIntyre:


It's a great privilege to rise on behalf of the residents of my communities in West Vancouver–Garibaldi and respond to the February 2007 balanced budget.


What is being termed by many as a substantive, visionary throne speech last week laid out our government's plan for the next phase in achieving our goals for a prosperous decade. We are now actively pursuing opportunities and initiatives under the aegis of the Pacific leadership agenda, which outlines five key elements that I wish to reiterate due to their importance.


They're integral to our platform: (1) to lead Canada in partnership with first nations;...




I'm very proud to be part of a team with a real leader who is not afraid to lay out an ambitious plan to achieve specific goals as well as to continue to ask the hard questions. Our leader, unlike others, has the courage of his convictions to press forward with significant change and to actually implement the plan.


I understand that change is uncomfortable for most people. There are many vested interests in society — groups who would much prefer the status quo. But status quo is not good enough for British Columbians now — not ever — and certainly not good enough for our children and our grandchildren. We were elected to lead.




As I mentioned: land transfers; jobs and apprenticeships in the forest, in construction, in the hospitality industry; aboriginal tourism, with the pending opening of the Squamish Lil'wat cultural centre in Whistler; Olympic live sites grants and achievements in youth sports.


Lyle Leo of Lil'wat Nation, who recently has won a national award for his work in economic development, takes great pride in the band's drop in unemployment from well over 80 percent — which, I guess, would have been in the 1990s — to the low 20s, with expanded opportunities in the works to reduce that even further. This is not talk; this is significant action and accomplishment. It's real change and improvement in people's lives because there's a genuine will and a commitment to change.