Debates of the Senate  
2nd Session, 41st Parliament, Volume 149, Issue 107
  Thursday, December 11, 2014
 
Bill C-428: Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act (Question to Senator Cools)
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Would the honourable senator take a question?

Senator Cools: I do not know where my time is, but I hope that they will grant it to us.

The Hon. the Speaker pro tempore: One more minute for a short question.

Senator Dyck: I believe you pointed out a fundamental flaw in the parliamentary procedure in that the Member of Parliament should not have introduced the bill, but that it should have been the minister. Is that correct?

Senator Cools: Absolutely. The dealings between government and First Nations people stand on a very special footing. They stand on a unique constitutional footing. In addition, such dealings are entrenched over history for a couple of centuries, the result of the various treaties. Absolutely. This Bill C-428 is completely out of order.

Senator Dyck: What can the First Nations do then? Can they challenge that in court?

Senator Cools: I would say yes. The member, Rob Clarke, is obviously very well-intentioned. Most members are. I think he is somebody we should be proud of, because he himself is a native person. But this is obviously and evidently egregious. We are not dealing here with a simple little bill on an insignificant issue. —This bill deals with, in his words, "dismantling" the Indian Act. Mr. Clarke is very harsh in his words. I would like us to take this very seriously. We have ministers for a reason and, in their appointment and commissions, they receive certain powers to do certain things that private members simply cannot.