Statement by the Honorable Chuck Strahl
Ottawa (April 16, 2008) – The following statement was released by the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians in relation to Bill C-30, the Specific Claims Tribunal Act:”As Standing Committee hearings on Bill C-30 draw to a close, I would like to extend my thanks to all of the witnesses who came forward to share their views. As many witnesses have pointed out, Bill C-30 is a vast improvement over the status quo and the previous failed attempt to fix the problems with the system.
It is more than fitting that Phil Fontaine, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is among the last witnesses appearing before Committee. I echo the National Chief’s comments that this bill “represents a tremendous collaborative effort” and we need to “seize this important opportunity.”
The proposed tribunal is long overdue and that is why last summer, along with National Chief Fontaine, the Prime Minister launched the initiative Specific Claims – Justice at Last. Bill C-30 is a fine example of what can be achieved when government and First Nation organizations work together.
We have been working with the AFN every step of the way and look forward to continuing this important work on specific claims reform through the Liaison Committee set up under the political agreement to oversee the implementation of this legislation.
First Nations and experts have been calling for this for 60 years. Today, we are poised to take concrete action to get it done and speed up the resolution of specific claims to the benefit of all Canadians. I call on my fellow Parliamentarians to adopt Bill C-30, as tabled, without delay.”
Backgrounder: The Proposed Specific Claims Tribunal Act
For further information please contact:
Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada