Canada, House of Commons Debates, “Consultations with Indian Groups”, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess (17 October 1980)
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, House of Commons Debates, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, 1980 at 3778.
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COMMONS DEBATES — October 17, 1980
CONSULTATIONS WITH INDIAN GROUPS
Hon. Warren Allmand (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce): Madam Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Justice who was here a minute ago but has left. Perhaps I could put the question to the Prime Minister. This week, at a meeting in Saskatchewan with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development said that the Indians of Canada would be fully consulted on their constitutional proposals and that their rights would be protected in any new constitution.
Would the Minister of Justice or the Prime Minister tell the House whether these consultations will take place before December 9, the date when the special committee must report, and whether the protections that the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development referred to might be incorporated by amendment into the proposed constitution act of 1980, submitted to the House of Commons on October 6?
Right Hon. P. E. Trudeau (Prime Minister): Madam Speaker, subject to veri?cation it is my understanding that the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has his officials meeting with Indian groups this week and that he plans to meet with them in the very near future.
In so far as the undertaking that Indians and native people generally would be involved in amendments to the constitution which concern them, I gave that undertaking personally several months ago at a meeting of native chiefs here in Ottawa. I think in that regard it is clear that we have established that we are anxious to find ways in which they would see their rights better protected.
I have suggested and I repeat that as soon as we have the constitution back in Canada with the basic rights entrenched, we will be happy to go into a next phase where we would put native rights as one of the first items on the agenda and deal with it then. In the meantime, I am very happy to see our ministers and officials attempting to work out with Indians and with Inuit leaders ways in which that could be best stated in the constitution.