Statement made on 17 June 2010 by Senator Larry Campbell
Hon. Larry W. Campbell:
Honourable senators, in keeping with the love that has been building in this place as we move hand in hand together toward the summer, I rise in support of Bill C-24 —
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Senator Campbell: — An Act to amend the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act and another Act in consequence thereof. The honourable senator across from me has expressed eloquently some of the issues that are coming forward from this bill, so I will be brief.
This bill addresses issues with the existing First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act and better enables First Nations to benefit economically from on-reserve commercial real estate developments.
Under the current legislation, there is no certainty of land title on First Nations land on reserve. Consequently, First Nations commercial real estate developments cannot attract the same level of investment as off-reserve developments. With the implementation of this legislation, First Nations will have greater certainty of land title on their properties, thereby putting them on a level playing field with off-reserve commercial real estate properties. By ensuring that First Nations commercial real estate will be of comparable value to off-reserve land, First Nations communities will receive the full economic benefit from their development.
This legislation has been drafted in consultation with First Nations leaders and experts, and has received support from First Nations across Canada. I want to bring to the attention of honourable senators, Chief Gibby Jacob from the Squamish Nation, who has led the movement to make this legislation a reality.
An interesting article in The Globe and Mail today expresses the chief's bluntness and down-to-earth qualities. He said:
We're not a tribe that just fell off the turnip truck the other day.
I can assure you that Chief Jacob is no turnip. Chief Jacob is the person who has been leading his nation not only into real estate development, but who was key for the Olympics and the Four Nations Summit that we had there with all the First Nations.
Honourable senators, there was non-partisan support for Bill C-24 in the other place. I strongly believe that through the implementation of this legislation, we will promote economic development on First Nations reserves. I look forward to seeing this bill passed without delay and before the end of this session.