Martin’s Kelowna Accord Bill Passes In Commons

Thursday, March 22, 2007 at 14:41



Former Prime Minister Paul Martin’s bill to resurrect the $5.1-billion Kelowna Accord deal passed in the House of Commons last night.


The Opposition parties backed the bill, but Conservative MPs opposed the measure to implement what the previous Liberal government promised for Aboriginal health, education, housing and wealth creation.


Under parliamentary rules, a private member’s bill can’t compel a sitting government to spend any money – and the Tories are indicating they won’t.


But Martin says his bill has essentially become law, and the government should respect the law the way it expects Canadian citizens to obey laws.


A former Tory MP is defending the Conservative government’s handling of the issue.


Jeremy Harrison says the Liberals are being “hypocritical”. He argues they had 13 years to prove they were serious about Aboriginal issues, but didn’t.


Harrison says when the Tories took over after last year’s election, the federal books showed the Liberals didn’t book the money promised in the accord into the fiscal framework. He contends that proves the Liberals weren’t ready to follow through on their promises made at Kelowna.


He insists the Conservatives are producing tangible results for Aboriginal Canadians — noting the $4-billion residential school compensation agreement and the multi-million-dollar Primrose Lake Air Weapons Range settlement for northwest Saskatchewan Métis communities were both settled in the first 13 months of the Tories’ regime.


(with files from Broadcast News)