Hon. Sandra M. Lovelace Nicholas:
Honourable senators, I would like to speak to Bill C-45. Although I am supporting the bill, I am skeptical of the government’s word as outlined in their letter of intent concerning Indigenous consultation.
I do not agree to a one-year delay as it concerns Indigenous people because First Nations would have been left out on another opportunity for self-sufficiency. Historically, Canada has not done proper consultation with First Nations. It is my fear that First Nations may be held back from getting licensed to sell cannabis.
On the point of ticketing, the RCMP holds random checks at the entrances of First Nations communities. Will this change if and when First Nations get the same rights to sell cannabis?
Under treaty, First Nations in their own territories or dwellings are free to fish, hunt, trade, grow and farm medicine to sustain their livelihood. The government tends to ignore these facts.
First Nations have three entities that have held them back from succeeding and enjoying the same rights to the resources of this land: the federal government, provinces and Indigenous Affairs.
If I may, I would like to quote from a few famous people on cannabis.
First, I quote John Adams:
We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp more for our own consumption.
Second, a quote from Thomas Jefferson:
Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country.
Lastly, a quote from General George Washington:
Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.
Honourable senators, I want to thank all the members of the Indigenous Affairs Committee for their work over many months on this very important bill. I believe we accomplished what we wanted in unity. Woliwon.