Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act

An Act to promote gender equity in Indian registration by responding to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia decision in McIvor v. Canada (Registrar of Indian and Northern Affairs)

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.

Sponsor

Chuck Strahl  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment provides a new entitlement to Indian registration in response to the decision in McIvor v. Canada (Registrar of Indian and Northern Affairs) that was issued by the Court of Appeal for British Columbia on April 6, 2009.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

November 29th, 2011 / 4 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Saskatoon—Rosetown—Biggar, SK

Thank you.

In keeping with talking about legislation, I'm wondering if you could give us an update on the state of the implementation of Bill C-3.

November 15th, 2011 / 12:05 p.m.
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Chief Betty Ann Lavallée National Chief, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Good morning to the members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.

It's an honour to be here on the unceded territory of the Algonquin people to present you with some priority issues of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.

With me today is our new vice-chief, Dwight Dorey, who will be speaking to you concerning the Daniels case and subsection 91(24) of the Constitution Act of 1867. My presentation to you will focus on remaining discrimination in the Indian Act, matrimonial real property, band membership, along with aboriginal citizenship, education, and the long-gun registry. There are many more issues that will need to be discussed at a later date, including health, economic development, housing, homelessness, language, and culture.

Since 1971, the congress has been at the forefront of the aboriginal people's movement in Canada, advocating for our constituency of forgotten peoples. We advocate for the rights and interests of status and non-status Indians living off reserve and Métis. The year 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of our organization. Despite the successes that have occurred over the last 40 years, the Canadian public continues to associate aboriginal issues with Indians living on reserves. The reality is that 80% of the ancestral aboriginal population now live off reserve, with 60% living in urban areas. This is the most significant demographic factor for policy makers, yet it's the one where the least action takes place because of jurisdictional issues.

On May 18, we were pleased to learn that Prime Minister Harper had changed the name of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. This was an important step, better to reflect the scope of the minister's responsibilities for all aboriginal peoples. This type of straightforward thinking and inclusive decision-making is what we need to make progress.

The Indian Act remains the principal expression of the federal government's jurisdictional policy over Indians and lands reserved for Indians under subsection 91(24) of the Constitution Act of 1867. The political and social reality affecting aboriginal peoples is based by and large on this outdated legislation. The Indian Act status and membership rules have a long history of impacting the lives of aboriginal peoples. For example, of the almost $10 billion per year that the federal government invests in aboriginal-specific programming, almost 90% goes to assist on-reserve status Indians. This outdated policy framework needs to be reshaped and recast to reflect the fact that the federal government has the responsibility to act in a fiduciary capacity for all aboriginal peoples.

This was the central finding of the largest, most extensive inquiry undertaken in Canadian history, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. In 1996, it reported that the relationship between aboriginal peoples and non-aboriginal peoples needed to be fundamentally restructured. The facts of aboriginal life have changed, and it's time for policies and frameworks to reflect the new reality.

CAP is pleased that the government has reintroduced Bill S-2 concerning matrimonial real property. This legislation will address a longstanding gap and will better protect the rights of aboriginal people, particularly women living on reserve. For many years, we've been calling for an effective MRP regime on reserve. Aboriginal women on reserve face unfair and unconstitutional discrimination in the exercise of their right to a fair share of matrimonial real property after the breakup of a marriage or common-law relationship. We view the bill as a positive step to ensure that aboriginal women and children receive equitable distribution of matrimonial real property assets in the event of divorce, separation, family violence, or death.

The congress has never bought into the Indian Act, and we have a long history of fighting this legislation. Back in 1974, with financial assistance from our organization, Jeannette Corbiere Lavell was the first non-status woman to bring a challenge to the Indian Act. Today, our women continue to be discriminated against through the Indian Act, but through the brave work of people like Sharon McIvor, Sandra Lovelace Nicholas, as well as many others, we are taking this legislation apart piece by piece.

I'm a registered subsection 6(2) Indian. Under the law, my son is not entitled to be registered as an Indian. We are graded like cattle or grades of beef. It is unadulterated discrimination, and fighting this is the central priority for the congress.

In January of this year, Canada proclaimed into force Bill C-3, Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act. This was a direct result of the McIvor decision, which took 20 years to move through the courts. Because this legislation is very narrow in scope, sex discrimination, unfortunately, remains in the status registration provisions. Not all descendants of the Indian women who lost status through marrying out have gained status back. The first generation was covered by Bill C-31 in 1985, the second generation through this year's Bill C-3, but further generations remain cut off from Indian status.

The only way to be sure that such discrimination is eliminated from the Indian Act is to place descendants of status Indian women on the same footing as descendants of Indian men. Today aboriginal women are not treated equally as transmitters of status. As a result of this discrimination, thousands of their descendants have been forgotten.

Another remaining problem relates to the post-1985 Indian Act registration rules and how they operate in cases of unstated paternity. In 1985 Canada went from a one-parent descendancy rule, which favoured Indian men, to a new system called the second generation cut-off rule. Now whether you were an Indian man or woman, mixed parenting is only allowed for one generation. After the second generation of mixed parenting, a person is no longer an Indian. Today, when a status mother does not disclose the father's identity, the child's registration can only be based on the mother's entitlement. From 1985 to 1999, this resulted in the downgrading or outright loss of Indian status to approximately 50,000 Indian children.

The new second-generation cut-off rule will result in a drastic reduction of the status Indian population over the course of a few generations. Status Indians, like many other Canadian citizens, fall in love and have children with people from other cultures. This common social occurrence, when paired with the second-generation cut-off rule, has the perverse result of depriving the children of these unions of either their Indian status or the ability to pass status to their own children.

It has been estimated that within 60 years only one-third of the descendants of the current status Indian population will be entitled to status. The number will continue to decline. Academics and demographers alike have argued that the Indian registration rules introduced in 1985 will lead to the legislative extinction of status Indians.

A clear solution to this problem would be for Canada to return to a one-parent descendancy rule for Indian status and apply it equally to men and women. However, everyone here can acknowledge that the capacity of courts to deal with these issues is very limited. CAP is seeking a political commitment to examine and address aboriginal citizenship, with all the associated broader questions.

Since the passage of Bill C-3 in December 2010, the federal government has launched the exploratory process. It is not a consultative process, which we like, and I'm pleased to say the government has not pre-determined or pre-defined the agenda or questions with regard to Indian registration, band membership, and aboriginal citizenship. CAP is currently engaged with the process and we're hosting dialogue sessions across Canada.

Section 74 of the Indian Act allows bands to elect chiefs and councils according to their own customs. Currently about 30% of bands have adopted their own custom codes. Under these rules a band can admit to membership people who do not have status. They can also deny membership to any status Indian except Indian women restored under paragraph 6(1)(c).

Despite this apparent opportunity to break away from the Indian Act, 30% of the bands have adopted membership rules that are more restrictive than the Indian Act itself. CAP was pleased when the Conservative government delivered on its promise to repeal section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Since 1977, section 67 has shielded bands from complaints of discrimination stemming from membership codes plus other issues.

In June of this year the transition period ended. We expect that many of the custom election codes will now be challenged under the Canadian Human Rights Act. My understanding is that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development has not provided any resources to the bands to review and update their membership codes or to ensure they are in compliance with the Canadian Human Rights Act or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That is really unfortunate, because there are some bands that are being very proactive in addressing this issue. I believe in giving credit where credit is due.

In regard to aboriginal citizenship, CAP takes the position that the right of aboriginal peoples to determine our own citizenship is an inherent right derived from the Creator and protected both under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Our right to self-government was never distinguished.

We view the exploratory process as the beginning of a long process of questioning and thinking, and as we move towards self-determination and citizenship, we are being given the chance to come up with the solutions to long-lived problems we've had to face.

The possible self-government structures for urban aboriginal peoples are wide-ranging. CAP has been working on these challenging issues for many years and at the same time struggling with the reserve focus of federal government policies and programs. Federal and provincial wrangling has slowed progress for urban aboriginal populations.

With the resolution of the federal government's responsibility regarding Métis and non-status Indians, aboriginal and state relations will be very clear, and some of the on-reserve and off-reserve distinctions will be resolved.

My colleague Dwight will speak further to that.

The education of our children and youth is a priority of the first order for us. Aboriginal youth have the highest dropout rates, the lowest levels of literacy, and the lowest levels of skills development. The odds are better that our youth will end up in jail than that they will graduate from high school. It is education that will improve our economic situation and our lives. It is education that is integral to reducing poverty in our communities and eliminating our dependencies.

At the Summit on Aboriginal Education held in February, we were encouraged by the discussions about strengthening aboriginal success in education. The provincial and territorial ministers of education have recognized that in the next 15 years, aboriginal students will represent over 25% of the elementary student population in some provinces and territories. We encourage the Prime Minister to call a first ministers meeting on education at which an interjurisdictional commitment to improve school experiences for our students could be mobilized.

Last, I want to talk to you about the Canadian firearms registry. Currently, aboriginal firearms owners who are not compliant with the Firearms Act can incur criminal liability for unauthorized possession of non-restricted firearms under sections 91 and 92 of the Criminal Code. In the last couple of weeks, the government gave notice concerning the bill to abolish the long-gun registry.

CAP joins many other aboriginal organizations across Canada in calling for an end to the long-gun registry. We view the licensing and registration requirements imposed by the registry as an infringement on our right to hunt. Aboriginal hunters and harvesters are not part of the crime problem, and the registry is ineffective and wasteful. The infringement on aboriginal treaty rights to hunt, trap, or fish is not acceptable to our organization. CAP remains supportive of regulations requiring hunters and harvesters to secure an acquisition licence and to follow rules for the safe storage of firearms.

In conclusion, I wish to express our appreciation for the attention the Prime Minister has brought to aboriginal issues by meeting with national aboriginal leaders. In the days ahead, my colleague and I look forward to active engagement with various House of Commons standing committees that have an important role to play in moving the aboriginal agenda forward.

At this point I'll turn to my colleague, Vice-Chief Dwight Dorey, to speak on the issue of section 91.24.

March 10th, 2011 / 10:25 a.m.
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Deputy Minister, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Michael Wernick

In response to your first question, we can provide the lists of specific projects. For the fiscal year starting on April 1, there will be a list of schools, treatment plants and so on. We can provide you with very specific lists from our budget for next year.

As for housing, there may be a little more flexibility with regard to possibilities for the building season, but we'll do our best to provide you with that kind of list. We had a long list of projects that were ready to start under the Economic Action Plan. There have to be projects, including all the plans, characteristics and sites, which are approved by the community. That adds a little time because these are very important projects. They're going to discuss and decide on the details for each project, and that adds a little time. However, there are still projects that are in an advanced state across the country.

I believe the question you asked me about Bill C-3 is the same as the one raised by Mr. Rickford. We'll see how soon people register as Indians. It's true that, from the moment they're registered, they're eligible for Health Canada's programs and for our post-secondary student support program. We've sent our analysis to our colleagues. They're ready to receive it. These programs will not draw any distinction between a "Bill C-3 Indian" and other Indians.

March 10th, 2011 / 10:20 a.m.
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Bloc

Marc Lemay Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Wernick, since your staff is extremely competent, I invite you to get hold of the Saturday, March 5 edition of La Presse. I know you can't engage in politics, but I'm inviting you to read the article by Michel Girard on the Harper government's sense of priorities. It concerns a number of things about Indian affairs that I find very interesting.

I don't need an answer today. You're going to cut $289 million. With all due respect to the parliamentary secretary, he will no longer be able to talk about Canada's Economic Action Plan as of next week. The government created expectations with Canada's Economic Action Plan, particularly among the aboriginal communities, which learned late—and I mean very late—about the possibility that they could request new schools, housing, water mains and sewers.

I don't need the answer today; you can send it to me in writing. I'd like to know, for the Quebec region, how many schools will be built, altered and transformed using funds provided under the 2011-12 Estimates. How many water mains and sewers will be modified and transformed? How many houses will be built and in what communities? I need that information unless you can give it too me right now.

I have a question for you on Bill C-3. I've been told, and I'd like you to confirm for me whether that is the case, to watch out because Bill C-3 should have a specific effect. New people will become status Indians, but those status Indians will be living outside the communities, taking advantage of post-secondary education and education, and also health care. Can you confirm that for me? If so, have you informed your colleague the deputy minister of health? I get the impression he'll be paying the bill. In your case, have you set aside any budgets for, among other things, the post-secondary education of a lot of aboriginal students, who will now become status Indians or become status Indians again?

If you can't answer those questions, you can send me answers in writing.

March 10th, 2011 / 10:20 a.m.
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Deputy Minister, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Michael Wernick

We're trying to bring together the card issuance with the registry process. Bill C-3 is an opportunity to try that out with a specific target population to perfect our business process. If we can do it well for the Bill C-3 intake, we'll be able to do it for everybody over the next few years.

March 10th, 2011 / 10:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Because we are televised today, I might take this opportunity to say that I understand there is a special application form for Bill C-3 now available on the INAC website. This is available through the regional offices, Service Canada centres, or call centres. Do you have any information you'd like to put out there right now?

March 10th, 2011 / 10:20 a.m.
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Deputy Minister, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Michael Wernick

The minister referred to the bill. It's a significant accomplishment. It's also going to be a significant piece of work to implement it. We have some resources in place for the registration process, and we've set up a dedicated unit to deal with Bill C-3 claims, some of which are going to be fairly straightforward and some of which are going to be complex because of family history, genealogy, and documentation.

The latest numbers I have show that a little less than 4,000 people sent in some kind of application or request, even before the bill got royal assent. We will handle them. We're not going to send them back.

March 10th, 2011 / 10:15 a.m.
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Conservative

Greg Rickford Conservative Kenora, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and my thanks to the witnesses.

You worked through a number of different files. We'll take this opportunity to talk about a few things.

Could you tell me a little bit about the state of Bill C-3 implementation? I want to get a firmer sense of how many applications will be received, some of the activities on your website, and a description of the team you have put together that's dedicated to this Bill C-3 process.

March 10th, 2011 / 9:55 a.m.
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Deputy Minister, Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Michael Wernick

Yes.

We have a fairly steady business at the registry, as long as there's an Indian Act and people have status defined by the Indian Act. People are born, die, marry, adopt, and so on, so there's a lot of business at the Indian registry. We'll also have new business because of the people enfranchised under Bill C-3. It was identified about a year and a half ago that a backlog was building up. Things were coming in faster than we could get them out. I'm very pleased to say that with some hard work and process engineering, that backlog has been eliminated.

March 10th, 2011 / 8:55 a.m.
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Vancouver Island North B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan ConservativeMinister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development

Thank you very much, Chair.

I apologize for being a tad late. There were some countermanding instructions as to where I was supposed to be this morning, but I'm happy to be here.

Thank you for inviting me to discuss the 2010-11 supplemental estimates (C) of the department. These complement the recently tabled main estimates in the report on plans and priorities. I'd be pleased to speak to any of them.

This committee plays a valuable role in ensuring Canadians' tax dollars are used wisely and achieve the intended results. I welcome your review of my department's expenditures, which demonstrate that we are doing exactly that.

Through these estimates the department accesses the funds required to continue delivering on our government's commitment to improve the quality of life for first nations, Inuit, Métis, and northerners. Our progress has been noteworthy. My department is achieving concrete results in areas such as the construction of new schools and housing, women's rights, land claims and self-government, economic development, and safe drinking water.

I've witnessed this program first-hand. I've had the privilege of travelling across the country from coast to coast to coast meeting extraordinary Canadians. I've seen how our government's investments are making a meaningful difference in the lives of aboriginal people.

Take the example of the new Frenchman's Head elementary school in Ontario's Lac Seul First Nation, which I officially opened last November. Education is a priority for this government. Equipping children with a quality education is the best possible way to make sure they have the means to succeed. That school, by the way, took 14 months to build, from the time we made the announcement to the time they opened the school. It shows what can be done if the local first nation has a project that is shovel-ready.

Our government is committed to ensuring first nation children achieve the same educational outcomes as other Canadians. That's why we are collaborating with the Assembly of First Nations to establish a national panel that will lead a broad engagement process. The panel is mandated to advise on the development of options, including legislation, to improve elementary and secondary education outcomes for first nation children who live on reserve. We are working to ensure that students always come first.

I've also had the opportunity to initial several groundbreaking agreements that are empowering aboriginal communities.

Just last month I signed an agreement with Teslin Tlingit Council that recognizes its jurisdiction to administer, enforce, and adjudicate its own laws. This agreement represents a significant step in the implementation of first nation self-government in Yukon and nationally.

A few weeks earlier, in January, I travelled to Yellowknife to co-sign the Northwest Territories devolution agreement-in-principle, a historic development for the territory.

I was happy to participate in ceremonies marking major milestones reached in the Fort William First Nation boundary claim, as well as the Toronto Purchase and Brant Tract specific claims agreements with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, both in Ontario.

I've also taken part in moving ceremonies that acknowledged past wrongs and set them right. I was honoured to be in Inukjuak to deliver, on behalf of the government, the high Arctic relocation apology. I visited Resolute and Grise Fiord as well, where I participated in the unveiling of monuments commemorating the lives and hardships of those who were relocated.

Another of our accomplishments is Bill C-3, the Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act. It ensures that eligible grandchildren of women who lost status as a result of marrying non-Indian men are entitled to Indian status in accordance with the Indian Act.

Mr. Chairman, I am especially excited about some of the promising economic development activity taking place across the country.

In January my department was proud to co-host the second Métis economic development symposium in Vancouver. This was a follow-up to the very successful first symposium in December 2009. Along with Métis nation leaders and the aboriginal affairs ministers from the five westernmost provinces and industry leaders, we explored successful approaches to economic development. We also discussed practical ways to strengthen entrepreneurship among Métis women, because our government is committed to ensuring that Métis fully share in economic development opportunities across Canada.

I also took part in the alternative energy for B.C. first nations gathering in Vancouver last month. First nations in B.C. are involved in wind, solar, biomass, and hydro projects throughout the province.

We are making headway on important social priorities as well. Access to safe drinking water is a significant challenge for some first nation communities and one we are working hard with our partners to address. Our government has allocated approximately $2.5 billion for water and waste-water infrastructure in first nations since 2006.

We are determined that first nations will have access to the same quality of drinking water as other Canadian communities. I made that clear when I spoke to the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples just two days ago about Bill S-11, an act respecting the safety of drinking water on first nation lands. This act will allow for the development of federal regulations for drinking water and waste water in first nation communities.

I'm pleased to announce today the reappointments of two treaty commissioners: the Honourable Bill McKnight as treaty commissioner for Saskatchewan, and James Brook Wilson as commissioner of the treaty relations commission of Manitoba. In addition to their appointments, the mandates of the Saskatchewan and Manitoba treaty relations commissions will be extended for another three-year term.

Tomorrow I will be in Saskatchewan to announce a new memorandum of understanding to promote active measures strategies focused on first nation labour market participation. Our government is joining forces with Saskatchewan first nations, tribal councils, the Government of Saskatchewan, provincial employers, and training institutions. Together, we're pledging to increase first nation participation in Saskatchewan's workforce and enhance employment outcomes for first nations.

Meeting the needs of northerners also remains a high priority. As committee members are aware, the cost of living north of 60 is very high, particularly in isolated communities. This includes the cost of food. We want to make sure that northerners, like other Canadians, have access to good-quality, nutritious food.

Yesterday I was in Iqaluit. We announced that the Nutrition North Canada program would re-list the items that had been de-listed as of last October until October 2012 to allow for two more sealift seasons. This will ease the transition for the retailers and make sure that there's a smooth transition through the supply chain, which was turning out to be a bit of an issue. That's a very significant development, but the program itself is still going kick in on April 1, just three weeks from now.

This new program will provide higher subsidies in eligible communities for nutritious perishable foods such as fruits, vegetables, bread, meats, milk, and eggs, along with reduced subsidies for less healthy items.

We saw the problems with this program, we said we were listening, and we made changes.

During my travels to the north I've had the opportunity to make a number of important announcements that support the development of a prosperous northern economy. The Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, also known as CanNor, is a key player in delivering on this priority, and we continue to take action across a variety of sectors to support a strong, diversified north that benefits northerners and Canadians.

A key sector in building a sustainable and dynamic northern economy is tourism. Attracting more visitors to the north will help create and build significant long-term business opportunities and create local jobs.

Since February 20 we've invested something over $5.5 million in tourism-related projects across the north to promote the region throughout Canada and around the world as a dynamic tourism destination. Those have been very well-received programs, and their statistics on tourism are very good, actually.

Northerners have many exciting developments to look forward to in the coming years. One important initiative for the north is the Nanisivik naval facility. This deepwater docking and refueling facility for Arctic offshore patrol ships and other Government of Canada vessels will be a valuable economic and security addition to the region. To date, a contract has been awarded for the facility design, and a site assessment is in progress. The construction of the on-site administration building to support military exercises is expected to be completed this year.

The Canadian high Arctic research station in Cambridge Bay is another big project that will be taking shape in the north in years to come. The station will advance Canada's knowledge in areas including economic development, sovereignty, the environment, and healthy communities for the benefit of northerners and all Canadians. A feasibility study is currently under way to establish the functions of the facility and outline the preliminary project costs and building schedule.

Mr. Chair, we need the committee's approval of these supplementary estimates to maintain this momentum. The department's spending levels for the 2010-11 year, which is drawing to a close, will be $8.3 billion. This will include $51 million in these supplementary estimates.

In addition to the items I've already noted, these supplementary funds will be used to address health and safety concerns in first nations communities through the emergency management assistance program; advance outstanding land claim and treaty issues in Yukon; enhance the northern regulatory system and implement the cumulative impact monitoring program in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut; and renew the Naskapi capital funding agreement and the Naskapi operations and maintenance funding transfer payment agreement. These initiatives, along with those from Budget 2010 and Canada's economic action plan, are essential.

I look forward to discussing these issues with you and I welcome your questions.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

February 3rd, 2011 / 12:15 p.m.
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Executive Director, Native Women's Association of Canada

Claudette Dumont-Smith

I'm not a lawyer, but I know there are things that are being addressed with Bill C-3. There was a lot of inter-family conflict, and I think that was addressed and it's moving forward.

I don't know if that's what you're referring to. Maybe Kat can add to this.

January 21st, 2011 / 12:05 p.m.
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Professor, University of Calgary, As an Individual

Prof. Jennifer Koshan

I have a couple of thoughts as a result of what you've said. First of all, no one speaks with one voice. We have a huge diversity of aboriginal people across the country, so we need to recognize that aboriginal women are not going to speak with one voice, whether it's on Bill C-3 or on issues of violence against women. It's important to hear all of those different voices.

I know in politics sometimes compromises have to be made, so I understand the difficulty of the situation you are facing. But I think, again, there's a more fundamental systemic issue here, and that's the ongoing colonization of the aboriginal peoples of Canada through the Indian Act. So we're tinkering with that through Bill C-3. We're not addressing the fundamental systemic problem of that ongoing colonial document, and that needs to be addressed.

January 18th, 2011 / 7 p.m.
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Representative, B.C. CEDAW Group

Shelagh Day

I want to talk very briefly about root causes. We've heard a lot of people say colonization. Remember that the colonizer was also a patriarch. Patriarchy is part of what colonization means. We're still doing it. When we talk about matrimonial property, when we talk about Bill C-3, which just went through and has not taken out all of the discrimination in the Indian Act, the government is still legislating, overtly, about aboriginal women in a way it doesn't legislate about any other group of women in the country. So we are still in the process of playing out the patriarchy of the colonizer. Aboriginal women and children are still suffering from it. And that's part of the violence and part of the gravest conditions.

January 13th, 2011 / 11:40 a.m.
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War Lake First Nation, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

Chief Betsy Kennedy

My name is Betsy Kennedy. I'm the Chief of War Lake First Nation. With me is Chief Francine Meeches of Swan Lake First Nation.

We have many notes here, I notice, and a lot of information, but we would like to speak to the family violence prevention programs, the missing and murdered women, and also the sexual exploitation of our girls and women in our communities.

To give you the history of the AMC women's committee, the chiefs sit on this committee. It works toward improving the situation of first nations women and ensuring that Manitoba first nations are involved in decision-making. This is comprised of chiefs and councillors in leadership roles in their communities.

The issue of family violence and intervention is one of our major concerns and takes up many of the lead initiatives. Bill C-3 is supposed to highlight this, but I think some of these things also pertain to what's happening in the communities and how these women are being exploited.

Bill S-4 deals with matrimonial and real properties. When women have to leave the communities because they're just not going to be able to stay on their reserves, they are coming into the city, and this is where many of them are being exploited. I mention this because I believe you wanted to know some of what happens here.

There's also our section 37, which we would like to see. I know this is going to go to the Commons. This has to do with the missing and murdered women of Manitoba and Canada. Following the directions of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the committee continues to advocate on the issues of missing and murdered women, as a disturbingly high number of women have gone missing and have never been found. Most are aboriginal. According to the Native Women's Association of Canada, approximately 580 aboriginal women have gone missing and have not been found across Canada; 84 are from Manitoba. The AMC has called upon the federal government to initiate a public inquiry into this number of missing and murdered women. There has also been an announcement by the federal government that the amount of $10 million is to be spent within the two years.

Also, in 2009 Grand Chief Evans developed an agreement with the RCMP to have a first nations community liaison worker, Constable Monique Cooper, to be located at the AMC office in Winnipeg. This was established when the parents, the mothers of these missing and murdered women, came to us. We had a working relationship with the RCMP, and now have a woman working exclusively at the AMC office. We would like to recognize that work, which is happening right now. To this day, in both southern and northern Manitoba, there has not been any word on these women to their parents that they've...or how far this was going. The AMC continues to work closely with the families of these missing and murdered women and with the RCMP and Winnipeg Police Service's missing persons unit.

There's also the issue of human trafficking. Since 2009 AMC has been actively addressing human trafficking. The grand chief and the women's committee continue to raise the issue for discussion at the chiefs assemblies.

I want to tell you that when we have our annual assembly, women's issues are being brought out to the forefront, and we do have the support of all our chiefs. We are very proud to say that they really recognize what we've been doing. In turn, these discussions bring awareness into our homes.

The next part will be on family violence. We sit on a committee on family violence and--

December 15th, 2010 / 4:35 p.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I have the honour to inform the House that when the House went up to the Senate chamber His Excellency the Governor General was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:

Bill S-3, An Act to implement conventions and protocols concluded between Canada and Colombia, Greece and Turkey for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income--Chapter No. 15

Bill S-210, An Act to amend the Federal Sustainable Development Act and the Auditor General Act (involvement of Parliament)--Chapter No. 16

Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts--Chapter 17

Bill C-3, An Act to promote gender equity in Indian registration by responding to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia decision in McIvor v. Canada (Registrar of Indian and Northern Affairs)--Chapter 18

Bill S-215, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (suicide bombings)--Chapter 19

Bill C-464, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (justification for detention in custody)--Chapter 20

Bill C-36, An Act respecting the safety of consumer products--Chapter 21

Bill C-31, An Act to amend the Old Age Security Act--Chapter 22

Bill C-28, An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act--Chapter 23

Bill C-58, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the financial year ending March 31, 2011--Chapter 24

Bill C-47, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 4, 2010 and other measures--Chapter 25

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, Canadian Council on Learning; the hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway, Public Safety.