Thanks, Mr. Chair.
I want to thank Ms. Lavell and Ms. Green for appearing before the committee. You are welcome witnesses once again.
I have a couple of comments. One is that in fact there is another solution. The government could withdraw this current bill and reintroduce a bill that much more broadly addresses the issues around discrimination. Opposition party members don't have the ability to introduce a government bill, but the government could certainly reintroduce a bill that would address it.
I wanted to touch on a couple of these discriminatory practices. When you talked about the fact that in the 1970s the fight was taken up to deal with discriminatory practices, the reality is that before that it was very difficult for first nations to do that, because in fact the first nations were disenfranchised. They lost their ability to be status first nations. In addition, in many cases they weren't permitted to hire lawyers to take on their cases. So it was very difficult before the 1970s for first nations to actually bring up the issues around discrimination.
In the late 1800s first nations actually determined citizenship and status, and it was only when the government, in 1876, started tightening up that first nations lost control over their members, lost control over who was considered either status or citizenship. In many cases, people blur the lines between status and citizenship when it's convenient, because status and citizenship hold very different legal roles and definitions. It's sometimes convenient for people to muddy those waters.
What we're talking about here is status. In this McIvor decision, we're talking about status: who gets to be considered a status first nation.
Ms. McIvor and you yourselves have both alluded to situations where this legislation won't deal with discrimination. We know unstated paternity is one, where a woman, many times for reasons of safety, will not state who the father is. That's a discriminatory practice, because it's automatically assumed that the father is non-status and therefore the children will be section 6(2). There is also an issue around—and Ms. McIvor referenced this—illegitimate daughters: illegitimate sons gained status; illegitimate daughters did not.
There are also the cases of group enfranchisement. In 1958 the whole Michel Band from Alberta lost its status. In 1931 they were reinstated as individuals, but the band has never been re-recognized. The question becomes, in 1958, did women actually participate in that vote? Likely not.
So I wonder if you are aware of other occasions when women have been discriminated against under status in the Indian Act.