SASKATOON- The federal government must move beyond the Indian Act and establish a new partnership with First Nations, said Liberal Leader Bob Rae, who gave notice of his private member’s motion on the subject today.
“First Nations have been adamant that we need a new process for moving beyond the repressive colonial institutions and frameworks of the Indian Act, yet this Conservative government has so far refused to engage in the discussion,” said Mr. Rae. “My private member’s motion pushes this government to work with First Nations so that we can finally resolve the many long-standing economic and social inequities that plague First Nations communities in Canada.”
Liberal Leader Bob Rae’s private member’s motion calls on the government to establish a formal nation-to-nation process between First Nations and the Crown, to replace the Indian Act with new agreements that fulfill the Crown’s responsibilities to First Nations in a manner consistent with First Nations’ rights, the original Treaty relationships with First Nations which this country was founded upon, the outstanding obligations and promises on behalf of the Crown to First Nations, and the standards established in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
“As National Chief Shawn Atleo and First Nations leaders across the country have said, the Indian Act remains the biggest obstacle to progress for First Nations communities,” said Mr. Rae. “It is time that we begin to try to undo the damage caused by the Act, consult with First Nations communities and take urgent, concrete actions with them to build success and shared prosperity.”
Mr. Rae’s private member’s motion will be added to the House of Commons Order of Precedence and will be debated and voted on in the coming months.
Liberal Leader Bob Rae’s Private Member’s Motion is as follows:
That, in the opinion of the House, the Indian Act is the embodiment of failed colonial and paternalistic policies which have denied First Nations their rights, fair share in resources, fostered mistrust and created systemic barriers to the self-determination and success of First Nations, and that elimination of these barriers requires the government to initiate a formal process of direct engagement with First Nations within 3 months of passage of this motion, on a nation-to-nation basis, which focuses on replacing the Indian Act with new agreements based on: a) the Constitutional, Treaty, and inherent rights of all First Nations; b) the historical and fiduciary responsibilities of the Crown to First Nations; c) the standards established in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the principle of free, prior, and informed consent; d) respect, recognition, reconciliation and support for First Nations; e) partnership and mutual accountability between the Crown and First Nations; and f) stability and safety of First Nations; and that this process be completed within two years before reporting with a series of concrete deliverables for the government to act upon.