Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief gives Bill S-6 testimony to Senate Committee
First Nations Elections Act does not reflect the recommendations or documented resolutions of the AMC
Ottawa, Feb. 29, 2012 – Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak will recommend to the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples that the existing Indian Act be minimally amended to exclusively deal with the option to extend terms of office and have a common election date. This would be consistent with what the AMC Chiefs decided and what was worked together with Canada. AMC will make its invited submission to the Senate Committee during the evening sitting of the Committee on February 29, 2012.”The draft legislation as it currently stands does not reflect the context of the discussions the AMC held with First Nations leadership across Manitoba. There is still time for the Government of Canada to amend this legislation to include those recommendations that address a range of electoral issues that could help to strengthen the leadership selection process as determined by each First Nation community”, says Grand Chief Nepinak.
The Bill gives the Minister the power to put custom election Bands under the new Act and relegates a number of election administration activities to federal regulation under the purview of the Minister. “If the Government of Canada is sincere in its claim that the proposed legislation adds no powers to the Minister than those already possessed then the AMC sees no reason why the federal government would object to adding all the recommendations put forth by First Nations leadership as well as those put forth by the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples in regard to appeal mechanisms and election oversight”, added Grand Chief Nepinak.
“If Canada’s commitment to First Nations is to include ‘renewing and re-setting the relationship’, as promised last month at the Crown – First Nations Gathering, then let us proceed in good faith and continue to work together on developing and implementing First Nations-led election reform that respects the First Nation right to self-government.”
AMC’s testimony to the Senate Committee follows a December 5, 2011 press release whereby Grand Chief Derek Nepinak stated that he could not support the Bill S-6 legislation as tabled as it did not reflect the position of the First Nations leadership of Manitoba.
For further information:
Jason Zushman, AMC Renewal Initiatives Director, 204-510-4176