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OTTAWA, April 20 – Bill C-44, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act, is currently before Parliament and is making its way through the legislative process. If enacted, Bill C-44 will repeal section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Since 1977, this provision has prevented First Nations people from lodging complaints of discrimination against the federal and First Nations governments in relation to acts and decisions authorized by the Indian Act. On 21 February 2007, following second reading debate, the House of Commons referred Bill C-44 to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
The Committee began its study of the legislation on 22 March 2007, when the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development appeared to present the government’s views on the need to eliminate section 67. The Committee has scheduled meetings with the Assembly of First Nations and the Native Women’s Association of Canada, and others. Committee members know that the progress of Bill C-44 is a matter of great interest to those that stand to be affected by the legislation. Accordingly, on 27 March 2007, the Committee decided to invite written submissions to gain a better appreciation of how First Nations people and their community governments view the repeal of section 67 and, in particular, the impact of repeal in their communities. Written submissions are considered public information. Those wishing to present written submissions on Bill C-44 for the Committee’s consideration should mail them to the Committee clerk at the address below no later than 1 May 2007. Guidelines on the preparation of submissions to a House of Commons Committee may be requested from the clerk, or consulted at http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/process/house/WitnessesGuides/guide-brief-e.htm
For further information: Bonnie Charron, Clerk of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, (613) 996-1173, AANO@parl.gc.ca
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