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The Harper Government Has To Consult On Changes To The Indian Act
by mmnationtalk onOctober 19, 20121926 Views
For Immediate Release: October 19, 2012
THE HARPER GOVERNMENT HAS TO CONSULT ON CHANGES TO THE INDIAN ACT
(Saskatoon, SK) The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations has deep concerns with the Federal Government’s support of the private members Bill C-428 put forward by Desnethe Missinippi Churchill River Member of Parliament Rob Clarke. Last January, Prime Minister Harper told Chiefs from across Canada that his government ‘has no grand scheme to repeal or unilaterally re-write the Indian Act. However, there are ways, creative ways, collaborative ways, ways that involve consultation between our Government, the provinces and First Nations leadership.’
“It now appears the Conservative government’s private members bill is one of those creative ways the Prime Minister was referring to at last winter’s Canada First Nations Gathering,” says Interim FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. “During Rob Clarke’s speech in the House of Commons he said there was no larger agenda at play. First Nations will not wait and see to find out. Whenever the government makes changes to the Indian Act there are usually long range unforeseen effects.”
In 1985, Bill C-31 reinstated the status of thousands of First Nation people who were unfairly disenfranchised. The Federal Government made the changes without proper consultation, accommodation and the resources needed to properly study the bill. The bill continues to cause problems for First Nations with respect to a lack of resources, assimilation and divisiveness in the communities.
“The Conservative government has it backwards when Clarke stated the government’s plan is to amend, repeal, replace and consult,” says Interim Chief Cameron. “There are too many unanswered questions. The FSIN demands meaningful consultation and accommodation before anything is changed or replaced in the Indian Act.”
“The private members bill is a red herring used to distract from the real issues the Conservative government is not addressing such as comparable education funding, housing, economic development and healthcare. Appealing and amending the Indian Act will not address these outstanding Treaty issues.”
The FSIN represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. The Federation is committed to honouring the spirit and intent of Treaty, as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of the Treaty promises that were made more than a century ago.
For more information: Mervin Brass, Executive Director of Communications Direct: 306.956.1026 Cellular: 306.220.7187 Email BlackBerry: email@example.com