Time to replace the Indian Act

Hundreds of thousands of First Nations people live in Canada and they deserve better than to be shackled

Dear Editor:

Hundreds of thousands of First Nations people live in Canada and they deserve better than to be shackled by the failed colonial and paternalistic policies of the Indian Act, which has helped deny them their rights, fair share in resources, and fostered mistrust and created systemic barriers to self-determination and success. First Nations have been adamant that we need to move beyond it, yet the government has so far refused to get the ball rolling.

The Indian Act is more than 136 years old and touches every aspect of life of First Nations. First Nations need the approval of the minister to pass bylaws. It puts so much red tape around economic development that it often doesn’t happen. The act is so intrusive on reserve residents’ lives that they cannot even write a will without the minister’s approval.

Yet, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper has rightly said, the act has deep roots and cannot simply be abolished. For decades governments of all stripes have allowed this problem to fester.

Now all parties have a chance to take real leadership on the problem. I have a motion before the House of Commons compelling the federal government to work with First Nations on a nation- to-nation basis on a plan to replace the Indian Act with modern agreements based on rights, responsibilities of the Crown, and the original Treaty relationship. With a deadline and a process, we can finally begin to resolve the many long-standing economic and social inequities that plague First Nations communities in Canada.

Yet the Conservatives, including Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins, said they would vote against this progress by opposing the motion. They say they want to change the status quo, but once again, this is just words.

We cannot continue to put this off. Please tell Mr. Calkins to vote for change.

Bob Rae, leader,

Liberal Party of Canada

Just Posted

Council highlights

Council to fund Rimbey Boys and Girls Club for $15,000

CAUTION ADVISED: River valley trail systems closed – Updated with photos

High water levels, overflowing the banks in places, see Ponoka issue warning to public

Reflections: Celebrating the long history of the Ponoka Fire Department

The department served Ponoka for 112 years protecting area residents

WCPS to set meeting with Alberta Education

Wolf Creek Public Schools wants to see some clarification on student funding

UCP leader uses Ponoka fundraiser to prep party for spring election

Jason Kenney focused on policy convention and need for united front in order to win in 2019

WATCH: Central Albertan receives award for aiding RCMP officer in arrest

Lonnie Amundson, rugby player, tackled a fleeing suspect to help ailing officer

Austin Powers ‘Mini-Me’, Verne Troyer, dies at 49

Facebook page confirmed his death Saturday afternoon

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

Speed Skating Canada fires coach Michael Crowe after investigation

Crowe was a coach on the American team from 1983 to 1991 and again from 1999 to 2006

5 things to know about the ongoing influx of asylum seekers in Canada

Number of illegal border crossings are up this year – as RCMP, military, politicians try to combat

WATCH: ‘Battle of the Badges’ event raises money for Humboldt Broncos

Red Deerians get together at charity hockey tournament April 20th at Servus Arena

Producer, DJ Avicii found dead at 28

Swedish-born artist Tim Bergling, was found in Muscat, Oman

Trudeau ends 3-country tour with global reputation, alliances intact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds footing on the world stage after China and India controversies

Leafs’ Matthews has top-selling jersey, edging Crosby, McDavid: NHL

Austin Matthews jersey sales top Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby, Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid

Most Read