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

Reflections: The early construction of then Ponoka mental hospital

Looking at the early development of then provincial mental hospital in Ponoka

Wolf Creek Schools superintendent receives contract extension

Jayson Lovell will continue to serve as superintendent through 2024

Ponoka fire crews deal with trailer fire on the QEII

There wasn’t much left of a 53 foot trailer after it went up in flames near Ponoka

Suspects from Ponoka charged in pawn shop theft

Ponoka RCMP say the two face several charges from Stampede Pawn incident

Ponoka provides update on recent water main breaks

Some roads continue to be closed to traffic as repairs to be completed

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Notley’s government puts priority on health care in throne speech

Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell kicked off the legislature session

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Ponoka RCMP on lookout for stolen pickup

The black 2011 Ford F350 King Ranch pickup was stolen from a rural residence

B.C. argues it cannot stop Trans Mountain, but it can protect environment

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says only Ottawa has the authority to decide what goes in trans-boundary pipelines

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick retires in wake of SNC-Lavalin case

Jody Wilson-Raybould accused Wernick of pressuring her to head off criminal charges for the firm

Most Read