Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Canadian Human Rights Commission Continues to Demand Aboriginals Be Allowed To Sue Under Indian Act

The Canadian Human Rights Commission yesterday released Still a Matter of Rights, a report calling for the federal Parliament to pass legislation repealing section 67 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Section 67 denies aboriginal people living on or off reserve from filing a complaint with the Commission relating to any action arising from or pursuant to the Indian Act.

It was included in the Canadian Human Rights Act when it was first drafted in 1977. The reason given then was to allow the government time to address issues regarding sexual discrimination against women who married non-Indian men. It was to be a temporary measure. It is still on the books.

"In December 2006, repeal legislation—Bill C-44—was introduced in Parliament (...) Bill C-44 died on the order paper when a new session of Parliament was convened. It was the fourth time that Parliament had considered but did not enact repeal legislation. In the Throne Speech of October 16, 2007, the government announced that it would reinstate legislation to guarantee to people living under the Indian Act 'the same protections other Canadians enjoy under the Canadian Human Rights Act.' On November 13, 2007 Bill C-214 was introduced and deemed to be referred to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. Bill C-21 is exactly the same as Bill C-44."

"Early in 2008, the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs was still considering Bill C-21. Although some progress has been made, the fact remains that, more than two years after the Commission’s first report, section 67 is still in place. First Nations citizens are still denied the protection from discrimination that other citizens take for granted. That is unacceptable in a free and democratic society that values fundamental human rights."
More background on Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act from LEGISinfo (Library of Parliament).

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:43 pm

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