Debating the Indian Act -

Debating the Indian Act


The House had two reasons this past fall to debate repealing and replacing the Indian Act: a private member’s bill from Conservative MP Rob Clarke and a motion from interim Liberal leader Bob Rae.

Mr. Clarke’s bill has the stated support of the government and passed at second reading on December 5 with the vote split along party lines. Here is APTN’s overview of the bill’s changes and the opposition’s concerns about reforming the Indian Act via a private member’s bill. Mr. Clarke launched the first hour of debate on the bill on October 18. The second hour of debate was held on November 28.

Mr. Rae’s motion was first debated on October 22 and received its second hour of debate on November 30. That motion was defeated on December 5, with the vote again splitting along party lines.


Debating the Indian Act

  1. I really think that the relationship between the government and First Nations should be governed by treaties, and any change to that relationship should be accompanied by a treaty-like process. Even though the Indian Act is not really a treaty, there is no reason why the government cannot consult extensively with First Nations before making major revisions. This, I think, is Chief Spence’s main point. It is a valid one, despite the recent evidence that she may have failed to govern Attawapiskat properly.

    The relationship between the crown and First Nations is what allows Canada to exist as a country. It is inappropriate to change that relationship with a private member’s bill or a few pages of an omnibus budget implementation bill. That said, some change is necessary, as parts of the relationship are clearly broken. So buckle down, consult extensively, and do it right.

  2. What I ask for the Negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. [Applause.] The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us. Gen. Banks was distressed with solicitude as to what he should do with the Negro. Everybody has asked the question, and they learned to ask it early of the abolitionists, “What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also.

    All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!

    • Wow. Thank you.

  3. Well now that Spence isn’t attending the Friday meeting, hopefully some meaningful dialogue can actually happen. She sure wasn’t about to contribute anything useful.