McIvor Bill is being threatened from an unlikely source: First Nations women, particularly Sharon McIvor and the Native Women’s Association of Canada. They have been lobbying MPs hard to kill C-3, sent every MP a letter and it looks like they have the support of the BQ and the Liberals to defeat C-3. Read Sharon's letter here.
While I have long supported Sharon McIvor, I do not agree with these latest actions. So many of our people have been watching this Bill with hope and excitement. I cannot support any action that puts their chance to finally regain status at risk. Read my analysis, if you agree with me, you'd better start emailing MPs and fast. (I have email addresses at the bottom of this post.)
If you remember this bill is the government’s response to the McIvor court decision forcing the government to remove gender discrimination from the Indian Act. An estimated 45,000 individuals could gain status and see their rights restored. However Bill C-3 is not perfect. It does not end all gender discrimination in the Indian Act. For example issues of unstated paternity remain, and there are other limits as well, see Sharon’s Testimony here, and the Quebec Native Women Association’s analysis here.
Sharon and several other witnesses brought these issues to the attention of Parliament's Aboriginal Affairs Committee, however Parliamentary rules restrict how far a committee can amend a bill. Several changes the committee would have liked to make to address Sharon's concerns were ruled out of order.
So Bill C-3 would restore status to at least 45,000 individuals, but it's not perfect and because it's not perfect McIvor and NWAC want it killed. My understanding is that if it is killed Parliamentary rules will prohibit the conservatives from introducing a similar Bill. This means those 45,000 who were hopeful of regaining status will be delayed indefinitely and could lose their chance all together.
Some speculate that killing C-3 would even create a doomsday scenario allowing no new people to register as Status Indians at all until a remedy is found.
It's my opinion that trying to kill C-3 is a dangerous game and that too much can go wrong. I do not believe that the 45,000 people poised to gain status would support killing C-3. But some MPs I have contacted told me I am the very first person to email them in support of the Bill, and unless they hear from others they will do what NWAC and McIvor are asking and kill it.
My two cents: I know Bill C-3 is not perfection… but too many people have waited too long for their rights to be recognized for us to gamble on their chance for justice. We can continue to fight for our other brothers and sisters through other means. If you agree (or I suppose even if you disagree) here's who you can email at Parliament. You don't have to email them individually, one massive email telling them where you stand should be enough.
Jean Crowder, NDP Indian Affairs Critic: email@example.com
Jack Layton, NDP Leader LaytoJ@parl.gc.ca
Indian Affairs Critic Todd Russell Russell.T@parl.gc.ca
Michael Ignatieff Liberal Party leader Email: Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca
Minister of Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl : Strahl.C@parl.gc.caPrime Minister Stephen Harper: firstname.lastname@example.org
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