Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ottawa looks to redefine rules for Indian status

OK, so now the story is a little clearer for me. I had heard that the Federal Government would not appeal the decision and now know why. I just read Bill Curry’s story at the G&M Ottawa looks to redefine rules for Indian status and he explained it for me in this paragraph.

"Mr. Gilbert said the original lower-court decision could have added 100,000 people to the ranks of status Indians because it would have granted status to anyone who could show they were excluded because of the rules in place from 1876 to 1985. However, the B.C. Court of appeal found that the problem with the law was far more narrow and its ruling would likely extend status to only a few thousand people who were discriminated from 1985 onward as a result of the rewrite of the law."

I did say a little clearer – not fully. Does this mean that under the lower court ruling those First Nations that were excluded because they didn’t show up to sign a Treaty and so entire communities were left off could now be re-instated, or maybe an individual was enfranchised because he went to university, or for any other reasons? And does the second B.C. court ruling restrict the change to just those decedents of First Nation women who married non-First Nation men after 1985?

Is this what Sharon must weigh?



Ward of the State said...

That's it wideye. I am no legal wiz, but I have been told the decision was very narrow.

About a year ago a lower court ruled the 1985 amendments to the Indian Act continued the discrimination against First Nations women and their children on the basis of sex because it treated women who married out before April 17, 1982 differently than men who had married non-Indian women before that date.

However, the Court of Appeal changed the original ruling to declare only certain clauses of section 6 to be of no force and effect (specifically sections 6(1)(a) and 6(1)(c) rather than the whole section).

It's unusual fr someone who wins a case to appeal, but because the win is so narrow McIvor might. She has until Friday to do so. It would be a shame if she didn't appeal because while there's been about 60 cases challenging the status clause, this is the furthest we've gotten.

Wideye said...

If she appeals to the Supreme Court and loses will the arguments used to get her this far in the courts be gone forever? I heard that once an argument is used and a court judgement finds against its validity it cannot be re-entered into a court for another “go-round” if you will. And if she chooses to accept the findings can other court cases use this case as a spring board or a launch pad? In other words has she opened the door a crack for others to use their weight behind in future cases? There must be a lot to think about. Hmmm...I wish I knew more about law and stuff.....

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