Senate committee motion could delay sex-based amendments to Indian Act - APTN NewsAPTN News

Senate committee motion could delay sex-based amendments to Indian Act

Annette Francis
APTN National News
The Senate standing committee on Aboriginal Affairs supported a motion Tuesday not to proceed with Bill S-3 that would amend the Indian Act to address sex-based inequities in Indian registration.

The motion was put forward by Conservative Sen. Dennis Patterson.

“I think if we reject the bill and report back as I’m recommending in my motion, there’s a very good chance of getting a six months extension, that would allow the department the time to build on the engagement that has really is just crystallizing now,” said Patterson. “Look at the thoughtful amendments that have been proposed without haste and come back to us with a bill that finally addresses gender discrimination.”

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett has already said she was “embarrassed” by her department’s handling of the bill and lack of consultation.

The move for amendments came from a court case in Quebec that Stephane Descheneaux filed against the federal government five years ago – that the Indian Act discriminates against Indigenous women.

In August, Descheneaux won at the Superior Court of Quebec.

The court ordered Ottawa to make legislative changes.

Since then the government has been scrambling trying to meet the court’s deadline of Feb. 3, 2017.

The Senate committee was critical of the government’s handling of the bill.

The committee will meet again to prepare a report that says the bill should not proceed before presenting it to the senate.

afrancis@aptn.ca

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