On Wednesday May 17, 2017, the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples adopted an amendment to Bill S-3, dubbed the “6(1)(a) all the way” amendment. The effect of this amendment is to put Indian women and their descendants and Indian men and their descendants on an equal footing, and to entitle Indian women and matrilineal descendants to full 6(1)(a) status. The amendment is identical to an amendment introduced by the Liberal Party when they were in Opposition in Parliament in 2010, and another piecemeal amendment to the Indian Act registration scheme was being considered in response to McIvor v. Canada. The Liberals said then that this language was needed to ensure equality between Indigenous women and men in gaining and transmitting their Indian status.
Now the Liberal government is opposed to “6(1)(a) all the way” and is attempting to pass Bill S-3 as another piecemeal amendment that responds to the decision of the Quebec Superior Court in Descheneaux but, once more, does not eliminate the central sex-discrimination in the Indian Act.
The Senate Committee’s amendment will be debated by the full Senate at third reading of Bill S-3 this week and needs support from Senators and the public.
Download FAFIA’s template letter here; sign and send it today to call upon the Prime Minister and key Ministers to take decisive action to promote the equality of Indigenous women and their descendants. You can also copy your letter to all Senators by using the list attached here.