APTN National News
OTTAWA–Federal MPs are set to debate a Liberal party motion Monday calling on the House of Commons to initiate a two year process to explore replacement of the Indian Act with new, nation-to-nation agreements between Canada and First Nations based on the inherent and treaty rights of First Nations.
The debate on the motion, introduced by interim Liberal leader Bob Rae, comes on the heels of Thursday’s debate on a Conservative MP’s private members bill to repeal and replace sections of the Indian Act which has the full backing of the Harper government.
Rae’s motion, however, proposes a different process for dealing with the Indian Act. The motion calls on the government to initiate direct engagement with First Nations within three months of the motions passing. The engagement would be “on a nation-to-nation basis,” says the motion.
“The Indian Act is the embodiment of failed colonial and paternalistic policies which have denied First Nations their rights, fair share in resources; fostered mistrust and created systemic barriers to the self determination and success of First Nations,” says the motion.
The motion calls for a new agreement to replace the Indian Act based on “the constitutional, treaty and inherent rights of all First Nations” and “the historical and fiduciary responsibilities of the Crown to First Nations.” The motion says the new agreement would also follow the standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, “including the principle of free, prior and informed consent.”
The motion sets a two year process that would produce “a series of concrete deliverables for the government to act upon.”
The Conservative government, however, unveiled its plan Thursday to unravel and eventually replace the Indian Act beginning with Saskatchewan MP Rob Clarke’s private members bill.
The proposed Bill C-428, the Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act, tabled by Clarke, a former RCMP officer and Muskeg Lake First Nation member, would strike down several sections of the Indian Act including those dealing with residential schools, wills and estates and band bylaws.
The Conservative’s “path” to eventually replace the Indian Act was revealed in Clarke’s speech delivered during first debate on the bill Thursday evening. The path was dubbed by the acronym “ARRC,” which stands for amend, repeal, replace and consult.