June 18th, 2019

NDP Renews Calls for Ending Sex Discrimination in the Indian Act

OTTAWA – On Tuesday, New Democrat MPs Georgina Jolibois (Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River) and Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East) once again called on the Liberal government to not only enact provisions of Bill S-3, but also to entirely end systemic discrimination against First Nations women.

“We have repeatedly called on this government to end the discrimination against First Nations women in Canada, and the Liberals are quickly running out of time to take action,” said Jolibois.

This year, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Kwan each moved motions in Parliament urging the end of sex discrimination in the Indian Act, but they were shut down by the Liberal government.

“Sex discrimination against First Nations women and their descendants has been enshrined in Canada's shameful colonial laws for more than one hundred years,” said Kwan. “First Nations people across the country should have the right to self-govern and be able to determine their own membership. The demands of First Nations women who have been fighting against this injustice for generations must be honoured and respected.”

The final report of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry calls for ending the sex discrimination in the Indian Act. The Inquiry’s Calls to Justice were the latest demand to end discrimination against First Nations women after the “17 Tuesdays” movement and the advocacy work from groups such as the Native Women’s Association, Femmes Autochtones du Québec, and the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action.

“Ending the discrimination is a necessary step towards decolonizing Canada. In 2017, the Liberals chose to keep sex discrimination in the Indian Act,” added Jolibois. “They advertise themselves as feminists and keep saying their relationship with Indigenous Peoples is the most important relationship, but they don’t follow their words. They fail to take action.”