February 14, 1933

LIB

Edgar-Rodolphe-Eugène Chevrier

Liberal

Mr. CHEVRIER:

In this privileged corner of the house one can hardly hear what is going on because the proceedings are often

[Mr. Gott.l

conducted in an undertone. If section four has been passed, I am very sorry because I intended to make certain remarks upon it.

Topic:   MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION ACT
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CON

Armand Renaud La Vergne (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Conservative (1867-1942)

The CHAIRMAN:

The section wa's passed the other day, but if the committee has no objection the hon. member may speak on the preamble.

Topic:   MIGRATORY BIRDS CONVENTION ACT
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Preamble agreed to. Bill reported, read the third time and passed.


INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT


Hon. T. G. MURPHY (Minister of the Interior) moved the second reading of Bill No. 21, to amend the Indian Act. Motion agreed to, bill read the second time, and the house went into committee thereon, Mr. LaVergne in the chair. On section 1.-Truant officers.


LIB
LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

As the hon. member

doubtless knows, we have both residential and day schools established on the reserves throughout Canada for the purpose of educating 'Indian children. The services of a truancy officer are not required to any great extent, if at all, for the residential schools, but in the case of the day schools the services of a truancy officer are sometimes required. On some of the reserves we have special constables who perform this duty among their other duties, but on other reserves there are no such special officers, and it has been the custom in the past to appoint members of the mounted police for this duty. This section simply blankets in the force to carry out this duty wherever their services may be required.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Would the minister explain what the powers of a truancy officer are as defined in the section?

Topic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

Subsection 3 of section 10 of the act reads:

The Superintendent General may appoint any officer or person to be a truant officer to enforce the attendance of Indian children at school, and for such purpose a truant officer shall be vested with the power's of a peace officer, and shall have authority to enter any place where he has reason to believe there are Indian children between the ages of seven and fifteen years, and when requested by the Indian agent, a school teacher or the chief of a band shall examine into any case of truancy, shall warn the truants, their parents or guardians or the person with whom any Indian child resides, of the conse-

Indian Act

quences of truancy, and notify the parent, guardian or such person in writing to cause the child to attend school.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton) :

Evidently this seotion is directed towards day school attendance?

Topic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB
LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

Has the

minister considered the objection there might be towards having a uniformed mounted police offioer going to an Indian home to asoertain whether or not the children have been detained by action of the parents? I am inclined to believe that the proposed section is drastic?

Topic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

In years past mounted police officers have performed those duties in various places. As I said a moment ago, on certain reserves we have special constables, but on others we have not those constables, and in such cases need the services of some offioer. I must say the phase of the matter to which the hon. member has referred did occur to me in connection with the proposed amendment. My view however was that for years past mounted police officers have been performing very wide duties, and enforcing many laws throughout Canada. I cannot conceive that the sight of a mounted police uniform, one which must be familiar to the eyes of all Canadians including Indians, would raise any undue alarm in the breasts of those people.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver):

Is it the intention of the government to formulate a similar provision with regard to the Douk-hobor children who refuse to attend school?

Topic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

That is a hard nut to crack.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB

Charles Murphy

Liberal

Mr. MURPHY:

The enforcement of attendance of white children rests with the provincial authorities.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB

Joseph-Arthur Bradette

Liberal

Mr. BRADETTE:

I know of reserves in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec where they have their own school boards. I believe that condition applies at Caughnawaga, and at some points in Ontario. It may be that the proposed change will conflict with local laws, because if I understand school legislation properly, and more particularly in connection with the province of Ontario, the school board has power to appoint truant officers, and the same legislation would apply to reserves. I do not suppose it applies at points such as Caughnawaga where there are only Indians, and where there may be no

school boards. In the older reserves, however, it is my information that there are school boards, and that those bodies have the power to appoint truant officers. What provision is to be made in such cases?

Topic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Is it proper to teach

children to have no respect for authority?

Topic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB

Charles A. Stewart

Liberal

Mr. STEWART (Edmonton):

I am quite well aware that this matter has given the department some considerable worry. The fact that on the one hand school teachers are paid, schools established, and on the other that parents connive to prevent the attendance of their children at school, must present real difficulty. The only question which arises in my mind is one concerning the advisability of uniformed officers performing the duties of truant officers. I can well imagine that in some instances where they perform special duties, they might do so without difficulty. I am doubtful however as to the advisability of this measure, and while it may be necessary to send mounted police officers to reserves to enforce laws, the matter now under discussion is of a somewhat different nature. I do not know what the experience of the minister has been, but my experience in the administration of the act was that the fault was usually that of the parents, and never that of the child. The parents keep their children away from school, a difficulty which does not arise in connection with boarding schools, but arises in connection with day school attendance. I believe it is inadvisable to use Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers for the performance of these rather petty duties.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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February 14, 1933