March 1, 1933

CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

Then I suppose under

the old act the Indian made application for enfranchisement-am I right?

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Thomas Gerow Murphy (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MURPHY:

He could, yes.

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

Under the new act he

does not make application.

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Thomas Gerow Murphy (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MURPHY:

He may.

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

But he does not have to. At the same time the officials of the department, if they think he should be enfranchised, investigate and report to the minister. What does the minister do with that report?

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

He reports it to council.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

Has the council the

power to enfranchise that Indian after the report has been presented?

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Thomas Gerow Murphy (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MURPHY:

Yes.

Indian Act

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

Well I think, Mr. Chairman, that the ministry are taking too much power in their hands, and they are going to run into a lot of grief, and create a lot of dissatisfaction on the reserves.

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

How many cases would there be?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

It does not matter if

there is only one case. I have a reserve only a few miles from where I live-probably I should be on a reserve myself. Suppose the governor in council, after having received the report of the official, decides to enfranchise an Indian on that reserve without the Indian wishing to be enfranchised. Being enfranchised, he becomes a Canadian citizen to the full extent. He still remains on the reserve; he has privileges that the other Indians have not. Surely it is going to create a lot of conflict among the Indians themselves. And I might say to the minister that there is enough conflict among the Indians now without creating more. Many delegations come to me from that reserve with complaints of this and of that. I have not taken a great deal of notice of these complaints, I have tried to pacify the situation to the best of my ability, and tried to protect the officials, but with this power that the governor in council is taking the minister is going to run into a lot of grief. I do not think he should place himself, or the Indian either, in that position.

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Albert Joseph Brown

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BROWN:

Mr. Chairman, we must

have failed absolutely the other day to impress upon the minister the grounds of our objection to this bill, if he thinks this new amendment would satisfy the point we raised. It does not touch the point we raised at all. Our objection was that the original amendment to section 110 placed it within the power of (the department officials to enfranchise Indians wholesale without consideration of the wish of t'he Indians at all. I think we can easily see the possibilities of trouble that might arise should the officials undertake to exercise that power. The minister in reply to a question of the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Beaubien) quoted subsection 3, referring to the fact that the attitude of the Indian would be a factor in coming to a decision. How big a factor? That is what we want to know. How big a factor would the attitude of the Indian towards the question be when the department comes to decide the matter?

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Thomas Gerow Murphy (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MURPHY:

Hon. members take the

position that it is the intention of the minister or the department or both to enfranchise Indians holus-bolus. There is no such inten-

tion. Rather it is to encourage the Indians -I put it that way-to take out the franchise. Section 110 as it is at present reads:

Upon the application of an Indian of any band, or upon the application of a band on a vote of a majority of the male members of such band of the full age of twenty-one years at a meeting or council thereof summoned for that purpose, according to the rules of the band and held in the presence of the superintendent general or of an officer duly authorized to attend such council, by the governor in council or by the superintendent general, a board may be appointed by the superintendent general to consist of two officers of the department and a member of the band to which the Indian or Indians under investigation belongs, to make inquiry and report as to the fitness of any Indian or Indians to be enfranchised.

Under that section as it has stood for years applications for enfranchisement have not been made, but under section 114 Indians have been enfranchised during the last number of years. It has been preferred by Indians who did not live on the reserves. As I endeavoured to point out the other day, there are numbers of Indians to-day who are professional men, graduates of universities, in business, and who are competing with white men, who are not Indians in the ethnological sense, although they are Indians within the meaning of the act. Under the act they have certain immunities, and they take advantage of them. We claim, as it was claimed in 1920 when this same amendment was put into the act, that these individuals who have obtained that standing should accept their full responsibilities as citizens and be treated as such. But may I again say to the committee, in language as plain as I can make it, that there is no intention to enfranchise Indians holus-bolus, and the condition of affairs suggested to the hon. member for Provencher, I cannot conceive of as arising. It might arise, I do not argue that such a case might not arise, but I cannot conceive that it would. This same provision was on the statute books of this country for two years, and no action such as hon. members fear was taken.

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

Did the governor in

council have power to enfranchise Indians previous to this amendment?

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Thomas Gerow Murphy (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MURPHY:

Yes, for two years, exactly in the way now proposed.

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Charles-Philippe Beaubien

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BEAUBIEN:

Why was that provision repealed?

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Thomas Gerow Murphy (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MURPHY:

It was repealed in 1922

for reasons of which I am not aware, as I was not here at the time. I do not know why such action was taken.

Indian A$t

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB

John Campbell Elliott

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

Is it not a fact that there was very serious objection from many Indians, as a result of which the provision was repealed in 1922? I should just like to say that the more I look into this and think it over the more I am convinced that this is very bad legislation and a great breach of faith with the treat}' Indians. It is all very well for the minister to say that some Indians have become professional men and have taken high places in public life; that is not the point. This provision enables the department absolutely to break faith with the treaty Indians of this country.

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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CON

Thomas Gerow Murphy (Minister of the Interior; Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MURPHY:

No.

Topic:   QUESTIONS
Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB

John Campbell Elliott

Liberal

Mr. ELLIOTT:

I am stating absolutely

that that is the fact.

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Subtopic:   INDIAN ACT AMENDMENT
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March 1, 1933