April 20, 1953

LIB

George Taylor Fulford

Liberal

Mr. Fulford:

Mr. Chairman, others have called me an Indian, but I now have just cause to be called one. The reason I rise at this time is this. These Iroquois Indians recently travelled to the capital of the state of Vermont to plead a case before the legislators of that state, and asking for moneys which they felt were owing them for a period of well over a century and a half. They have sent other' missions down there and met with the same result, namely a decision which was not favourable to their claim. The reason I rise is this. I just wanted to explain to the minister that these Indians are a decent, Godfearing, energetic and hard-working group. They are one of the finest bands in Canada. Their village needs improvement. I was through it a few months ago. If they need money for further development I trust that, under this amendment to the act, it will be possible for them to have it made available.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

As far as loans authorized are concerned, the money in the revolving fund which has been used for loans has been fairly well confined to the purchase of livestock, machinery and things of that sort. I should like to ask the minister whether, by the addition of these words "for the clearing and breaking of land within reserves", it is meant that money will be available only for Indians to buy equipment to be used for that purpose, or whether the money can be borrowed and paid out to a contractor, whether white or Indian, who is in the business of clearing land.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

It is sufficiently broad, so I am informed, to cover any form that clearing and breaking land might take. If an Indian, having had certain land allotted to him, desires to have it broken up and cleared and is not in a position to do it himself, we could lend him the money equivalent to the cost of having a contractor clear it.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Harkness:

In other words, I understand that he can borrow the money from the revolving fund to pay a contractor for clearing that land?

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

Yes.

fMr. Harris.]

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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IND

John Lambert Gibson

Independent

Mr. Gibson:

Has the minister with him any figure which would indicate how much money is on loan for fishing equipment for Indians, or would he prefer to answer that question on his estimates?

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

On the estimates.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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Section agreed to. On section 2-Seizure of goods.


PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Will the minister tell us whether this amendment, which is indicated at the end of the clause at the bottom of the page, extends to permitting one of his officers mentioned in the section to make this search without a warrant? That is something which would be important, I think, particularly in so far as the right to make this search off the reserve is concerned. I think we need to give fairly sweeping powers to the peace officers in order to protect the Indians, but I just wonder whether we should go so far-as it, seems to me this goes-as to give the right to enter and search on suspicion without a warrant off a reserve.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

When the act was drafted three years ago, as my hon. friend knows, we discussed this particular section. It is clear that the superintendent and the peace officer should have all the authority which would be applicable in the case of an ordinary police officer. We also said at the time we hoped that it would not be necessary to authorize this authority off the reserve, since the ordinary police facilities would be available there, and that presumably there would be cases where the superintendent might conceivably follow a motorcar and the like, which was creating this offence, and might perhaps overtake it outside the reserve; that with these exceptions it would be expected that we would use the ordinary police facilities where they are available.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

I was going to raise the point that was raised by the hon. member for Kamloops. I am still a bit concerned about this section. It is proposed that any peace officer or a superintendent, or any person authorized by the minister, may enter, open and search any place or thing in or upon which he reasonably believes any such goods or chattels may be found. I have no objection to this authority being extended to the peace officer or the superintendent, but I am surprised that this authority should be extended to any person designated by the minister and to be exercised apparently anywhere. As far as the reservation itself is concerned, I have no objection to any officer of the department, we will say, employed upon that reservation doing whatever is necessary upon the reservation in order to

protect the Indians; but when you authorize any person whom the minister may designate to go into any place off that reservation and make a search, then I for one believe we are going too far. I have enough confidence in the peace officer and the superintendent to think that they can do the job without extending that further authority under this act.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

Our difficulty is that there may not be a superintendent. Superintendents go on vacation and they are ill. Sometimes they are out of office, retired and may be out some time before another is appointed in their places. This is intended to cover an instance of that kind. I have no desire and no intention of appointing anyone who is not familiar with the work that he is bound to do. It is only to cover the cases where you have not a person designated under the section but who is performing the functions of that person that you can designate another person.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. Shaw:

It is a fact that a peace officer is always available. The R.C.M.P. have jurisdiction on the reservation and off. It occurs to me that while the superintendent himself may be away, some person upon the reservation, some authority associated with his department, would probably have the power to carry on in place of the superintendent on this kind of thing in places off the reservation. It occurs to me there will always be an officer of the R.C.M.P. available to conduct that search off the reservation. I for one am not satisfied that the power should be given to a person designated by the minister.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

Let me add one word. As my hon. friend knows, the R.C.M.P. are often called to give some evidence in court and the like, and while I admit it is probably making a rather fine point, nevertheless we do believe that there are occasions when all the officers designated here will not be available. It is only in that case that we want to designate some other person, and it would be someone familiar with our work, and presumably a person in our employment, if at all possible, who would be clothed with this rather extraordinary power, which I am sure is not used very often in any event.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

Would the minister consider meeting the point by writing in a few words? It seems to me it could be met by adding after the word "minister" in line 18 the words: "when a peace officer or superintendent is not available".

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

I have no objection to doing that, Mr. Chairman, if my hon. friend realizes the difficulty we are trying to overcome. We are trying to overcome the difficulty of making a seizure of goods being taken

Indian Act

illegally from the reserve. You must have persons available to take that action as quickly as possible. Therefore he is imposing upon me the obligation, or rather upon the department, the necessity of sending a wire to the minister from some remote part advising me that neither of these persons is available, and asking me to designate another person. And presumably after that time we may or may not be able to recover the goods.

I would ordinarily follow this practice, anyway. The superintendent and the R.C.M.P. are clothed with the authority under the section. I would normally make a blanket authority, and in their absence the senior clerk grade III, or whatever it may be, in the reserve, would be able to perform this function under this section in their absence. Then it would be left to him to decide at that time in their absence what he should do. But I do not think there would be time for us to take the action he mentions and get the necessary results.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Knowles:

It would be in their absence, but only in their absence.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

I am quite agreeable to that.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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CCF

Angus MacInnis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. Maclnnis:

What kind of document would the person making the seizure have so that he could be recognized as having been authorized by the minister to act in a case of this kind? In ordinary civilian life he must have a warrant issued by a court. Would he not need something to indicate that he was authorized by the minister, so that there would be no mistake in the matter?

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Harris:

That was just my point. I will sign an authority which will refer to this section saying that Mr. Jones is authorized, in the absence of so and so, to perform the functions of the superintendent, and in particular to be clothed with the authority under this section, and in every other way, and that remains in the custody of the superintendent and is there available at any time when the action needs to be taken. We do that under the Immigration Act. I sign authorities for immigration officers to perform certain functions under the act, and it is an authority which is kept in the local office.

Topic:   INDIAN ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENTS RESPECTING LOANS, SEIZURE OF GOODS, ETC.
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April 20, 1953