January 30, 1958 (23rd Parliament, 1st Session)


John Whitney Pickersgill


Mr. Pickersgill:

Before this item is passed, it will be recalled that the last time the estimates were before us I had begun to make a few general observations about Indian affairs. There are one or two things I would like to add and I believe I was in the middle of a sentence about the franchise. I would like to complete that sentence. I think the time has come, in fact I thought the time had come from the date when I became minister, when the Indians should have the franchise and it would certainly have been my intention, had I remained in the department, to press my colleagues as strongly as possible to make the proper arrangements, without any delay.
I know, however, that there is a big problem with respect to the exemption from income tax for Indians on reserves. This is an awkward problem which has to be solved. It is not a right of the Indians; it just happens to be a provision of the Income Tax Act. I am not going to suggest any solution at this time but I do agree it is a problem. My experience of three years in the department was that the attitude toward the Indians in those provinces where a provincial franchise existed was quite different from the attitude in those provinces where it did not exist, and it was very much better. I feel the same would be true if they had the federal franchise.

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