Mrs. Lise Bourgault (Argenteuil -Papineau):
Mr. Speaker, it has been several months since the government first became aware of the fact that an association called Amities autochtones hors reserve had been issuing so-called Indian ID cards. The cards, which are readily available for $30, supposedly entitle the holder to tax exemptions and other benefits related to Indian status.
What has the government done since September 1991 to prevent further proliferation of these phoney cards? What charges will be laid against the leaders of associations that have swindled Quebecers and the government? How does the government intend to recover thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes, while the real victims are the hundreds of business people who innocently broke the law because the government, whose responsibility it was to inform them, failed to do so?
The appropriate departments failed to deal with a situation that was their responsibility, not that of these businessmen or of the card holders who felt they were entitled to tax exemptions simply because one of their relatives had Indian blood.
In concluding, I would urge the government to organize an ad campaign to inform the public about the rules that apply when an Indian shows his card off the reserve. The integrity of bona fide Indians and our governments is now under a cloud, a situation that must be corrected as soon as possible. The departments have a duty to act quickly.
March 24, 1992
Subtopic: STATEMENTS PURSUANT TO S. O. 31