Hello all, Parliament reconvenes this week. The status of legislation and committee business can be found below. The next wrap-up will be sent on Monday, March 31, 2014.
Updates on Key Legislation pertaining to First Nations
Please note: LEGISinfo, a website maintained by the Library of Parliament, provides comprehensive information on all legislation: http://www.parl.gc.ca/LegisInfo/Home.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&ParliamentSession=41-2
Bill C-9: First Nations Elections Act
· Introduced in the House of Commons on October 29, 2013 (previously Bill S-6 in the last session and had completed second reading in the House of Commons before prorogation).Passed report stage and 3rd reading in the House of Commons and was introduced at 1st reading in the Senate on December 10, 2013.
· Completed debates at 2nd reading in the Senate and has been referred for study by the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples.
· Bill C-9 is opt-in legislation for First Nations who conduct their elections under the Indian Act
· Extends the election term from two to four years; has provisions for a re-call mechanism; elections can be contested in a court and sets-out offences and penalties in relation to the election of a chief or councillor.
· Concerns have been expressed about provisions in the Bill that empower the Minister of AANDC to order a First Nation under the Act, including one that conducts custom elections, in the event of a dispute or an election overturned by the Governor-in-Council.
· Includes opt-out provisions for First Nations to transition to custom codes.
· Legislation results from initiatives of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.
Bill C-10: Tackling Contraband Tobacco Act
· Introduced in the House of Commons on November 5, 2013 (previously S-16 in the last sessions and had completed second reading in the House of Commons before prorogation).
· Completed committee review without amendments and is currently at Report Stage in the House of Commons.
· Creates a new offence of selling contraband tobacco, specifically: “a tobacco product, or raw leaf tobacco that is not packaged, unless it is stamped.”
· Bill establishes mandatory minimum sentences for repeat (i.e. more than one) offence.
· This bill raises serious concerns regarding infringement on First Nations’ jurisdiction over trade and sale of tobacco.
Bill C-15: Northwest Territories Devolution Act
· Has passed 3rd reading in the Senate and is awaiting Royal Assent.
· The Bill contains 4 parts:
o Part 1 would enact the Northwest Territories Act and implement certain provisions of the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement.
o Part 2 amends the Territorial Lands Act to modify the offence and penalty regime and create an administrative monetary penalty scheme. It also adds inspection powers.
o Part 3 amends the Northwest Territories Waters Act to make changes to the jurisdiction and structure of the Inuvialuit Water Board, to add a regulation making authority for cost recovery, to establish time limits with respect to the making of certain decisions, to modify the offence and penalty regime, to create an administrative monetary penalty scheme and to make other changes.
o Part 4 amends the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act to consolidate the structure of the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, to establish time limits for environmental assessments and reviews and to expand ministerial policy direction to land use planning boards and the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board. This Part also amends the administration and enforcement provisions of Part 3 of that Act and establishes an administration and enforcement scheme in Part 5 of that Act, including the introduction of enforceable development certificates. Moreover, it adds an administrative monetary penalty scheme to the Act. Lastly, this Part provides for the establishment of regional studies and regulation-making authorities for, among other things, consultation with aboriginal peoples and for cost recovery and incorporates into that Act the water licensing scheme from the Northwest Territories Waters Act as part of the implementation of the Northwest Territories Lands and Resources Devolution Agreement.
· The Bill makes sweeping and deep changes in terms of land and water boards and resource development in the NWT and has significant impacts on inherent title and existing agreements with First Nations.
· NWT First Nations have raised legal concerns with the amendments to the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, and changes to water management boards. Additionally some First Nations have expressed concerns with implications of devolution on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.
C-16: Sioux Valley Dakota Nation Governance Act
· Has received Royal Assent.
· Bill gives effect to the Governance Agreement with Sioux Valley Dakota Nation.
C-23: An Act to Amend the Canada Elections Act and make consequential amendments to other act
· Introduced in the House of Commons on February 4, 2014 makes fundamental changes to how elections are conducted, the role of Elections Canada and the Chief Electoral Officer. Currently under review by the House of Commons Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
· There are a number of specific implications for First Nations:
o The bill no longer permits voter cards to be used as proof of address – this was done in the last election as many First Nations do not have street addresses or ID that would show a street address
o The bill forbids “vouching” for voters without requisite ID
o The bill disallows Elections Canada from conducting specific information outreach to underrepresented groups of voters. In previous elections, the AFN has worked with Elections Canada to inform First Nations of the process for voting
C-25: Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Act
· Introduced in the House of Commons on February 25, 2014. Will begin study by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples and Northern Development when the House resumes sitting.
· The Bill amends the “Band Order” for the newly recognized Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation to reflect a clarified process for enrolment of individuals who had self-identified as members of the Group, were recognized as such and had a current and substantial connection with one or more of the Mi’kmaq communities identified in the Agreement
Private Member Bills Bill C-428: Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act
· Passed Report Stage with amendments from committee and Third Reading on November 20, 2013. The bill started debates at 2nd reading in the Senate on December 5, 2013.
· Introduced on June 4, 2012, by Rob Clarke, Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River. Completed study by the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and was reported back to the House of Commons with amendments. These amendments include removal of the Bill’s repeal of sections related to wills and estates in the Indian Act as well as removal of the repeal of First Nations’ authority for by-laws restricting intoxicants.
· Amends provisions of the Indian Act including repealing provision which limit bylaw authority and require submission to the Minister before they can come into force; repeals provisions related to residential schools.
· Sets out in preamble a commitment to develop new legislation to replace the Indian Act and continuing work in “exploring creative options for the development of this new legislation in collaboration with the First Nations that have demonstrated an interest in this work”
· Establishes a requirement for the Minister to report annually on efforts to replace sections of the Indian Act with modern amendments or legislation.
Bill C-469: Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
· Introduced on January 28, 2013 by Romeo Saganash, Abitibi – Baie-James – Nunavik – Eeyou.
· Requires the Government of Canada to take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and that the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs must prepare an annual report to Parliament for the next four years reviewing progress in implementing this law.
House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples and Northern Development
The Committee heard from Minister Valcourt before the break on supplementary estimates. Transcripts are attached. The committee will be studying Bill C-25, Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Act.
Special Committee on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls (IWFA)
The Committee tabled its report on March 7, 2014.
House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA)
The committee is studying opportunities for Aboriginal persons in the workforce. First Nations interested in presenting should contact the clerk at Caroline Bosc at 613-996-1542 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples (APPA)
The Committee has begun hearings on Bill C-9: First Nations Elections Act.