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Meeting No. 5
Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development met at 3:36 p.m. this day, in Room 371, West Block, the Chair, Barry Devolin, presiding.


Members of the Committee present: Harold Albrecht, Rod Bruinooge, Jean Crowder, Barry Devolin, Nancy Karetak-Lindell, Tina Keeper, Marc Lemay, Yvon Lévesque, Hon. Anita Neville, Todd Norman Russell, Brian Storseth and Chris Warkentin.


Acting Members present: Wayne Marston for Jean Crowder and Christian Ouellet for Yvon Lévesque.


In attendance: Library of Parliament: Mary Hurley, Analyst. House of Commons: Mike MacPherson, Legislative Clerk.


Witnesses: Department of Justice: Martin Reiher, Senior Counsel, Operations and Programs Section; Charles Pryce, Senior Counsel, Aboriginal Law and Strategic Policy; Jim Hendry, General Counsel, Human Rights Law Section.

Pursuant to the Order of Reference of Tuesday, November 13, 2007, the Committee commenced clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act.

The Chair called Clause 1.

Jean Crowder moved, — That Bill C-21, in Clause 1, be amended by replacing line 5 on page 1 with the following:

Rights Act is replaced by the following:

67. (1) In the interpretation and application of this Act, it shall be taken into consideration that a First Nation government is entitled to

(a) provide programs and services exclusively or on a preferential basis to the members of the First Nation;

(b) give preference to the members of the First Nation in the training and hiring of employees and contractors;

(c) give preference to the members of the First Nation in the allocation of land, resources or other economic benefits;

(d) give preferential or exclusive treatment to the members of the First Nation in matters relating to the exercise of cultural, spiritual or other traditional practices or activities;

(e) give preferential or exclusive treatment to the members of the First Nation in matters of concern and priority to the community, where reasonably necessary; and

(f) to consider and apply indigenous legal traditions and customary laws in a manner consistent with the principles of equality and justice.

(2) In this section, “First Nation government” means a “council of the band” as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Indian Act.”



Bill C-21 amends the Canadian Human Rights Act by repealing section 67 of that Act. The repeal of section 67 removes an exception in its application with regard to the Indian Act. This amendment proposes to not repeal section 67 but rather replace it with a new framework. This new framework would create many conditions and exemptions similar to those contained in the Indian Act.

As House of Commons Procedure and Practice states on page 654:

‘An amendment to a bill that was referred to committee after second reading is out of order if it is beyond the scope and principle of the bill.’

In the opinion of the Chair, the introduction of this new framework is contrary to the principle of Bill C-21 and is therefore inadmissible.


Whereupon, Jean Crowder appealed the decision of the Chair.

The question: "Shall the decision of the Chair be sustained?" was put and the decision was overturned on the following recorded division: YEAS: Harold Albrecht, Rod Bruinooge, Brian Storseth, Chris Warkentin — 4; NAYS: Jean Crowder, Nancy Karetak-Lindell, Tina Keeper, Marc Lemay, Anita Neville, Christian Ouellet — 6.


Debate arose on the amendment of Jean Crowder.


At 5:30 p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.


Bonnie Charron
Clerk of the Committee

2008/01/24 9:35 a.m.