Hon. Sandra M. Lovelace Nicholas:
Honourable senators, my question is to the government leader in the Senate.
The amendment of Bill S-3 will end gender discrimination against indigenous women, but it was not approved last June. The Prime Minister is concerned about human rights abuses in other countries, but it appears he feels justified to perpetuate the denial of human rights of indigenous women in Canada by denying the approval of the amendment of Bill S-3.
Will this government finally grant gender equality to all indigenous women in Canada to end the racist policy under the Indian Act?
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question and her ongoing devotion to this issue since June, and for many years before.
I have undertaken to table the demographic data, and at the appropriate time I will respond more formally to the message from the other place. I look forward to doing that in the knowledge of what the views of this chamber are.
Senator Lovelace Nicholas: As you know, Senator Harder, in 1985, only a sliver of women and children were reinstated under the Indian Act, which was at the time take-it-or-leave-it legislation by the government.
Is the government using the cost of restoring status rights to indigenous women by refusing to accept the amendment of Bill S-3?
Senator Harder: Again, I thank the honourable senator for her question. Let me repeat that I expect to respond to the message from the other place on behalf of the government at the appropriate time.