Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

May 14, 2009 17:03 ET

Statement/Bill C-8: Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 14, 2009) - The following statement was released by the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians:

"Today, the Liberal Party moved a motion that will effectively kill Bill C-8, which is designed to protect the rights of women and children living on reserve. I am deeply disappointed that the Liberals would be prepared to prevent the passage of Bill C-8 and leave untold numbers of First Nations women and children without the protection of the courts at a time when they most need it.

The proposed legislation would provide legal protection to both members of a common law or marital relationship in the event of a breakdown of their marriage, divorce or death. Bill C-8 responds to national and international calls for action and change. The bill is the result of over 100 extensive consultation sessions held throughout the country. It is shameful that the Liberals are trying to derail a bill that would provide a solution to an intolerable legislative gap.

Bill C-8 is a landmark piece of legislation. For the first time ever, the Government is taking significant steps to provide First Nation leaders with the opportunity to develop their own culturally appropriate laws. The federal government would no longer be involved. First Nation leaders will only be accountable to those most directly affected by the law, namely their own constituents.

The proposed Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act fills the legislative gap by providing women, children and families with immediate protections and rights. Delaying its passage will only exacerbate the ongoing injustice facing some of the most vulnerable members of Canadian society."

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
    Ted Yeomans
    Director of Communications