Abolishing the Indian Act means eliminating First Nations' rights - 2019-10-10
In the 2015 election campaign, Indigenous issues were a central feature in the platforms of most of the candidates. In fact, Justin Trudeau's campaign slogan was "there is no relationship more important to me than the one with Indigenous peoples." He also distanced himself from his father's 1969 White Paper on Indian Policy, which had proposed to abolish the Indian Act, privatize reserves and end treaties. This also helped to set Trudeau apart from former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper whose government agenda was to eliminate the Indian Act and reserves. Yet once Trudeau was elected, his government resumed calls to transition away from the Indian Act, and despite the mass resistance to Trudeau's legislative plans—including immediate abolishment of the Indian Act—Green Party leader Elizabeth May also included dismantling the Indian Act in her 2019 platform.
May's platform asserts that the Indian Act is "racist and oppressive legislation" that should be dismantled in partnership with First Nations, while ensuring First Nations take the lead. Although she plans to set up processes for First Nations who want to opt out of the Indian Act in the interim, she admits it will be a complex process. In this way, her proposal does not appear to differ much from Trudeau's.
The Indian Act makes an easy target, however, it's not the crux of the problem. The real problem is race-based genocide. None of the platforms make tackling race-based genocide against Indigenous peoples an urgent priority, nor was it mentioned in the last two English debates, with the exception of May stating that she would implement the recommendations of the National Inquiry. The discussion is still about the Indian Act.