Statement made on 06 July 2010 by Senator Lillian Eva Dyck
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck:
Honourable senators, Bill C-31 was passed on June 28, 1985. Bill C-31 was an important event. Through that bill, for example, Senator Patrick Brazeau and I were able to gain status. Through the original Indian Act, women were discriminated against: When an Indian woman married a non-Indian man, she lost her status. There were many protests and the issue was taken all the way to the Supreme Court, where the case was unsuccessful — the gender inequity in the Indian Act was still there.
However, Senator Lovelace Nicholas championed the cause and took the case to the United Nations, where Canada was told that it was discriminating against Indian women. I believe His Honour Speaker Kinsella was part of that initiative in his former role with the Human Rights Commission in New Brunswick.
I thought it important to rise today to pay tribute to the Honourable Senator Lovelace Nicholas for the work she did 25 years ago. Later, we will receive another bill that attempts to remove further inequities. However, through her work with women of the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, Bill C-31 was passed.
I pay honour to my friend.
Hon. Senators: Here, hear!