In 1960, John Diefenbaker passed legislation (Bill C-2 and Bill-C3) that amended the Indian Act that guaranteed federal franchise to status Indian men and women in a way that did not compromise their Treaty Rights or status. Bill C-2 repealed subsection (2) Section 86 of the Indian Act which prevented those with Indian status from voting. Bill C-3 amended the Canada Elections Act, assuring federal franchise without compromising one’s Indian status to both men and women. The response to federal enfranchisement was mixed, individuals fearing that despite the Government’s promises they would lose their Treaty Rights and status if they voted at the polls. Historically, promises and assurances made by the Federal Government to Indigenous peoples were often disregarded or disingenuous altogether, this caused a lack of trust in the Federal Government’s intentions regarding enfranchisement.
- Section 9.12. Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1991).
- Native Brotherhood of British Columbia. “Native Indians Granted Full Citizenship Rights.” The Native Voice, 1960. https://diefenbaker.usask.ca/documents/the-enfranchisement-of-canadas-aboriginal-peoples/native_voice.pdf