Addition of Provision to Legislation Regarding Intoxication

Member of Parliament, Mr. Paterson, recommended a provision to the legislation which criminalized the consumption of alcohol whereby if a settler witnessed an Indigenous person purchasing or consuming alcohol, they were to inform the Superintendent of Indian Affairs. They could provide the names of witnesses to be called, but were not required to testify themselves, so as to avoid the possibility of being harassed by the accused. This provision was agreed to by the House of Commons.


House of Commons Debates. 4th Parliament, 2nd Session, vol. II, 12 February 1880 - 7 May 1880. Pg 1997.

This provision facilitated the increased policing of Indigenous peoples by settlers, allowed for settlers to have extensive legal control over Indigenous peoples, and created a double standard whereby Indigenous peoples were penalized for the same choices that settlers participated in frequently. As such, Indigenous peoples autonomy and self determination continued to be undermined by the state, a theme widely seen through the Canadian Government's paternalistic policies. It also controlled the movements of Indigenous peoples, whether through their ability to purchase or be seen with alcohol, but also in the case where a person could be detained after being reported; thus, they would be separated from their families, communities, and lands.
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