Provision added to Legislation Regarding the Sale and Purchase of Alcohol


Member of Parliament, Mr. Paterson, recommended a provision to the legislation which criminalized First Nations from purchasing or consuming alcohol. This was to be enforced by settlers who were given the authority to report a First Nations person who allegedly broke this new, egregious law, to 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.



This provision encouraged the policing of Indigenous peoples by settlers, allowed for settlers to have extensive legal power over Indigenous peoples, and created a double standard whereby Indigenous peoples were penalized for the same activities that settlers participated. As such, Indigenous peoples self-determination and authority continued to be undermined by the state, a theme widely seen throughout paternalistic policies. The Canadian Government implemented policies that criminalized Indigenous peoples in nearly every aspect of their lives, from ceremonies and community gatherings, to the sale of goods, mobility and the pass system, seeking legal counsel, voting, and many other laws that penalized Indigenous peoples for merely existing in a settler colonial state. 



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