(Lheidli T’enneh Territory, Prince George, BC – April 18, 2019) – BC Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee released the following statement regarding the defeat of Bill S-215, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Sentencing for Violent Offences Against Aboriginal Women).
“The BC Assembly of First Nations is deeply disappointed that Bill S-215, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Sentencing for Violent Offences Against Aboriginal Women)was defeated in the House of Commons during the second reading on April 10, 2019. This bill was a tangible effort to address the fact that Indigenous women and girls continue to face violence for unique reasons rooted in colonialism, sexism, and racism. Creating meaningful, large-scale change will require bold action, and last week we saw the House of Commons fail to take up the tools that are necessary to help protect Indigenous women and girls. First Nations in BC will continue to work for the elimination of violence and discrimination against First Nations women, and I urge the Canadian government to renew its commitment to Indigenous women and girls, especially as we anticipate the forthcoming recommendations of the National Inquiry on June 3, 2019.”
Bill S-215 was introduced by Senator Lillian Eva Dyck in 2015 and would have required a court to take Indigenous female identity into account during the sentencing of offenders. In 2017 the BCAFN Chiefs in Assembly passed the resolution “Support for Bill S-215, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Sentencing for Violent Offences against Aboriginal Women)and Call to Action.”
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples further affirms the Government of Canada’s obligation to take meaningful action to address this issue:
Article 22, (2): States shall take measures, in conjunction with indigenous peoples,
to ensure that indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and
guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.
For further information, contact: Regional Chief Terry Teegee. Phone: (250) 981-2151.