Friday, November 30

BC activist wins right to restore status rights for First Nations women

For close to 20 years, Sharon McIvor, a First Nations woman from Merritt, BC, has fought to have her case challenging sex discrimination in the Indian Act, heard in court. McIvor is a member of the Lower Nicola Band, a Professor of Aboriginal Law, and a long-time feminist activist. She was recently recognized with the Carole Geller Human Rights Award for her advocacy work.

In June 2007, McIvor won a groundbreaking BC Supreme Court judgment that stands to restore equal Indian status for 200,000 or more Aboriginal women and their descendants.

Judge Carol Ross has ruled that ongoing discrimination in the Indian Act violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She has ordered the Canadian government to remove sex discrimination from the determination of Indian status, and to restore equal Indian status to First Nations women and their descendants.

The federal government is appealing this ruling, while eliminating funding for the Court Challenges program that would financially assist McIvor with taking her case forward.

Union members and Canadian allies are urged to speak up for justice for Aboriginal women. Tell Prime Minister Harper to:
  • drop the appeal of the McIvor case
  • if the government refuses to drop the appeal, then provide funding for the Sharon McIvor case equal to the amount the government spends appealing it;
  • re-establish the Court Challenges Program so that rights in the Charter are not upheld only for those who can afford it;
  • establish an open, accountable process to put United Nations recommendations to address discrimination against Aboriginal women into practice.

Please send any donations to support Sharon McIvor’s case to: “Heenan Blaikie, in trust for Sharon McIvor" Attention: Rob Grant c/o Heenan, Blaikie, Suite 2200, 1055 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 2E9.


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