Member of Parliament David Wilks was in Golden last week, and stopped by the regular town council meeting to give an update on what has been going on in Ottawa.
As a former member of the First Nations Committee, Wilks discussed two bills that he believes will positively affect on life on reserves.
Bill S2, the Matrimonial Property Bill, allows all First Nations people to own land on reserve.
“That’s never been allowed since 1867. It will change a lot of opportunities for owning land on reserves, and we believe that it will solve a lot of the problems,” said Wilks, adding that First Nations women, who are responsible for the home yet don’t own it, in particular will gain a lot of power through this bill.
Bill C27 affects the governance on reserves, and will bring all chiefs and councillors of First Nations in line with all other levels of government. This means they will now have to divulge expenses information such as salaries.
“That will come into effect sometime in March or April, and then there’s a 90-day period for First Nations to fall into line with that,” said Wilks.
Starting this week, Wilks has been transferred from the First Nations Committee to the Justice Committee, which he says falls in line nicely with his background in law enforcement.
“One that’s near and dear to my heart, and I think it will make a big difference, is Bill C42, which is amendments to the RCMP Act. It now allows the commissioner of the RCMP to fire someone if they are not doing their job properly,” he said.
“Since 1873, the commissioner of the RCMP had no authority to fire anyone. That’s why if they had a ‘problem child’ they would just transfer them, because that’s all he or she could do.
“I think that’s a long time coming. I’m a retired member of the RCMP, and I’m all for it. That’s probably the problem that we’ve had all along, there hasn’t been enough opportunity for the commissioner to do his due diligence. Now they’ll be given that opportunity.”