Letter from John Diefenbaker to Percy A. Paull
Cc: Minister of Justice
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
(Superintendent General of Indian Affairs)
March 9, 1962
Dear Mr. Paull:
I have your letter of February 24th, in which you refer to a number of matters relating to the treaty rights of the Indian people in Canada who come under treaty, and also to the particular position of the Indians in British Columbia who have no treaty.
I should like to repeat the assurances which I gave to you in my letter of November 5, 1961, and to repeat that the rights of Indians under treaty and the aboriginal rights of Indians generally in Canada are not in any way diminished or affected by the legislation passed in 1960, which conferred on persons of Indian status the right to vote in federal elections. The legislation in question confers an additional right or benefit: it takes nothing away. If an Indian wants to vote in the federal elections, - and it is my hope that all Indians will do so, - he does not have to surrender any rights whatsoever, and specifically he does not have to surrender his right to exemption of income on money he earns on the Indian reserves.
You also ask whether Indians or Indian tribes or bands will become “extinct” by voting in the federal elections. The answer is a definite “No”. The position of Indian tribes or bands, and of individual Indians, will be entirely unaffected by voting in any federal election. I trust that you will accept my unqualified assurances on these points.
Percy A. Paull, Esq.,
419 West 3rd Street,
North Vancouver, B.C.
The remaining portions of your letter, relating to a recent decision of the British Columbia Cour of Appeal and to an Order-in-Council, No. 1036, made with reference to legislation passed by the Parliament of Canada in 1920, are being referred to the Minister of Justice and to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Superintendent General of Indian Affairs) for their advice and comments.
[Stamp: Original signed by John G. Diefenbaker]
Cit. & Imm./al