Canada
Deputy Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Ottawa, June 13, 1960.
Memorandum to Mr. H.B.M. Best

In accordance with your verbal suggestion, we are enclosing a draft of material that could be included in a reply to the letter of May 31st to the Prime Minister from a member of the British Columbia Progressive Conservative Association.
[signature]

H.M. Jones,

Acting Deputy Minister.

Prior to the passing of the recent legislation Indians living off reserves were entitled to vote at federal elections on the same basis as non-Indians, However, those living on reserves could only secure the right to vote if they signed a waiver of the exemption from taxation of their personal property on reserves to which they are entitled under Section 86 of the Indian Act.  In introducing the legislation to give all Indians the right to vote at federal elections on the same basis as non-Indians the Government was influenced by three factors, the first, that the existing law had found little acceptance among the Indians, the second, that it had frequently been described by them as discriminatory, and third, that more and more frequently in recent years Indians and Indian organizations had made known to the Government their desire to receive the federal franchise free from the existing restrictions,

There was no intention that the legislation should in any way affect the treaty or other rights of the Indians nor does it do so. I made this quite plain when announcing this proposed legislation to the House of Commons and I hope it will be helpful to you and to the Indians of your area if I repeat the assurance given at that time, namely, that existing rights and treaties traditional or otherwise possessed by the Indians will not in any way be abrogated or diminished in consequence of their having the right, to vote,

I am concerned that the Indians of your area should understand that far from taking away existing rights from them, Parliament’s intention in passing the legislation was to confer an additional right, on them, the right to vote without restrictions. It would be most helpful if in explaining the matter you would point out that this Legislation does not compel any Indian to vote. It merely extends to him the right to decide whether he will vote or refrain from voting and his rights will not be jeopardized regardless of the course of action he follows.


Enormous crowd at Outlook, Saskatchewan watches as Chief Little Crow of the Sioux Indian Tribe places head dress on Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker, naming him Chief Walking Buffalo
John Diefenbaker being named Chief Walking Buffalo by Chief Little Crow of the Sioux Indian Tribe

Media and Document Gallery

Images

John Diefenbaker in Indian head dress
John Diefenbaker with Chief Mathias Joe of the Capilano and others in North Vancouver
John Diefenbaker speaking in Inuvik
John Diefenbaker greeting an Aboriginal woman, and a small boy
John Diefenbaker with Chief Brono, Chief Joe Sangris and the Mayor of Yellowknife, North West Territories
John Diefenbaker with school children in Whitehorse, Yukon
John and Olive Diefenbaker with Chief William Little Crow at Outlook Saskatchewan
John Diefenbaker being named Chief Walking Buffalo by Chief Little Crow of the Sioux Indian Tribe

Audio

Speech by John Diefenbaker at Penetang, Ontario

Creator: Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights

Description: John Diefenbaker mentions his devotion to the concept of equality for all Canadians, despite opposition to this view

Date Created: 2 May1965

Identifier:MG01/XVIII/T544-PAC180b

Speech by John Diefenbaker to the Sudbury Progressive Conservative Association, Sudbury

Creator: Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – First Nations | Canada – Franchise | Canada - Senators

Description: John Diefenbaker enumerates his Government’s achievements regarding First Nations issues, namely extending them the franchise and appointing James Gladstone to the Senate

Date Created: 15 May1965

Identifier:MG01/XVIII/T543-PAC179b

Speech by John Diefenbaker at Waterton Park, Alberta

Creator: CJOC Radio, Lethbridge

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – First Nations | Canada – Franchise

Description: John Diefenbaker discusses his Government’s recent granting of the franchise to First Nations and what it will mean for the future, at his investiture as an honorary Chief of the Kainai Chieftanship.

Date Created: 27 June1960

Identifier:MG01/XVIII/T193-PAC44a

Documents

Letter from George A. Cree to John Diefenbaker

Creator: George A. Cree

Subject: Canada – First Nations | Canada – Elections Act | First Nations – Enfranchisement | First Nations – Treaty

Description: Questions regarding impact of changes to the Elections Act on First Nations Treaty rights.

Date Created: 20 January1960

Identifier:MG01/VI/635.1 Volume 422 (345140)

Letter from George F. Davidson to John Diefenbaker

Creator: George F. Davidson

Subject: Canada – First Nations | Canada – Elections Act | First Nations – Enfranchisement | First Nations – Blood Indian Reserve

Description: Outlines result of plebiscites held on a Blood Indian Reserve regarding Aboriginal views on voting rights.

Date Created: 29 April1961

Identifier:MG01/VI/635.1 Volume 422 (345095)

Letter from John G. Diefenbaker to Mrs. Hurley

Creator: John Diefenbaker

Subject: Canada – First Nations | Canada – Elections Act | First Nations – Enfranchisement | First Nations – Treaty

Description: Mr. Diefenbaker assures that voting rights will not alter any other First Nations rights.

Date Created: 30 May1962

Identifier:MG01/VI/635.1 Volume 422 (345071)

Letter to Fred de la Ronde from John Diefenbaker

Creator: John G. Diefenbaker

Subject: Canada – First Nations | British Columbia – First Nations

Description: Congratulating work done with First Nations groups in British Columbia.

Date Created: 17 June1960

Identifier:MG01/VI/635.1 Volume 422 (345096 - 345097)

Letter from John Diefenbaker to Percy A. Paull

Creator: John Diefenbaker

Subject: Canada – First Nations | Canada – Elections Act | First Nations – Enfranchisement | First Nations – Treaty

Description: Diefenbaker reiterates that Treaty and First Nations rights will not be diminished by amendments to the Elections Act.

Date Created: 9 March1962

Identifier:MG01/VI/635.1 Volume 422 (345078 – 345079)

Memo from Ellen Fairclough to John G. Diefenbaker

Creator: Ellen Fairclough

Subject: Canada – First Nations | Canada – Elections Act | First Nations – Enfranchisement | First Nations – Treaty

Description: Statements made in House of Commons on 11 April 1962 regarding changes to Elections Act not affecting Treaty rights.

Date Created: 18 May1962

Identifier:MG01/VI/635.1 Volume 422 (345070)

Memo to Mr. H.B.M. Best from H.M. Jones

Creator: H.M. Jones

Subject: Canada – First Nations | Canada – Elections Act | First Nations – Enfranchisement

Description: Draft statement to address concerns of First Nations groups regarding amendments to the Election Act.

Date Created: 13 June1960

Identifier:MG01/VI/635.1 Volume 422 (345099 – 345100)

Memo to Ian Drost from J.A. Macaulay

Creator: J.A. Macaulay

Subject: Canada – First Nations | Canada – Elections Act | First Nations – Enfranchisement

Description: Discusses strong suspicions harboured by First Nations communities regarding amendments to Section 14 of the Canada Elections Act.

Date Created: 30 May1962

Identifier:MG01/VI/635.1 Volume 422 (345065 – 345069)

Special edition of “The Native Voice”

Creator: Native Brotherhood of British Columbia

Subject: Canada – First Nations | Canada – Elections Act | First Nations – Enfranchisement | British Columbia – First Nations

Description: Outlines benefits of granting full citizenship rights to all First Nations people.

Date Created:no date

Identifier:MG01/VII/F/101 Volume 293 (186959 – 186986)

Letter to John Diefenbaker from Percy A. Paull

Creator: Percy A. Paull

Subject: Canada – First Nations | Canada – Elections Act | First Nations – Enfranchisement | First Nations – Treaty | British Columbia – First Nations

Description: Voicing concerns of First Nations people from British Columbia, where no Treaty rights exist.

Date Created: 24 February1962

Identifier:MG01/VI/635.1 Volume 422 (345080 - 345081)

Letter from John Sacobie to John Diefenbaker

Creator: John Sacobie

Subject: Canada – First Nations | Canada – Elections Act | First Nations – Enfranchisement | First Nations – Band Number 26

Description: Band is not in favour of any changes to the Elections Act, and criticizes Diefenbaker for lack of consultation with First Nations groups.

Date Created: 26 February1960

Identifier:MG01/VI/635.1 Volume 422 (345122)