Debates of the Senate  
3rd Session, 40th Parliament,Volume 147, Issue 15.
  Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Orders of the Day: Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or        Rights Bill

  Second Reading- Debate Adjourned

Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Would the honourable senator take a question?

Senator Nancy Ruth: Yes.

Senator Dyck: The honourable senator noted in her speech that the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples supported this bill. What about other Aboriginal organizations such as the Native Women's Association of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations?

Senator Nancy Ruth: My understanding is that some Aboriginal groups would like changes or do not like parts of the bill. The Native Women's Association of Canada is concerned with the section regarding how the law will be administered rather than the law itself.

Senator Dyck: The honourable senator also said that this is a complex issue and that she is providing compelling reasons to support the bill. If it is complex, it must mean something within this issue is not supported by people. What are those issues? Is there any downside to the legislation?

Senator Nancy Ruth: I would hesitate to speak for a group of which I am not a part. When I look at the gender equity side of the bill, there will be problems as there are in any part of Canadian society. If a court order, band or reserve committee whatever body is responsible requires one party to pay one half of the interest on the home, for example, to the other party who is leaving, it might involve severe financial issues if both parties are in receipt of social assistance.

There are problems in the bill's implementation and enforcement yet to be seen and it is up to the bands to take a crack at solving those issues.

Senator Dyck: The honourable senator mentioned that a number of women are essentially being forced to leave the matrimonial home after a family breakdown, separation or divorce. Do we know how many women are affected from any of the documentation?

Senator Nancy Ruth: I do not have that information, Senator Dyck, but I also did not say that. My understanding of Bill S-4 is that it will correct such a situation if that is the present situation.

(On motion of Senator Cowan, debate adjourned.)