United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Bill

Point of Order--Debate

June 10, 2021


Hon. Donald Neil Plett (Leader of the Opposition)
[17:58]

Your Honour, I ask this very reluctantly, but we have Rules in this chamber, and one of them is not to allow any types of props. I would consider what Senator McCallum has there to be a prop and I would ask you to rule on it.

Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond
[17:58]

Your Honour, I was not expecting such a point of order. I must say that our colleague has an eagle feather in her hands. This is not a prop, nor an advertisement. It is not a sign of anything except of her own culture and identity. We have colleagues who wear a turban on their head or who dress in a certain way according to their culture and tradition. Your Honour, I do not think it is a proper point of order.

The Hon. the Speaker
[17:59]

Does any other senator wish to enter the debate?

Hon. Mary Jane McCallum
[17:59]

I would like to comment. I had reached out to elders and knowledge keepers with regard to this deep subject that goes to the core of our being. I have with me an eagle fan. It is not a prop. This is a ceremonial object that was given to me as an honour. When I spoke to them last night they said, when you speak it means so much and you’re calling on ancestors, on the people who want us to hear this important topic. They said, you take it with you. That is why I have it with me today because this is who I am, this is what was taken away from me and I will not give it up again.

Hon. Pat Duncan
[18:00]

I would like to rise in support of the comments that have been made by my colleagues Senator McCallum and Senator Dalphond. I also believe, Your Honour, that there have been provincial-territorial rulings in this regard where an individual has been holding an eagle feather. My understanding is that, culturally, to hold the eagle feather is to speak the truth and what we are called upon to do each day in this chamber and in other legislatures. I believe there has been rulings accepting this as an element of the individual who is speaking. Thank you.

The Hon. the Speaker
[18:01]

Honourable senators, it’s now six o’clock and pursuant to rule 3-3(1) and the order adopted on April 27, 2020, I’m obliged to leave the chair until seven o’clock unless there is leave that the sitting continue.

If you wish the sitting to be suspended, please say suspend.

The Hon. the Speaker
[18:01]

I will continue debate on the point of order after we reconvene. The sitting is suspended until 7 p.m.