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Saskatchewan women's group not sure Bill S-2 will accomplish what it sets out to do

Author: 
Compiled by Debora Steel
Volume: 
31
Issue: 
4
Year: 
2013

Though the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Women’s Circle Corporation was part of the seven years of talks that went into Bill S-2, the Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interests or Rights Act, the group isn’t sure the new law will accomplish what it sets out to do. That’s because their input didn’t much make it into the Bill, said Judy Hughes, president of the SAWCC. The act provides rules for dividing property if a couple breaks up, divorces, or if one partner passes away. It also allows a provincial judge to issue a restraining order in cases of domestic violence. “Even the amount of recommendations and input that was submitted to the government when they were drafting this legislation, many of them aren’t being acknowledged,” Hughes said. “I don’t want to say we’re back at square one because there are some things in there. We need some sort of legislation, but it definitely has to be where it can ensure a safe community first.” Of their top priorities with the legislation is the protection of Aboriginal women, ensuring they and their children don’t have to flee their home when faced with violence. Hughes says this legislation should begin to address that. The concern is to support women to stay in their marriage home on a reserve even when they are not members of the band. And there is a further issue of  non-First Nations women who are married to First Nations men. “They’re not covered either under this legislation or under First Nation legislation.”

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