MARCH 31, 1960


On this date, the Canadian government granted First Nations people the right to vote in federal elections without losing their treaty status.  Prime Minister John Diefenbaker pushed the voting rights legislation through Parliament.  It came into effect July 1 that year.  First Nations people were given a conditional right to vote at the time of Confederation in 1867.  To do so, they had to give up their treaty rights and Indian status.  In 1948, a parliamentary committee recommended that all “status Indians” be given the vote, but rules weren’t put in place until Diefenbaker’s legislation 12 years later.  Diefenbaker later told CBC “I felt it was so unjust that they didn’t have the vote.” 

Source:  “First Nations right to vote granted 50 years ago,” CBC, 7/1/2010.  Retrieved 6/25/2019,
Graphic:  Free clipart.  Public domain.

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