INDIAN ACT SECTION 46
REMOVAL OF INDIANS
To assure that Whites could improve the "amenities" of their communities by having Indians removed from close proximity, the government included this section in the Indian Act:
Removal of Indians
46. (1) In the case of an Indian reserve which adjoins or is situated wholly or partly within an incorporated town or city having a population of not less than eight thousand ... the Governor in Council may, upon the recommendation of the Superintendent General, refer to the judge of the Exchequer Court of Canada for inquiry and report the question as to whether it is expedient, having regard to the interest of the public and of the Indians of the band for whose use the reserve is held, that the Indians should be removed from the reserve or any part of it....
If the judge finds that it is expedient that the band of Indians should be removed from the reserve or any part of it, he shall proceed, before making his report, to ascertain the amounts of compensation, if any, which should be paid respectively to individual Indians of the band for the special loss or damages which they will sustain in respect of the buildings or improvements to which they are entitled upon the lands of the reserve for which they are located.....
The judge shall transmit his findings, with the evidence and a report of the proceedings, to the Governor in Council, who shall lay a full report of the proceedings ... before Parliament ... and upon such findings being approved by resolution of Parliament the Governor in Council may thereupon give effect to the said findings and cause the reserve, or any part thereof from which it is found expedient to remove the Indians, to be sold or leased by public auction after three months advertisement in the public press, upon the best terms which in the opinion of the Governor in Council, may be obtained therefor.
The proceeds of the sale or lease, after deducting the usual percentage for management fund, shall be applied in compensating individual Indians for their buildings or improvements as found by the judge, in purchasing a new reserve for the Indians removed, in transferring the said Indians with their effects thereto, in erecting buildings upon the new reserve, and in providing the Indians with such other assistance as the Superintendent General may consider advisable....
For the purpose of selecting [a] new reserve to be acquired for the Indians ... the Superintendent General shall have all the powers conferred upon the Minister by the Expropriation Act.39
Shortly after the turn of the century this provision was used in Nova Scotia. The victims were the Mi'kmaq residing near Kings Road in Sydney (about where the Holiday Inn is now located). Whites, residing close to the area, went to court and used the provision to force the Band members to move to Membertou Reserve.
No attempt has ever been made by the federal Crown to right this historic wrong. However, on March 21, 1999, at a dinner in Membertou the Mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, David Muise, officially apologized on behalf of the municipality to the descendants of the Mi'kmaq removed from their Kings Road Reserve starting in 1915. He told the gathering: "There's nothing we can do to undo the move.... What I'm here to do is start the healing process for wrongs of the past." Right on, Mr. Mayor!
Section 46, in addition to being contrary to the laws of a civilized Nation, was contrary to human decency! Until it was repealed in 1951, this obnoxious section gave the bureaucrats an enormous club to wield in their efforts to force the First Nations peoples to do their bidding. The threat of removal caused the Mi'kmaq to think twice before opposing the Department. Adding to the obnoxiousness of the legislation was the fact that the Department could force the People to pay for their own expulsion, as was done in the case of the Sydney Mi'kmaq.