On June 28, 1988, Bill C-115, known as the “Kamloops Amendment”, received Royal Assent, setting in motion a chain of events that has forever changed the economic landscape for First Nations across Canada.
The Honourable Bill McKnight, then Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, was responsible for guiding Bill C-115, the first ever First Nation-led change to the Indian Act, through Parliament. As a true testament to Mr. McKnight’s skills and abilities as the Minister, C-115 was passed with all-party support.
On June 26, 2013, in recognition of that important milestone, the First Nations Tax Commission – the successor to the Indian Taxation Advisory Board, a unique institution established at that time to complement Bill C-115 – recently honoured Mr. McKnight in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Chief Commissioner Jules, himself the driving force behind this First Nation-led legislation in 1988 (as Chief of the Kamloops Indian Band), said it was an opportunity for the Commission to officially recognize and thank the former Minister for the key role he played 25 years ago. Chief Commissioner Jules noted the far-reaching economic benefits of Bill C-115 continue to be enjoyed by First Nations in every region of Canada.
Mr. McKnight said that he was deeply touched by being honoured and noted his job in Parliament was made much easier due to the tireless work of Chief Jules in securing the First Nation support for the changes proposed in Bill C-115.