The hopes of Native leaders that self-government for Aboriginal peoples could be realized were at their highest in 1983 with the release of the report of the Special Parliamentary Committee on Indian Self-Government. The committee, chaired by Liberal MP Keith Penner, stated that Native communities would prefer self-government rather than representation in Canadian legislative bodies.  The committee thus recommended that the Indian Act and the Department of Indian Affairs be phased out over an extended time period and replaced by local governments established by Native peoples themselves. Such recommendations, however, required the co-operation of the provincial legislatures, many of which were unwilling to opt for such a radical change. In 1984, the Penner Report fell to the wayside with the election of a Conservative government  that was more concerned with finding  a solution to the constitutional quagmire than addressing Aboriginal rights.

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Chinook Multimedia

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