Bill C-262: Bill demanding full implementation of UN Indigenous rights declaration backed by Liberals.




Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould addresses the First Nations "Expanding the Circle" conference, in Ottawa on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. Wilson-Raybould is wrapping up a visit to South Africa, where she met with Desmond Tutu, the activist and former bishop best known around the world for standing in opposition to apartheidTHE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the General Assembly on Thursday, 13 September 2007. Bill C-262 is an act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould says the Liberal government will back the bill calling for full implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), a move that could have wide-ranging consequences in Canadian law.

Justice Minister said that Liberals are now prepared to support an NDP private member’s.

Bill C-262, sponsored by MP Romeo Saganash — who was also part of an international team that helped craft the declaration — would ensure all Canadian laws are consistent with UNDRIP and calls for the creation of a “national action plan” to ensure implementation across jurisdictions.

She added, “With the direction and leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, our government will support Bill C-262. The bill acknowledges the application of the UN declaration in Canada and calls for the alignment of the laws of Canada with the UN declaration.”

UNDRIP recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples to be free from racial discrimination, the right to self-determination and autonomy with regard to their “internal and local affairs,” the right to financial compensation for confiscated lands, and demands states obtain “free, prior and informed consent” before approving activity  including natural resources extraction  on Indigenous land.

UNDRIP also calls on governments to guard against any act of genocide, which includes “forcibly removing children of the group to another group.”

On the child welfare front, the Liberals have acknowledged there is still much work to do as there are now more First Nations children in state care than at the height of the residential school era.

Adopting and implementing the UN declaration are also among the 94 calls to action presented last year by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Accepting Bill C-262, which is currently at second reading in the House of Commons, is just one effort of the government to re-write Canadian law to address the needs of Indigenous peoples.