Feds introduce bill to implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

File photo of Wekweeti Chief Charlie Football, left with MP Michael McLeod, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and Dene Narional Chief Norman Yakeleya. (photo courtesy of Dene Nation)

The Liberal government introduced a bill aiming to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) into Canadian law.

A press release says Bill C-15 was tabled on Thursday by David Lametti, minister of justice, alongside Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. 

“Working in full partnership with Indigenous peoples, the bill will chart the course to full and effective implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the inherent rights that it protects and promotes,” Lametti says in the release.

In attendance for the announcement was Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed, and Métis National Council National Spokesperson David Chartrand among others.

The legislation, if passed, will require the federal government to ensure Canadian laws are in line with the declaration’s 46 articles.

These include a broad range of collective and individual Indigenous rights, including self-determination and self-government, equality and non-discrimination, culture, language and identity, lands, territories and resources, Indigenous institutions and legal systems, among other rights.

The Government of Canada endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2016

During the 2019 federal election the Liberal’s promised to implement UNDRIP within its first year back in power. The Liberal’s later said this was postponed due to the rail blockade crisis.

The federal government would also be required to prepare an action plan within three years of the bill’s passage.

Which, according to the CBC, Bellegarde says is too long. 

“We don’t want to wait another three years,” Bellegarde said.

The proposed bill is modelled on former NDP MP Romeo Saganash’s private member’s bill. This bill passed in the House of Commons in 2018 but was held up in the Senate by Conservative senators.

Premier Caroline Cochrane says the Government of the Northwest Territories also plans to also adopt UNDRIP. 

More to come . . . 

About the Author

Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He is happy to call the Northwest Territories home and is always listening for stories that matter to the community. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at luke.carroll@cklbradio.com