NAN Statement on Introduction of Federal Legislation on UNDRIP Implementation
December 3, 2020
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler has issued the following statement on the introduction of federal legislation to begin the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
“We acknowledge the Government of Canada’s action to begin the process to adopt the UNDRIP with the introduction of this legislation. It is important to note that this is not implementation legislation, nor has Canada moved to legally adopt the UNDRIP into federal law. Instead, this is a framework to establish an implementation mechanism. We share concerns that the development of this framework will be guided by an action plan that does not yet exist, and that the federal government has given itself a minimum of three years to develop one. We acknowledge the efforts of (former) MP Roméo Saganash, Chief Wilton Littlechild, National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, Justice Minister David Lametti, and many others. We welcome the opportunity for full engagement by NAN leadership and look forward to providing recommendations as this legislation proceeds through the parliamentary process.”
The UNDRIP was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2007. It recognizes the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples living in Canada including inherent rights to traditional lands and territories, self-determination, and recognition of culture and language. Its adoption and implementation were recommended as the framework for reconciliation in the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
NAN supported the private member’s bill introduced by NDP MP Roméo Saganash in 2016 calling for the full implementation of the UNDRIP in Canadian law. The bill passed the House of Commons in 2018 but did not get through the Senate before Parliament was dissolved.
NAN also supported a private member’s bill introduced in the Ontario legislature in 2019 by Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa. The bill calls for the provincial government to align Ontario laws with the UNDRIP, recognize the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, and affirm its commitment to reconciliation. The bill remains in limbo after passing second reading.
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