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Bill to enshrine UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian law

Last Updated Dec 3, 2020 at 6:10 am MDT

An eagle feather is held up during a rally for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on October 4, 2016. With reports of a sharp rise in violence against Indigenous women as COVID-19 restrictions keep families stuck in their homes, concerns are being raised about whether the pandemic could delay the promised June delivery of a national action plan on missing and murdered Indigenous women. The Native Women's Association of Canada has been conducting a series of nation-wide, grassroots consultations with their local member offices and with Indigenous women to determine how COVID-19 has been affecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis women in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — The Liberal government is set to introduce long-awaited legislation today to enshrine the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian law.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised during the 2019 election campaign to introduce such a bill, developed with Indigenous people, by the end of this year.

The bill is expected to echo a private member’s bill introduced by former NDP MP Romeo Saganash, which the House of Commons passed two years ago.

That bill stalled in the Senate, where Conservative senators argued it could have unintended legal and economic consequences, and then died when Parliament dissolved.

The UN declaration, which Canada endorsed in 2010, affirms the rights of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination and to their language, culture and traditional lands.

It also spells out the need for free, prior and informed consent from Indigenous Peoples on anything that infringes on their lands or rights.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press