Conservatives Reject Upholding Fundamental Rights Of Indigenous Peoples

OTTAWA - Tonight, Conservatives voted down Bill C-641, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which would have enshrined the Declaration’s principles into Canadian law. The bill’s sponsor, NDP Deputy Critic for Intergovernmental Aboriginal Affairs Romeo Saganash (Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou), made the following statement:

“This bill received important support from the Assembly of First Nations, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as well as many municipalities and other governing organizations. The support received from all had one thing in common: to ensure Canadian laws are in accordance with the UN’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Tonight, Conservatives ignored Canadians, and voted down a piece of legislation that would uphold the fundamental rights of Indigenous peoples.

“The government of Canada endorsed the UN’s Declaration in 2010 and Bill C-641 would have been a step towards finally enshrining the principles set out in the UN’s Declaration in the laws of our country.

“Tonight’s vote was an opportunity for the federal government to engage in genuine partnership with Indigenous peoples.

“The result of tonight’s vote is disappointing. But we take heart in the unity that has grown from this struggle to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The question before Parliament tonight was not a matter of left against right, but right against wrong.

“The NDP will continue to stand with Indigenous peoples in the implementation into Canadian law of the principles set out in the Declaration, and will hold Conservatives accountable for their failure to uphold their fundamental rights”