Liberals’ bill on Indigenous rights getting pushback from Conservatives, First Nations critics


A key element of the Liberal government’s reconciliation agenda is facing resistance from Conservatives in the House of Commons — and some First Nations critics on the outside. Bill C-15, An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), is at the second reading stage and is being discussed this week by members of the standing committee on Indigenous and northern affairs. The proposed legislation aims to implement the UN declaration by ensuring federal laws respect Indigenous rights. Some First Nation critics say the bill doesn’t go far enough and may end up restricting those rights. “It doesn’t seem like Canada has really learned its lesson from Oka to Wet’suwet’en to the Mi’kmaq fishermen,” said Grand Chief Joel Abram of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians. “Our first choice is to have it go back to the drawing board.” UNDRIP affirms the rights of Indigenous peoples to their language, culture, self-determination and traditional lands. It was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007.

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