CUPE welcomes the announcement by the federal government to table a bill to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. This follows a similar private member’s bill that was introduced by former NDP MP Romeo Saganash in 2016, which was passed by the house but died in the Senate when the election was called. Conservative senators had stalled the bill.
Indigenous groups have long been calling for UNDRIP to lead the process of reconciliation within Canada. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on Canada to use UNDRIP as the framework for reconciliation, and it was also highlighted by the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girl’s Calls to Justice.
This is a long overdue development after multiple pledges of support by Trudeau, but no action to implement the declaration in Canada. We hope that this is just the beginning of a larger shift towards recognizing treaties and the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It is imperative that this bill ensures that the federal government translates principles into real actions for Indigenous peoples. This bill should guarantee that Indigenous peoples have access to education and clean drinking water like the rest of Canada, and an end to systemic anti-Indigenous racism.
We call on all members of Parliament to ensure that this bill is passed as quickly as possible. All levels of government must prioritize the implementation of UNDRIP in a timely fashion. Indigenous peoples are tired of waiting for meaningful action from the federal government and paying for it with their lives.