APTN National News
WINNIPEG—Liberal leader Justin Trudeau says his government would review, repeal and amend all existing laws that do not respect Indigenous rights or that were passed without proper consultation.
Trudeau said a Liberal government would also ensure every new policy and law would meet with the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
“We know we are going to have to go through the books entirely and repeal and reform many pieces of legislation that do not respect the rights of Indigenous peoples in this country,” said Trudeau, speaking during APTN’s virtual town hall series hosted by anchor Cheryl McKenzie. “The Liberal party is fully committed to doing a complete review to ensure this relationship we need to renew is done properly and of course the United Nations declaration is at the heart of that.”
APTN aired a virtual town hall with Green Party leader Elizabeth May on Tuesday and will air a town hall featured NDP leader Thomas Mulcair Thursday.
The Conservative campaign ignored APTN’s invitation to also participate in the town hall.
The virtual town hall features federal party leaders answering video questions from Indigenous people across the country.
Trudeau said during the town hall that a Liberal government also believes First Nation communities have a veto over natural resource development in their territories.
During a segment on natural resource development, McKenzie asked Trudeau if “no meant no.”
Trudeau responded saying, “absolutely.”
The town hall also touched on a number of issues, ranging from Metis issues, to the “Freedom Road” for Shoal Lake and C-51, the previous Conservative government’s anti-terror legislation which Trudeau supported, but the Assembly of First Nations opposed.
On the anti-terror legislation, Trudeau repeated his oft-stated answer that the Liberal party has always balanced rights with security. Trudeau said, without specifying, that some provisions in C-51 were important to put into law. He said a Liberal government would create more oversight for the legislation and add sunset clauses that would force a review of the provisions.
“Canadians expect their government to do two things: to keep us safe and defend our rights and freedoms,” said Trudeau.
The Liberal leader also repeated his promise to invest $2.6 billion into core K-12 First Nation education.
Trudeau said his government would immediately move on the 94 recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and work with the provinces to implement those that fall outside federal jurisdiction.
The Liberal leader, who polls project is on the cusp of a majority government, said he would also work with First Nations to renew and revive the Martin Liberal government’s $5 billion Kelowna Accord. That accord died after the Conservatives took power.
He also said successive Canadian governments had failed to live up to the “spirit and intent” of the treaties.
“That is why I always talk about the spirit and intent of the original treaties. They are fundamentally about shared responsibility that the bounty of this land is something we should all benefit from,” said Trudeau. “Quite frankly, Canada has failed to live up the spirit and intent of those treaties.”