APTN National News
NIAGARA FALLS – The federal government has said numerous times it embraces the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
But on Tuesday Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould made the government’s stance on UNDRIP a little clearer by saying it can’t be adopted as is into Canadian law.
“Simplistic approaches such as adopting the United Nations declaration as being Canadian law are unworkable and, respectfully, a political distraction to undertaking the hard work actually required to implement it back home in communities,” said Wilson-Raybould in a speech to a room of chiefs at the Assembly of First Nations 37th annual general assembly Tuesday in Niagara Falls.
Read the the full speech here.
She said she would like to throw the Indian Act in the fire but it’s not a practical option. She called on First Nations to provide ideas for legislation that helps communities rebuild outside of the Indian Act.
Back in May, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said Canada would fully embrace UNDRIP.
Bennett said Ottawa would be consulting with First Nation, Inuit and Metis people before moving to codify UNDRIP in Canadian law.
“It would be very important that we consult First Nation, Inuit and Metis on anything we would do in order to codify (UNDRIP),” said Bennett.
— Chadwick Cowie (@ChadCowie) July 12, 2016
It appears that while the Harper government announced in 2010 it would “endorse” UNDRIP it officially maintained an objection to the document. The previous Conservative government said UNDRIP was an aspirational document that would be interpreted “in a manner that is consistent with our Constitutional and legal framework.”
Bennett said the document was “breathing life” into section 35 of the Constitution which guarantees Aboriginal rights.
UNDRIP was originally adopted in 2007 by 144 countries. At the time Canada, U.S., Australia and New Zealand voted against the document. Since then, all four countries have signed on.