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UNDRIP passage celebrated

  • June 26, 2021

OTTAWA -- By a vote of 61-10, senators gave the final approval needed June 16 for Bill C-15, which gives legal standing in federal law to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

The House of Commons had earlier voted 210-118 in favour of Bill C-15.

The vote was a cause for celebration among Indigenous leaders and their allies in faith groups who see it as a victory in the long march towards reconciliation with Canada’s First Peoples.

Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Bill C-15 is a historic step in the relationship between Canada and Indigenous Canadians, adding “this is history in the making.” 

“This legislation to implement the UN Declaration on the Right of indigenous Peoples in Canada can be a pathway to reconciliation, guided by our inherent and Treaty rights,” Bellegarde said. “Its full implementation will see First Nations rights respected and implemented and is essential to addressing all forms of racism and discrimination in Canada.”

Catholic and other faith organizations have been at the forefront of lobbying efforts to give UNDRIP legal standing within Canadian law.

“May this be a sign of hope for Indigenous peoples in what has been a very difficult period,” said Joe Gunn, executive director of the Centre Oblat - A Voice For Justice.

The Ottawa-based Citizens for Public Justice said passage of Bill C-15 is important but more must be done going forward.

“Getting Bill C-15 across the finish line is, in many ways, just the beginning,” said CPJ in a statement. “The work of aligning Canadian laws with the UN declaration is the next critical order of business. We will continue to follow this legislation and engage with government leaders to make sure the commitments outlined in this bill are acted upon.”

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