This week I participated in several sessions of the Seeking Justice Together conference organized by Citizens for Public Justice (https://cpj.ca/). The closing keynote was Romeo Saganash who has worked for 23 years on the UNDRIP. His leadership is a testimony to the possibility of change and to the power of persistence and patience in leadership.
Next week Bill C-15 is expected to be voted on in parliament. I just sent the following letter to Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Davie Lametti, Minister of Justice and Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services. If you agree that UNDRIP is the way forward for Indigenous human rights and a good way forward with respect to reconciliation and decolonization in Canada, I encourage you to do the same. Here is the letter I adapted from CPJ:
Dear Ministers Bennett, Lametti and Miller:
Indigenous rights, human rights, environmental protection, and climate justice are inextricably linked. Many faith communities have affirmed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration) as the framework for reconciliation in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #48.
I appreciate your government’s tabling of Bill C-15, legislation to implement the Declaration. Legislative action is absolutely necessary and it will have important applications in the context of climate policy, energy policy, and infrastructure development. At the same time, an Indigenous-led, intersectional approach must also permeate more than law: civil society, faith communities, and the general public must honour Indigenous perspectives on the challenges all people in Canada share.
Ministers, will you follow through on your commitment to honour the rights of Indigenous peoples by implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including, but not limited to, the right of free, prior and informed consent?
Will you further commit to robust and inclusive dialogue with Indigenous stakeholders to ensure that the action plan envisioned in Bill C-15 is a core priority of your departments? Reconciliation is inextricably connected to Indigenous self-determination and justice for the land as envisioned in the Declaration.
I also urge you to collaborate with your colleagues in the work of increasing Canadian climate ambition, investing in a just transition and supporting climate adaptation and mitigation in the Global South.
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