Legislative framework essential for UN declaration

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and MP Saganash’s corresponding bill are not ‘aspirational.’

ARTICLE BY PAUL JOFFE AND SHERYL LIGHTFOOT, Hill Times Jan. 10, 2018, p. 13 Truth and reconciliation

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides a crucial framework to achieve reconciliation. In December, NDP MP Romeo Saganash opened the second reading debate on his private member’s bill C-262, with support from the Trudeau government. In The Hill Times (Dec. 14, online), Dwight Newman and Ken Coates assert that Bill C-262 on the UN declaration “could have wider-ranging effects than any private member’s bill ever introduced.”

The article is alarmist, misleading and confusing. It shows a lack of understanding of international law, including the UN declaration. It questions the utility of implementing with a legislative framework. The authors mischaracterize the declaration and Indigenous peoples’ rights as “aspirational.”

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