Nov 22, 2019
I trembled at the moment as BC MLA’s voted unanimously to give first reading to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on Oct 24, 2019, in the provincial legislature.
It was impressive and inspiring because all I had ever seen in the course of my lifetime (80yrs) was the denial or trampling of Indigenous rights. As a tear or two trickled down my cheek, I experienced the wonder of the human spirit. My fundamental faith and belief in the sometimes elusive goodness of others were once again affirmed.
“This bill, when passed, will deepen the human rights of Indigenous Peoples and elevate all of us to new heights,” I thought.
The pride I felt for our Indigenous leaders, grand chiefs Ed John, Stewart Philips, Terry Teegee and Cheryl Cashmere was immeasurable as I listened to them speak to the bill.
My respect for Premier John Horgan, the Honorable Scott Fraser and BC Liberal Party leader Andrew Wilkinson and all MLA’s was deepened.
Much work will be required following the passage of the bill. Let us all stay the course.
Learn more about UNDRIP here.
Oct 24, 2019
The moral and legal persuasion of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is ultimately strengthened by the legislative framework passed by the B.C. government today.
This is one of the most significant human rights milestones achieved for Indigenous peoples by any government in the world. B.C. has set a legislative precedent that can guide the way forward for all provinces across this country as well as at the federal level for meaningful recognition and engagement.
This legislation will allow us to recognize the constitutional and human rights of Indigenous people. At the same time, it will be a beacon for all of us to advance reconciliation as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The bill will create a foundational pillar for deepened inclusion and equality for all without diminishing the same for all others.
The UN Declaration does not create new rights. It upholds the same human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law. This is something we should all aspire to and be proud of.
Over time the UN declaration will be harmonized with provincial law that will serve the needs of British Columbians. The B.C. government should be applauded for its extraordinary courage for taking this giant step for our society.
For more information, see our news release here.