Justice Minister David Lametti arrives for a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday November 26, 2020. The Liberal government is set to introduce long-awaited legislation today to enshrine the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian law. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Bill to enshrine UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian law

OTTAWA — The Liberal government is set to introduce long-awaited legislation today to enshrine the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian law.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised during the 2019 election campaign to introduce such a bill, developed with Indigenous people, by the end of this year.

The bill is expected to echo a private member’s bill introduced by former NDP MP Romeo Saganash, which the House of Commons passed two years ago.

That bill stalled in the Senate, where Conservative senators argued it could have unintended legal and economic consequences, and then died when Parliament dissolved.

The UN declaration, which Canada endorsed in 2010, affirms the rights of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination and to their language, culture and traditional lands.

It also spells out the need for free, prior and informed consent from Indigenous Peoples on anything that infringes on their lands or rights.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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