First Nations leaders debate Trudeau commitment to Indigenous rights

GATINEAU, Que. — The Trudeau government’s commitment to finding new ways to recognize and strengthen Indigenous rights in Canada is facing a major litmus test.

Indigenous leaders, chiefs and delegates gathered in Gatineau, Que., for the Assembly of First Nations annual special assembly are examining several pieces of federal legislation that deal with restoring and promoting Indigenous rights and language.

Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde says chiefs and elders will be able to find out more details about the progress of the legislation, ask questions and provide input.

The key focus of the assembly will be the rights recognition and implementation framework, announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in February.

Bellegarde says he’s hopeful the new framework could be a turning point towards significant progress in recognition of Indigenous rights and title, and in fixing Canada’s laws, policies and practices.

But some chiefs in attendance are concerned that consultations on the bills are being rushed in order to get them passed before the 2019 election.

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