MLAs applaud Indigenous leaders as B.C.’s pioneering legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is introduced in the B.C. legislature, Oct. 24, 2019. (B.C. government)

B.C. Indigenous rights overhaul first job of 2020, John Horgan says

Premier speaks to Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa next week

Giving royal assent to B.C.’s latest batch of laws this week, Lt. Governor Janet Austin singled out one for special mention – the world’s first official adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

That’s unusual, and it is for good reason, Premier John Horgan told reporters after the fall session of the B.C. legislature adjourned.

“It will transform how we do business in B.C. for the better,” Horgan said. “Unanimous support in the legislature, business interests around the province, in fact around the country, looking to B.C. as a leader in how we better make all of the people of British Columbia benefit from the extraordinary bounty we have here.”

Work begins in January to start amending B.C. laws to meet the dozens of objectives of UNDRIP, and the first set of changes is expected in the spring session that begins in February, Horgan said.

RELATED: B.C. environmental law overhauled to comply with UNDRIP

RELATED: B.C. to transfer $100M from gambling to Indigenous people

“I think the patience of Indigenous communities has been well demonstrated over the 200 years of colonial activity here in B.C. and across Canada,” Horgan said. “I’ve been invited to speak to the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa next week about what we’ve been able to accomplish here, and I’m sure I’ll get some advice from elders and others about how we proceed in the new year.”

Horgan praised the B.C. Liberal and Green Parties for joining his government’s support for the change, after detailed questioning of its implications over the past two weeks.

“I want to ensure that the public understand that this is not just the NDP who’s doing this,” Horgan said.

B.C. Liberal MLA Mike de Jong, a former minister of finance, Indigenous relations and justice, led the opposition questioning on Bill 41, described as a “framework” bill committing the province to dozens of clauses in the UN document.

De Jong asked about UNDRIP Article 39, which states: “Indigenous peoples have the right to have access to financial and technical assistance from states and through international cooperation, for the enjoyment of rights contained in this declaration.”

Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser said UNDRIP “does not create a positive obligation on the part of the state, but there will be conversations about funding from the provincial government.”

B.C. has already signed an agreement to share seven per cent of B.C. Lottery Corporation net income, which the province estimates will amount to $100 million over the 23-year term of the deal.

Environment Minister George Heyman has completed a rewrite of B.C.’s Environment Assessment Act, after a consultation tour including mining, forest industry and union representatives.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns says Scheer’s resignation not surprising

Pressure is on NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, as the lone major party leader remaining in the opposition

Mount Washington receives more than 30cm of snow

Last week, the resort announced they were pushing back opening day due to lack of snow.

Comox Valley Connector making streets safer during holiday season

The Comox Valley Connector is back for the festive season. Ambassador Transportation… Continue reading

Nutcracker coming to Courtenay’s Sid Williams Theatre

What signs let you know that the holiday season has truly started?… Continue reading

Cumberland campground had a busy season

Visits were up by 13 per cent in 2019 over the previous year

‘Not a decision I came to lightly:’ Scheer to resign as Conservative leader

Decision comes after weeks of Conservative infighting following the October election

BC Hydro offers tips as collisions with power poles increase

Region with the largest spike in collisions was the Lower Mainland at 16 per cent

Canadian airline passengers to be eligible for $1,000 in compensation for delayed flights

Passengers can also receive compensation for overbooking, lost luggage and other inconveniences

RCMP must bury three sex mannequins found in Manning Park

Police tasked with ensuring the mannequins were completely disposed of

B.C. seniors need better vaccine protection, advocate says

Home support down, day programs up in annual rating

RCMP rescue wounded raven on Vancouver Island highway

Bird expected to make full recovery

Be aware of ticks when chopping down Christmas trees

Potential for ticks to transfer to clothing

More rowers come forward with complaints about UVic coach

Barney Williams is accused of verbal abuse and harassment

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Most Read