B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Assembly of First Nations regional chief Terry Teegee calls on Ottawa to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, Ottawa, Dec. 3, 2019. (AFN)

UN Indigenous rights becoming law in B.C., John Horgan tells chiefs

Justin Trudeau urged to implement declaration Canada-wide

B.C. Premier John Horgan spoke to the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa Tuesday, the first time a sitting premier has ever done so.

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde introduced Horgan, saying the invitation was to recognize his government’s world-leading legislation to embrace the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“That’s leadership and that’s movement as well,” Bellegarde told the AFN’s special chiefs assembly at a downtown Ottawa hotel.

Horgan told the chiefs his government has a lot of work ahead, to adapt provincial legislation to the dozens of articles of the UN declaration. Key among those is “free, prior and informed consent” from Indigenous people for industrial development on their traditional lands.

“Free, prior and informed consent is not the end of the world,” Horgan said. “Free, prior and informed consent is what we would expect from our neighbours.”

RELATED: Indigenous rights overhaul first job of 2020 for B.C.

RELATED: B.C. first nations benefit from LNG Canada project

Taking questions from reporters after the speech, Horgan cited the LNG Canada project, a $40 billion pipeline and liquefied natural gas project that will span northern B.C. to carry gas to Asian customers that has begun construction.

It and the recent decision to close salmon farms on wild salmon migration routes on the B.C. coast reflect the principles of UNDRIP, moving past the confrontation and lawsuits that have dominated Indigenous relations for decades, Horgan said.

Terry Teegee, the AFN regional chief for B.C., thanked Horgan for his efforts and called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to follow suit at the federal level. Horgan said he raised the issue in his first discussions with Trudeau and Intergovernmental Relations Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Horgan has cautioned that while work to integrate UNDRIP into B.C. law is a priority for 2020, it will be a long process with no end in sight.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Valley artist gifts B.C.’s health officer with symbolic hummingbird

A special connection brought the piece to Dr. Bonnie Henry’s desk in Victoria

Black Lives Matter events planned for Courtenay

Peaceful gatherings are scheduled for Simms Park Friday and Saturday

Arnott taking medical leave as Comox mayor

Coun. Ken Grant will step in a mayor for time being

Comox Valley Regional District receives $100,000 to develop poverty action plan

Courtenay-Comox NDP MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard says a $100,000 grant in provincial funding… Continue reading

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Cortes Island affordable housing project hangs by a thread

Regional decision makers resort to COVID-19 concerns despite virtual meeting option and push hearing to September

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Damage happens every year, forcing site manager to reallocate improvement budget to repairs

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Most Read