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

Illicit dumping an expensive problem for Langley Township

Six incidents in three weeks have cost $60,000

LETTER: Quiet Langley street feels like Indy 500 track

Drivers gunning it on her street has one local resident irked

Langley rotary volunteers take to the streets to promote lottery fundraiser

Local clubs have raised $17,000 so far for 50/50 lottery

Scheduled road closures in Langley

Some projects are scheduled to begin this week

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

COVID-19 testing lineup wraps around block in Chilliwack

Testing lineup includes seniors, children and their parents as demand seems to surge

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Former worker at Surrey brewery claims he was bullied on the job

Human rights complaint to be heard against Surrey’s Central City Brewers and Distillers Ltd.

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Most Read