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

Police probe reports that fire alarm didn’t sound during fatal Prince George motel blaze

A suspect was also arrested, but later released pending further investigation

Finding freedom in expression through painting

Vanderhoof painter talks about her love for painting and the difficult questions artists are faced with.

District and Airport development society in disagreement over new apron

User group says there are safety hazards, and the district of Vanderhoof says otherwise.

Vanderhoof will have its own cannabis store Tuesday

This is the 18th government-run store to open in the province.

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read