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

Coastal GasLink gives $100K to United Way efforts in Northern B.C.

Organization’s COVID-19 Relief Fund benefits seniors in isolation, among others

Don’t delay going to the ER if you have an ‘urgent or emergent’ medical problem: Chief of Staff

Dr. Rebecca Janssen writes a weekly letter to residents of the Omineca Region.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada lifts at-sea observer requirements due to COVID-19

Fisheries Management Order went into effect April 2 and will remain for 45 days

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Northern Health says it’s ready for possibility of COVID-19 surge

Health authority confident with inventory of ventilators

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

Most Read