Yesterday MP Wayne Stetski joined with the Ktunaxa Nation to welcome NDP Critic for Intergovernmental Aboriginal Affairs, Romeo Saganash, to Kootenay-Columbia to speak about, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
“Romeo has been fighting tirelessly for the rights of Indigenous people”, said Stetski, “in addition to his work in Parliament and in his community, he spent over 20 years negotiating at the United Nations. I am very pleased he was able to come to the Kootenays to share his passion and expertise.”
Saganash is visiting communities across the country to build understanding about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People through his private members bill (C-262) that is before Parliament calling on the government to adopt and implement the declaration.
“Implementation of the UN Declaration would explicitly reject colonialism, in favour of justice, equality, respect for human rights and good faith.” Saganash told the crowd who joined him and Stetski at the Ktunaxa administration building Tuesday evening. “This bill includes a national action plan as part of the legislative framework called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The national action plan will provide clarity and highlight the importance of harmonizing federal laws: something that will facilitate investment and development.”
On 13 September 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This followed more than twenty years of discussion within the UN system. The text recognises the wide range of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous peoples.
“The Ktunaxa Nation welcomes and applauds the life-long work that MP Romeo Saganash has done in first developing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and since 2011, advancing his Bill C-262 within Canada” said Darrin Jamieson, Ktunaxa Nation Council CAO. “This legislation will acknowledge the basic human and self-determination rights afforded all peoples in this country, now more clearly to First Nations. We endorse the Bill’s intent to recast our relationship with all levels of government in providing a framework for not only reconciliation, but partnerships in prosperity moving forward. We hope the Prime Minister honors his commitment to implement the Declaration as expressed in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. Only by working together can we advance our collective quality of life.”
“This is an incredibly important conversation for our country” said Stetski. “We have heard from the Prime Minister that implementing the declaration is a top priority for his government, but we have seen little movement in that direction. The NDP are in full support of moving this bill forward and want to work with the Government towards reconciliation.”