(Ottawa, ON): Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde and British Columbia AFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee welcome legislation tabled today in the BC legislature to harmonize provincial laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the UN Declaration).
“British Columbia is leading the way and we urge the Government of Canada to do the same,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “Implementing the UN Declaration through legislation is a positive step for peace, progress and prosperity. This will ensure First Nations rights are respected and implemented. This will create greater economic stability and prosperity, because it’s clear that ignoring First Nations rights is the cause of instability and uncertainty. I congratulate Premier Horgan for showing leadership and honouring his commitment to embrace the UN Declaration, and I congratulate Regional Chief Teegee, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, the First Nations Summit and First Nations leaders throughout BC for their hard work and advocacy in making this new Bill a reality. This is the start of new movement forward and we urge other governments to follow the leadership shown by BC.”
The UN Declaration is the road map to reconciliation. The AFN’s agenda for the next four years and beyond, Honouring Promises: 2019 Federal Election Priorities for First Nations and Canada, released September 9, calls on the federal government to commit to implementing the UN Declaration through legislation that is at least as strong as private member’s Bill C-262, which did not pass in the last session of Parliament. The Liberal Party, New Democratic Party and Green Party all committed in their 2019 election platforms to enact federal legislation on the UN Declaration.
AFN BC Regional Chief Terry Teegee stated: “Today is a historic moment in BC, Canada, and around the world. The maturity and wisdom of our current leadership in BC, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, is a beacon of hope during these uncertain times. I applaud Premier Horgan and his cabinet for moving this legislation forward. Implementing the UN Declaration is a non-partisan move, one we have been working towards for twelve long years. Businesses and investors will benefit as it creates certainty and predictability for projects in this province, British Columbians will benefit from job creation, and First Nations will benefit by having a seat at the table. We are finally moving forward together.”
Honouring Promises is available on the AFN website at: https://www.afn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Honouring-Promises_ENG_Rev.pdf
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
For more information please contact:
Senior Communication Advisor
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 244
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382