MLAs applaud Indigenous leaders as B.C.’s pioneering legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is introduced in the B.C. legislature, Oct. 24, 2019. (B.C. government)

B.C. Indigenous rights overhaul first job of 2020, John Horgan says

Premier speaks to Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa next week

Giving royal assent to B.C.’s latest batch of laws this week, Lt. Governor Janet Austin singled out one for special mention – the world’s first official adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

That’s unusual, and it is for good reason, Premier John Horgan told reporters after the fall session of the B.C. legislature adjourned.

“It will transform how we do business in B.C. for the better,” Horgan said. “Unanimous support in the legislature, business interests around the province, in fact around the country, looking to B.C. as a leader in how we better make all of the people of British Columbia benefit from the extraordinary bounty we have here.”

Work begins in January to start amending B.C. laws to meet the dozens of objectives of UNDRIP, and the first set of changes is expected in the spring session that begins in February, Horgan said.

RELATED: B.C. environmental law overhauled to comply with UNDRIP

RELATED: B.C. to transfer $100M from gambling to Indigenous people

“I think the patience of Indigenous communities has been well demonstrated over the 200 years of colonial activity here in B.C. and across Canada,” Horgan said. “I’ve been invited to speak to the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa next week about what we’ve been able to accomplish here, and I’m sure I’ll get some advice from elders and others about how we proceed in the new year.”

Horgan praised the B.C. Liberal and Green Parties for joining his government’s support for the change, after detailed questioning of its implications over the past two weeks.

“I want to ensure that the public understand that this is not just the NDP who’s doing this,” Horgan said.

B.C. Liberal MLA Mike de Jong, a former minister of finance, Indigenous relations and justice, led the opposition questioning on Bill 41, described as a “framework” bill committing the province to dozens of clauses in the UN document.

De Jong asked about UNDRIP Article 39, which states: “Indigenous peoples have the right to have access to financial and technical assistance from states and through international cooperation, for the enjoyment of rights contained in this declaration.”

Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser said UNDRIP “does not create a positive obligation on the part of the state, but there will be conversations about funding from the provincial government.”

B.C. has already signed an agreement to share seven per cent of B.C. Lottery Corporation net income, which the province estimates will amount to $100 million over the 23-year term of the deal.

Environment Minister George Heyman has completed a rewrite of B.C.’s Environment Assessment Act, after a consultation tour including mining, forest industry and union representatives.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

No parole for 12 years for Burns Lake man convicted of second degree murder

Judge said he did not believe Albert Giesbrecht’s claim his gun discharged accidentally

No curtailments expected at Burns Lake area mills

Hampton Lumber working with partners to find solutions

Snowfall warning continues for parts of B.C.’s Interior

First significant snowfall of the season prompts Environment Canada warning

Coastal GasLink receives first delivery of pipe sections

Company expects to begin welding and pipe laying in 2020

Christmas lights burned out? Recycle them

This time of year, residents in Burns Lake are unboxing their Christmas… Continue reading

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Terrace SAR headquarters in last stretch of fundraising

$400,000 dollars needed to finish $1.4 million project

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Most Read