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.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Volunteers step up during pandemic to work on Shuswap trails

New Shuswap Memorial Cemetery Trails loop ready to hike and ride

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

B.C. forestry policy and practices challenged at Shuswap rally

Salmon Arm Rally for the Forests one of 16 similar events held Friday

COVID-19 minimizes Okanagan Regional Library budget increase

Library adapts to pandemic fiscal disruptions

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Reward offered for return of Okanagan puppy

An 11-week-old boxer-mastiff cross pup was allegedly taken from Lake Country home Friday, Sept. 18

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Stranger in truck grabs boy walking home from school in Kelowna

The 11-year-old boy escaped the incident, RCMP are investigating

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

‘This is a very difficult sentencing’; Judge delays Okanagan manslaughter trial to next week

The courts heard Friday that Bourque “did not intend to cause harm” but that her actions were “reckless”

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read