Mamakwa: Ford must implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Ford government refuses to act, as Canada starts addressing UNDRIP implementation
QUEEN’S PARK — Sol Mamakwa, MPP for Kiiwetinoong and NDP Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation critic, released the following statement in response to the federal government’s tabling of legislation to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP):
“It was deeply disappointing, but not surprising, to hear that Ontario’s Minister of Indigenous Affairs and the Ford government opposes the timely implementation of the federal UNDRIP bill. Yesterday’s tabling of the federal bill to implement UNDRIP in Canada is thanks to thirty years of critical work by Indigenous community leaders to have governments recognize their decisions must centre Indigenous peoples.
We must honour the work of former MP Roméo Saganash, former chairperson for the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Wilton Littlechild, and the many others who drove this process forward to make federal and provincial action on UNDRIP possible.
The Declaration itself was not intended to be an end point, but rather a new beginning for Reconciliation, based on a true nation to nation relationship and a full recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples. Minister Rickford and the Ford government’s opposition to moving forward on this quickly is troubling, but sadly consistent with their ongoing refusal to meet their Crown and treaty obligations.
My UNDRIP bill – Bill 76, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIP) – is supported by Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), Chiefs of Ontario (COO), Grand Council Treaty #3, the leadership of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and the elected Chief and Council of the Six Nations of the Grand River, in addition to many other Indigenous communities and leaders. It has already passed second reading, and is ready to become law.
There is no excuse to wait any longer. Ontario and Canada have a responsibility to fully recognize and respect the rights of Indigenous peoples. Minister Rickford and the Ford government must act now and move my bill to implement UNDRIP in Ontario forward without delay.”