QUEEN’S PARK – Kiiwetinoong NDP MPP Sol Mamakwa’s Bill 76, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIP) passed second reading in the Ontario Legislature on Thursday.
“The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples represents hope for a change so desperately needed in communities across the province,” said Mamakwa, the NDP’s Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation critic. “It is a chance for Ontario to recognize and enshrine the basic fundamental human rights and freedoms of Indigenous people in law. It is an opportunity to come together as leaders, as partners, and breathe life into reconciliation in Ontario.”
Mamakwa said the Ford government must support the bill in the committee stage. He urged the minister of Indigenous Affairs to show respect and commitment to Indigenous people by stepping up after he skipped today’s debate.
“There is no more time to waste,” said Mamakwa. “New Democrats will not allow the Ford government to sit on this bill until it is forgotten. We will press this government to get this bill back for final debate and third reading.”
Mamakwa's bill is a response to the call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada for governments to fully adopt and implement the UN Declaration.
“UNDRIP is a human rights instrument to ensure quality of life for Indigenous people through access to basic services, like clean water, health care, education, and housing,” said Mamakwa. “If this bill becomes law, we can look forward to action on Indigenous issues, ensuring all communities have potable water, action on the Cat Lake state of emergency, and the cleanup of the English and Wabigoon rivers affecting Grassy Narrows First Nation and Wabaseemoong.
“We can help Indigenous children in care, and support our youth for a stronger future.
"Indigenous people are telling Doug Ford that we can have a new relationship with the provincial government, one that is based on respect for our rights as Indigenous people and a relationship that brings prosperity for our communities as promised in our treaties. We can do that by working with the framework of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Ontario."