(Ottawa, ON): Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde calls the passing of British Columbia’s Bill 41, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, a historic achievement that marks a new relationship between First Nations and the B.C. provincial government. National Chief Bellegarde is urging Canada to follow the leadership shown by the province.
“I congratulate First Nations in British Columbia and the provincial government for this historic achievement,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “B.C. is the first jurisdiction in Canada to pass legislation developed with First Nations to give life to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This landmark legislation will foster peace, progress and prosperity. We commend Premier Horgan for his commitment to honour and implement First Nations rights, and AFN BC Regional Chief Terry Teegee and the BC First Nations Leadership Council for their hard work and advocacy in making Bill 41 a reality. British Columbia is leading the way. It is now time for Canada to work with us on federal legislation on the UN Declaration as a priority.”
Bill 41 passed unanimously on Tuesday, November 26. The government of B.C. developed the bill in collaboration with the First Nations Leadership Council, which is comprised of the political executives of the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
The AFN called for federal legislation on the UN Declaration in Honouring Promises: 2019 Federal Election Priorities for First Nations and Canada, released on September 9, 2019. The legislation must, at minimum, be 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 election platforms to enact federal legislation on the UN Declaration.
The AFN will welcome Premier Horgan to the upcoming AFN Special Chiefs Assembly being held December 3-5 in Ottawa. Premier Horgan will address delegates and be honoured at 1 pm on Tuesday, December 3.
More information on the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly is available here: https://www.afn.ca/special-chiefs-assembly-2019/
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