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B.C. premier urges feds to pass Indigenous rights legislation

Last Updated Dec 3, 2019 at 4:07 pm PDT

B.C. Premier John Horgan at the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly. (Courtesy, Twitter: Perry Bellegarde, ational Chief, Assembly of First Nations)

B.C.'s premier is urging the federal government to follow in his province's footsteps and take up UNDRIP

John Horgan says his government was able to pass the legislation despite their minority status

UNDRIP is the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – At the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa on Tuesday, B.C.’s premier touted the province’s historic new legislation enshrining Indigenous rights and encouraged the country to follow suit.

John Horgan is urging the federal government to take up the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, despite the political divisions of the new minority government.

“I believe we can walk and chew gum at the same time,” Horgan said. “And if you reach out to partnerships rather than say, ‘Well, I prefer to stick with my confrontation, my litigation,’ eventually – no project, and if that’s your solution, carry on.”

B.C. became the first province to pass UNDRIP in October of this year. It was first introduced by the UN in 2017, with the intention of protecting the survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous peoples around the world.

Horgan added while the federal government appears to be at a stall, parties in his province managed to go ahead with the legislation despite their differences, with positive results.

“I think that Mr. Scheer, Mr. Singh and Mr. Trudeau should sit down together and figure out a way forward in the interest of all Canadians – that’s what we’ve done in British Columbia and I know they can do it here too,” he said.

“We were able to — working with Indigenous people, working with investment — land the largest private sector investment in Canadian history. The LNG Canada project is a $40-billion investment that addressed Indigenous rights and titles, that addressed environmental assessment.”

For critics like Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, Horgan suggested asking how he would approach getting business done while respecting Indigenous rights.