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Conservatives raise concerns over UNDRIP bill as time runs short to pass legislation

Last Updated Jun 16, 2021 at 1:47 pm PDT

OTTAWA — Just as Parliament’s clock is quickly running short to pass bills before a possible fall election, Conservatives are turning up the heat in their concerns over a key piece of Liberal legislation aimed at harmonizing Canada’s laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

On Tuesday evening, Conservative Senator Claude Carignan tried to make changes to Bill C-15, which has already been passed by the House of Commons and is now at third reading in the Senate.

Carignan proposed to make changes requested by six Conservative premiers, who wrote a joint letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this spring raising concerns about how the federal bill could affect provincial laws and areas of jurisdiction.

Carignan’s amendments did not pass, but concerns remain among proponents of the UNDRIP bill that there could be a repeat of thwarted attempts to pass similar legislation in 2019.

That bill, introduced by now-retired New Democrat MP Romeo Saganash, came close to passing before stalling in the Senate just before the 2019 election.

With widespread expectation a federal election could come as early as this summer, despite all parties’ professions they do not to want a vote while the pandemic continues, the bill will need to pass in the remaining few days before Parliament rises for the summer.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press