NDP Moves to Enshrine Indigenous Rights

We have the chance to strengthen human rights legislation in Canada.

NDP MP Romeo Saganash’s private member’s bill, C-262, would ensure that the laws of Canada are in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The bill comes is currently in its second reading.

Members of the USW have been active and vocal with our support for C-262, meeting with MPs to ask for support. USW National Director Ken Neumann wrote an open letter to the prime minister calling on the government to support Bill C-262.

Our union cares about this bill because, as Canadians, we want to heal relationships between Indigenous Canadians and other Canadians. And we care about this bill because our members include Indigenous people. This is a Steelworker issue.

Bill C-262 “legislates a national action plan in cooperation and collaboration with Indigenous Peoples as called for by the TRC and will provide clarity and highlight the importance of harmonizing federal laws: something that will facilitate investment and development,” according to Saganash’s website promoting adoption and implementation of Bill C-262.
In 2016, USW endorsed the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and its calls to action. According to the TRC, Canada must adopt and implement the declaration as the framework for reconciliation.

2017 is the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the declaration by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Yet there continues to be a gap between formal recognition of Indigenous Peoples and implementation of policies on the ground.

Saganash was involved in negotiating the UN declaration over 30 years ago. Steelworkers are lobbying for broad support for Bill C-262 to complete the circle.
It’s time for action. Delay and avoidance won’t cut it any longer.

How you can help support Bill C-262:
- Sign on with support at adoptandimplement.com.
- Meet with your local MP and ask them to support Bill C-262. Request speaking notes and other support materials by sending an email to info@usw.ca.

This article appears in the Fall Edition of the USW@Work magazine.

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