USW supports Bill C-262 on United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People

Bill C-262 is a unique opportunity for Canada to move towards a true nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples, says Ken Neumann.

Open Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Ministers Bennett, Philpott, and Wilson-Raybould

Re: Bill C-262: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act

Dear Prime Minister, Minister Bennett, Minister Philpott and Minister Wilson-Raybould,

The United Steelworkers supports reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and has endorsed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Canada must adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.

Over a year ago, the USW announced our support for Bill C-262, because it will ensure that the laws of Canada respect the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We agree that, as a nation, no relationship is more important than the relationship with Indigenous peoples. Bill C-262 is a unique opportunity for Canada to move towards a true nation-to-nation relationship.

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.

As Steelworkers have met with Liberal MPs to ask for their support, we’ve heard two criticisms of the Declaration: that it is inconsistent with Canada’s Constitution and that it gives Indigenous peoples a veto over development. We respectfully disagree. Scores of Canadian legal scholars have publicly stated that the Declaration is consistent with the Constitution and the Charter, if not essential for its true implementation. And the right to free, prior and informed consent is not automatically a veto, but instead a means for Indigenous peoples to participate fairly and equally in key decisions affecting their lives and territories.

For all of the above reasons, we are asking your government to vote in favour of Bill C-262.

Sincerely,

Ken Neumann
National Director

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USW endorses bill to adopt and implement UNDRIP

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