Today marks the 10th anniversary of when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) — a huge step in setting an international standard towards respecting Indigenous language, cultural heritage and the right to self-determination.

Shamefully, Canada was one of the only nations in the world that objected to the Declaration, but nine long years after its creation and adoption at the UN, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government finally withdrew its objector status – and with great fanfare. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development, stated publicly “We are now a full supporter of the declaration, without qualification" and “We intend nothing less than to adopt and implement the declaration in accordance with the Canadian Constitution." [1] That was over a year ago.

Since then, Indigenous communities and their allies have been waiting impatiently for action to back up these words and those of Trudeau himself who frequently claims “no relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous Peoples.”

So ten years since the UNDRIP’s adoption at the UN and over a year since the Canadian government promised to implement its principles, still no action. In fact, we’re seeing examples of the federal government consistently acting in opposition to the UNDRIP by sidestepping its duty to seek free, prior, and informed consent from Indigenous communities for development projects in their territories and refusing to respect Indigenous representatives as truly equal partners.

Even worse, all indications point to Trudeau’s government actively voting against legislation to adopt and implement UNDRIP this fall: Bill C-262 [2]. Voting against the Declaration and against Indigenous rights would mean the Trudeau government is publicly turning its back on its domestic and international promises to the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.

We can’t stand by while our governments maintain their industry-friendly and anti-Indigenous-rights status quo. It’s time for the Liberal government to fulfill its domestic and international obligations. It’s time to adopt and implement the UNDRIP and support Bill C-262.

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