OTTAWA – Green Party Leader Annamie Paul met with Grand Chief Joel Abram, Deputy Grand Chief Stacia Loft from the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI), and Sara Mainville, legal counsel, to offer a platform for the expression of their views on Bill C-15, Canada’s proposed legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights on Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Grand Chief Joel Abram states: "Bill C-15 does not speak for all of us and is more reminiscent of the White Paper in the 1960's. This seeks to eventually lead to the assimilation of our people. Some may think this is the answer but it seeks to chip away at our recognition, our sovereignty and to classify us not as Indigenous peoples, but as Canadian citizens."
“Every nation has a right to decide who will speak on its behalf, and the government of Canada must be led by Indigenous Peoples with respect to any proposed UNDRIP legislation,” said Ms. Paul. “AIAI and some First Nations have told us that their involvement has not been sought in the development of Bill C-15, and that their views on the proposed legislation have not been solicited. It is why it was important to me to invite members of the AIAI to speak for themselves on the matter of Bill C-15. True collaboration means far more than simply asking for approval at the end of the process.”
Deputy Grand Chief Stacia Loft adds: "How can this be legal when not all Indigenous Nations have been consulted with or when a large number of Nations disagree with this legislation. The Liberal Government claims reconciliation, but it just tosses that word around without really understanding the true meaning behind it. Just as it is doing with UNDRIP they only want to pick and choose what it is they want to follow and dictate the rest."
“The Green Party of Canada is committed to reconciliation, Nation-to-Nation relationships and self-determination for Indigenous Peoples, and seeks to live by those principles not just through words, but through action. Canada has a long way to go to ensure justice for Indigenous Peoples – being guided by their leadership is an important place to start,” concluded Ms. Paul.
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