British Columbia

Liberal minority 'best-case scenario,' says B.C. Assembly of First Nations chief 

After four years of a majority government, the regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations sees a Liberal minority as an opportunity to move Indigenous issues forward in parliament.

The Liberals, NDP and Green Party have all promised to implement UNDRIP

B.C. Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Terry Teegee is optimistic about working with a minority government to uphold First Nations rights. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

After four years of a majority government, B.C.'s chief of the Assembly of First Nations says a Liberal minority is the "best case scenario" Indigenous people could have hoped for from this election. 

Terry Teegee says it'll allow them more input and scrutiny over decisions made in Parliament.

"I think to some degree the Liberal Party have been positive in terms of collaborating on policy changes such as child welfare and minorities," said Teegee.

"But I think other parties such as the NDP and then, in terms of climate change, the Green Party would be more receptive and possibly bring forward a more Indigenous perspective."

Teegee says all three parties have, for example, committed to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The declaration, also known as UNDRIP, is an international document that sets minimum standards for nation states' interaction with Indigenous Peoples.

In a Tuesday news release, the assembly laid out its list of key priorities for the federal government. It includes implementing UNDRIP, funding for First Nations welfare services, the recommendations from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, treaty rights over fisheries, and jurisdiction over cannabis on First Nations' territories.

It also celebrated the election of Indigenous candidates across the country, in particular that of Jody Wilson-Raybould as an independent for the riding of Vancouver Granville.

"Jody Wilson-Raybould is probably the story of the election. Having the really daunting task to get re-elected as an independent and she did it, and it really speaks to her leadership."

Teegee adds it's an opportunity for the Assembly of First Nations to work with Wilson-Raybould on bringing private members bills to the House of Commons.

Despite his satisfaction with the results, Teegee says the campaign was overall disappointing for Indigenous people and Canadians.

"We didn't hear enough about Indigenous issues such as clean drinking water. How are we going to deal with the issue of clean drinking water for First  Nations communities in Canada?"

He says they're willing to work with any party on the issues of clean drinking water and funding for First Nations children.