P.E.I. Mi'kmaq call on province to adopt UN declaration
‘It’s a step forward for Canada’
As Parliament debates adopting the principles of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Mi'kmaq on P.E.I. are asking the province to do the same.
The 46 articles of UNDRIP address Indigenous rights, including culture, language, economic well being, access to land and self government. If it is implemented, Canada would have to adhere to the UNDRIP articles, said Jenene Wooldridge, executive director of L'nuey, an organization responsible for protecting the rights of Island-based Mi'kmaq.
"It protects the Indigenous human rights and ensures that [policies and decisions are] incorporating protecting Indigenous culture," Wooldridge told Island Morning host Laura Chapin.
"We feel it's a step forward for Canada, putting an effort towards true reconciliation. And reconciliation requires that the laws and policies are actually changed."
A private member's bill in Parliament in 2016 previously aimed to adopt UNDRIP, but it stumbled on an article that would require free, prior and informed consent. Some argued that this principle was little different from the current duty to consult practiced in Canada, while others said it amounted to a veto.
Wooldridge said it is difficult to say how prior and informed consent might be different from the current duty to consult.
"It depends on every individual project. There's many layers to consider with every different consultation," she said.
The federal bill does not put any demands on the province.
Last month, L'nuey wrote to the provincial government asking that it adopt UNDRIP. Wooldridge said the province has not yet responded.
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With files from Island Morning