Saskatchewan

Sask. MP under fire for high-fiving fellow MP after voting against Indigenous rights bill

Battlefords-Lloydminster MP Rosemarie Falk said the high-five was unrelated to voting against the bill.

Battlefords-Lloydminster MP Rosemarie Falk says high-five was unrelated to vote against UN declaration bill

Battlefords-Lloydminster Rosemarie Falk in the House of Commons on Jan. 29, 2018. She's being criticized for high-fiving a fellow MP following a vote on Bill C-262. She says the high-five was unrelated to the bill. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)

Battlefords-Lloydminster MP Rosemarie Falk is being criticized for high-fiving fellow MP Dane Lloyd, who represents the Alberta riding of Sturgeon River-Parkland, after voting against a bill supporting Indigenous rights last week.

Bill C-262, aimed at ensuring Canada's laws are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, was passed on May 30.

The private member's bill, introduced by New Democrat MP and reconciliation critic Romeo Saganash, won the support of MPs by a margin of 206 to 79 and is now en route to the Senate. All 79 votes against the bill were from Conservative MPs.

After voting against the bill, Falk and Lloyd could be seen high-fiving each other in the House of Commons.

That drew criticism on social media, including condemnation from Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde.

"The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples sets out out the basic minimum framework for implementing Indigenous rights as human rights globally," he said in a tweet on Tuesday.

"For two elected Members of Parliament … to behave so disrespectfully on a matter of basic human rights is absolutely beyond the pale."

Falk issued a statement about the high-five on Monday.

"This was in response to the conclusion of nearly an hour of voting in the House of Commons, and not the specific vote in question. Conservatives continue to support ongoing efforts to reconcile with Canada's indigenous communities."

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer also responded by echoing Falk's statements on Wednesday.

"I mean, my understanding is some are trying to turn [this] into something it's not.… My understanding is it was a long night of voting and it was unrelated to the actual vote they were taking on," he told reporters.

With files from The Canadian Press

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