Local Green Party candidate Mark de Bruijn says he wants Canada to be an example for the rest of the world in how to respect and work alongside Indigenous populations at last week’s all-candidates forum at the Tidemark Theatre. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

North Island candidates chime in on Indigenous rights

Should we adopt the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People into Canadian law?

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is an international instrument adopted by the United Nations on Sept. 13, 2007, but it remains unadopted by Canada.

At last week’s all-candidates debate at the Tidemark Theatre, the North Island – Powell River candidates in this month’s federal election were asked whether they would recommend Canada adopt UNDRIP and why they felt that way.

In the order the question was addressed at the forum, the candidates thoughts on the matter were as follows:

Glen Staples (Independent) says he hasn’t studied the document thoroughly enough to make an informed decision on the matter, “but I can’t understand why they haven’t adopted it.”

Mark de Bruijn (Green) says he can’t understand it, either.

“Canada has agreed to UNDRIP and it needs to be enshrined into Canadian law now,” de Bruijn says. “It’s based largely on truly having a nation to nation relationship with First Nations people … so we want to move that way strongly and get on with living together joyously in a country we can all be proud of and the world can look to as an example of how to do this.”

Peter Schwarzhoff (Liberal) says the current Liberal government actually passed legislation that would see UNDRIP adopted into law, but it didn’t pass the Senate, and they have promised to resubmit it should they be re-elected.

Rachel Blaney (NDP) points out that the legislation passed by the Liberal government was actually NDP MP Romeo Saganash’s private members bill, C-262, which creates a framework for all legislation passed in Canada to be “seen and vetted through the lens of UNDRIP,” and she points to the failure of it to pass as another example of the decisions that need to be made surrounding the continuing roll of the Senate in our political system.

Shelley Downey (Conservative) says First Nations rights are already protected in the Constitution, “so the question, really, is what happens if we sign this declaration? How does that relate to our constitution? Which one will take precedence and how do we manage that? It’s for those reasons the Conservatives haven’t signed onto it.”

Brian Rundle (PPC) echoed Downey’s assertion that more needs to be done to clarify the declaration and what it will mean, “but I understand that there’s some opposition to it from the First Nations, as well. It’s something that isn’t universally accepted as the right way to go, and there might be some alternatives that would be better.”

Carla Neal (Marxist-Leninist) was not in attendance.

The Mirror live-streamed Thursday night’s forum to its Facebook page, so if you’d like to know more about how the candidates feel about this or any other matter discussed, head to Facebook.com/CampbellRiverMirror to find the event in its entirety.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Campbell River Storm says make some noise for healthcare workers

Car horns, pots and pans, applause and yelling all encouraged

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

Campbell River Hospital Foundation sends love to healthcare workers

Hospital Foundation will forward messages to staff

Campbell River offers bylaw officers to enforce public health orders

Province has issued orders for a coordinated response to support public health

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach youngster gets car parade for his sixth birthday

Friends get creative after party cancelled due to ongoing pandemic

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Nanaimo RCMP ask for help locating 17-year-old girl believed to be with 36-year-old man

Mary Cyprich, missing since Thurday, might be in company of Force Forsythe

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Most Read