In the May 2017 election, only two of the main parties committed to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. BC Liberals were uncomfortable with clauses related to informed consent that would interfere with business of their corporate donors.
10 – Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.
19 – States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.
32.2 – States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.
John Horgan’s NDP Government and Andrew Weaver’s Green Party committed to a different approach. This was affirmed in today’s Throne Speech and we are left to hope the promises are not hollow, as were similar ones by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The work begins by setting a strong foundation, starting with a government-to-government partnership with indigenous peoples. Working with First Nations and all indigenous communities, your government will embrace the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and address all of the calls to action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into residential schools. These are important commitments, which your government takes very seriously.
We cannot continue to push these actions further down the road to a day that never comes. Together with First Nations and all indigenous peoples, your government will seek to bring these principles to life. We must build a true partnership based on rights, respect and reconciliation. We can only move forward together.