Duncan lauds his Tory government’s record on aboriginal issues
"Significant steps" since Canada signed on to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
“Canada has taken significant steps in further building and strengthening our relationship with aboriginal peoples in Canada,” said John Duncan, federal minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, on Nov. 12, the second anniversary of Canada’s endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2007, calls for governments and corporations to obtain the “free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous communities” for use of their lands and resources.
The declaration also says indigenous people must be equal partners in all negotiations on self-determination, lands and resources, culture, identity, language, employment, health, education and other issues.
In Canada, progress continues to take place on “delivering tangible and lasting results to ensure aboriginal peoples are well-positioned to fully participate in a strong Canadian economy,” Duncan said, citing the Harper government’s Economic Action Plan 2012 and the Urban Aboriginal Strategy.
As well, Parliament is considering six pieces of legislation that “protect the rights of aboriginal peoples and help to ensure their safety and self-sufficiency,” he said.
These include the Northern Jobs and Growth Act, introduced Nov. 6, which Duncan said will lead to “jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity in Canada’s North.”
“Steps such as these are strengthening and supporting opportunities for a better future for Canada’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit people,” he stated.