Take Two: Ottawa is again moving to codify the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian law. In this reshoot, the Trudeau government is spending a lot of time insisting its bill is both weighty and insubstantial.
The declaration, known as UNDRIP, is a non-binding resolution passed by the UN in 2007. At the time, Canada opposed it, as did Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Three years later, the Harper government reluctantly endorsed the document, but said it was merely “aspirational.”
In 2015, the Liberal platform promised to implement UNDRIP, but didn’t say how. Thereafter, an NDP private member’s bill wended its way to Parliament – “an act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony” with UNDRIP. The House passed it in 2018, but it died a year later in the Senate.
The Liberals then promised a new government bill, and C-15 landed last week. The bill states that Ottawa “must take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent” with UNDRIP. What does that mean, exactly?
What impact would UNDRIP have on existing law? Does it create new Indigenous rights, or new duties for the Crown?