Feds overhauling relationship with Indigenous peoples

Feds overhauling relationship with Indigenous peoples

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is planning to overhaul the way the federal government relates to Indigenous Peoples, proposing a new legislative framework created to pave the way towards stronger rights and greater control over their own destiny.

The framework would be implemented through a series of measures, including legislation, but it's not clear when that would be formally introduced.

"Recognition of rights will guide all government relations with indigenous peoples".

"We need a government-wide shift in how we do things", Trudeau said.

"I think it's time we recognize that a rights-based approach to Indigenous issues and to a partnership with Indigenous people to reconciliation is what we have to do", said Trudeau Wednesday morning.

"This framework gives us the opportunity to build new mechanisms to recognize Indigenous governments, and ensure rigorous, full and meaningful implementation of treaties and other agreements", he said. It will be developed over the coming months through national consultations, led by Carolyn Bennett, the minister of crown-Indigenous relations and northern affairs, and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

"All of these things demand real, positive action - action that must include the full recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights". The rights have been in place since the Constitution was ratified in 1982, he said, but it's been Canada's position that you have to prove it, he said. Some, including NDP MP Romeo Saganash, were skeptical that the words will translate into action.

The federal changes come at a time when Canadians are grappling with how indigenous people have been historically treated.


While Indigenous and treaty rights are recognized under Section 35 of the Constitution, the sources said those rights are often tested in court. But they are part of Mr. Trudeau's campaign commitment to work toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

"While there has been some success, progress has not been sustained, or carried out".

The consultations, which Trudeau said will also involve provinces, territories, the business community and other non-Indigenous Canadians, will include looking at finding more collaborative ways to resolve disputes.

As a result, he said that too many feel the country and its institutions "will never deliver the fairness, justice and real conciliation that Indigenous peoples deserve".

A number of visibly Indigenous people were excluded without cause from the jury that last week acquitted Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley, 56, in the shooting death of Boushie, 22, a member of the Red Pheasant First Nation.

MPs are set to hold a take-note debate on the experience of Indigenous Peoples within Canada's justice system Wednesday. "What we can do, what we must do is to commit to being better, to doing better".

The Boushie family has been on Parliament Hill this week and Trudeau highlighted their presence in his remarks.

"That is why we will bring forward broad-based, concrete reforms to the criminal justice system, including changes to how juries are selected", he said.

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