The Honourable Senator Harder, Government Representative in the Senate

May 11, 2016

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Hon. Dennis Glen Patterson: Honourable senators, my question is for the Government Leader in the Senate.

This week, the Government of Canada removed its objections to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and signalled, in the words of Minister Carr, that it is planning to implement a “Canadian definition” of the treaty.

While the federal government has jurisdiction to regulate some resource development projects in Canada, most resource development projects are regulated by the provinces and territories and through processes established in modern treaties.

What is the government’s plan to implement a Canadian definition of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? Will this plan include consultations with provincial and territorial governments?

Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. I can assure him that is the practice of governments of Canada past and present, namely that in implementing international treaties there is appropriate consultation with relevant jurisdictions to ensure both proper understanding of and alignment to the commitments Canada has made.

Senator Patterson: There are concerns about this new step making it more complex if not more difficult to get things built in Canada. The government leader in the Senate has indicated there will be the start of a consultation process. Could the leader comment on the time frame for this consultation process, which hopefully will lead to clarity on the meaning of this step by Canada?

Senator Harder: Honourable senators, I would be happy to undertake to inquire with respect to time frame and report back.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

(Response to question raised by the Honourable Dennis Glen Patterson on May 11, 2016)

The Government of Canada is now a full supporter, without qualification, of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, advancing the vital work of reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada. The Government is committed to adopting and implementing the Declaration.

The Government of Canada will engage with and work alongside First Nations, M├ętis, and Inuit peoples, as well as with provinces and territories on how to develop an Action Plan to implement the Declaration. Existing federal/ provincial/territorial fora will be used to engage provinces and territories.

QP – United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples