The Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations, Richard Feehan, issued the following statement regarding the Government of Canada’s move from “permanent objector” status to acceptance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“I am so pleased Canada is an unqualified supporter of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. I applaud Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett’s call for a renewed relationship based on respect, co-operation, partnership and the recognition of rights. I would like to thank Romeo Saganash, the MP from northern Quebec who spent more than two decades helping construct the Declaration. The decision follows a recommendation of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which urged all levels of government to implement this important document.
“As Minister Bennett said this morning, this is an exciting time.
“The Alberta government has already started along this path of renewal. We have been clear in our commitment to the UN Declaration as a framework for reconciliation.
“When the Premier asked Cabinet to review programs and services in relation to the UN Declaration, it set us on a course to make a profound and fundamental shift in our relationship with Indigenous peoples.
“We want Indigenous people to participate fully in Alberta’s economy and society. Our next step is to work with Indigenous leaders to identify mutual priorities and a process on how best to begin to implement the principles and objectives of the UN Declaration with our Constitution, and Alberta law.
“Changing a relationship will not happen overnight. But I am confident that our journey together will lead to a better life for Indigenous peoples, and all Albertans.”