12 Nov Ottawa wins praise for endorsing UN indigenous-rights declaration (Globe and Mail)
The Harper government stepped up to the plate Friday, formally signing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ending Canada’s isolation as one of two countries that refused to endorse the text.
The non-binding declaration commits member states to protect the rights and resources of indigenous peoples within the state. The United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand refused to sign when the accord was adopted in 2007, claiming that resource rights and other claims included in the text clashed with their constitutions.
Australia and New Zealand have since signed on. And the Conservative government signalled in the Throne Speech this year that the Prime Minister was prepared to end his government’s opposition. Word came Friday afternoon from United Nations headquarters that Canada had signed, with certain qualifications. The government decided it was better to endorse the declaration and explain its concerns, rather than reject the whole document.
“It signals a real shift, a move forward toward real partnership between the first nations and the government,” Shawn Atleo, Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said Friday in an interview. …Go to article.