LETTER: Reconciliation bill must be passed

From reader Gary Ockenden

The issue of seeking true reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in Canada is one of the defining issues (and opportunities) of our age. With the clock running out on the current session of Parliament, I’m paying close attention to whether the Senate passes a long overdue bill on reconciliation. Bill C-262 was approved by the House of Commons last year but it’s now held up in the Senate.

The bill sets out a framework for the federal government to work with First Nations, Inuit and Metis people to implement standards set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Bill C-262 would not directly change any current laws; instead it would require future governments to work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples to ensure that laws and policies live up to the standards set out in the declaration.

While it’s been supported by politicians of all political stripes, there’s still a danger that Bill C-262 could remain stalled in the Senate. I think we should be asking our political leaders and all Senators to do the right thing. Bill C-262 must be passed before this session of Parliament ends.

Reconciliation is too important for an opportunity like this to be wasted.

Gary Ockenden

Nelson

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