OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF BILL C-15

10 March 2021

“The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the framework for reconciliation at all levels and across all sectors of Canadian society.” – Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Principles of Reconciliation, Principle # 1.

Parliament has an historic opportunity to advance reconciliation.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a consensus global human rights instrument, elaborating minimum standards for the “survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous peoples.” Implementation of these standards is vital to improving the lives of Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world, and to upholding Canada’s solemn and urgent human rights commitments.
Members of the House of Commons and Senate must ensure that Bill C-15, An Act Respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, passes into law before this session of Parliament concludes.
The UN Declaration affirms the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples and the corresponding obligations of States. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was right to put the Declaration at the heart of its vision for reconciliation. The Declaration condemns the racist and colonial doctrines, laws and beliefs that continue to cause so much harm to Indigenous peoples. It also provides the principles and mechanisms needed to redress these harms, as well as safeguards critical to ensuring these violations are never repeated.

Canada has repeatedly committed to implement the UN Declaration. The federal government has even stated this commitment in the preamble to recent Acts of Parliament like the Indigenous Languages Act. Bill C-15 is about putting these commitments into practice.


• Bill C-15 underlines and reinforces the UN Declaration’s rejection of racism and other forms of discrimination, colonialism, forced assimilation and destruction of culture.
• The Bill requires the Government of Canada to work with Indigenous peoples to establish priorities and processes for implementing the Declaration’s diverse provisions – and to report annually to Parliament on the progress made.
• The Bill provides clarity around the fact that the Declaration, like other international human rights instruments, is already being used by courts to interpret Canadian law.
• In particular, the Bill also requires a collaborative process of legal review and reform to bring federal laws into line with the human rights affirmed in the Declaration.
These are important, practical and achievable measures that deserve the support of all Canadians.
We are mindful that a previous effort to meet Canada’s implementation obligations, Bill C-262, died on the Order Paper after unnecessary delay and obstruction in the Parliamentary process. We do not want any further delays in meeting Canada’s obligations to implement the UN Declaration.

Some Indigenous peoples’ governments and organizations, including some represented in this letter, are proposing or supporting amendments to clarify and strengthen Bill C-15. We believe that the Parliamentary process can accommodate a fulsome consideration of such amendments, while still ensuring that Bill C-15 is adopted before the end of the current session of Parliament.
Concrete measures to implement the UN Declaration in Canadian law and policy are necessary and overdue. Passage of Bill C-15 should be a top priority for all Members of Parliament and Senators.

VERSION FRANÇAISE

Mercredi 10 mars 2021
Lettre ouverte en soutien au projet de loi C-15
« La Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones constitue le cadre pour la réconciliation à tous les niveaux et dans toutes les sphères de la société canadienne. » – Commission de vérité et réconciliation du Canada, Principes de la réconciliation, Principe no 1.
Le Parlement a une occasion historique de faire progresser la réconciliation.

La Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones est un instrument de consensus mondial en matière de droits de la personne qui élabore des normes minimales nécessaires « à la survie, à la dignité et au bien-être des peuples autochtones ». La mise en œuvre de ces normes est essentielle à l’amélioration de la vie des peuples autochtones au Canada et dans le monde, et au respect des engagements formels et pressants du Canada en matière de droits de la personne.

Les députés de la Chambre des communes et les membres du Sénat doivent veiller à ce que le projet de loi C-15 (Loi concernant la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones) soit adopté d’ici la fin de la session parlementaire.

La Déclaration affirme les droits intrinsèques des peuples autochtones et les obligations correspondantes des États. La Commission de vérité et réconciliation a eu raison de placer la Déclaration de l’ONU au cœur de sa vision de la réconciliation. La Déclaration condamne les doctrines, les lois et les croyances racistes et coloniales qui continuent de causer tant de préjudices aux peuples autochtones. Elle fournit également les principes et les mécanismes de réparation visant ces préjudices, ainsi que des protections qui garantissent que ces violations ne soient jamais répétées.

À maintes reprises, le Canada s’est engagé à mettre en œuvre la Déclaration des Nations Unies. Le gouvernement fédéral a même énoncé cet engagement dans le préambule des lois récentes du Parlement, comme la Loi sur les langues autochtones. Le projet de loi C-15 vise à mettre en pratique ces engagements.
• Le projet de loi C-15 souligne et renforce l’intention exprimée dans la Déclaration de l’ONU de rejeter le racisme et autres formes de discrimination, le colonialisme, l’assimilation forcée et la destruction de la culture.
• Le projet de loi oblige le gouvernement du Canada à travailler avec les peuples autochtones afin d’établir les priorités et les processus de mise en œuvre des diverses dispositions de la

Déclaration, et à faire annuellement rapport au Parlement sur les progrès réalisés.
• Le projet de loi précise le fait que la Déclaration, comme d’autres instruments internationaux en matière de droits de la personne, est déjà invoquée par les tribunaux pour interpréter les lois canadiennes.
• En particulier, le projet de loi exige également un processus de collaboration en matière d’examen et de réforme juridiques pour rendre les lois fédérales compatibles avec les droits de la personne énoncés dans la Déclaration.
Il s’agit de mesures importantes, pratiques et réalisables qui méritent l’appui de l’ensemble des Canadiens.
Nous sommes conscients qu’un précédent effort visant à respecter les obligations de mise en œuvre du Canada, le projet de loi C-262, est mort au Feuilleton en raison d’une obstruction et d’un retard injustifiés du processus parlementaire. Il ne faut pas retarder davantage la mise en œuvre des obligations du Canada à l’égard de la Déclaration de l’ONU.
Quelques organisations de peuples autochtones, y compris les organisations représentées dans la présente lettre, proposent ou appuient des modifications visant à préciser et à renforcer le projet de loi C-15. Nous croyons que le processus parlementaire peut tenir pleinement compte de ces amendements, tout en veillant à ce que le projet de loi C-15 soit adopté d’ici la fin de la session parlementaire.
Des mesures concrètes pour intégrer la Déclaration des Nations Unies dans la législation et la politique canadiennes s’imposent et se font attendre depuis longtemps. L’adoption du projet de loi C-15 devrait être une priorité absolue pour tous les députés et sénateurs.

Nations, Governments, and Organizations
Amnesty International Canada / Amnistie Internationale Canada
Assembly of First Nations BC Assembly of First Nations
British Columbia Treaty Commission
Canadian Arab Anti-discrimination Committee
Canadian Arab Federation
Canadian Council for Refugees / Conseil canadien pour les réfugiés
Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers)
Canadian Labour Congress
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Yukon Chapter
Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
Citizens for Public Justice / Citoyens pour une politique juste
Colour of Poverty Colour of Change
Conseil central du Montréal métropolitain – CSN
Cooperation Canada
First Nations Summit
Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) / Cree Nation Government
The Hispanic Development Council
Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group
(Cowichan Tribes, Penelakut Tribe, Halalt First Nation, Lyackson First Nation, Ts’uubaa-asatx First Nation)
Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa
Inuit Circumpolar Council
Ligue des droits et libertés
Mennonite Church Canada Indigenous-Settler Relations
Métis National Council
KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical
Justice Initiatives
McMaster Centre for Human Rights
and Restorative Justice

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc
OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
Oxfam Canada
Individuals
(retired)
Laurie Adkin, Professor of Political Science, University of Alberta
Melanie Adrian, Associate Professor, Carleton University
Greg Albo, Professor, Department of Politics, York University
Peter Andrée, Professor, Department of Political Science and Co-Director, Carleton Centre for Community Innovation, Carleton University
Hugo Asselin, Professeur titulaire et directeur de l’École d’études autochtones, UQAT
Lloyd Axworthy, former Foreign Affairs Minister
Nigel Bankes, Professor and Chair of Natural Resources Law, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary
Marie Battiste,
University of Saskatchewan
Richard Barwell, Doye /Dean, Faculté d’éducation/Faculty of Education, Université d’Ottawa
Suzy Basile, Professeure, École d’études autochtones, UQAT
Céline Bellot, Directrice école de travail social, Université de Montréal
The Presbyterian Church in Canada Canada
South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario
National Association of
Women and the
Regroupement des centres
d’amitiés autochtones au Québec
Public Service Alliance of Canada /
Alliance de la Fonction publique du
Law/Association nationale
Femmes et Droit
Raoul Wallenberg Centre for
RAVEN (Respecting
Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton, Or Haneshamah: Ottawa’s Reconstructionist Community
Ivy Lynn Bourgeault, Sociological & Anthropological Studies, University of Ottawa
Sébastien Brodeur-Girard, Professeur, École d’études autochtones (UQAT)
Bruce Broomhall, Professeur, Département des sciences juridiques, UQAM
Laurie Buffalo, Councillor, Samson Cree First Nation
Cynthia Chambers, Professor Emerita, University of Lethbridge
Paul Champ, Lawyer
Larry Chartrand, Emeritus professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Aldo Chircop, Professor of Law & Canada Research Chair in Maritime Law & Policy, Marine & Environmental Law Institute, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
Ana Nicole Collins
Matthew Coon Come, Former National Chief, AFN, Former Grand Chief Grand Council of the Crees/Cree Nation Government
Irwin Cotler,
Dr. Selena Couture, Department of Drama, University of Alberta
Aimée Craft, Professeure agrégée / Associate Professor, Programme de common law en français /French Common Law, Faculté de droit /Faculty of Law, Université d’Ottawa
Ellen Gabriel, Kanien’kehá:ka Activist from Kanehsatà:ke
Leah Gazan, Member of Parliament
Karine Gentelet, Professeure agrégée/Associate Professor, Sciences sociales, Université du Québec en Outaouais
Rachel yacaaʔał George , Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta
Ian Gill, Founding partner, Salmon Nation
Jill Glessing
Avvy Yao-Yao Go, Barrister & Solicitor, Clinic Director, Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
Joyce A. Green, Professor, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Regina
Fr. Alfred Grzempa OMI, Provincial Superior, Assumption Province, Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Lucie Guibault , Associate Dean, Academic Associate Director Law and Technology Institute Schulich School of Law
Brenda Gunn, Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba
Joe Gunn, Executive Director, Le Centre Oblat – A Voice for Justice
Nancy Crépeau, Professeure, éducation autochtone, Faculté d’éducation, Université d’Ottawa
Michael Dan, O.C., O.O., Toronto
Richard Devlin, Dalhousie University, Schulich School of Law
Bernard Duhaime, Professeur titulaire, Département des sciences juridiques, UQAM
Terra Duncan, Dalhousie University
Paul Eid, Professeur, Département de sociologie, UQAM
Pearl Eliadis, human rights lawyer, Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law and Max Bell School of Public Policy, McGill University
Bernie M. Farber, Former CEO Canadian Jewish Congress
Doris Farget, Professeure, Faculté de science politique et de droit, UQAM
Robert Fox
Donna Franey, Executive Director, Dalhousie Legal Aid Service
Hadley Friedland, Assistant Professor, University of Alberta Faculty of Law
(SALCO)
Southeast Alaskan
Human Rights
Indigenous Transboundary
Commission
Aboriginal Values and
Environmental Needs)
Jennie Abell,
Associate Professor
of Educational Foundations,
Department
Wallenberg Centre for
Human Rights and former
Chair of Raoul
Minister of Justice and
Attorney General of Canada

Bonny Ibhawoh, Professor, Senator William McMaster Chair in Global Human Rights; Director, Centre for Human Rights and Restorative Justice, Department of History / Centre for Peace Studies, McMaster University; Chair, United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development
Sa’ke’j Henderson, Research Fellow, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan
Aaron Hill, Executive Director, Watershed Watch Salmon Society
Mike Hogeterp, Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue
Nicolas Houde, Professeur, Département de science politique, UQAM, Directeur du GRIAAC / CIERA-Montréal
Hup-Wil-Lax-A, Kirby Muldoe
Mylène Jaccoud, Professeure titulaire, École de criminologie, Université de Montréal
Ottawa
Sébastien Jodoin, Assistant Professor & Canada Research Chair in Human Rights, Health, and the Environment, McGill University, Faculty of Law
Paul Joffe, Lawyer
Kelsey Jones, Director, Indigenous Blacks and Mi’kmaq Initiative, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
Stephen Kakfwi, Dene Leader, former Premier of Northwest Territories
Jennifer Koshan, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary
Cheryl Knockwood, Chair of Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission
Kate Korycki, Gender Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Western University
Sarah Wylie Krotz, Associate Professor and Interim Director, Canadian Literature Centre, Department of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
Kiera Ladner, Canada Research Chair in Miyo we’citowin, Indigenous Governance and Digital Sovereignties, Professor, Political Science, University of Manitoba
Véronique Laflamme, porte- parole du FRAPRU
Fannie Lafontaine, Professeure, Faculté de droit, Université Laval
François J Larocque, Professeur titulaire / Full Professor, Section de common law / Common Law Section, Faculté de droit / Faculty of Law, Université d’Ottawa / University of Ottawa
Margot Latimer, Dalhousie University
Jodi Lazare, Assistant Professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
Katia Lelièvre, Troisième vice-présidente, Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN)
Lois M. Leslie, Barrister and Solicitor
Dominique Leydet, Professeure, Département de philosophie, UQÀM
Sheryl Lightfoot, Canada Research Chair of Global Indigenous Rights and Politics, University of British Columbia
Chief Wilton Littlechild, Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner
Michael Lynk, Professor, Faculty of Law, Western University, London, Ontario
Debbie Martin, Canada Research Chair, Indigenous Peoples’ Health and Well- Being, Dalhousie University
David MacDonald, Professor, Political Science, University of Guelph
Mireille McLaughlin, Professeure, Université d’Ottawa
Kent McNeil, Emeritus Distinguished Research Professor at Osgoode Haw Law School, York University
Naiomi W. Metallic, Chancellor’s Chair in Aboriginal Law and Policy, Assistant Professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University
Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg, Ottawa
Victoria
Michel Morin, Professeur titulaire, Faculté de droit, Université de Montréal
Catherine Morris, Executive Director, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
Ted Moses, former Cree Ambassador to the UN
Hereditary Chief Na’Moks, John Ridsdale, Tsayu Clan of the Wet’suwe’ten Nation
Val Napoleon, Law Foundation Chair of Aboriginal Justice and Governance, Provost’s Community Engaged Scholar, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria
Alex Neve, Senior Fellow, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa, Adjunct Professor, Faculties of Law, University of Ottawa and Dalhousie University
Nicholas Ng-A-Fook, Professeur titulaire, Faculté d’éducation, Université d’Ottawa
Joshua Nichols, Assistant
Matthew Norris, President, Urban Native Youth Association
Martin Z. Olszynski, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary
James O’Reilly, O.C. A.d.E.
Darren O’Toole, Professeur agrégé/Associate Professor, Faculté de droit/Faculty of Law (Common Law), École d’études politiques/School of Political Studies, Université d’Ottawa
John Packer, Neuberger-Jesin Professor of International Conflict Resolution /
Professeur Neuberger-Jesin sur la résolution de conflits internationaux;
Directeur, Centre de recherche et d’enseignement sur les droits de la personne / Human Rights Research and Education Centre, Université d’Ottawa
Jeremy Patzer, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Criminology, University of Manitoba
Shannon Perez, Justice and Reconciliation Mobilizer, Christian Reformed Church
Rosemary Phillips, Treaty Negotiator, Ktunaxa Kinbasket Treaty Financing Society
Margaret Robinson, Canada Research Chair in Reconciliation, Gender, & Identity, Coordinator, Indigenous Studies, Assistant Professor, Departments of English, Sociology & Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University
Thierry Rodon, Département de science politique, Université Laval
Audrey Rousseau, Professeure, Université du Québec en Outaouais Peter H. Russell,
at the University of Toronto, Romeo Saganash
Eric C. J. Oliver, Assistant
Professor in Physical
Oceanography, Department
David Langtry, former Acting
of Oceanography, Dalhousie
University
Chief Commissioner,
Canadian Human Rights
University Librarian –
Commission
Ry Moran, Associate
Reconciliation, University of
Martha Jackman, Professor,
Faculty of Law, University of
Professor, Faculty of Law,
University of Alberta
Professor
emeritus of political science

Jean Philippe Sapinski, Professeur adjoint, Maîtrise en études de l’environnement, Université de Moncton
Craig Scott, Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University
Scott Simon, Professeur, École d’études sociologiques et anthropologiques, Université d’Ottawa
Penelope Simons, Professeure agrégée / Associate Professor et Vice- doyenne à la recherche / Vice Dean Research, Faculté de droit / Faculty of Law, Université d’Ottawa
Kerry Sloan, Assistant Professor, McGill Faculty of Law
Marie-Eve Sylvestre, Doyenne et professeure titulaire, Faculté de droit civil, Université d’Ottawa
Christina Szurlej, Director, Atlantic Human Rights Centre and Associate Professor, Human Rights Program, St. Thomas University
Père Luc Tardif OMI, Supérieur provincial, province de Notre Dame du Cap, Oblats de Marie Immaculée
Fr. Ken Thorson OMI, Provincial Superior, OMI Lacombe Canada, Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Professor David VanderZwaag, Schulich School of Law
Karine Vanthuyne, Professeure agrégée, Directrice adjointe & Responsable des études de baccalauréat en anthropologie de l’Écoles d’études sociologiques et anthropologiques, Co- responsable du comité d’autochtonisation et décolonisation de la Faculté des sciences sociales, Chaire en enseignement universitaire (2020-2023), Directrice du GRITE, Université d’Ottawa
Jonnette Watson Hamilton, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary
Deborah Wilkins
Kerry Wilkins, University of Toronto, Faculty of Law
Michelle Williams, Assistant Professor, Schulich School of Law
Frankie Young, Assistant Professor, Western University Faculty of Law
Sara Seck, Associate
Professor, Schulich School of
Law, Dalhousie University
Andrew S. Thompson, CIGI Senior Fellow and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Political Science, University of Waterloo; Manager, Global Governance Programs and Partnerships Balsillie School of International Affairs

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Categories: Discrimination, Indigenous rights, international law

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