Council of Canadians Kent County chapter activist Ann Pohl (second from the right) stands beside NDP MP Romeo Saganash after the debate on Bill C-262 this past Monday February 5. Pohl was also in the House of Commons public gallery for today's historic vote.
The House of Commons has just voted in favour of Bill C-262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Numerous chapters - including the Kent County, Kitchener-Waterloo, Quill Plains (Wynyard), North Shore, NWT, Montreal and South Niagara chapters - had contacted their Member of Parliament to encourage them to vote in favour of the legislation. Kent County chapter activist Ann Pohl was in the House of Commons public gallery for both the debate on the bill on February 5 and tonight's second reading vote.
The Council of Canadians also encouraged - through various Facebook and Twitter posts - for our supporters to contact their MP on this vote. Staff also contacted their MP and participated in a recent rally on Parliament Hill in support of the bill.
NDP MP Tracey Ramsey has just tweeted, "Hard not to tear up with pride and thanks to Romeo Saganash while we stand to vote for C-262 that calls for the implementation of UNDRIP. Its an emotional night in the house as we take a step closer to true reconciliation. The NDP will always stand for Indigenous justice and rights."
Liberal MP Robert Falcon Ouellett tweets, "Another Great accomplishment of Romeo Saganash with the passing of Private Members Bill C262 UNDRIP." And Green Party leader Elizabeth May tweets, "House just adopted C262 to adopt UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Thank you Romeo Saganash."
Conservative MPs voted against the bill.
Now that the bill has passed second reading it goes to committee for study and then a third and final reading.
If it become law, C-262 would require a process for the review of federal laws to ensure consistency with the standards set out in UNDRIP. It would also require the government to work with Indigenous peoples to develop a national action plan to implement the declaration. And it would provide for annual reporting to parliament on progress made toward implementation.
Notably, the December 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission report called on the federal government to "fully adopt and implement UNDRIP as the framework for reconciliation" and "to develop a national action plan, strategies, and other concrete measures to achieve the goals of UNDRIP."
After initially saying C-262 was "unworkable", Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould stated, "With the direction and leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, our government will support Bill C-262. The bill acknowledges the application of the UN declaration in Canada and calls for the alignment of the laws of Canada with the UN declaration."
The Council of Canadians will continue to monitor the progress of the bill and hopes for a successful third reading vote in the near future. Tonight Pohl comments, "We must stay vigilant each day during the committee process!"
You can retweet the good news here.
#AdoptAndImplement #BillC262 #reconciliation