Canada is one step closer to adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Bill C-262 was passed in the Senate’s Aboriginal peoples committee earlier in the week amidst complaints from Conservative senators that Chair Lillian Dyck was ramming the legislation through without proper debate or discussion.
Senator David Tkachuk challenged Dyck a number of times.
In putting forward an amendment, Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson said imprecise language in the legislation could have unintended consequences such as giving Indigenous groups a veto over natural resource projects.
“I’m disappointed that we are rushing ahead with consideration of this bill without many important questions having been clearly answered,” he said. “This amendment deals with potential and perhaps unintended consequences for our constitution flowing from imprecise language.”
At one-point, Independent Senator Murray Sinclair accused Patterson of “running out the clock.”
Much of the debate centered around what the words “free, prior and informed consent” from Indigenous peoples exactly means.
The private member’s bill, which was put forward by NDP MP Romeo Saganash, now goes back to the Senate chamber for final debate and vote.
If the legislation is not passed by the end of June, it dies on the order paper.
(PHOTO: Saskatchewan Senator Lillian Dyck is the chair of the Senate Aboriginal peoples committee. File photo.)