Bill 41 a ‘step toward reconciliation’: MLA

Katzie will get meaningful consultation, says Chief George

Premier John Horgan announces Indigenous rights will be recognized in B.C. with the introduction of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. (Chad Hipolito – The Canadian Press photo)

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare said it was a huge moment when the B.C. government became the first in North America to recognize the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

Beare said passing Bill 41 was the highlight of the fall session of the B.C. Legislature.

“It’s a truly historic piece of legislation. We’re enshrining the rights of indigenous people,” she said. “It’s an amazing step toward reconciliation.”

It passed unanimously, and now all government legislation will be looked at through the eyes of First Nations rights and indigenous governments will have the ability to be at the table with government, said Beare.

The government has already made moves in this direction, Beare added, such as seeking First Nations input on environmental issues and child welfare.

She said the government is not giving First Nations new rights.

“These rights already exist – that has been made amply clear by the courts.”

The cabinet minister said it will help all levels of government by ultimately providing stable, predictable processes for future decisions on land use and other issues.

Katzie First Nation Chief Grace George also called it a historic moment, saying the bill creates a pathway for meaningful consultation, recognition, and acknowledgment of her people’s rights and title to the land and waterways.

“Katzie will have access to meaningful consultation thorough Bill 41, and I’m happy about that as Katzie people have occupied these lands for over 10,000 years,” she said.

“We actually have something that supports our work with restoring waterways, maintaining significant artifact sites, protecting our sacred sites, and restoring environmental impacts on our lands. Daily, our Katzie leadership council and staff work hard to protect what little we have left, and it’s not always easy.”

George said she has attended numerous gatherings of First Nations leaders to talk about the bill, and watched it transform. Now, there will be a lot more work to do, to ensure all B.C. laws are consistent with the UN declaration.

The new law creates a respectful foundation for government-to-government decision making with the six municipalities Katzie is working with directly, added George.

Grand Chief Doug Kelly, chair of the First Nations Health Council, said Bill C41 is a call to action.

“What it will require, however, is for First Nations leaders and citizens to work together like never before, and it also requires the provincial government to change.”


 

@NeilCorbett18
ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Free film for Ridge residents to mark Plastic Free July

The Story of Plastic can be viewed for free on any device

Seniors tennis society of Maple Ridge looking for new members

Club accepts anyone over the age of 55 into their ranks

Songs Strings and Steps presents outdoor concert series in Abbotsford

No more than 50 people permitted for each performance

Maple Ridge conservation group frustrated with lack of communication by city

ARMS concerned proposed development along Alouette River will go to fourth reading

Ridge Meadows recreation re-opens

Maple Ridge fitness centre and outdoor pool re-open; Pitt Meadows opens sports fields to groups

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

COVID-19 exposure on Vancouver flight

The Air Canada 8421 flight travelled from Kelowna to Vancouver on July 6

Double homicide investigation leads Vancouver police to Chilliwack

A VPD forensics unit was in Chilliwack Saturday collecting evidence connected to East Van murders

VIDEO: Former Abbotsford resident giving away $1,000

Langley native Alex Johnson creates elaborate treasure hunt to give away cash

Most Read