BC Conservatives want to repeal the province’s commitment to UNDRIP

BC Conservatives want to repeal the province's commitment to UNDRIP

As the BC Conservatives gain momentum, the party, if elected, wants to repeal the provincial declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

Leader of the BC Conservative party, John Rustad, says his party instead wants to focus on “economic reconciliation,” arguing that making business deals with individual First Nations is a better plan for all British Columbians.

“I’m a big fan of doing things that are actually going to make a difference, and what I found is writing government cheques…does not make a significant difference in the outcomes in the hopes and futures for First Nations,” said Rustad.

Chief Darren Blaney of the Xwemalhkwu First Nation is worried that Rustad’s views will steer the province’s reconciliation path in the wrong direction.

“UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) is a lot of leverage in terms of negotiating our opportunities and what he’s doing is taking away our leverage to access some of the resources within our territory,” said Blaney.

Story continues below

Critics of Rustad’s plan are echoed within the NDP caucus. Minister of Indigenous Relations Murray Rankin says Rustad’s retraction of support for UNDRIP is upsetting.

“I know Mr. Rustad has said that he would tear up the Declaration Act even though he voted for it,” exclaimed Rankin.

“I can tell you, as Minister of Indigenous Relations, the people of British Columbia want us to get on with that work. Every poll shows that all the correspondence I get tells me we are on the right track.”

When CHEK News asked Rustad if he had any support from First Nation leaders, he responded, “I’m not anticipating that there will be a lot of First Nation Chiefs that would line up behind this.”

Regional Chief of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations Terry Teegee says he and the assembly do not support Rustad’s vision.

“I think it’s a very bad idea, a very idiotic idea in terms of repealing what was committed by [all] of the legislative assembly five years ago. I think this is a real threat to First Nations people a real threat to reconciliation,” said Teegee.

READ ALSO: Elenore Sturko’s defection to BC Conservatives confuses, disappoints LGBTQ+ advocates

Tchadas LeoTchadas Leo

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!