Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) calls on all levels of government to adopt the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework to decolonize all legislation and promote reconciliation with Indigenous communities on Turtle Island.
Although the Canadian government has already endorsed the Declaration, it is still in the process of reviewing and revising laws and policies to bring them into line with the standards set out in the Declaration. Federal Bill C-262 was passed in May 2018 to make Canadian laws consistent with these standards. Private member Bill 78 by Ontario MPP Sol Mamakwa of Kiiwetinoong applies the same standards to all laws in Ontario. MPP Mamakwas’ Bill will be debated at Queens Park on March 21, 2019.
The passing of Bill 78 would set a new standard to measure how Ontario behaves toward Indigenous people and nations. OPSEU President Warren “Smokey” Thomas supports the full implementation of the UNDRIP, which recognizes the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples to traditional lands and territories, self-determination, and recognition of culture and language. This commitment to the Declaration is part of the journey needed to undo the legacy of colonialism and provide new pathways to healing.”
Chief R. Stacey Laforme of Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, “hears talk of reconciliation and a new nation-to-nation relationship in the words spoken by governments at all levels throughout Canada. This Bill proposes non-partisan cooperative concrete action to back up those words.”
OPSEU believes that the adoption of this Bill is long overdue. Recalling the cultural genocide of the residential schools system and the systematic removal of Indigenous children from their families and communities during the Sixties Scoop, Krista Maracle, Chair of the OPSEU Indigenous Circle adds, “We do not require more studies and meetings and empty promises. What we need now is concrete action to begin to undo colonialism once and for all.”
For more information contact Smokey Thomas at 613-329-1931