Legalese requires clarity and very specific wording, something that law firms like MyDefence are well-aware of. There’s a reason legislators are asked to be very specific and clear with how they phrase and write laws and bills, which is exactly what’s happening with the Canadian federal government.
Federal officials are being called on to provide greater clarity regarding how they would put Canada’s laws more in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and how this would affect government developments and actions in the future.
Opposition MPs that studied Bill C-15 have called on Liberals why they haven’t clearly defined the key article from the UN declaration that compels Ottawa to get ‘free, prior and informed consent’ from the Indigenous population on any legislation or decision that affect their rights, properties, or lands.
Conservatives have stated their concerns that this would result in First Nations having veto control over the government’s development projects moving forward.
Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett stated that legal and Indigenous experts explained that this would not be the case, noting the new bill requires that Indigenous people have their place at the table to see project designs that would affect them.
Bennett says that, while this might lead to some projects being seen as controversial, these changes will eventually lead to greater clarity in the future as to how it all works.
The UNDRIP bill requires that the Canadian government take a more inclusive approach when dealing with First Nations, helping in providing more information and agency in decisions that affect their lives, lands, families, and culture.
This new bill was one of the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which took a good, hard look at the legacy of residential schools in Canada, as part of the greater awareness in Canada’s legislative system and its practitioners regarding Indigenous relations and rights.
Given the changes this bill would entail, for law firms like MyDefence and for the Canadian federal government at large, it’s somewhat understandable and expected that people are asking for greater clarifications regarding the terms and scope of the UNDRIP bill.