moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.
Mr. Speaker, thank you.
[Member spoke in Cree]
I remember very clearly when, in September 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It was such an important moment in the history of the United Nations, and also in the history of 400 million indigenous people throughout more than 70 countries. Today, I would suggest, is an equally important moment for this Parliament, for indigenous peoples, and indeed for all Canadians in this country.
I say all Canadians, because Canadians stand for justice when it comes to the rights of indigenous peoples in this country. I say indeed for all Canadians, because Canadians believe in the human rights of the first peoples of this land. Canadians believe in and want reconciliation with indigenous peoples in this country. I am certain that no one in this place is against justice. No MP is opposed to reconciliation, and all want the human rights of indigenous peoples to be upheld at all times. That is part of our duty as parliamentarians in this place. There cannot be reconciliation in the absence of justice. Let us be clear about that as well.
I am honoured once again to rise in the House to speak about these issues and questions that I hold dear to my heart. I would like to start by briefly talking about the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the human rights that this international human rights document enshrines.
Although it has been more than a decade since the UN General Assembly adopted the declaration, this human rights instrument is still not well known. It is the most comprehensive international human rights document that deals specifically with the rights of indigenous peoples: their political rights, their economic rights, their cultural rights, their environmental rights, and I would even add their spiritual rights. Bill C-262 proposes all of that.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the most comprehensive, as I said, but I think it is also worthwhile reminding this place that it has been reaffirmed by consensus at the UN General Assembly eight times since its adoption. In December 2010, the United States, which was one of the last remaining countries that had initially opposed the declaration, confirmed its endorsement for the declaration. Therefore, since December 2010, no state in the world formally objects to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
I would remind members that the UN declaration is the longest-discussed and longest-negotiated human rights instrument in the history of the United Nations. Two decades is a long time for countries to have discussed, negotiated, expressed their concerns, and proposed drafting for the contents of this declaration.
I also want to remind members that Canada finally endorsed the UN declaration in November 2010. I will read what Stephen Harper said when he confirmed the government's endorsement. Mr. Harper said:
We are now confident that Canada can interpret the principles expressed in the Declaration in a manner that is consistent with our Constitution and legal framework.
I know my speaking time is running out, and I want to give other members a chance to speak on this matter. However, I want to remind the House that Bill C-262 actually fulfills two major calls to action issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in its report, namely calls to action 43 and 44.
Call to action 43 calls upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation. If we truly believe in reconciliation, we must use that declaration as the framework.
I also want to remind the House that the rights enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are inherent, meaning they supersede all other documents. They exist because we exist today as indigenous peoples.
Bill C-262 is probably the most important bill Parliament has considered in a long time. We will get to vote on this bill as of tomorrow. “If you believe in reconciliation, what are you doing about it?” That is the question I asked all summer when I was speaking to Canadians across the country, from east to west and all the way up north.
“What are you doing about it?” That is the question I asked Canadians throughout the country, both indigenous and non-indigenous. They all want justice for indigenous peoples. Every Canadian wants reconciliation. Every Canadian believes in the human rights of the first peoples of this country.
When I was travelling across Canada, many Canadians asked me questions about this declaration. Once they understood it, Canadians wanted the framework for reconciliation to be based on this document, which took two decades to negotiate and to be drafted. That is why I am saying that Canadians want reconciliation. They believe in the importance of justice for Canada's indigenous peoples. It is 2018 and they believe that it is finally time to recognize that indigenous rights are also human rights. A country such as Canada must support the rights enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Bill C-262 is a bill of reconciliation. All parties in the House have expressed their support for the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its 94 calls to action. This bill proposes to implement two of the most important calls to action of the report. That is what Bill C-262 attempts to do, and that is what all parties also wanted to accomplish with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.