That the House: (a) re-affirm its support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), including article 32(2), which guarantees “free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources”; and (b) acknowledge that advancing Constitutional Reconciliation through a nation-to-nation approach means respecting the right to self-determination of Indigenous Peoples and the will of their representative institutions, like the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs which has said with respect to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline that “No means no – the project does not have the consent it requires”, which is a principled position conducive to achieving the ends of the UNDRIP.
Madam Speaker, I know it is always hard to pronounce the name of that part of my riding. I would like to begin by saying that I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the very impressive member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.
First of all, I think it is worth reminding the House that we passed Bill C-262 some time ago. It was a historic moment when the House adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. That is why I think it is important to start with that reminder.
My motion reaffirms the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including article 32.2. I worked on UNDRIP negotiations for 23 years. For all those years, I was a participant and a negotiator working on the texts we have agreed to as part of the declaration. We need to understand something about the whole conversation around this in Canada today. People who talk about reconciliation cannot just say whatever they please. They have to recognize Canada's constitutional context. Anyone who talks about reconciliation in Canada has to talk about it with that context in mind.
For instance, one of the things the Supreme Court states in its rulings is that reconciliation is necessary, but that it is also vital to recognize that our consent, the consent of the indigenous peoples, Canada's first peoples, is equally necessary.
That is what reconciliation is all about. We must always come back to that principle. In a 2004 decision, the Supreme Court wrote that the principle of reconciliation rests on the government's duty to recognize the pre-existing sovereignty of indigenous peoples, since it is in some way more honourable than Crown sovereignty.
The pre-existing sovereignty of indigenous peoples has an overriding right over the crown's assumed sovereignty. These are not my words. They are the words of the Supreme Court. The “assumed Crown sovereignty” is what the Supreme Court used.
When discussing the sovereignty of the crown, or whatever we wish, there are a lot of issues, one of them being where we stand today. Where we stand today is pretty significant, I would suggest, because we have an issue before us. We praise people who say yes but ignore those who have the same right to say no. People have said that. There are communities across the country that have said no, and they have the right to say no.
That is our point. I could go on and on speaking about all of these issues, but all of this is about the right to self-determination, and they have said so. Let us keep it to that and respect that right to say yes, of course, but to say no also.