"Is this what passes for leadership?" asks Indian Af fairs Critic Anita Neville
- "Is this what passes for leadership?" asks Indian Affairs Critic Anita Neville
June 30, 2006
Ottawa - Liberal Indian Affairs Critic Anita Neville today criticized the Conservative government's vote against the United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
"For twenty years, Canada had taken a leadership role in seeing this declaration developed. Canada was a driving force in ensuring the resolution could overcome any roadblocks in its way," said Ms. Neville. "Now, at the moment where Canada was needed the most, to give approval to the resolution, we have turned our backs on it, thanks to the Conservative government."
Canada and Russia were the only countries on the UN Human Rights Council to vote against the draft declaration. Despite their opposition the resolution still passed by a vote of 30-2.
"The government's argument that the draft resolution may be inconsistent with Canadian laws is a non-starter," said Ms. Neville. "The wording of the declaration explicitly states that the declaration must be interpreted in a fair and balanced manner with other laws and standards, the principles of democracy and good government in support of the rights of all. The declaration is a non-binding document. It is a statement of aspiration. Approving it would simply provide Canada's Aboriginal population with a sign of good faith."
Ms. Neville added that the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs voted unanimously to support the declaration. Tellingly, the government members on the committee abstained on the vote.
"How many more times will this Conservative government betray Canada's First Nations, Inuit and Métis people," asked Ms. Neville. "Based on their actions so far in government, from canceling the Kelowna Accord to their abdication of responsibility at Caledonia, to their refusal to conduct meaningful consultation, to rejecting the draft declaration, it is becoming clear that the Conservative government is only interested in a confrontational relationship with Canada's first citizens."
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