London, Ontario April 1st, 2021 – Recently, the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) and the Leader of The Green Party of Canada, Annamie Paul, collaborated on a press conference on Bill C-15. AIAI has taken the position of opposing Bill C-15, along with the member Nations leadership, as the current piece of legislation has been twisted to align with Canada’s view of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), rather than the original intent and purpose, which is the right of all Indigenous Peoples to self-governance.
Grand Chief Joel Abram states “It’s bad enough they are trying to decide what’s best without consulting with us, which is an insult in itself, but now they are using UNDRIP as an excuse to push their agenda in trying to take away the rights of all Indigenous Peoples. They are rushing to get this pushed through legislation with the least amount of consultation as possible so they can make the argument that it has Indigenous support when in fact a large number of communities were not consulted or made aware that this could be a reality.” Deputy Grand Chief Stacia Loft adds “Many Nations do not have an issue with UNDRIP but many take issue with Canada’s version of UNDRIP as their process of implementation has been flawed from the start. Canada has not adequately engaged with Indigenous Peoples and the six weeks they have set aside to do this have only done so with certain national organizations and provinces. They have not reached out or made enough of an effort, to talk with the rights holders themselves or the communities. Meetings were capped, time was restricted, and engagement periods were not extended to make proper use of time and information.”
AIAI extends its thanks to The Green Party of Canada for its assistance in getting the message out to the media and the people. Other political parties, such as the NDP, have refused to meet with AIAI for engagement on Bill C-15 or have ignored our calls for a meeting to discuss avenues of support or at the very least a discussion about it. We will continue to oppose Bill C-15 and encourage other Indigenous Nations and communities to join with us in telling the Federal Government that we will not have our rights dictated to us as they see fit rather than recognize our right to self-governance.