Mundo 21-09-2017

Prime Minister of Canada promises "new relations" with indigenous peoples

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced to the UN General Assembly that his government is seeking a new form of relationship with Aboriginal nations, victims of decades of "colonial legacy."

"We are working on new relations between the Government of Canada and indigenous peoples, based on respect, cooperation and alliances, we have made changes in our own government structures to make a transition" to that new type of relationship, he said.

Trudeau lamented that the Inuit and métis Aboriginal peoples in Canada continue to lag behind their social and economic rights due to the "legacy of colonialism" perpetuated by successive governments.

"This is the legacy of colonialism in Canada, of paternalistic legislation, of the forced relocation of Inuit communities, of systematic denial of Métis rights," he said, adding, "The inability of successive governments to respect rights of indigenous peoples of Canada deeply embarrass us.”

The prime minister noted that his Government is conducting a "thorough review" of Canadian federal laws and policies to benefit Aboriginal peoples and for Ottawa adheres strictly to international norms and conventions, such as the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights of indigenous peoples.

"We are working hard with the indigenous peoples of Canada to better understand their priorities and see how they understand self-determination ... We are making programs to ensure protection of Inuit and Métis as well as the languages of the first nations," he said.

Among other measures, he announced housing and employment programs, as well as the creation in his administration of the Department of Indigenous Relations.