Today the federal government announced the launch of a national engagement on the recognition of Indigenous rights, which is intended to culminate in the development of the Recognition and Implementation of Rights Framework. The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennett, has indicated that the Government of Canada will engage various groups on the legislative and policy changes necessary to reform current government policies and practices so that the starting premise for all federal government action is the recognition of Indigenous rights from the outset.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, also indicated that the government will also engage with Aboriginal law and indigenous governance experts. The federal government has committed to developing a recognition and implementation framework as well as new legislation before the next election.
We will be reviewing this proposal and seeking to assist our clients with this engagement process. At this time, the announcement gives rise to more questions than answers – it is unclear how this proposed policy/legislative approach may impact existing negotiation or court processes, or how this approach will lead to effective and just resolution of claims relating to Aboriginal rights and title, Treaty rights and the claims to the inherent right to self-government.
The federal government’s national engagement announcement can be found here.