But it will be an enormously consequential. Tellingly, that is why the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls have both called for this to happen.
And we should not overlook the vital significance this will have more widely, in two crucial respects.
First, this is incredibly important globally. On every continent the rights of Indigenous Peoples are trammelled daily, rooted in centuries-old racism, and often marked by extreme acts of devastating violence. The UN declaration offers a path for tackling this colossal human rights crisis. But only if its stirring words are translated from international promises to national action. By adopting legislative commitments to uphold and put in place a binding framework for implementation, Canada sets a vital example.
Second, this stands to advance Canada’s overall commitment to international human rights. For decades, communities who have expected meaningful action by federal, provincial and territorial governments to comply with the UN human rights obligations we expect other countries to respect have been disappointed and, frankly, betrayed. Instead, governments disingenuously blame imagined constraints of federalism for inaction and often assert that international human rights are for other countries with more grievous failings.
In that way, this is a human rights breakthrough that, ultimately, benefits not only Indigenous Peoples, but individuals and communities struggling for action to address racism, uphold gender equality, tackle poverty and homelessness, and promote the rights of people living with disabilities.
Bill C-15 is, of course, Indigenous rights legislation. It is also one of the most important pieces of human rights legislation in a generation. It takes our international human rights obligations seriously, brings those promises home and commits to action to uphold them.
And that should be embraced by us all.
Brenda Gunn is a citizen of the Manitoba Métis Federation and a professor at the University of Manitoba’s faculty of law. Alex Neve is a Senior Fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
This content was originally published here.