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The timing of appointing Sinclair would be perfect – even poetic. Just last week, Sinclair turned 70. He’s neither too old nor subject to distraction by career ambitions.
More substantively, Canada recently introduced Bill C-15 to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), an instrument of international relations which Canada long resisted and voted against in 2007, and which the Trudeau government has taken its time finally to bring into Canadian law following British Columbia’s lead in 2019.
There is no contradiction in an Indigenous leader representing the Crown; rather, for those First Nations who concluded treaties and seek to rely upon them, it would be an affirmation that the treaties must be respected. For other Indigenous peoples in Canada (and elsewhere), the expression of such confidence in an Indigenous leader should be celebrated.
Canada is increasingly a pluri-legal country as Indigenous law gains in influence and as Indigenous jurists increasingly hold important positions as advocates, judges, scholars, politicians and senior officials. Last year, for the first time in 124 years, the Canadian Bar Association appointed an Indigenous president. More such appointments are needed.
Other Indigenous leaders have been appointed provincial lieutenant governors and New Zealand has had two Mãori governors general who, far from damaging Mãori interests, have contributed to progressive developments and the still-evolving reconciliation in that country. Sinclair is hardly one to surrender positions or the interests of Indigenous peoples; his life and impeccable career provide abundant evidence to the contrary. He has demonstrated laudable judgment, courage and real effort in taking positions – often breaking barriers.
This content was originally published here.