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ITK Acknowledges New Federal Legislation as House and Senate Adjourn

June 25, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami welcomes the passing into law last week of Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Metis children, youth and families. The law includes core provisions for Inuit children, including doing whatever is possible to keep children with their families, ensuring all care provided is culturally appropriate, and ensuring Inuit children and youth living outside Inuit Nunangat are identified as Inuit and remain in contact with their culture and home community.

ITK regrets that that Bill C-91, An Act respecting Indigenous languages, passed into law without inclusion of any Inuit-specific priorities. In its current format, this law does not affirm Inuit language rights or close the legal and policy gaps that contribute to the erosion of Inuktut as the first, only or preferred language spoken by Inuit in Inuit Nunangat, and does not create any new legal obligations for the Government of Canada.

Inuit are concerned about the quick passage of Bill C-97. This Bill, which creates a Minister of Crown Indigenous Relations, a Minister of Northern Affairs and a Minister of Indigenous Services, while creating two new departments, is designed to reshape Canada’s relationship with Inuit. Yet no Indigenous representatives were called before the House to provide views on Bill C-97. Inuit are gravely concerned regarding this successful effort to unilaterally reshape the Crown-Inuit relationship. The division of Bill C-97 regarding Indigenous peoples should not come into force until Indigenous peoples themselves have consented to this change.

ITK regrets that Bill C-262, An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and Bill C-99, An Act to amend the Citizenship Act, died on the order paper. Bill C-262, a private member’s bill, was introduced by NDP MP Romeo Saganash and would ensure that federal laws are brought in line with the UNDRIP. Bill C-99 would have fulfilled one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action by modifying the Oath of Citizenship to include the recognition and affirmation of Aboriginal and treaty rights of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.

We call on all parties to commit to prioritizing the re-introduction and passage of Bills regarding domestic UNDRIP implementation and incorporating Inuit, First Nations, and Metis into the citizenship oath during the next session of Parliament.