A Promise Too Far? The Justin Trudeau Government and Indigenous Rights
Canada is widely recognized as a global leader in human rights. Yet, when Indigenous peoples’ rights are included in its human rights record, Canada’s reputation loses some of its luster. It was only one of four countries in the world to vote against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007. Sensitive to Canada’s shameful underperformance in Indigenous rights, the Trudeau government set out to make a change, promising that Canada would commit itself to a new, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples and that his government would immediately adopt and implement the UNDRIP. This chapter examines what implementation of the UNDRIP means for Canada and whether Canada’s position on Indigenous rights has actually changed under the Trudeau government. It argues that there is a troubling gap between Trudeau’s vision and rhetoric and the policy realities on the ground, creating an unnecessary risk to Canada’s human rights reputation and leadership in the international community. The chapter concludes by setting out the serious challenges presented by the implementation of Indigenous rights in Canada and offers some recommendations for implementation strategies.
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