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HomeNewsQuesnel Mayor takes in history at the BC Legislature

Quesnel Mayor takes in history at the BC Legislature

There was an historic moment in the BC Legislature today and Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson was on hand to see it.

British Columbia became the first jurisdiction in Canada to embed into legislation the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples…

“There was some very deep feeling expressed on how important this legislation is, and what the legislation will do for British Columbians and for our first peoples is begin us on a path of true reconciliation by embedding in all legislation and putting a focus on all legislation that we are actually recognizing the inherent rights of First Nations and the human rights of First Nations in the provincial jurisdiction.”

Simpson says this legislation can also have an impact on communities in the province, like Quesnel…

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“Quesnel City Council has a protocol agreement in place with the Lhtako Dene First Nation and Simpson says they have also engaged in conversations with the Southern Dakelh Nation Alliance and Esdilagh First Nation, as well as having some preliminary conversations with Nazko.”

It wasn’t the first time in the legislature for Simpson, who is a former MLA, but he says this time was definitely different…

“A lot of protocol was actually broken in order to enable the First Nations leadership in our province to have equal rights to speak on the floor of the legislature. Unelected people are not generally given rights to speak from the floor of the legislature, they often have to stand behind a bar in the doorway.”

Simpson says that protocol was waived by all parties, and the first reading of the bill was also unanimously agreed to by all parties in the legislature.

He gives special credit to Premier John Horgan however, noting that a lot of leaders have said in the past that this move was needed but didn’t do it, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, although Simpson says Trudeau has recommitted to doing it at the federal level.

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