The United Church of Canada welcomes news that Bill C-262, an act to ensure that Canada’s laws are in harmony with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, passed second reading on February 7, 2018. We are thankful to all those members of the United Church, the ecumenical community, and other groups who took the time to meet and talk with their members of Parliament on this important issue. We thank MPs for their engagement with constituents, and for their support of this bill.

Bill C-262 offers a 20-year framework to help implement the UN Declaration, and an accountability mechanism to ensure that we stay on track in this important work of taking apart colonial structures of relationship and building new ones rooted in equity, mutuality, and respect.

It is important to remember that Bill C-262 is not yet law. It goes next to committee for hearings, discussion, and amendment before it returns to the House and Senate for final votes. We need to remain engaged: to continue to encourage MPS who have supported the bill, whether wholeheartedly or with reservation, and we need to continue to work with those who opposed the bill to help them see it not as a threat to what Canada is, but as a promise of what Canada can be.

As we noted in our March 31, 2016, statement adopting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as The United Church of Canada’s framework for reconciliation, “a new relationship is waiting, and we turn our faces towards it.” May the same be true for Canada.