OTTAWA, April 24, 2018 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers (USW), which represents thousands of workers of Indigenous ancestry, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada, is appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Northern and Indigenous Affairs to support 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).
"The adoption of Bill C-262 will be a powerful affirmation of Canada's collective desire to do better and engage in genuine reconciliation with First Peoples," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director. "USW has a long history of struggle for social justice and human rights."
The majority of Indigenous members of USW are employed in resource industries – the heart of the union's historic roots. These include union members at Cameco's uranium mines in Saskatchewan, Vale's nickel mines at Voisey's Bay, N.L., Glencore's Raglan mine in northern Quebec, in logging and sawmills from Ontario to B.C., at the Frontier School Division in northern Manitoba and more.
"In 2016, our USW National Policy Conference passed a resolution supporting the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and living up to UNDRIP is fundamental to the commission's vision of reconciliation," Neumann said.
Bill C-262 provides a practical, rights-based path "which Canada must follow to ensure that reconciliation is far-reaching and uncovers and redresses the colonial legacy embedded in Canada's legal, economic, political and other systems," he added.
Just as the union would not accept an unsafe mine, or one based on the harassment or exploitation of workers and their families, "the USW can no longer accept mines developed without consultation and participation of Indigenous rights holders in decision-making, in violation of UNDRIP," Neumann said.
Bill C-262 is a Private Member's Bill, sponsored by NDP MP Romeo Saganash (Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou, Quebec).
To read the full USW submission, go to: www.usw.ca/C262undrip.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, [email protected]