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Salem Radio Network News Friday, February 23, 2018

World

Canada to create framework to guarantee indigenous rights

By Andrea Hopkins

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada will create a legal framework to guarantee the rights of indigenous people in a bid to head off court battles over treaty rights with aboriginals, a government source said on Wednesday.

Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has pledged to repair the relationship between the government and Canada’s aboriginal people, is set to deliver a speech on “the recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights,” on Wednesday afternoon, according to his schedule.

While treaty rights with aboriginals are already recognized under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the new legal framework would ensure that the constitution is the starting point for all government action that affects aboriginals.

“Overall, it will look into the full implementation of the rights already enshrined in the Charter for indigenous peoples and really guarantee those rights, because often indigenous people have to go to court to fight for those rights that are already enshrined,” the source told Reuters.

In a speech to the United Nations in September, Trudeau said that Canada had failed its indigenous people and that his government would do better to improve the lives of aboriginals and achieve reconciliation.

Indigenous Canadians make up about 5 percent of Canada’s 36 million people and face higher levels of poverty and violence and shorter life expectancies.

Aboriginal relations have been in sharp focus since the acquittal on Friday of a white farmer in the 2016 slaying of an aboriginal man.

Trudeau met on Tuesday with the family of Colten Boushie, 22, after the not-guilty verdict in the high-profile case triggered widespread calls for changes to Canada’s justice system.

(Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Ian Simpson)

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