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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

ADAM OLSEN -- The occasion marks the end of my two-year effort to ensure the government followed through on the commitment they made

It was a remarkable week in the Legislature in Victoria.

On Tuesday, just two days before the fall session adjourned for the decade, all Members of the British Columbia Assembly voted in favour of Bill 41, The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA).

The Bill was introduced with much ceremony, and celebration, on October 24th. Following second reading speeches, a two-week break for Thanksgiving and Remembrance Day, and extensive scrutiny at committee stage, Lt. Governor Janet Austin gave the Act Royal Assent with a simple nod on Thursday morning.

The occasion marks the end of my two-year effort to ensure the government followed through on the commitment they made to British Columbians during the 2017 election, and to the BC Greens in our Confidence and Supply Agreement, to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

It marks the beginning of the next effort

With the Act receiving support from all Members, or nemine contradicente (meaning nobody contradicting) as the Clerk announces following a vote with no nays, it sends a strong message of the direction our province is heading.

The passing of the Bill marks a turning point in the history of our province that I have written about extensively over the past year. It’s the end of the Legislative work and the beginning of the next stage.

All aspects of our society have become accustomed to the way it was; now, we accept the way it is ... and embrace the challenge of defining the way it will be.

An action plan for DRIPA

To that end, there are many questions to answer, and the need to develop an action plan to ensure we successfully navigate the way ahead. So, we must turn our minds from the hard work that got us here, to the hard work in front of us. It will require a commitment to lay out both the process of developing an action plan and its substance.

In terms of process:
What are the steps, what are the roles of each of the stakeholders, how do we ensure it’s sustainable, what about reporting and accountability, how does the process grow and evolve?

Green Party MLA Adam Olsen
In terms of substance:
What are the priorities and objectives, how is it structured, what about resources, how are existing laws aligned, what about nation re-building, and how are we developing consent-based decision-making?

These are exciting questions to be tackling. I’m thrilled to be here at this moment in history ... and I will continue to work with the provincial government to ensure they do not lose focus of the incredibly important work at hand.

Adam Olsen ... is a Green Party Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for Saanich North and the Islands. Born in Victoria, BC in 1976, Adam has lived, worked and played his entire life on the Saanich Peninsula. He is a member of Tsartlip First Nation (W̱JOȽEȽP), where he and his wife, Emily, are raising their two children, Silas and Ella.


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