Tory senators deny stalling private members’ bills on Indigenous rights

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OTTAWA — Conservative senators are being blamed for running out the parliamentary clock on a number of bills, including several aimed at advancing the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

But the Conservatives’ Senate whip says the Liberal government will have only itself to blame if the bills aren’t passed before Parliament breaks for the summer and the subsequent fall election.

With only three sitting weeks left in the Senate calendar, Sen Don Plett says the priority has to be on government bills, not those introduced by individual MPs or senators.

Among the bills the Conservatives are accused of stalling is one that would ensure all laws in Canada are “in harmony” with the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Others in limbo include a bill on Indigenous languages and one that would add First Nations, Metis and Inuit representatives to the board that makes decisions on national historic sites and monuments.

If the Trudeau government were serious about getting the private members’ bills passed, Plett says it should have taken them up as government bills.

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