June 18th, 2019

The NPD Calls for the Recognition of Indigenous Peoples in the Oath of Office as Members of Parliament

OTTAWA — New Democrat MPs Jenny Kwan, Pierre Nantel, and Roméo Saganash are calling for treaties with Indigenous Peoples to be added to the Oath of Office of federal MPs.

“Including Indigenous Peoples in the oath of citizenship is a small but necessary step towards reconciliation,” said Saganash (Abitibi–Baie-James–Nunavik–Eeyou). “How can we expect new citizens to solemnly recognize Indigenous Peoples when our elected officials are not even asked to recognize Indigenous rights and treaties?”

In October 2015, NDP MPs Georgina Jolibois, Niki Ashton, Pierre Nantel, and Roméo Saganash became the first federal elected officials to change their oath by adding a reference to Indigenous Peoples. At the time, they stated that, "in the performance of [their] duties, they would [respect] the treaties concluded with Indigenous Peoples.”

“Elected officials have a responsibility to respect these rights and treaties that were signed on a nation-to-nation basis,” added Nantel (Longueuil–Saint-Hubert). “Such a promise should be mandatory for every MP in Ottawa.”

The NDP will introduce amendments to Bill C-99 to amend the Parliament of Canada Act to add respect for the treaties signed with Indigenous Peoples to the Oath of Office contained in a schedule to the Constitution Act of 1867.

“This change to the Oath of Office for Members of Parliament is not just a symbolic gesture; it will help guide the work of Members of Parliament so that every law we make honours the UN Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples enshrined under Bill C-262,” added Kwan (Vancouver East).