PM Trudeau speaks at the UN General Assembly

Elias Hubbard
September 23, 2017

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used his United Nations platform to address Canada's historic failings regarding indigenous people.

"Canada remains a work in progress", Trudeau said, before reflecting on the experience of indigenous people in Canada as "mostly one of humiliation, neglect and abuse".

Mr Trudeau took power in 2015 promising to fix the country's relationship with aboriginal peoples.

Two years in, many say he is not doing enough to help indigenous Canadians, who make up about 4 percent of the population and face higher levels of poverty and violence and shorter life expectancies.

The prime minister is heading to the Big Apple for the annual United Nations General Assembly.

"Canada will continue to fight for the global plan that has realistic chance of countering it", said Trudeau.

Many aboriginal communities do not have access to safe drinking water, and suicides have plagued several isolated communities.

The Trudeau Liberals have faced criticism from some indigenous groups for green-lighting pipeline projects.

"We know that the world expects Canada to strictly adhere to global human rights standards", said Trudeau, who has put reconciliation with first nations at the top of his reform agenda. "We will not let that opportunity pass us by", said Trudeau.

His second address and its focus on domestic issues stood in sharp contrast to his United Nations speech in 2016, where he promoted Canada's re-engagement with the worldwide community, declaring "we're Canadian and we're here to help".

The Prime Minister noted that his country fully supports the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples "without qualification" and is working with Canada's indigenous leaders to correct past injustices.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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