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'We made history': UN Indigenous rights bill approved unanimously in B.C.

British Columbia has become the first province in Canada to formally implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
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 B.C. Green MLA Adam Olsen leaves Government House after Premier John Horgan was sworn in as premier in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, July 18, 2017. British Columbia's Green caucus says legislation promising a new relationship between the province and First Nations has passed unanimously in a B.C. Green MLA Adam Olsen leaves Government House after Premier John Horgan was sworn in as premier in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, July 18, 2017. British Columbia’s Green caucus says legislation promising a new relationship between the province and First Nations has passed unanimously in a “historic” moment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

VANCOUVER — British Columbia has become the first province in Canada to formally implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The bill was passed unanimously in the legislature.

Earlier in the day, some Indigenous leaders expressed fears that the bill could die on the order paper.

The First Nations Leadership Council said the bill appeared stalled in committee by continued Liberal questions and could expire when the sitting ends on Thursday.

However, the Liberals participated in the unanimous vote in favour of the bill.

The bill mandates the provincial government to bring its policies and laws into harmony with the aims of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

"Today, we have made history," the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and the First Nations Leadership Council said in a joint statement Tuesday.

"This legislation advances a path forward to true reconciliation for all of us in B.C. that will uphold Indigenous rights and create stronger communities, stable jobs and economic growth."

Green party leader Andrew Weaver said the passage of the bill was a foundational piece of the Greens' confidence and supply agreement to support a NDP minority government.

"Social justice and respect of diversity are more than core principles for the B.C. Greens, they are values that every British Columbian can embrace," Weaver said in a statement. "And, today, MLAs stood united in support of those core values."