Open Letter to the Senate Regarding Reconciliation Bill C262

Note: Bill C-262 is an act asking “…the Government of Canada to take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).”

The bill has passed three readings in the House of Commons and is now before the Senate who will decide its future. Bill C-262 needs to get to the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples soon (likely, before the 3rd week of March), or there will not be enough time for it to achieve royal assent. Given the urgency, I have written the following letter to be printed and sent to each member of the Senate.

A list of recipients can be found at the bottom of this page along with a few suggestions of easy action steps for those who want to show their support.

The Senate of Canada
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A4
Algonquin Territory

Dear Senators,

Thank you for the work you do on behalf of all Canadians. I pray for your courage and wisdom as you consider all that you must do in order to move us forward according to our best intentions to be a fair nation. And by fair, I invoke the double meaning of the word: fair… as in fair is the meadow, and fair… as in fair play. In other words, fair according to both beauty and justice.

My name is Steve Bell and I’m a veteran Canadian singer/ songwriter and author from Winnipeg. My work over the decades has taken me around the globe and I’ve been privileged to experience many magnificent countries and their peoples, cultures and landscapes. It goes without saying that the beauty and diversity of human and non-human creation is staggering and I count myself blessed to have witnessed so much of it. However, each of those experiences has only served to make me love my own country more.

And so, I’m writing to you because I think this country that we mutually hold dear is at a watershed moment of great importance.

Currently before you is Bill C-262 which has already overwhelmingly passed three readings in the House of Commons. The bill is “An Act to ensure the laws of Canada are in harmony with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).”

I urge you to support Bill C-262.

UNDRIP has been 25 years in the making, drafted with Indigenous peoples worldwide and was adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007. It is an instrument that “constitutes the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.”

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has stated that the adoption and implementation of the declaration is the key to genuine reconciliation between Indigenous and Settler peoples in Canada. 

In 2010, the Federal government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, issued a statement of support endorsing the principles of the declaration.

In 2016, the Federal government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that Canada is “a full supporter of the declaration, without qualification.”

Countless individuals, institutions, civil and religious organizations agree that we need legislation to hold current and future governments to account to uphold this minimum of human rights standards for all people, but with particular attention to First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples who have suffered systematic exclusion from the benefits of these basic rights.

Great harm has been done. And for healing to occur, there first needs to be a commitment to stop harm. Bill C-262 is such a commitment and sets the stage for a new and mutually fruitful relationship with Canada’s First Nations, whom John Ralston Saul rightly calls “the senior founding pillar of our civilization.” (A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada, p.21)

Again, please support Bill C-262. We look forward to the day that we can truly call our country fair in accordance with both beauty and justice.

Sincerely,
Steve Bell
Winnipeg MB.

______________________________________________________________________________

What Can I do to Support C-262?

1. You can find action-step ideas including signing an easy, one-step e-letter to Senators at: https://www.kairoscanada.org/what-we-do/indigenous-rights/pass-bill-c262

2. You can write a letter to Senators individually (see list below) and mail postage-free to:

Senator [Name]
The Senate of Canada
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A4
Algonquin Territory

A letter can be as simple as:
Dear Senator [Name],

Bill C-262 can change Canada’s future and move us toward respectful relations with Indigenous nations. I urge you to support Bill C-262, “An act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Sincerely,

[Name]

3. You can access emails and phone numbers for individual Senators at: https://sencanada.ca/en/senators. Online petitions are helpful, but personal contact is significantly more impactful.

4. You can show your support in the message feature below and then share to your social media networks via the share buttons on this page.

5. Print the poster found HERE and post a picture of yourself holding it with your own words of support on FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram etc. Make sure to include the hashtags:
 #passbillc262 #UNDRIP #SenCA#ReconciliACTION #cdnpoli

If you want to show your support for the bill, it is urgent that you do so quickly.

Conservative Senators:
Scott Tannas / Alberta
Yonah Martin / British Columbia
Richard Neufeld / British Columbia
Donald Neil Plett / Manitoba
Paul E McIntyre / New Brunswick
Percy Mockler / New Brunswick
Rose-May Poirier / New Brunswick
Carolyn Stewart-Olsen /New Brunswick
Norman Doy / Newfoundland and Labrador
Fabian Manning / Newfoundland and Labrador
Elizabeth Marshall/ Newfoundland and Labrador
David M. Wells / Newfoundland and Labrador
Thomas J. McInnes / Nova Scotia
Michael L. MacDonald / Nova Scotia
Dennis Patterson / Nunavut
Salma Ataullahjan / Ontario
Nicole Eaton / Ontario
Linda Frum / Ontario
Thanh Hai Ngo / Ontario
Victor Oh / Ontario
Vernon White / Ontario
Pierre-Hughes Boisvenu / Quebec
Claude Carignan / Quebec
Jean-Guy Dagenais / Quebec
Leo Housakos / Quebec
Ghislain Maltais / Quebec
Judith Seidman/ Quebec
Larry Smith / Quebec
Raynell Andreychuck / Saskatchewan
Denise Batters / Saskatchewan
David Tkachuk / Saskatchewan

Liberal Senators:
Mobina Jaffer / British Columbia
Joseph Day / New Brunswick
Sandra Lovelace Nicholas / New Brunswick
Jane Cordy / Nova Scotia
Terry Mercer / Nova Scotia
Jim Munson / Ontario
Percy Downe / Prince Edward Island
Dennis Dawson / Prince Edward Island
Serge Joyal / Quebec
Lillian Eve Dyck / Saskatchewan

Independent Senators Group:
Douglas Black / Alberta
Patti LaBoucane-Benson / Alberta
Elaine McCoy / Alberta
Paula Simmons / Alberta
Bev Busson / British Columbia
Larry Campbell / British Columbia
Yuen Pau Woo / British Columbia
Patricia Bovey / Manitoba
Raymond Gagne / Manitoba
Mary Jane McCallum / Manitoba
Marilou McPhedran / Manitoba
Murray Sinclair / Manitoba
Rene Cormier / New Brunswick
Nancy Hartling / New Brunswick
Pierrette Ringuette / New Brunswick
Mohamed-Iqbal Ravalia / Newfoundland and Labrador
Wanda Thomas Bernard / Nova Scotia
Dan Christmas / Nova Scotia
Mary Cole / Nova Scotia
Colin Deacon / Nova Scotia
Stephen Greene / Nova Scotia
Robert Black / Ontario
Peter Boehm / Ontario
Gwen Boniface / Ontario
Yvonne Boyer / Ontario
Donna Dasko / Ontario
Marty Deacon / Ontario
Tony Dean / Ontario
Joesee Forest-Niesing / Ontario
Francis Lankin / Ontario
Sabi Marwah / Ontario
Lucie Moncion / Ontario
Ratna Omidvar / Ontario
Kim Pate / Ontario
Howard Weston / Ontario
Michael Duffy / Prince Edward Island
Brian Francis / Prince Edward Island
Diane Griffin / Prince Edward Island
Patrick Brazeau / Quebec
Pierre Dalphond / Quebec
Jacques Demers / Quebec
Renee Dupuis / Quebec
Eric Forest / Quebec
Rosa Galvez / Quebec
Marc Gold / Quebec
Paul Massicotte / Quebec
Marie-Francoise Megie / Quebec
Julie Miville-Dechene / Quebec
Chantal Petitclerc / Quebec
Andre Pratte / Quebec
Reymonde Saint-Germain / Quebec
Josee Verner / Quebec
Marty Klyne / Saskatchewan
Pamela Wallin / Saskatchewan

Non-Affiliated:
Grant Mitchell / Alberta
David Richards / New Brunswick
George Furey / Newfoundland and Labrador
Lynn Beyak / Ontario
Peter Harder / Ontario
Diane Bellemare / Quebec

7 thoughts on “Open Letter to the Senate Regarding Reconciliation Bill C262

  1. Steve,

    Thank you for your support of indigenous people in Canada. My work with Natives in Winnipeg has given me a heart for their needs. I too support this bill.

    Many Blessings,
    Michael McElroy

  2. Thanks Steve for your hard work and many initiatives to support Bill C262. We so appreciate your unimpeachable integrity, your unswerving dedication in pursuit of truth and justice, and your incredible desire to ‘speak truth in love’ into the hearts and minds of Canadians. We hope and pray your heartfelt words will help to bring about positive change for Canada’s First Nations and further, transform Canada’s social and cultural landscape. Amen! Blessings! Don & Jan

  3. Thanks for your work with this important issue in Canada Steve. I’ve sent a letter…. Praying with you and many others that Bill C262 gets final approval.

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