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Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa on Aug. 12, 2020.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says a Liberal promise to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is still a top priority.

But he could not definitively say today whether it is still possible to introduce the needed legislation within the promised timeline, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised during the 2019 election to introduce legislation, developed with Indigenous Peoples, by the end of 2020 that would enshrine the UN declaration in Canadian law.

Miller says that remains an “utmost priority” for the Trudeau government, and that legislation will come in the “shortest time frame possible.”

He says he believes introducing a bill before the end of the year is possible, but he also says this hinges on factors that are out of anyone’s control – namely, the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The House of Commons has been operating under special rules adopted after the pandemic forced the country into lockdown, which only allow legislation to be tabled that deals with COVID-19 emergency measures.

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