Liberals set to unveil Indigenous-languages law

The Trudeau Liberals are poised to introduce a new law to protect and promote Indigenous languages.

Just before the weekend, the government put the Commons on notice that it planned to introduce a new bill, titled ``An Act respecting Indigenous languages,'' for MPs to debate.

On Friday, during a UN event kicking off the International Year of Indigenous Languages, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde described a law that could create programs to inspire Indigenous people of all ages to speak their languages.

First Nations helped develop the soon-to-be-introduced bill that will ``help ensure our languages survive and thrive,'' Bellegarde said.

The most recent census figures from Statistics Canada showed that 263,840 people reported being able to speak an Indigenous language in 2016.

The data also showed a two-decade decline in the percentage of Indigenous people able to speak an Indigenous language, going from 29 per cent in 1996 down to 16 per cent in 2016.