They stress that the declaration is a non-binding document that is specifically required to be interpreted in balance with other laws, standards and the rights of non-native citizens.
"Their argument that it undermines treaties and agreements ... is just not correct," says Malezer. "I think they're making it up. It's not a legal opinion."
The Canadian government not only supported but was a leader of the process toward drafting the declaration before the Liberals were defeated in January 2006, Malezer said from New York. The Liberals pushed for clarifications--especially on land and resource issues--but were clear proponents, he added.
Ottawa's position under the Conservatives changed so drastically that by June 2006, only Canada and Russia voted against the declaration at the UN Human Rights Council.
"Clearly it was a political flip," says Malezer. "And that's just bad behaviour. It's not good faith. It's not about human rights."