National Chief Atleo Comments on New Federal Cabinet

OTTAWA, July 15, 2013 /CNW/ - As First Nations from across the country gather in White horse, Yukon for the Assembly of First Nations 34th Annual General Assembly, National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo commented today on the Prime Minister's cabinet shuffle.

"First Nations are gathering this week to set our agenda and strategy for the coming weeks and months ahead. There is a growing demand for action and change. Our issues go beyond any one Minister or department and we fully expect and look forward to a government wide effort to work with First Nations to make real progress," said AFN National Chief Atleo. "First Nations will continue to press forward and explain priorities and issues to help all cabinet ministers understand the First Nations agenda and the roles they can play in fostering change and innovation that builds stronger First Nations and a stronger Canada."

National Chief noted the move of former Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq to Environment given the pressing need to address First Nations concerns about changes to environmental regulations and review in Bills C-45 and C-38. Ministers with related responsibilities for natural resources, the environment and the economy must all engage with First Nations on a new approach to the environment and economic development.

"Canada is proposing hundreds of billions of dollars in resource activity over the coming years, all of which will be in and around the traditional territories of First Nations. If any of this activity is to proceed, First Nations must ensure that it is sustainable and responsible and that the plans meet the international standard of free, prior and informed consent by the First Nations involved," said National Chief Atleo.

The National Chief also stated that the new appointments to justice and attorney general, status of women and public safety are individuals who will share responsibility for action on missing and murdered women. "We will urge the new ministers to work quickly with us to address the tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and take action to build safe and secure communities for our families," said the National Chief.

The National Chief will be writing to the new cabinet ministers in the coming days to explain the Fist Nations agenda as directed by Chiefs and citizens across the country and as confirmed at the Annual General Assembly this week.

"First Nations are advancing plans and priorities on the basis of nation-to-nation relationships and the implementation of their rights and responsibilities," said National Chief Atleo. "We are ready to move, Canadians want to see progress and the federal government now has its team in place to work with us. We will continue to reach out to all parties, governments, the private sector and the public to ensure momentum on our agenda. We are moving and we call on the government to move with us."

The AFN's 34th Annual General Assembly is being held July 16-18 in Whitehorse, Yukon. Plenary sessions will be webcast on the AFN website at www.afn.ca.

The Assembly of First Nation is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.  Follow #AFNAGA for all Assembly updates and highlights.

SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations

For further information:

Don Kelly, AFN Communications Director 613-292-2787 or dkelly@afn.ca

Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca


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