National Chief Congratulates New Cabinet - Calls for Focused Action to Advance First Nation Priorities with 41st Parliament

OTTAWA, May 18 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo said today he looks forward to advancing First Nation priorities with the new federal cabinet and all of Parliament.

"We look forward to working with all of government and Parliament to ensure our priorities are addressed in ways that work for our citizens and communities.  First Nations across Canada have set clear plans based on our rights and Treaties to transform the reality for First Nations in this country, to unlock the full potential of our people, communities and governments to build a stronger country for all our citizens," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo following today's announcement of new federal cabinet.  "The stability of the new Parliament will help us advance a robust agenda for real and meaningful change."

We look to build on important commitments made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper including the endorsement of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, working with us in partnership to strengthen and reform First Nation education, and advancing new approaches such as a First Nations-Crown gathering to mark progress and to set clear priorities for the future.

"I look forward to our continued work with the Honourable John Duncan in his role as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and acknowledge this signal from the federal government of the importance of consistency and stability in such an important portfolio. We will be seeking clarity in the Ministry's name change to ensure that it accurately reflects the relationship between First Nations and the Crown," said National Chief Atleo, noting that the term Aboriginal means First Nations, Métis and Inuit. "We will work together to ensure the constitutionally protected rights of First Nations are respected, the responsibilities to First Nations are upheld, and our interests receive specific attention and action.  This needs to be about real action and change, not a name change."

National Chief Atleo also congratulated returning Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq and newly appointed Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue and noted that for the first time, Cabinet will include both an Inuit member and a First Nations member.  "I look forward to continuing our very positive working relationship with Minister Aglukkaq.  Minister Penashue's new appointment is very significant and I believe this signals important opportunity for us to advance our work given his new mandate and considerable responsibility."

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. National Chief Atleo and AFN are on Twitter.  Follow us @NCAtleo @AFN_Updates @AFN_Comms.

SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

Don Kelly, AFN A/Communications Director 613-241-6789 ext. 334 or cell: 613-292-2787 or email dkelly@afn.ca

Jenna Young, AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or email jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382 or cell: 613-292-0857 or email agaron@afn.ca

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