OTTAWA, Nov. 25, 2016 /CNW/ - The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) acknowledged the Government of Canada's five year review of the Specific Claims Tribunal Act tabled today in Parliament by the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. The AFN says the outcomes of this review marks a moment to reform the way that Canada deals with specific claims.
"First Nations have consistently and continually advocated for reform to the way Canada deals with specific claims," said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. "This report comes at a time when we have a government that has committed to a federal law and policy review that will be done with us on a nation-to-nation basis, consistent with their unqualified endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is clear that the path forward on a better approach to specific claims is one that fully involves First Nations at every stage of the policy and process."
In the report, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada states: "The best way forward is to establish an ongoing joint discussion on how to improve the manner in which specific claims are resolved, as stated by the Assembly of First Nation' panel … it is time for the Government of Canada to re-engage in a constructive dialogue regarding the specific claims process." The report states that discussions will continue over the coming months to "finalize a joint work plan to examine these issues and to identify fair and practical measures to improve the operation of the specific claims process."
AFN Alberta Regional Chief Craig Makinaw, portfolio holder for the Chiefs Committee on Claims said: "I am pleased that the AFN and Canada have established a Joint Technical Working Group on Specific Claims to hammer out the issues and find solutions to the longstanding problems that have plagued the resolution of specific claims. We need to continue to advocate on behalf of First Nations to ensure the results of the five year review align with First Nations recommendations and priorities. The recommendations for reform that will come from the Joint Technical Working Group will signal this government's commitment to real action in reforming specific claims based on the direction of First Nations."
In 2015, the Assembly of First Nations launched an independent Expert Panel process, which included hosting public hearings, to develop recommendations for the five year review. The Expert Panel operated parallel to the federal process and issued its own recommendations in a report that is available of the AFN website:
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer, 613-241-6789 ext. 382, 613-292-0857 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org