OTTAWA, Oct. 29, 2013 /CNW/ - The Government of Canada today
re-introduced Bill C-9, First Nations Elections Act, in the House of
Commons. This proposed legislation takes action on the Government's
commitment to provide all Canadians with strong, accountable and
transparent government. It is also an example of how working in
partnership with First Nations can lead to positive results.
"Our Government is proud to support this historic legislation that will
provide willing First Nations with a robust framework for real
improvements in their elections," said Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development Minister Bernard Valcourt. "This new system will give First
Nations who choose to elect their leaders under it the political
stability necessary for solid business investments and long term
planning that will lead to increased economic development, job creation
and improved quality of life for the community."
"The First Nations Elections Act will be a catalyst for the way in which
First Nations are governed, will create stability and credibility,
strengthen self-governance and allow First Nations to move forward on
important initiatives in the areas of social and economic development
that are vital for communities, their well-being and their quality of
life," said Chief Ron Evans, Norway House Cree Nation and former Grand
Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. "I would like to urge our
representatives in the House of Commons and the Senate to support this
important piece of legislation and be part of making the positive and
necessary change for First Nations in Canada."
Bill C-9, First Nations Elections Act, addresses longstanding issues
with the current election system under the Indian Act by extending the terms of office for chiefs and councils, introducing a
more robust nomination process, adding penalties for defined offences
and fraudulent activities, as well as raising the possibility for
common election days among several First Nations. This bill
incorporates the recommendations provided by the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs following a national engagement process with First Nations on the
development of a better electoral system.
Chief Dean Vicaire from Listuguj Mi'gmaq First Nation and Atlantic
Policy Congress co-chair said, "The legislation will fix a number of
problems with the existing election process. As well, longer election
terms will help strengthen governance and accountability beyond the
limits of the current Indian Act election process." "The new Act allows those First Nations who opt into
the legislation real measures to improve the election process and will
give greater clarity of the election rules and will have clear
penalties included for any person who attempts to circumvent the
process," said Chief Deborah Robinson of the Acadia First Nation and
Atlantic Policy Congree co-chair. "It puts the power in the hands of
the membership to select leaders, which can build a strong and
prosperous future for their communities and people."
This legislation will be of particular interest to the 238 First Nations
who still hold their elections under the Indian Act and who may choose to opt in to this new legislative framework.
To learn more about the contents of Bill C-9, First Nations Elections
Act, please consult the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada website.
This release is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.
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SOURCE: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
For further information:
Office of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern