Minister Prentice appoints Bill McKnight and revitalizes the Office of the Treaty Commissioner for Saskatchewan



    OTTAWA, June 28 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Jim Prentice, Minister of
Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and
Non-Status Indians, is proud to announce the appointment of the Honourable
Bill McKnight as Treaty Commissioner for Saskatchewan.
    "I am pleased that Mr. McKnight has accepted this new role," stated
Minister Prentice. "His knowledge of the region and understanding of complex
land and treaty issues will significantly benefit the future work of the
Commission."
    The new Treaty Commissioner's appointment will last until March 31, 2008.
    The Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC) in Saskatchewan was first
established in June 1989 to facilitate discussions and make recommendations on
the resolution of treaty issues. Treaty commissions are part of the
government's ongoing commitment to address historic treaty issues through
co-operative relationships with Treaty First Nations. The Office of the Treaty
Commissioner for Saskatchewan is at the forefront of treaty discussions and
public education.
    "As the nominee for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, we
welcome Bill McKnight as the new Treaty Commissioner for Saskatchewan," said
FSIN Chief Lawrence Joseph. "As Minister of Indian Affairs he established
positive working relationships with First Nation leadership in Saskatchewan.
As Treaty Commissioner, we are confident that he will continue to facilitate
Treaty Implementation of our treaty rights in the context of economic
independence."
    In the past, the main functions of the OTC included the facilitation of
exploratory treaty discussions between Canada and the FSIN, overseeing and
directing the OTC's Speakers' Bureau, and providing public education,
awareness and research on treaties.
    The mandate of the OTC is to facilitate a common understanding between
the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians (FSIN) on a number of treaty issues in
relation to the jurisdictions of child welfare, education, shelter, health,
treaty annuities, harvesting, lands and resources.
    On March 31, 2007, the previous mandate and term for the past
Commissioner expired. However, in April 2007, the Department took measures
(http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/nr/prs/j-a2007/2-2860-eng.asp) to ensure interim
OTC stability.
    Treaty Commissions enhance cooperative relationships between First
Nations and the Canada through mutual exploration of historic treaty issues.
The success of these explorations is seen in improved understanding of
historic treaties and treaty relationships and more harmonious, respectful and
productive relationships between First Nations and non-Aboriginal Canadians.

    This news release is also available on the Internet at: www.inac.gc.ca

    
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                              Biographical Note
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

                   THE HONOURABLE W. H. (BILL) McKNIGHT, PC

    Born in Elrose, Saskatchewan, Bill McKnight, served Canada as Minister of
Indian and Northern Development from 1986 to 1989. During his time as a Member
of Parliament (1979-1993) he also served as Minister for the following
portfolios: Labour, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Western Economic
Diversification, National Defense (during the first Gulf War), Agriculture and
Energy Mines and Resources.
    Mr. McKnight is a Director of Cline Mining Corporation, a Canadian public
company whose shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and is also a
Director of several other public and private companies. He is also the
principal of McKnight and Associates, a Canadian based international,
professional services firm providing strategic business development.
    As a successful private businessman and senior Minister and a member of
the Inner Cabinet, Mr. McKnight developed a unique strategic planning ability
important in today's global business environment.
    




For further information:

For further information: Minister's Office: Deirdra McCracken, Press
Secretary, Office of the Honourable Jim Prentice, (819) 997-0002; Media
Relations: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, (819) 953-1160


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